30 October 2004

posted by benjy edwards

Another brewing day, this time making the Alpha King clone.  The hops used were Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade.  Single infusion mash at 154F followed by the usual three recirculations of the wort, then a 90 minute boil.  The weather has warmed up this week, so we first used the immersion chiller to reduce the wort temperature from 212F to about 125F, then racked it to primary with the counterflow chiller.  The California yeast stored for a week from a prior batch started within 3 or 4 hours, but the Dry English, started from the day before, took overnight to begin fermentation.  The original gravity is 1.069, pretty high for this beer.

In other news, we tapped the barleywine (13%!) and it turned out quite well.  Everyone who tried it, liked it, with some very enthusiastic responses.  At that strength, I anticipate that it will take years to finish the 2.5 gallons.*

* Footnote – It did indeed take years to drink that 2.5 gallons – the last of it was drunk in July 2008, almost four years later!

24 October 2004

posted by benjy edwards

Today was a long day of racking, kegging and blending beer.  Steve and I started by taking a gravity sample of the barleywine, which was down to the very dry 1.008.  Too dry, in fact, so that adding Lagavulin just made it overly peaty and smoky.  While we considered our options, we casked the Anchor Liberty clone (version 12) which was brewed almost entirely with home grown Cascade hops.  Dry-hopped with 2 ounces of home-grown Cascade, this should be a very nice ale on the engine.

Next we racked the oatmeal stout from primary to secondary, the gravity was 1.012 for the Dry English and 1.015 for the California ale yeast.  We had some left over, so we saved about 3/4 of a gallon of the California yeast batch to add to the barleywine, which sweetened up the barleywine a touch and darkened the color.  Adding 1% Lagavulin about 6.5 oz. in 5 gallons) made it mildy smoky, so we kegged it into a 2.5 gallon corny and a 3 gallon corny, and force-carbonated it.

16 October 2004

posted by benjy edwards

Brewed an oatmeal stout today, as planned.  Three pounds of quick oats in the mash, along with some crystal, roasted barley and chocolate malts, using Maris Otter for the base.  Original gravity of 1.056 was on target, pitched with dry English ale and California yeasts from White Labs.  After the brew Steve and I went on a search for some Lagavulin whisky, to be the primings for our year-old barley wine.  At 12.5% ABV before the addition of the whisky, it’s going to be quite a strong ale!  A tasting report will be forthcoming following tapping on 1 November, in celebration of the eight year anniversary of Boathouse Brewery.

14 October 2004

posted by benjy edwards

The soft peg venting hasn’t been enough to release the excess condition after a day, so I tried to release the pressure more quickly today, with the result that the firkin foamed and frothed uncontrollably, spilling about a gallon of beer in the serving tank, which had to be mopped up.  The co2 and alcohol from the spilt beer made sopping it up an adventure; I was quite giddy from the fumes!  After an hour of hissing and foaming from the shive hole (no spile whatsoever) it calmed down enough to warrant a soft spile, then a hard spile by the end of the evening.  I also tapped it today, and the ale tasted great on Friday.

13 October 2004

posted by benjy edwards

Time for some draft system maintenance.  The 6-way co2 manifold which runs the cask breather and kegs in serving tank 1 needed a good cleaning, so I removed the whole system, disposed of all of the tubing, soaked all of the disconnects, hose clamps, hose barbs, cask breather and manifold in beer line cleaner, then sanitized everything before reassembling with new tubing.  It’s a time-consuming process (took over two hours from start to finish), but one which is necessary periodically to maintain sanitation.

I also vented the firkin (Boathouse Bitter) which had been conditioning for over two weeks.  I expected it to be quite lively, and it was.  After an hour or so with a hard spile, I switched to a soft spile, with an eruption when switching them, dry hops spraying nicely all over me and the serving tank.  I left the soft spile overnight, and by morning it was still venting off excess co2.  I think the spile gets clogged with the dry hops, because repositioning the spile causes it to vent off even more gas.  I’ll keep the soft spile in for the day and see how it’s doing after work.

10 October 2004

posted by benjy edwards

This is our inaugural brewing report on the website.  We hope to keep anyone who is interested in our operations up to date on the latest brews, equipment, etc.  Please contact us via comment or email if you would like to ask questions or provide feedback.

Today I racked the clone of Anchor Liberty Ale (version 12) I brewed last week to secondary.  Gravities were good – 1.012 on the Dry English and 1.015 on the East Coast.  I saved the Dry English yeast in a 3-litre flask and dumped the East Coast, which has been having a lot of trouble clearing.  As usual, the Dry English ferments fast and flocculates well.

I also kegged the Raindrop ESB, adding 2.5 ounces of Kent Goldings plugs.  Final gravity of 1.011, nice clean flavour.  The 5-gallon cask of Director’s Bitter was finished today, next up for the engine is the Boathouse Bitter in the firkin.  Later this week I will vent it and tap it, ready for serving this weekend.

I’m planning to brew an Oatmeal Stout this weekend, with a few tweaks to the recipe we’ve used several times in the past.  Finally, I need to keg the barley wine brewed almost one year ago, so that it’s ready for the Eight Year Anniversary of Boathouse Brewery, on 1 November 2004.