We like our moms

– Chris

Mother’s Day happens tomorrow. So does brewing, I think. We were off last week and other than transferring a lot of beer around, waiting for it to force carbonate, and whittling down the major problems in the past few batches to our yeast strains (which have all been thrown out now and will be replaced with “fresh”, read untainted, yeast), there hasn’t honestly been a lot going on that’s very beer-related.  Even our mash-cot is getting a little lazy:

So, I bought enough stuff to do a try-again 5 gallon batch of Poztulator Wit yesterday, “just” 5 gallons to test the waters and make sure there’s nothing else in our brew process that requires immediate attention. Hoping we get to brew it this weekend. Moms come first tomorrow though, so we’ll see if we end up having time. We ought to be back on the wagon next week though, and most likely will be working with a brand-new pale ale recipe. We’ll keep you posted!

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For the longest time

– Chris

Well, we definitely made it through the brewing of all twenty gallons of Poztulator Wit this past Sunday, and it only took (somehow) about ten hours. Some details:

  • The recipe is close, but not quite the same, as we bought out the total stock of German malted wheat at Beer Necessities and had to substitute some other things for the remainder. Slight hop substitution as well.
  • We decided a bit on-the-fly to throw some peaches into the first ten-gallon batch. Question marks abound.
  • Somehow our hydrometer broke, so we have no OG readings for anything.
  • Extremely slow starts in all four fermenters, despite the use of yeast starters. In fact, nothing doing in two of them, after two whole days.
  • Bought new hydrometer last night along with two new yeast vials, but, two of the same kind of yeast were not available, so there you go.

It effectively looks at this point like we’ve made three different batches of beer, then. One ten-gallon with peaches in it, one five-gallon without, and another five-gallon without (but with different yeast). Dividing that all out yields an average of 3 hours 20 mins per batch, which is incredible, but cheating, and none of the three are the same as our original! Yay. Screw this…next weekend we’re making wine.

An experiment in science

– Chris

Last Sunday was the first day we’ve pitched lager yeast into our brew. The brew? Our second go at an American Pale. I’ll take the word “ale” off the end, for the time being….see first sentence. The dog? That’s Roscoe, an extended-stay visitor. Anyway, the recipe for this round is very, very different from the one used last time, most notably including a little bit of “American Victory” malt for body and completely changing (and demystifying) the hop selection and schedule. Amarillo hops were used in place of two others; hopefully this will lead to a more balanced aroma and attractive aftertaste in the final product.

All that said, after the boil we separated the wort into two fermenters (this was a ten-gallon batch) and pitched some Pacific Ale yeast into one, and some White Labs San Francisco Lager yeast into the other. The latter should result in more of a California Common-style brew. The San Francisco yeast works well all the way up to about 65 degrees fermentation temperature, which is great for us, as we’ve discovered a certain corner in our basement that stays at about 64. So, we get to ferment both versions in the same room:

See how full they are?! That’s the result of careful planning not dragging the brew session out until 11pm. In fact, Jamie and I started brewing at 930am on Sunday…amazing! We decided to set up a bin for the blow-off tubes to empty into this time; a wise decision for avoiding a mess. Four days in, they’re still going strong, and we’re really looking forward to tasting the differences between the two. My hope is that the lagered brew will have a bit of summer crispness that our other ales have lacked. OG 1.044, if you’d like to know.

I do not know as of right now what we’re brewing this weekend…what they’re brewing this weekend. NEW YORK HERE I COME

The newbie

– Chris

Amongst a massive relocation of beer that took place earlier this week, our American Pale Ale found its way into a keg. It’s not fully carbonated quite yet, but the initial taste is….not what I expected. I actually expected “bad”, but got instead “good”! Why? Well, primarily because I didn’t know what I was doing when I came up with the recipe, aside from knowing that I was using up all the leftover hops in the fridge. The hop hodgepodge created a much more complex taste than I expected, almost like a (duh Chris?) lighter, less bitter version of our IndiE Pale. It’s very dry, again not as planned, but that probably has something to do with our super-duty yeast strains of late. FG of 1.007, 4.5% ABV. So yeah, it definitely fits the style of other American Pales, and my hopes are to be this successful again on the ten gallon run coming up in a couple of weeks! Oh, and I’ll have to report back when it’s, you know, carbonated and cold.