Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Batches 017 & 018: EXPIPA 6300 & 1210

I'm back!  The last two weeks have been a bit crazy and I was able to brew again.  So naturally I jumped in head first with a double brew day.  Same grain, same bittering hops, same mash, same yeast.  Only difference was the hops thrown in at 10, 5 and 0 minutes. release 4 new hop strains a few weeks back and I picked up two of them.  I wanted a nice easy test for the flavors and aromas. For the base beer I went with the malt from Papa's Pale Ale and a small charge of warrior hops to bitter.  I threw in .2 oz of the EXP hops in at 10 min, 5 min, and knockout.  Batch 017 used EXP 6300 which is described as having 6.4%AA Blackberry, "Super Cascade", Grapefruit, Orange, "Amarillo Like", Lemon and Pine Bred from Cascade and USDA 19058.  Batch 018 used EXP 1210, 14.6%AA Dill / Lemon, Jolly Rancher, Passion fruit, Cocoa, Coconut, Peach, Stone Fruit and Vanilla Bred from Galena, Eastern Gold, 98005.

I am really interested in how these will come out.  Only time will tell.  Still prepping and researching for my first 5 gallon batch in a while so that will keep me busy.

Until next time, cheers!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Short Hiatus, but Coming Back Soon

I brewed those last 3 batches in such a short time that I ran out of fermenter space.  I finally got around to bottling the triple berry cyser this week along with the blood orange hefeweizen, freeing up 2 of my fermenters.  That means that this week I will brew twice, identical recipes, different hops.  I bought a couple packs of experimental hops from Farmhouse Brewing Supply a few weeks ago and I want to test them out.  So I will be brewing a couple pale ale/ipa batches with a neutral bittering hop and then single hopping the end with each of the experimentals just to see what kind of flavors and aromas come out of these.  I will work on an equipment run down here soon too.  I know I have been saying that for a while, but its coming I promise.  Unfortunately, life doesn't like to let you do things when you want to do them.  So, this week, 2 "single" hops brews, a clone of a popular beer soon after that, with plenty of other stuff in the works after that.  To much brewing to do, not enough time/fermenters/patience/space/etc.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bottling Batch 013: The Killer Bee

Well, I bottled up batch 013, my honey based IIPA braggot that I brewed about 3 weeks ago.  Lots of honey, lots of hops, lots of flavor.  I figured since I had done a step by step on how I brewed my 1 gallon batches, I would do a step by step on how I bottle my 1 gallon batches.  I didn't get pictures of racking it to secondary and dry hopping, but that is fairly standard.  I racked to a 1 gallon glass jug and dry hopped in a muslin bag.

So on to the pictures, and as always, if you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them.

First things first, collect your beer, bottles, siphon, and sanitizer.

Next, I rack sanitizer into my clean bottles.  I fill them about half way and give them a good shake to coat the inside.  I will shake again before they get filled.

 I heat up about 4oz of water to a boil in the microwave with priming sugar mixed in.  I used 0.9oz of corn sugar for this batch.  I will use less or more depending on the size of the batch and style of the beer.  Be careful boiling water in the microwave because the water can become superheated and flash boil.  It happened to me on this batch for the first time in a long time.  If it does flash boil while you are holding on to it, it can and will burn you severely.  Its not a pretty site, so take care.

I pour that sugar solution into the empty, sanitized jug and then rack the beer to the new jug.  Carefully leave the sediment behind.

As you rack the beer, it will swirl in your jug mixing in the priming sugar.  If you are worried about it not being evenly distributed, you can gently stir the beer, but be careful to not agitate the top too much to avoid oxidation.

 As you are racking pull off another sample to test the gravity.  The reading it 11.2 Plato, but this is misleading.  Readings from refractometers get skewed in an alcohol solution, so you have to adjust for that.  Knowing that my original gravity was 23 Plato, I plug that 11.2 Plato into BeerSmith and get an actual reading of 3.2 Plato.  A very nice dry IIPA.  I am glad that I mashed as high as I did in anticipation of the honey drying it out.  The reading when I racked it to secondary my gravity was 4.8 Plato so I am glad I got those extra points out before I bottled.  After all is said and done. I have myself an 11.3% ABV IIPA.  It is a bit stronger than I was anticipating, but its not unheard of for the style.

 When you are done racking you will be left with a layer of yeast sediment and your bag of hops.  Leave those there and clean up when you are done with everything else.

 Here is the tip of the autosiphon.  The tip on the end prevents it from sucking up the sediment.

 I take the tip off when I go to bottle so that I get all of the beer out of the jug when I am actually racking to the bottles.

 Now, I shake the bottles up one more time and dump the sanitizer out.

 Attach the bottling wand to the siphon hose and start filling.  Some people will use a bottling bucket with a spigot at the bottom, but I just rack out of the jug.  I still get every drop out and don't have to have another bucket.
I fill up all of my bottles, placing a cap on each bottle as I go.  When I have all of the bottles filled I go back and crimp the caps.  I got 10 bottles out of this batch which is fairly normal.  It may not seem like much, but if you brew often that means you can always have a nice assortment of beers on hand.

Now I just have to wait two weeks or so for them to carb up.  I may have to stir the bottles up every once in a while to make sure they carb, but I will coax them there.

Hopefully, these posts have been helpful to people who are thinking of trying out 1 gallon batches.  I will be happy to help anyone interesting in getting started with 1 gallon batches or brewing in general.

Until I brew again,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Batches 014, 015, and 016: AKA The Brewganza

About two weeks ago at work, we got a shipment from White Labs with a random variety of yeast strains for us to sell.  We got a vial of Berliner Weiss and were thinking that it would probably just sit in the fridge until one of us bought it.  So I did.  Now, one vial is too much for a 1 gallon batch of Berliner Weiss, but I could reseal the vial and pitch into two different batches.  I thought that if I did this I would have to brew them fairly close together to lessen the risk of the yeast going bad, which had been opened and exposed to the air.  So I bought the yeast and enough grain for what I thought would be two batches.  I messed this part up.  I had written in my notes that I needed 1.5# of Pilsner malt and 1.5# of white wheat.  When I went to bought them I thought that was for 1 batch and bought two sets of those ingredients.  I was wrong.  I only needed 3/4# of each for a 1 gallon batch.  So I upped my batch size to 1.75 gallons.  I also combined my bags of grain and split them into 2# batches (1# of wheat, 1# of Pils each). So Saturday I brewed my first batch.

Batch 014: Icht Bin Ein Bierassenseiter (I am a beer outsider)
Berliner Weiss beers are fairly simple to brew.  Equal part of wheat and pils, keep it around 8 plato (~1.030 sg), and hop as little as possible, in this case 5 IBU's.  I used Hallertau Hersberker hops since they are the lowest alpha acid we had (and frankly I have ever seen) at 2.3%.  I mashed at 154 for an hour.  Now for the different part, boil for 15 minutes.  Thats it.  Hops go in at the beginning of the boil and pitch the yeast blend when it is cool.  You want this beer to be as light as possible and any issues with DMS from the pils in such a short boil will be counteracted by the lactic bacteria in the yeast blend.  So I pitch half of my vial of yeast and set it back in the fridge until the next day.

Batch 015: Icht Bin Ein Bierassenseiter II
Thats right, I brewed the exact same beer the next day.  Everything went exactly the same except for one small hiccup.  I didn't realize it had started boiling when it did, so it boiled for an extra 5 minutes or so resulting in it being half a degree plato higher in OG.  Not an issue.  This one will get a fruit addition in secondary, I just haven't decided yet.  Anyone have any suggestions?  It may just come down to walking around the market for what looks good at the time I rack.  I used the other half of the vial of yeast and set this next to the other to ferment and sour.

Batch 016: Hunter's Harvest
This was one of the first beers that I ever brewed.  I am thinking it was my 4th batch.  I had read of this recipe online and wanted to try it.  I loved the result so I am finally getting around to rebrewing this with a couple tweeks.  I used the same grain bill that I used for the last two brews because that is what I had on hand and it fit the style.  I did lower the batch size back down to the normal 1.25 gallons to up the gravity a bit though.  Now the fun part about this is that this is a hefeweizen, but with blood oranges in it.  For those who don't know blood oranges are a cross between oranges and grapefruit and are a deep ruby color and are packed with antioxidants.  They are a very nice berry flavor and fit perfectly with the hefeweizen style.

I mashed this one a little lower at 152 and measured out some more Hersberker for hopping.  As the wort was boiling I started dissecting the fruit.  I used two oranges, which is more than the original recipe called for, but if I put fruit in a beer, I want to be able to know that its there.  I want it to be balanced, but I don't want to have to search for it.  First thing you do is to zest the oranges.  Be careful to avoid the pith (tough white rind) as it is really bitter tasting and will bitter your beer.

 Next you peel the oranges and separate the sections.

 After I separated the sections I butterflyed them open to make getting the flesh out easier.
 As you can see there is still a skin like membrane around each section.  I pulled the fruit out of this to make it easier to extract the flavors and colors into the beer.
 All of the flesh and zest gets added to a small pot with a little bit of water and heated to about 165 to sanitize it.  Avoid going higher than 170 or else you will just make orange jelly.  I let this mixture steep in the pot while the wort finished boiling.  When it was ready to cool my wort I poured the flesh into a nylon bag and added the water and fruit to the wort and cooled the whole batch.  The fruit will remain in the beer during primary fermentation.  I will not be doing a secondary on this so the oranges need some time to impact the beer.

So for now, all of my primaries are full, and so are most of my secondaries.  I need to bottle up the Killer Bee this week along with the Triple Berry Cyser.  Now that I have knocked a decent chunk off of my to-brew list, I need to come up with some new ideas.  I still have a long list, but am always looking for something else that is fun.  If you have heard of any fun beers lately, let me know in the comments below

Until I bottle later this week,


Friday, February 1, 2013

Bottling, racking, and finning.

So I missed a week of brewing, but I will be making that up this week.  I was sick and made up some work on my day off so my schedule got mixed around.

Anyway, on to what I did tonight.  I bottled up the GF brown (Alterna) I brewed up a few weeks ago.  A lot of honey flavor left from the caramelizing process and a bit sweet, but I'm surprised how much flavor is it for what it is.  I also racked my honey IIPA (The Killer Bee) to secondary with dry hops and gave it a taste.  Wow, its amazing, everything I could have hoped for.  Really bitter, super hoppy and with a twinge of honey flavor still peaking through.  Lastly, I added some Chitosan to my Triple Berry Cyser (Berry Cyser).  A few more weeks then bottling for that.

I will be brewing tomorrow night and possibly Sunday night as well.

Until tomorrow,