Archive for November, 2010

lambic brew session

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

at long last, I finally got around to brewing the lambic I had planned out weeks earlier.

  • aside from a few mash temp hiccups, everything went smoothly.  due to the constant attention demanded by the turbid mash, I only managed to snap pics after the boil started.
  • see below for my notes on the brew schedule and the results of the brewday (in bold):
    • 15lb belgian pils (60%)
    • 10lb unmalted white wheat (40%) (+ a couple handfuls of rice hulls)
    • 1. 12lb/gal = (25lb total grist)/(2.1 gal. @143F) = 113F mash (overshot, hit 122F)
    • 2. hold 113F mash for 10 min
    • 3. add boiling water to get to 136.4F (hit 140->135 during this step)
    • 4. remove 0.57 gal. to kettle 2, heat to 176F at most
    • 5. add boiling water to get to 149F, hold for 15 min
    • 6. remove 2.27 gal. to kettle 2, keep at 176F at most
    • 7. add boiling water to get to 161.6F, hold for 20 min (hit 161)
    • 8. first runnings (2.83 gal) to boil kettle
    • 9. kettle 2 back into mash tun @ 176F = mash @~167F (kettle 2 was at 185(!), added cool water to bring it down to 173, mash at 159 when added)
    • 10. hold mash @167F for 20 min (only got up to 161, held for 20)
    • 11. vorlauf and sparge with 185F water (sparge water varied from 179->190 while backup boiling water was added)
    • 12. ~end up with 18.5 gal wort~ (ended with 19 gal)
    • 13. divide wort into keggle (13.5 gal) and turkey fryer (5 gal) (14 in keggle, 5 in fryer, added foam reducer)
    • 14. add 5.17 oz old/low AA hops to keggle @ start of boil (4.65 hops total – .5 willamette 4AA 4yr, 1.6 saaz 2.6AA 4 yr, 2.6 saaz 3.2AA 2 yr)
    • 15. boil down to ~12-13 gals* (boiled down to 12.8 gal in 2 hr 40 min)
  • as you can see, hitting some of the temps proved challenging, but the boil didn’t take long at all – with the garage door closed, my system managed to boil off over 2 gallons an hour, without using the bucket heater.  I stopped the boil when I hit an OG of 12.9 brix = 1.05.
  • as for bugs, I pitched a smack pack of wyeast’s roselare blend and a vial of white labs’ sour mix 1, and added dregs from a 375ml bottle of drie fonteinen oude geuze (i believe it was bottled in 2009).  I pitched at 74F.
  • it took a couple of days to see some airlock activity, and the brew is chugging along nicely at the moment at around 66-68F.  expect updates in about a year…

homegrown pale ale

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

in the spirit of last year’s single hop pale ale, I put together a homegrown single hop pale ale using this year’s cascade harvest.

  • I started with edwort’s pale ale recipe and tweaked some things around to get it where I wanted it:
    • 16.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 72.73 %
      4.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 18.18 %
      1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 4.55 %
      1.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 4.55 %
      2.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 23.9 IBU
      1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (30 min) Hops 7.3 IBU
      0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (15 min) Hops 2.4 IBU
      0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (5 min) Hops 1.0 IBU
      1 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) Yeast-Ale
  • I mashed lower than usual (around 152, dropping to 148 by the end of the mash).  hopefully the added dryness will bring out some of the homegrown hops without accentuating any of the alcohol.
  • and got an OG of 1.055 and an apparent FG of 1.005, which by my calculations results in an ABV of 6.56%.  a little high for a pale ale, but I’m sure not that many imbibers will mind the extra kick in the pants.

strong beer session #2

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

last weekend, the sequel to the first strong beer session went off without a hitch.

  • the plan was to sample brewery to brewery across california, then across the country, and then the rest of the globe.  however, so many breweries were represented that we didn’t even make it out of the state!
  • session brews included (with notes/* indicates a crowd favorite):
  • we also tried to pull off some food pairings as well, so in addition to the stilton and sharp cheddar we had mixed charcuterie including liverwurst, head cheese, and prosciutto, as well as smoked bacon-wrapped brats mopped with brown shugga and some spicy roasted chicken and potatoes.
  • the meal was topped off with desserts including AP’s cheesecake with a belgian date barleywine cream cheese topping and ML’s killer bourbon barrel-aged old rasputin imperial stout pecan pie with bourbon crust and malted whipping cream(!).  both were awesome and complemented the rest of the meal perfectly.
  • despite wrecked palates and tons of food, everyone persevered, and by the end of the night I’m pretty sure barleywines were a little better understood (albeit not on the top of anyone’s drinking list for the near future).

experimental black lager

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

a couple weeks ago, JW of san pedro brew co. fame and his dad swung by, along with ML, to conduct an experiment.

  • inspired by full sail’s session black lager, JW was looking to try out a new recipe, but wanted a brew a small batch to minimize risk.  it was a perfect scenario for the new brew setup, which was designed specifically for one-off, experimental batches!
  • the following 10 gal. recipe for the black lager was based on JW’s award winning standard lager, with a dark element:
    • 19.50 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 93.98 %
      1.25 lb Carafa I (337.0 SRM) Grain 6.02 %
      1.00 oz Tradition [6.00 %] (90 min) Hops 11.4 IBU
      0.50 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] (30 min) Hops 2.7 IBU
      1.00 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (15 min) Hops 3.5 IBU
  • while we were brewing, a magnum of JW’s barleywine was cracked.  it had a great backing bitterness and was dry without getting boozy.  it was a great example of the style and I am looking forward to seeing it on draft in the next month or so.
  • the brew day went well, and at the end we had 10 gallons of 1.049 wort, ready to hit the fermenters.  I split the batch – half with a saflager starter @50F, and half with a white labs english ale yeast starter at ~72F.
  • the ale finished at 1.01 (4.91% abv), while the lager finished at 1.014 (4.5% abv).  based on the small sample I took while kegging these, I think they will be worth the risk…