29 October 2006

posted by benjy edwards

I need to rack the Chocolate Hazelnut Porter to secondary soon, but we only have one free five gallon carboy, so I kegged up the second carboy of the Magic Hat #9 clone today, adding blackcurrant syrup instead of apricot extract. Three ounces made a very subtle blackcurrant flavour.

21 October 2006

posted by benjy edwards

For the last scheduled brew before the imminent birth of our son Colin, we finished up the run of the yeast with a batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Porter. Lots of specialty malts (carapils, Munich, crystal, black, kiln amber, and chocolate malt are supplemented with a pound of cocoa powder with a couple left to go in the boil. After fermentation hazelnut extract will be added. Hops were Fuggles and Goldings, and the gravity was a stiff 1.073. The brew went well and smelled strongly of chocolate while we were chilling the wort. The English and Scottish yeasts have been used six times now, so that’ll be it, especially after having a black coloured beer fermented on the yeast, plus cocoa powder.

We also racked the Evil Twin over to secondary and kegged the Magic Hat #9 clone and the second keg of the UFO. We added apricot extract to the keg of the Magic Hat #9.

News flash – within five hours of finishing up the batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, my wife’s water broke and we were off to the hospital. Our son, Colin Alexander Edwards, was born at 10:38 a.m. on Sunday, 22 October, 2006. He is cute and perfect in every way. The next brewer’s apprentice!

14 October 2006

posted by benjy edwards

I had heard great things about this recipe on the morebeer.com forum, so I thought we’d give it a try. It follows the late hopping method recommended in a recent Zymurgy article (May/June 2006 issue). It’s an amber/pale ale of high gravity with lots of hop flavour and aroma. The recipe called for pale ale malt, crystal, biscuit, munich, and chocolate, with Amarillo and Centennial hops at the 20-, 10- and 0-minute boil intervals. I used Galena instead of Amarillo because Amarillo is difficult if not impossible to obtain. Gravity was 1.069. I used the no-sparge method for the third time, which didn’t work very well, but not because of the method. The problems started when the digital probe thermometer that I usually use to get the right strike water heat was reading incorrectly, resulting in a mash temperature of 1.045 instead of 1.054. I had to recirculate the wort while I heated the mash to boost the temperature, there being no room left in the tun to add more hot water to increase the temp. I think the heating/recirculating caused problems with grain getting under the false bottom, because the three wort recirculations were all horribly cloudy and full of grain husks. To collect for the boil, I put the first 5 gallons of collected wort into a grant, and then began to collect the rest in the boil kettle. At that point it was running clear, and Steve added the 5 gallons back to the mash in small amounts. It continued to run clear, so much so that I think we got a clearer runoff than we usually do, but at the expense of more time and work. Everything after that point went smoothly.

We racked the Burning River clone to secondary and sampled it. The hop character from the home-grown Cascade is different than it was last year, better we think, so far. Last year it was somewhat sweet, this year is more spicy. We also blended the cider with blackcurrant syrup, needing a whole 750 ml bottle of it, and then kegged it. The British ale yeast fermented the cider out well, about 1.003 with good clarity. Finally, we vented and tapped the nine of Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter, which was quite lively.

7 October 2006

posted by benjy edwards

The Cascade hops growing in the backyard are almost entirely harvested, so now we can brew a pale ale using them. The recipe is based on Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes, using pale, crystal, biscuit and carapils. Hops are all homegrown Cascade except for a couple of ounces of Galena at 60 minutes to boost the bitterness. Twelve and a half ounces of the Cascade go in the boil, with the remaining four ounces reserved for dry hopping. Today was the first day that we used only the counterflow wort chiller since the water got hot in the spring. The ground water was 67 and by running the wort at about 3/4 flow, we reached low 70’s in the fermenters.

The Magic Hat #9 clone has had a week in primary, so we racked it to secondary. Gravities were good, right around the mid teens. Sampling them, the flavour is pretty mellow, which will be a good base for the fruit flavour to be added. We also racked the second half of the Black Sheep clone to the pin, with no dry hop.