2nd All grain

Anissa (daughter) and my wife decided I had hinted about needing a bag of grain long enough and so today presented me with a one-day-early father’s day gift of 50 pounds of american 2-row malt. One thing led to another at that point, and at 6:0 pm I started my second ever AG batch.

The target style is an American Pale Ale. I used 10 pounds of 2-row pale malt, and one pound of CaraPils. My hop schedule was 1.0 oz Chinook (11% aa) for 30 minutes, 1.0 Cascade (6%) for 20 minutes, and .5 ounces Cascade for 15 minutes.

I redrilled my mash tun manifold this am, and what a difference! Collected 8 gallons of wort in less thn 15 minutes! Had a bit too much wort for that matter.

Ran out of propane , it rained. Ahh, the trials & tribulations!

More later!

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July 17, 2006 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

First all grain!!!!!!!!

PICT0616.JPGThis is a bg step for a homebrewer…and I jumped into it today in my typical imaptient half-assed manner…but, it's on the burner as I type.

Here's some process pictures, and comments.

First picture is of the CPVC manifold I made this morning to go into my 5 gallon rubbermaid cooler I got for $4 at a yardsale

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Not sure it's big enough, I got a pretty slow drain, the next picture is the manifold installed, and the second is the best the flow got. Actually, it started this way and never got any better, or any slower. Took maybe 2.5 hours to get 6.5 gallons of wort.

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The stream was about pencil lead size.

Here's what 12.5 pounds of grain looks like after it's in 4 gallons of hot water.

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Part of the reason for the slow drain may have been my valve, but I don't think so really

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The coolest thing today is my brand new wort chiller! I made it from 50 feet of 1/2" od copper tubing and some fittings. I think it was about $52 total… my most expensive beer-making tool so far!

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It's shown here after a white vinegar and water soak…at about 175 degrees. Here's the connection to the hoses.

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Incidently… it's raining out,and I'm running back and forth between the brewing and the blogging! The boil is done… the wort chiller is doing it's job as I type…and has brought the temperature down to about 100 degrees in 5-6 minutes!

Here the brew is getting ready to start the boil

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Here's the brew setup…sort of. The burner I'm using is actually the top stage of my three teir, but as the keggles don't have plumbing yet I didn't figure I needed the whole setup.

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And, the last picture (for now) my temporary rain roof…slanted to allow any condensed liquids to drain away from the boiling wort.

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So, not counting cleanup, or getting it into the fermenter (pretty simple to do that part!) it was an all day project, including making a mash tun and a wort chiller…I'm happy with that!

As this one is for the day we move my daughter & her husband into their new condo it's… New House IPA 

April 22, 2006 at 6:57 pm Leave a comment

Newest batch

I intended to brew this batch a week ago last Saturday, but finally got around to it Weds. night. Notice the clock in the first picture..brewstart.jpg

Heck of a time to start brewing on a weeknight!

This is an extract recipe with grain, so I start by steeping the grain in 155 degree water for 20 minutes

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The bag is tied to the pot handle so as to suspend the grains in the warm water.

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After the grains are steeped te next step is to bring the water to a boil. It is then removed from the heat and the grain extracts are added and stirred well. The extracts used in this recipe are extra light pale extract, with rice syrup and corn sugar added also to provide more fermentables, but keep the color light and the body thin. When everything is dissolved and well stirred the heat is turned back on and the wort boil starts. It boils for 60 minutes, and the time starts when the boil does. The first hops are added at this time also. These hops provide bittering. I put the hop pellets in a bag and tossed it in the pot. This is the first time I have done this. I hope it will make for a clearer brew.

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You can see the bag on the left side of the picture. It did eventually sink and rolled around a lot during the boil.

With 15 minutes to go I added the flavoring and aroma hops, and 2 teaspoons of Irish Moss, which is really seaweed, and helps to settle things in the beer and make it clearer.

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Note the time the boil was actually started! One hour of boiling to go and then there’s still cooling the wort and the UGH cleanup. Gotta start this earlier next time!
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Here’s the wort, cooled to 77.7 degrees and ready for the yeast. I forgot to take the yeast packet out of the fridge earlier, so while it warmed to room temp I did the cleanup and putting stuff away part of brewing, which is my least favorite part!

The brew now sits in the chest freezer-fermentation chamber, the first time I’ve used it. I can’t wait to see how a constant temperature will affect this batch. But, wait I must! The brew will be in the primary until MOnday of Tuesday night probably, perhaps it will stay there a full week, and then move to the secondary fermentaion. This gets it off the thick yeast cake that develops during the primary and allows it to ferment more for a couple of weeks without the possibility of getting any off flavord from sitiing on the yeast cake too long. After the secondary it will got to the bottles, still in the fermentation chamber, for 2 more weeks whicle it carbonates, and then finally a day or two after that it’s drink up time!

March 23, 2006 at 11:19 pm Leave a comment

My most intriquing brew (so far)

As I’m typing this I have decided that the Cranberry/Blueberry/Wheat beer that I’m drining is the last one I’m touching… at least for a couple of weeks, maybe a month. When it’s out of exile I think it will be fantastic.

I had expected this beer to be terribly tart from the cranberries, or overpowered from the blueberries, perhaps sweet. It is none of the above, if I didn’t know what was in it I wouldn’t be able to determine the berry that flavors it. It is quite subtle. Aging is going to be very good for this one.

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March 14, 2006 at 10:11 pm 1 comment

The picture of the wheat beer

Typically my picture taking leaves a lot to be desired, as evidenced by my first shot of the wheat beer in the mug. You can see it,

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Notice that it’s dark, you can’t see the real color of it. With the help of a little ghetto photo studio and a movie light I got the shot in the post below. Here’s the “studio”…

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It’s a piece of marine grade vinal draped over a step-stool! The movie light is on the floor under it (not turned on in this picture). Illuminated the beer pretty well I thought. Can’t wait to try it with the two fruit beers…

March 13, 2006 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

My first wheat beer

Well, there’s a first for everything, and right at this moment I’m sampling my first ever wheat beer. It’s an American Wheat kit from True Brew that Jason & Kerry gave me quite a while ago.

It looks like this
You wish you could see this beer!

Haven’t had enough of it yet to know if I like it. It’s “fizzy feeling” on the tongue because it is primed at a much higher rate than I normal do. Apparently wheat and fruit beers are generally primed for more volumes of CO2. I haven’t decided if I like that either… it “bites” the tongue a bit,sort of like champagne does. In fact, some of the cloudiness  in the beer isn’t haze at all… it’s bubbles of CO2!

March 13, 2006 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

More on the temp control

Well, I’m a little less tired now…the last post was written after I finished with making the control board at 12:03 am.I’m in the process of trying to find the right spot on the dial for the 65 degrees I want it to be in there. I make a trip to the basement about once an hour and tweek the dial a bit. Once I find the exact spot I’m going to make a mark with a sharpie (if I need to) and then put the beer that’s bottle conditioning in my kitchen in there for a week. If it doesn’t explode (it’s very heavily primed with sugar!) I’ll move them to the fridge next weekend and we’ll give it a try next Sunday evening.

Here’s a better shot of the control board. It will be closed in and made into a tower once I get it regulated. I don’t remember if I already said this or not, but the top half of the outlet is to plug the freezer into when I need to cool to the proper temp, the bottom half is to plug the heater into when I need to warm it up to the correct temp.

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Here’s a shot of the heater it controls. It’s a simple electric resistance unit that has two settings (750 watts and 1500 watts) and a fan. I might look at it and see if I can run the fan all the time and turn the heating element on as needed.

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March 5, 2006 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

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