Friday, June 12, 2009

It's Brewing Season

After a long time with no updates, I've got lots of brewing news. We're hosting a party on July 11 so I've been trying to brew like a madman. I've also scored a new 7 cubic foot chest freezer (thank you Craigslist!) so I need to get 5 or 6 beers kegged to fill it. Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be purchasing a temp controller, 5 or 6 Perlick taps, a few more kegs, and a couple of CO2 distributors. I've got a double distributor so the plan is to run my beers off one 5 way distributor and then run a 3 way distributor off the other regulator so I can have a line for a higher carbed beer, a soda, and one for utility cleaning and purging.

Right now I've got a Saison from the AHA Big Brew that I split with my friend Ryan from the RAZE homebrew club. I think I posted the Saison recipe already. I fermented this with WLP565, but had to finish it with US-05 because I couldn't get it below 1.016. After pitching the US-05 it dropped to 1.012. I was worried that it would finish too sweet but it still tastes fairly dry. It's been in the keg a couple of weeks now and it's coming around. Appearance wise it's straw colored, a little cloudy, and has a nice fluffy white head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing. Aroma is yeast and mild pepper and fruit. It has a nice light body, despite the almost 6% ABV, nicely balanced bitterness, and a good mix of fruit and spice. Overall, pretty tasty, but I like Ryan's version a little better that he fermented with the French Saison strain from Wyeast.

I also kegged half of the 10 gallon batch of Hoppin Mad IPA that I brewed on Memorial Day. This beer is fresh, hoppy, and awesome! Here's the recipe for a 10 gallon batch:
  • 1 lb C60
  • .5 lb C120
  • .5 lb Vienna
  • 13 lbs Briess Golden Light DME
  • 1 lb sugar
  • 1.5 oz Warror at 60
  • .5 oz Warrior/1 oz Simcoe/1 oz Amarillo at 15
  • 1.5 oz Simcoe/1.5 oz Amarillo at 5
  • 1.5 oz Simcoe/1.5 oz Amarillo at flameout
  • .5 oz Simcoe/.5 oz Amarillo keghop

I brewed 10 gallons of Patersbier on Thursday morning that is now bubbling over thanks to the healthy repitch of Wyeast 3787 that I harvested from the cake of the first version of this beer. That brings my 2009 total to 70 gallons so far, which will hit 80 when I brew 10 gallons of APA with a mix of Centennial and Cascade sometime next week.

I also got the chance on Tuesday to help Tod Fyten of Mantorville Brewing Company brew a batch of Stagecoach Amber Ale. I met Tod when RAZE toured his brewery a couple of months ago. He mentioned increasing production over the summer and I volunteered to help, which I'm hoping to do once a week for the rest of the summer if we can get our schedules to match. Tod's a cool guy with many years of experience in the craft brewing industry and tons of connections, so listening to his stories was a good time, and it was really interesting to see the differences and similarities between the commercial and the homebrew process. There's definitely some homebrewer's ingenuity happening there. Plus, seeing 7 or 8 sacks of malt in a mash tun that wasn't even half full, 128(?) gallons of beer in the kettle, and giant bags of hops in the freezer was a pretty cool experience and definitely gave me the itch. Ten gallons just doesn't seem big enough now!