Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Double Brew Wknd

So on Saturday I got a little ambitious. I brewed two homebrew batches in one afternoon/evening. The first was a rhubarb beer experiment... I had to create a simple beer to make a rhubarb/something blend beer from. This is what I came up with, a simple wheat beer, expressed here in non-volume specific rates:

Mash at 50 C for 20 minutes, raise to 68 C for 50 minutes. 3.0 L/kg grain dough-in water. Mashout high at 79-80 C. Target OG=13.2 Plato.
55.6% 2-row pale malt
41.4% Malted wheat
2.6% Carared malt
0.38% Black malt (to add a red hue)

Hopped with 8.125 AAU/L Cascade hops for bittering, all of boil (60 min)
Plus 4.063 AAU/L Cascade hops for aroma, last 2 minutes of boil.

Yeast: Some clean ale yeast, like London or American ale. Ferment 18-20 C.
The brew when pretty except for a little higher than expected boil-off rate. I had to top up with a little boiled water to bring the pre-ferment gravity down to a reasonable level.

When the fermentation is done the batch will be split and racked into 2 carboys with different rhubarb mixtures. Some ideas that have been tossed around are rhubarb-saskatoon berry, rhubarb-raspberry, and rhubarb-strawberry.

Next was the third installment of my "Super Amber Brown Ale" series. I think this third try should work out quite well, the mash and boil smelt AMAZING. The malt bill is more complex than I would usually do:

Mash at 66 C for 60 minutes. Dough in with 3.0 L/kg grain. Mashout at 77 C. Targer OG 15.6 Plato.
64.8% 2-row pale malt
18.5% Dark munich malt, 10L
9.25% C120 malt (Crystal ~120L)
3.70% Cararoma malt (adds malty aroma, similar to crystal malt)
2.96% UK Chocolate malt
0.37% Roast barley
0.37% Black Patent malt

Boiled for 1.5 hrs. Hopped with:
First Gold @ 9.57 AAU/L boiled for 75 min.
First Gold @ 5.98 AAU/L boiled for 10 min.
Pretty much any British Ale style yeast should do.

This batch was ok, although after my mash I left a valve open by accident and lost about half a L of pure extract. As such, my final gravity was 1 Plato short of what I wanted, although my volume was fine. I guess I could have had higher gravity with less volume but... meh. I'm looking for the flavour in this beer for the most part.


NOTE: AAU/L = Alpha Acid Units of hops per L of final wort volume after boil. To get the weight of hops in g, calculate (AAU/L * L of final wort) / (AA% of hops)

Friday, December 15, 2006

I dream of Lambic

For you non-beer types, lambic is a style of beer fermented by non-beer yeast or bacteria... spoilage bacteria in most beer styles. Its sour, but if done right, it can be quite tasty. In any case, I've never made a lambic before, and I think its the thing to do. Gotta do it sometime.

I figure I'll take a wort at a gravity of 1.040 and throw some crushed grain in at 30 C and keep it warm. Let it sit for...... well until I feel like dealing with it, and see how it comes out. At the least I can use it to spike other beers with sourness (like a fruit beer that is too sweet).

On a side note, for some reason I was watching TV this evening, and I'm watching this show called "Men in Trees".... while its interesting, I'm finding it quite formulaic... seems like 3 of the same love stories that have been told before, nothing new. I'll watch to the end of this show, but its not like I;m going to tune in week to week (like The Office...).


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Blogger's Lament

Yeah, I've been too lazy to update lately. Lazy and a little busy too. Bah. And I'm not going to do a real update now either. I did, however, brew a belgian strong dark on sunday. Although I'm thinking the only thing thats making it a belgian style of beer is the fact that is uses belgian yeast and caramel syrup. It uses "english" style everything -- english hops, english malts... different yeast and it would have been a barley wine.
The brew went ok, except for a few oddities that I will explain... ... eventually.
Although from what I understand, of the people that read my blog only two or three actually know what the hell I'm talking about when I write about brew days.

Meh, for now.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Brewing this weekend

For anybody (in Edmonton) who is interested, I believe I will be brewing a hopefully nice Belgian Strong Dark beer. Here is the basic recipe...

8.0 kg Pale 2-row
1.6 kg German Dark Munich
0.4 kg Crystal Malt 90°L
1 kg Victory® Malt
0.41 kg Homemade Dark Caramel Syrup (boil 20 min)
1.2 kg Corn Sugar (boil 15 min)
1 tsp Wyeast Nutrient - added during boil, boiled 20 min
2 L WYeast 3864 Canadian/Belgian Style Yeast, from starter
30 g Target (8%) - added during boil, boiled 75 min
25 g First Gold (9.5%) - added during boil, boiled 20 min

Boil Duration: 1.25 hrs
Final Volume: 40 L

Original Gravity: 1.078
Terminal Gravity: 1.010
Color: 16.3 SRM
Alcohol: 8.5%
Bitterness: ~20 IBU

Friday, December 01, 2006

10.1% SKOB

Oh, and I forgot to update the 1 of you who cares that the belgian we brewed actually finished with a final gravity of 2 P (~1.010), which is an awesome rate of attenuation down from 20.3 P (go yeast!), making it a 10.1% beer (a little high since I was aiming for 9!)

Getting into the Belgians

Last Saturday I had a chance to sit down with 7 certified beer judges to taste and analyze several styles of Belgian beer, which are known to be the hardest to judge. Needless to say, it was a very informative learning session (ie, we ended up drunk).

Long story short, we compared tripels with golden strong ales as the main course, since many judges have trouble distinguishing between the styles. We seemed to find that the golden strong ales were generally lighter in colour, plus seemed to have a slightly sweeter champagne character in the beers we tried (Duvel & Chimay White Cap) compared to the tripels (Trappist Rocefort 8, Tripel Karmeliet, and... uh... crap, something else).

I'd intended to write more about this this week, however something else has popped up that has taken a bunch of my time lately... its beer related, but I'll have to post it later.

And to add more beer to the list, later in the week a friend and I compared the Rochfort 8 & 10 to the St. Bernardus Abt 12. It was quite a flight of heavy beers, indeed, but yet quite interesting to taste them all side by side. Compared to the 10 and the Abt 12, the 8 tasted almost light and even wattery... when its certainly not! My favorite was the Abt 12, while my friend stuck with the Rochfort 10

Anyway, going to brew a tripel this saturday morning methinks. Not tooo sure of the recipe yet, but I am trying to get rid of some specialty malts (cara wheat and victory malt might make an interesting tripel!), and I made a starter for Wyeast's Belgian/Canadian yeast today... it should be an acceptable yeast choice (... as it is my only choice).

K, I'll blog better soon... maybe even post something interesting... wouldn't that be a hoot.