Sunday, May 24, 2009

Damage Control

We did a decent job saving a brew-day-gone-wrong yesterday.

Our problem: hitting our temperatures.

We have been very good at hitting our mash temperature so far, but yesterday we let it get away from us. We're so used to brewing in the winter that the summer heat threw us a curve ball and we overshot our temps in a big way.

We brought the temps back down eventually, but the damage was done. Our efficiency sucked and we were on our way to brewing 15 gallons of beer flavored water (see Batch #27).

However, two good things came out of this experience:
1. Early Warning. Lately we have been taking more readings more often including many refractometer readings during lautering and sparging. The numbers we were seeing on this batch didn't look correct from the start. This is the point that an expert could have possibly made adjustmets and corrected the issues before they really became problems. As for us, I'm just glad that we know enough to recognize when things are headed off the rails.

2. Damage Control. We did managed to save this batch. We had to adjust our boil schedule in order to boil off more than normal and ended up with only 13.5 gallons of wort in the primaries. I'm not sure how it will compare to past versions of the recipe, but it will be good beer.

You only really learn when things go wrong, and yesterday we learned a lot.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ice Cream Ale, Better Bottles

We've been trying for a while now to get our batch of Cream Ale to freeze, but no dice. Now that it is warm in the basement, nothing we have will get cold enough. One of our fridges got under 32F, but I think it was going to take weeks to freeze the beer. Who has weeks to wait for beer? No one! So, we'll drink it as is. If it is no good, we'll have a beer pong party or something and get it gone.

Kegging the Cream Ale also gave us chance to see how easy it is to clean up a ported Better Bottle. The answer: very easy. The port made transfer to the keg a breeze and the bottle itself was so easy to clean. I highly recommend getting these bottles. Get the ported ones if you can, but even the un-ported would be a joy to use.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hops: Up, Up, and Away

We planted East Kent Goldings this year and so far they are doing great. The vine on the right is almost half way to the top of the post so soon I will need to run the string from the top of the post to the roof of the house to give it somewhere to grow. Even though we know not to expect much in the way of harvest the first year, it still very exciting.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fruit Beers

We racked our Blonde on to fruit this weekend. Five gallons each on to Strawberries, Pears, and Watermelon. They will be ready to drink in about five weeks - just in time for the hot weather!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Das Boot

Have I mentioned that we like Spaten? We're brewing our first Munich Helles this weekend, so we thought it would be a good idea to sample the style one more time...