Raspberry Blonde

Nov 30, 2009

I was on vacation just before Thanksgiving and had planned to do a partial mash brew of a blonde ale with raspberries.  The day I planned to brew turned out to be cloudy but in the mid 50s, so at the last minute, I milled some more grain and did the batch all-grain.  I can assume that this was the last all-grain brew day until spring.  I can’t imagine brewing outside this winter, even though I know people do it.

I wanted to use up some of various light base malts I had around so I mixed Pilsner and US 2-Row and added just a touch of Caramel 40 for some more depth.  I used Amarillo hops at the beginning of the boil for about 25-26 IBUs and no late hops at all.  Just before I shut off the burner, I added a 12 oz bag of frozen raspberries.  It was fun to see the raspberries basically explode when they hit the boiling wort.  The smell was incredible…in a good way.  I probably should have used my screen inside my kettle as the raspberries that didn’t disintegrate, wanted to clog the spigot.  All went well though, as I guess the raspberries were soft enough that they did shoot through the spigot and hose to the fermenter.  I use a strainer to catch the hop bits before they reach the fermenter with every batch and I am glad because I didn’t want all the raspberry chunks in there either.

I used Wyeast #2565 Kolsch yeast with a quart starter and by bedtime the batch was fermenting nicely.  By morning, there was a tremendous blow-off that lasted all day.  It has settled down after a week, but still I hear the satisfying “bloop” of the air-lock now and then.

As usual, I will post the recipe if, after tasting, it is worth posting.

The Adequate Brewer


Celebration Brew

Nov 30, 2009

Two weekends ago was another great time to brew.  The temperature was in the mid 60s with calm winds.  It was time to brew a recipe that is supposed to clone Sierra Nevada’s Celebration ale.  Celebration is one of my favorites and I look forward to its release every year.  I also buy it by the case to ensure I have plenty all winter.

I’ve looked at this recipe for some time now, but have never gotten around to brewing it.  Since the weather is cooperating for all-grain brewing (outside), I decided to brew this one all-grain.  The recipe calls for a total of 13 pounds of grain, the most I’ve ever tried to fit in my mash tun.  At 1.25 quarts per pound of grain this completely filled my mash tun and I had no room for water additions to raise the rest temperature.  So I had better hit the recommended rest temperature of 156 degrees on the first try.  I didn’t.  I hit 153 degrees.  There was nothing I could do at that point so I just went with it.  I really don’t think 3 degrees is going to make that much of a difference in the finished beer.  But if the beer turns out horrible, that’s what I’ll blame it on…not really.

Fast-Forward two weeks and I have just added the dry hops.  I used .5 oz of Centennial and .5 oz of Cascade pellets and I gave the fermenter a gentle shake to get the hops moving around a little.  The air-lock bubbled a bit more as the hops sloshed around but has settled back down again.  All should be good to go to the bottle next weekend.

The Adequate Brewer

Bitter and Brown

Oct 19, 2009

Yesterday was a great day for brewing.  The air was crisp and the sky was blue.  Fall is my favorite time of the year and for me, one of the best times to brew.

I know that once the weather turns cold I will want richer beers so I designed a recipe to be rich, chocolate-y, and full bodied.  I wanted an ordinary strength beer just with plenty of body and richness.  I just bottled a batch of a Belgian Dark Strong kit from Northern Brewer called The Number 8, so the super heavy beer for this winter is done.  This bitter and brown ale will fit in as more of a session beer whereas The Number 8 will be a sipper.

I used English pale malt, Munich malt, a fair amount of chocolate malt, and some German smoked malt.  I have never used German smoked malt and I think I used a small enough amount to give a nice smokey undertone, but not enough to be obnoxious.  The mash smelled like roasted coffee with chocolate, and I did detect a slight smoke aroma.  I also mashed fairly high to leave enough residual sweetness to be satisfying.  I’ll let you know when the beer is done if I got what I was looking for.  I’ll also give out the recipe if it’s worth giving.

Until then, I remain,
The Adequate Brewer

(Funky) Old 49er

Aug 18, 2009

I’ve now tried two of the Old Ale I brewed sometime back and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.  When I bottled it I used only 1/4 cup of corn sugar to prime as I feel that this kind of beer should have low carbonation and I feared the Brettanomyces would cause over-carbonation since it would be in there working away over time.  Also, the beer was very cloudy when I transferred it to the bottling bucket because I forgot the Irish Moss, or so I thought.  Read the rest of this entry »

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