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bierblog: July 2006 Archives

July 24, 2006

return of the jay

since jayc relocated to PA earlier this year we haven't had him around for any brew days, so when he said he was going to be in town for the weekend it seemed like a great excuse to brew something. we tossed around some recipe ideas and since i had a big bag of wheat and we've got a truckload of hops we decided to try brewing up a wheatwine with lots of amarillo. we put together an initial recipe, aiming for a gravity of 1.121 and over 50% wheat.

on brew day we got setup and weighed everything out. as always, the barley crusher tore through the malt without breaking a sweat. however, when it came time to grind the wheat that wasn't the case. the first problem was that the extremely hard wheat was a little too much for the motor, so we threw the hand crank back on and got to work. that worked for a little while, but then something odd started happening. the hand crank and shaft were turning, but the wheat wasn't moving. we scooped most of the wheat out of the hopper and could see that even though the crank was turning, the roller inside the mill was not. if i turned the crank backwards a little and then went forward it'd grind a little, then stick again. at this point i was panicing that the precious barleycrusher was broken and that we didn't have anywhere near the amount of wheat we wanted. we decided to test whether it'd still crush barley, and it seemed to work fine, which was a relief. so we adjusted the recipe and replaced the unground wheat with maris otter. still a big, badass wheat beer, even if it wasn't quite what we were aiming for. the final recipe for the wheatwine still looks damn good.

when Jenn saw that we had less wheat than we wanted (27% instead of about 55%) she dubbed the beer "mini-wheat" (something i often eat for breakfast). it seemed appropriate, but we kind of laughed it off...

the expected grain bill for the day. on the left about 45% barley, and on the right about 55% malted wheat.

i think this was during mash out...something that involved the mash sitting on the burner.

the hop bill for the day. simcoe and chinook for bittering and lots of amarillo.

mmmm, skum.

just one of the beers jay supplied for the brew day, the liquer de malt. the finest malt liquor i've ever had....but that still doesn't mean it's really all that good. of course, dogfish head knows that all malt liquor should be in 40oz portions and be served from a paper bag. the only problem with this is that it's bottle conditioned and chunky as hell. even carefully pouring into pint glasses, the last glass was pretty chunky. i swear there was whole kernels of corn in there.

jay and i admiring some beer. i can't remember if it was the LdM or not. we drank alot of beer that day.

there's me skimming some skum.

jay loves his malt liquor.

first half of the bittering addition.

admiring the aroma of the hops.

and the second half of the bittering addition.

jay and i spilling some malt liquor "for our homies".

right about now the beer got really angry with us. about 7 gallons in a 15.5 gallon keg and it was ready to boil over.

a long boil that was mostly uneventful, but we didn't have quite as much boil off as we expected so we ended with just over 6gal at 1.088 instead of the 5gal at 1.110 we were expecting...another way this beer taunted us. at this point i accepted the title of "mini-wheat".

the photo above shows the beer less than 4 hours after pitching and already blowing off like mad.

the beers we sampled on the brew day and the previous night. Jan dropped by and brought some authentic czech pilsiners and a bottle of speedway stout. i'll never say no to some alesmith. lots of fine beers, including a bunch of homebrew that wasn't pictured.

sly fox 113 ipa
marin brewing co ipa
lagunitas old gnarleywine
hair of the dog fred from the wood
brooklyn black chocolate stout 03/04
brooklyn black chocolate stout 05/06
dogfish head liquor de malt
alesmith speedway stout
stone 9th anniversary
rye barleywine
slatopramen
primus
original flag porter

after a week this one had dropped from 1.088 to 1.021, which is
74.76% attenuation and 8.92% ABV. tasted fantastic. if i didn't know better i'd swear it had apricots in it. looking forward to drinking this one!

one final note on the barely crusher. even after the trouble i had with the wheat (and the same issue with the rye in our fred clone) i still love this thing. i emailed the manufacturer to tell them about my problems. Randy immediately replied and was very apologetic. he told me that since i had already figured out what the issue was there was no need to return my barley crusher to them for inspection. he said that if i felt OK with taking my mill apart and installing a new roller he'd ship me one out right away, otherwise i could return the mill to them and they'd happily install and return it to me. i gave him my info and less than a week after i emailed them i had the new roller in my hand. not only does the barley crusher kick ass, the lifetime warantee and customer service are also awesome. as their website says, homebrewers can be sure that "this will be the only grain mill they will ever purchase!". i still can't recommend them highly enough. buy a barley crusher. you will be very happy you did.

Posted by grub at 8:38 AM

July 4, 2006

the bastard child is born

this saturday rob and i celebrated canada day by brewing up a batch of beer. when it looked like nobody was available for last weekend's brew day, i sent out an email asking about everyone's availability and inquiring as to whether we should postpone. as it turned out, the only person available to brew this weekend was rob, and since rob doesn't make it out to brew with us very often i decided that we should definitely brew somewhere on the 1st so he'd be included. since i was the only other person available, that meant brewing at my place.

since it was just rob and i, we started talking about our recipe options. rob didn't feel like the chocolate vanilla stout from his wishlist, but said he'd be interested in an IPA or something for the summer. since we hadn't done an IPA since last fall, i thought it was a good idea, and i even had yeast (wyeast 1056) and a variety of hops that would go great in an american IPA. his other suggestion was to make an arrogant bastard clone. i have read a few discussions on cloning the bastard on the homebrewing forum at beer advocate, so i knew that the recipe would require lots of chinook, a hop i didn't have on hand. a little searching and i found a good clone recipe that seemed to have lots of positive response (both on that site and beer advocate). however, i also didn't have the 120L crystal that was required. i quickly checked out paddock wood and was in luck: they sell both extra dark crystal at 125L and chinook. in total the order would come to about $20 for 1kg of crystal and 6oz of chinook. both rob and i were ok with the slightly higher cost for the batch, so i finalized our recipe and placed the order.

rob arrived shortly before 10am on saturday. i'd already measured out our water and had it heating and was working on weighing out the grain. finished off my bag of maris otter, so we had to suppliment with 10.8# of the generic british 2-row. with more than half maris otter and all the crystal and chinook, i'm guessing we won't notice the difference.

the day went smoothly, with the only real problem being the wind. it was so windy that it seemed to take forever to heat things up (heating water, mashing out, boiling). it took 2 hours for the 14 gallons to reach a boil, which is much longer than usual. i kept turning up the burner, but it didn't seem to matter much. i wasn't too suprised by this when we were cleaning up and i saw that the bottom of the kettle was completely clean. usually the outside is black from the burner and sometimes the inside gets at least a little bit of stuff, but today both were clean. we just weren't getting very efficient heating with the wind. not really a big deal though, since it just meant that we were able to sit around and relax. rob especially appreciated this, since his last two brew days were the insanely long and very cold imperial stout/rochefort brew day in november and the insanely hot and fairly long ipa/scottish brew day last june. sitting around and relaxing on a nice breezy saturday afternoon was certainly enjoyable.

by 7pm the cleanup was done and the carboys each had 5.5 gallons of our bastard child, aerated and pitched with a big starter of wyeast 1056.

after doughing in, you see rob checking the temp and me manning the mash paddle. we were still a little shy of our target temp, so we had to throw it on the burner for a bit to bring it up to 155F.

brew day snacks, and healthy ones too! jenn always takes care of us, making sure we've got food and beverages on brew day. today it was some strawberries and cherries. tasty!

this time we're doing our mash out, with rob again watching the temperature and me stirring away. the first where we were actually working, and then posing for the photo.

looking good already.

with the mash out done, we loaded up the tun and got ready to sparge.

first runnings. didn't take long for this to start running clear. great colour too.

and a while later we had collected 14 gallons, so that following the 90 min boil we'd end up with about 11 gallons of sweet tasty wort.

the hop bill for this recipe is simple: an assload of chinook. that works out to 2.5oz at 90min, 2oz at 30min, and 1.5oz at flameout.

on the burner and starting the (slow) journey towards boiling. here we see the first bit of hot break forming on the surface.

rob showing off my arrogant bastard pint glass, containing a bit of ed fitz. upon taking his first sip, rob said something along the lines of "oh my god, that's fucking awesome". exactly the sort of review i like to hear.

finally boiling. it was quite windy out, so it took about 2 hours to reach boiling. i really need to make some kind of a wind screen for the burner for days like this.

guess the burner managed to get pretty hot, because one of the feet sunk into the driveway about an inch, and the others made a smaller impression.

the tree next door was dropping pollen all day, and with the wind it was really getting everywhere (including into the boil pot). i joked that we would have to add "pollen" to the recipe. realistically, i don't think enough got in to have any real effect.

just about done the boil. you can see the hops (4.5oz at this point) rolling along.

a shot of our handy measuring stick. i took a piece of 1/2" dowel that was laying around and measured 1 gallon increments. i made a notch at each point, then cut in roman numerals to indicate every two gallons. works with our three converted kegs, and for the other 10 gallon pot we just use the stick and a tape measure.

the beer going into the carboys. we ended up with 11 gallons at 1.078 for 88% efficiency.

both carboys got aerated for about 90 seconds with pure oxygen through a 0.5 micron diffusion stone, then got a nice big starter of wyeast 1056.

Posted by grub at 10:59 PM

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