Backwoods to Beaches Homebrew

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Brew day complete! Pretty solid overall, mash efficiency was on point so pretty much hit my target numbers across the bo...
01/06/2023

Brew day complete! Pretty solid overall, mash efficiency was on point so pretty much hit my target numbers across the board. I lost a little liquid unfortunately due to a hose failure... but still managed 4.5 gallons to the fermenter. Starting gravity 1.082 so this beer should finish around 7%. Being a Milkshake IPA I'll do a heavy dry hop, went light on the boil. As an experiment on flavor enhancement I added 1lb pecans and .25oz dried rosemary to the mash. Depending on the results I'll dry hop some more of the two as I want the pecans and rosemary to be fairly present. Used wyeast 1318 London Ale yeast to make sure this baby is hazyyyy and that starter is kickin! Updates as this beer progresses and I plan the next one.

Next beer ingredients - done! Going to attempt a previous beer, Toasted Rosemary & Pecan Milkshake IPA. Problem is I los...
12/20/2022

Next beer ingredients - done! Going to attempt a previous beer, Toasted Rosemary & Pecan Milkshake IPA. Problem is I lost the original recipe so I'll adjust the adjuncts as needed once the base beer is done. A Milkshake IPA is similar in structure to a NEIPA, grain bills are close as the idea is the same - hazy, soft mouthfeel, very low bitterness, heavy dry hop and features fruity hops. The difference is the addition of lactose in the boil and vanilla in secondary. I decided to use Simcoe hops as a compliment to the Rosemary and will use Citra and Cascade to round it out. The Black IPA is bubbling away and tasting nice, so ill get this going nextvweek. Definitely looking forward to this one!

Finally back at it! Life and work hasn't really allowed much time to brew. I've done a few batches here and there but ju...
12/16/2022

Finally back at it! Life and work hasn't really allowed much time to brew. I've done a few batches here and there but just not able to dedicate the time like I used to. However, now that covid has subsided has FINALLY brought back the Almost There beer festival designed for local homebrewers! So now the inspiration has kicked in and it's time to make some beer!

First beer is my absolute favorite thing I brew - Black IPA. Featuring a small amount of Carafa III for color and flavor, I build this IPA around Galaxy and Comet hops and use White Labs San Diego yeast to ferment.

My brewing setup has changed quite a bit! I now have the Digiboil kettle as a HLT, Grainfather mash/boil kettle, and Spike 7+ conical unitank. I have the parts to carb the beer in this unit but have continued to carb in the keg for now. I also built my own glycol chiller from an old window AC unit and it works like a charm! I'll do a write up on this later, but it easily keeps my beer at temp and cold crashes even in the hot Florida summers.

Being the first time I've brewed in a while, I definitely have some bugs to work out in my setup. The hardest thing for me on the Grainfather is figuring out the boil. Being the 110v unit it doesn't exactly crank out heat. After a 90 minute boil, my gravity wasn't anywhere close to where I wanted it to be. This unit just doesn't boil hard enough to condense wort in a timely manner. Next batch I'll try a shorter sparge and a lower boil volume than calculated. Either way, the beer should still be good just not as high ABV as desired. If anyone knows any tricks on managing the boil, I'm all ears! Next brew will be the Rosemary and Pecan Milkshake IPA so stay tuned!

06/02/2020

BREW DAY!! The heat is here in Florida and we need our summer crushers. So we're cooking up our Raspberry Wheat to get us through. It's our favorite and most consistent beer made up of 2-Row, White Wheat, and Crystal 10L. We use Chinook and Hallertau Blanc hops in the boil, no dry hops in this one. We've found 2lbs whole Raspberries per 5 gallons is a great balance of the fruit and the wheat backbone. Usually ends up in the 5.4-5.8% ABV range making it super easy to drink a few. Can't wait to empty this keg out! Cheers 🍻

ATTENTION HOMEBREWERS - if you're wanting to keg carb but don't necessarily have the space for a kegerator, invest in th...
05/13/2020

ATTENTION HOMEBREWERS - if you're wanting to keg carb but don't necessarily have the space for a kegerator, invest in the Beer Gun! This piece of equipment is a game changer. Let me explain.

Bottle conditioning using priming sugar has been our method of choice since the beginning. We like to share with our friends, family, and co-workers. Also neither of us necessarily have the space for a kegerator. So we've bottled and waited the normal 2 weeks before sampling. However we were recently faced with a scenario where we had to go grain to bottle in 14 days for a local beer competition. The solution - brew it, treat it at day 7, force carb in the keg at day 12, bottle and serve day 14. This is where the Blichmann Beer Gun came in to play. All you need in addition to the normal carb setup is a V-fitting or distribution block to allow TWO co2 lines - one for the keg to keep pressurized, one to the gun for purging. We kept the keg in the fridge, poured ourselves maybe 10-12 beers, hooked up the beer gun and bottled the rest. Possibly the best investment into our setup at only $100. Cheers 🍻

Timeline is getting close for our   for  and it's shaping up nice! Started at 1.042, finished 1.007 so about 4.5% ABV. B...
04/28/2020

Timeline is getting close for our for and it's shaping up nice! Started at 1.042, finished 1.007 so about 4.5% ABV. Beer is clean and smooth, nice malty flavor. We decided to try something new and throw some tea in the mix. Opted to use a Chai-Vanilla tea, and toss in 1 whole vanilla bean along some raspberries. Should be an interesting combo, we'll see! On top of that we were so pleased with the results on our Strawberry Shortcake + Coffee Berliner that we decided to go ahead and keg it. Looks like we'll be putting our new Blichmann Beer Gun this weekend! Cheers 🍻

So we've been absent for a few weeks... being part of the hospitality industry the effects of this quarantine hit us har...
04/28/2020

So we've been absent for a few weeks... being part of the hospitality industry the effects of this quarantine hit us hard. So we've adhered to the new standards set forth and made the best of the situation for the past few weeks. We haven't brewed since February and the urge finally kicked in when decided to do a quarantine beer comp. The basic recipe is a blonde ale in which we have the freedom to flavor however we want. Though our final profile is TBD we had a ton of fun just brewing a beer again. We'll update as we add the final touches to this one and add our signature flare. Just feels good to be brewing again! Future updates to come on the beers we've been hiding in the closet 😉 cheers!

Finally able to crack open one of these bad boys! Our Black IPA once again came out great, and we're excited to see how ...
02/26/2020

Finally able to crack open one of these bad boys! Our Black IPA once again came out great, and we're excited to see how it does in competition. I've never tasted one quite like ours so I have decently high hopes for it, especially since it's fresh. The hops definitely hit you up front and it finishes with a nice dark malt sweetness. We'll update once we have results! Cheers 🍻

Bottling day! Here is our Darkness of Space Black IPA. Look at all that trub. Combination of a healthy 1600ml yeast star...
02/26/2020

Bottling day! Here is our Darkness of Space Black IPA. Look at all that trub. Combination of a healthy 1600ml yeast starter and lots of dry-hopping with Galaxy and Comet, a beer like this can easily create a bunch of sediment. We have found COLD CRASHING is key to clear, clean beer when it comes to packaging. Cold crashing is bringing your fermented beer down to temps near freezing. It wont freeze (alcohol lowers the freezing point) but the cold temps will cause the yeast and suspended solids to fall and compact at the bottom of the vessel. As budget homebrewers we don't have a filtration system, so we've found that stashing our fermenter in the fridge for 2-3 days and siphoning through a 5 micron mesh bag generally does really well. This one finished around 7.8% and should be pretty stellar - see what I did there?? Can't wait to try this one! Cheers 🍻

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01/30/2020

Mashing in our Black DDH DIPA! Last year this beer won gold in one local competition, and scored well in another larger competition. We plan on submitting this to the AHA National Competition coming up in the next few weeks. The target OG is 1.080 and hoping to finish around 1.018, aiming to hit 8-8.3% on this one. Took a different approach using Wyeast 1332 Nothwest Ale. Galaxy and Comet hops will be the only ones used, with additions at 60m and 5m as well as a double dry-hop similar to our NEIPA. De-husked Carafa III will be the dark malt used at 6% of the grain bill. Everything so far looks and smells good, well post progress as we go! Cheers 🍻

Til next year Almost There! We brought what we feel was the best of our best. Honestly, we were both thrilled with the f...
01/30/2020

Til next year Almost There! We brought what we feel was the best of our best. Honestly, we were both thrilled with the feedback and overall reception of our beers. We like to experiment and blend things together, and it's nice to see and hear people appreciate the thought the design we put into our beers. The coffee sour was for sure a hit! Being new to the sour game it was great to see people enjoy it so much. The Rosemary & Pecan is definitely unique and many were intrigued yet pleasantly surprised with the end result. We'll see what we can come up with for you next year! Cheers 🍻

Bottling day! After cold crashing for 48 hours our NEIPA is clean and ready to package. Kyle of course in the background...
01/25/2020

Bottling day! After cold crashing for 48 hours our NEIPA is clean and ready to package. Kyle of course in the background, drinking (what we really do best). We netted about 4.5 gallons of finished product, which isn't bad considering the absorption loss from all the secondary hop additions. We also tend to leave a little extra on the bottom when siphoning so we don't start picking up trub and leaving heavy sediment in our bottles. This is a style meant to be hazy but clean and more about quality over quantity. All in all, we are pretty psyched with the end result and just gotta wait patiently for the bottles to carb up. Cheers 🍻

#2020

We're a week out from TBBW Almost There Festival! Time to post our final draft list. Can't wait to see everyone at  on S...
01/19/2020

We're a week out from TBBW Almost There Festival! Time to post our final draft list. Can't wait to see everyone at on Sunday Cheers 🍻

First taste test of our NEIPA... solid! Super, super happy with how this beer has progressed so quickly. The flavor prof...
01/17/2020

First taste test of our NEIPA... solid! Super, super happy with how this beer has progressed so quickly. The flavor profile is spot on, and finished at 6.4% @1.012 FG. We are going to add a second dryhop of Amarillo to improve the aroma a bit. Needs just a touch more. Cheers 🍻


#2020

Sweeeet! Our new swag for the  Almost There festival  has arrived! Man it looks so badass. Big shout out to  at Countrys...
01/14/2020

Sweeeet! Our new swag for the Almost There festival has arrived! Man it looks so badass. Big shout out to at Countryside Mall for the hookup. Dudes were super cool, got us a the best deal possible, and turned it around in 2 days. The polos fit and feel great. Perfect for what we wanted. Just waiting on a few more items to have the setup comeplete. We're ready to rock this! Cheers 🍻

Finished brewing our revised second version NEIPA. Pretty smooth brewday overall. Got a nice starter of the 1318 London ...
01/10/2020

Finished brewing our revised second version NEIPA. Pretty smooth brewday overall. Got a nice starter of the 1318 London Ale III fired up. Need to work on our false bottom a bit. Thought it was pretty well sealed but today was a test having nearly 40% of our grain bill being oats and wheat. Even with rice hulls we suffered a stuck sparge, finding lots of grains made it to the screen. So next we'll revisit and retest and share with you what we build. OG was a bit lower than expected but should still turn out to be a nice 6-6.2% ABV. Time to relax now, enjoy a homebrew, and watch our kick some Coyote tail! Cheers 🍻

01/09/2020

Alllll the hops! El Dorado was the first to go as a late hop at 15 minutes. Throwing in our flameout additions of Azacca and Galaxy. Two more dryhop additions of Galaxy and Amarillo to come. Stay tuned!

#2020

Any guesses on what we're cooking up today?? Had to line up the hops on this one! Been dying to use the Wyeast 1318 yeas...
01/09/2020

Any guesses on what we're cooking up today?? Had to line up the hops on this one! Been dying to use the Wyeast 1318 yeast again, let's get this first brewday of 2020 started! Updates to come because we're really excited about this recipe. What are you brewing today? Post 'em up!


#2020

Merry Beermas 🍻🎄 Cheers to good family, good friends, good times, and good beers! Here's to good things coming in 2020! ...
12/25/2019

Merry Beermas 🍻🎄 Cheers to good family, good friends, good times, and good beers! Here's to good things coming in 2020!

#2020

Time to check in our other two beers for    festival! The sour is progressing well, has a nice aroma from the coffee but...
12/21/2019

Time to check in our other two beers for festival! The sour is progressing well, has a nice aroma from the coffee but has a bit more sour bite than we anticipated. So we decided to "dry-hop" more coffee for a few days and try to make it a bit more noticeable. We also added the cherries for a touch of fruit and color. The base color is nice, tastes great, just needs a little time.
The stout also is coming along nicely, with a solid coffee aroma but nice coffee/chocolate flavor with the malts. As you can see it fermented like crazy! Our starting point was a touch lower than expected, so we'll check the gravity after Christmas and see where we sit. My only knock was that it seemed a bit thin, but like the sour it needs a little more time. We also added the second-use Buffalo Trace barrel char into secondary where it'll sit for the next two weeks to add a little flair. So far we're please with the results and can't wait to share! Cheers 🍻

To be honest our setup isn't anything fancy. We work out of Kyle's kitchen, boil on his porch, and ferment in a closet. ...
12/17/2019

To be honest our setup isn't anything fancy. We work out of Kyle's kitchen, boil on his porch, and ferment in a closet. We lack the ability (space wise) to control temperatures on our fermenters. But we've found his under-stairs closet is suitable for most all of our ales being dark and usually in the low to mid 70s.

What we want to do is share tips of the trade. As we've learned and progressed, we've bought small improvements and upgrades along the way to make our job easier. Pictured are two of those equipment changes that saved us a lot of time and trouble, and things I'd highly recommend for those wanting to take their homebrewing to the next level.

First is our small recirculating pump and 30 plate counter flow chiller (~$85). The pump serves several purposes - vorlaufing wort at the end of our mash (efficiency/lautering), fly sparging (grain rinse/pre-boil volume) and recirculating hot wort through the chiller after the boil. Using the counterflow plate chiller has been an incredible addition. It's reduced our 6 gallon cool time (to 65°) from 45+ minutes (previously using an immersion coil) down to about 20 minutes. Less water used, less time wasted.

The keg/carboy cleaner consists of a 800L/h pond pump, copper tube, a few fittings and 3/8" CIP ball (~$60). Water pressure forces the ball to spin, spraying your solution evenly inside the container. We have two buckets - one cleanser, one sanitizer. Quick and easy, just let it run and walk away! Allows us to clean/sani our kegs and fermenters while we do other things. Found this to be the most simple effective method.

If anyone has questions on these tools, feel free to message me! We are here to learn but also here to help. Cheers!

Being what I would still consider entry level homebrewers, we continue to gain knowledge in our current jobs and by brew...
12/16/2019

Being what I would still consider entry level homebrewers, we continue to gain knowledge in our current jobs and by brewing as often as we can. So I'll touch on who we are, where we came from, where we are currently, and where we're going!

We are a two-man team, born and raised in the backwoods but finding a new life and better future by the beaches of the Tampa Bay region. Brent - originally from the Charleston WV area, moved here in 2017. Currently resides in St. Petersburg and works for a local brewery. Kyle - originally from the Grand Rapids MI area, moved here in 2009. Currently resides in Clearwater and works for an established craft beer bar/restaurant.

We started small at 1-2 gallon batches on the stovetop testing kits and small all-grain recipes. We wanted proof of concept that we could brew and make it work. After some success and love of the craft, we looked into getting a larger setup. About a year later we upgraded to a 10 gallon kettle and mash tun rolling out 5-7 gallon batches scaling up some of our better recipes.

Our theory is blending the boundary between standard beers and the experimental. As we approach the desired style we typically split our batches post-fermentation to ensure the base is (1) good, tastes as intended, remains true to style and (2) then experimenting with different ingredients, flavor profiles, and hops. We use a number of hops, fruits, oak/woods, coffees, and spices throughout our experimental beers to learn the boundaries of each flavor and the end result of using them in the process.

We have dreams and aspirations of doing our own thing in the future, but you gotta start somewhere! So expect us to continue to grow and experiment with eyes on a future endeavor! Cheers 🍻

Beer number 2! Up until this point, I've said our Black IPA has been my favorite of anything we'd done... but I think th...
12/12/2019

Beer number 2! Up until this point, I've said our Black IPA has been my favorite of anything we'd done... but I think there's a new leader on the scoreboard now. This is a coffee blended berliner weisse with sweet dark cherries. In our first test batch a few months ago we were intrigued by the taste of the flavored coffee. Though the flavor was great, it lacked that coffee bite. So we added Indonesian Java beans to really bring out the best of both worlds. With a pH of around 3.1 this beer still has a tart bite. Sweet Cherries add a nice red color and lactose for a touch of sweetness. No hops were used, and this is a live culture sour wildly fermented. Should clock in around 4.5% and we may "dry hop" with additional Java beans if needed. Excited to taste this when it's done! Cheers 🍻

Full disclaimer: starting a new social media is hard! However it is necessary to grow a business/future endeavor. So her...
12/12/2019

Full disclaimer: starting a new social media is hard! However it is necessary to grow a business/future endeavor. So here we go, just a little late to the party.

We'll start with the beers we will be pouring Almost There Festival! *Location has recently moved to if you didn't get the memo* This gathering is fantastic for lots of reasons, but mostly because it features local homebrewers and allows us to share a bit of the spotlight and share a bit of our creations. There aren't a lot of (legal) opportunities for us as homebrewers to display our craft, and this event has achieved just that and we are grateful for it!

One of (if not the most anticipated) beers we've done was our Toasted Rosemary and Pecan Milkshake IPA. Last year it was simply a 1 gallon test batch. However after sharing at a few friendly get-togethers and bottle shares, it seemed to really grab everyone's attention. Almost a year later we decided it's time to revisit and retest having gained so much knowledge. Plucked some rosemary fresh from garden, paired with a hefty dose of Georgia Pecans and lactose sugar. We used Chinook and Cascade hops and opted for a different approach using WLP007 to ferment.
Long story short, this beer is our favorite seasonal to brew and we can't wait to share. It's currently kegged and awaiting your approval. See our next post for beer #2! Cheers 🍻

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