Monday, April 13, 2015

Double brew day + BBQ = Great Success

Saturday (4/11/15) was an awesome brew day. Lot of cool people stopped by to help out, including a redditor that wanted to learn a bit about the all grain process since he's transitioning from extract to all grain.

I wish I had more pictures, but perhaps a few too many (haha, yeah right) beers were consumed. Also distractions with the BBQ portion, my 5 year old daughter running around like crazy and my dog that was constantly trying to find scraps of food... erhm, at any rate the actual brew day went amazingly smoothly.

20lbs 2row.
2lbs Munich.
1lb C60.
1lb Carapils.

Mashed in with 8 gallons of water, once temp stabilized it came in right around 150F. Closed it up for an hour and heated up another 8 gallons of water.

What we did is drain half of the first runnings into one bucket, and half into another. Then we batch sparged, and did that again. So it's kind of a double brew day, in that two different (similar, but different) 5 gallon batches are being made, but just one bigass mash and then mixing runnings to get equal gravity.

Ultimately we wound up with just over 11 gallons of 1.068 wort. Efficiency right in around 85%, pretty damn happy with that.

The first batch we did was the Mango IPA, hopping schedule here:
1oz Palisade @ 60
1oz Galaxy @ 10
1oz Citra @ 8
1oz Galaxy @ 5
1oz Citra @ 2

In a few days when fermentation dies down, I'm going to add a gallon of Mango Nectar to primary. When that ferments out, I'll be dry hopping with 3oz Citra for 4 days.

The second batch is a Zombie Dust clone (I bought a pound of Citra at a good price, so why not?) Hopping schedule:
Citra 1.25oz @ 15
Citra 1.25oz @ 10
Citra 1.25oz @ 5
Citra 1.25oz @ 1
Dry hop 3oz Citra 4 days.

This batch will be kegged and bottled first since I won't need to worry about adding fermentables. Works out nicely considering I only have the one keg to use currently anyway.

And yes, I am also aware that both batches are likely (the Mango IPA more so) to have some that won't fit into the 5 gallon keg. That's ok. I'll just bottle the leftover normally and enjoy having more beer. It's a good problem to have far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Brewin brewin brewin... and a BBQ.

Been a little while since I've had a brew party, and I was itching to get more brewing done anyway, so here we go!

This Saturday (4/11) I'll be doing two batches. First, a Mango IPA and second will be a Zombie Dust clone. Kind of. I'm too lazy to do two full mashes, so I'm doing one big mash since the main differences will be the hopping schedules and the gallon of mango nectar for the Mango IPA.


20lbs 2row.
2lbs Munich.
1lb C60.
1lb Carapils.

Attempting to end up with a gravity of ~1.065 for both batches. It may end up higher or a little lower, we'll see. If it goes as it normally does for me, I'll probably end up closer to 1.070 and I'm ok with that too. Picked up GY054 (Gigayeast Vermont IPA Yeast) from my local morebeer store. Going to start spinning it up tomorrow and end up with enough for both batches. Viability is 68%, or I could probably just spin up one 2L starter and split it, but I've got enough time so I'll deal with it.

Mango IPA Hopping Schedule:
1oz Palisade @ 60
1oz Galaxy @ 10
1oz Citra @ 8
1oz Galaxy @ 5
1oz Citra @ 2

Other addition:
1 Gallon Mango Nectar. Going to add this (chilled) directly to the sanitized bucket. Yes, I know I need to spin up a bigger starter as a result, that's fine.

Why, you ask? Because why not? I love mango. I like both Citra and Galaxy, and I'll have a bunch of people over to assist with tossing hops in and why not give 'em something to do? More fun that way. Also the Palisade has been in the freezer for a while now. It's there, and it gets the Mango IPA some more bitterness to balance it all out (I hope).

Hopping schedule for the Zombie Dust Clone is going to (pretty much) match the HBT clone recipe:
Citra 1.25oz @ 15
Citra 1.25oz @ 10
Citra 1.25oz @ 5
Citra 1.25oz @ 1

Citra 3oz @ Dry Hop ~5 days

Aside from brewing, we're also going to be having a bit of a BBQ. Chicken wings, cheese burgers, and whatever else I manage to pick up next time I go grocery shopping (probably Friday night). Perhaps some loud music to annoy the neighbors during the day (quasi payback for them annoying us at night). It shall be glorious, one way or another. Perhaps all the ways.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Keggging! Bottling! Which to do?!

Trick question.

Yes I realize it's a fucking disaster in my computer/brewing/workout room. Work, being sick, and laziness all took their toll in my cleaning routine. Gotta fix that.

My bottling assistant was much more helpful before picture time. For pictures she likes to cling and hide, and after that I was on my own. Oh well. Moving on.

I decided that I wanted to continue bottling, but I like the idea of bottling without a yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. The consistency of a batch carbonation, never having to worry about uneven mixing of priming sugar, etc really appealed to me.

Having a keezer appeals to me too. But I don't have the money or space for what I would want, namely an 8 tap keezer. Barring that, I'm perfectly happy bottling because storage is just so much simpler. Shelving is cheap and bottles are free (friends help with that).

This solution makes perfect sense to me. First, I've got the initial investment in a kegging setup down. Second, I can get the ease of carbonation and third I eliminate the yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. Except for certain styles, it's just nicer to not have it there.

If/when I get to the point where I can further expand and do a keezer setup, I've got a 5lb tank and a 2 way manifold now. Great for the beer gun (to purge the bottles and head space) and if I want to add a second keg, no problemo. It was exceedingly easy to justify, and I think the result below has just convinced me I made an excellent choice all things considered.

First batch I'm bottling off my keg is my first attempt at a Maibock and my second lager using the brulosophy lager method.

5lbs Vienna
4lbs Pilsner
2lbs Munich
8oz Carapils
8oz Melanoidin

2oz Saaz @ 60

2 packs Wyeast 2206 (Bavarian Lager) and a 3L starter.

OG: 1.065
FG: 1.012
IBU: 25

I did gelatin in primary before racking to the keg. Cold crashed with the gelatin in primary for 72hrs before the transfer, let it chill under pressure a couple weeks because life happened and whatnot. I forgot whirlfloc at the end of the boil and just said fuckit, let's see what happens. Pretty damn happy with that.

Ultimately, using the Blichmann Beer Gun was a no brainer to me. Once obtained and all the parts sorted out, it was a breeze to get going. It was more of a pain to get my 2 way manifold going leak free. Once that was sorted, the beer gun was a breeze. Better than a breeze, because a breeze can be chilly. This was awesome. One hand operation to purge with CO2 and fill the bottle? Awesome. Get distracted by my assistant and have to walk away for a few minutes? No problem, it's all under pressure and ready to go when I get back. Just drop it back in the starsan bucket and no worries at all.

So even if you do keg full time, if you've ever found yourself thinking: Wish I had a few in bottles. Well, why don't you?