I haven’t been updating my blog lately. I guess it’s on hiatus.
So, what’s been happening! I still brew regularly and have probably at least 10 more brews to blog about. I feel much more confident as a brewer.
I have upgraded to a Braumeister 20 liter. The Bielmeier safety shutdown midway thru boils, the manual mash temperature control and generally too much piddle farting around with cheesecloth BIAB bags full of hot liquor (water) got to be tiresome.
The Braumeister does all the stupid stuff and leaves me to worry about the interesting brew bits.
I finished my 9th. brew just now and these are my notes for the day.
This is a SMASH beer that I call “Smashing #1 Cascade”. It’s only pale ale and … cascade and it came to be after a visit to Amager Bryghus (local brewery) where I spoke with opinionated brewer/owner guy Jacob Storm. I asked about East Kent Golding and were promptly instructed to go with Cascade instead which I did (you don’t argue with professionals).
Man, the Cascade he sold me smelled up the entire beer refridgerator even though it was sealed inside a plastic bag for just 1 day. The Cascade from the local homebrew shop for sure didn’t smell like that. I suspect these micro-brewery people are cheating with their fresh hops.
The Bielmeier electric kettle failed me today. Due to some laundry, my brew day started late and to catch up, I ate lunch during the latter 3/3 of the mash. I began the rise to boil immediately while my BIAB bag drained rather than shutting off and waiting the usual lunch duration of some 20 minutes. Apparently this caused me to hit a safety feature in the kettle that shut down the boil 30 minutes in. I had to let the kettle cool for 20 minutes before proceeding. It shut off again 20 minutes after.
This is very unsatisfactory and underscores the cheapness of the thing.
I used my new malt mill for the first time. It was really easy and absolutely painless.
My water and lowering the pH continues to puzzle me. According to the Kai Troester water calculator, I should’ve had a pH of 5,58 just from the grist/water treatment but I measured a pH of 6,67 – more than 1 point different. Trying to correct it, I ended up adding 13 ml of 80% lactic acid which kinda makes me think my water has humongous buffering. The mechanism of buffering still feels a little unknown to me.
I got 16 liters into the fermenter which puts me at 74.8% brewhouse effiency. The standard says 75%.
Fermentation is 2 weeks. Dry-hop in 4 days.
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What the hell happened to this one?! I don’t know even.
Ok! So! This is “supposedly” an oatmeal stout but here is what it looks like.
Now, I’m new at this brewing my own beer thing and this is my 8th brew. My first inclination is to somehow blame myself but how can this be because of me when the EBC values of the grain bill match what is on the invoice. The mash temp/duration and boil duration was right on target, so it’s got to be the homebrew store that mixed my specialty grains wrong.
I really need to get my own malt-mill, so I can be sure of what I have.
I am going to leave this another 2 weeks before I’ll judge the taste.
McQuaker’s Oatmeal Stout
Oatmeal Stout, All Grain Brew date: 03 May 2014 Drink date: 16 Jun 2014 Method: BIAB no sparge
Batch size: 14,00 l, final vol: 14,50 l Gravity: OG 1,064 SG, FG: 1,012 SG ABV: 6,8 % IBU: 33,8 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 92,9 EBC
I’ve had this idea of using a high alpha hop for bittering and an aroma hop for the … aroma. Groundbreaking stuff. I also felt like having an IPA on tap again.
With this batch, I substituted Cascade with the noble Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hop. I also tried to minimize residual alkalinity while upping the sulphate-chloride ratio. I used the water calculator on brewersfriend after hearing Kai Troester speak about how all others has it wrong (who am I to know) and this is the water profile:
Another detail that I’ve learnt is to decant the water of the precipitated bicarbonate before letting it cool. The effect of degassing CO2 out of the water when boiling lowers the retention of bicarbonate thereby causing precipitation. When the water cools, it will re-absorb CO2 and cause bicarbonate to redissolve back into the water. Precipitating bicarbonate pulls calcium out too, so it’s important to add some back as yeast needs the calcium for growing strong cell membranes.
It’s a good beer. Very IPA much flavour but less aroma than I’d hoped. My cascade celebration had better aroma but my IPA #1 has better bitterness.
I prefer the Cascade version.
English IPA, All Grain
Brew date: 22 Apr 2014
Drink date: 05 Jun 2014
Method: BIAB no sparge
Batch size: 14,00 l, final vol: 15,00 l
Gravity: OG 1,062 SG, FG: 1,012 SG
ABV: 6,6 %
IBU: 57,2 IBUs (Tinseth)
Color: 18,3 EBC
I tried making a wheat beer with a higher chloride to sulphate ratio. This was inspired by listening to John Palmer and Bob Hall talk about mash pH on the BeerSmith podcast (episode 60 and 61).
The sulphate-chloride ratio promotes bitterness if sulphate is higher while maltiness is enhanced when reversed. I wanted a maltier wheat than I had in my Wheat #1 batch.
The pH annoyed me greatly while brewing this batch. Despite adding 9ml of lactic acid 80%, the pH settled at 5,8 which is far removed from the target 5,4. I worry that my beer will turn out sour if I just keep adding more acid.
Weather is getting warmer and while this is nice, it also means that my beer is warmer. I have been leaving the kegs in the shed outside in the 4-8 degree weather and it’s been good but I need a refrigerator now … or a freezer. I’m also thinking why not build a kegerator or a keezer but I don’t know which is best. I definitely need to make a choice thou. Soon.
It definitely tastes good and better than my Wheat #1. If anything, it seems a bit thin but it did ferment down to 1,006. I wonder whether this is due to me pitching 2 packs of WB-06.
It’s a wheat beer and I like. Will re-brew!
Weizen/Weissbier, All Grain Brew date: 19 Feb 2014 Drink date: 04 Apr 2014 Method: BIAB no sparge
Batch size: 14,00 l, final vol: 15,00 l Gravity: OG 1,050 SG, FG: 1,006 SG ABV: 5,8 % IBU: 13,2 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 6,8 EBC
This was my attempt at brewing a Guinness clone which did not turn out as dry as the original. So I learned something about yeast and “attenuation”, so yay for learning.
But I like stouts with more body, so not a big deal. While the roasty and coffee notes are more subdued than the commercial “Double Stout” by Shepherd Neame that I usually buy, I am really happy about this batch. It’s damn good beer and I will brew this again.
Dry Stout, All Grain Brew date: 01 Feb 2014 Drink date: 19 Mar 2014 Method: BIAB no sparge
Batch size: 14,00 l, final vol: 15,00 l Gravity: OG 1,043 SG, FG: 1,011 SG ABV: 4,2 % IBU: 34,5 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 75,7 EBC
I bought the book “Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew” and this recipe seemed interesting because of the low alcohol content 3,6% ABV. I’d like a house-beer that tastes like beer but won’t knock me out.
My beer came out somewhat higher with 4,4% ABV and I’m okay with that. There’s no sign of infection, however the taste is borderline astringent. While not undrinkable, it’s quite demanding like some of the worst pilsners that I’ve tasted. I’ll probably wait a bit before trying to re-brew this recipe.
I got a keg! It seemed right to buy as _everyone_ on the internets says it’s _soo_ much better. So, I got 1 keg and a tank of Co2. Driving home with a Co2 tank in the car was scary as thoughts of it slowly displacing the oxygen without me noticing and … but I survived. Figuring out how to clean the keg and force carbonating the beer was scary too but thankfully, the CraigTube youtube channel has an excellent tutorial. Imperfect seals around the regulator scared me multiple times with a loud rattling scream of escaping gas. Scary new stuff is still fun thou.
No Short Measure (Progress)
Standard/Ordinary Bitter, All Grain Brew date: 05 Jan 2014 Drink date: 18 Feb 2014 Method: BIAB no sparge
Batch size: 13,00 l, final vol: 14,00 l Gravity: OG 1,037 SG, FG: 1,003 SG ABV: 4,4 % IBU: 31,8 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 18,4 EBC
The brewing process is getting easier and more relaxing. Thou when doing the dry-hop, I dropped the hop bag into the fermentor and a rush of panic hit me. I hit the interwebs and it seems that after 4 days of fermenting, the alcohol content sorta makes the wort/beer more self-sterilizing. Panic averted and no infection happened.
I tried changing my water by pre-boiling it and adding calcium sulphate. The idea is to lower the “residual alkalinity”, which is bad if too high, while adding some calcium back as nutrients for the yeast. Apparently, for each part calcium that is precipitated by the boil, an amount of bicarbonate is pulled out of the water with it. This is like chemistry and stuff.
American IPA, All Grain Brew date: 06 Dec 2013 Drink date: 19 Jan 2014 Method: BIAB no sparge
Batch size: 14,00 l, final vol: 13,00 l Gravity: OG 1,055 SG, FG: 1,010 SG ABV: 5,9 % IBU: 69,2 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 16,5 EBC
This second brew was supposed to be have been a brown ale. However, after substituting malts with what the local homebrew shop offered, it turned into a schwarzbier/stout but a darn good one at that.
Mashing went easier with a custom-made cheesecloth mash bag without the inconvenient extra holes that my store-bought bag had. I had a slight problem draining it as the mesh is finer but it was doable.
Chinook Brown Ale
American Brown Ale, All Grain Brew date: 09 Nov 2013 Drink date: 23 Dec 2013 Method: BIAB no sparge
Batch size: 19,00 l, final vol: 13,00 l Gravity: OG 1,055 SG, FG: 1,010 SG ABV: 5,9 % IBU: 33,5 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 46,7 EBC