Monday, March 21, 2016

Busy Busy Busy Brew day...

So today, Jake and I set out to brew the "lost IPA" recipe.  The original version of August Hyppo. The version that was so amazing over the years.  The version that I adulterated over time, tweaking this and that,  until it was no longer the same recipe, and not at all the same amazingness.  Today, Jake and I would recapture August Hyppo and begin the process of bringing this recipe back. If you missed the previous post,  I used to brew a magical aIPA.   It really was the best aIPA I ever tasted.   But overtime I messed with it.  With each new version getting further and further from the original awesomeness.   Unfortunately, I didn't save my original recipe.  So I thought I was out of luck.  But the recipe was found in a brewery cleaning of epic proportions.

It is great brewing with a team.  Dividing the labor, and the costs is a great benefit to everyone.  It also means we can brew more often than most.  We are in mid March, the NCAA men's (and women's) basketball tournament is in full swing (ROCK CHALK!), and we have already brewed nine times this year. That gives us a great variety of beers.  If you showed up right now as I am writing this I could offer you anything from a dIPA to an light lager, anything from a Bretanomyces Sour beer to an amazing BSDA.   But sharing also means that you pretty much have to bottle your beer.  And bottling can be a real chore.

Organization is the key to a busy brew/bottling day.  I have a
"Put away" box on the left,  a brew day starter and a "clean box"
on the right.  The clean box has starsan solution in it. Any thing
that needs to stay sanitary goes into the clean bucket
Bottling takes time, so I started early, so early in fact that it was yesterday. Yesterday I loaded the dishwasher with bottles (yes I am a dishwasher sanitation guy)  This morning I unloaded the dishwasher, sprayed starsan into the bottles and put them in crates for bottling.  And then I did that exact process all over again. And then one more time.  Side Note.  If you are not using your dishwasher to sanitize bottles... why not?  It is by far the easiest way to clean and sanitize bottles.   Believe me I have tried them all.   We had 15 gallons to bottle this weekend.   This morning I got up early and got 10 gallons done before Jake arrived.  The Kolsch, the Cream Ale, and the  Belgian Raspberry Blond were all bottled today.  All samples tasted amazing.  But the Belgian blond with raspberries was truly, truly phenomenal.  This beer may make the permanent rotation.   The sample was a little sweet but, that should clear up in bottle conditioning.

Fine Crush = efficiency. 
Improvements were made to the counterbrew kitchen/brewery.   The Cajun Injector Electric Turkey Fryer was Insulated with high temperature ceramic foam, and a new valve was installed.  If you choose to use foam to insulate, make sure it has a week to 10 days to cure.  The insulation dramatically improved the boil,  but really didn't do much to improve mash temperature stability, which really surprised me.  that means I'm losing lots of heat through the top.  I will have to come up with a solution for that.  I may actually use a cooler mash tun in the future.  We're having such good luck with a brew bag in a cooler, that may become the standard for the counterbrew kitchen for all grain batches.  And, I have an extra mash tun so... yeah, think Ill clean it up and get it ready for action.   I think home brewing is changing.  I recently posed about the fact that more and more people are using brew bags as lauter filters.  I certainly have embraced this trend.  But for me the most important things are making great beer and having fun.   A fluctuating mash temperature is not fun for me, so the cooler may be put back in service.   And I have to admit, that using a bag and a mash tun has been more fun for me recently than a bag in the turkey fryer.

scoop the foop, it adds nothing to your beer.
The brew day was uneventful.  We had a good time talking beer, and basketball.   Jake was a college basketball player, so he has some great insights to the game.    We did a protein rest to help ensure break down of the proteins, and boy did we break them down.   The hot break and the cold break were amazing.  We scooped the foop. The easiest way to do this is with a small metal strainer.   The wort was amazingly clear.   We did recirculate our entire wort volume after mash out.  These two simple little steps will give you brilliantly clear beer.    We had to fight boil over constantly with the kettle now insulated.

Jaded Hydra is the very best chiller you can buy. 
Today was our first run with the Jaded Hydra.  Let me just say, that thing is amazing.  We went from 210 to 68 F in 6 Minutes, and we were not recirculating, and we were not at full blast.   Get a hydra, spend the money.  It will save you so much more than it will cost you in water savings alone.   And it is really fun to watch the dial drop.  Literally watch it drop.    I can not endorse this product highly enough.  Yes, it does cost more than other wort chillers.   So what?  If it will save you that much time and money.  It is worth it.  We will be posting a full review with videos on our up coming 10 gallon batch.  I'll say for now, we were out of isomerization temperatures in under 2 minutes.  That is amazing, and if you read the dIPA posts you know that is a key to making great hoppy beers.

At the end of the brew day we pitched US05 and set this bad boy in a dark cool place.  I'm currently reconstructing my fermentation chambers so a cool corner of the basement will have to do.  But with US05 and this ratio of hops to OG, I'm truly not worried about it.   I cant wait to try this beer.  I am hoping it is everything I remember.

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