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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 July 4, 2006 10:59 PM

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