Archive for May, 2010

kegging, smoking, tasting, and some breweriana (WIR 05/21-05/23)

Monday, May 24th, 2010

this last weekend was packed with some brew-related activities.

  • on saturday I kegged the alt.  I took a sample and it tasted pretty damn good, but I forgot to get a final gravity reading.  will have to remember to grab it when the keg is tapped.
  • on saturday night AP and I unveiled a metric shitton of smoked 2-2-1 pork ribs (this time I took some pics).  to celebrate I cracked open a couple beers with a summer feel – the collaborative saison du buff and victory’s wild devil.
  • saison du buff was good, but I could have easily gone with a 2-3oz taster instead of a full pour.  it was definitely an interesting spin on a saison, and had some medicinal notes but had a cleaner finish than, say, a gruit.
  • victory’s wild devil was great – it was an awesome blend of bretty funk with a clean bitter pale ale finish, and went well with the smoky ribs.
  • on sunday AP and I ventured over to alpine village for their swap meet and beer hall.  I’ve been heading out here ever since I was a kid, but I never fully appreciated this place until recently.  suffice it to say that the spot is awesome and will be reviewed in greater depth soon.
  • AP and I shared a dunkel and an alt after an afternoon of flea digging, where I managed to scoop up a pretty neat piece of breweriana for some pocket change.
  • after cleaning it up and tightening the bulb, the sign didn’t look half bad, and it was a neat tribute to an SF beer of the past.
  • also, on the hop front – the cascade is topping 6 feet and is still climbing, and the mt hood is in close pursuit.  gotta get the second year plants going though…

first all-grain batch: altbier

Monday, May 17th, 2010

so, after 4 years of extract and partial mash brewing, I finally stepped up to the plate and pulled off my first all-grain batch.

  • I finally had the space to go all-grain after moving, and I had recently modified my partial mash tun with a new false bottom (courtesy of CB) for better efficiency.
  • after a bit of thought, I was inspired by this post over at beer and nosh and decided to go with an dusseldorf altbier.
  • the dusseldorf alt is a bit hoppier than alts from other regions.  I thought it would be a good contrast to my extract kolsch.
  • my recipe was a hybrid from a post on brewboard and one on home brew talk.  I recently downloaded beersmith and ironed out the details on their software (which is pretty amazing by the way).  the grain and hop bill is as follows:
    • 6.00 lb       Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)             Grain        54.55 %
      2.00 lb       Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)              Grain        18.18 %
      1.00 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        9.09 %
      1.00 lb       Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)                     Grain        9.09 %
      1.00 lb       Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM)                 Grain        9.09 %
      1.50 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (60 min)Hops         19.9 IBU
      1.00 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (30 min)Hops         10.2 IBU
      1.00 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (10 min)Hops         4.8 IBU
  • if you want more recipe info shoot me an email and I’ll send it over.
  • after a thorough discussion with CB about mash and sparge temps, boil time, and other mash tips (the guy should seriously teach a class), I milled my grains, heated my strike water, and made the jump.
  • I batch sparged as per denny’s instructions and ended up with 5 gallons at an OG of 1.060 at 75F, which if I calculated correctly gives my system roughly 74% efficiency. not bad for the first shot!
  • after a rough start, my wyeast 1007 smack pack got going, and seemed to be pretty happy for the next few days after I pitched.  I’m planning on kegging the batch this weekend and lagering for a month or so before serving.
  • I will likely throw more all-grain brew tips out there once I get the process down pat, but for now I have a few recommendations for a successful switch from extract brewing:
    • get brew software. programs like beersmith take a lot of guesswork out of the process and are pretty cheap.  it was invaluable having my brew day laid out on paper before I got started.
    • talk to someone who brews all-grain first. I walked away with more information from my 30 minute convo with CB than from hours of online research.  a lot of the small stuff isn’t covered online (basic mash theory, etc.) and makes perfect sense once someone who has done it explains the obvious to you.
    • take gravity readings.  I never had to do this before – with extract it didn’t really matter since you knew you were getting fermentable sugars.  however, with all-grain, gravity readings are essential for troubleshooting your system and really add a lot to your knowledge of brewing.  I used my refractometer and it was a piece of cake.
  • overall, switching to all-grain brewing wasn’t too difficult (just a little more time-consuming) and was much more rewarding.  I am looking forward to cranking out many more brews while tweaking this process.

kegging the kolsch/port bottle shop

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

last saturday I managed to keg my kolsch and on sunday I hit up port bottle shop.

  • FYI, when I keg, I just toss in 3 oz. of bottling sugar straight into the keg (no boiling) and rack the beer on top.
  • I use my portable keg charger and a single canister to push PBW and sanitizer through my dip tube, and I use what’s left in the cartridge to seal the top of the keg after filling it.
  • the above method makes for quick and easy keg filling, and I have had great results with secondary fermentation in the keg.  it sure beats force carbing too (if you have the patience to wait another week or so).
  • when I was down at port, the bottle shop was slammed when I went in, as it was the annual carlsbad fair and over 100,000 people were milling around outside.
  • I slipped in and managed to score a bottle of ’10 angel’s share bourbon barrel (anyone up for a 3 year flight?) and a bottle of good ol’ fantome.
  • also, I just picked up a grain mill and the ingredients for my first all-grain batch.  tune in next week for the results (hint: it’s a kolsch rival).