Rule #1: Never brew in socks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Belgian Amber Ale Brewday 3/6/11

The BAA, or Ram's Head Ale, was brewed the day after the Golden Strong. It was a brewtiful weekend.

Calculated OG: 1.066
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 37
Yeast: WLP575 (Belgian Ale Blend)

Malts Amount % Max Pts. Color
LME 9 90% 45.33 5.00
Crystal 40 0.5 5% 35.00 40.00
Caravienne 0.5 5% 35.00 20.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA% IBU's
Saaz 1.5 60 3.3% 15.51
Saaz 0.5 0 3.3% 0.00
Styrian Goldings 0.5 0 3.5% 0.00
Saaz 0.5 15 3.3% 2.56
Styrian Goldings 0.5 15 3.5% 2.72
Styrian Goldings 1.5 60 3.5% 16.45

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Golden Bear Brewday 3/5/11

Today we brewed a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, similar to Duvel. A very simple recipe with one hop, one malt, and 2 lbs of cane sugar. The sugar dries out the beer so that it is very crisp at a high ABV.

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil Volume: 3 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.072 (including sugar during fermentation)
Measured FG: 1.008
Calculated ABV: 8.5
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 39
Vol. CO2: 2.9
Yeast: WLP570 (Golden Strong)
Measured pitching temp: 63F
Fermentation vessel: AHB Bucket
Days in primary: 16

8 lbs Extra Pale LME
2 lbs cane sugar

3.5 oz Saaz 3.3% AA at 60 minutes

Since the recipe was so simple, the brewday was quite easy, though somewhat complicated by the fact that we bottled the Armadillo Pale Ale in the middle of the boil. Nothing to steep, and only one hop addition. The 3.5 oz addition of Saaz created a thick, green, moss-like coating to the boiling wort that persisted throughout the boil, no matter how many times we stirred it back in.

We made a 1.5 liter starter a few days in advance and crashed it out in the fridge the day before. This volume of a starter would be considered underpitching for a beer of 1.072, as I listed above, but note that we are actually pitching into a wort of 1.054, as we won't add the sugar until fermentation has mostly finished. A 1.5 liter starter is right on target for a 1.054 wort. The starter smelled quite nice, so things are looking up for this beer.

3/6/11: Minor disaster. We ran out of vodka awhile ago, so I had taken to filling the airlocks with sanitizer. Unfortunately, vigorous bubbling during primary fermentation can cause the sanitizer to bubble out of the airlock entirely, quickly lowering the liquid level. So I swapped the sanitizer out for water, and in the course of putting it back in, the stopper was pushed through the hole in the bucket lid, into the beer. After much skimming of the krausen with a sanitized spoon, we managed to retrieve the stopper, and will remember to be very careful with the stopper in the future. I don't expect any ill effects, considering the strength of the fermentation.

Bottled 3/21/11: By far the palest beer we've made so far. A bit more bitterness than I expected, but not overpowering. Slightly tart fruitiness, phenolic, with some malt background.

Tasted 4/2/11: Clearer than anything we've brewed before. Very similar to Duvel, but slightly more bitter (I miscalculated the IBUs because the of the difference between the apparent and actual OG) and without the pilsner malt flavor you get from Duvel. This latter difference is surely because we used extract, but I don't mind because I'm not a big fan of pilsner anyway. Definitely carbonated, dry, crisp, highly drinkable, and delicious. I'd say it's a highly successful brew. We named it the Golden Bear.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Raspberry Stout Brewday 2/27/11

On Sunday we brewed the raspberry stout. This beer has characteristics of a Foreign Extra Stout, sweet stout, and brown ale, as well as including raspberries. It has more chocolate malt (2 varieties) and less roasted barley than a typical stout. The bitterness level is fairly low for the gravity, with 35 IBUs at an OG of 1.072 (not 100% sure on the gravity, since I'm not confident of my calculations with the raspberries).

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil Volume: 3.5 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.072
Measured FG: 1.012
Calculated ABV: 7.9
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 35
Vol. CO2: 2.5
Yeast: Nottingham
Measured pitching temp: 64F
Primary fermentation high: 72F
Fermentation vessel: Ale Pail
Lag time: Short
Days in primary: 11

9 lbs Extra Pale LME
0.5 lbs Chocolate malt
0.5 lbs Pale Chocolate malt
0.25 lbs Roasted Barley
0.75 lbs Crystal 75
3 lbs Raspberry Puree (added after primary fermentation)

1 oz Kent Goldings 7.2% AA at 60 minutes
0.5 oz Kent Goldings 7.2% AA at 30 minutes
0.5 oz Kent Goldings 7.2% AA at 15 minutes

We had a pretty major disaster early in the brewday. Since we were using so much steeping grains, we decided not to use bags and to strain the steeping water into the kettle. The colander ended up falling into the pot and splashing wort everywhere. While Jack was getting the stains out of his shirt, I managed to remove almost all of the grains that had fallen into the kettle. However, there was a small amount of grains that remained in the kettle throughout the boil. I expect no ill results because the amount was small, but it's something I worry about.

Other than that, the brewing went smoothly, and the beer is now fermenting vigorously. The fermentation has actually kicked up the temperature of the beer by 8 degrees, from 64 to 72. We had filled the airlock with sanitizer, but the beer ended up bubbling so much that it bubbled all of the sanitizer out of the airlock. We replaced it with water.

3/2/11: Three days after pitching. Fermentation slowed considerably, so we added the puree, which had the consistency of tomato soup and a strong raspberry smell. A couple hours later the fermentation has started to pick up again.

3/5/11: Specific gravity: 1.012. This beer seems to have dried out more than we thought it would. The hydrometer sample was very good, although the raspberry flavor overwhelmed the roasted grains a bit. I expect the raspberry to fade somewhat with time, and I'm also excited to experiment with blending this with other beers.

Bottled 3/10/11 with 4 oz of priming sugar.