Monthly Archive for April, 2007

Finally, a brew day

Scott, Joe and I were going to do a big brew day, but Scott had to go and get a job. However, Joe and my time constraints forced us to carry on and still brew today. We snagged Scott’s all grain gear, my kettle, and Joe’s new Zapap lautering setup and proceeded to brew a 10 gallon batch of ale that was split in to a Pale (or IPA… we’ll see) and an ESB, and a pilsner. I’d brewed with Scott doing some all grain, but didn’t know the specifics of what was going on, but luckily Joe, well, let’s just say he knows what he’s doing. Something about a formal brewing education…

Anyway, running two simultaneous all-grain batches wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The beers were all racked nicely, and all finished in the 1.050 – 1.060 range with few problems. There was something satisfying about brewing 15 gallons of beer, too.

The pale ale and ESB share the same base. We brewed 10 gallons of this basic recipe:

Grain

  • 18 lbs domestic 2-row
  • 2 lbs Crystal 40L
  • 1 lbs Munich

Hops

  • 1 oz Palisades (9.7% aa) @ 60
  • 1 oz Chinook (12.5% aa) @ 60min
  • 0.9 oz Chinook (12.5% aa) @ 30 min
  • 2 oz Cascade (6.9% aa) @ 5 min

The pale will get dry hopped in secondary with Cascades. The ESB was alloyed with a tea we brewed using 3 oz of Crystal 60L and 2oz of Chocolate malt, and a small addition of hops

The pils was brewed with the following

Grain

  • 7 lbs of Pilsner malt
  • 2 lbs of domestic 2-row
  • 1 lbs of CaraPils

Hops

  • 2 oz Czech Saaz (3.3% aa) @ 60
  • 2 oz Czech Saaz (3.3% aa) @ 10
  • 2 oz Czech Saaz (3.3% aa) @ 5
  • 2 oz Czech Saaz (3.3% aa) @ dryhop

The pale and ESB were both pitched with an ale yeast from Joe’s place of work, and the Pils with a lager yeast. We already have krausen too.

Brewing all grain with Joe was slightly different than brewing with Scott. Scott knows his equipment, knows the process, and has his thermometer calibrated. Joe and I were a little more trial and error. However, this was our first unguided experience, so we both agreed that it would be largely a learning experience and we’d worry about some of the other details later. All throughout the process, Joe would point out things like “there are two schools of thought on this” and we’d quickly debate or simply default on a position before moving on to the next step. Style is largely formed on limitations.

A few lessons learned from this experience:

  1. Bazooka screens clog way to easily with pelletized hops
  2. Hand-milling 30 pounds of grain can take a while
  3. If mashing two separate batches, either mash them side-by-side, or bring two thermometers.
  4. Brewing on a lovely day is no better and no worse than doing anything else on a lovely day.
  5. 10 gallons of wort is, like, twice as heavy as five gallons. Lift with the knees.

New hops

This weekend I heard from a grower about 3 new hop varieties we’ll see in the next year or two. Sadly, the details were obscure, but it sounds like Sierra Nevada will be one of the first brewing with the “Bravo” hop. Another talked about the success of of their Summits, which are now being used in Widmer’s W’07. Quite tasty.

OBF allows minors

OLCC has changed their minds and is going to allow minors to attend the festivities with an adult. Excellent. Ella can gum my tokens.