28 February 2009

posted by benjy edwards

Today we brewed the second batch of our milk stout recipe.  We have nothing on tap darker than pale ale, except for five gallons of the Dark Ruby Mild served on the handpump, so a stout will be welcome.  The recipe remains unchanged except for decreasing the pale malt to get closer to the target gravity of 1.058, bumping up the crystal malt from 1.5 pounds up to two pounds and decreasing the hops from 40 IBU to 30 IBU.  Together, those should make the beer seem slightly sweeter than the first batch.

We overshot the target gravity again, this time reaching 1.062, four points higher than the 1.058 target.  This was unexpected, since in the previous dozen batches we’ve been on target or slightly low on gravities.  Perhaps the chocolate and black malts used in this recipe contribute more extract than calculated in the spreadsheet.  Hops were a single 60-minute addition of Kent Goldings for bittering.  The lactose was added with 15 minutes to go in the boil, 2.5 pounds total.

The Anchor Liberty Ale clone brewed a week ago was racked to a couple of corny kegs, with just over an ounce of home-grown Cascade added to each for the dry hop.  One keg was force carbonated and tapped immediately, while the other will be left to condition, either to be served on the handpump or tapped for co2 dispense with its own natural carbonation.  The second half of the Boathouse Cols-ch, our Kolsh-style ale, was kegged and force-carbonated so as to be ready when the first keg runs out soon.

Next week we’re planning to brew an Imperial Russian Stout as the last batch for this culture of yeast.

21 February 2009

posted by benjy edwards

We have yet to use the Cascade hops that were harvested in the late summer/fall of 2008,  so today we brewed a pale ale using only home-grown hops.  The recipe is loosely based on Anchor’s Liberty Ale, but the colour is going to be darker than Liberty.  The malt bill was Maris Otter, caravienna, carahell, kiln amber, and honey malt.  Thirteen ounces of hops were added at 60 minutes for bittering, 30 and 15 for flavour, and more at flameout for aroma.  We have around 3 ounces of the home-grown hops left in reserve for dry-hopping.  It should have tons of Cascade flavour and aroma character without heavy bitterness, as the IBU clocks in at ‘only’ 40 for a 1.054 beer.  Target gravity was 1.056 but we achieved 1.054.

Last week’s batch, the Brewer’s Gold, was racked to a couple of cornies for conditioning, to be served on the handpump.  Each keg was dry-hopped with an ounce and a quarter of Brewer’s Gold pellets, one keg using a stainless steel tea ball I just got, the other using a fine-mesh nylon bag.

While brewing, we also had a chance to vent and tap the pin containing the first half of the Jeffrey Hudson Bitter clone.  After a week of conditioning, there was very little pressure in the cask, so we were able to tap it right away and hook it up to a beer engine.  It’s a nice, light, quaffable pint with great clarity and lots of flavour from the Mt. Hood hops.  I don’t use Mt. Hood very much, but they are nice, with a unique flavour that I would describe as quite citrusy but without the ‘catty’ flavour common to a lot of American “C” hops, such as Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus.

14 February 2009

posted by benjy edwards

What better activity for St. Valentine’s Day is there than brewing a batch of beer?  I wanted to make another cask-conditioned beer, and have been meaning to try to clone Brewer’s Gold from the Crouch Vale Brewery, so we gave it a shot.  Since the original recipe supposedly uses lager malt and I don’t believe in such a thing, we used Golden Promise in its place.  Also, the brewery reportedly uses 100% Brewer’s Gold hops, which we only have in pellet form, so in order to avoid the most horrendous clogged wort, we put in Willamette and Northern Brewer whole hops for bittering, then the Brewer’s Gold pellets at 30, 15, and0 minute additions for flavour and aroma.

The target gravity is 1.042, and we got 1.041, so as close as makes no matter.  The chill was again highly efficient due to the cold ground water, and we racked it onto the yeast from last week.  The JHB clone was racked to a pin and a corny, each dry-hopped with an ounce of Mt. Hood hops.  The gravity had dropped from 1.038 to 1.012, so given a couple more points while conditioning, should be right on target for the strength.  The JHB tasted very nice straight from the primary.

Finally, we also cleaned the tap and line from the recently defunct keg of Copperhop, and put in its place the second keg of Two Hearted, now dubbed Boathouse IPA to distinguish it from the first batch.

Plans for the next few brews are a pale ale, most likely hopped with the home-grown Cascade, followed by another batch of the milk stout, and perhaps an Imperial Russian Stout to finish off the yeast.  We only used one vial for this set of brews, and so have another vial for some other ideas soon.

7 February 2009

posted by benjy edwards

It has been over two months since we last brewed a batch, which has to be some sort of record for me!  I definitely missed brewing.  Sometimes after time off it can be difficult to get back into the rhythm of brewing, but today’s session went very well, with no problems encountered.  Based on the slightly low original gravities we got during the last few brews of 2008, I bumped up the malt bill a little bit to compensate, and we hit our target gravity of 1.038.  I think the lower efficiency is caused by switching maltsters from Hugh Baird back to Thomas Fawcett.  The Fawcett malt has a slightly smaller kernel, so the unchanged mill gap doesn’t crush it as much as the Baird malt.

Hops were Phoenix pellets for bittering and Mt. Hood whole hops for flavour and aroma.  The chill today was amazingly efficient because of the very cold ground water.  We had to turn the water down to less than half flow, and we still got the wort temperature down to 65F.

I got to test out a new thermometer today, a Traceable waterproof probe thermometer which is NIST certified and accurate to within .2 degrees.  It worked very well, we tracked the mash temperature from 155F at dough-in to 153F at the end of the mash.  Since the target was 154, that was perfect.

There is no beer to rack from primary today since we hadn’t brewed yet this year, but we did keg up the second half of the Two Hearted clone, dry-hopping it with 1.25 ounces of Centennial.