just a quick update

About this past weekend, Steve was out of town, but nonetheless there was plenty to do.  Saturday morning started off with Rob and I making a trip to the beer store.  We had to grab some fittings needed to build our new beer filter… more on that later.  Then after a quick stop at Jimmy John’s for lunch, home of the best sandwiches on earth, we headed back to the house. Using our new fermenters and recently constructed filter, we were able to rack and keg 10 gallons of our IPA in a completely closed environment… How awesome is that?!  Later we made sure we had 5 gallons of our Belgian Wit carbonated for Kinsley’s house warming party.  Fast forward to party time!  Our beer was a huge success.  Everyone enjoyed it and was interested in the brewing process.  The Belgian Wit was gone, and it has been a long day.  It was time to go home and sleep.

Sunday morning finally arrived.  Rob and I got off to an early start at 9:30 in the morning.   The weather was perfect; which brought some new faces to the group…this is always good.  Around noon our good friend Chase fired up the grill and cooked some mean bratwurst.  To sum it up, the day flew by and before we knew it our ESB was in the fermenter.   To the folks that showed up, we thank you for your support and hope to see you again on Sunday.

A day off

– Chris

This might not be what you were looking forward to reading, but we’ve decided to take tomorrow off from brewing.  Brewing, at least….we’ve got 20 gallons of beer to bottle (10 steve brown ale/10 american pale), 20 to keg (10 Poztulator Wit/10 Peach Wit), and 10 to transfer into secondary (ESB).  So we’ve got our work cut out for us anyway.  Anyway:

Our pale ale is very pale indeed.  I think I mentioned earlier that we were scrapping the recipe, and while this version is definitely drinkable, I must admit it’s a bit boring.  It’s like the closest thing to Bud Light that we’ve made, and that wasn’t exactly intentional.  Steve Brown Ale, on the other hand, is showing signs of progress.  Very smooth, with a nice honey sweetness at the end.  It’s a beer with a pretty heavy mouthfeel, my guess mostly owing to the honey content, and it’s not fully carbonated yet (the corny keg that it’s in is a bit leaky around the rubber seals) but I think once it’s nice and bubbly it’ll have the right balance.

Expansion

– Chris

Saturday’s party was a nice change of pace…we had a bit of a different crowd over than usual, which meant new folks to try our beer! And did they like it? Yes, they did. So much so that we got a wedding request:

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That’s Brad and Candace, and they’re getting married in October. They need enough beer on tap for 300 people…about 100 gallons!…and they asked us to brew it. Our plan probably is gonna be to brew up two recipes, a wheat beer and something else–maybe something more festive for the season.

As for the status of our other brews, the oatmeal stout is delicious this time around. Silky smooth with a coffee finish. Absolutely. The ESB? Well, apparently I hadn’t done a very good job of carbonating it in the keg; it was still kind of flat. But we’ll fix that today, or more likely, tomorrow, along with some other transferring and kegging and whatnot.

Why the delay, you ask? Because tonight is opening night in the ATL for the Braves! Squaring off against the Pirates, and Glavine’s back in town, starting for us! This equals a) attempting to beat traffic by leaving for the game at four o’clock but probably sitting in it anyway, b) tailgating in a parking lot that is really far from the stadium probably, and c) the stadium being ridiculously crowded. It also means a night of Anheuser-Busch lager beer in the park, but hey, I can dig it. Not gonna lie…a Bud Heavy pairs really well with this much America.

Weekday #3

– Chris

Can’t wait for later today. Super nice weather and lots of beer to transfer! We kegged five gallons of ESB last night to carbonate before it receives the beer gun treatment, and we’ll be kegging the other five to have on tap this afternoon…we got an FG of 1.012 with an ABV of 4.2% out of this cranked-up recipe, and it tastes great! Very clear, with a definite increase in body over the last run, and a clean finish…and that’s flat and at room temperature! I’m excited to taste it again later today. The ESB is gonna be good and is gonna go fast, so come on over on Sunday and get a taste while you can! Actually, it’s not going to go quite so fast, because:

Eileen leaves us today for three weeks. She’s going to visit her homeland, the UK. She’s promised to be our foreign correspondent whilst abroad, so we’ll see…maybe British computers are hip enough to write stuff for us, because the ones around here aren’t.

Um, otherwise, we’ll also transfer the ten gallons of IPA into secondary and do some cleaning on our kegerator today, and I think we’ll work a little on putting together a refined recipe for our American Pale, which will be brewed this coming Sunday. Until next time…

Turn it…down?

– Chris

We’ve been getting unusually high attenuations lately from our yeast(s). Like, in the 80% range for our last three batches:

  • Oatmeal Stout version 2: OG 1.050, FG 1.010, 79.3% AA, 5.2% ABV
  • Steve Brown Ale: OG 1.048, FG 1.009, 80.6% AA, 5.1% ABV
  • American Pale Ale: OG 1.041, FG 1.007, 82.4% AA, 4.5% ABV

I mean, I’m a big fan of the 80’s, but didn’t really expect to make it that apparent in this part of my life. Our temperatures have stayed fairly consistent, and we’re not getting any real off flavors in the beer that suggests a hot or overly-vigorous fermentation. I guess it is the fact that we’ve switched to using starters for/harvesting our yeast? Is this a good thing or not? I mean, it seems good to me, but it also suggests we’re maybe using too much yeast now…also, I’d maybe like to create a beer that is outside the 4.5-5.5% ABV range; am I not destined for this? I reckon time will tell with the next runs of these beers (yes Steve, we’ll make your brown ale again) if they’re to be consistent. Maybe I should go read now.