It’s cold in Georgia this week! There was a tidy little winter brew set up on the back porch. The fireplace along with the burner was in full effect which raised the temp from a frigid 38F to a toasty 54F. I then agreed to remove myself from the sofa and Intervention reruns to observe the beermaking process (YAAAWN…just a little bit guys!). As a sidenote: I’ve been quite startled/disappointed at the civilized nature of beermaking. To the untrained eye beermaking is really just a lot of pouring from one container to another, stirring and waiting many minute intervals. It’s like Easy Bake Oven playtime for grown boys. And the grown girls that drink it.
The beer attempted was an English brown ale. Chris wanted to add a little bit of a coffee flavor by adding a black malt, but instead of adding a quarter ounce, they used a quarter pound (they are quick to add this is the fault of the guy at the beer store). Right now the beer is dark, much darker than any brown ale and more like Mackeson’s XXX. There aren’t high expectations for the final product.
This is the first week Chris used the BeerSmith software which was helpful in sorting out the strike water temp problem from the week before. To no avail, as they still overshot the mark this week which has been attributed to overheating the mashtun keg by sitting it on top of the hot liquor tank for too long (they wanted to bring the mashtun to a room temp but it went to something more like twice that). I think there is a communication problem between the BeerSmith software and the type of equipment being used. I don’t usually advise lowering expectations, but BeerSmith doesn’t quite adjust for the fledgling set-up.
Other items of note: the hop plugs need to be stirred more frequently than 45 minutes as the loose hops formed a ring around the waterline outside the boil which lead to less than desirable ibu (International Bitterness Unit) content. Problems again with setting the grain bed, though there was an improvement from last week. They used a filter funnel which improved the clarity of the fermenting wort.
Despite these disappointments, we all had a great time. Jamie’s sister-in-law brought a huge delivery of Chinese food and the brewing was supported by Billboard’s country hits from Summer ’99.