This article was originally posted on Nov. 19, 2011 on my homebrew website, Fat Grey Tom’s Cider. It has been re-posted here with the same time stamp.

AW #3C was a first for us. We’d read that brown sugar gives a “cidery” taste to alcohol, so, we figured that we’d increase the sugar content of a cider, a 1 gallon batch, exclusively with brown sugar.

AC #3C and AW #3 were taken out and taste tested at the exact same time and 3C, aka the Brown Sugar Bomber, tasted completely different from its fraternal big brother. It tasted incredible sweet, which leads us to believe (in lieu of a hydrometer, which was broken when we were first trying to use it) that the yeast hasn’t finished going to town on the sugars. So, it may just need longer in the bottle, since we bottled it.

We’ll see.

We primed it, and that’s all. No priming sugar.

If you look down in tags and look for AW Batch #3c you’ll see the old posts for it.


We bottled AW #3C in Becks bottles.












AW #3C had a dark hue, which doesn’t come through here.

This article was originally posted on Oct. 4, 2011 on my homebrew website, Fat Grey Tom’s Cider. It has been re-posted here with the same time stamp.

Our very first cider, according to Ed Wort’s Apfelwein recipe, took awhile.

This carboy of Cider #1 got bumped up two days because of a missing airlock.

And when we (Bryce, Leo and myself) found ourselves lacking an airlock (the bobber on the one we were supposed to use was missing) it was decided to steal one from one of the four Carlo Rossi carboys downstairs. Besides, we figured, the Apfelwein was supposed to come out on Wednesday — taking it out on Monday wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

So, we stole the airlock and resealed it with a normal cap.

And today, Bryce and I primed and bottled the first 1/5 of Cider #1.

That is to say, prime and bottle the first 1/5 of Fat Grey Tom’s Blitzkrieg Apfelwein.

So, transferred it from the carboy to the bottling bucket, scooped up two glasses, primed it and tasted.

The raspberry liqueur changed the color from a weird golden to reddish-gold.

And man, did it kick. Going down, it gave us the same warm feeling one gets from a shot of schnapps.

With a bit of sugar, it tasted OK, with a very light cider taste. However, the brew is still young and unconditioned.

Have a homebrew . . . Except that we have no home brew left. Damn and blast!


We will have homebrew, soon enough. I hope.

I sincerely hope.





This Cider Batch:

Cider: Batch 1
Cider Batch 1: Update

This article was originally posted on Sept. 30, 2011 on my homebrew website, Fat Grey Tom’s Cider. It has been re-posted here with the same time stamp.

After having successfully brewed our first beer, a “basic dark” and both wanting to move on to a greater challenge and something with a more complex flavor, we decided to brew a stout.

And brew a stout we did!

“If we’re bottling when the sun’s setting, meaning its beaming directly at the beer, isn’t that bad?” Bryce asked.

“Yes it is,” I replied.

And so, we used what we had to protect our bottling from harmful sunlight.

From the front:

The stout protected by pizza boxes

From the front







From behind:

The stout, protected by pizza boxes.

Yes, we did protect the beer with pizza boxes.








We weren’t, apparently, all there:

After I had filled the first bottle, I realized that we hadn’t yet put the priming sugar in the beer. So, we put the sugar in, stirred it up and filled the rest of the bottles and drank the first, flat bottle of stout.

And, it was good! And tasty! And so now, we wait. We wait to crack open the first brew.

Crossing our fingers.


Here’s the recipe, from our local home brew store:


6 lbs.      Amber Malt Extract
1 lb.        Roasted Barley
1 lb.        Amber Dry Malt Extract (DME)
1 lb.        Flaked Barley
2 oz.       Goldings, Willamette or Fuggles Hops (We used Fuggles.)


Bring water to a boil, add malt extract, roasted barley, DME, flaked barley and hops. Stir until extract is completely dissolved. Boil for 1 hour.

Strain wort into fermenter. Bring water up to 5 gallons.

Aerate and pitch yeast.

Let beer ferment, between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit,  for two weeks/when fermentation is complete.

Bottle, cap, let sit for two weeks. Enjoy.

As soon as we open, I’ll write about it. Until then, we’re still trying to figure out a name and a bottle design.

This stout:


This article was originally posted on Sept. 30, 2011, on my homebrew website, Fat Grey Tom’s Cider. It has been re-posted here with the same time stamp.

As I continue to seek work and search for things to do, I come to realize that a well-organized bottling system would be a nice addition to our brewing set-up.

A table full of beer bottles organized and lined up based on bottle type.With that end in mind, I organized all of the bottles based on type.

But, allow me to back up a few steps. The first thing I did was to put all of the bottles in an Oxyclean and water solution and wipe their residual label glue off.



To my surprise, the lion’s share of the bottles are exactly the same. These bottles, I call normal:

A normal beer bottle

These normal bottles have been, so far, from domestic beers.


We do have a few exceptions to the domestic-bottle rule, the most prominent for this house being Kona Longboard.



Side-by-Side of a Kona bottle and a normal bottle.

Kona, left. Normal, right.

The Konas are still nice for a couple of reasons. Although the bottle is different than the majority, the bottles themselves have no brewery-specific markings.

This is a marked difference from Widmer (W design stamped at the top,) Fat Tire (New Belgium stamped on the top,) Sam Adams (stamped at the top) and Deschutes (hops stamped at the top.)

But we don’t just brew beer here. We brew cider too and cider and beer need different bottles, easily distinguished at first glance. We want to not have to rely on labeling to tell what’s in the refrigerator. So, we decided, cider would be bottled in stumpy and odd-colored bottles.

Sierra Nevada and New Castle Werewolf bottles, side-by-side.

Newcastle, left. Sierra Nevada, right.


The major stumpy bottle in this area is the Sierra Nevada. The other major is New Castle, both its brown “Werewolf” bottles and its normal, clear bottles.







After we brewed and bottled our first batches, we realized how important it is, or can be, to have clean, standardized bottles. Bottles that are same for the same brew.

Next step: Labels!

We’re looking for a label designer.

“Fat Grey Tom’s Blitzkrieg Cider”