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bierblog: March 2009 Archives

March 29, 2009

first markham brewday of 2009

since we started brewing here in markham, our final brewday of the year has been one or more big beers designed for aging, sort of our "vintage ale". in 2005 we brewed an imperial stout and our rochefort 10 clone [brewday blog]. in 2006 we made our first old ale [brewday blog]. in 2007 we made another old ale [brewday blog], this one with an american slant. to finish 2008 we had planned both an old ale and a russian imperial stout based on the recipes from 2006 and 2005 respectively.

another common thread with these brewdays is cold. the 2005 brewday started out with snow on the ground and got colder as the day progressed. the hoses froze, it took forever for things to reach temperature, cleaning was a pain, and the day seemed to go on forever. this prompted me to swear i'd never brew again in sub-zero temperatures. 2006 went a little better - although the brewday was in early december the temperature stayed above freezing and the day went smoothly. 2007 was not as good. it started off well below freezing and never really got better. however, we had built up a couple of giant starters and knew we wouldn't get another chance at it, so we went for it. what a nightmare. the hoses were completely unusable. every bit of spilled water turned instantly into a sheet of ice. it made every aspect of the day more challenging and a huge pain in the ass. by the end of the day we decided that even if it meant sacrificing yeast, we'd definitely never do it again.

so late 2008 rolled around, and we started planning for our final brewday. in preparation for it, we brewed up an ESB and a stout [brewday blog] to generate nice fat yeast cakes for our old ale and russian imperial stout. however, as the brewday approached the weather was looking ugly... much like 2007 the temperature wasn't going to reach above the freezing mark. we decided to save as much of the yeast slurry as possible and hope for another warm weekend. as it turned out, we didn't see one until the spring of 2009...

the garage in "winter mode": all the gear piled high in the back corner, table collapsed on the wall, and room for the car to fit inside.

brewday breakfast: smoked salmon, berries, bagels, and two kinds of homemade cream cheese. sweet! on yeah, and the always important coffee.

i made a couple small modifications to the mill this year. i decided it was a hassle to use a bucket and it'd be more convenient to just mill straight into our kettles. i figured i could just use a clamp to hook the handle of the kettle on to the top of the mill. so i took off the leg and attached a piece of jean leg to direct the milled grain down into the kettle. works like a charm!

strike water coming up to temp.

eric weighing out the grain. since we more than killed a full bag of malt, we figured it'd be easier to just weigh the specialty malts inside and take care of the rest in the garage.

the newly modified mill. works on any kettle size too!

another view of breakfast.

freshly milled grain! i think this was the old ale.

the sugar we decided to use in our two batches. the thai palm sugar went into the old ale and the sucanat sugar went into the stout.

eric filling up the bucket tun with the "high" mash for the stout. damn that shit was black!

finally got around to slotting the manifold for our second cooler tun. the first shows it freshly slotted. the second shows it after i cleaned it all up. the third is a closeup showing it nice and smooth.

the two tuns for the ris.

vorlauf of the "high" mash. i think this is about when we started calling the beer black death.

adding the sucanat sugar to the first runnings on the stout.

can you say black?

second tun ready for its maiden voyage.

magic elixir getting angry, just the way we like it!

the main stout wort on its way to a boil.

another shot of the elixir. it had boiled down a fair bit by this point.

eric putting up the horns for the blackness of the stout.

both batches now on the burners and ready to go.

hops for both brews.

refractometer and promash.

the final result of the magic elixir. it had boiled down from around 4 gallons to about 1 gallon. you can see the carnage on the sides of the pot. beside it is the spent grain, ready for composting.

both batches rolling along. the stout was boiling and the old ale was almost there.

eric adding some of the magic elixir back into the main stout wort. we waited until we had a little boil off, then started adding it a little at a time so we wouldn't kill the boil.

old ale now happily boiling away.

stout chilling and old ale boiling.

the stout on its way into the fermenter. yep, still black as hell.

and now the old ale too.

another successful brew day.

Posted by grub at 10:33 PM

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Last Modified: Sunday, 05-Aug-2012 10:33:21 MST