25 February 2006

posted by benjy edwards

I couldn’t decide whether to brew or not today, but the weather turned out nice (about 50 and sunny) so we made some beer. A simple recipe, Boathouse Bitter version 15, just Maris Otter, some dark crystal, and Glacier and Willamette hops. IBU’s were 35, and the gravity turned out right on target, at 1.038. When I made up the starters on Friday night (from the yeasts used three times before, and that were stored in 2 litre flasks), I didn’t use any yeast nutrient, since I did when I made the original starters and we’ve been having low attenuation, but we did use yeast nutrient in the recommended dose in the boil. Fermentation temperature is right at 68. Let’s hope the yeast does well this time.

19 February 2006

posted by benjy edwards

I chose to help with removing a Miata engine on Saturday, so no brewing this weekend. The weather this weekend was really frightful anyway, around 20 degrees during the day and in the teens or lower at night. I did rack the Boathouse Amber to secondary on Sunday though, and encountered another batch that didn’t ferment out fully. I made a point to ferment at a lower temperature this time (66 instead of 68 to 70), so that could have accounted for it, but I managed to aerate the wort a lot more, since I used the anti-foam agent. All the conditions are right for the yeast – proper wort pH, proper temperature, aeration, so it’s mystifying. I think I’ll have to add yeast nutrient not only to the starter next time, but also to the wort boil. Perhaps that is the problem. Gravities after one week for the amber were 1.024 for the London ale, and 1.025 for the Dry English. That’s just too high for a beer of starting gravity of 1.057.If it’s not the yeast nutrient, perhaps it’s the weather outside. Strangely enough, over the years I have noticed that fermentations seem more active during the summer than in the winter, even though the temperature inside the fridge is the same year-round. Could it be something less obvious, like barometric pressure or humidity? I certainly haven’t seen any research on yeast fermentations to indicate so. I’ll pay particular attention to the yeast nutrients next brew and see the effect.

11 February, 2006

posted by benjy edwards

The brewery has been commissioned this week to brew some beer for a party. Something relatively mainstream was called for, so we settled on an amber. The recipe was based upon Fat Tire Amber ale, Boont Amber from Anderson Valley, McNeill’s Firehouse Amber, and Firestone Double Barrel Ale. The grist was pale, a couple of pounds of crystal, biscuit, Munich, and a touch of aromatic malt. Original gravity was 1.057 and the IBUs are right around 40. Luckily, the anti-foam I ordered last week arrived, so we were able to use it in the fermentation. Initial reports are good, it actually prevented the foam from building up and coming out of the top of the primary during the wort aeration, thus enabling us to aerate for much longer than usual, which in turn should help the yeast attenuate further.

The hop bomb we brewed last week was racked to secondary, both yeasts having some trouble with the high gravity (1.073), only dropping out to the mid-1.020s. The beer will have to stay at warmer temperatures for a week or more to help it drop. Then cold conditioning will help clarify it. We also kegged up the Son of Satan Stout that has been in the cylindro- conical fermenter for the last month. We were rather short on volume, getting about 4 gallons in one corny and somewhat less, perhaps 3 and 3/4 gallons in the other corny. There was about half a gallon of yeast slurry in the cone that plugged and would not exit through the ball valve. I think the conical would fare much better with a normal gravity beer, and some if not all of our problems might be attributable to experimenting with it for the first time on an 1.105 imperial stout.

4 February , 2006

posted by benjy edwards

Originally this beer was going to be a clone of Victory’s Hop Wallop, but due to not having the correct ingredients, or rather the best guess as to the correct ingredients since there’s no clone recipes I could find, it changed to an invented recipe for a double or imperial IPA. The Hop Wallop should have German malt and noble hops. The Boathouse IPA we brewed has Maris Otter, Vienna, and carapils malts, and Galena, Glacier, Columbus, and Chinook hops. IBUs are calculated to be 200, with hops at first wort, 60, 30, 15, and 0 minutes. The gravity is 1.073, so it’ll have some alcohol or malt flavours to somewhat balance the crazy amounts of hops. The Dry English yeast began fermenting within an hour of pitching, and the London Ale was an hour or so later.

The new stainless steel pin (5.4 US gallon cask) arrived earlier this week, so we racked half of the Alpha King clone to it, and put the other half in a secondary. Gravities were high, I suppose due to the new yeast used. The pin should have no trouble conditioning in a week. There was over a gallon leftover as well, so that was put in a gallon jug with an airlock.