July 17, 2011

(Now that we got your attention)


Ever wanted to know how to make your own beer at home?

                                                                      The 4th & Gill Community Center presents:

         Ratchet’s Home Brewing 101.

Learn the history of beer, and how to craft your own. This class will focus on how to make beer using basic ingredients & affordable equipment. Attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite beer.  We’ll start promptly at 6pm. Class is 2 hours long.

Where: 4th and Gill Community Center, smack dab on the corner of Fourth & Gill.

 When: Friday September 22nd, 6pm.

 Cost: $10 donation goes towards the cost of supplies. Plenty of home brewed beer samples will be provided. Special guest speakers and door prizes. Beer bash party immediately after class with hip hop and dance tunes spun by Dj Wigs.

This event is strictly 21 and up ONLY. I.D.’s WILL be checked.

More info t: @kaosbrewer or

A message from the bottling elf.

July 15, 2011

Yesterday afterwork I bottled and kegged my Citra Hopped Pale Ale. I can not wait until it’s cold, carbonated and conditioned. It was so incredibly tasty. I know that this is a recipe I will make time and time again. According to my gravity readings, it is at a respectable 5.85% ABV. Since I made 10 gallons, I kegged half and bottled half. I can’t bottle without my bottling elf, Orion. He loves to help his daddy bottle beer, and he even has his own bottle capper. If he found out that I went ahead and bottled without him, he would be upset. So I got everything ready and called him over. He was capping the bottles as fast as I could fill them. Afterwards he insisted that I take a short video on my iPhone and post it to YouTube.  Here is what he wanted to say:

On another note, I also moved my Russian Imperial Stout from the primary to the secondary fermenters. Of course I tasted it and WOW, this is a big beer. According to calculations, it’s at 8.55% ABV and still has 4 weeks in the secondary before it gets kegged and bottled. I’m going to enter it in The Tennessee  Valley Homebrewers 2011 Homebruin Cup competition. I’m going to dedicate a whole post about this competition very soon.

Also, THIS is going down next Friday, expect a post about it as well.

I’ll be back soon.

Cheers, Ratchet

Now is a great time to join the local homebrew club.

July 8, 2011

Hey Y’all. As you may or may not know, there is a local Homebrew club that I am a member of. It’s called the Tennessee Valley Homebrewers. It’s made up of a bunch of people who are passionate about their hobby and about craft beer in general. The club usually has an official meeting once a month, and sometimes someone will call an “emergency” meeting through our email list. Emergency meeting is code for showing up and drinking beer. Our official meetings are usually brew-outs or tasting at different members home. Our big yearly event is the Knoxville Brewers Jam where we do a lot of the grunt work, and then pour different beers that members contribute at our tent at the event. The grunt work consist mostly of drinking with bouts of moving kegs, followed by more drinking. It’s not too bad a gig.

The other cool thing about the club that we do is called a BAMO. Which stands for Big Ass Malt Order. As a club we pick the bulk malts we want from an online catalog. We collectively get a pallet of grains that gets delivered and we get it at wholesale. This is a pretty big deal for people who spend a lot of money to buy ingredients. With BAMO it is so much less. I usually get 55 sacks of good quality base malt for between .51 to .79 cents per pound. Seriously, it’s a crazy good deal.

To participate in BAMO, you got to be a member though. It’s only 25 bucks a year, and well worth it . You’ll get put on our email list, access to our Facebook Group and much more. Details are here.



I really want to go to BEER CAMP!

July 6, 2011

So I learned of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Beer Camp contest, I just had to put together an entry. After checking the rules, I put together a short video that is linked below. The judges of the contest are looking for creative entries that are under 2 minutes. I didn’t catch the 2 minute part until after I put togther a 4 minute video. After some creative editing I got it down to exactly 1:59:56, right under the mark.

I really hope I win. If you check the website you’ll see what “Beer Camp” is all about. The judges pick 20 Home Brewers (10 from California, and 10 from the rest of the country) to come to the mainplant in Chico Clifornia. They also give the winners a $1000 Visa gift card to help pay for their travel & lodging.

So, can y’all do me a favor? I don’t know if Facebook “likes” influence the judges in any way, but it can’t hurt. Will you please click this link that goes directly to the video hosted on Sierra Nevada’s website. Once there, click the like button. Get all your friends to do the same. Help send me to Beer Camp. Please and thank you. CLICK HERE FOR LINK.


Cheers, Ratchet

Have a safe and Happy Independence Day

July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day everyone. I’m going to head downtown, get a beer at Downtown Grill and Brewery and then head over to World’s Fair Park with my little one to watch the fireworks. I hope everyone is having a good holiday and that no one has blown off any fingers playing with fireworks.

Last night I watched a couple of movies while drinking some Kolsh from Chattanooga Brewing Company. They were kind enough to let me fill a growler while I was working the Knoxville Brewfest last weekend. It was very good. It is a beer that I would not mind taking camping with me on a hot summer’s day.

Today I moved my Citra hopped American Pale Ale to the secondary fermenters. I took the gravity reading and tasted some. This beer is going to be damn good once it’s ready. The citra hops really stood out. According to my gravity readings, it’s currently at 5.5% abv. I’m going to give it a week in the secondary and then I am going to bottle half (about fifty 12 ounce bottles) and keg the other half. After that I figured, since it’s a holiday, I could open my growler of Bluegrass Brewing Company’s American Pale Ale, also procured at brewfest last week. I find it to be very tasty. I live a block away from Comics Exchange where my buddy works, so I brought him a glass. Currently sipping as I update this blog using their wifi.

I was planning on doing Bearden Beer Market’s weekly fun run tonight, but alas, it’s not to be. The whole idea was that the running crew was going to go from the beer market to World’s Fair Park. I was looking forward to this, but my little one’s mom doesn’t want to bring him to the fireworks, so that responsibility falls on me. The kid loves his fireworks, and  can’t say that I blame him.

I’m going to head home, eat some lunch, watch another movie to make sure I’m 100% sober to drive downtown for the fireworks.

Everyone, enjoy your holiday. Here’s a link to a video of me recorded last year, talking about Independence Day in a nutshell.!/video/video.php?v=1426665958862&comments

Bottled my Honey Lager today.

July 3, 2011

One of the best purchases I made for my home brewery has been without a doubt my chest freezer and thermostat control. It allows me to store my bottles and kegs at proper temperatures. It also allows me to brew lagers. For those who don’t know the differences between ales and lagers, time for a quick lesson.

In brewing beer there are 2 main types of yeast. Ale yeast and Lager yeast. These yeast use to have different scientific classification Saccharomyces uvarum (Lager) and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Ale). Today, as a result of recent reclassification of Saccharomyces species, both ale and lager yeast strains are considered to be members of S. cerevisiae.

The strains that are typically considered “Ale” yeast ferment at temperature ranges between 50-78 degrees. Ale yeasts are generally regarded as top-fermenting yeasts since they rise to the surface during fermentation, creating a very thick, rich yeast head. That is  why the term “top-fermenting” is associated with ale yeasts. Fermentation by ale yeasts at these relatively warmer temperatures produces a beer high in esters, which many regard as a distinctive character of ale beers.

Lager strains typically ferment between 40 and 55 degrees. At these temperatures, lager yeasts grow less rapidly than ale yeasts, and with less surface foam they tend to settle out to the bottom of the fermenter as fermentation nears completion. This is why they are often referred to as “bottom” yeasts. The final flavour of the beer will depend a great deal on the strain of lager yeast and the temperatures at which it was fermented. Because of the lower temperatures, “lagering” can take weeks or even months. (Note: lagering is German term which means “to store”). Most homebrewers and many microbreweries only make ales. My favorite place in Knoxville, Downtown Grill and Brewery is a perfect example. Large scale lagering equipment is very expensive. If your customer base is happy drinking ales, why make the investment?

So this Honey Lager me and my bottling elf bottled today is only the second true lager I have ever brewed. Not that I haven’t used lager yeast strains before, but I always fermented them at ale temperatures The first true lager I made was a german style Rauchbier (pronounced “row” like “cow” and “ch” like “x” in “Mexico”). I brewed it in middle of winter. It was lagered in a back room that stayed a constant 40 degrees. It was incredibly rich and delicious and something I will definitely brew again. The lager bottled today was brewed the end of April. After the 2 week primary fermentation, I racked it into another carboy, put the carboy in my chest freezer and slowly lowered the temperatures a couple of degrees each day over the course of a week until it was at 40. I lagered it for 6 weeks. My bottling elf (my 7 year old son, Orion) was happy he’d finally get to use the extra bottle capper I gave him. We added the priming sugar (4.5 ounces of dextrose) to the bottling bucket and filled 37 sanitized bottles of various sizes. At the bottom of this post, so can see a picture of him in action. Next I will let the bottles sit out in a cooler near one of my air conditioning vents for a week to allow carbonation to take place. Then it’s back in the fridge for a month of bottle conditioning. Finally, in the heat of August, I will have a nice crisp refreshing honey lager to enjoy. All that work and waiting will be well worth it.

Honey Lager recipe, based on the recipe from Charlie Papazian’s The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing.

3 1/2 lbs plain extra light DME
2 1/2 lbs light clover honey
1  1/2 ounce of Falconer’s Hops blend from Rebel Brewer 60 minutes

1/2 oz Falconer’s Hops blend  last 5 minutes of boil

I used Wyeast 2035 American Lager yeast.

I will report back in a month or so with tasting notes.

Cheers, Ratchet