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Day 77 Goosing the Strawberry Blonde and Bottling the Wheat Citra Citrus

Opened strawberry blonde after 24 hours to inspect. (I drew off the gallon for DME addition from the spigot.)

Opened strawberry blonde to add DME wort. (I drew off the gallon for DME boil from the spigot.)

A busy day today. On the recommendation of some people on http://www.homebrewtalk.com, I decided to make a run back to the brew shop and get some dry malt extract (DME) to bump the specific gravity of the strawberry blonde and plain blonde brews that I did yesterday. The specific gravity was 1.034 at 75F (1.035)…well below the target of 1.053. I’ve done this enough now that I think I’m taking the measurement correctly and it could be due to the higher volume that I wound up with…a total of about 7-1/2 gallons. There’s 1-1/2 gallons of plain blonde ale and about 6 gallons of strawberry blonde (including the 6lbs of strawberries). As of late morning, the main bucket was gurgling nicely and the blow off is seeing some action, but not out of control. The plain blonde in the small bucket is just starting to see some action.

At the home brew shop, they crunched the number for me and concurred that 3 lbs of DME should put me back on target and, using some of the existing wort, will lover my yeast count a little, but will keep me from increasing the already high volume in the main bucket.

So, at home again, I sanitized a 1 quart measure and removed a gallon of wort form the strawberry blonde. I put the wort into a stock pot and brought it to a boil. I added the DME, while stirring, until it was dissolved and incorporated. Watching carefully for boil over, I boiled for 15 minutes.

Drew off 1 gallon of strawberry blonde wort. Added 3 lbs DME at boil.

Drew off 1 gallon of strawberry blonde wort. Added 3 lbs DME at boil.

I skimmed off a few suds and then chilled the DME wort to 75F in an ice bath in the kitchen sink.

Ice bath chill.

Ice bath chill.

I measured the wort at 17 cups and divided that between a total of 7-1/2 gallons of wort (I just realized that I didn’t account for the gallon that I took out…dang. Shouldn’t matter too much, though.). I put 13-1/2 cups of the DME wort into the strawberry blonde fermentation bucket and 3-1/2 cups in the plain blonde bucket. The only problem is that the SG …what I will be using for my OG is still under what we worked out. It is just 1.040 @ 75F (1.041)…and I’m second guessing my abilities on the hydrometer reading thing. If I’m accurate though, and I attain the 1.010 that is estimated, then the ABV will be 4.07%. It’s not optimal, but it is acceptable. The sample looked and tasted pretty nice.

Strawberry blonde hydrometer sample

Strawberry blonde hydrometer sample

A little muddy at this point, but I think fermentation and the process will clear it up nicely.  Cleaned up and prepared for bottling my American Wheat Citra Citrus. The fermentation resumed pretty quickly on the blonde ales.

Blow off action.

Blow off action.

On to the bottling…all the usual bottle washing/sanitizing, equipment sanitizing. I’m using some of my newly acquired bottles.

Nice, clean bottles.

Nice, clean bottles.

Thankfully, they are in decent boxes with six-pack holders for dividers. The box flaps and handles are in a little rough shape on some, but not destroyed…definitely usable. I could use an empty bottle box or two for the loose bottles that I have. I should ask at the brew shop if they sell the boxes only, next time I go there.

Anyway, the bottling went smoothly. I filled a case and capped it and then did the second one and capped it. I did get a yield of exactly two cases…the last bottle was a struggle.

First case of the American Wheat Citra Citrus.

First case of the American Wheat Citra Citrus.

I marked it, just in case it had any trub in it. Because I racked pretty carefully a couple of days ago though, it was all rather clear.

Nice and clear American Wheat Citra Citrus...ready to bottle.

Nice and clear American Wheat Citra Citrus…ready to bottle.

The color looks good…a little dark, but it IS an extract recipe, so that’s expected. The flavor has a great citrus punch with a really nice hop bitterness…not overpowering, though.

Sample of American Wheat Citra Citrus...very encouraged!

Sample of American Wheat Citra Citrus…very encouraged!

And the aroma is a-maz-ing!!! The combination of the citra hops late additions and the citrus work very well together! I am VERY much looking forward to the first bottle of this batch! I didn’t check the SG before bottling, but I did check it at the final racking and I don’t think it would have changed since then. It was 1.010@72F (1.011) at that time. I’m going with that as the FG. The OG was 1.044@75F (1.045), so the ABV would be 4.46%, which is very close to the estimated 4.4% ABV.

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Day 75 American Wheat with Citrus & Citra…Final Racking

Racking from secondary to another bucket to settle for a couple of days before bottling.

Racking from secondary to another bucket to settle for a couple of days before bottling.

Today, I decided to rack the American “Breadbasket” Wheat with Citrus & Citra an additional racking. I wanted to get it off of the lees and let it settle for a day or two before I bottle it. Being a wheat beer, it’s not expected to be crystal clear; however, when I bottle it, I don’t want to have to worry about the sludge and the citrus peels and zest.

Drained

Drained

Dried (formerly) sweet orange peel and fresh lemon zest floating in secondary.

Dried (formerly) sweet orange peel and fresh lemon zest floating in secondary.

The aroma is floral and citrusy and has a little spice to it. The flavor is nice…good bitterness, lots of citrus and maybe a little clove? Whatever. It’s going to be really good when it has been bottle conditioned! I did a hydrometer check and the reading is 1.010 at 72F. Fermentation should be done. I haven’t seen any bubbles at all lately. I should be bottling this in two days.

Racked American Wheat with Citra and Citrus

Racked American Wheat with Citra and Citrus

Tomorrow is the monthly Big Brew at the Atlantic Brew Shop/Raleigh Brewery! This month, the special is a blonde ale. I’m thinking about making it a¬†Strawberry Blond. I’ve done some research and I’ve read a lot of good experiences and a lot of bad. We will see. I need to go to a grocery store and see what is available.

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Day 72 Moving American Wheat to Secondary

Nine days after brewing and my citrus infused American Wheat is ready to be transferred to secondary with some additional citrus.

Opening after 9 days in primary

Opening after 9 days in primary

In addition to 1/2 oz of dried sweet orange peel at 2 mins. left in the boil, I’m going to add another 1/2 oz in secondary along with the zest from a large lemon that has been soaking in the refrigerator, in about 1/3 c. white Bacardi rum, for the last 9 days. The rum will also go in.

Racking onto the dries peel, lemon zest and rum.

Racking onto the dried peel, lemon zest and rum.

Dried sweet orange peel and zest from one lemon soaked in 1/3 c. bacardi white run.

Dried sweet orange peel and zest from one lemon soaked in 1/3 c. bacardi white run.

I checked the gravity and the FG is 1.010 at 65 F, so the ABV should be about 4.46%. The sample flavor is nice…I’m looking forward to this one!

Nice color!

Nice color!

Final Gravity is 1.010 and 4.46% ABV.

Final Gravity is 1.010 and 4.46% ABV.

The Cascade hops give a nice bite, but not overpowering. The Citra hops and orange are reinforcing each other in the aroma and flavor. A couple of weeks in secondary and another couple in the bottle and I’m hoping it’s all going to come together nicely for an awesome brew!

Nice color. A little bitter. A good amount of citrus in the aroma and flavor...and more on the way!

Nice color. A little bitter. A good amount of citrus in the aroma and flavor…and more on the way!

Racking...currently, just under 5 gallons.

Racking…currently, just under 5 gallons.

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