Bennie’s is bottled.

Bottled! I went with the corn sugar. Why skimp on the very first batch? I need a win here folks.

Highlights were filling the bottles and capping them. It is a little factory in my kitchen. I did taste the flat brew once more and it was pretty much the same. Just really needs carbonation. It’s going to be hard to wait for those bubbles. It’s been pretty chilly in the house, but not many hours below 60°, so the fermentation should be ok, if slow.

And the labels! Yes! We even gave one label to Bennie’s family, ha. Next up is a porter. Maybe maple porter. Or pecan. Or both. Hmm.

*Now the question, how to adhere the labels to those pretty brown bottles? I’ve been searching around and found some ingenious solutions. My favorite candidate being Milk, of all things! There are tons of fancy fancy products out there but I am going to do some laser prints of old Bennie and try milk. Thanks MN Bugeater! I might have to sign up on this forum, homebrew talk as well. Seems like a nice group of folks.

If milk fails me, I’ll try rubber cement or Elmers.


Rack it up.

I racked my batch of Bennie’s Midnight Lark today. The siphon worked perfectly and gave me a little flashback to high school chemistry class. I liked it.

The beer is a really nice rich color. Pretty clear too, but a few floaties are sitting right on the top. They look small and piecey like fragments of grain husks or something. The sludge at the bottom of bucket #1 went right into the compost. Smelled hoppy, and not nearly as offensive as it looked.

I’m glad it’s in a glass carboy now so I can obsessively look at it. Although it’s pretty much still now, no bubbles.

Next step is priming/bottling, woohoo! From what I’ve read, regular granulated sugar is fine to use. But I may call the folks at the homebrew store just to be sure.

Bennie’s Midnight Lark

I am changing the name of my first brew, because something magical happened. The magic has nothing to do with the beer, I’m not that good (yet).

So relax, don’t worry, and have a homebrew while I tell this little tale. It’s kinda long. I’m indulging here. Sorry. My blog. Ha!

On our twice-daily foot-powered commute, my spouse Mudcat and I pass through a neighborhood with huge houses, expansive yards, and all kinds of dogs. One particularly special dog, a goofy sweet yellow lab, used to greet us with tons of tail wagging and happy dog dancing every morning and evening. We don’t have a dog (yet), so we pretty much fell in love with this guy. Mudcat bonded hard with this fella through the front gate. They had a special understanding.

Well on Thanksgiving weekend, we came hiking up the hill and the dog wasn’t there. On the post nearby was a flyer with his photo. “Missing: Yellow lab named Bennie. We all love Bennie! Please help us find him.” Ugh, the heartbreak! I admit, I cried silent bitter tears the whole way home. We speculated that someone had taken “our” dog, and worked up a considerable froth of anger to fill the void. He was irresistible, and always out in the yard where anyone could open the gate and coax him out. What is WRONG with people!

The next day, we saw the homeowner for the first time. Mudcat said “Hey man, sorry to hear about your dog. Any word?” The man’s thin face fell, “No we just don’t know what happened. The gate was closed but he was gone. Thanks for saying something though, it really means a lot.” We introduced ourselves and learned his name was “Ames.” (Awesome name, sweet guy). Then the next evening, hiking up that same hill (with sad eyes and a little less pep) we heard a smash followed by a child screaming. Our feet followed our ears to the alley. It was dark, but we could make out a man with his daughter, maybe 8-9 years old. Looked like she’d been learning to ride her bike and got a little road rash. “That you, Ames?” Mudcat called into the alley. Ames again. And that little girl, she must be missing Bennie! He thanked us for our concern. We were getting more involved with Bennie’s family each day. Somehow it eased the heartache. But I was still considering an alternate route for our daily walk, so we wouldn’t have to pass that big empty yard.

Meanwhile, I started brewing my first batch of beer. (That is how little beer has to do with this story. Are you still reading? Wow.)

Yesterday evening, we came trekking up that hill, and I felt a familiar rising hope, (usually followed by a crushing wave of disappointment) as we neared Ames’ house. I heard a bark, probably the neighbor’s dog. It was cold, and I put my head down and settled in for the worst part of the hill. But then, a shocking yellow blur came bounding over the top of the yard, down to the fenceline. I believe we uttered “No…..WAY” in unison. Bennie was there, and as ecstatic as we were. If he’d had lips, he’d have been smiling… if we’d had tails, they’d have been wagging. Doggie dances all around. We ran up the hill to a very sweet reunion. I was speechless (for once). We’re going to write a congratulatory card for Ames and family.

The good stuff doesn’t happen that way very often. So in acknowledgement of a true miracle, I’m renaming my very first Texas Golden Kolsh homebrew “Bennie’s Midnight Lark” (formerly Midnight Sun).

We have bubbles! And notes.

Well we’ve got bubbles now. Plenty of nice big bubbles. I am satisfied. I hope I’ll be able to rack the batch on Sunday. If not I might have to wait until the following Friday (busy week). I’ll have to read up on what that will do to my lovely golden kolsch.

It is SO hard not to peek!

I spent a little time tarting up this homebrew note sheet. Have a gander, and feel free to use it. You can make suggestions too, (although I may not have time to edit it for a while). I’ll post a black and white version later as well.

Home Brew Notesheet (Color)

First batch pitched and going: Midnight Sun

Last night I stayed up ridiculously late brewing my first ever batch of homebrew.  I couldn’t wait for a more convenient time, I was that excited. I’m calling it Midnight Sun because it was pitched at midnight, but the recipe is actually called AHS Texas Kolsch, and the credit (for the recipe at least) belongs to the brewcrew at Austin Homebrew Supply.   They are a great bunch of folks… very welcoming and knowledgeable.

Since it’s my first batch ever, I’m not expecting they’d have the faintest interest in taking credit for anything that happened to those ingredients once they were loaded in my trusty Subaru.

Dear Golden Ale, will you be delicious? (Will you even be beer?)

I hope on my second batch, I won’t feel compelled to check for signs of life (bubbles in the airlock) every hour. It’s been cold the last few days, so I thought the beer might feel a little chilly in the house. I lovingly wrapped a towel around its girthy 5 gallon container this morning, hoping to cozy it up to the perfect happy fermentation temperature.  Come on bubbles…