Easy ways to master the fundamentals of Homebrewing
Monday, February 1, 2016
Busy Beavers Brew day...
Sunday after church Mark and John came over for a brew day. But it wasn't just a brew day. We also had to bottle 10 gallons. And the guys wanted to make some mead. So that, sports fans, is a full day.
We brewed a hoppy wheat that John designed. Not super bitter but lots of late hops and dry hops. Should be a fantastic spring / summer beer.
We also sampled lots of the light ales we have been making. When you learn the tricks, you can drop a clean ale out like a lager and make realistic clones of lagers with out the need for a lager fridge. I must say the Stella clone is excellent. It would be as good as any beer we have made, but we also tasted the BDSA... more later.
The brew day went smoothly. The only thing that was forgotten, was the 5.2 pH stabilizer. But I snuck in a pH check and the pH was 5.7 after 15 minutes, so I didn't worry about it.
Man does wheat foam... it foams during the mash, it foams during the boil, it foams on Christmas, it is probably somewhere foaming now. John and Mark worked hard to manage boil overs.
Chilling beer with a single coil sucks. I have gotten spoiled by the two coils. It doesn't just take longer. It takes way, way longer. Temperature change is not a linear reaction. That is why when you are chilling you go from 212 F to 110 F Fast and then fight for the remaining 40 degrees.
I for one, will not be chilling a 5 gallon ever again with a single coil. Two, 25 foot coils will chill a batch in about 12 minutes. It took us 30... and that sucks. And that wastes a lot of water. One planet, one chance.
We made a vitality starter again. This time with good ol' US05. This is great yeast. And it is our favorite choice for a hoppy wheat. Good attenuation, mild fruity esters, decent flocculation. Good stuff. The krausen had begun forming with in hours. As of this morning it was bubbling like mad. You just Gotta love Fermentis.
I'll post more about the mead in another post, but let me just say. You can easily make 1 gallon of cider, wine, or mead on your brew day. They are all so much simpler than beer. If you can make an extract batch of beer you can make mead. The only down side of mead, is that it can take 6 months to a year to be really ready. A great resource for mead is "storm the castle". He is a trip. And he has an entire page on mead. But if you want to learn to make a catapult or a sword, he can teach you that too. You should really check out his page... Let's just say if a zombie apocalypse ever happens... this guy is surviving. Got Mead is also great stuff.
After the brew, we set to the arduous task of bottling 10 gallons of beer. We brew together. So bottling is the best solution for us. Makes beer easier to share and divide. We bottled a bohemian lager that tastes great, and dropped all the way to 1.007 from 1.050. And we bottled a Belgian dark strong ale that we have been aging on French oak chips. This is really the best beer I think we have ever brewed. I'm confident that it would do well in any contest. We may save enough to enter it in a few. Bottling is a breeze with 3 guys who know what to do... we were done in 40 minutes.
Next weekend we're brewing again. Don't know what yet. There are some exciting developments which may effect our choice of what to brew. More on that later sports fans.