Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Review 4-29-2012

Just a little update of whats going on at Shegogue brew!  I bottled up some of my Mild and my Helles on Saturday for Battle of Bubbles 2 and Spirit of Free Beer 20!  I also had just enough bottles left of my Oak Barrel Stout Clone - An American Stout aged on untoasted oak and vanilla beans.  Due to bottle requirements, I only had enough of the stout to enter into the Battle of the Bubbles competition.  So here is the breakdown of my entries:

Battle of the Bubbles - Judging May 6th
Oak Barrel Stout Clone - Category 23a
English Mild - Category 11a

Spirit of Free Beer - Judging May 12th
Munich Helles - Category 1d
English Mild - Category 11a

I dropped of my entries at the Flying Barrel homebrew store.  So I couldn't just drop-off and leave, had to get some ingredients.  I picked out some WLP400 - Belgian Wit Yeast and about 5lbs of wheat malt.  This was poor planning on my part as I didnt have any real recipe pegged down in my head.  When I came back home and look at some recipes I realized most wits require flaked wheat, oops!  So it looks like my beer is going to have more of a hefeweizen grainbill, but use wit yeast.  I see a good pun in the future for the name of this beer!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

American Pale Ale Brewday

Brewed my American Pale Ale yesterday, but made some recipe changes, and I am starting to wonder if I should have.  I was doing a lot of research in the past week on different hop utilization formulas, mainly Rager and Tinseth.  I often talk about Jamil and his Brewing Classic Styles recipes.  Jamil's book uses the Rager formula, however any 0 minute hop additions are calculated as contributing no IBUs in the book, but the actual formula does calculate isomerization of hop alpha acids. The recipe for my pale ale I have included the 0 minute IBUs and it calculates a whopping 49 total IBUs for the beer, which is technically out of style for the BJCPs guidelines of American Pale Ales.  If I calculate by Jamil's modified Rager formula I would be at about 36 ibus.  I figured this would be spot on for my recipe.

I tried my first 10 min whirlpool addition on this brew - After I cut the flame to my kettle I waited a few seconds and added the last 2 ounces of hops and occasionally stirred.  The temperature of my wort held above 200* for the majority of the 10 minute whirlpool (no sanitary concerns) and I am sure some more bitterness was extracted from the whirlpool addition as well as my 10 minute boil addition (the 60 minute would have been negligible).  After cooling the wort, there was a distinct bitterness - hope it wasn't too much!

Brewday went fairly well.  Noticed I had obtained a decent amount of husks from one of my grain selections.  Not sure which one!  You can see a pic below.  I also got a LOT higher efficiency then I had been getting.  About 7% more.  I took gravity readings with my refractometer at the beginning of the boil and half way through.  I knew I was going to be high on my starting gravity so I made some adjustments.  I boiled 2 quarts of water in the kitchen and added the boiling water to my wort.  After chilling I came out spot on at 1.050 OG.  I will regret this modification if it turns out too bitter!

(Grist post sparge.  When enlarged you can see the husks)

(Racking to Fermenter Post Chill and Whirlpool.  You can see the clarity)

(Prior to Temp and Hydrometer Correction - Afterwards it did read the equivalent of 1.050)

Monday, April 16, 2012

American Pale Ale Base Recipe 1

I received a comment from an earlier post asking me to post my American Pale Ale Recipe I plan on making.  I want to clarify that the recipe has not be brewed yet and is a combination of previous pale ale recipes and recipes from known commercial breweries.  If I was using normal 2-row instead of the pale ale malt I would probably increase the Munich malt a bit.  Recipe uses Rager for IBU assumptions which I find is usually a bit high, especially with late hope additions.

Recipe Updated on 4-22-2012
Style: American Pale Ale 10a
Batch Size: 6 gallons
Efficiency: 70%
OG: 1.050
FG: ~1.014
IBU: 49.1 (Rager)
ABV: 4.8%
Yeast: 2L Starter of WLP002 - English Ale Yeast - Rinsed from prior batch

Grist Mashed at 149 for an hour

83.3% - Great Western Pale Ale Malt - 10lbs
12.5% - Briess Munich Malt - 1.5 lbs
4.2% - Briess Carapils - 8oz

Hop Additions (2 oz of Columbus and 2 oz of Cascade)
.4oz of Columbus 14.6%AA - 60 minutes - 22.2 IBUs
.6oz of Columbus 14.6%AA - 10 minutes - 7.3 IBUs
1 oz of Cascade 6.8%AA - 10 minutes - 5.7 IBUs
1 oz of Columbus 14.6%AA - 0 minutes (10 minute hotstand/whirlpool) - 9.3 IBUs
1 oz of Cascade 6.8%AA - 0 minutes (10 minute hotstand/whirlpool) - 4.3 IBUs

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions.  I expect to get a really solid "dank" hop flavor mixed with the citrus of the cascades to produce a flavorful american pale ale.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Review 4-15-2012

On Tap: I did some tasting checks on my two kegs - A Munich Helles which is still conditioning, but getting better.  There was some strong hints of sulfur and it just wasn't where I wanted it to be about 2 weeks.   This weekend it showed much improvement and I think in another week or two it will be solid.  The other beer is the English Mild that I brewed on St Patricks Day.  This beer is spot on right now as far as co2 and taste goes.  I am hoping for good things with this beer when I enter it into the comps in a couple weeks.

Stocked up:  I went to the LHBS, Flying Barrel, and picked up 5lbs of munich malt and 3lbs of carapils to add to my inventory.  I am planning to start tweaking my house pale ale recipe using CTZ and Cascade throughout

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cheap Hopper Extension for Barley Crusher

I purchased a Barley Crusher almost 2 years ago.  It is a great addition to my all grain brewing equipment.  The crusher allows me to store grain unmilled, thus preserving freshness.  The mill also allows me to not rely on or worry about estimating efficiency from a homebrew store.  When I made the purchase, I was to frugal to spend the extra $15-$20 to get the 15lb Hopper.  It the grand scheme of things, it is not a huge deal to have to pour half your grain and mill, stop, and the pour the other half.  But it would be nice I thought...

After putting my thinking cap on I figured, why not just make one myself out of cardboard?  I had a couple of boxes in the garage from online shopping and some SWEET Colored Duck Tape my mom had given me for my birthday!  I measured and the hopper was not a perfect square.  It was about 8"x8.5" - Just so happened one of my boxes was 8x8x12.  I cut the 8 inch sides and left the folded part.  The folded pieces would be cut on an so they would lay flat on the angled parts of my current 7lb hopper (see the picture to follow what Im saying).  I then cut the 12" sections to 8.5" leaving the flap as well.  Then I taped it all up and placed in the hopper to make taping adjustments.  The design assumes that the weight of the grain on the flaps will keep the hopper in place... I have NOT test this yet :)

(Extension laying flat for easy storage)

(extension on top of 7lb hopper)

The Extension itself its 8"x8.5"x8" which comes out to 544 inches cubed.  A pound of barley takes up about 46.2 inches cubed.  So this roughly gives the extension a capacity of  ~11.77 lbs (544/46.2).  So to be safe we will say my total hopper (original 7 lb hopper and extension) can probably hold a total of 17-18lbs.  Most recipes I brew don't come in that high. but I will be sure to test this extension out next brewday and report back.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How Fast can you Brew?

Everyone has varying levels of busyness and chaos in their lives.  Homebrewing is supposed to be a relaxing time for us in the hobby to take a step away from that chaos and enjoy life.  Unfortunately, not everyone can dedicate 5, or 6 or more hours to brewing.  Some of us can only brew once a month, some every week, but more often than not I think we all agree we don't have as much time as we want to brew.  

Brew Your Own magazine just had an article on the very topic of this post which is titled "Speed up your All-Grain Brew Day."  It suggested a lot of helpful tips to speed up your brewday as well as timeline of when things should be completed/started.  The goal of the article was to finish a brew with cleanup in under 4 hours - allowing some people the possibility of brewing on a weeknight after work!  A lot of the time savings was due to staying busy at all times during the brewday.  If you are organized, you can be setting things up and cleaning things out while liquid is coming up to temps, or while waiting for a mash.  The key is always to be thinking, "what can I be doing."

I have found that pre-weighing out the grans for a recipe, and measuring out strike-water the night or a few days before brew day saves a bunch of time.  Being able to roll out of bed and turn on my burner that is already setup up saves me a good 20-30 mins in a brewday.  Weighing hop additions during the mash and labeling them avoids rushing during the boil.  Cleaning the mash tun during the boil is also a time saver.  Being on top of my game I can finish a beer in about 4.5 hours or so.  I will say that sometimes having more time to brew can be nice and relaxing in itself, so I don't always recommend speed brewing.  Remember to RDWHAHB!

There are a lot of other time savers, so be sure to leave a comment with your favorite brew day time saver!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Its April, Fools

Quick Update - I was able to package the English Mild I made on Saint Patricks day.  The hydrometer sample was delicious with a subtle sweetness and a touch of that chocolaty richness that I really love coming through.  I look forward to this beer being carbed to style by next Saturday so I can participate in Session Beer Day which I heard about fellow homebrewer and beer blogger Billy Broas.

Bulk Grain - Participated in a local bulk grain buy where I was able to purchase 50lbs of Great Western Pale Ale Malt which cost about $0.74/lb.  I am currently on the hunt to find the most economical storage device for said grain.  There are a lot of options out there and I will be sure to update on which one I choose.  The bulk grain will help me keep brewing on budget!

Future Brews - I have 8 oz each of Cascade and Columbus.  I plan on work on my house pale ale recipe in the coming weeks.