Archive for July, 2009

New Brewing Plan

Jul 27, 2009

I have bad luck sometimes.  Saturday is my day to brew.  Lately, it seems to rain nearly every Saturday.  When it rains, I can’t brew on my all-grain setup outside.  On the few Saturdays it hasn’t rained, I’ve had some pressing task to c0mplete or engagement to attend.  The result is that I have only been able to use my all-grain equipment three times since the weather warmed up.  This is just plain sad.

I have a solution!  I know it is probably obvious, but it took me quite some time to come up with it.  I usually grind my grains on Friday evening, so I’ll grind enough grain to do a partial mash and keep enough extract around to brew on the stove if it rains.  But if I get a good Saturday, I can just grind the rest of the grain bill on Saturday and I’ll be set to brew outside.

I know, it’s not an incredible insight, but at least now I won’t run out of home brew.

The Adequate Brewer

All-Grain Brew Review

Jul 14, 2009

My first two all-grain batches have turned out well and the verdict is still out on a third.  There are some things I will change, but all in all, I have enjoyed all-grain brewing.

The main things I wish I could change about the process are location and chilling the wort.  I don’t have a covered patio so I am at the mercy of the unpredictable KY weather.  I am tempted to move to the garage but I’ve been spooked by stories of carbon monoxide poisoning even with the garage door open, so I may not try this.  Maybe I’ll get a carbon monoxide detector.  Chilling the wort is another thing that I need to reevaluate.  Right now I am using a big metal wash tub and lots of ice.  In the fall or early spring it works okay, but in the heat of summer it takes a very long time… and a lot of ice.  I plan to get an immersion chiller before the next batch but I need to get new hoses.  My garden hoses are in poor shape and the connections leak.  The last thing I need is garden hose water spraying into my kettle as it cools.

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Old 49er

Jul 6, 2009

Almost three weeks ago I brewed a recipe for an Old Ale from Jamil Zainasheff’s book Brewing Classic Styles.  I had to substitute the hops and I had to supplement the grains with some dry malt extract (DME) because my mash tun cannot hold all the grain to make such a big beer.  But, I did get my hands on some black treacle.

I used the Wyeast #9097 Old Ale Blend with a big starter and man, this thing went off like a rocket the next day.  I really thought it was going to blow out the blow-off tube.  I have to admit that I did let it get a little warm (78 F) during fermentation, as I was lazy and didn’t set up any kind of cooler. 

The Old Ale Blend has as Wyeast says on their website, “an attenuative ale strain and a Brettanomyces strain” so I am excited to see how this one develops over time.  I will have to try a few along the way to see what changes as the Brett eats away at the sugars that regular ale yeast cannot eat.  I was somewhat concerned about introducing Brett into my brewery and I considered buying new plastic parts as I have read that Brett can be hard to get out of some plastics.  But in the end, I’m just going to continue brewing as usual, using all the same equipment for all batches, with the exception of marking the fermenter that was used.  I think I’ll mark a “B” on this fermenter, just in case something does come back to haunt me.

Oh, and the name of this post and the name of the beer come from the batch number.  I have brewed 49 batches of beer since 2005.  It seems a lot of Old Ales have the word old in the name so it was either Old 49er or something silly like Old Something or Other.

The Adequate Brewer