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bierblog: September 2005 Archives

September 18, 2005

two headed monster

yesterday saw a few of us getting together for another brew day, our first since june 12th. this was to be the first time brewing at our new house in markham, and our first session with our newest biergotter member, eric. jay met eric through beer advocate and invited him to come out for the day. eric started homebrewing last year doing partial mash and extract brewing, so this was his first experience with all-grain.

on tap for the day was a barleywine and an ipa. the barleywine is something i'd been talking about for a while and wanted to take a stab at. the ipa was being brewed mostly to create a big, healthy yeast cake so that we can brew a double IPA in a couple weeks. we decided that since the malt bill would be similar for both batches we'd try to pull both batches from a single mash, then beef up the barleywine as necessary to give it a more respectable gravity. not wanting the IPA to end up too weak from this, we decided to collect 14 gallons and split this into two 7 gallon batches. A little tinkering with promash and we had a barleywine that would have an initial gravity of 1.106 and an IPA with an initial gravity of 1.065. we ended up with some great efficiency and had a pre-boil gravity of 1.065 for both.

here's some photos from the day...

getting setup for the day.

eric working on grinding our grain, and jayc making sure all goes well.

my new 'turkey fryer' burner on the left, jay's tried-and-true burner on the right.

mmmmm, grain. 30min protein rest after first infusion.

closer look

starting to fill the tun you can just barely see the mike dixon-style manifold in the bottom. lots of great stuff on his webpage.

jay loading up the mash tun.

hmmm...30 pounds of grain seems to be the limit for our tun. maybe it's time to move up to one of these?

jay and eric checking the first runnings...running clean in no time!

here's the bag of demerara sugar that i picked up friday. thought it'd be interesting to throw in the barleywine.

yay, promash!

jay topping up the tun with more water.

eric admiring some of the hops for these two batches (and the upcoming double ipa). mostly he was just posing for a photo to use in his profile.

he's still in awe over this whole all-grain thing...

great color...and the barleywine should get a bit darker with the DME and dark demerara.

both batches ready for the boil (ipa in the pot, barleywine in the converted keg).

wow, that's alot of spent grain. we tried to use some to make a loaf of bread, but it didn't turn out that great. too wet, and kind of brick-like.

the biergotter ladies observing the works. jenn wasn't too interested in a photo, but i took one anyway ;)

the mountain of grain ready to be recycled. here in markham we do 'green bin' orgaincs recycling. until i have a place to compost the spent grains, this will work great. hopefully it's not too heavy when they come to pick it up in the morning.

eric skimming the skum (well, rinsing the skimmer at this point).

hmmm...maybe jay isn't enjoying the photo journal either...

transferring the barleywine into the carboy. there was so much hop matter in the carboy that we initially tried straining it out, but the process was slow and painful. looked more like there was alot of cold break than hop matter. after while we just gave up and ran it straight in. it's going to be fermenting for a while, so there should be plenty of time for it to all settle out.

look! a blurry photo of a propane tank! perhaps i should have edited this one out...

yeah, we're happy with the way this one was looking.

that's me happily watching my first barleywine filling the carboy. we sampled a bit of this going in and we're really looking forward to trying it done. we brought both batches inside, oxygenated, and pitched a starter of white labs california ale yeast.

so the day went pretty well. no major problems (except for tim forgetting to bring us a second carboy to ferment the second batch in...luckily there's a wine shop nearby that was still open). definitely looking forward to brewing more batches here. we've got the double ipa scheduled for oct 1st, and have already started talking about a couple more batches we'd like to see before christmas. stay tuned for more brewing news in the future.

24 hour update:

well, it's now over 24 hours after the yeast was pitched. i went downstairs to check on them at about the 24 hour mark and was greeted to a great site. both beers are fermenting like mad, with the blow offs overflowing. the barleywine was actually creating quite a mess, as you can see by the trickle leading towards the drain in my basement.

the ipa

and the barleywine.

bet you can't tell which bottle was the blow off for which beer...

hops and such are already starting to settle from the barleywine.

i knew there'd be a good use for the aluminum pot that came with my burner...hopefully this won't get filled...

Posted by grub at 10:20 PM

September 3, 2005

Rye not make some mead?

It's been a while since there was a brewing session at Biergotter West (JayW's place in Windsor). Our last brew day in Windsor was dedicated to fruit beers and the results were fantastic. The pineapple ale was a big hit, the apple ale was nicely balanced, and the raspberry porter was quite tart and tasty.

Anyhow, JayW and I (JayC) had been throwing around the idea of doing rye beers for a while. We even tried a couple of times in the past, but the flaked rye that we used previously just didn't give us the result we were looking for. On a previous trip over to Kuhnhenn, we got a look in the attached BOP and HBS shop and saw a giant tub of malted rye, exactly what we needed.

We found a weekend that would work for both of us (Labour Day weekend) and started making plans. I had just picked up Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher (great book) and gotten the idea of trying a parti-gyle batch to get a small volume of high gravity beer and large volume of lower gravity beer. Seemed like a good idea, since we'd only need to mash/sparge once and get beer for both of us. The recipe we formulated called for a lot of rye, about 20% of the grist. We had also been planning to make mead at some point, so this seemed like as good a time as any.

So I packed up the car and headed down to Windsor on Friday. On the way, I stopped in at an apiary just north of Leamington and grabbed a bucket full of fresh clover honey. Smelled great. Brew day was Saturday, but unfortunately that was our first opportunity to go to the HBS shop. We headed out in the morning to cross the border and grab supplies. The shop attached to Kuhnhenn was spectacular. They had everything we needed at the best prices we've ever found. Tons of malt and hops, a wide variety of yeast, all tasting and smelling fresh (or at least stored well). The staff was helpful and steered us clear of some needless worry when dealing with rye (rice hulls are often suggested to avoid a stuck run-off, but when he heard our method, he said we didn't need to worry).

We left the shop with everything we needed for the day's brewing, as well as hops and yeast for a future Toronto brew day, and headed next door for a pint. After all the shopping, we deserved it, and Kuhnhenn never disappoints. Except for today when they had no beer bottled for off-premise sale. Oh well. So we headed up the street and grabbed a couple six-packs of Michigan micros.

Anyways, we got back to Windsor and started crushing grain (sorry, no pictures). This took a while, so we didn't get the mash started until almost 4pm. Crap, it was going to be a long day. Mashing was going well, but at the end of the saccharification rest the wort didn't taste quite as sweet as it should. An iodine test confirmed that it wasn't quite done, so we heated it up again and let it sit for another 30 minutes. That was all it needed, so it was time to start sparging.

Meanwhile, we pasteurized the honey to prepare the mead, two 5 gallon batches (a still and a sparkling if everything works out). It really didn't take long and as the honey/water mixture heated, it gave us a chance to skim coagulated proteins off the top. These went in the carboys, yeast nutrient was added, and yeast was pitched later in the day.

Back to the beer. So we pulled off about 4 gallons of wort for the barleywine and then continued collecting for the rye beer. We nearly hit gravity on the barleywine (only had to add 1/2# of DME) and overshot on the rye beer. Not bad for a first attempt at the parti-gyle method. Things went quite smoothly from here, but it was getting quite late. By the time the beer was boiled, cooled, and put into carboys, it was after 11pm. We took a short break to run downtown to Phog Lounge and then returned to oxygenate and pitch the yeast. There was no time for a starter, since the yeast was purchased earlier in the day, but we've had good results before with White Labs yeast in this situation. There was a little clean-up at this point, but not much. I think we gave up at about 2am.

The next morning we finished cleaning the garage and packed up the car, and then I headed back to Toronto. From JayW's updates, it sounds like fermentation was quite vigourous. It was a fun day of brewing, using new methods and new ingredients. What kind of insanity will be next? IPA/DIPA combo...

Posted by beerbaron at 10:12 AM

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