Uncategorized

Day 108 Racking Major Nelson IPA & White’s SEC

Dry hopped Major Nelson, ready for secondary.

Dry hopped Major Nelson, ready for secondary.

Primary has been going for 8 days, the last 4 were dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin. I racked a little over 5 gallons from the bottling bucket that I used for primary fermentation into a big glass carboy.

Racking to secondary.

Racking to secondary.

This batch had a crapload of trub! I wound up with what looks like a little under 4 gallons of beer and gallon or more of trub…dang it!

Spent yeast and hops equals a gallon of trub!

Spent yeast and hops equals a gallon of trub!

Trub up to the gallon mark...maybe a little more.

Trub up to the gallon mark…maybe a little more.

I could have topped it more after the boil, but it would have brought down my SG. I would rather have better beer, than more beer (to some extent…short a full gallon kinda hurts)!

A little under 4 gallons (?) in secondary.

A little under 4 gallons (?) in secondary.

I pulled a small sample to taste…and managed to knock it over. D’oh! I did get a single, small sip and it has a bracing bitterness and very hoppy aroma. So many hops I haven’t had experience with before…it will be interesting! I plan on a few days in secondary; maybe a week, and then bottling. Recipe calls for aging for 30 days, but IPA’s are meant to be consumed pretty fresh, before the hops fade, aren’t they. We’ll see. I’ll check it about 12-14 days after bottling and see how it’s doing. Now…I just need to get the carbonation right!

I also racked a half gallon batch of “White’s Fresh Pressed” Super Easy Cider to secondary with no issues. The SG is 1.007…a little past where I wanted to go with it, but that’s ok. Maybe I’ll back sweeten a little when I bottle.

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 102 Tepache at 48 Hours, Updates on Others

(Pineapple) Tepache at 48 hours.

(Pineapple) Tepache at 48 hours.

 

Okay, at 48 hours, I am just barely starting to see minimal signs of fermentation beginning in my tepache. The liquid is very sweet and dark from the piloncillo, raw Mexican sugar.

If I want this to be alcoholic at all, I need to let it go longer. I have been doing some reading and have heard others talk of allowing their tepache to ferment from a week to over a month. Some say that it will tern to a spiced pineapple vinegar if you leave it in the refrigerator for a long time. The home brewer that let his ferment for over a month, like a beer wort in primary fermentation, said his fermented out dry and tart. So, it sounds like the trick is to check it regularly until it is the flavor you prefer. For me, I’m guessing about a week.

I’ve also heard people debate adding beer to the mix. Several said they did not prefer it…some said it was too bitter. I still think I want to try it with my strawberry blonde. It isn’t too hoppy or bitter, but I think it might cut the sweetness a bit. I’m estimating Sunday or Monday will be in the range to take the next step. That will be to strain, add some water and a beer and then let it go until around Wednesday? Then, it’s into a pitcher in the fridge.

Moving on to my longer term projects. The pineapple-mango melomel is nice and clear and conditioning in a one gallon glass carboy with very little head space. I’m going to let that continue…I don’t know…another 6 or 7 weeks? My plan is to then bottle it and age until the Fall of 2016. That’s a looooong term little project.  The other in-process project is another Murray’s Super Easy Cider, 1/2 gallon. It seems to be going slowly, but it keeps going. I can still see little bubbles at the top of the cider and rising from the bottom. The liquid is pretty clear, so as soon as it stops with the bubbles, I’ll get it bottled.

Pineapple-Mango Melomel (left) and Super Easy Murray's Cider (right)

Pineapple-Mango Melomel (left) and Super Easy Murray’s Cider (right)

I’m hoping to participate in the “Big Brew” this weekend, which will coincide with a national event. I plan on doing an all grain BIAB IPA (India Pale Ale). I’m looking forward to that!

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 98 SG Check on the Melomel

Pineapple-Mango Melomel after 13 days in primary fermentation.

Pineapple-Mango Melomel after 13 days in primary fermentation.

 

I decided to check the SG on my pineapple-mango melomel (fruit mead), as I have not seen any activity in the airlock for several days. Yeast was pitched about 13 days ago. The hydrometer reads 0.994 @ 74F. With correction to 60F calibration, that puts it at 0.995. The OG was 1.110, so the alcohol content is at 15.09%. That is, by far, the highest ABV I have attained on any of my libations, so far. A tiny drop of a sample definitely had an alcohol “burn” to it.

Color, flavor and aroma are all very nice. The most surprising, is the flavor. Despite the burn, I still get a pretty fresh, tropical flavor. My last pineapple experiment smelled and tasted awful at this point, but improved later. I think this one is ready for secondary. This weekend, I’ll move it to a one gallon carboy, using a siphon with maybe a little filter bag attached to the end. With the fruit not all settling to the bottom, I think this will help the siphon to work without pulp clogs, as well as aiding clarification. I’m very encouraged at this point!

Later…decided to open a bottle of my first all-grain (BIAB) brew, a pale ale. It has been in the bottle for ten days…recipe calls for 30, but I couldn’t wait! It’s very good, I think. I may have overcompensated on the priming sugar reduction…it’s a little under-carbed. Let’s see what another 3 weeks do for it. I would still be happy, if this is it though. The flavor is very nice…bittering hops are very present, but not overpowering. The aroma is great. It’s nicely balanced. I’m happy. And checking back on it in a couple of more weeks.

All-Grain Pale Ale (BIAB)...cheers!

All-Grain Pale Ale (BIAB)…cheers!

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 96 Bottling Pole Vault Pale Ale

Well…this was fun. After having more trub than expected, I thought I would be bottling around 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 gallons. Unfortunately, I made a silly, rookie mistake. When I set up the bottling bucket, I didn’t check to make sure the valve was closed.

siphoning to bottling bucket.

siphoning to bottling bucket.

Oh, yes. That’s right. When the liquid reached the valve, it came pouring out. And worse, I didn’t notice it immediately.

Nice color...only one problem. See that spigot? It's open. Yeah.

Nice color…only one problem. See that spigot? It’s open. Yeah.

So, because of THAT mishap, my 4-3/8 oz of corn sugar is probably going to be too much. Great. Another over-carbonated beer. Well, we’ll see in a month. My yield was 39 twelve oz bottles. (3.656 gallons). What did get bottled, looks good…sample has good color and flavor.

sample, despite the mishap, is good!

sample, despite the mishap, is good!

I think the aroma is good, but Spring allergies are preventing an accurate read on that one. Overall, I’m pleased with my first all-grain effort. The mishap at the end was the only real problem.

I still have some clean-up work to do and it’s almost 10 p.m. I guess I better get to it.

The pineapple-mango mead is still going at a steady pace. About every 5 or 6 seconds, a bubble goes off in the airlock.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 92 Starting Pineapple Mango Mead (Melomel)

Pineapple Mango Melomel ingredients

Pineapple Mango Melomel ingredients

There were some big pineapples on sale at my local store and I already had a couple of mangos at home that were on sale, so…time for Pineapple Mango Mead! Or melomel, I guess. I think most fruit meads are called melomels. Some die-hards can get really technical, but I think that’s right. Anyway, I grabbed the pineapple and a 3 lb bottle of clover honey and checked out. The pineapple was $3 and the honey was $8.

So, this morning I juiced the fruit with my little countertop juice extractor and added the pulp back to the juice. I see no reason to waste the pulp, it was practically creamy. I did peel the fruit first, so it should all be good.

Pineapple juice and pulp.

Pineapple juice and pulp.

Prepping mango.

Prepping mango.

I had put together a tentative recipe and adjusted to reality as I went along. The pineapple and two mangoes yielded about 2 quarts. Then I added 1 campden tablet, crushed, 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient and 1 teaspoon of pectic enzyme. Next, I mixed the honey with equal parts hot water to dissolve and added that to the juice and came up to one gallon.

In the 2 gallon primary fermentation bucket, mixed well.

In the 2 gallon primary fermentation bucket, mixed well.

Equal parts clover honey and hot Culligan water.

Equal parts clover honey and hot Culligan water.

I decided to add another 48 oz hot water to allow for some of the loss in racking. Mixed well, snapped on lid and added airlock. This mixture will sit 24 hours .

About a gallon and a quarter in the bucket. Tomorrow: check the FG and pitch the yeast!

About a gallon and a quarter in the bucket. Tomorrow: check the FG and pitch the yeast!

Tomorrow, I will pitch the yeast. I bought a “smack pack” of  Wyeast’s Sweet Mead Yeast. I will check the FG just before I do the yeast. After that process is started, it will likely take several weeks in primary. Then another couple of months or longer to be in a secondary phase where there is as little headroom as possible…in a carboy, I guess. Finally, it will be bottled and I’ll likely hide it away another year to age. I’m thinking Fall of 2016 is a good target.

Update on the Pole Vault Pale Ale that I brewed for my first all-grain Brew in a Bag project: It started bubbling away on the next day sometime and continues at a good rapid heartbeat-like pace.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 91 Brew Day, First All-Grain, Brew in a Bag!

Brew in a Bag (BIAB), all-grain.

Brew in a Bag (BIAB), all-grain.

Today was my first experience with an all-grain brew! I took a class and got supplies a couple of weeks ago and today was a beautiful day for brewing. I probably wouldn’t get another chance for a couple of weeks, so I went for it.  Everything went surprisingly well. The target temperature for the mash in was 150 F. That was supposed to be accomplished by adding the grain to the full volume of water ( 6.25 gallons) heated to 158F. The temperature actually went to 155 and didn’t get down to 150 until the last 15 out of 60 minutes with no heat on.

The set-up.

The set-up.

I dunked and drained the bag a few times. The refractometer showed an SG of around 1.042…supposed to end up at 1.053, so I was a little worried. I put the bag back down in and raised the temp to 168F  to mash out.

Saccharification...ooo!

Saccharification…ooo!

Next, I cut the flame and allowed the bag to drain well…SG still looked low.

Drain the grain.

Drain the grain.

I went ahead with the 60 minute boil and hop additions at 60, 15, 5 and 1 minutes. I also added 1 teaspoon Irish Moss with 15 minutes left to boil. With the concentration from the boil, the SG was up to about 1.062.

Boil.

Boil.

I did the ice tub chill-down of the wort and it went reasonably quickly. I rehydrated the dry yeast in water while I finished cooling the wort. I then transferred the wort to a bottling bucket for primary fermentation. I wound up with just under 5 gallons. I added water to bring it up to about 5-1/2 gallons and the FG nailed the 1.053 target! (Using my hydrometer and correcting for temperature.) The sample was malty/sweet (which will convert) and very tasty. It actually separated pretty quickly and the wort is a nice color.

Nice color in the sample.

Nice color in the sample.

I put the sample in the fridge to look at/taste again later. I pitched the yeast at about 1:45 pm. Over the next few hours, I did not see any action in the airlock and I noticed a small drip around the spigot. I decided around 7:00 pm, that I should go ahead and transfer to another bucket, since efforts to tighten the spigot did not stop the leak. I took advantage of the opportunity to aerate some more in the process of the transfer. I also realized that the temperature in the house had gone up to 77F, so I turned on the A/C. Crossing my fingers that I get some action overnight. I am a little concerned with the temperature fluctuations. The wife will complain about the house being too cold and how much it costs, when she gets home from a business trip in a couple of days. Then the temp will go up again. The yeast’s  upper range is up to 71F  for fermentation temps, ideally. It could have an effect, but it should be ok, at worst. (I hope!)

Standard