Monday, March 10, 2008

Strong beer and sticky floors

Updated 8/14 - Bottled. Finally. After giving this one a swift kick in the pants with a new batch of yeast, it's finally in the bottles. Of course, now I'm paranoid about bottle bombs. Hopefully everything will survive and some of the weird flavors will settle down by October or November.

Updated 3/30 - Racked to secondary. SG still high (around 35), but I think once that falls some more, this will be tasty. I've put it back near the heater to try and keep the yeast active...will think about adding some more to give it a little shove. If it weren't so damn sticky, I'd be pretty happy with the 8+%ABV it's at now, but I want that 10%.

I brewed a big beer yesterday as a demo for a friend thinking about starting the habit. This is one a made up, so hopefully it'll be tasty. I plan to let it secondary for a while and then cellar in bottle for a few months.

Batch #10
"Decathalon" Barleywine (Partial mash)
Super High Gravity Ale Yeast (White Labs 099, two vials instead of a starter)
--11 lbs Ultralight LME
--~2.5 lbs Light DME
--1 lb Caravienne
--1 lb Crystal 75L
--1 lb CaraPils
--8 oz British Chocolate
--8 oz Orange Honey
--2 oz Newport 9.3% (60min)
--2 oz Simcoe 10.4% (10min)
--2 oz Columbus 12.2% (5min)
--1 Whirlfloc tablet (20 min)
OG: 1.098-1.100
FG: <1.030
ABV: 9+%
IBU: ~75-80

Mashed the grains around 165 for 45 minutes, sparged a little over two gallons to get a total of ~3 gallons wort at a gravity of about 20. Added water and DME, brought to a boil. Added 6lbs LME and Newport after hot break. Added the remaining LME and the Simcoe at 10 minutes, Columbus at 5, chilled to 70F or so in about 30 minutes. Fermenting at 65F, lag time was about 8-9 hours. It's cool enough so that I didn't lose any beer out the airlock. The yeast should bring this to about 10% ABV.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Where's a live grenade when you need one?

Updated 3/30 - Kegged. Strong, delicious. Can't wait for tapping time.

As revenge for doing an entry level brew last week, we did a partial mash last night. I still have yet to get the volume of water right for this process, as I ended up with far less than the target 3 gallons of wort from the mash. I know part of it is that the bottling bucket with a grain bag isn't the best lautering system in the world. I also don't have a spare kettle large enough to heat the 2+ gallons for sparging if I want a collection vessel. The centennial hops smelled pretty good, but I'm not so sure about the rye...I had my first rye beer a couple days ago and I wasn't that impressed. Hopefully it will be balanced well enough by everything else that's in...

Batch #9
"Fire in the Hole" (MoreBeer MiniMash Kit355)
English Ale Yeast (White Labs...1 L starter using 1 cup light DME)
--7 lbs Ultralight LME
--2 lbs 2-row
--1 lb Flaked Wheat
--1 lb Crystal 75L
--8 oz Rye
--8 oz Munich
--2.8 oz Carafa
--1 oz Magnum 13.1% (60min)
--2 oz Centennial 10.4% (5min)
--1 Whirlfloc tablet
OG: 1.067
FG: 1.015
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: ~56

The target gravity ranged up to 1.075, so I tried making a starter. Boiled 1 cup of light DME in 1 liter of water for 10 minutes, let it cool, and pitched my yeast with a teaspoon of fermaid K. It built up a nice layer of yeast at the bottom and was still active when I chilled it to knock the live cells out of solution so I could pour off the top half-liter or so before pitching to primary. I used an empty vodka bottle, largely because I felt I could skip sanitizing something that lived in the freezer and contained 40% alcohol. If I had any doubts, the batch is bubbling away right now.

As always, the Fonz was in for the last 10 minutes of the boil, and I still haven't tasted copper in any of my conditioned brews.