Sunday, November 29, 2020
The brown ale has been bottled. It was a bit of a troublesome brew as my Wyeast 1318 packet turned out to be a dud. There was no change in gravity after three days, so I pitched a packet of Safale S-04 that I happened to have on hand in case of emergency. Fermentation kicked off about 24 hours later. The fermentation temperature was 64F for the first five days of and then I raised the temperature to 68F upon noticing that the gravity was stalled at 1.012. Raising the temperature and rousing the yeast seemed to get one more degree of fermentation out of it. I bottled four days later as the gravity did not change. At bottling time the beer was drier than expected. My Tilt hydrometer reported the ABV as 4.46 percent. A very gentle brown ale along the lines of the old formulation for Newcastle (not the current version brewed at Lagunitas.) The Tilt spreadsheet for this recipe (Brewer's Best Brown Ale kit) is here.
Monday, November 16, 2020
Meanwhile, I've cracked open a bottle of the porter that I brewed several months ago and it is still quite good. A fine aroma of toasted malt and chocolate with more chocolate on the palate and surprising dryness. Hops kept very much in check for more of an English-style porter. This porter is just shy of sweet but I quite like it. Not everything needs to be hoppy, but a little bit of a hop nose might have been nice.
Back to the brown: brewing from the kit worked well. I put the grains in the muslin bag that came with the kit and tied it to one of the handles on my Gigawort so it stay off the bottom of the kettle. I feared the the liquid malt extract in the kit might sink to the bottom and trigger the run dry sensor in the Gigawort -- and it did -- even though I killed the heat and let it sit for five minutes. Adding the dry extract went fine and got the kettle going again. Putting the recipe into Beersmith I found it to be a bit too bitter for an English brown so I adjusted the hop schedule, adding the second ounce of Willamette hops at five minutes left in the boil. I also decided to added on piece or one "star" of star anise at the end of the boil for a little complexity. I chilled the wort with my copper immersion chiller and got the wort down into the 60s in about a half hour. I pitched the yeast into 65 degree wort about an hour ago and the temperature of the wort has already risen to 71, so I have my Brewjacket Immersion Pro set to 64 as I'm afraid that the heat produced by fermentation could push the wort temperature above it's recommended maximum of 74. Cloud logging is working with my Tilt so I'll be able to monitor the temperature remotely. I won't be able to adjust the temperature remotely but just knowing what's going on will be comforting.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Sunday, June 07, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020
I had a bottle a the hoppy red from December in the back of the fridge. Since I need all the bottles I can get, I decided to open this bottle up that I was kind saving for posterity. The batch of an over-carbonated mess, but I don't think it is infected. I just I bottled it too soon with too much priming sugar. Looking back at my notes I think the beer probably hit terminal gravity, as I raised the temperature to 74 (and now I know from using my Tilt Hydrometer that it was probably a few degrees warmer than that.) So I'm sticking with my theory of too much priming sugar. Patience is rewarded with this beer as the foaminess eventually settles leaving a rocky head. The nose if hoppy and so is the flavor with a bit nutty character to go along with caramel malt. Big time Chinook hop flavor in this beer. It finishes quite dry and bitter. Would have been a really good IPA had I not over-carbed it!
Sunday, May 10, 2020
The beer I chose to brew as a simple extract Saison-style beer with about 90 percent pilsner malt extract and 10 percent wheat. I boiled for 60 minutes with one ounce of Huell Melons hops and steeped another ounce of the same hops for five minutes at 194 degrees. I had wanted to pitch a yeast from old batch of "wild ale" but failed. I tried to resuscitate some yeast from a bottle of a Saison-type beer I ended up calling Near Wild Heaven that I originally referred to as simply the "wild blonde" that I made about eight years ago. The base yeast for this beer was supposed to be Wyeast 3942, but I ended up using some EC-1112 champagne yeast and added the dregs from a few bottles of "wild ales" until I liked that the tates. I can recall a big cherry pie aroma but it’s much cleaner now and very dry. Not as funky, except in the nose. I was so happy with how this "wild beer" turned out I wanted to try and save the yeast blend. I knew my chances of getting the yeast from less than 12-ounces of such an old bottle of beer to propagate would be slim, but I tried anyway. I failed and ended up using the starter to test a packet a BE-134 dry yeast. I pitched this into the Saison after about a day and it took right off.
I started the current batch of beer on May 4 and so far I've been very pleased with the Tilt. It took some time to figure out how to log my results to the cloud, but I know have a spreadsheet of gravity and temperature readings at 15-minute intervals. It's pretty awesome to see the ups and downs of fermentation. For example, the beer seemed to stall a couple days at 1.028, so I roused the fermenter and raised the temperature and it seemed to get going again. As I've written, I do almost all fermentations inside of a Brewjacket Immersion Pro and this was my first time using the Immersion to raise the tempeartue of a fermentation. I started the ferment at about 74 and raised to 78 over the course this week. The Tilt, however, has reported actual wort temperatures as high as 80. I was bit suprised that it hit 80 degrees as the weather outside has been cool with nighttime temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Surprised, but not alarmed though, as the recommended fermentation temperature range for BE-134 yeast is 64 to 82 degrees. With the Tilt and the Immesion I feel like I have a lot of control over my fermentations now. I hope to continue to have success with the both the Tilt and the Brewjacket Immersin Pro.
Thursday, April 23, 2020
|The rocky head on the B-d-G trying to get away.|
Monday, April 20, 2020
Pandemic Pale Ale (because why not) is a really pale ale, a blond ale in fact. I fermented it with Safale K-97 yeast. It was a simple batch of Briess and Munton's light DME along with Styrian Goldings and Sterline hops. I added and ounce of the Sterling at one minute left in the 60-minute boil while the Styrians boiled for 60 minutes (they were only 2.8% AA) for bittering. I fermented at 62 degrees to start and then raised the temerature slightly after five days to 64. I bottled tonight, on the tenth day of fermention, with the gravity at 1.008. The starting gravity was 1.047. I packaged about 14 liters of beer. Most of it was put into 500ml bottles I recently purchased and a few my cobalt blue swingtops that I have left.
I have a lot of homebrew right now. I have a case or more of the Ardennes Porter and a case of the Blond Biere de Garde I brewed awhile back. Both of these beers are overcarbonated. I looked back through my notes and searched my memory and I think I simply added too much priming sugar. For both of these batches I measured 2/3 of a cup of priming sugar for some reason which I believe to be too much. It could also be that both of these weren't quite finished or perhaps a non-spoiling bacteria. I also have a case of Robust Porter that turned out very nice and is NOT overcarbonated.
My next batch will likely be a farmhouse ale as I have some Safale BE-134 in the fridge and plenty more Sterling hop as well as some Huel Melon.
Monday, February 24, 2020
Whoa...lots of carbonation...but not a gusher...just think I added too much priming sugar. Need to measure on the scale and hot the measuring cup/glass. Sustained head. Deep dark brown color. Candi sugar aroma with raisins, plums and dark chocolate. Very little discernable hop nose. A bit prickly on the tongue due to the high level of carbonation. Sweet up front with baker's chocolate bitterness and black rum but finishes long with a bit winey and tart with a bit of bitterness that fades to candi sugar and toffee. Hard to believe it's been six months in the bottle.I haven't tasted the Biere de Garde in quite awhile, that will likley happend another night. In the meantime, I need to update this blog with the details of three other batches of beer: the red ale that I brewed for Christmas, another Porter and a Grodziskie. The red ale is almost gone. I gave away a few bottles but stopped after noticing a possible infection (yes, gushing bottles.) I haven't been able to tell if the beer is infected but there is a sort of rose water character that my wife likes but that I think is a sign of infection. The beer is otherwise drinkable and fairly tasty once it settles down. Following the red ale I brewed a Brewer's Best Robust Porter kit in which I substituted the Hallertau finishing hops for Chinook. Following that I brewed a Grodziskie (also known as a Gratzer), an ale made with entirely oak smoked wheat malt. I used the Hallertauer hops from the Brewer's Best kit for bittering this beer and some Styrian Goldings at the end of the boil for finishing. The Grodziskie is still fermenting but will likely get bottled in the next day or two. Both the Porter and Grodziskie were fermented in my Brewjacket Immersion Pro with the temperature set in the 60s. I pitched Nottingham dry yeast for the Porter and Safale K-97 for the Grodziskie. The Nottingham fermented at 66 to start and I raised it to 70 after the first four days. The K-97 started at 64 and I let it rise to 68 after the first five days. It'll be 10 days in the fermenter in another day. I'm a bit worried about using too much gypsum in the Grodziskie but want the beer to have a bracing bitterness. We'll see how it turns out.
Here's the three-gallon recipe for the Grodziskie: