Tag Archive: brewday

Fresh Hop Brew Day

With the new boil kettle and controller ready and wet tested, it was time to brew. What better time than when I have fresh Chinook hops coming off the vine!

Fresh Chinook Hops!

I didn’t get enough from my two bines, so I had two packs of pellets to supplement the fresh hops.

I doughed in and hit my temp of 154, but too much acid adjustments caused it to fall. I should have let it go, as Brulosophy has shown that pH may not be as important as I think it is.

I ran into a few problems with yeast. I had an old Northwest Ale yeast that I harvested from an old batch and kept in my keezer, but it didn’t do anything in a starter. So I found a London Ale smack pack kept in the same keezer that was six months old. It didn’t inflate nor did it react in a starter. So I dropped by the LHBS and found a pack of Denny’s Favorite that appeared pre-smacked (although I thought I felt the pack in it). I gave it a day to inflate while I left the wort in my keezer to chill from the high-80s to hopefully below 70. No inflation. I pitched both it and some S-04, and of the pack that I thought I felt – it was in it, intact. Fermentation was quick but hot – the sticker on the side showed 79 at one point!

I’m calling this a British “Ordinary Bitter”.

Finished Beer

Appearance: copper colored, light carbonation with a thin white head. Good lacing.

Aroma: Earthy and bready

Flavor: bready, some orange (potentially marmalade), some earthiness or pine, but it is not promintent.  Slight bitterness.  Not strong at all.

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium dry finish with lasting but light citrus bitterness.

For being lightly carbonated, the lacing is nice.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I need to buy a pump. The ability to whirlpool while watching the temperature of the wort drop is worth every penny. Right now, I have one shot to send wort through my plate chiller and it doesn’t get it chilled enough.

I need to make progress on the fermentation chamber #2. I have a peltier element and several fans that can make this happen, all I need is some foam insulation and plywood (for structure) and some time to work on it.

Brew Log

2017-09-02: brewed on a rainy day

2017-09-05: fermentation appears finished

2017-09-13: moved to keezer for cold crashing

2017-09-15: kegged, pressurized to 30 PSI to carbonate

2017-09-16: removed gas line, took taste pour, left on normal carb (11 PSI)

Flanders Red Brew Day

The Recipe

The recipe is fairly simple, I’ve posted it before but I’ve made a few changes.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 60 min 12.7 IBUs 13.5 SRM 1.053 1.012 5.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Flanders Red Ale 23 B 1.048 - 1.057 1.002 - 1.012 10 - 25 10 - 16 2 - 2.7 4.6 - 6.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pilsner (2 Row) Bel 8 lbs 71.11
Wheat - Red Malt (Briess) 1.5 lbs 13.33
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 8 oz 4.44
Oats, Flaked 8 oz 4.44
Vienna Malt (Briess) 8 oz 4.44
Carafa II 4 oz 2.22

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Tettnang, U.S. 1 oz 60 min Boil Leaf 4.5

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Lactic Acid 1.00 ml 60 min Mash Water Agent
Irish Moss 1.00 tsp 15 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Roselare Belgian Blend (3763) Wyeast Labs 80% 55°F - 80°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 156°F 90 min

Fermentation

Step Time Temperature
Primary 4 days 67°F
Secondary 10 days 67°F
Aging 30 days 65°F

Note: in the above, ignore the aging part, this is going to take a while… Also, my hops may not be very strong. I’m using year+ old homegrown hops, and in the past I think their strength has been low.

Brew Day

Brew day went generally without a hitch.

Preparing mash tun preheat water

I mashed in with 3.5 gal of water at 174F, which settled to 156F.  I let it rest, stirring occasionally, for 80 minutes when I added about a gallon of water at 190F.  After 10 minutes, I vorlaufed and collected 3.5 (ish) gallons of wort, and batch sparged with around 3.25 gallons of water at 190F, which rested at 165F (about 5F below the target 170F).  After all that, the pre-boil gravity was 1.057.

Overview of brewing area while preparing for boil.

Boil was the standard one hour boil.  15 minutes prior to the end of the boil, I started the pump through the plate chiller, discarding the first little bit that pushed through and then recirculating through the boil kettle, creating a whirlpool.  At the end of the hour, I set the PID to a low temperature (50-ish F) and turned the cold water on to the plate chiller.  Chilling to about 70F took under 15 minutes.

Running boiling wort through the plate chiller

Running hot wort through the plate chiller

It’s fermenting away now…

It’s fermenting away!

Oak Aging

 

Somehow, I’m going to get some oak in this.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it, so maybe this will help…

Rescued from Half Price Books… And it was signed!

Log

12/28/2016: Brewed, SG 1.051. Forgot to get pH reading.

1/5/2017: 1.008, pH 4.15.  No acidity. Very bready.

1/14/2017: 1.008, pH 4.23. Light acidity. Still bready, but acid beginning to counter malt sweetness.

1/29/2017: 1.008, pH 4.34. More acid. pH meter is clearly fucked.  It needs more time, but bready-ness is generally gone.

2/26/17: pH = 4.26. Oakey.

3/12/17: pH = 4.12. Oakey still.

5/1/17: pH = 4.15. Still a little oakey, but better. Starting to become pleasing.

6/10/17: pH = 4.08. Pronounced oakiness, but a slightly fruity aroma and flavor.

(this will be updated as things change)

Imperial Hoptrooper Brew Day and Tasting Notes

On November 20, I brewed my biggest (and most successful in terms of numbers) beer – a double IPA.  Recipe inspiration came from MadTree’s High series, which is a series of IIPAs that are quite popular and very well rated (note: there are three “highs” that I know of, the Galaxy and Citra, which are linked in the text, and Azacca which is not… but it’s also f**king tasty! There may have also been a Mosaic High).

The recipes are similar.  I did a fair bit of ‘back of the napkin’ analysis on the two beers, looking at the percentages of grain, the AAU at each addition, etc.  I ended up with the recipe below.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 60 min 123.7 IBUs 5.9 SRM 1.074 1.014 7.8 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Double IPA 22 A 1.065 - 1.085 1.008 - 1.018 60 - 120 6 - 14 2.4 - 2.9 7.5 - 10 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pilsner (Hoepfner) 10.5 lbs 72.41
Vienna Malt (Briess) 2.25 lbs 15.52
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 8 oz 3.45
Carapils (Briess) 4 oz 1.72
Corn Sugar (Dextrose) 1 lbs 6.9

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
El Dorado 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 15
Galena 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 12.5
Centennial 0.5 oz 30 min Boil Pellet 10
Mosaic (HBC 369) 0.5 oz 30 min Boil Pellet 12.3
Centennial 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 10
Mosaic (HBC 369) 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 12.3
Centennial 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 10
Mosaic (HBC 369) 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 12.3
Centennial 2 oz 0 min Dry Hop Pellet 10
Mosaic (HBC 369) 2 oz 0 min Dry Hop Pellet 12.3
Chinook 1.5 oz 0 min Dry Hop Pellet 13
Citra 1 oz 0 min Dry Hop Pellet 12

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min

I kept closer to the size of the Citra High recipe, mostly because I am still working through efficiency issues (it’s getting better, though).  I still didn’t get MadTree’s efficiency, but to be fair, I’m targeting 75%, not 82%!

Brew Day

I’m happy to say that the only issues during brew day was how long it took and higher than expected grain absorption.  I started later in the day (around 2:30 PM) and it didn’t end until maybe 6:30PM.  There were no stuck sparges, clogged lines or chillers, boil boiled.  I ended up with about 4.5 gallons into the fermenter, which is less than the 5.5 gallons I was targeting.  However, the lower volume works better with my 7.5 – 8 gallon kettle.

Heating initial mash tun preheat water

Lots of hops!

1.070! The most this hydrometer has ever floated!

Airlock Action Shot!

1.004 (ultimately final gravity)

Throughout fermentation, the temperature (as measured on the side of the fermenter) stayed at 68, which is a nice perfect temperature.

Tasting Notes

The Beer

Aroma: Grapefruit mostly

Appearance: Copper, opaque.  White head that starts thick and persists as a thin head.

Taste: Tongue lashing bitterness with citrus tones. Some alcohol flavor.

Mouthfeel: Moderately carbonated, slight citrusy tartness lingers past the dry finish.

Overall Impression: I’m biased, but I love this beer. I’ve been drinking the heck out of this!

OG: 1.071
SG: 1.005
ABV: 8.7%
IBU: 124
SRM: 6

What’s Next With This Recipe?

I want to try two things – one is maybe a little less bitterness.  The other is honey instead of sugar.  I’m wondering if some Orange Blossom honey would work well with the citrus based hops.

Cheers!

Another IPA Brew Day

So I decided later than usual on a Saturday to brew.  This is a brew that I wanted to do the prior weekend, but my home AC was on the fritz and adding a bunch of humidity to it would not have been a very smart move.

This was an interesting brew day for two reasons.  A large portion of the brew day was spent thinking that I would be preparing to brew the following day.  I built an electric panel to fix the dangerous setup I had previously.

It's almost done.

It’s almost done.  The blank spot is for a switch.

The thing is, I didn’t have the plug on the cord from the boiler ready.  Once I did that, I added water and started things up.  Then I went to work on preparing the mash tun.  In my last post, I had the stuck sparge from Hell.  I did NOT want that happening again.  I added some plumbing solder in some strategic places and scrubbed down the copper.  At that point (and after messing up and fixing solder joints twice, and since leaks don’t really matter here the mess ups were pretty important to fix), I decided to go ‘all in’ and start mashing.

I love problems that fix themselves!

This brew day had one minor mess up – for my IPA, I have hops at first wort (in the kettle), 15, 5, knockout, and dry.  I did first wort, 15, 10, and knockout.  Oops.  It also had one issue that I thought would be a huge problem – my sparge water kept heating even after the PID said things were off.  I didn’t notice until the water hit 205º F, and the heat was still on despite the output light on the PID controller not being on.  So I unplugged the boiler to keep the water from boiling and let it cool.  Later, when it was time to heat the water back up to sparge temperatures, I plugged the boiler back in and let it heat back up.  And it worked correctly.  And it worked correctly through the entire boil, too.  I love problems that fix themselves!

They leak

Chilling had been an issue in the past, and I still reign supreme at having the most fucked up chilling schemes.  This one isn’t much different.  I bought a plate chiller on Amazon a few weeks ago.  The water inlets and outlets were standard hose fittings.  My house is six years old, and the cheap washing machine lines were something that was on the list of things to replace.  I decided to purchase new stainless steel lines for the washing machine and use the old lines for the plate chiller.

They leak.  Somehow in the process of unhooking them from the back of the washing machine and the wall and putting them on the plate chiller, they decided to leak.  And these weren’t leaks that could be fixed by torquing down the connectors or using pipe tape (which is unnecessary on these connectors).  And I made sure the O-rings were in the hose connectors.

So I did what any sane person would do.  Since I didn’t have enough hose to set the plate chiller in the sink (that would have been optimal), I put the chiller in a bucket.  Which started to fill.  So to avoid flooding part of my basement, I used a small hose to siphon the leaking water out of the main bucket into another so I could dump water without moving the plate chiller around.

This is nuts.

This is nuts. But it worked.

So on the shopping list is two new hoses.  Because had I had not-leaking hoses, the plate chiller would have worked very well.  And even allowing a lot of the trub go through was okay (I use pellet hops).  I’m not sure what temperature I got things down to. Put the ale pail into the fermentation chamber and set it to chill at about 6:30.  I ended up pitching the yeast at midnight or so.

The Recipe

The recipe has changed a little.  I wanted it a little less malty and a little more crisp.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 60 min 71.4 IBUs 5.4 SRM 1.070 1.013 7.6 %
Actuals 1.051 1.01 5.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 14 B 1.056 - 1.075 1.01 - 1.018 40 - 70 6 - 15 2.2 - 2.7 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 7 lbs 50
Vienna Malt 6 lbs 42.86
Cara-Pils/Dextrine 1 lbs 7.14

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Cascade 2 oz 15 min First Wort Pellet 6.6
Cascade 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 6.6
Citra 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 12
Galaxy 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 11
Cascade 0.5 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 6.6
Citra 0.5 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 12
Galaxy 0.5 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 11
Cascade 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 6.6
Citra 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 12
Galaxy 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 11
Cascade 1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 6.6
Citra 1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 11
Galaxy 1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 11

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Irish Moss 0.25 tsp 15 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American Ale (1056) Wyeast Labs 75% 60°F - 72°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 148°F 60 min

Now the wait.  One week (as of time of writing) to add dry hops, and one week to absorb.  Then bottling and another week to two weeks to wait.  I WISH IT WAS DONE ALREADY.

Cheers!

Friend of Hades IPA Recipe

So I’m starting to experiment with different malts.  I started looking into various SMaSH recipes and started seeing people use different base malts.  So I decided to base this one on Vienna malt instead of the normal 2-row malt.  I also added some carared for color, some carapils for head retention, and crystal 40 for a touch of sweetness and color.  I also kicked up the hops quite a bit since my last (extract+partial mash) IPA.  The last (also first) IPA I brewed had 7oz of hops (3 oz of Cascade, 2 oz of Citra and Galaxy).  This time, I added an extra 3 oz of hops.  I also experimented with first wort hopping and steeping (the closest I can get to hopstanding right now).

Here is the recipe.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 60 min 67.7 IBUs 11.5 SRM 1.066 1.015 6.7 %
Actuals 1.051 1.01 5.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 14 B 1.056 - 1.075 1.01 - 1.018 40 - 70 6 - 15 2.2 - 2.7 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Vienna Malt 9 lbs 69.23
Carared 2 lbs 15.38
Cara-Pils/Dextrine 1 lbs 7.69
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 1 lbs 7.69

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Cascade 0.5 oz 15 min First Wort Pellet 6.6
Cascade 0.5 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 6.6
Cascade 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 6.6
Citra 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 12
Galaxy 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 11
Cascade 0.5 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 6.6
Citra 0.5 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 12
Galaxy 0.5 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 11
Cascade 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 6.6
Citra 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 12
Galaxy 1 oz 15 min Aroma Pellet 11
Cascade 1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 6.6
Citra 1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 11
Galaxy 1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 11

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Irish Moss 0.25 tsp 15 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American Ale (1056) Wyeast Labs 75% 60°F - 72°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min

Some pics from brewday, all courtesy of Instagram and me being bored:

The flavor is just what I wanted.  A citrus hop rollercoaster.  It pours a deep copper color with a thin head.  The aroma is mostly orangey (is that a word?).  The taste is smooth, very citrusy that lasts for a while.  At 67.7 IBU, it’s at the top of the style range, which is pretty much where I wanted it (I looked up the IBU on PsycHOPathy and Truth, both are just over 70).  I love it.

2015-02-13 17.08.12

The First Batch is in the Fermenter!

Since it feels nice outside, I decided it was the day.

I’m not going to go into specifics, just the things I learned:

  • My wife does not like the smell of wort.
  • I love the smell of cascade hops.
  • I need to prepare several bags of ice for cooling.  I used up the ice maker tray, but wished I had more.
  • Alternating sinks of cool water worked well; just next time I should have more ice (a la above) ready and not drain my sanitizer for it.
  • I need a better thermometer – one with a long stem.
  • I probably need to buy a turkey fryer and boil outside.  If I do that, I should probably consider an immersion chiller.
  • The Mason jar worked well for a yeast starter, but I should use a bigger one next time.
  • Make sure to fill the test tube enough when getting an IG reading.  “less than 1.050” is not an accurate reading.
  • Obviously I took a sip of the wort from the test tube. Not bad, maybe a tad bitter.  Of course it isn’t fermented yet.  I’m okay with bitter beer.

2014-09-13 10.20.15 2014-09-13 11.52.37 2014-09-13 12.01.46

I probably should have taken more pics.  Anyway, the Ale Pail is in the basement fermenting, and since I am typing this and looking things up it sounds like I need to switch the airlock with the other as there is a little bit of krausen in the airlock.

I am really looking forward to bottling and drinking this!

/A