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Day 71 American Wheat Fermenting, Hefe sample

First of all, let me say that have long enjoyed German beers. Ever since I spent six weeks there in the summer of 1983 and two weeks for my honeymoon in 1985. Last night, I drank a  German Hefe Weissbier to get my palate prepared for these wheat beers that I’m brewing. And I did not like it. I have heard others describe wheat beers as having aromas and flavors with a lot of clove and banana. I got the clove…big time. LOTS of clove. It was just overpowering! Banana? Maybe…if you could completely remove the sugar from a banana and still describe it as “banana”. And this beer was Weihenstephaner, from “The World’s Oldest Brewery”. All I can say is that I hope neither of my brews turn out like this! I did not get this flavor from my worts. I hope it doesn’t develope.

World's oldest brewery makes some nasty hefe weissbier! (In my opinion, of course.)

World’s oldest brewery makes some nasty hefe weissbier! (In my opinion, of course.)

As for the beer that I have in fermentation, that I brewed yesterday, it is showing signs of life today! The airlock has a regular heartbeat…I wouldn’t say it’s rigorously chugging, but it is good and regular.

Also, it’s Super Bowl Sunday and I have chilled some beer and cider to take to my in-law’s house, where I will be watching Seattle beat Denver…hopefully! Not that I really care, but Seattle has a few former NC State University players on the team. Nothing against the Broncos…as usual, it’s more about the commercials than anything else. And some food and beer!

Update: Seattle Seahawks beat the SNOT out of Denver. The commercials were a little lackluster this year. Luckily, the food was good and the beer was…mine! And delicious. I almost feel asleep just before the end of the first half! Got my second wind for the halftime show and the rest of the game. I’m having one last stout as I finish this entry and then head off  to bed. Congratulations Seahawks!

Past when I should be up, but I got an urge to sample the Great Weisse Shark Hefe Weizen. Earlier, I stuck a sample bottle in the fridge. From the bottle, it looks clear. There’s a pretty substantial amount of sediment in the sample’s bottom, though, so it will need to be poured carefully, if this holds true for the whole batch. It will hopefully develop a little more head and carb, but it is quite good already.

Nice color!

Nice color!

Great Weisse Shark Hefe Weizen

Great Weisse Shark Hefe Weizen

The color is really quite beautiful. The flavor…this is so confounding! I taste the same kind of clove in this beer as I did the Weihenstephaner, but it isn’t offensive here at all. What the…? And I get the banana. It’s really hard to describe, but it’s really good! I hope my friend that I brewed it for likes it…I’m not sure if this is quite what he is used to in a wheat beer, but we will find out, one day soon! If he isn’t loving this one, I’ll bring it home and trade him the American wheat. Heck, by the time I arrange to take it to him, the American may be ready, too. I might just take both, just in case. And, if he likes them both, he can have half of each!

This is just another shot, lit up with flash for another perspective on the color.

This is just another shot, lit up with flash for another perspective on the color.

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Day 67 Bottling Great Weisse Shark (with cool labels!)

Last night, I stayed up for awhile and worked on labels for the “Great Weisse Shark” wheat beer for my friend. He is a diver and offering a Megalodon tooth for a batch of beer. Of course, absolutely! I like what I came up with.

The background is actually a light blue.

The background is actually a light blue.

This morning, I racked the hefeweizen to a second bottling bucket, mainly to get it off the lees.

Trub

Trub

drained from primary into second bucket for bottling.

drained from primary into second bucket for bottling.

There seemed to be a fair amount in suspension. I hope it will settle a bit more over the course of the day, before I bottle it. Hefe’s aren’t really supposed to be crystal clear…part of the style. It seemed a little dark, though. SG is 1.012, so it’s ready.

Priming sugar solution is in the bottling bucket. Racking for bottling.

Priming sugar solution is in the bottling bucket. Racking for bottling.

Sample for evaluation...color, taste, hydrometer.

Sample for evaluation…color, taste, hydrometer.

I took a sample to the home brew store and the guy there said it looked and smelled good. Extract recipes are going to be a little dark, just because of the extract. So, with my mind at ease, I bought some bottles and caps and will be bottling later!

6:30 pm   I had just enough bottles to knock out the hefeweizen. I had to transfer a few beers to growlers and soak/scrape some bottles, but I got it done! I suppose I should drink some beer tonight, before it goes flat…dang. The batch yielded 47 twelve oz bottles and 2 twenty-two oz bottles.

Bottling!

Bottling!

The FG is 1.011 (adjusted). The OG was 1.042, so the ABV should be a nice sessionable 4.2%. The flavor that I got from the hydrometer sample was pretty good…I’m thinking this is a good one. For summer, maybe a little citrus peel at the 50 minute mark and some more at 60 minutes? I will hold back the twenty-two oz bottles and maybe 2 or 3 little ones, so I can test when they are ready. The recipe says age 7 days…sounds too short to me. Home brew shop guy says he likes to drink them young. Just have to figure when they are carbed enough to drink and go with it.

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Day 65 Busy Day! Bottling & Brewing!

This morning, I started the day by bottling my nut brown ale. This was my first 5 gallon batch…good thing I bought bottles Saturday.

Some of the nut brown ale.

Some of the nut brown ale.

Set up for bottling.

Set up for bottling.

I got about 2 cases of 120z bottles, I racked to a second bottling bucket and left a lot of sludge behind.

5 gallon batch worth of sludge.

5 gallon batch worth of sludge.

Unfortunately, the spigot I bought didn’t have a nut with it and the one I put on was close, but must have not been quite right…it started leaking. OH NO!!! I stuck a (clean) arm into the beer and re-tightened the nut. I’m hoping that wasn’t a fatal mistake for this batch!  Otherwise, it went okay. I filled and my son capped. The FG was 1.008, so the ABV is 5.78% (approximately).

After lunch and gathering some more equipment and supplies, It was on to brewing! This is the first time that I have brewed outside. I borrowed a brother in-law’s turkey fryer set-up…powerful propane burner and a big S/S stock pot.

Turkey fryer for making beer.

Turkey fryer for making beer.

I sanitized all my utensils and went to work. I used 2 gallons of water for the grain bag steep. Then I set up another 2 gallons for a sparge-like set-up. I know there isn’t a requirement to do this in extract recipes, but I figured it couldn’t hurt my efficiency and I just wanted to try it.

Make-shift, unnecessary sparge set-up...but kind of cool!

Make-shift, unnecessary sparge set-up…but kind of cool!

Topped off water to 6 gallons with a 1/2 t. gypsum. The spent grain feeds my garden and the big burner brings the boil. Off the heat, I add the extract. Returned to boil and add the hops…adjust burner for a good 60 minute boil. Stirred frequently.

Chillin' and brewin'

Chillin’ and brewin’

I used a large plastic bin, filled with water and ice to chill the wort down to 90F.

Strangely enough, Bavarian Weizen Yeast for a Bavarian style hefeweisen

Strangely enough, Bavarian Weizen Yeast for a Bavarian style hefeweisen

I brought the wort inside and topped it off to 5-1/2 gallons and got the temperature down to 75F (Okay, I *may* have jumped the gun a little and pitched the yeast at around 80F. The top-off water was supposed to lower the temp from 90F to 70/75F, but I didn’t need much at all to get to 5-1/2 gallons. Iced the bucket in the sink, but was taking forever!) The OG was 1.040…so I added a 1/4 c. corn sugar with equal part  hot water stirred in. OG bumped to 1.042…close enough. Pitched the yeast, stirred, sealed and aerated. I set up the blow off and we’re off and running! The chilling part is still my biggest challenge.

Blow-off set-up...ready to roll!

Blow-off set-up…ready to roll!

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