Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SWMBO Slayer!

1.010, color is yellow and hazy.
Notice the krausen level.

Final take: 49 bottles of various sizes.
So the Slayer came it at 1.010, ~ 6.5%! Tasted pretty good right out of the bucket. Normally I don't particularly care for this style of beer, but my wife likes this style which is why I made it. So a few things to note about Wyeast #3944 Belgian Wit that I have learned/read:

1. Krausen - from the website, you need 33% head room for the krausen, so for a 5 gallon batch you would in theory need a container that would be  6.65 gallons to accommodate for the krausen growth during fermentation.

2. Fermentation is violet, vigorous and prolonged. I kept thinking it would be over soon, but it stayed very active for 10+ days, I think it finally started to settle down around the 11 or 12 day mark and I bottled it on the 15th day.

3. Produces a skunk or sulfur like smell. Don't get me wrong, the beer tasted good, but at bottling it smelled very skunky. I read around the internet and this seems to be a fairly common occurrence.

4. This yeast strain (from what I've read) does well in a higher temperature environment. At first I was keeping it in the lower end of the spectrum (64ish), however towards the end I let it get up to 74. The jury is still out, but we'll see soon enough.

And for my next brew, I've got a few options - an True Brew English Nut Brown Ale partial extract kit and a few canned extract kits from Muntons. I think I might go the easy route and do the canned 20 minute boil extract kits. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to donate to beer the rest of this month and April is looking just as busy.

Below is a picture of the Irish Red Ale I made, I personally didn't like it very much but my wife did. I brewed it with some friends one day after work. 
Irish Red Ale that my wife liked.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Belgian Blonde Update

Blow off tube definitely needed with this yeast!

Nailed my temps!
So after some reading and research and of course, some brewing blunders, I ended up at 1.060, which will give a beer with approximately 6.4% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). That temp was taken after an hour long mash, I hit 152ish before. I was shooting for 153 or 154, but I'll take 151.9 after an hour. So I pulled the water off the stove at 166-167. I think next time I'll go ahead and pull it at 168-169 or even 170. I think this will give me more flexibility within the mash (easier to cool off then to heat up). So I followed the normal protocol, 1.25 qts/lb of water/grain, pulled almost 2 gallons of the first run, then hit 5 gallons on the sparge/mashout. I ended up with 71% efficiency, which would bring me to 1.043, the low end of the spectrum. However I was reading from the recipe on Homebrewtalk and a lot of people were getting 1.065, so I thought I screwed up and I added 3.3lbs of Liquid Malt Extract to bring it up to 1.060. Looking at numerous calculators I ended up with 71% at 1.043, so I think I have narrowed down my efficiency problem to hard water.  If you see the fermentor bucket, the key things to notice are the blow off tube with this yeast and the temperature strip on the side. If you could read it, it would say 64-66, which I'm happy with. The fermentor is sitting in my garage bubbling away like crazy. I brewed this on Sunday (10 MAR 2013).

Will be dropping off my IPA for the local homebrew competition, (http://www.alamocitycervezafest.org/) today, hopefully it'll win an award. I was going to drop off the ESB, however I don't have enough of the correct type of bottles. I also want to pick up my next batch of grains today, but I don't know what to make. Will try and get some pictures of the IPA later tonight. I also changed the name to Nicole's IPA (my wife's name) instead of Drew, Sorry Drew.

I'm really looking into getting a mill, probably a Corona mill. I have read that your efficiency will improve significantly if you mill your own grains. You can pick up a Corona Mill off Amazon for like 30 bucks or I can pick it up at the homebrew store for $51.99. I really don't want to pay $51, but 20-30 is doable, but then I have to pay shipping which brings it to $40. Homebrew decisions can be so hard, and I really enjoy making simple improvements in the process to yield better results.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Drew's American IPA

The Krausen got a little out of control.

Changed up my bottling technique, went well.
Notice the color and clarity! Came it at 1.012 for an ABV of 5.6%

I can't explain how beautiful this beer looked, smelled and tasted.

And lastly my other hobby, BBQ! The ribs turned out great!
    Okay, so I just finished up bottling the All Grain IPA. I think it really turned out great. The color, clarity and smell is by far the best that I've made! It is weird because I was really worried about this beer, the efficiency sucked and I used hard water (soft water was empty). But the beer tasted absolutely amazing. I really am looking for to drinking this one. I have a few bottles I'm going to go ahead and send to some friends and family and based off my initial tasting, I'm going to go ahead and send this one into the Home Brew Competition.

     Notice the ribs, next brew day I'm going to do ribs/brisket/homebrew. Probably make the day that much more enjoyable. Still on for March 11th to brew Wife Slayer! Can't wait, I'm excited!