British IPA Bottling Day

Today I was finally able to bottle my British IPA. I’ve been dry hopping this brew with East Kent Goldings for about 3 weeks. Unfortunately I don’t have a free keg or I would have kegged most of it. I’ll be honest, it’s been awhile since I’ve bottled! Kegging my homebrew has saved me lots of time and frustration.  This beer though is going to be entered into the National Homebrew Competition in a few weeks so I had to bottle this batch anyway. Bottles are such a pain. 🙁

Clean up time after dry hopping!
Clean up time after dry hopping!

I was fortunate enough to get this beer in as one of two entries. The second entry is going to be a Blackberry Wheat which will be going into secondary on Tuesday with some Blackberries. The Blackberry Wheat was a small batch (1 gallon) BIAB (Brew In A Bag). I’ve got another blog I’ll be posting soon about small batch brewing and some of the challenges I had with making a one gallon batch using the BIAB method. It went OK but lots of lessons learned. This IPA recipe called for Maris Otter malt and tasting this brew before bottling had a great malty flavor…very British. I’m calling this beer “Austin Powers IPA” and it’s my first all grain recipe. It’s hard to believe that I did extract for as long as I did.  All-grain brewing isn’t bad at all.


Homebrew Hack: Use a Plastic Bottle to See if Your Beer is Carbonated
One handy tip that I read on Homebrew Forums when I first started homebrewing was to use a plastic bottle for one of your beers when you’re bottling. You can reuse a plastic soda bottle or get some 16oz PET bottles with a bag of plastic caps at your LHBS or online. Fill up one of these bottles then lightly squeeze the bottle while you twist the cap on. Once your beer starts to carbonate the bottle will expand and give you a good idea when the rest of your beer is carbonated.

Plastic bottle to test carbonation level
Plastic bottle (on right) to test carbonation level
British IPA ready for carbonation
British IPA ready for carbonation


In two weeks hopefully I have a carbonated British IPA! Yeah, Baby…

The Obligatory First Post

Hello everyone!  Thanks for checking out my blog.  My hope is that this blog is a way to share my experiences with homebrewing, get others interested in this fine hobby and to learn from all of you that have been doing this far longer then I have. I also plan on using this blog to document my brew days, share recipe experiments as well as get advice on brews I’m creating. I’m sure some of these experiments will be successful and others will be full of fail…but that’s what makes homebrewing fun right?My IPA

Of course I will also be posting and sharing homebrew hacking techniques.  What do I mean by “hacking“?  In my day job I get to be a hacker (finding ways to break into computer systems and/or make a technology do something it wasn’t designed to do or alter the way something works..legally of course) so I’d like to apply that same concept to homebrewing.  That’s where I got the idea for the name “Homebrew Hacking”. I’m very interested in doing experiments with my homebrew such as adding odd ingredients, stepping up a recipe for increased ABV, making a light beer that doesn’t taste like water, hacking equipment, homebrew gardening and brewing technology (these are just a few projects I’d like to work on, there are more). Also, this blog is not limited to beer.  I like to experiment with wine, mead and cider as well.  If it will ferment, I’d like to hack it. 🙂

Lastly, I have a several people who I’d like to thank for getting me into homebrewing and many more that I have huge respect for in the homebrewing community here in Cleveland Ohio and all over the world. Hopefully I’ll get to “pay it forward” and also share some of their stories with all of you. If you’re interested in sharing your homebrew experiences or have a great hack to talk about hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, Email (tom[at] or comment on the blogs. I’d love to have all of you share your experiences and thoughts on this blog as well.

Happy Homebrewing and Cheers!