June 21, 2008

Big Update

Category: Cyser,Hops Growing,PB Brown Ale — Josh @ 7:52 am

It’s been a while since I updated. the second PBB Ale turned out.. well ok. It tastes a little yeasty and is over carbonated. I will probably not try to harvest and reuse yeast from a previous batch unless there is a world wide yeast shortage. I think I would have gotten a better result if I had just used dried Nottingham yeast. I may try this recipe again after a while, but for now I am planning on making a Porter next.

The Cyser is ready to bottle. I have purchased some Ikea flip top 1k glass bottles and some rubber stoppers for the bottling. I Just need to find the time to do the bottling. The Cyser tastes very nice. It has a slight apple nose, with an even more subtle sulfur note. The sulfur note has faded somewhat over the last couple of months. The flavor is spicy with a slight apple flavor, fading to sweet and warm. The spiciness and warmth have faded over the last couple of months and should continue to mellow. The SG was 0.0992@81F which is lower than the reading I took in march. I have seen no airlock activity in the last month and do not expect the SG to go lower.

I planted some hops back at the end of march. You can see some pictures here on Flickr. I planted 2 Chinook and 2 Nugget rhizomes on 03/28 and 2 Liberty Rhizomes on 04/27. All 6 plants are doing well, and have all started flowering. I don’t know how if I will get any usable hops from the nugget and liberty, because I dosed them all little too heavily with Epsom salts and stunted their growth for about a month(Was trying to fix an unknown nutrient deficiency). At the time this occurred the Chinook already had sizable hop flowers and have since formed into some nice cones. I have been watering the hops by hand every couple of days, giving them about a half gallon per plant. Sometimes I have water twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening on the hotter days(95+F). We have not had very much rainfall over the last 3 month. We have averaged around 2 inches a month since February.

April 22, 2008

Brown ale Bottled

Category: PB Brown Ale — Josh @ 9:38 pm

The second batch of the brown ale has been bottled. This batch is a little lighter in color with fruity, hops flavors, and less of a roasted flavor compared to the previous batch. It is very delicious. The corrected FG was 1.013 before priming. I primed the beer with with 6 ounces of corn sugar in 2 quarts of water (priming sugar and water boiled on stove for 10 mins). Total bottled was 55 bottles, a little over 5 gallons. I estimate that the FG of the finished beer was a few points lower due to the addition of 2 quarts of water and priming sugar. ABV is estimated between 5.0 and 4.9 % after priming.

April 3, 2008

Fermentation slowing

Category: PB Brown Ale — Josh @ 9:24 am

The fermentation on this brown ale is slowing down a bit. I have been adjusting the thermostat on the freezer to keep the beer at 66-67F according to the stick-on thermometer attached to the carboy. Initial fermentation activity generates quite a bit of heat and requires more cooling to keep it in the correct temp range. As the activity slows down, not as much heat is generated by the fermentation activity. I have been adjusting the temp in the freezer upwards by .5 to 1 degree per day to keep the beer’s temperature in range. The freezer thermostat is currently set at 65F, but the indoor/outdoor thermometer is reading 64F.

April 1, 2008

Brewed again: not an april fools joke

Category: PB Brown Ale — Josh @ 6:38 pm

I brewed this brown ale again on 03/29 , except with the following recipe changes. I removed the Cara-Pils and 20L Crystal from the recipe and addded 2 row malt. I did this in hopes that it will provide a little more fermentable sugar and that the ending FG will be a little lower. I also realized that the Briess Liquid malt extract already contains cara-pils and it was not necessary to add extra. The color was lightened a little with the crystal removal, but not by much.

2.00 lb Maris Otter
2.00 lb Pale Malt, Muntons
0.50 lb Special B (Dingemans)
0.25 lb Caramel Malt – 40L 6-Row (Briess)
0.25 lb Caramel Malt – 60L 6-Row (Briess)
0.25 lb Chocolate Malt (Muntons)

3.30 lb LME Pilsen Light (Briess) (added before boiling)
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.20%] (75 min)
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.20%] (15 min)
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (15 min)
0.63 lb Turbinado
0.38 lb Brown Sugar, Light
0.06 lb Corn Sugar (Dextrose)
200ml White Labs #WLP005 (Slurry repitched from last batch)

Initial mash in was with 6.5 quarts of water @ 171F. The mash water was regular filtered tap water to which I added .625 tsp of PH5.2. The mash temp settled to 156F within 5 minutes. I stirred the mash and checked the temp every 30 mins. At 30 mins the temp was at 156F, 60 min 151F, and 90 min 145F.

After 90 mins, I drained the wort, recirculating about 3 quarts until it ran clear. SG of First runnings was 1.079 @ 85F (1.082 corrected). I then batch sparged with 5.5 quarts of water @ 175F. The sparge water was regular filtered tap water to which I added .6 tsp of PH5.2. SG of the second runnings was 1.038 @ 79F (1.040 corrected). I then batch sparged again with 5.5 quarts of water @ 175F. The sparge water was regular filtered tap water to which I added .6 tsp of PH5.2. SG of the final runnings was 1.012 @ 82F (1.015 corrected). The total amount of wort collected was 13.5 quarts. SG was 1.040 @ 83F (1.043 corrected). Mashing efficiency is calculated at 75%

After looking at the FG of the wort that was collected from the mash, I decided to add some corn sugar to increase the SG a little. I did not realize that I was out of corn sugar. Substituted with leftover sugars, basically using up what I had in the cabinet.

After the boil I cooled down the wort by placing the pot in an ice bath. After 40 mins the wort was at 65F, and it was sparged into a 5gallon carboy. The carboy was topped up to the 5 gallon mark and stirred. Aluminum foil was placed over the mouth of the carboy. The carboy was set aside for 3 hours to allow the trub to settle out. The wort was then siphoned from the 5 gallon carboy to the 6.5 gallon carboy, leaving behind 1600 ml of wort and trub. Filtered tap water was then added to bring the final volume up to 5.5 gallons. The wort was shaken for 5 minutes to aerate it. SG of the wort before pitching the yeast slurry was 1.051 @ 76F (1.053 corrected)

Fermentation commenced within 7 hours of pitching the yeast slurry. The krausen peaked around 40 hours after pitching the yeast.

March 29, 2008

Brewing this again

Category: PB Brown Ale — Josh @ 12:52 pm

I am brewing this one again today. Pretty much as an experiment to see how my harvested yeast from the last batch works out. I am planning to follow the same recipe, except mashing with 1.25 quarts of water/lb which will hopefully allow me to hit my mash temps. I am also saying no to any corn sugar this time.

Brown Ale: Big Update

Category: PB Brown Ale — Josh @ 12:45 pm

Sorry for the belated update. I have been busy with clearing a spot in the yard to plant some Hops. This beer was initially brewed on 03/12/2008. This brown ale was intended to be a New Castle clone. The final beer came out a little low on the ABV side, but overall is turned out great. The recipe that I used for this Brown ale is as follows:

2.00 lb Maris Otter
1.00 lb Pale Malt, Muntons
0.50 lb Caramel Malt – 20L (Briess)
0.50 lb Caramel Malt – 40L 6-Row (Briess)
0.50 lb Carapils (Briess)
0.45 lb Special B (Dingemans)
0.30 lb Caramel Malt – 60L 6-Row (Briess)
0.25 lb Chocolate Malt (Muntons)

Begin Boil (75 min)
3.30 lb LME Pilsen Light (Briess)(72 min)
1.75 oz Goldings, East Kent (70 min)
0.50 oz Fuggles (70 min)
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent (15 min)
1.00 lb Corn Sugar (15 min)

1 Pkgs British Ale (White Labs #WLP005) (1500 ml Starter cultured on stir plate)

Initial mash was done at 1 quart/lb of grain (1.5 quarts of water @ 174F). The mash settled in at 150F. I missed my target mash-in temp by 5 degrees I ended up adding 2 – 2 quart infusions of boiling water to keep the mash temp up to 153 over the 90 min mash period. I batch sparged with 2 – 4 quart batches of water @ 175F. I forgot to record the mash final SG. Volume of the run off was 13.5 quarts.

After boiling, sparging and topping up to the 5.5 gallon mark in the carboy, the initial gravity of the wort was 1.049 @ 72.3F (1.050 corrected). The wort was aerated by shaking the carboy for 5 mins. SG on 03/14/2008 (48 hours after pitching the yeast) was 1.025 @ 67F. FG after fermentation was 1.015 @ 72F (1.016 corrected).

This beer was allowed to ferment for 12 days, and was bottled on 03/24/2008. Fermentation on this beer was a little different, in that I had forgotten to plug in the temp controller on the freezer, and the temp inside during the first 20 hours reached 91 F. Freezer was plugged in at this point and the temp was gradually brough down to 67F in increments of 4F over about 6 hours. Priming solution at bottling was 2 quarts of boiled water and 5.5 ounces of corn sugar. Beer temp was 72F which should yield a carbonation level of 2.7 vols. I estimate final SG after priming solution was at (1.015 Corrected). and final actual ABV was reduced by .1% to 4.3% ABV. Bottling yielded 57 12 ounce bottles.

I also left behind about 1500 ml of beer in the carboy so that I could harvest some yeast to repitch in another batch which I am brewing today. I harvested 18 ounces of yeast slurry from this batch of beer (3 – 6 ounce samples). Samples were poured into cleaned and sanitized 12 ounce bottles. Care was taken to clean the mouth and outside of the bottles and carboy with 91% rubbing alcohol, then flame the mouth of th carboy and bottles with a lighter.

Overall this beer tastes very good when I sampled it during bottling, but I have not tried any since I bottled it.

March 16, 2008

Brown Ale

Category: PB Brown Ale — Josh @ 8:08 pm

I brewed a Brown ale last Wednesday that is a sort of New Castle clone. I intended to get the details of the brew session and the recipe posted this weekend, but I ran out of steam. I check the gravity on it Friday, and it does taste a lot like New Castle, but not exactly the same. The beginning SG was 1.050 @ 60F and on Friday it was already down to 1.026 @ 60F.