Sunday was brew day for me. I put together a recipe using "Designing Great Beers" for an American Pale Ale: .5 lb Munich, .5 lb Crystal 40, 6 lbs Pilsen DME, and 5 ounces of Cascade hops. I've been reading about hopbursting, so I decided to give it a shot with this batch. Basically, the idea is to add all of your hops at the end of the boil to maximize flavor and aroma. You still get some bittering, but not tons, so that's why you need to use a lot of hops. I started my additions with 20 minutes left, then did another ounce every 5 minutes.
I did have another minor boilover right away when I added the first 3 lbs of DME. I'm trying to decide for next time if I should drop my boil volume by a gallon or try out some Fermcap (I guess it's supposed to knock out the foam). What would you do? Anybody else having issues with their new full boil setups? I did rig up a pretty sweet windscreen for my burner and kettle. Brian suggested sheet metal, but what I think he suggested (I was drinking at the time) didn't sound like it would work on my rig, so I ended up getting 2 ten inch diameter furnace duct pieces that are 36 inches long. I crimped them together and ended up with an awesome windscreen that goes almost all the way around the burner stand and goes up almost to the top of the kettle to trap in heat, plus it only cost me 8 bucks.
I reused half of the yeast cake that I saved from my Brown ale, which had been in the beer fridge for 3 weeks. I just brought it to room temp while I was brewing but didn't make a starter or anything to wake it up, just poured off the beer from on top, swirled it to get the yeast into suspension, and pitched it. It was probabably about 2 cups of slurry total. Apparently if a yeast cake has been sleeping in the cold for 3 weeks it needs a snack to wake up, because it took 20 hours to start fermenting. I was pretty worried, plus I went to my LHBS to pick up some dry yeast "just in case", but it was closed for President's Day. Fortunately, when I got back home empty handed the yeast was belching out CO2. It is now rocking out and kicking goo into the blowoff tube at a comfortable 60 degrees and it smells awesome!
I'm thinking about maybe brewing a dubbel after I culture the Chimay yeast or another brown ale (probably not oaked) next. Have you seen kit and hop prices at Northern Brewer lately? Holy smokes, it's like 50 bucks for their IPA kits! I did spend a little more at my LHBS when I built my APA recipe, but their hops were still only 2 bucks an ounce. I'm thinking about buying a 33 lb jug of LME to save some cash. Anyone else do or consider bulk buys?
I know at least Jeremy brewed this weekend, how did your brew day go?