Saturday, March 31, 2007

Red Ale

Mix 5 oz of priming sugar with 2.5 cups of water and boil for 10 minutes. Add to bottling bucket, add Red Ale and bottle. I left behind a fair bit of beer in the secondary fermenter to make sure that I did not get too much yeast. As a result I got 3 bottles short of 2 cases.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Sweet Summer Ale

Rack to secondary fermenter. The primary fermentation went well, starting on the second day and running through Thursday. It was nearly complete, very slowly continuing, on Thursday.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sweet Summer Ale

Starting a new brew called Sweet Summer Ale. The recipe can be found here. The grains have been cracked, put into a bag and set in the brew pot. Around 9:00 am or so, I started the boil. As with the Red Ale, I'm brewing all 5 gallons at once in the large brew pot. I start with 6 gallons and we'll see how much I end up with.

9:50 Water is boiling. Remove grains. Add Malt.

10:03 Boil restarts. Add Willamette hops (4.5% AA) and cover.

10:40 Add 1 tsp of Irish Moss

10:43 Add Saaz hops (3.1% AA)

10:53 Remove from heat and allow to cool.

11:30 Temperature = 100 F, add 2 tsp Yeast nutrient and 1 tsp Yeast energizer. Transfer the wort to the fermenter for further cooling.

Ok, my temperature measurement during the cool down need to be reviewed. I'm using a floating thermometer in the wort which should be fine, and I don't think the thermometer is inaccurate, however, my temperature measurements are fluctuating wildly. It must be due to temperature variations within the wort given the way I'm cooling it. I'm cooling it by leaving it in the brew pot, which remains covered, and is placed in a tub of cold water. I've seen the temperature fluctuate between 90 F and 110 F just while checking the wort and transferring it to the fermenter. So, right now the wort is perhaps as warm as 110 F and is in the Fermenter, which is sealed with an air-lock, which is in turn sitting in a tub of cold water. I will check the temperature again in about a half-hour or so.

I need to consider purchasing an immersion chiller.

12:25 Wort Temperature = 84 F. Needs to cool longer.

2:00 And Wort Temperature still reads 84 F, using a second thermometer as well. Ok, pitch the yeast (Wyeast 1272 prepared according to directions on packet).
Original Gravity 1.044
Adjusted OG 1.047

That is substantially higher than expected. I do not know what is going on with this batch.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Red Ale

Rack to secondary fermenter.
T = 68 F
FG = 1.012
Adjusted FG = 1.013

Looks good! The specific gravity is a bit high, the expected value was 1.008 to 1.010. The fermentation did go very quickly, it was really done by Tuesday night, only about 48 hours after pitching. On the other hand, there was no shortage of yeast at the bottom of the primary fermenter. I had it in the back room for the fermentation and the back room is a little cold. As the final temperature indicates it was probably below 70 F throughout the primary fermentation. We'll see.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Red Ale

6:00 am - fermentation well under way.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Brewer's Best - Red Ale

Ok, I'm starting to brew again, using a boxed recipe, Brewer's Best Red Ale.

I'm using a big, 30 qt, brew kettle for this one. Therefore, instead of the usual add the malt to 2 gal for the boil, then add 3 gal to cool, I'm doing all 5 gal in the one brew pot from the start. Also, before I used municipal water so I could assume it was chlorinated, but now I've got well water. All the more reason to boil it all.

So I start with the crushed grains in the bag provided and heat the water from cold for about 30 minutes until at 1:20 the water temperature is 165 F. By 1:35 I notice that the water temperature is over 170, though I tried to control it, so the grains come out. Drained and squeezed the bag. Put the heat back on and let it boil.

2:05 boil starts, add Malt (2 lbs. Munton's light dry, 3.3 lbs Cooper's light liquid)

2:20 boil up again, add bittering hops (Willamette, 1 oz, 4.5% AA).

3:15 Add finishing hops, (Willamette, 1 oz, 4.5% AA).

3:20 Pull brew pot off of flame and start to cool. I don't have an immersion chiller so the brew pot is sitting in a tub of cold water. It's a cold day outside so it should cool down fairly quickly.

4:42 Following the instructions on the Danstar "Nottingham" dry yeast packet I rehydrate the yeast at 86 F.

5:00 Gently stir the rehydrating yeast. Looks good. Nice even dsitribution of yeast throughout the water. Yeast temperature is 86 F, Wort temperature is 90 F, add a little wort to the yeast and wait. Meanwhile the original gravity is 1.040. Corrected O.G. = 1.044

5:11 The thermometer in the yeast still says 86 F and I've added a lot more wort. I think I need to check my thermometers, do they all agree? In any case, pitch the yeast, add the airlock and seal the fermentor.

Note: I started with 6 gallons in the original boil and ended with just 5 gallons in the fermentor.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Limonchello + six weeks

Well today I filter and bottle my concoction. Now, as I said at the start, I'm mixing and matching recipes I found on the web to come up with the recipe I'm using for this batch. I have left the lemon peel in the concoction after adding the syrup two weeks ago. The first step then was to pour the concoction trough a metal strainer to remove the peel. The remaining liquid was then filtered through coffee filters to remove whatever remaining sediment I could. That did clog up the filters and the gallon or so of liquid required some 10 filters, or more. The filtered liquid was finally poured into bottles to go back in the basement for another week or two.

The color was darker than I expected limoncello to be. Perhaps leaving the peel in the alcohol plus syrup was not such a good idea. Also, the taste, while good, was not fantastic. (First batch, what can I expect). I did not have quite as strong a lemon flavor as I expected. Perhaps, I need to steep the peel longer before adding the syrup.

On the suggestion of my lovely wife Kate, I may try something unorthodox with one of the bottles that this brew will produce. I plan to add a little alcohol and a small additional amount of syrup to the liquid I have produced. The plan is to lighten the color but retain the character of the liquor. Possibly a disaster, but I'll still have three bottles done the standard way.

One bottle was going to be short anyway so that's the experimental. I added about 200 ml of alcohol and I've prepared about 200 ml of syrup. Once the syrup cools I will add it to the bottle and store them all in the basement for another two weeks.

Well everything is all packed up. The special bottle is marked with a blue label.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Limonchello + five weeks

Ok, the lemon peel has steeped long enough in the alcohol, on to the next step.

Make the Syrup

To make the syrup I took 1.5 liters of water and brought it to a boil. To this I added 700 g (30 oz actually, my balance does not indicate grams) of sugar and boiled the mixture for about 5 minutes. Take the syrup off the stove top and leave it to cool starting at 8:30 in the evening.

Add the Syrup

At 11:40 the syrup had cooled to about 84 F so I added it to the alcohol and lemon peel. Everything seemed to go well. The mixture is now a kind of cloudy yellow color. I put it back in the basement to sit for another couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Limoncello + four weeks

Swirl again. Looks good. Next week the sugar.