Monday, June 30, 2008

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble

The airlock is bubbling, so the yeast took off on their own. Still longer than I would like, I'm going to use a starter next time...

I forgot to mention yesterday that my OG into the fermenter was around 1.062. If I get that down to 1.015, that'll be about 6.2% abv. Gotta get the water right on this one next time...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Post Brewday

Brewday went pretty smooth. Besides my normal PH mishaps, and once again coming short of five gallons, everything else went well.

One thing I learned today is that a 9 gallon kettle finally gives me enough room to boil enough wort to end up with 5 gallons. I've only ended up with around 4 gallons today, because I was using the same amount of water as I would have used for my 7.5 gallon kettle. I'll need to be using a minimum of 8 gallons total in the future, more if the grainbill is big. I need to end up with 6-6.5 gallons in the pot before I boil.

The 90 minute mash... may have ended up closer to 120 minutes. Oh well, I do like my brews dry... there were a couple of times that I forgot to reset the timer after stirring, and I think i forgot to mark down one stir. I was supposed to stir every 15 minutes, 5 times. I think I stirred more like every 20 on average, 6 times.

Pre-boil gravity was 1.036 at 100F, which should be about 1.041 or so at 70F. I think that might be right on... if I had harvested 6.4 gallons of wort. Since I only got 5.3 or so, my gravity was low, again. Even with that long ass mash... I gotta ask the brewclub about some ways to increase efficiency. Maybe a better mash tun for fly sparges.

I'm actually chilling it right now. It's take a ridiculous amount of time, 42 minutes so far, and it's at 76F or so. I want it to be 65-70 when I pitch, the closer to 65 the better. I'll let it go a little while longer.

The color on this seems right, and the taste pre-boil was good. I'm anxious to taste this as it's my first brew with the Glacier hops! Besides a porter I made, and there was little hop flavor or aroma in that, this'll show me a bit about Glacier!

Ok, I'm going to go pull the chiller, pour my wort in the primary and pitch my yeast...

Ok wow, 3.5 gallons. That's nearly 2 gallons of boil-off! This new kettle does havea bigger surface area, so I suppose that's what I'll have to work around. So I'll need 7+ gallons pre-boil to end up with 5 gallons of beer. If I had more jugs of water around, I could've used them, but I don't like topping off fermenters, I swear it's lead me to infections problems before.

The beer is a bit darker than I was shooting for, thanks to the boil-off, and may be a bit sweeter and more bitter than I was shooting for. Now I'm questioning whether I will lager it, as it's right in line to be an English Pale Ale, and a somewhat strong one at that, possible 6.5% or so. It's too late to make it more bitter, which is what I would really like, but I could dry-hop it and give it more hop flavor, but then I would loose more beer... Oh damn, it'll just be a strong Pale Mild or something. With German yeast... I guess I don't care what style it is as long as it tastes good!

So now I have to decide if I want to brew a DunkelWeizen next, or go for Colin's Colsch again with the right amount of water. Actually, the next brew may be an IPA, if I can get it done in time for the August Red Ledge Brewers Club meeting!

EASY with the GD Acid!

Okay, I thought I learned my lesson once... I thought I knew to be careful and go easy with the Phosphoric Acid if I'm going to use that to get my water PH correct.

Even better, I should correct the Mash PH, not the water.

But no! I once again WAY over compensated. Stupid... I had water that was so acidic it could probably have eaten my skin off! Okay, in all honesty it was nowhere near that... but I did go a bit overboard.

My Mash is almost done, it did correct itself, so I'll be in good shape.

Brewday, Colin's Colsch

Ok, so today is the day. I was going to brew yesterday, but I had other things to do, including run back the Red Salamander becuase I decided to change my recipe.

I cut the honey. I did some additional reading, and decided that it was not going to have the effect I desired. I wanted some of the honey flavor to shine through, and that's apparently not very likely, not to mention that it would have made the beer take longer to ferment out, which I didn't really want to wait for, I want to be drinking this in just over 3 weeks if I can.

So the recipe is even more simple now:
11lbs Maris Otter
1.5oz Glacier @ 30min
.5oz Glacier @ 0min
Safale K-97

Mash will be 3.5 gallons, 150F, 90min. Sparge with 3 gallons 165-170.

Primary 1 week, 65F or lower ambient
Secondary/Lager 2 weeks, 32F
Keg @ 40F, 13.5psi

This'll be my first brew in my new stainless steel 9-gallon brewpot too! I should have even less worry about boilovers now! I'll post a pic in my post-brew... post.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Colin's Colsch

So I've been really digging some of the lighter-weight beers recently, such as Milds, Dark Milds, Altbiers, Koelsch, Weizen, and DunkelWeizen especially. Apparently a very Continental taste for styles as well...

So I decided that my next brew needed to be one of these styles. I think I might do Dunkelweizen next, but for next weekend, I decided to start out with the malt bill and brewing style of a Koelsch and work it into my own Summer Ale, for hopefully quick maturation and clean refreshing drinking.

Kolsch is a pale colored and very crisp, clean ale with German origin (Cologne), often made using only pale malts and Noble Hops. It was an answer the Pilsen's... Pilseners if my beer history serves me right, and is made with ale yeast but is actually lagered (cold-conditioned, 32 degrees or so) for a short time.

I really enjoy a Kolsch on a hot day, and I prefer it over a true pale Lager (made with lager yeast) as I often pick up on some sulfur in the pale lagers. But I wanted to mimic a Kolsch pretty closely, at first. So I found what I think is a nice little gem on in the form of an email from a Kolsch Brewmaster at the Brauerei Früh Am Dom describing the basic method (here). It's not an exact breakdown, recipe, mash schedules etc, but in this case I think it's pretty easy to fill in the blanks. After seeing that thread though, decided that I would take as much of the Kolsch process and combine it with some of my fav ingredients, include some honey (I think a Summer Ale with honey sounds good, we'll see!).

So this is how it's going to go:

-Mash for high fermentability, 150F or even a slight bit below for 90 minutes
-I don't have super-soft water like Koln or Pilsen, but I can compensate with some acid to at least get the ph right, but use my normal water, which seems to work well
-Recipe is SIMPLE:
-7lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
-2oz Glacier Hops, 30 min
-3lbs Honey, added at Flameout
-Safale K-97 (German ale) or my good buddy US-05 (if the k-97 doesn't show up in time)
-Primary for at least 7 days (Honey is supposed to take a longer time to ferment)
-Lager two weeks (secondary at 32F)
-Keg her up and she should be good to go! (Is it a female beer because it's a Blonde Ale?)

So this should hit the keg on July 19, in time for HOT summer days!

And a note to names and spelling... I haven't been consistent through this post, and obvioulsy I've hacked the name of the beer Colin's Colsch. Part of this is that I don't know offhand how to type the Umlaut, so if I want to spell Kölsch that way I have to paste it in... and I've seen it spelled Koelsch, and Kolsch in different places. But the beer name is a play on that, and a tip to the Koln/Cologne name for the city where the only true Kölsch's are brewed.