Friday, April 18, 2008

River Rat Rye Kegged

I don't have much time, but I'm way behind on getting this posted! I kegged up the River Rat Rye on Sunday the 13th, after two nights in the fridge, and got it running with about 12psi, 3.5 feet of tap line to get about 2.7 vols of CO2, which is great for an American Pale Ale. It's nice and clear, deep golden on the edges to amber in the middle. Nice toasty malt with some sweetness up front and an intangible something that I attribute to the Rye, leading into strong toasty malt aftertaste. Hops are fairly balanced but prominent enough to be good for an APA. The body is slick, and the carbonation moves slowly, forms a thick head, and laces pretty well. There is a hint of diacetyl, and overall the beer is not as "crisp" and "clean" as I might have liked, but is still VERY good! Definitely the second best beer I've brewed now second to my Brown...

Speaking of my Brown Ale, my friends over at Around the keg have helped me name my beer! I was going for something "Prohibition Repeal" themed, and ended up deciding on a nice and simple "Repale". Now, I don't know if that recipe will be name Repale for good, or if it is a one-time commemorative batch... Probably depend a lot on whether I plan to re-brew that recipe again or not!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The beer is finally flowing.

Well I finally did it. I've been lazy and I'm a bit late, but I've got the Brown Ale in a keg, after 28 days in “secondary”.

Two nights ago, on Sunday, I moved the fermenter into my kegerator and set the temperature to 40 degrees. This “cold-crash” should have helped to drop an remaining sediment out of suspension further clarifying the brew. By all counts, it did this, as this is easily the clearest beer I've made yet, both during the transfer and in the glass. I managed to get the beer into the keg without stirring up any sediment too, which helped.

I'm shooting for the low 2s in carbonation levels, on the low end of the American Ale category. I've got the kegerator set at about 36 degrees and about 8 psi on the regulator. This is about as close to perfect as I'm going to get, as I'm limited a bit by the length of my tap line. You see, getting a keg system to balance perfectly where the CO2 from the regulator supplies the carbonation for the beer and also gives just the exact amount of pressure to push the beer out of the tap, can be tricky. The objective is to have the right amount of pressure on from the keg to end up with exactly 1 psi at the tap to push the beer with, this will result in good flow with minimal foaming. So there's this nice formula that can be used to determine exactly how long you need your tap line to be to get the perfect pressure (which can be found here, credit to Steve Jones). Except the problem is that I have a set length of tap line in this case, just a little over two feet! Thankfully I paid attention in Algebra class and had no trouble re-writing the equation in terms of pressure rather than length. When I calculated it out, I needed to end up somewhere around 7.4 psi to get my magical 1 psi at the tap with my two foot tap line. Cool, so I glanced at the carbonation level chart (also found on the above referenced page) and saw that if I set my regulator to just under 8 psi at 36 degrees, I would get a little under 2.3 volumes of CO2, perfect!

As far as the beer goes... well I like it! Slightly sweet malt up front is joined by a toasty and a roasty malt just strong enough to satisfy. The strongly toasty lingering aftertaste is a bit more subdued now, but still present. Hops are perfectly in line, simply balancing the beer and not adding too much of anything. Body is thin, overall the beer is dry. I'm a very happy brewer right now, this is by FAR the best beer I've ever brewed.

Now I think I'll put the Rye Pale ale on tap here this weekend.

And to top it off, getting drunk on my own alcohol rocks. =)