26 August 2006

posted by benjy edwards

This is the time of year to brew an Oktoberfest, so that it’s ready in time for the fall. Rather than mess with brewing a lager, I came up with this hybrid recipe, which is basically the malt and hops for a Vienna-style lager, but fermented with English ale yeast. The grist contained mostly Vienna, with some Munich and Halcyon, plus carapils, aromatic, biscuit, and kiln amber. The hops were all German Tettnanger, around 35 IBU. An hour single infusion mash at 150 degrees was enough time to convert the starch to sugar. The wort was cooled to the low 70’s and racked onto the Dry English and British strains we have running right now. Original gravity was 1.063.

We kegged up the first half of the Alpha King, using Cascade, Columbus, and Chinook for dry hopping that had been removed from the freezer the night before. Sampling right after kegging showed again that it was much less grassy than it would have been if cold hops had been used. I had to recover a SureScreen from the almost-empty keg of Sierra Nevada so that I could use in for the Alpha King. Three ounces of dry hops are too much for a hop bag! I put the last couple of pints of the SNPA into a growler. We also racked the Black Sheep batch fermented with the British yeast from primary to a secondary, and the Dry English half was racked to the pin with half an ounce of Tettnanger. Finally, we vented and tapped the firkin of Hardy Country Bitter, which was incredibly lively. After about 3 hours of venting it was still under serious pressure, so we tap-vented it and got around two gallons of beer and foam.

12 August 2006

posted by benjy edwards

The weather this weekend was perfect, great for a day brewing outside. We made the third batch of the Black Sheep Special Ale clone, with Maris Otter, crystal, wheat and a touch of roast barley. Target gravity was 1.048, we got 1.052 instead. Hops were Fuggles for bittering, Fuggles and Goldings for flavour and aroma. Everything went smoothly and unhurriedly, since the only transfer we needed to do was rack the Alpha King out of the primary to a couple of secondaries. Gravities on those were a touch high, in the low 1.020’s, so we’ll give them some time in the carboy to dry out. Chilling was difficult, only getting around 74 degrees when siphoning to the primary. I dropped the temperature down to around 66 or so once the fermenters were in the fridge.

5 August 2006

posted by benjy edwards

I just got back from a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit Brian and Kim and their new baby. We went to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival last weekend. I think I’m still recovering from the double IPAs at the second festival of the day, the Double IPA Festival at the Rose and Raindrop pub. The whole trip was a lot of fun. Anyway, now it’s time to brew some more beer, this time it’s another batch of the Alpha King, because the last of it went out to Portland for Brian. Brewing went off without a hitch, had to do the two-stage chill again with the immersion first, and even getting the wort down to around 110 degrees that way, I could still only get 74 degrees out of the counterflow when running the cooling water at full speed. Original gravity is 1.060 and it’s the second use of the Dry English and British strains.

In addition to the brew, I had to clean the empty Alpha King and Son of Satan Stout kegs, and keg up another couple of beers to replace them. The second carboys of the snake River and Two Hearted clones got kegged and dry-hopped, but I forgot to take the hops out of the freezer the day before. I’ll have to let the kegs sit a week or so in order for the hop harshness to subside. Also, the Hardy Country Bitter clone from two weeks ago was racked to a firkin and dry hopped with three ounces of Kent Goldings. Gravities were both at 1.015 and the beer tasted great out of the primary. Finally, I tapped the Boathouse Bitter firkin as well, after having vented it with a soft spile the night before.