Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hard Day's Night

Tonight, Wes stopped by to help bottle 5 gallons of lager,and 5 gallons of pumpkin ale.
We ran out of our handy flip top bottles and had to rely on an odd stock of crown cap bottles that I've collected over the past few months.
It was not pretty but we got 10 gallons of beer in bottles. I still have another 5 gallons lager to get into bottles soon. I'm debating if I should put it into a cornelious keg. The only things keeping me from doing this sooner rather than later is the fact that I need to refill my CO2 bottle and I do not have a kegerator yet.

Still working on scheduling the wine bottle cleaning party. But with this being the first week back from my honeymoon, I don't think I'm doing too bad.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


September was very busy for me. I'll be posting some images of my new all grain brewing setup. I'll also have some photos from the Maryland Wine Festival that I had a chance to enjoy on September 18th.
This month has seen the creation of two lagers and a pumpkin ale in preparation for the holidays. (Photos to follow).
I'll be getting married in 10 days time and will be away for a bit but afterwards I will be hosting a wine bottle recycling and refilling party at home. I'll be gathering my friends to remove labels, clean, sanitize and refill wine bottles. Of course we supply food and drink and send the folks home with a little something for their efforts.

Updated post to come shortly.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Had to harvest my cascade hops before the hurricane hit. They are drying now. Not a great harvest but it is only year one for these plants.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I got a great deal on some strawberries today.
I sliced them up and into the dehydrator they went.
Not enough to make wine with. Going to have to bottle the wines I have bulk aging soon. That means a lot of cleaning and de-labeling of bottles. I will need those empty carboys come harvest time. Very excited for harvest this year as I have some friends that are getting into the hobby.

Friday, July 8, 2011


The hops vines that my friends Julie and Mike sent to me are growing well. 4 out of 5 made it right away. I think the 5th vine may be starting to come back after all.
 Can't wait for fresh hops this year.

 Kat bought me a grain mill for my birthday. I was very happy. Now just to order some barley and malt it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Other Preserving Methods

Fermentation is but one of many ways of preserving one's bounty and harvest. I've decided to explore some other ways. Yesterday I packed Kat, and Tristen into the car and off to Baugher's farm we went. They offer a U-Pick service where you pick your own fruits. We ended up with a peck (approximately 18 pints, I think) of fresh ripe strawberries.
Today we cut the stems off and sliced them up. I then boiled them with sugar a bit of acid blend and a dose of pectin.
Then using a canning method called the water bath method, I hot packed the jars and sealed them.
Here is the result.

I have also made some cheese. I'll post more on that at another time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brew Antics

Yesterday, Wes stopped by and off to the brew shop we went. I needed some more of those handy EZ- Cap bottles and some sanitizer.

After returning home from the LHBS we got to work. First order of the day was to sanitize the bottles for Wes' Lawnmower Saison. We scrubbed, sanitized and jet blasted the bottles.
Then we filled the bottles using the autosiphone and bottling wand method. Quick and messy and low tech.

Te ran out of the 16 oz. EZ Cap bottles for Wes' saison so I had some spare crown cap bottles to finish the job.

Next was to take care of my Honey Nut Brown Ale. It tastes almost like Newcastle's version. Yum! My beer was quick to bottle due to me using 1 liter bottles.

Now it's time to let our respective beers rest and carbonate. Then after a week or so, it's into the refrigerator.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Brewing Plans

Plans for tomorrow include a trip to the brew shop for some more 1 liter EZ Cap bottles. Wes' Lawnmower Saizon will be bottled next Saturday. My Honey Nut Brown Ale will be racked to secondary tomorrow. I'll also open a bottle of my American Amber Ale to ensure that it carbonated properly.
Nothing going into primary this weekend. Too much other stuff going on. I'll be supporting Kat (my soon to be wife) at her chemistry presentation after traveling to the brew shop for supplies. Afterwards, I'll be seeing my niece in a play "Tiny Thumblelina". Sunday is mother's day. I'll be taking my mom and Kat out to brunch. Then, grandma will be at the house for a bit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bubble Bubble Toil and no Trouble

The airlock on the Honey Nut Brown Ale is bubbling like mad.
Pretty cool to know that the British Ale yeast is doing it's solemn duty of converting sugar to alcohol.
Video below.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another Brew Day

This morning I brewed a Honey Nut Brown Ale from a recipe that I obtained from Maryland Home Brew Inc.
It contained the most grains that I have used in a brew so far. I'm moving further towards all grain brewing. I'll need to build an all grain brewing set up eventually. For now I have too small of a space.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beer Antics

Today I went to Maryland Home Brew Inc. in Columbia,MD. Wes came by this morning so we could drive down early.
Nice shop with friendly staff and full service grain crushing on site. I picked up another case of 1 liter EZ Cap beer bottles . I also picked up the ingredients for tomorrow's brewing adventure.
After getting back home, Wes helped my bottle my American Amber Ale and then we racked his Lawnmower beer to secondary fermentation.
Photos below.
This is the fine sediment after secondary fermentation of the American Amber.

I got a total of 18 liters of beer. Bottled in 1 liter EZ cap bottles after adding priming sugar. It was nice and bitter from the hops.

Here is the trub/gross lees from Wes' Lawnmower.

Here is the lawnmower after racking. It will sit in the carboy for another week before bottling.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thinking about the Wines of Years Past

I was reading over the blog of my new friend in the brewing arts, Ben (You can check out his blog on my list of followers). It got me to thinking about the wines that I have made since beginning my journey back in October of 2009. I think I will attempt to dig up some information about those wines.
For now I'm going to post some photos that I have on hand of my wines.

One of a couple of racks and storage units for the wines.

Bergamais, the first wine that I made in 2009. It's basically bejoules but not grown in France

This is a Blueberry Syrah. This wine is the second wine that I have crafted. It was also one of the most popular. Light bodied and sweet.

This is a Sauvignon Blanc fermenting. Wine number 3.

This is our wine "Treasure Chest". It holds about 100 bottles.

This is the Sauvignon Blanc pictured above a few months later.

There are more photos, but I'll have to dig around for them and that can take some time. When I do get around to it, I'll post them.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Plans for Tomorrow

My wine related plans for tomorrow include adding fining agents to a batch I have bulk aging in a 6 gallon glass carboy. Then letting it age some more. Checking all of my airlocks since we've had crazy pressure changes with all of the storms.
This weekend I'll be working on beer related tasks.
Have a safe and happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Checking the Seal

Stopped home on my lunch break and decided to re-seat the lid on the Coopers fermenter. That did the trick. After roughly 5 minutes the airlock was bubbling.
You can see the bubble if you look closely at the airlock.
Bubble forming in the air lock after re-seating the lid.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Checking on the Beer

Checked on the beers today.
My American Amber is doing just fine. Letting some more of the sediment fall out before I bottle on Saturday. Going to pick up another case of the 1 liter EZ Cap bottles. Me and Wes are going back to the Thirsty Brewer in Baldwin, MD first thing Saturday morning.
The beer that Wes brought over is fermenting and foaming in primary. The air lock isn't bubbling.. It puts the seal on the lid into question. I may research that model before I get one for myself.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Two Posts in One Day!

Today went very well. I even managed to get some photos from last week's project.
Below is a couple of pictures of  last weekend's brew day. Last weekend I started an American Amber. It's a partial grain kit from Brewer's Best. I picked it up at small brew shop in Baldwin, Maryland. It was my first time in that store. Was a little hard to find but the staff were friendly and helpful.

Boiling the wort.

Racked to secondary after a week of fermentation.

Here are a couple of images from today's brew with my friend Wes. He brought over a "Lawnmower" Partial grain kit with coriander and orange peel. It was a special from Midwest Supplies. 

Cooling the wort with the low tech method of running cold water in a tub.

 The wort brought to 5 gallons (US) OG of 1.045 at 85 degrees.

Wesley's brother built a wort chiller using copper tubing and an aquarium pump. I've commissioned him to build one for me. Hopefully, I won't be using the low tech method of cooling the wort much longer.

Brew Day

Today, I will be helping my friend Wes brew a new beer.He's bringing over a kit and didn't mention what it was yet. It will be a surprise brew. Photos to follow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Welcome to the first post of the Maryland Home Vintner.
I'm Dan from Westminster, Maryland. I've been making wine at home since 2009 and beer since 2010. This blog is to share my journey into home brewing and being more self sufficient.
Eventually, I'll post recipes, photos and information about the projects I'm working on.
Thank you for reading and joining me in my adventures.
I hope to inspire others to give making wine and beer at home a try.

Don't forget that you can comment on each entry by clicking on the blue title of the post.