Thursday, October 2, 2014

Brew in review

As a followup to our last post, I'm posting some photos of our Kind of Blue brew session. All went well, and we are looking forward to having our awesome blueberry beer ready in a few days!

Even our kegs were surprised that they are empty! Time to brew!

Nothing finer than early morning brewing.

Mashing in with our Brew In A Bag (BIAB) set up.

Once we get to the correct mash temperature, we have a highly sophisticated method of insulating the mash to keep the temperature constant for an hour: towels fresh from the dryer. 

Pre-boil sample lookin' good!

This is one of my favorite shots from brew day. The bag being suspended contains our hops additions. We have a cord that is tied to the garage door tracks that supports our BIAB bag while we rinse all the sugars out. It keeps us from having to hoist and hold 30+ pounds of soaked, hot grains.

Once everything is cooled to the right temperature, we begin transferring to our fermentation vessel. Today we got to break in our brand new Big Mouth Bubbler!


5.5 happy gallons, ready to begin fermenting.

We had a very smooth brew day, and we finished in plenty of time to watch some Aggie Football!

We have since brewed again; this time we tried a new porter recipe. We are going to experiment with adding hatch chili peppers to this one. We decided to call it Rio Bravo Hatch Chile Porter after the river that runs through Hatch, New Mexico. Yes, we Americans call it the Rio Grande, but en Espanol, it is called Rio Bravo del Norte. Feel free to make any number of connections with Breaking Bad.

Today's Main Break: The Great American Beer Festival is taking place in Colorado this week. This is widely considered the largest American beer festival, and this year about 600 different breweries are sharing their beer!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Brewing Weather!


The forecasted high for Saturday here in the Metroplex is 75F, which is perfect to get outside, run a few miles, toss a football around, or brew some fine beer! We will be firing up the kettle bright and early Saturday morning for an Amber Ale with a twist...

Blueberries. You read that right, blueberries. Some of you may be thinking, well it's finally happened. They've been messing with making their own alcohol so long that it's starting to affect them. Well, yes, but not like that. Berry and fruit beers are well respected, if not that well known in the US. In fact, this idea came from an awesome blueberry beer that Amanda had the chance to sample in Bar Harbor, Maine a few years ago.The French and Belgians use all sorts of fruits in their beers, and sometimes they even allow them to ferment in large open containers, exposing the fermenting beer to the air. We're not that crazy. Yet. 

Our fermentation is going to be in two steps: primary and secondary. Primary will be where we get most of our alcohol production, and the only thing the yeast will be eating is our grain sugars that come from our standard brewing process. Once the yeast have consumed all the sugar available to them (after about 7-10 days), we will move the beer to a brand new vessel and add some blueberries. There, the beer will be infused with the blueberry flavor, and for good measure we'll have Miles Davis' Kind of Blue playing on loop nearby.

When all of the magic is finished, we will keg it and let it carbonate up to the right level for a few days. All said and done, from grain to glass this beer will take about 3-4 weeks. Hopefully it's a winner, but if not, hey it's still beer. For those of you interested in the recipe, here it is:

Grain Bill
60% Pale 2-Row Malt
15% Munich Malt
8% Crystal 60L 
8% Dextrine Malt
8% Honey Malt
(1% Molasses, will be added to the boil later - do not mash!)

Mash @ 152 for 60 minutes

Hops (5gal batch)
.5oz Centennial @ 60 min
.25oz Centennial @ 20 min
.25oz Centennial @ 10 min

Other Items
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 min (fining agent - makes the beer less cloudy)
1% First Molasses @ 10 min (approx. 1 cup for a 5gal batch)

US-05 Ale yeast

Primary Fermentation @65F for 7-10 days, or until complete
Secondary Fermentation @ 65F for 5 days - add fresh or frozen blueberries (5lb for 5gal batch)

The wonderful thing about beer recipes is that they are scalable. That is, any size batch can use the same percentage of each ingredient and create a very similar or nearly identical brew. For this batch, we will be brewing 5 gallons, but if you wanted to go bigger or smaller, just keep your percentages consistent.

We will hopefully be posting again either during or after this brew session with some photos. Thanks again for reading!

Today's Main Break: Blueberries may help you see in the dark! It was rumored that British pilots in World War II were given a daily ration of bilberries (a close relative to the blueberry) to keep their sight sharp for night time missions. Hopefully the beer we make this weekend will keep us from stubbing our toe in the middle of the night going to the bathroom.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Deep Ellum Labor of Lov3 Recap

Beautiful, beautiful trophies. We'll get you next time my pretties!

Well, we survived! Deep Ellum's Labor of Lov3 Homebrew Competition was a blast. We were in fine company Sunday night with all of DFW's most skilled and flat-out craziest home brewers. We arrived at about 3:45pm, well ahead of the 6pm start time, and set up our meager display. Once we were established, we cruised around the brewery to chat with and sample some of the other brewer's ales. We quickly learned that we're going to have to step it up next year!

Snazzy banner!

Deep Ellum should have the winners of each category announced this week, so check back if you're interested. While we walked away empty handed, we did get to try most of the category winners' beer. The overall best in show and the beer that will be brewed on Deep Ellum's 30 barrel system next summer comes from Intrinsic Brewing (check them out on Facebook). They made a honey basil hefeweizen that was just phenomenal. Congratulations guys, and we look forward to drinking it again next year!

Announcing the winners in each category

Aside from the camaraderie among the fine brewers of North Texas, the best thing about the festival was having complete strangers try my beer and tell me they liked it. As a homebrewer, most of the time I brew for myself and my wife. We brew what we like to drink, and every now and then we try something new just to see how it turns out.

Getting ready to pour some beer!
However, I felt a new pride on Sunday when I got to pour my beer into a person's glass, tell them all about it, and have them honestly say they loved it. Each guest Sunday evening was given a wooden coin to give to the brewer that made their favorite beer. While we were definitely one of the smaller entrants and only received 8 coins, I can tell you that those 8 people's opinion means worlds to us. That's 8 people who tried our beer and decided they liked it better than all the contest winners and all the folks who have been at this far longer. To you folks who gave us your vote of confidence, we sincerely thank you. You made our night unforgettable.

Well, now that our homebrew is all gone, it's time to start a new batch or three. This fall will be a busy brewing season, and we have a lot of ideas coming down the pipeline. We will be establishing our house pale ale recipe, a blueberry variant of that recipe, pumpkin ale, porters, stouts, and all the fall & winter favorites. I will post one of our brew sessions soon for those of you interested in the process.

Til next time,
David & Amanda

Today's Main Break: Over 1.2 Million Americans call themselves homebrewers according to the American Homebrewers Association! That's a lotta beer!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The time is near at hand! The Deep Ellum Labor of Love Homebrew Competition is this Sunday, and we at New Main couldn't be more excited. We are working diligently to prepare our beer dispensing equipment, and we just received our banner and stickers that will be for sale at the event. Again, if you want information about the event, just go check out Deep Ellum's website.

Now, most fancy homebrewing folk will be offering their brews by means of a Jockey Box. This is a contraption that allows a keg of beautiful homebrew to sit al fresco while the beer passes through a heat exchange coil inside an ice chest to bring it to quaffing temperature. An elegant, albeit pricey venture since the heat exchange coil is either copper or stainless steel tubing. I don't know about you, but I hear the stereotypical cash register noise when I say copper or stainless steel tubing. See, there it is again!

So, instead of spending real live money on something, I naturally chose to mangle something I already have! There's a thin line between frugal and cheap, and I'm waaaay on the cheap side of said line. The way this system works is you plunk a keg of homebrew inside the cooler with plenty of ice, and dispense just like you would out of a standard kegerator. Here's a preliminary look at what we will be serving out of at LOL3:

Fancy, huh? (P.S. Mom, sorry I ruined the top of the cooler you gave me. When I win the lottery, I'll buy you another one!)

Final construction will take place tomorrow to add a few ports for the faucet to attach to the cooler and for the beer line to stay in the ice cold cooler. I'll make sure to post some photos of the finished product for those of you who can't make it to the event Sunday. You can bet your bottom dollar I'll be bringing this bad boy to any hangout or reunion down the road, though!

We also have all our "promotional" items ready to go for Sunday as well. We tried to get koozies together for sale at the event, but after several wasted days of frustration, it all kinda fell through. Oh well, stickers are neat too.

We also have a neat outdoor banner that we'll be hanging up at LOL3. We aren't sure if we'll be inside or outside, but since the event is from 6pm to 10pm on Sunday, I think outside with the breeze would be best. We'll just have to see where it all lands. Amanda and I will be onsite a few hours early to set up and bump elbows with some other local homebrewers.

We'll be bringing all three of our entries, but there are varying amounts of each. We have nearly a full 5 gallons of our rosemary & sage Belgian wheat beer, Palo Alto Wit. We have a couple gallons left of the orange infused American wheat, & HOWE (Honey Orange Wheat Elixir). We also have a few bottles of spICEMAGEDDON to bring, which is our spiced winter warmer, but this batch didn't turn out that great. We'll pour it if people want it, but it's not the best we've made recently.

We hope you can make it out to see us. Stay tuned for a follow-up post on Monday(ish) for our report on the event. As always, thanks for reading and we'll see y'all next time!

Today's Main Break: Beer is officially America's Favorite Adult Beverage. I certainly know it's mine!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Inspiration is a strange thing. We commonly find ourselves settling into habits and rituals that make the more difficult things in life like time management, expenses, and responsibilities just a little easier. That’s just good planning. However, once in a while something strikes us in such a way that we question everything we do, think, and say. Something that reaches us on a deep level and forces us to examine exactly why it is we act the way we do. 

So how was I inspired by a creature straight out of ancient history? Commonly referred to as a “living fossil,” the Nautilus has changed very little over the last several million years. Its simple life under the ocean is nothing particularly amazing; it’s not the most deadly predator under the sea, it’s not the most pleasing creature to the human eye, it’s not even at the top of the food chain in its ecosystem. However, its shell is a work of art that nature crafted hundreds of millions of years ago that has persevered and allowed this interesting organism to thrive through countless generations.

The shell of the nautilus is arranged in a type of mathematical spiral. Without getting too nerdy, I’ll explain what this means to the organism that lives within this geometric enclosure. As a hatchling, a nautilus occupies three to four small chambers arranged in a tightly wound spiral of a sort of mother-of-pearl material. As the nautilus grows, it creates new, larger chambers in a prescribed pattern around its older chambers, sealing off the previous one except for a small duct. In this fashion, the nautilus continues its growth around its center creating proportionally similar but larger enclosures until the end of its life.

It is this constant prescribed growth in a clear and direct pattern that caught my eye and that continues to inspire my own personal growth. Even as a young creature, it knows that it must create a new space that it will grow into and subsequently, eventually outgrow. The constant drive of time is ever present in the mind of the nautilus, and it embraces this drive as it embraces its own former chambers. Constantly improving by creating new pieces of itself, yet tied to its origin by building upon itself, it never loses its tie to the beginning of its life. It even uses the small duct left connecting each previous chamber to control its buoyancy, allowing it to navigate its environment by using its abandoned past as a tool.

In many ways, the nature of this ancient creature defines the way we brew beer. Though we are constantly moving into newer and bigger environments, we realize the need to end the previous chapters while never forgetting the structure and utility of these past experiences. We as brewers constantly use what we learn and where we came from to guide us on a known path outward from our origin to the end of our journeys. Though we hopefully have many years and many new experiences ahead of us, the nature of our progress should always be defined by what we have learned and assimilated throughout our experiences.

It’s no coincidence that this shape has inspired us. After all, spirals are all around us (no pun intended). Though circles and spheres may be the most perfect omni-directional object, spirals are nature’s reaction to this omnipresence, in response to gradients of influence. Just look at the shape of galaxies, whirlpools and maelstroms, even weather phenomena like tornadoes and hurricanes.

So when people ask me why I chose the nautilus shell to be the symbol of New Main Brewing, that is the long answer. The short answer is I’m a huge nerd, and geometry is kind of my thing. However, nothing in life is worth doing unless you are passionate about it, and I believe that this symbol perfectly describes the nature of this brewing endeavor. Though we must constantly grow into the new, we must also build upon our main core of traditions. Let’s ride the spiral together, and we may just go where no one’s been.

Special thanks to Melissa Brimer for helping out with the logo design!

Today's Main Break: The individuals who built the pyramids were paid in beer and bread. But they were also basically slaves, so... yeah. Not sure about that exchange rate there.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Welcome to New Main Brewing


 If you're reading this post, then I've invited you to follow New Main Brewing's journey pretty much from the beginning. We are a husband and wife homebrewing team in Arlington, Texas cranking out some fine homebrewed ales. We have been brewing for 2 years now, and our method is now Brew In A Bag (BIAB) all-grain. We mostly brew ales, but we have the capability to brew small batch lagers and pilsners (we just don't like them as much). 

 We started as many homebrewers do: my wife bought me a starter kit from Midwest for my birthday two years ago. That first brew will always be special to us, but I'll be the first to admit, it was not great. Since that first amber, we've brewed porters, hefeweizen, IPA, double IPA, wit, a nice winter warmer, and a few stouts. It has been a learning process, but we feel like we have the recipes and process down now. Our favorite styles tend to be the big, malty, dark beers. I think our favorite so far was a clone of Left Hand Milk Stout that we aptly named "Back-Hand CompliMilk Stout." 

 We decided to start up this blog to help us keep our results straight after each batch and to share our story with anyone who wants to know a little more about what we do. We've enjoyed sharing our homebrew with our friends and family over the past few years, but we think the time has come to test our mettle against some of the other local homebrewers. The great thing about the homebrewing community is that even though we may be competing against one another, we're always eager to share what we've made with other brewers. 

Our first competition is a bragging-rights-only festival that Deep Ellum Brewing Company throws every year called Labor of Love. We will be entering 3 beers, and we will be serving one or two of them at the festival on August 31. If y'all can make it out, we'd love for you to try our beer! Here's Deep Ellum's website if you'd like to find out more about it. 

  We are currently working on a logo design to put on some coasters or stickers to hand out at the festival for y'all to remember us by, so stay tuned for the big unveiling. Until then, we'll post a few times to let everyone know what we're doing and brewing. Thank you for reading! 

David & Amanda 
New Main Brewing

Today's Main Break: Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass. May yours ever be full of New Main!