Sunday, January 31, 2016

3P Kegged

After 11 days at 65°, my pre-Prohibition pilsner is down to a final gravity of 1.008. This equates to 5.5% abv and 83% attenuation. The low mash temperature definitely did the trick for drying out the beer! On Saturday, January 30, I dropped the temperature down to 40°, and on Sunday dropped it again to 35°. This evening (Sunday, January 31), I kegged the beer. I am fining it with 3/4 tsp. of gelatin in 1/2 cup of water, mixed in with the beer. I'm force-carbonating and lagering at a temperature of 34°.

The beer has cleaned up pretty nicely, although is still pretty hazy. I expect the gelatin should take care of that in short order. I can definitely pick up the corn in the grist, as expected for a beer in the American pilsner style.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout 1.2 Kegged

Today I kegged my Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout, after 3 weeks in the primary fermenter. The beer had settled down to a final gravity of 1.020. From a starting gravity of 1.060, that is 5.3% abv. Not much more to add!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

3P Update

I checked the gravity for Dad's Pre-Prohibition Pilsner on Sunday, January 17. At this point, it was down to 1.018, from 1.051. This puts the beer at around 64% apparent attenuation (and 4.3% abv), so it's time to start ramping up the temperature. The temperature at this point was around 52°. For the first 12 hours, I just let it free rise in the fermentation chamber. The next morning (January 18), it was at 55°. I then put my heating pad in the chamber, and set it at 60°. By that evening, it was at the desired temperature. I then gave it the final bump up to 65°, which it had reached by the morning of January 19.

Per the guidance from Brulosophy, I will leave it at this temperature for four to 10 days. I'll probably do a check next weekend.

The beer is a quite pale straw color, and pretty hazy yet (not surprising). The krausen was ridiculously rocky on it--I suppose it's a product of the grains plus the yeast strain. I am a bit surprised that I don't pick up any really obvious off-flavors (e.g., diacetyl), but perhaps that is just my bad palate.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Jarrylo Session IPA Kegged

Tonight (10 January 2016) I kegged my Jarrylo Session IPA, which has been fermenting for 11 days. The yeast had dropped very clear, and the beer had a malty flavor (all that Munich!) with a rather subdued bitterness. I'd probably place it in the pale ale rather than than IPA category. Nonetheless, it's shaping up nicely!

Final gravity is 1.017, down from 1.047, for 3.9% abv. I added the dry hops (weighted down with two stainless steel washers--I note that three would probably be advisable, as the bag didn't really sink as much as I'd hoped!). I'll be force carbonating, and hopefully can let it go at least a week before tapping.

Dad's 3P

For quite some time, I've been itching to make a lager. It was on my goal list for 2015, but never quite happened. The main thing deterring me was the time investment--the process takes longer than an average ale, so I didn't want to tie up my fermentation chamber for months. I have to keep the taps on my keezer all occupied, after all!

When I discovered a "quick-lager" method, that provided the incentive I needed. This is a technique popularized by the folks at Brulosophy (although not developed by them, as they are quick to point out). Essentially, you use a temperature-change regimen to keep the process moving along. Most of the potential off-flavors are produced in the first half of fermentation, so once the beer is more 50% attenuated, you can raise the temperature and speed up the finishing. Then, it's a cold crash, some gelatin, and you're done!

For my first lager, I chose a recipe that my dad has been brewing for many years. It is a "Pre-Prohibition Pilsner," in the style of the American beers that were made before Prohibition destroyed many of the traditional breweries and beers. He makes an extract version that is absolutely delicious, and has been brewing it in some form or another for close to 15 years. The original recipe came from the April 1999 issue of Brew Your Own, and I have modified it slightly for hop and yeast availability. The main changes are using Spalt instead of Tettnanger and WLP800 (Pilsner Lager) instead of an American pilsner strain.

I will note that the rye flakes are "off-style" for a classic American pilsner, and I suppose the yeast is too. But, it's homebrew, so I'll make my beer the way I want to and forget about official style guidelines. I also wanted to approximate the classic water of Pilsen, so used a water blend heavily tilted towards distilled water. Our tap water here has a ton of minerals, and so is not well-suited on its own for the styles (including American pilsners) that are best with soft water.

Dad's 3P (Pre-Prohibition Pilsner)
  • 9 lbs. pilsner malt
  • 1 lb. flaked maize
  • 0.5 lb. carapils malt
  • 0.5 lb. flaked rye
  • 2 oz. German Spalt hops pellets (2.4% alpha, 4.3% beta), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Hallertau hops pellets (2.7% alpha, 3.8% beta), 30 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Hallertau hops pellets (2.7% alpha, 3.8% beta), 15 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. yeast nutrient
  • 1 package Pilsner Lager yeast (White Labs, WLP800), prepared in 2L starter
  • "Special water blend" - 2 gallons of the carbonate-heavy Claremont water with 7 gallons of distilled water.
  • Five days in advance, I prepared a 2 liter yeast starter, and let it ferment out for 2.5 days (after the krausen had fallen). I then put it in the refrigerator to cold crash for another 3 days.
  • I mashed in with 4.25 gallons of water at 161.8°, aiming for a target mash temperature of 149°. The mash hit 149.8°, and was down to 146° after 55 minutes. 
  • After the 60 minute mash rest, I added 0.84 gallons of water at ~160°, let it rest for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. Then, I added 3.82 gallons of water at 180°, which brought the mash bed up to 162°. I let this rest for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and drained again.
  • In total, I collected 7.75 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.043, for an efficiency of 82%. I suspect my water volume must have gotten off somewhere in the process. But, I'm not too worried because this is my target gravity anyhow before the boil.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, and added the hops, Irish moss, and yeast nutrient per the schedule.
  • After 60 minutes of boiling, I chilled the wort to 74° using my wort chiller. Then, I transferred it with aeration and placed it in the fermentation chamber for 90 minutes to bring the wort down to 60°. At this point, it was pretty late, and I decided it would be okay to pitch the yeast. I saw evidence of fermentation (krausen starting to form, very slow bubbling in the airlock) when I checked on the beer around twelve hours later.
  • Starting gravity was 1.051. I'll do the first stage of fermentation at 54°. I brewed this on 9 January 2016, and will check on the gravity in about a week, to see if it is ready to warm up.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout 1.2

I've brewed my house oatmeal stout recipe twice previously, and both times it has been a winner. Looking towards my keg rotation, I thought it would be nice to roll this one out for 2016. I'll note that this is the third time I've brewed this one in essentially the same form--probably a record for my home brewery.

The primary minor change to this batch versus the others has been to use "old fashioned oatmeal" out of the pantry instead of the flaked oats from the brewshop. Based on my reading, they are essentially the same thing. Many brewing forums tout using oats from the grocery store as cheaper--however, I think this is fairly overstated, particularly for the amounts of oats used in most recipes. In some cases, even, the brewshop oats are cheaper! And ever in the worst-case scenario, it's a savings of a few cents at most. Thus, the "wisdom" of grocery store products being a massive savings over the homebrew shop products is not entirely correct here. I think the primary utility is as a quick alternative if you need to add oats flavor but forgot to buy them with the rest of your grains.

Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout 1.2
  • 8.5 lbs. 2 row malt (Great Western)
  • 1.25 lbs. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 lb. 80° L crystal malt
  • 1 lb. Victory malt
  • 0.75 lb. chocolate malt
  • 0.5 lb. roasted barley (Simpsons)
  • 0.3 lb. rice hulls
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss, 10 minute boil
  • 1.1 oz. Northern Brewer hops pellets (9.9% alpha, 4.5% beta), 60 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. English Ale yeast (White Labs WLP002, 0.9 L starter)
  • Three days before brewing, I began a 1.5L starter (191 g of extra light DME and ~.5 tsp of yeast nutrient in 1.75L of water, for a target gravity of 1.040). After 48 hours, I decanted 0.6L for future use and cold-crashed the rest of the starter.
  • I mashed in with 5 gallons of water at 170°, and hit 156.5° for my mash-in temperature. The mash had dropped to 155° after 30 minutes and was down to 153.4° after 50 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 0.5 gallons of 162° water, let this sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. Then, I added 3.75 gallons of water at 185°, which raised the mash bed to 162°. I let this sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the remainder of the wort.
  • All together, I collected 6.8 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.049, for a mash efficiency of 72%. I note that the relatively small quantity of rice hulls seemed to be just fine for this recipe.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, adding the hops and Irish moss as scheduled.
  • After 60 minutes of boiling, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort to 75°. The final yield was ~6 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.060. I decanted most of the spent wort from the starter, and pitched the yeast slurry before sealing up the fermenter.
  • I brewed this beer on Sunday, January 3, 2016 (first brew of the year!). It will be fermenting at 68°.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Alt-Alt Ale Kegged

On Wednesday, January 6, I kegged the Alt-Alt Ale. It had been fermenting for 11 days, and was down to a final gravity of 1.008. This equates to 5.8% abv. In tasting, I definitely pick up the honey malt. The yeast leavings were pretty remarkable--this had a high, hard, and foamy krausen, which ringed the fermenter more than just about any other yeast I've seen. This was fairly bizarre for WLP001, so I think it is a good decision to end my particular culture there, and reculture the yeast for next time I use it. The beer is now carbonating under high pressure, and will condition until the next keg in my keezer is kicked.