9 September 2007

posted by benjy edwards

The yeast has been pitched five times, so we’re not reusing it any more, and we thought we’d take a couple of weeks off from brewing since we have a good supply of beer in reserve right now.  We did keg up the second half of the Alpha King brewed back in June, mostly to free up another secondary for use in racking the Pliny the Elder clone.  The Alpha King was 1.024 back in June but it has dropped to 1.012 and tastes quite good.  I dry hopped it with an ounce each of Ahtanum, Centennial, and Chinook, and force-carbonated it.

The Pliny clone went from 1.075 down to 1.010 in a week, on both fermenters.  That’s already 8.5% ABV.  We racked them to secondary and dry hopped each carboy with four ounces of Columbus pellets.  The pellets caused quite a bit of foaming due to all of the nucleation points, so I had to change the airlocks a few times.  We thought about racking the beer to primaries without the yeast, but decided not to since we were using pellets instead of leaf.  In hindsight it would have been better to use primaries and include some leaf hops.  I don’t think we’d ever dry-hopped in the secondary though, so you learn by experimentation.

2 September 2007

posted by benjy edwards

We brewed a new recipe today, a double IPA which is supposed to be a clone of Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. Steve and I tried the beer at the Oregon Brewer’s Festival last year and didn’t think it was anything too special, but it consistently gets such great reviews that I thought we should try making it. The malt bill is simple, just pale, 2/3 of a pound of light crystal, and a pound and 3/4 of carapils, with corn sugar added during the boil. Gravity target is 1.074, we achieved 1.075 but only after adding 4 pounds of sugar instead of 2 pounds because our refractometer readings were showing it was going to be in the 1.060’s. Although our refractometer reads zero with distilled water, it doesn’t seem to be calibrated properly because at the end of the boil it seemed like we would hit about 1.068 to 1.070 and it was 1.075 instead.

Hopping was extensive, using more hops than we ever have before (22.5 ounces in ten gallons!). Hop additions began in the mash with Chinook, then Warrior and Chinook for bittering at 90 minutes, and finally different flavour and aroma additions of Simcoe, Columbus, and Centennial. IBU’s are calculated to about 230, but of course it won’t actually be that high, since it is believed that alpha acid isomerization tops out in wort at about 120 IBU. I think our final volume will be less than 10 gallons, a common problem with this clone apparently, mainly due to all of the leaf hops holding so much wort in the kettle. Since we need to dry hop it with 3 to 4 ounces per corny, though, having less than 5 gallons in the keg is necessary anyway!

We racked half of the Dark Ruby Mild to the pin and the other half to a secondary. Gravities were slightly different, 1.019 for the pin and 1.017 for the secondary. We dry hopped the pin with two plugs (1 ounce) of East Kent Goldings, mainly for the preservative effect of the hops rather than any need for hop aroma. The corny of the Landlord clone was finished on brew day, but we ran out of time to tap the firkin of Harvey’s bitter.