Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring Fever

Well, spring is here, and with the upcoming birth of my second son, the extra stress that goes with my job in the spring, and the unfortunate disaster of dumping my dubbel, not to mention that Wee Heavy that refuses to carbonate, I am looking at building up my reserves.

On Saturday I brewed up a Cascade and Amarillo APA (Cascarillo). The quick recipe:
  • 6 pounds Pilsen DME
  • 8 ounces Victory malt
  • 6 ounces Crystal 40
  • 2 ounces Crystal 10
  • 1 oz Cascade (60 min.)
  • 1 oz Cascade plus .5 oz Amarillo (10 min.)
  • 1 oz Cascade plus .5 oz Amarillo (flameout)
The Crystal 40 and 10 and the Amarillo were leftovers from the Hopslam project. I've been really digging Cascade hops and APAs lately, so I'm planning on brewing the same beer over and over this summer and just swapping out the hops to see if I can detect any differences. After the Hopslam I only had an ounce each of Simcoe, Columbus, and Amarillo, which isn't much, but I decided that I would separate those and combine them with Cascade, which I bought cheap at my LHBS. I really want to stick to the same recipe as much as possible, but I will just be using Crystal 40 for the next 2 batches. This was also my first batch with Safale US-05 dry yeast, and so far I like it. No messing with starters, just open and dump it into the wort. 12 hours later I had fermenting wort. For my next several batches I intend to use this (I bought 9 packs) and put the money I saved on yeast into hops.

The Hopslam clone is well on its way to completion. While the Cascarillo was boiling away, I racked the Hopslam into secondary on top of an ounce of Cascades for dryhopping. The sample I pulled had dropped down to 1.017, which I think puts this beer at about 9% alcohol. The big yeast cake I pitched really helped with the attenuation. The sample was almost orange with a nice hop aroma, not huge though, which is why I dryhopped. The taste was obviously hop forward, citrusy, a little grapefruit, and a little sweetness underneath. It was much drier than the sample I pulled 2 weeks ago, so I think this thing will be drinkable as soon as it carbs up. Here's a few pics that I finally pulled off the camera from brew day and fermentation:

Check out this blowoff, I had to dump the gallon pitcher 4 times!

2 Saturdays ago I attended my second RAZE (Rochester Area Zymurgy Enthusiasts) homebrew club meeting. One of the members had it at his house and we helped him put up a new trellis system for his hops. I had written off the idea of growing hops this year, but after seeing his setup and getting hooked up with some rhizomes, I got pretty fired up about planting my own hopyard. As soon as I got home I started looking for any rhizomes that were still available online and managed to find Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus from Zeus is apparently the same as Columbus and Tomahawk, just not trademarked. I ordered on Sunday and Friday night I planted. I had to scale back my original plans, but now I've got 3 mounds in rich Minnesota soil and I've got high hopes. I dug a hole about 2 feet square and about 6 inches down, mixed in a few shovelfuls of composted manure, and then built up a mound and put the rhizomes on top. I used an 8 foot 2x2 buried 2 feet in the ground to get them started, and then I'm going to run twine from the top of the stakes to eye bolts that I'll screw into the top of the barn. This should give me at least 20 feet of room to run. There's more pictures below. So to all of my loyal readers (haha), what's brewing? Did anybody else get rhizomes in the ground?


Bri said...

On Tuesday I brewed a clone of Sierra Nevada Pale ale. It was my first 5 gal boil outdoors. Everything went smooth. The burner I got has nice extending legs so the pot was up at a nice level. I borrowed a 14 gal pot and obviously had no problem with a boil over. It measures out at 7.5% alc. 6 hrs after I pitched the yeast it started to slowly ferment. 24 hrs it was going crazy. This morning I had an incident. Even in a 6 gal carboy there wasn't enough room so it started to come out of the air lock. I attempted to quickly replace the dirty air lock with a clean one and to my excitement, my work clothes and office were sprayed with beer. So once that went over terribly, I put the new air lock on and that one just foamed out instantly, so I had to convert to the tube. Thankfully I checked it this morning before the pressure was too much and it blew off the air lock. Didn't that happen to you once? This weekend I will keg the Dubble so that I have a carboy for secondary. Maybe in a week or two I'll tap it.

My first batch of hops were neglected due to cold weather. I didn't plant them and kept them in the fridge. They got moldy and thus far have not grown at all. So I just ordered and received another batch. This time I only ordered cascade. I ripped up a pad of concrete in the back and am in the middle of putting up a fence. Once that's up it will likely be June and I can plant directly in the ground for a permanent home. They currently are in huge planters that hold 40 lb of dirt. Each came with roots growing already so I have higher hopes this time around. I like your setup and will likely do the same. Now I will pretend to get back to work.

Matt Andrews said...

Hello there, I am a chum of Brian, he hooked me up with your blog here. I am very jealous of the Hopslam project, I would love to try and make that beer. I will be looking for an update on that one. I hate paying 13 bucks for 6 of them, but I've done it more than once. If you can get that aroma out of your recipe, I am there. The grapefruit aroma just blows me away!!

I brewed ten gallons of Bell's Two Hearted Ale clone recently, it is being dry hopped in secondary right now. That has been my favorite beer of the past year. I am looking forward to not paying 8 bucks for 6 of them.

I also just recently planted 2 cascade rhizomes last night. I have 2 centennial rhizomes growing in a pot, I got them when there still was snow on the ground. I like how much room you have for your hops to grow, I had to steal some of the future garden the wife wants to create.

Come on over to my blog, it should be linked to my name or account here. It has some stuff on there and a incriminating picture of Brian on there.

Bri said...

i like your blow off tubes. What size are those? Do you just shove them into the carboy?

rich.tessler said...

Mmmm, Sierra Nevada and Two Hearted both sound really good right now. I've done the 3Hearted from NB before, it is super tasty. Bri, what was the hop schedule on your Sierra Nevada? Matt, thanks for visiting, did you have to take out a second mortgage to buy extra Centennials? The only place I've found them is NB and they're $7 an ounce!!! Another year of shortage and it will be cheaper to buy some of humulus lupulus' relatives, if you catch my drift. I sooooo hope that my hops grow this year. I keep hoping that all of the stuff I've read about hops not producing much the first year is just propaganda spread to discourage people from planting. Unfortunately my hopyard is 40 minutes from my house, so hopefully they have done well in this cold weather. If my hops thrive this year I'm gonna try to expand to a bigger chunk of the garden, I think I could fit a big ass trellis system with at least 5 varieties and 2 plants each. Someday man, someday.

Bri, you definitely need to get a blowoff tube. Check here: If you ferment in glass, just have them send the 3.5 foot section it fits right into the neck of a carboy. I have 2 glass primaries and 2 blowoffs and one blowoff fits better in one of the primaries than the other but I don't sweat it. I usually just keep it on for 2 weeks or whenever I take a sample. Otherwise if you use a bucket you can put your siphon hose right on the end of the big piece of the 3 piece airlock. I put one on right after I pitch my yeast every time now. Sometimes it's not necessary but more often than not, especially now that I'm making starters and being more diligent about pitching rates, they come in handy. You would think I would have learned this lesson the first time, but no, it took 3 or 4 blowouts for me to get the message.

Matt Andrews said...

Yeah, I just looked, 7.99 an ounce now!! I had a few year slump of no brewing and I really just dove in. I think I got them before they spiked in price though. I do hope I get some hops from the plants this year, it will make it very nice to have more homebrew on tap!

I'm going to have to go back to hop pellets just to get a variety of beers going. I just really enjoy using the whole hops and it set's up a nice filter on top of my false bottom in my boil kettle.

I am planning on doing a DIY stir plate for the starters. I bought everything based on this design here
I will post more on the blog when I attempt to build it. I do like starters, I just don't like planning around a starter. Although I've heard good things about Cold Pitching, so if you make a starter and then can't brew, just pop it in the fridge, decant and pitch.