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Belgo Paleo After 5 Day Dry Hop

 

Trub in Secondary

Trub in Secondary

The Belgo Paleo Pale Ale has been in secondary for awhile now and dry hops were added 5 days ago. This has been a strange brew. I thought I had done a pretty good job of leaving behind most of the trub when I transferred from primary to secondary; however, fermentation appears to have renewed and a new layer of trub is on the bottom. The dry hop addition was contained in a bag.

Floating bag o' hops

Floating bag o’ hops

While some might have disintegrated enough to pass through the bag, it shouldn’t have created the amount of trub that I have now! So, I’m thinking of getting this beer into a tertiary phase and taking another hydrometer sample. I’ll give it a couple of days to settle down and make sure it’s done fermenting. If it still seems to be going, I may have to let it go longer and add some more hops.

Okay, back to the beer…I have now racked the Belgo Paleo again. It turns out that the additional trub was, indeed, dissolved hops from the dry hop bag. I’m down to 3.9 gallons now, but I left the trub behind and I filtered the beer back into the carboy through a small mesh strainer, lined with cheesecloth.

Not a very fine filter, but did well enough.

Not a very fine filter, but did well enough.

The SG did actually drop a *little* more…down to 1.014. Maybe I’ll get this bottled over the weekend. I’m not going to add more hops and lose more volume!

After temp correction, 1.014 SG

After temp correction, 1.014 SG

Made another batch of kombucha today and added another SCOBY to the hotel. I gave a couple to a friend about 10 days ago and she has completed her first batch and has a second going! I know the SCOBYs look weird, but this stuff is good and healthy, so I’m going to keep it rolling and pass on the sodas as much as possible.

Looks weird. but you don't drink the SCOBY!

Looks weird. but you don’t drink the SCOBY!

 

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Racking Yooper’s Gingerbread Oatmeal Stout

Equipment for racking

Equipment for racking

Racking time for Yooper’s Gingerbread Oatmeal Stout. Because there is trub, grated ginger, spices and half a vanilla bean in the mix, I’m filtering out any bigger particles with a santized nylon mesh bag. I tied the bag onto the tip of the siphon’s tube.

Filter bag tied in place.

Filter bag tied in place.

The racking went smoothly. I was considering bottling today; however, I though I saw a bubble in the airlock after I finished racking and sealed the new container. I’m going to give it some more time, just because I don’t want to rush it.

I did take a hydrometer sample and the SG is actually below the regular stout that I already bottled. A little nervous about that, but there is more going on here that can account for it. The original version finished at 1.019 and the gingerbread version is at 1.016.

Hydrometer sample. 1.015 @ 70F=1.016

Hydrometer sample. 1.015 @ 70F=1.016

The color is a little light for the style, but not a problem for me…it’s not going into a competition. The clarity looks pretty good. Currently, the aroma is strong fresh ginger. The flavor is initially dominated by the fresh ginger, too. The flavor turns more gingerbread in the finish. It’s not sweet…which is good. I didn’t want to create a sweet beer. I believe there is potential for a nice brew here. I think the ginger will fall back with age and bottle conditioning and allow the vanilla and other spice notes to come through.

Sippin' sample!

Sippin’ sample!

A little more trub in the bucket than I expected…smell was amazing, though!

Trub, ginger, spices, vanilla bean half.

Trub, ginger, spices, vanilla bean half.

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Day 162 Brew Day! McQuinn’s Robust Porter

Becoming a porter.

Becoming a porter.

I got this recipe from my LHBS (Local Home Brew Shop) as a recipe of the month at 1/2 price! It came as a pumpkin porter, but since I already have a Scottish pumpkin ale in the works, I decided to “de-pumpkin-ni-fie” the recipe, add a little maltodextrin and just make a Robust Porter. The name McQuinn comes from my paternal grandmother’s maiden name…and it sounds good for a porter!

I’m trying to input my recipes and brewing sessions into Brewer’s Friend online, but they include some technical stuff that I’m not into yet. They also do not account for things like sugars or fermentables that aren’t part of the “mash” or grain steep. (I’m doing BIAB–brew in a bag–all grain brewing).

All set to brew, BIAB style.

All set to brew, BIAB style.

So, when going from end of mash specific gravity reading, to pre-boil, to end of boil, the calculations show my conversion of grain to sugar and mash efficiency to be over 100% I’m also getting confused on water volume, grain absorbtion, boil off rate, etc. I start with 6 gallons in the kettle to mash, I know the grain absorbs some and the calculations have a standard default. Then I do what I’m calling a modified “sparge” where I drain heated water over the grains to hopefully wash out some more sugars from the grains…so, I’m adding about 2 gallons back.

My "modified sparge" set-up. Hey...it seems to work!

My “modified sparge” set-up. Hey…it seems to work!

Starting at 6 gallons and adding 2 gallons, minus what the grains absorbed, should leave me with about 7 gallons, but I swear I had 8 for the start of my boil. Had to keep the boil slow for most of the hour, because of the volume. Then I wound up with a slam full fermentation bucket.

Pitching the yeast in a "slam full" bucket of aerated wort.

Pitching the yeast in a “slam full” bucket of aerated wort.

I had to actually pull out a gallon to process separately, after I pitched the yeast. I used an oxygen tank with an aeration stone to aerate the wort for two minutes. I’m using Mangrove Jack’s British Ale Yeast. I was supposed to have 5.5 gallons after the boil.

The other thing that throws me off on all-grain brewing is the amount of trub. If you want a nice clear beer, you rack maybe 5.25 gallons off of 6 gallons and the rack again to 4-1/2 for bottling. I don’t care too much about getting a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) so much as I was a good beer and I want my 5 gallons! Ah well. C’est la biere!

So, I keep trying to tweak the brewing program and make notes that explain discrepancies, but it can be confusing. The main thing is that the actual brewing went well…except the temperature dropped in the mash at one point and I fired the burner to boost it and I over-shot from the 153 target, up to 157F. I stirred constantly for over 15 minutes to get it back down. Temperature control in the mash is the bane of my beer making! I’m not sure how it would do in an accurately judged competition, but my stuff still seems to come out pretty well, so I guess it’s okay. At the end of the brew, the color looks good and the OG reading is spot-on at 1.063 with an anticipated ABV of 6.32%.

Chilling the boiled wort in an ice bath...maybe a copper coil chiller for Christmas?

Chilling the boiled wort in an ice bath…maybe a copper coil chiller for Christmas?

Despite the brewing program confusion and water volume weirdness, this should be a pretty decent porter…and I have an extra gallon or so to experiment with. I’m using blow off tubes, since this is a dark beer and the volume is high.

Hit my numbers and still had more that I could fit in the fermentation bucket.

Hit my numbers and still had more that I could fit in the fermentation bucket.

I may wind up combining them at secondary and then dividing them again at bottling time and add cold brewed coffee to one half or one quarter.

If anyone would like the details of the recipe, I am happy to share…let’s see how it turns out, though!

Update: 10/6/14   The porter has been chugging away all day!

Update: 10/8/14   It has only been a couple of days since brewing and the porter has already gone through a quick chugging fermentation period and by yesterday afternoon, had already slowed substantially. I think I might go ahead and switch from blow off tubes to regular airlocks. I don’t know if this is normal for Mangrove Jack’s British Ale Yeast…I have to assume so.

Day 3 after brewing, small jug...action substantially slowed.

Day 3 after brewing, small jug…action substantially slowed.

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Day 159 Racking Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale and Crab Apple/Pear/Apple Cider

Racking Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale...again.

Racking Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale…again.

When I last racked the Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale, I was surprised at how much trub settled so quickly. Yes, I added more pumpkin, but there was still more than I expected. It’s only been four days, but I decided to go ahead and rack it again. I prepared a bottling bucket…my usual choice for fermentation…and racked the pumpkin ale from my glass carboy to the bucket.

Racking to the bottling bucket.

Racking to the bottling bucket.

I pulled out the vanilla bean pod, rinsed it and put it in a small container with enough vodka to cover. I may use that in something else, later. I got about 4.25 gallons into the bucket.

Close look shows a little over 4 gallons.

Close look shows a little over 4 gallons.

I might just top it off to 5 gallons before I bottle it. I think there is plenty of alcohol and enough body in this beer to handle it. I’m going to let it sit and clear for now.

While I had the carboy empty, I cleaned it very well and sanitized it. Next, I decided to mark the carboy with gallon and half-gallon lines with a black Sharpie marker. I used a half gallon jug to pour water into the carboy and I marked the lines each time. I decided to do this because I wasn’t sure how much pumpkin ale I had there and it was frustrating!

Marked carboy

Marked carboy

After the carboy cleaning and marking project was done, I racked the crab apple/pear/apple cider to secondary. Still very “green” and with substantial…what I am assuming is tannin.

Racking Crab Apple, Pear and Apple Cider.

Racking Crab Apple, Pear and Apple Cider.

This one will bulk condition for a long time, I’m thinking. At some point, I ‘ll need to decide if I want to back sweeten and/or carb this cider. I haven’t decided yet. There are currently a little under 2-1/2 gallons there.

Now I can tell how much is in there!

Now I can tell how much is in there!

I’ll let it settle awhile and then rack to smaller glass carboys/jugs for the bulk aging, and reclaim the big carboy. I’ll be brewing a porter soon and need the space for fermenting.

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Day 134 Status Citra Saisons and Diet Root Beer

Switched back from blow-offs to airlocks

Switched back from blow-offs to airlocks

A quick update on my current projects: 1) Diet Root Beer. I prepared a replacement cap for my test bottle, I opened the tester and heard a slight CO2 escape. I poured a very small amount in a glass. There were very few bubbles. The soda was obviously undercarbed, but had some…hopefully, that will continue to increase! The flavor was strong on the root beer and not overly sweet, but it does have a little “diet” aftertaste. It’s okay, though, for the trade-off on sugar. I’m just hoping it carbs enough! Next time, maybe a little sweeter. I may have to find a way for a little more sweetness and a little less aftertaste without upping the sugar too much.

2) I switched back to regular airlocks for the Citra Saisons this afternoon. The action seemed to have relaxed sufficiently. Still on the heating pad on “low”  and wrapped in the Space Blanket. The main batch is bubbling about every 8-10 seconds and the little bonus gallon, that I’m going to rack onto vodka soaked cherries, is at about 18-20 second intervals. Looking good! A lot of trub…I’ll probably get 4-1/2 to 5 gallons out of the big carboy and 2/3 gallon on the small one, but they should be good!

3) Moving the Hi-Nelson Saison w/Hibiscus to storage. They were bottled on July 27th. Should be a couple of weeks before I open one and a month before I expect them to really be ready.

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Day 130 Racking the Hi-Nelson Saison & Washing Yeast

Set-up to rack to secondary.

Set-up to rack to secondary.

 

It has been 2 weeks and a few days since I brewed the Hi-Nelson Saison (July 4th). A check with the hydrometer, after temperature correction, shows 1.004 SG. I’ll get a final gravity reading at bottling, but right now, the ABV is looking like 8.40%. The hydro sample is an appropriate color, I think. The aroma is nice…not too pronounced yet, but I’m sure dry hopping will change that! The flavor is good, but a bit boozy at this point. I’m using a bottling bucket for primary fermentation and the trub is above the spigot level, so I’m going to have to use a siphon to rack to secondary. Since I’m dry hopping, I’m racking to another bottling bucket, instead of the carboy.

Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample. Ready to rack to secondary.

Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample. Ready to rack to secondary.

So, here we are a few hours later and I got the racking done. The beer in primary fermentation looks good and I can smell the alcohol.

Opening the primary fermentation bucket.

Opening the primary fermentation bucket.

I made the hibiscus tea in a pitcher with a plunger, designed for mixing, but it did a good job straining the flowers out of the tea.

Hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus tea.

I added the tea to the secondary, another bottling bucket and started the racking process.

Mingling the beer and the hibiscus tea via racking.

Mingling the beer and the hibiscus tea via racking.

I sanitized the packets of Nelson Sauvin hops and a pair of scissors and I had a nylon bag soaking in sanitizer.

Ready for dry hopping

Ready for dry hopping

I put the hops pellets in the bag, tied it off and tossed it in the secondary bucket. The new color is striking!

Hibiscus tea and Nelson Sauvin hops are in and ready to seal.

Hibiscus tea and Nelson Sauvin hops are in and ready to seal.

After racking, I still have well over 5 gallons of beer and a little under a gallon of trub.

I have never tried washing and harvesting yeast before, but I’m going to give it a shot and see how it works. I know that higher alcohol exposure may make this attempt not very viable, but I’m going to see what happens.

I have put the lid and airlock back on the trub and boiled a gallon of water.

Hi-Nelson Trub

Hi-Nelson Trub

 

The water is in a gallon carboy in the refrigerator to cool. I’m following a procedure for which I found an online video. It’s basically adding water, mixing, letting it settle and pouring off the yeast into a smaller container, letting that settle and pouring off into smaller containers, then refrigerating. If I’m lucky, enough viable yeast will survive to make a starter and a test batch of beer. The yeast is Belle Saison.

Chilled the gallon of water down…finishing in an ice bath in the sink.

Chilling boiled water for washing yeast.

Chilling boiled water for washing yeast.

I got it down to about 85F. Belle Saison is good up into the 90’s, so it should be good. Sealed bucket and swished around well. After about 45 minutes (I got distracted), I poured off a little over 1/2 gallon into the 1 gallon carboy. It immediately started separating.

Boiled water added and separation done in fermentation bucket. Poured into 1 gallon carboy.

Boiled water added and separation done in fermentation bucket. Poured into 1 gallon carboy.

After settling, I decanted to four 1-pint size jars and transferred those to the refrigerator.

Four pints of (hopefully) harvested Belle Saison yeast.

Four pints of (hopefully) harvested Belle Saison yeast.

We’ll see how that settles out over the next couple of days. I found a fairly simple looking Citra Saison that I may try some of the harvested yeast on…pinned the recipe to Pinterest. I might make it a half batch to keep the investment lower for the first test.

 

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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.

 

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