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!


Bri said...

That's awesome your going hardcore on kegging. I'm thinking of getting some check valves for the co2 lines. I've noticed that when I have all valves open, the pressure will equalize as expected between all the kegs but also the air / aroma is from to roam from keg to keg. My beers smell the same. Have you noticed this? Maybe I should just open the valves individually when I want to add pressure to certain kegs and be done with it. I was also thinking maybe picking up some check valves so that air and pressure can't go backwards through the lines.

I've got 3 IPA's on tap and 2 are almost empty. I want to brew a belgian tripple and Jenny has requested Lakefront brewery riverwest stein clone. That's a good beer so I'll give that a try. I'm stoked to sample all your beers in a few weeks. Rock in Rich.

richt said...

I don't have that issue now because I have a separate regulator for each line, but I'm trying to figure out what to do on my new setup. Do you think if I added Ts with check valves I could avoid the shared aroma? Is it possible to put a check valve on a T? I think it's time to ask the NB forum!