29 January, 2006

posted by benjy edwards

Both the Alpha King and Black Sheep from the handpump are getting very low, so it was time to rack a couple more batches into corny kegs for serving on the engine. These two were the Two Hearted Ale and the other Black Sheep, both fermented with the British yeast. That yeast was pretty slow, so gravities were high, 1.023 for the Black Sheep and 1.019 for the Two Hearted. They should have no trouble conditioning without any primings.

28 January, 2006

posted by benjy edwards

I started two new vials of yeast on Thursday (Dry English and London), and we brewed the 13th version of the Alpha King clone. Brew day went fine, the weather was so nice I brewed out on the driveway and it was about 60 degrees at the end of January! OG is 1.064, and the hops were Magnum, Chinook, and Cascade. I also dumped some yeast from the cylindroconical and chilled it down to around 50 degrees. The gravity on the Son of Satan Stout was 1.028, so close enough to final to start the conditioning phase.

21 January, 2006

posted by benjy edwards

We checked the gravity of the stout after one week by racking off a graduated cylinder full of wort from the racking port. Specific gravity is 1.030, so it did pretty well. The target final gravity is 1.026, so it doesn’t have far to go during secondary. I left the yeast in, however, to give it more time to drop. I’ll probably dump the yeast in four days to a week’s time. The keg of Lindeman’s Framboise was kicked today, after about a year and a half, I would guess.

Since we didn’t brew today, I took the opportunity to clean out the burners on the brewing structure. They have been slowly rusting over the years, and the rust was clogging the jets, causing the burners to run unevenly, especially when on low power. I had to take the inserts out of the burner bodies and wire brush both parts. Quite a lot of rust came off, especially on the burners for the boil and the hot liquor tank. After reassembly, they worked much better, especially when the gas was turned down low.

14 January, 2006

posted by benjy edwards

Trying to achieve an original gravity of 1.105 is not easy! Following the recipe from Brew Your Own magazine for the Tenth Anniversary American Stout, we maxed out the mash tun with 40 pounds of grain, and got a cement-like consistency from the 10 pounds of flaked barley, and could only fit a pound or two of rice hulls in the mash tun. The mash temperature was a bit low after half an hour (147F), so we bumped it up to 154F and mashed for an hour and 45 minutes. Then the boil was the first sign that the beer had satanic properties, because the volume did not seem to decrease, despite a 2+ hour boil. We had a pretty serious boilover near the end, which caused the entire kettle to start smoking and with the steam rising from the wort you couldn’t see it anymore! In order to achieve the proper gravity, we needed to add 6 pounds of DME, 3.25 pounds of molasses, and 2 pounds of corn sugar. Definitely wacky.

We brewed this batch with Jonathan Page, who brought over his newly-acquired 14.5 gallon stainless cylindroconical fermenter, which we used for this batch. I think we ended up overfilling the fermenter (see lack of boil volume reduction above), so once the gallon of yeast slurry was pitched, the satanic properties kicked back in and there was wort leaking from the lid gasket and overflowing out of the blowoff bucket. The temperature rose overnight from 70 to 80, whereupon I cranked the fridge temp. down to the 40’s. It took about 12 hours to get the temp. back under control. By Sunday night it was in the mid-60s. Monday I tried to get the temp. back up to the high 60s. Overall loss of wort from the blowoff was probably around two gallons. The beer was “christened” (probably not the appropriate term considering the name) Son of Satan Stout.

8 January, 2006

posted by benjy edwards

Didn’t brew this weekend, but we did have time to keg up two carboys. One was the London Ale version of the Two Hearted Ale clone, and the other was a Belhaven Scottish Ale clone from John Brush. We dry hopped the Two Hearted with about an ounce and a half to two ounces of Centennial. Both were force carbonated for co2 dispense. Gravities were 1.016 on the Two Hearted and 1.015 for the Belhaven. I also built up three new co2 taps, to replace some of the older ones that were starting to get dirty. I also will replace the lines from all three engines this week.