Monday, October 16, 2017

Batch 206, Leeser

This was supposed to be a double batch day, but I tried to kill myself with CO, so just one today, and another tomorrow. Must remember to turn on the fans in the beer shed, or splitting headaches will happen. Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to kill myself. My beer shed is 12' x 20', has two windows with a fan in each, a big door, and a high volume roof exhaust fan. It was cold, and I didn't turn on the fans, big mistake.

Anyway, a 10 gallon batch of Leeser, pretty straightforward.

23.75 lb pilsner

Mashed at 146F for 60 minutes, adjusted pH to 5.2, recirc (vorlauf, for you German speakers) for 10 minutes each sparge, collected 12.5 gallons in the boil kettle.

1.5 oz Magnum, 60 minutes
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 minutes
3 oz Saaz, 5 minutes

90 minute boil

I used a mix of Wyeast Bohemian Lager yeast and White Labs Oktoberfest yeast in a 2 quart starter. Only 1 quart went into this batch, the other quart is for tomorrow.

OG was 1.050, which is low again. I'm going to check the roller gap on my mill before brewing tomorrow.

Update, Nov 17, 2017, we got back from vacation on Monday, so I bumped the temp on both this batch and the Oktoberfest to 65F for a diacetyl rest, then dropped the temp to 35F to cold crash out the yeast. Kegged both this batch and the Okto, both are now lagering at 35F until spring time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Batch 207, Oktoberfest

This is the second batch that was supposed to happen yesterday. I checked the gap on my grain mill, it was a little large, so I tightened it down to 0.038". That made a much finer crush and a thick mash, plus I got the OG that I'd planned for. All fans ran all day, no CO problems!

10 gallon batch.

11.5 lb pilsner
8 lb munich
7 lb vienna
1 lb caramunich

Usually I add wheat, but I'm out, so I used a little extra pilsner (1.5 lb) to compensate. Mashed at 148F, which is what I was aiming for. Adjusted pH to 5.3, recirc 10 minutes each sparge, collected 12.5 gallons in the boil kettle. The caramunich is new to this recipe, usually I use crystal 60, but I wanted to cut down on the sweetness a bit. I'll go back to the crystal 60 if this isn't as good as last year.

1.25 magnum, 60 minutes
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 minutes
2 3/8 oz Mt Hood, 5 minutes
1 1/8 oz Hallertau, 5 minutes (pellets)

90 minute boil. I thought I had enough Mt. Hood for the full 3.5 oz at 5 minutes, but no, so I used some Hallertau to make up the difference.

Same mix of Bohemian lager yeast and Oktoberfest yeast as I used in the Leeser batch yesterday.

OG: 1.060 actual, Brewtarget calculated 1.059, so I'm happy with that.

Update, Nov 17, 2017, added some notes that pertain to this batch in the Leeser batch. And this completes brewing for this year.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weird beer

Our friends Angie and Steve keep asking for these off the wall beers, and I've been trying to accommodate...

Fennel saison -- really good. Added about 2 cups of vodka that had fennel soaking in it for 2 weeks to 2.5 gallons of saison. Angie picked the fennel from her garden.

Vanilla saison -- a little strong on the vanilla flavor for my taste, but Steve and Angie loved it. It was 5 vanilla beans soaked in 2 cups of vodka for 2 weeks, plus another 1/4 cup of Costco vanilla extract. Same saison as above.

Cucumber pilsner -- chopped 5 english cucumbers (also from Angie's garden) into 1 inch pieces, soaked in about 3 cups of vodka for a week, until the cucumbers lost all their color and were white. About 5 cc in 22 oz pilsner gives a noticeable cucumber flavor that I don't care for, but again, Steve and Angie loved it.

Cucumber pale ale -- same as above, but added to a pale ale.

Fortunately, it's easy to just add these extracts to a glass of beer. I feel that I wasted the saison with the vanilla since I think this batch is too strong, but the one I made last year for Libby's wedding (Steve and Angie's daughter) was to die for.

I have a book titled "Homebrewers Garden" that is about 20 years old now, and looking through that, I'm really tempted to try some more off the wall creations.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Batch 205, End of the world

Attempting to repeat the most awesome End Of The World beer. Unfortunately, I missed my gravities...

10 gallon batch

22 lb 2-row (22.25 actual, I was a little short on wheat)
8 lb wheat (7.25 actual)
1.0 lb crystal 120
0.5 lb crystal 60
0.75 lb chocolate malt

Mash at 150F (154F actual) with 11 gallons of water. Adjusted pH to 5.3.
Lose 4 gallons to absorption, run off 7 gallons for strong beer.
Sparge with 7 gallons for small beer.

Strong beer hops:
5 oz Chinook (the ones from Angie, this time), 60 min
1 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

Small beer hops:
2 oz Pacific Jade, 14.3% AA (pellets from Niko, never used it before), 60 min
1 oz Centennial, 5 min (leaf)

60 minute boil for both

Wyeast 1272 from batch 204 in both. 2 quarts of thick slurry, about 2/3 quart in the small beer, the other 1 1/3 quart in the strong.

Strong beer specs:
OG: 1.110, actual 1.084
IBU: 111

Small beer specs:
OG: 1.055, actual 1.040
IBU: 70 (or not, I didn't actually calculate after I changed the hops for this batch)

I'm not sure why the gravities were so low. I hit volumes just right, both with mash run off and in the fermenter. I'm wondering if it's my grain mill? It's really the only thing that has changed since the last time I brewed this. But -- my other beers have been coming out as expected.

Update, 8 Oct 2017, blowout! I haven't had one of these in a long time!

Update, 17 Nov 2017, cleared out the nitro tap to put the strong beer on. It is delicious, even if it's not yet carbonated. I had put the small beer on a regular tap on Sep 7 and left it to carbonate while we went on vacation for 2 weeks, and when we got back, the small was flat and my CO2 tank was empty. Ugh. I'm calling the small beer "End of Pluto" since it's no longer a planet.

Update, 4 Apr 2018, we've been gone to Mexico since the day after Thanksgiving and just got back last night. I'd forgotten that this was on tap. It is OMG delicious! I left the nitro gas on the whole time we were gone, so this is very nicely carbed(?) nitroed(? is that even a word?) Creamy nitro head and super good beer.