This week I met one of the Top 50 Raters at CaptainCougar. It turns out he is local, so we met at a local package store to trade beers. His selection of beers was much more impressive than mine, so I had to materially supplement the brews I took with cold, hard cash…

I got some really good stuff out of the deal though. I’ll post more about them later – but particularly noteworthy are a 1993 bottle of Courage Russian Imperial Stout and a bomber of Three Floyds Behemoth.

Among the beers I took him were some home brew. I tossed in the cinnamon brew as a freebie, but I’ll ask him what he thought of the Farmhouse Ale and the Praying Monk Ale. (I don’t need to ask about the cinnamon brew – I know that it is too spicy…)

Tonight I racked the Humble Monk Ale (a Belgian Pale Ale) to the secondary fermentor. It has attenuated well , and tastes pretty good, but it is a bit light in both esters and hops departments. Only time will tell just how the final product tastes. I’m expecting to take some of it with me to Greenville next week. I’ll be sharing many of my home brews with a friend of mine, that one included. I’ll likely take some of my recent acquisitions, too (more thanks going to CaptainCougar).

I’ve been trying to read up on Mint Stout recipes but I can’t seem to find anything specific regarding how much mint to use. I’m also having trouble finding any recipes at all that use mint extract over fresh mint leaves. I have some extract that I was thinking about using (1 ounce that is 90% alcohol, 5% peppermint oil, and 5% spearmint oil).

I am thinking quite strongly about making a micro-batch of homebrew using the coffee maker method (mash small amount of grains in the coffee pot, then sparge by putting the grains in the filter basket and circulating the wort through it several times by simply turning the coffee maker on). The only trouble with this approach would be yeast, seeing as I don’t have any slurries of brewer’s yeast I can use. I may buy a few packets of dry yeast next time I’m at the store, just to have some for these sorts of experiments… With the coffee maker method, I’d probably try adding 1/2 oz. of mint extract to the finished 60 ounces of brew. If that works then it would translate to about 5 oz. of extract for a full-size batch. If it didn’t work then I’d brew another micro-batch and try a different amount of mint extract. In addition to yeast, I’ll probably need to pick up an extra pound or two of base malt (most likely Maris Otter) if I’m really going to pursue the “coffee maker experiments”.