Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

We've kept ourselves busy lately, creating some new gadgets and brewing regularly. Aaron put converted two igloo coolers into lauter and mash tuns. He found a great way to make the lauter tun in the newest issue of Zymurgy. It involved using two braided stainless steel plumbing hoses by cutting off the ends and removing the rubber lining. Then they were looped and secured to a brass T fitting which is attached to a ball valve. This will allow the wort to flow out but none of the grains. The other conversion simply involved removing the plastic spout the cooler originally came with and adding a brass ball valve.

The Barley wine and Stout have both finished fermenting and have been transferred to 5 gallon soda kegs. I was nervous about the Barley wine because it sat in secondary fermentation for a while longer than I would have liked after the airlock stopped bubbling. I also read after the fact that dry hopping should only be done 3 to 4 days before bottling. We dry hopped (and added oak chips) for almost 3 weeks. Upon tasting at the transfer from secondary fermentation to the kegs Aaron we both pleasantly surprised. The Barley wine was awesome. I can wait to taste it once it has aged for 9 months. It was hoppy but not too much, nor was it bitter or astringent. The flavor from the oak chips was nice as well. I'm glad we took the liberties that we did with this recipe. We plan on bottling both batches this week. For the barley wine we plan on using 22oz bottles.
Here's a few quick specs on both.

Barley Wine
O.G. 1.079
F.G. 1.027
A.B.V. 7.13%
Yeast strain : Safbrew T-58
Recipie source : The Brewmasters Bible

Murpheys Irish Stout Clone
O.G. 1.056
F.G. 1.015
A.B.V. 5.37%
Yeast strain : Safale S-04
Recipie source : Clone Brews

Gene, Aaron and I brewed a bock this past Thursday evening. This was the first lager that any of has brewed. So naturally we needed to refresh ourselves. It may be March but it's still cold outside and brewing beer and eating pizza is hard work. I picked up a 22oz bottle of Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale that I had heard good things about on the Hopry. I was satisfied with it and it was a great value for the $4.79 I paid for it at Wegmans. On that note I was not exactly blown way (its no imperial double IPA) but I would pick it up again. I poured a nice amber color and had a good hop flavor but it was not very floral or aromatic. It did hold a decent head for an IPA.

So now that I've got myself thirsty I guess I can talk about the Bock brew. This was not only the first time that we have brewed a lager it was also the first time that we used tap water. I purchased an on-the-faucet Brita filter to get rid of all the impurities in the water. I also tested the ph level which was 5.6. We made no modifications to the water other than filtering it.

The recipe called for a whopping 8lbs of powdered malt extract! We started by boiling the specialty grains in 1 1/2 gallons of water. We then used a 1/2 gallon of water to do a bit of a pseudo sparge to extract as much as we could for the grains. I say pseudo sparge because we used the water at temperature, we did not heat it.

More first time methods on this brew included using the stainless steel conical fermenter and an aquarium air pump to aerate the wort before pitching the yeast.