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bierblog: December 2006 Archives

December 5, 2006

two tun old ale

eric and i started talking about brewing an old ale a while ago. we knew we wanted it to be big, aiming for something like thomas hardy's ale rather than the traditional old ale guidelines. we thought this would be a good time to revive the two tun madness we used for the imperial stout last november. that was a doble-ish setup with one cooler and a bucket and 45# of grain. this time we decided to go bigger: two coolers and 60# of grain. we figured we could pull the second runnings for some kind of hoppy brown ale. a little reading and some tinkering with promash and it was set.

the parti-gyle recipe (grain bill only), dirty old brown ale, and the two tun old ale. the grain bill on the old+brown are mocked up to get the gravity right for calculating the hop utilizations and such.

grain for the batch. special b, honey malt, aromatic malt, and maris otter. tim loaned us his cooler tun, seen in the background.

the rest of the grain. total for the batch: 60.5 pounds, which should give us two 10 gallon batches.

the two tuns, waiting for action.

and two kegs, each with about half the grain bill. one is a standard 15.5gal, the other is only 13, so one has a wee bit more than the other.

eric, looking a little rough this morning!

and me, showing off my beer advocate toque.

strike water coming up to temp.

morning snacks. banana bread, chocolate chunk cookies, tangerines, and some deadly awesome savoury shortbread.

coffee, music, promash, and designing great beers. all the necessities for an early december morning brewing.

me again, a little dusty from the grain.

lunch! some pulled pork sandwiches, bbq fritos, and dogfish head olde school barleywine.

the two tuns, sparging away.

we collected into separate vessels so we could be sure we were sparging at the same rate and got the same amount from each tun.

that's 15 gallons of old ale at a gravity of 1.090. oh yeah, that's also before the 2 hour and 40 minute boil.

continuing to sparge. second runnings for the "brown" ale.

both batches on the burners. the old ale on the left boiling away, and the "brown" on the right. we steeped some chocolate malt to try and darken it up, but it didn't turn out very brown.

old ale starting to get angry.

both batches boiling now. the old ale started boiling 40min before the brown, and finished 40min after it.

both batches again. you can see my makeshift wind screen in the background and the scum skimming pot in front.

there's me reviewing one of the day's beers.

first hop addition on the "brown" getting angry...

a glass of something...i think this was the southern tier unearthly iipa. great stuff.

brew day beers: olde school, great lakes nosferatu, unearthly, and dogfish head world wide stout.

the "brown" happily fermenting. this one was kicking ass with almost zero lag time. 11gal at an OG of 1.057.

and the old ale starting to take off. 12gal at an OG of 1.102. didn't quite get the boil off we wanted, so we ended up with 12gal at 1.102 instead of more like 10.5-11gal at 1.115.

the "brown" got pretty angry, so i had to put it in some bins to keep the mess contained.

and the old ale now going full throttle.

in all, this was a good brew day. the huge grain bill and two 10gal batches via parti-gyle was pretty fun. several good brews sampled. the weather was even pretty cooperative, staying above freezing most of the day.

final gravity on brown was 1.017 for 69% attenuation and 5.28%abv. final gravity on the old ale was 1.034 for 64% attenuation and 8.96%abv.

Posted by grub at 9:53 AM

December 3, 2006


this year i decided to grow some hops. i picked up four rhizomes from freshops: two cascade and two centennial. they were planted on may 22nd, 2006. here's some photos i took at various points through their growth.

june 27th, 2006

hard to judge the height from the photos, but two of the plants are around 4' tall now (well over waist height), the others are around 2-3'. the blurry ones at the end are me trying to get a closeup of the tiny little buds that have started forming since the weekend.

august 8, 2006

the hops are kind of nuts, so i took a few photos today.

centennial in the center and a bit of the cascade on the left.

me in the photo, for perspective.

shows just how nuts the cascades are going. they reached the top of the 10' lines i put up and continued to grow. they got to the point where they had about 4' dangling in the wind, then they caught back onto the original plant and started going up again. they've been throwing out side shoots all over the place too, so it's a big, crazy, tangled mess. if i'd known they'd get this big i would have put the lines up the full height of the house...

the underpants gnome. he guards the hops from the groundhog that we think is living in our neighbours yard under his deck.

close up view of the top of the cascade plant. as you can see, tons of flowers on this one. really looking forward to the harvest on this one.

same thing on the centennial. not nearly as crazy, but there's a few flowers there too.

here's a couple blurry photos of phil the groundhog.

august 12, 2006

lots of little hop cones forming.

september 25, 2006

harvest time!



here's me harvesting the centennials.

cascade on the left, centennial on the right.

the hops on my home made drying racks. centennial on the left, cascade on the right. would have been easier if i'd been consistent with the whole left/right thing.

close up view of the cascade, 0.4oz once dried.

close up view of the centennial, 0.1oz once dried.

Posted by grub at 9:15 PM

brewing roundup

there has been a bunch of brewing since my last post, so i thought i'd post a roundup and summary of them.

tim did his first fully solo brew, a pale ale on sept 24th. spent 8 days in primary, then 7 days in secondary with 0.5oz cascade. it was kegged on oct 9th. OG 1.051, FG 1.013 for 5.00%abv and 73.69% attenuation.

tim kegged his belgian wit on oct 15th. FG 1.012 for 5.4%abv and 76.58% attenuation.

jayw brewed up a rye pale ale nov 12th. kegged dec 2nd. OG 1.060, FG 1.016 for 5.81%abv and 72.34% attenuation.

tim brewed up a barleywine on nov 19th. OG 1.092.

eric and i were joined by jan and james for a brew day on nov 4th, which was national "teach a friend to homebrew day". jan had attended a few partial brew days but was happy to come and see the process from beginning to end. james was visiting to learn how his christmas gift would be brewed. i decided to donate a batch of beer to our annual employee charitable fund and it was auctioned off. james's wife won the auction as a gift for him. being a big fan of boddington's he liked the idea of trying to brew something like that, and when he saw that i'd done raspberry porter in the past he was interested to try and put a raspberry twist on the english bitter. the result was dubbed "raspboddy", a pale pink brew with a hint of raspberry. eric and i also finally brewed up the gumballhead clone that he's had drawn up for a while.

didn't take many photos, but here they are.

there's me sparging the (not yet rasp)boddy.

and the runoff.

morning snacks

gumballhead sac rest

me and james keeping an eye on the boddy sparge

the gumballhead getting angry during the boil.

casualty before the brew day. we were supposed to be doing a dark saison, so i was making up starters. sterilized the flask, added the stir bar, and poured in the yeast. then i started to dump in the starter wort and it started pouring out all over the counter and floor. only then did i notice that the flask had blown a hole in the side. unfortunately, the yeast and wort was a writeoff...

Posted by grub at 1:15 PM

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