27 September 2008

posted by benjy edwards

It’s the last brew for a month or two, and the first ever attempt at a Kolsch, so should I say Kolsch-style ale, since Kolsch is only brewed in Cologne by members of the Kolsch Konvention.  I traded some Maris Otter malt for eighteen pounds of Best’s pilsner malt with John Brush, and he was kind enough to provide the yeast, Wyeast 2565 Kolsch, used in a couple of his previous batches.  I added a pound each of Munich and wheat to the pilsner, and did a multi-step mash which ended up taking about 2.5 hours, what with fiddling with the temperature rests, heating in between, and chasing my two-year old around.  Perhaps the lengthy mash contributed to our high extract efficiency, as we overshot our original gravity of 1.048 by 5 points, at 1.053.  Not quite an imperial Kolsch, but outside the style guidelines (BJCP says 1.044 to 1.050).

I first-wort-hopped with a couple of ounces of Northern Brewer, and then added an ounce of Mt. Hood with 15 minutes remaining.  The chill went well, with slightly cooler ground water getting the temperature down to 70F.  While aerating the wort, I chilled the primaries to about 58F, which rose to 60F when fermentation began.   I will give it a week and then see how the gravities are, and time the racking to secondary based on the attenuation.  The ale is supposed to lager for a month as close to freezing as possible.

20 September 2008

posted by benjy edwards

I debated whether to brew today, but in the end opted against it.  I did manage to rack the Mojo IPA from the primary to a couple of corny kegs, dry-hopping one with an ounce of Amarillo, the second with 1.5 ounces of Amarillo and an ounce of Centennial.  After force-carbonating it and tapping it, the first keg isn’t hoppy enough, so I am going to wait until the co2 subsides and toss in some more hops.  Gravities were 1.013 and 1.016.

The Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter clone on the handpump is gone, replaced with the Alpha King clone.  Next weekend we will brew the beer we would have brewed today, a Kolsch style ale.  John Brush is providing the yeast and we will trade some pale malt with him for pilsner malt.

13 September 2008

posted by benjy edwards

It is the last time round for this yeast culture, so we’re upping the gravity and the sugars the yeast feeds on.  Today we brewed the second batch of the Mojo IPA clone, and things went well, despite needing to crank the brew out quickly.  The malt bill was Maris Otter, a couple of pounds of wheat, and a pound and a half of 25 Lovibond crystal and half a pound of carapils.  Last time we used two pounds of crystal but the colour was a little too dark.  The runoff to the kettle was clear after the second recirculation, and despite being two points low on the pre-boil gravity we hit the target original gravity of 1.068 after a strong 90 minute boil.

Hops were Amarillo and Centennial, around 80 IBU.  The yeast took off right away after a long aeration spell, and was fermenting fast at 66F on Sunday.  We lost power for about eight hours on Sunday afternoon and night, so the wort temperature rose to 72F, but then by Monday morning it was safely back down to 66F.  We shall see if we get more esters and/or fusel alcohols as a result.

The Alpha King clone from last Saturday was kegged up, both cornies getting an ounce each of Cascade, Chinook, and Centennial.  It will be another hoppy hoppy beer!  Gravities were good, 1.014 and 1.015.  The slightly higher one will likely be served on the handpump, while the other was force-carbonated.

With this last round of brewing, our stock of both cask and co2 ales have been replenished, so another crisis averted!  The immediate brewing plans will only be brewing a Kolsch in the next couple of weeks, then there will be a break until the supply is depleted.

6 September 2008

posted by benjy edwards

Today we brewed the 17th batch of our clone of Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds.  This is my favourite American pale ale and we try to keep it on tap constantly.  The usual grain bill was used, although we were short of the target gravity of 1.060 by three points.  I see that last time we brewed this we were low on the gravity as well, so I increased the pale malt and we are still low.

Hops were Galena and Chinook for bittering, with Cascade and Centennial for flavour and aroma.  We toyed with the idea of wet hopping with fresh Cascade off the bine, but didn’t have time to pick them to go into the boil.  The chill was similar to previous weeks, with no change in the temperature of the ground water yet.

The pale ale from last week was racked to our last two corny kegs and dry-hopped with Amarillo.  One keg is being conditioned for serving on the handpump, the other was force-carbonated.  The firkin of Hophead ran out on Friday night, but we have the Boathouse Bitter from a couple of weeks ago on now.  The last keg of the Chocolate Hazelnut Porter ran dry during the brew, so that freed up one corny keg.  There are several others that are close to running out, so we should have enough to keg the last couple of batches we are brewing with this run of the yeast.