Monday, October 22, 2018

Bottled the pale ale. Pretty hoppy stuff, but not terribly bitter. There are lots of piney and earthy hops along with a sort of sticky bitterness that coats the tongue. The beer spent just a few hours with the dry hops because I realized that I needed to bottle tonight or I wouldn't be able to bottle until sometime next week. I'm quite pleased with the beer so far, but I wish I had more time to dry hop. Not sure my quick infusion will impart anything.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Brewed again today. I'm on a roll. Driving back home from Matton, Illinois, I stopped at Friar Tuck in Savoy, south Champaign-Urbana. Friary Tuck sells homebrew supplies, so I picked up a Brewer's Best Pale Ale kit, but I substituted the included hops (Lemon Drop and Citra) with Falconer's Flight 7c's. I added one ounce in the boil for 60 minutes and steeped another ounce. I have yet another ounce that I will dry hop with for two days after the initial primary fermentation. I pitched US-05 yeast which so far is fermenting at about 72 degrees F. For those wondering, the Brewer's Best Pale Ale kit includes two cans of pale malt extract and one pound of CaraRed malt (along with aforementioned hops.) The measured gravity was 1.050 and a calculated 38 IBUs.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

So I ended up pitching the Wyeast 3711 dregs that I had in my fridge and that woke up the beer from its stuck fermentation. Yes, I had a stuck fermentation with beer at 1.022 after two weeks. I know the Dupont strain is notoriously slow below 90 degrees F, but it's going to start getting even cooler here soon, so I decided to pitch a helper yeast....and help it did! The airlock started bubbling and stayed that way for about three days. I let it go another week before deciding to bottle tonight. I thought about racking to let it sit a bit longer and mature, but I'm having surgery tomorrow and just wanted it bottled up and in case I have a slow recovery. I tasted just a small bit of beer (no hops before surgery) and I was surprised at the lack of heat considering that I added three tablespoons of crushed black pepper. Perhaps the heat will come out more in the finished product.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

This poor, neglected blog....I have been brewing again and I've brewed a few beers since January(!) including my annual fresh hop English Strong Bitter, a Black IPA and two saisons. The English Strong Bitter was made with fresh Chinook hops from my friend Eric Keeley, it was a good batch and went quickly. I used some of the same hops for the Belgian Black IPA with Wyeast 3711, along with some Simcoe Cryo hops. It was my first time using Cryo Hops and I was very impressed. I was told that this was one of my best beers. Following that batch I brewed a recipe I call Japanese Sunshine. I use Sorachi Ace hops from Japan, Belgian pale malt extract from Willliam's Brewing and rice solids. I fermented this batch with Wyeast 3711. I have only one bottle of this batch left. I have a beer currently in the fermenter. The recipe riffs off of Japanese Sunshine. I replaced the rice solids with a William's liquid malt extract that is 70 percent two-row barley and 30-percent corn. I replaced the Sorachi ace hops with Polish Lubelski and then I got wild and added lemon and sweet orange peel and fermented it with Wyeast 3724. I wasn't sure of the age of yeast but I used it anyways and it seems to be stuck, so I'm deciding what other yeast I might want to add to get it finish. I still have 3711 dregs so I might use that, but I'm tempted to add the dregs form a Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere. I've done that before with pretty spectacular results.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Brewed another batch with Wyeast 3522 today. Fermentables included Six pounds of Munton's DME with a pound of Briess Prinz Black malt, a pound of liquid extra dark candi syrup, a half pound of flaked barley and a half pound of torrefied wheat. I boiled about four ounces of whole Chinook hops for 60 minutes. I added no other hops. I have an ounce of Simcoe Cryohops for dry hopping. It may already be obvious that I'm going for a Belgian Black IPA. Fermenter temp is 68F to 72F. Pitched cool at about 68 degrees. The water going through the chiller was 50F. Fairly warm today for January (about 50 degrees) but temperatures are forecast to drop off substantially into the teens or colder this week so should be able to keep the temperature of the wort under 75. I haven't made a really dark beer in a long time so I'm a bit anxious!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It seems I'm having a bit of a problem with color lately. It's hard to brew pale beers with extract on an electric stove. The Chinook "Golden" IPA with Wyeast #3522 has turned out much darker than I thought. I realize the color could fade with age, but this is a beer that I think is going to be consumed fresh for it's hoppy flavor. That said, I will try and reserve some bottles to see how it cellars. Tasted from the fermenter the fresh Chinook hoppiness is outstanding. The nose is not hoppy, but rather shows off the yeast esters. The finish is bitter, but really more resinous, with grapefruit and blood orange. The dark candi sugar seems to have added some complexity and perhaps has contributed to the nose. A lot to say about a beer from the fermenter. It could be whole different animal in a few weeks or months. Tasting this next to the Eastchester Amber has informed me that a lot of the "Eastchester" flavor is not the hops but the Wyeast #1318 yeast. The 1318 yeast adds a lot of fruitness and interesting rose water note, while the #3522 is more banana and hard to pin down higher alcohol esters. I fermented the #3522 at the top of the optimal range around 72F-74F. I did not use my Brewjacket like I did for the Eastchester. It was a warm October so I used the jacket to keep the Eastchester at 72F. Not sure what I'll brew next. I still have some Chinook whole hops left (about four to five ounces) so I'd like to use those. Maybe something dark next time.