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August 20, 2006

Fred and Co.

Finally, the brew day we've been waiting for has arrived. Quite a while ago Russ and I (Eric) discussed brewing up a clone of Hair of the Dog Fred barleywine. It kicks ass, therefor we must brew it. Circular logic, because if we brew it, it must kick ass. Also on our plate was a Merlot Stout that Russ tried at the Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, and since I'm up for brewing just about anything, a recipe was thrown together. We also decided to brew up 10 gallons of IPA, using two different hopping schedules per 5 gallons, just cause we can, and how else to use the 2 pounds of Simcoe and 2 pounds of Amarillo I picked up from morebeer.com? Actually I could think of a lot of ways but we haven't done a proper IPA in a long while, so we're due.

I arrived around 9:15 am, ready to go, and back at Russ's place we finalized our recipes and weighed out the grain. Turned out we were short on Munich malt, so instead of Munich our IPA got Aromatic malt and some Honey malt, also from morebeer.com. The epic barleycrusher burned through our grains in no time, although the rye malt for the Fred clone was a bitch due to the hardness and size of the grain, although after some intense labour all was well. Just before 11 am we were told Tim had decided to ditch his plans and come help us brew, always great to have an extra set of hands, and he brought some nice beers to sample as well.

The merlot stout was the smallest of the brews so it was mashed/boiled first, came out as expected, and then Fred followed. The brewday worked out really well, due to the long boil on Fred (2 1/2 hours.) That extra time gave us some leeway to get the IPA started and before long everything had fallen into place. Our beers have come out way above gravity due to ridiculous efficiency, but extra boiloff gave us some room to dilute on the IPA. Russ and I had everything in the fermenters and in the basement by 9 pm, with a total of 21 gallons or so fermenting away. This gave us time to sample some more beers, including the nice coffee porter brewed by Russ and Taavi, as well as Russ' cider. A perfect complement while rocking out to Guitar Hero.

Heres our weighed out grain bills for the day. From left to right: IPA, Fred, and Merlot Stout. Looks great.

The excellent barleycrusher chewing away. We're just laughing now while chump homebrews grind by hand.

Another shot of the fabulous barleycrusher, crushing barley.

The Merlot Stout is mashing in the short pot on the left, while sparge water is heating in the converted keg on the right. The plywood is a macgyver'd windshield that Russ whipped up that morning.

Russ looking grim and holding something in his hand.

This is the Merlot Stout during the mash, sure as hell looks like a stout!

The Merlot Stout in the lauter bucket, leaving the cooler free to sparge Fred.

Heres me looking grim/maybe hungover/tired, but all that keeps a brewer on his toes.

Heres Fred being sparged, we sampled a real bottle of the Fred while this happened, and the colour was pretty damn closed.

Heres Tim looking absolutely not grim at all. Ruthless Brewing has convinced me that all homebrewers should have beards.

The remnants of a fantastic lunch, spawning energy to be used creating brewing mayhem. Jenn once again hooked us up with a great lunch.

Me skimming the scum off the Merlot Stout, I can tell its me by the badass New Balance kicks.

Some of the aforementioned mayhem: Thats 2 oz of first wort hops caking up as Fred came to a boil. note that there is about 9.5gal in a 13.5gal converted keg and it's still close to boil over. the beer was clearly angry.

Another shot of that insane angry first wort hop action, Tim is proving its metal by throwing up the horns. \m/ Dethklok roks.

Fred as it begins its 2 1/2 hour journey at a boil. Reduced from 9.5 gallons to 6 gallons.

Another shot of Fred boiling, with the sparge water for the IPA on the other burner.

A shot of the IPA being sparged, and collecting in the brew kettle. Half of this was removed and boiled in the 10 gallon pot, to use different hop schedules.

Another shot of the sweet sweet IPA wort.

Russ and Tim fiddling around on the computer, browsing some Pr0n, err... recipes.

A shot of the brews we sampled over the course of the day. I count 7 Beeradvocate Top 10's in there. Not bad at all.

perkuno's hammer
sinebrychoff porter
dfh 90min
hotd fred
brooklyn monster ale 2005
flying dog horn dog barleywine

not pictured, but we also sampled some Sheaf Stout too.

Nice shot of the fermenter rack Grub built. The two in the front on top are the IPA's, behind that are the Fred and Merlot Stout. On the bottom is the Oaked Wee Heavy, RIS, Wheat Wine and Bastard Child.

Another shot of happy beer in carboys.

Huge krausen on the IPA's, nice and full of hops, the smell was fantastic.

Bunch of corny kegs filled with delicious, delicious beer.

Dedicated brewcorner in Russ' basement, where the action begins and ends.

Russ' beer fridge, has capacity for dispensing 3 corny kegs at the moment, with room for some extra beers.

Nothing greater than a freezer full of hops. Must be 4-5 pounds in there total. All sorts of great stuff.

update by Russ, monday aug 28th.

checked gravities on all 4 beers wed evening. here's the status:

fred has dropped from 1.099 to 1.018. that's 80.54% attenuation and 10.83% abv. oh yeah, and that's before i added the pound of candi sugar, so it should gain another 1.04% abv if that all gets consumed, and maybe more if we got the yeast excited enough. that's a 1.107 OG that should finish no higher than 1.018. yowza. interested to see where this one ends up.

the stout is being somewhat uncooperative. after throwing it on a yeast cake of wyeast 1968 (london esb) it did nothing. still no sign of activity on monday the 21st, so i smacked a fresh pack of 1968 that i had in the fridge, let it swell and pitched it in. it showed some life, but never got a really strong krausen going. it was mostly stopped again by wed when i took gravities. started at 1.062 and was down to 1.023. that's 64.95% attenuation and 5.19% abv. that yeast should hit 67-71% attenuation, but it also might not have been done. i'll see how they look in the next day or so and go from there.

both halves of the ipa are looking good. the simcoe/cascade half started at 1.065 and was down to 1.019, so 69.63% attenuation and 6.09% abv. the amarillo half started at 1.067 and was down to 1.019 too, for 70.49% attenuation and 6.35% abv. might have dropped a little more since. both looking good.

fred will stay in primary for at least a few days, then likely get a longish secondary. right now i'm debating what to do with the others, whether to throw them into a keg now to secondary and carbonate, or transferring to secondary for a week and then into a keg to condition them. should be clearer if i do a real secondary, but i thought the extra yeasties might help speed up conditioning. they're being cask conditioned, so a little residual yeast is ok, as is lower carbonation. at this point i'll probably leave them in primary until thursday and then keg and prime them.

Posted by viggo at August 20, 2006 11:02 AM

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