Sunday, October 20, 2013

“Peter Peter Porter Eater" #2 [bottled]

Bottle date: Oct. 15, 2013
  • 72 g corn sugar
  • 1.5 c water
Desired CO2: 2.1 vol. (4 gal @ 64 'F)

Bring corn sugar and water to boil. Cool for 10 min and add to beer. Stir slowly. Let settle 10 min. Bottle.

Cold crashed beer for two consecutive nights by leaving the carboy wrapped up outside. Temps probably got down into the low 40s 'F. Allowed to warm to low 60s 'F before bottling.

FG: 1.010
Appearance: Nice clarity, black with garnet red hue at angle.
Aroma: Faintly burned chocolate, all spice comes through afterwards, perhaps some floral hoppiness.
Taste: Much hoppier than last year, also MUCH more bitter. This may come from too much black malt. Bitter chocolate flavors, not as sweet. This beer may actually border on a black IPA's bitterness. Very dry. Perhaps ferment warmer next year, or do a multi-step mash to enhance mouthfeel and maltiness.

Next year: Scale back on cascade hop addition, perhaps by 0.5 oz. Increase caramel malt for more residual sweetness. Consider fermenting warmer or a step-mash to accentuate maltiness, mouthfeel.

“TBD" Winter Ale [secondary]

Transfer date: Oct. 19, 2013

Racked beer to secondary. Appearance is very cloudy, opaque. But flavor is amazing! Really nice bready, biscuit malt flavors balanced against a spicy hop bitterness.

Gravity: 1.022

“TBD" Winter Ale

Brew date: Oct. 13, 2013
#20 - 5 gal

  • 11.5 lb Maris Otter
  • 1 lb Caramel 60L
  • 0.5 lb Victory malt
  • 0.25 lb Chocolate malt
  • 0.25 lb Special B malt
  • 1 oz Willamette (60 min) (5.7% A leaf)
  • 0.5 oz Tettnanger (60 min) (6.3% A leaf)
  • 1 oz Fuggle (10 min) (4.9% A leaf)
  • 0.5 oz Tettnanger (1 min) (6.3% A leaf)
  • 2 t Irish moss (10 min)
  • Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast starter (3rd gen)

  • Mash-in 6 gal water @ 164 'F (1.78 qt/lb)
  • Stabilize at 154 'F and rest 60 min
  • Mash out for 10 min @ 168'F
  • Vorlauf. First runnings.
  • Batch sparge with 3 gal water @ 168'F. Rest 10 min.
  • Collect runnings. Bring to boil and hop at designated times. Chill to 76 'F and pitch yeast. Let sit two hours. Chill to 64 'F and ferment.

Target gravity: 1.061
Target final gravity: 1.015
Target ABV: 6%
Target IBU: 37
First runnings: Collect 3.5 gal wort @ 1.065
Sparge: Collect 3 gal wort @ 1.035
Pre-boil wort: 6.5 gal wort @ 1.050
OG: 1.061

With lid half-on, boil evaporates approx 1 gal per hr.
Post-boil: Collect 4 gal without tipping boil kettle.
Collected 5.5 gal wort total.
Dead space in megapot = 1 gal.
Attempted to recirculate cold water for chilling wort using my steel head pump. VERY slow going. Need to purchase sump pump for this, while using my steel head pump to recirculate the wort, creating a whirlpool chiller effect.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cider Three Ways

Date: Oct. 4, 2013

I've been wanting to make a hard cider since I first started brewing beer. I am finally getting the opportunity this fall. The wife and I get our apples from Door Creek Orchard just outside Madison and, as it happens, they sell unpasteurized apple cider. So I picked up a couple of gallons.

Using a couple of 1 gallon glass jugs as carboys, I decided to try splitting the cider into three different batches: One intended to be sweeter fermented with an ale yeast and brown sugar, one dryer fermented with wine yeast, and one left alone to ferment on its own wild yeast.

Since the cider is unpasteurized and I didn't pick up any campden tablets to kill bacteria or suppress the wild yeast already in the juice, I decided to heat the cider to a simmer for about 10 minutes to pasteurize -- but hopefully not set the pectin and get cloudy cider. We'll see how it turns out. As for the wild yeast cider, I'm just crossing my fingers that I get something even remotely drinkable, or at least apple cider vinegar.

I did a preliminary gravity reading on the raw apple cider: OG 1.044.

Cider #1:
OG: 1.065
  • 1 gal unpasteurized apple cider
  • 5 oz light brown sugar
  • 1/2 t yeast nutrient
  • Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale starter
Add brown sugar and nutrient to cider and heat to simmer for 10 min. Chill to 80 'F and pitch yeast. Ferment at 65 'F.

Cider #2:
OG: 1.050
  • 1 gal unpasteurized apple cider
  • 1/2 t yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet dry Red Star Montrachet wine yeast
Add nutrient to cider and heat to simmer for 10 min. Chill to 80 'F and pitch yeast. Ferment at 65 'F.

Cider #3:
OG: 1.044
  • 32 oz unpasteurized apple cider
Transfer cider to sanitized growler, cover with tin foil, ferment at 65 'F.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

“Peter Peter Porter Eater" #2

Brew date: Sept. 21, 2013
#19 - 5 gal

My first brew attempted on the new stand! While it was great getting outside on a beautiful day to brew (and even meet some of the neighbors who were wondering what the hell I was doing), it was a rather stressful session as I was constantly attempting to tweak what I was doing. Over the next two or three brew days, there will be lots of refining to do.

First and foremost: Figure out how best to chill the wort without using so much water. It felt like I was running the hose for 20-30 min trying to get the wort down to pitching temperature. This wouldn't be so bad, but my street has no curbs or gutters, which means the water ends up making a swamp out of my yard. Possible solution: Put 2-3 frozen gallon jugs in a tub of water, and pump this through the chiller using my steel head pump. I'll need to get some hose connections for the pump.

I definitely need a cheap 5 gallon kettle for heating sparge water. My old 3 gallon pot just wont cut it on a full five gallon batch. Until I get this, I will need to heat the sparge water in my second 10 gallon kettle, then empty it into two other pots before collecting my initial wort run off.

I need a table or workspace to rest utensils. A simple solution would be to attach sheet metal to the center of the brew stand to act as a table top.

Additionally, I should attach sheet metal around each burner to act as a wind guard and to focus the heat on to each kettle. Hopefully this will also improve heating consistency. It felt like I was constantly adjusting the flame to stabilize my temps.

Love the beautiful pumpkin color against the mash!
Finally, I need a large tub in which to do my cleaning and sanitizing. A large Rubbermade should do the trick.

It may have been biting off more than I could chew for this first go around, but I decided to brew my pumpkin porter from last year converted from a partial mash to an all-grain. That meant some educated guesses about the grain bill and efficiency on the new stand. In the end, my efficiency was way low -- maybe 69% -- and I was working hard to wring enough runoff from my grain for an appropriate 5 gallon batch. I'll need to do a much better job calculating grain absorption, dead space, and evaporation need time around. I really need to calibrate my Beer Tools Pro software to my new set up.

  • 8.75 lb 2-row
  • 1.5 lb 6-row
  • 0.5 lb Caramel 40L
  • 1 lb black malt
  • 0.5 lb chocolate malt
  • 1 lb Vienna malt
  • 1 lb Victory malt
  • 0.25 lb debittered black malt
  • 30 oz pumpkin (canned)
  • 1 oz Hallertau (60 min) (4.1% A)
  • 0.75 oz Cascade (30 min) (7.7% A)
  • 1 oz Cascade (20 min) (7.1% A)
  • 0.5 oz Hallertau (10 min) 4.1% A)
  • 2 t Irish moss (20 min)
  • 1 t Allspice (5 min)
  • 1 t Cinnamon (5 min)
  • 1 t Nutmeg (5 min)
  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale starter (4th gen)
  • Mash with 3.5 gal water @ 156 'F for 1 hr
  • Mashout @ 168 'F for 10 min
  • Vorlauf and strain into boil kettle
  • Sparge grain with 3 gal water @ 170 'F for 5-10 min
  • Vorlauf and strain into boil kettle
  • Bring to boil, add hops at designated times, boil for 1 hour, chill, pitch yeast @ 70 'F
  • Ferment at 65 'F 
OG: 1.064
Added 0.5 gal water to fermenter to increase batch size to just under 5 gallons.
Beer has more bitterness than I was hoping for. Cut back amount of cascade at 30 min?