Posts Tagged ‘winter house saison’

averting brew day disaster, feb PG meeting

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

last thursday I headed back to culver city homebrew for my second monthly pacific gravity meeting.

  • belgian and french ales were the style of the month, and both local and international varieties were popped open to try out.  surprisingly, my favorite commercial brew of the night was ommegang’s hennepin, a beer I often overlook but was pleasantly surprised by its effervescence and drinkability.
  • I also brought along a keg of my winter house saison, and was stoked to see that it had won homebrew keg of the month by the end of the meeting!  it was very validating to see fellow club members appreciate the beer as much as I did.
  • I also started a flickr page for my pics of PG meetings and events – those interested can check it out HERE.

on saturday I fired up my keggles and embarked on what I thought was going to be a simple, straightforward brewday.

  • the plan was to put together a simple kolsch (recipe for 12 gals, 80% efficiency):
    • 15 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 73.2 %
      5 lbs 8.0 oz Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 26.8 %
      2.00 oz Pearle [8.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 3 26.5 IBUs
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min Hop 4 3.7 IBUs
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 5 1.5 IBUs
  • after mashing in at 152F, things started to fall apart.  noticing that my plate chiller wasn’t cooling as well as it had during earlier batches, I decided to disassemble it and take a look.  what I found blew my mind – despite backflushing and thoroughly rinsing my chiller after each use, nasty gunk was caked inside the chiller and fittings (likely a result of a couple sessions of chilling wort without filtering pellet hops).  I immediately soaked the chiller in PBW and power flushed it with scalding hot water numerous times, then filled and boiled the chiller on the stove, soaked it again, and flushed it an umpteenth time.  I can’t believe I had dodged infection for so long!
  • with my paranoia kicked up to a frenzy, I turned to my march pump and attempted to remove the fittings so that they too could receive a thorough cleaning.  in the process, I managed to crack off all but a single thread on the pump’s output port.  since I still needed to both sparge and chill my wort, pump failure was definitely not a favorable turn of events.  luckily, with a little thread wrap and a delicate touch, I managed to bootleg the pump operation just long enough to get both jobs done.  now I just have to choose between a plastic or stainless replacement pump head
  • to top it off, my kolsch slurry didn’t take off, and after three days with no activity, my kolsch became a saison with the addition of WLP568 and wyeast 3724.  when it rains, it pours…