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bierblog: October 2005 Archives

October 31, 2005

brewing the club seasonal

another brew day for the biergotter crew. this time around it was our "club seasonal", a spiced imperial porter for the holidays. on hand for today's festivities were tim, jayc, jayw, eric, and me (russ). Tim's brother-in-law also dropped by for a bit to observe the magic that is all grain brewing.

we had a keg of our mild english bitter on tap for the day. This kept things interesting as the hops kept clogging up the works. we'd fill a pitcher until it came to a stop, then reverse the disconnects so we could "blow out" the outlet with co2, and keep going until it clogged again. by the time we got half way down the keg it was pretty much stuck and there wasn't much we could do to get it moving. so we popped the keg open and just poured it through a strainer and into pitchers. it was supposed to be lightly carbonated, so this worked out ok. next time we'll be sure to bag the hops before adding to the keg...small oversight in our first attempt at keg hopping.

with several of the biergotter crew at halloween parties the night before, tim and i volunteered to get things started early and let the other guys arrive a bit later. unfortunately, due to commitments with the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre rob wasn't able to join us for the day. he's been pretty busy with the theatre rebuild project and hasn't been able to take part in much brewing lately, but he tells us that he'll soon be rejoining us for some brewing fun. we still managed to arrange a time when jayw would be up visiting from windsor, so we went ahead with everyone else.

on to the photos!

"wheezy", the biergotter dog. actually, her name is nico, but she does wheeze alot. she mostly just layed around in the sun, but did try to take on several dogs approximately 20 times her size. fortunately we kept an eye on her and didn't let her get into too much trouble.

stirring up the mash to make sure the temp is up to saccharification temp of 155-156F.

jayc stirring the mash, eric drinking some of the bitter, jayw in his fine pirate hat also sampling the bitter, and tim striking a pose.

stir stir stir. still using a wood broomstick while we continue to search for a nice stainless paddle.

bringing the kettle up to 170F for mash out. pretty excellent color. guess that's what you get with a pound of black patent and a pound and a half of chocolate malt...

after vorlauf we started to collect some wonderfully black porter. well, i guess at this point it's still just "porter in training".

the tun full of 31 pounds of grainy goodness. that's jayc in the background keeping an eye on the flow.

still going. we got pretty close to a stuck sparge on this one. we had the flow going nice and slow, but it was gradually getting slower. even running wide open it was slowing to a trickle. we checked and found that the grain bed had really compacted down, so we stopped the sparge and gently stirred the mash, careful not to knock the manifold out. after another quick vorlauf we got it going again. it continued to flow slowly, but it was steady so we let it go. eventually we had 14 gallons of sweet tasty wort at a pre-boil gravity of 1.071.

standing around and waiting for the sparge. it took eric 5 tries to get a decent photo, but eventually he managed this one. from left to right we have tim, jayc, me (russ), and jayw. yar.

time to fire up the burner and get the boil going.

jayc skimming the hot break and eric showing off the bitter.

yay skum skimmin'. since we started doing this we've never had a boil over. highly recommended!

half way through the boil. can see the deep brown/green color of the head and first hop addition.

the jays. in case you were wondering, jayw was wearing the fine pirate hat from the costume that he wore to a halloween party the night before. he went as a priest from the church of the flying spagetti monster, wearing the appropriate full pirate regalia. he didn't go to bed until 4am, and then after a daylight savings mishap was awake at 7am. he was feeling a little rough, so we just kept filling him with bitter.

since it today is halloween we had some candy and party favours (prepared by jenn) on hand for the brew day. this one shows jayc trying out his new flashlight. oooh, frightening cat!

jayw had a frightening glowing red bat.

ooohh! scary!

jay with the bat, tim with his red skull necklace.

eric also testing out his flashlight. i think there's supposed to be two visible flashlights showing cats, but it's pretty hard to see...

eric enjoyed the bitter a little too much. i suppose it didn't help that we kept telling everyone who wasn't driving that they needed to finish the keg before they could leave. by the end of the night we were taking bets that he was going to be sick in jayc's car on the way home...

so the day went pretty smoothly, and when all was cleaned up we had about 11 gallons of 1.077 wort, lightly spiced and going into fermentation with two huge starters of white labs irish ale yeast. we're hoping to have half of this in bottles, and the other half on tap for new years eve!

Posted by grub at 10:11 PM

October 3, 2005

fermentation update

24 hour update...

the two DIPA's at the 24 hour mark. fermenting away happily.

the mild english bitter. still slow, but it's going...

beers we brewed up a couple weeks ago. the barleywine on the left still chugging along, and IPA on the right.

now we see the the bitter at the 48 hour mark, foaming all over and making a mess. after a little dry hopping with some fuggles, this one will be on tap when we brew our club seasonal oct 30th.

the two double IPAs fermenting up a storm.

barleywine and ipa still happy.

Posted by grub at 8:46 PM

October 1, 2005

mild and wild

brew day number two at my new house. on tap this time was a double IPA that we planned to pitch onto the yeast cake from the IPA that we brewed two weeks ago. since we were doing a big beer we decided to see what we could pull off for a second batch, even if it was only 5 gallons. we figured that a nice mild english bitter was a good choice.

before we got too far into the day, we had to transfer the IPA into secondary. we brewed this batch almost entirely for the yeast cake so we'd have lots of nice, happy yeasties to work on the DIPA. this was the first batch (along with the barleywine) that we used both a starter and oxygenated, and we were quite happy with the results. The IPA started out at 1.065 and was down to 1.015. our last couple batches didn't seem to go below 1.022, and when we primed and bottled we had some issues with overcarbonation. we feel pretty confident that after a little time in secondary (with an oz of cascade pellets) it'll be hoppy and happy and ready to drink.

we also decided to move the barleywine to secondary. the gravity on it had dropped from 1.106 down to 1.055 and was still bubbling about once every 5 seconds, however there was a serious amount of trub at the bottom of the carboy so we wanted to move it. we did make sure to pull a bit of extra yeast and stuff from the bottom of the carboy, just to make sure it'd keep going. we threw a bit of yeast from the ipa in too, just to make sure it'd be happy. we know this one will spend a while in secondary, but we want to make sure it will continue to ferment.

oh yeah, did i mention that they were great? after taking gravities we sampled both beers. the IPA was fantastic (probably our best yet), and the barleywine, while it still has a lot of sweetness, was baddass and tasty as hell. really looking forward to seeing this one finish fermenting, and then how it'll change with a little aging. both jay and i agreed that it was pretty darn good even without any aging. eric, you missed out on sampling these, but i'm sure you'll enjoy that next time.

with the transfers out of the way, we got back to the brewing. Here for today's session were me (Russ), Tim, and JayC. we also had the extra adventure that I needed to run out and pick Jenn up at the airport at 1:30, just when things would be starting to get interesting. that normally wouldn't have been a problem, but earlier this week tim said that he'd have to leave early to meet up with his dad, so he wouldn't be able to stay past 2:30. that would work out ok if everything went smootly at the airport and on the highway, but if the flight was delayed or traffic was bad we didn't want jay stuck alone with two boiling worts. well, once today came tim said he'd be able to stay until i got back (even if it took a while), so we weren't too worried. as it turned out, the flight was early, customs was a breeze, and the highway was dead, so there was no problem. we still waited to start the DIPA heating, just to be on the safe side and to stagger the time for the two batches finishing.

only took a few photos today, but here they are. enjoy!

tim (aka the brew monkey) working on cleaning up the keg kettle.

30 pounds of grain, crushed and ready for use. I crushed everything up and measured out the water for the protein and saccrification rests last night so it'd be ready to start when everyone arrived.

tim working on a new manifold for the cooler tun. a few of the pieces were a bit long, so he had to trim some of them.

scrub that pot, brew monkey!

mmmmmm....damn that looks good. smelled pretty fantastic too. after trying out the munich malt on the barleywine we were really excited to use it again. even with only a couple pounds you can notice it.

and it's already running clear...

hops all lined up and ready for addition. FWH, 90, 60, 45, 30, 20, 15, 10, 5, and 0. dry hops too, but they didn't make it in the picture.

keep cleaning, brewmonkey! see, tim was supposed to bring a carboy for our last brew day and forgot it, so he had to work extra hard today. of course, he had to leave early so he missed out on most of the cleanup. he'll have to make up for that on our next session: a spiced imperial porter as our 'club seasonal' at the end of october.

jay re-adding the first runnings back into the tun.

after we'd collected 12 gallons for the DIPA, we pulled off another 4 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.018, so we decided to add a little light DME, throw in some fuggles and kent goldings, and call it an english bitter. gotta love getting the "free batch" with the leftovers. we just used a little of the yeast cake from the IPA and tossed it into this one (there was plenty!)

mmm...double ipa goodness.

the spent grain bed. we had tim squeeze all the liquid out of it so it wouldn't be so heavy for disposal.

the bitter cooling off.

the badass DIPA. this sucker just kept trying to boil over. it was an angry brew, and had a serious band of hops on the sides when the 90 min boil was done.

the grains ready for recycling. last brew day i threw it all into one bag, and we didn't really bother getting the last of the water out, so it was pretty heavy. apparently the garbage men agreed, because they didn't take it. a few days later i had the fun task of opening the bag and splitting it into a few bags that would be easier to lift. not making that mistake again. three smaller bags, around 20lbs each, so they'll be gone monday morning.

the fermentation corner in the basement. clockwise from the left we have the barleywine and the IPA from our last brew day, then the two carboys of DIPA from today, and finally the bitter. I was short an airlock, so we just stuck it in this rubbermaid bin until i can get an airlock or blowoff on monday. could be interesting, but this should contain the mess. I also learned from the last bunch and put the blowoffs inside the pot to contain their mess.

so with tim leaving early, the end of the day took a while. even once the beer was cooled and in the carboy we were still running around finishing cleanup and stuff. by the time we were done it had been just shy of an 11 hour day, but the weather was great, and we'll have another 15gal of excellent beer to show for it.

Posted by grub at 11:08 PM

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