Friday, February 27, 2009

Batch 72, some sort of dark hoppy ale

I was going to do a Moose Drool clone, but realized after I'd started brewing that I didn't have the hops for it. I don't know what this is, but I bet it's drinkable.

10 gallon batch

15 lbs 2-row
1 lbs crystal 60
1 lbs chocolate malt
3/4 lbs black patent
Mash at 152F for 60 minutes, collect 12.5 gallons

1 oz Galena, 60 minutes
1 oz Cascade, 10 minutes
1/2 oz Chinook, 10 minutes
1 oz Cascade, 0 minutes
90 minute boil.

Wyeast 1272, pitched on yeast cake from batch 71.

The original recipe used Kent Goldings for bittering, then Mt. Hood and Willamette for flavor. I have some Mt. Hood, but I want to save them for more batches of Panama Red. I have a lot of Cascade, and quite a bit of Chinook, so there it is.

OG: recipe says 1.048, actually got 1.046
FG: recipe says 1.012
IBU: 27 (Tinseth method)
SRM: 25
ABV: 4.6%

Other than the finishing hops, this is in style for a Brown Porter. There shouldn't be much hop flavor in a Porter and no fruitiness, but the Chinook and Cascades will definitely say otherwise.

Note: I posted this on the brew club forum, and got general agreement that 3/4 lb of black patent is too much. I think I misread/miscopied my recipe, I think that should have been 3 oz...

I still haven't fixed the outlet on my CFC, but it sure is a nice time saver.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

St. Brigid's Lake IPA

That 90 minute IPA I've been making -- I don't like the name. It's nothing like the DFH beer of the same name. The last batch I made was kegged and tapped almost on St. Brigid's day, so I'm changing the name to "St. Brigid's Lake IPA". The poem below explains the "lake" meaning well enough. Really, St. Brigid's day is the even older Pagan holiday of Imbolc, it's the day half way between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. Most people don't know that Groundhog Day is in fact Imbolc. There is deep history and tradition here, so it seems like a fitting name for a beer to me.

Saint Brigid's Prayer

I'd like to give a lake of beer to God.
I'd love the Heavenly
Host to be tippling there
For all eternity.

I'd love the men of Heaven to live with me,
To dance and sing.
If they wanted, I'd put at their disposal
Vats of suffering.

White cups of love I'd give them,
With a heart and a half;
Sweet pitchers of mercy I'd offer
To every man.

I'd make Heaven a cheerful spot,
Because the happy heart is true.
I'd make the men contented for their own sake
I'd like Jesus to love me too.

I'd like the people of heaven to gather
From all the parishes around,
I'd give a special welcome to the women,
The three Marys of great renown.

I'd sit with the men, the women of God
There by the lake of beer
We'd be drinking good health forever
And every drop would be a prayer.

Now, I can't claim to be a Christian, but I do like the tradition and history of it all (maybe you noticed that monk avatar?). And a "lake of beer"! That's just awesome! I'm not going to limit myself to brewing this once per year, either, but I think I'll make an effort to brew right around Imbolc next year.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Batch 71, Panama Red

Another batch of Panama Red, a 10 gallon batch.

Grain, mash at 153F for 60 min:
20.25 lbs 2-row
1.5 lbs Crystal 60
4 oz Chocolate Malt

Hops, 90 min boil:
2 oz Mt Hood, FWH
1.5 oz Galena, 60 min
2 oz Cascade, 30 min
2 oz Cascade, 5 min
2 oz Mt Hood, 5 min

Wyeast 1272, new package, 3 qt starter

OG: recipe says 1.061, actual was 1.072.

I usually make this with Nugget as the bittering hop, but the only Nugget I have is from the 2007 harvest. The Galena is from the 2008 harvest, and looks much better than the Nugget. The Nugget were 16.1% AA, the Galena 13.2% AA, so this will be a little less bitter than previous batches.

This is the second batch in a row that I missed my OG. I probably missed my ending volume, either by boiling off too much or not collecting enough run off to account the wort retained by the hops. The last batch also had a lot of hops. I'm actually thinking to bump up the grain bill in future batches of this recipe to get a higher OG on purpose. This is very close in style to an Imperial IPA, so with just a little more grain it would be there. Minimum is 1.075 for IIPA, and the rest of this recipe is right on for color and IBU's.

I resurrected my counter-flow chiller today. The outlet hose fitting broke off when we moved 2 years ago, and I haven't used it since. I hooked it up to my pump and a bucket of home-made PBW, and let it recirculate for about an hour, then switched out the PBW for a bucket of Starsan and let it run for another half-hour. It should be clean and sanitized after that! It sure does help cut some time off of the brew day, I'd guess I saved about 30 minutes. Rather than using the IC, which takes about half an hour, then pumping the wort to the fermenter, I just pump through the CFC directly into the fermenter. The output temp of the wort from the CFC is right at 66F, which is where I like it to be for pitching. I'd forgotten how easy it is to get the output temp just right, simply adjusting the flow of the water hose dials in exactly the temperature I want. I need to get the water outlet fixed, though. Today, I just let the water run out on the ground, which is a waste. If I get the outlet fixed so I can attach a hose, I can use that water for cleaning up.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Yeast 103

I got a new package of Wyeast 1272 yesterday. I have a long weekend, 4 days off, so I'm planning to brew. I want to do a 10 gallon batch, and single package of yeast won't be enough. I checked Jamil's 'Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator' for the quantity I'd need. This is a great calculator, although experience shows that it's generally okay to go with somewhat less yeast that the calculator says. In fact, the Wyeast package says it contains 100 million cells and is designed for a 5 gallon batch, compared to the calculator saying I should have 225 million cells. For a 10 gallon batch, which is what I want to do, the calculator says I need 450 million cells, as opposed to 2 packages containing a total of 200 million cells. I figure if I can get anywhere above 200 million cells in my starter, I'll be okay. After playing with the calculator for a while, I can get 300 million cells in 3 quarts using 1 packet of yeast. It's probably not optimal, but it'll be good enough, and I only need one packet of yeast.

I thought I had some wort saved from a previous batch in my fridge in the garage. I did, but it wasn't enough, and worse, it was old and starting to mold. I tossed it out. I didn't have any LME or DME on hand, so I ground 3/4 pound of 2-row, put it in a grain bag, and mashed it on the stove in a gallon of 155F water for about half an hour. This should get me right at 3 quarts of wort with a gravity of about 1.028, which is enough for a starter. In fact, that turned out to be just right. After mashing, I boiled the wort for about 15 minutes to make sure it was sterilized. After it had cooled to about 70F, I pitched the yeast, gave it a good stir, then split it out into mason jars. I don't have a stir plate, but just shaking the jars every now and then is good enough. After just a couple of hours, there is plenty of activity in all of the jars. I used 4 jars to hold the 3 quarts, so there is plenty of head room, which minimizes the risk of exploding jars or oozing out the tops.

As with any brewing activity involving yeast, sanitation is critical, so I make liberal use of Starsan. I keep it mixed in a spray bottle, which is real handy for sanitizing the outside of the yeast packet, the mixing spoon, and the scissors I used to cut open the packet. All the jars, lids, and rings were also liberally covered with Starsan.

I should be all set to brew tomorrow or Sunday.

Update -- I've got real strong activity, and I'm worried about the mason jars. I sanitized a 2 gallon plastic jar (food grade) and dumped all the jars into the big one. Plenty of head room in the 2 gallon jar, so no worries of foaming all over the place.

I pitched this into batch 71, Panama Red.

Friday, February 6, 2009

!@#$% No Beer :(

So I went downstairs to the kegerator last night to get a beer. I put my glass under the tap, pulled the handle, and NOTHING! Arg! I just had that CO2 tank filled about 2 weeks ago, and it was empty already. Must be a leak somewhere, and it must be a slow one since I sprayed everything with soapy water to check after I hooked it up. I got a refill at Norco today, and disassembled both kegs before I put it on. One of the kegs had a slightly shredded o-ring on the long "out" tube. That is a small o-ring, and is cranked down pretty tight, so it's a good candidate for such a slow leak. I replaced the o-ring with a new one, but for now, I'm only turning on the gas while I'm actually pouring. Maybe that will help with preventing the kegs from getting over-carbed towards the bottom?

I was thinking to brew this weekend, I think it's time. I racked the current batch (90 min IPA) from the fementer to kegs last weekend. I tossed out the yeast because it's time had come. I'm not sure if I have any fresh yeast left, it really is about time to buy a new pack. Maybe I'll brew on Sunday, maybe a nice batch of Panama Red. The last batch of PR had an odd flavor, I think from the hops. I had some Cascade from the 2007 crop that I thought were still good, and I just hate to throw them out, but I think they were the cause of the odd flavor. I think it's time for them to go, though. The beer is still drinkable, just not up to the usual "must have another" quality.