Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fuggle ale (pilot brew #1)

Lately it has been difficult to find free weekend morning to devote to brewing, so I thought I would try doing some mini-batches in the kitchen. Still all-grain, but hopefully a little less time consuming. I am also hoping to use this method to try out some recipes before brewing 5 gallons of them.
I put together a 2-gallon mash tun and, a couple weeks ago, tried a basic recipe to go through the process before doing anything more complicated. I did another pilot brew today which I'll post about soon. I called this recipe Fuggle ale because it's just pale malt and Fuggle hops (with a dash of some other hops because I didn't have quite enough Fuggle).

Fuggle ale:
  • OG: 1.046, FG: 1.010, 4.6% abv
  • 33 IBU
  • 1.5 gallons
  • 2.33 lbs Maris Otter pale malt
  • 0.3 oz Fuggle hop pellets (4.5% aa) @ 60 min
  • 0.1 oz E. Kent Goldings hop pellets (5.0% aa) @ 60 min
  • 0.3 oz Fuggle hop pellets (4.5% aa) @ 5 min
  • 3 g Safale S-04 English ale yeast
I fermented this for just under 2 weeks at 64 F. I bottled it today in two 2-liter bottles and one 12-ounce bottle. It tasted pretty good and will hopefully be great after carbonating and sitting for a couple more weeks.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oatmeal Cookie brew recap

Everything went pretty much as planned for today's brew of the Oatmeal Cookie ale. The mash ended up starting at 154 F instead of 157 — this is probably because I forgot to preheat the mash tun with hot water until just before using it. Not a big deal. The original gravity came out to 1.056. Mark came by to assist for the first half, and my mom came outside to see the process in between helping K with Patrick.

I have been having problems with my Hop Stopper clogging, but after emailing Dennis Collins at Innovative Homebrew Solutions, he suggested that my pump might be trying to drain the wort more quickly than it could pass through the screen inside the kettle. I left the pump turned off this time and let it drain at the natural siphon rate. It worked great and the Hop Stopper left only a quart of wort in the kettle along with the spent hops. This recipe only had about an ounce of hops, so the real test will be the next time I brew something quite a bit hoppier. Thanks, Dennis, for great customer service! I attached a picture of the inside of the kettle after draining the wort into the fermenter.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oatmeal Cookie ale (brew #40)

I planned to brew this batch a few months ago, but had to keep putting it off. Now that our son is a couple months old and his grandmother is visiting for a few days, tomorrow is my chance to finally get it done. This is one of the open-ended recipes from Radical Brewing, one of my favorite brewing books. More than just a collection of recipes, it's an entertaining tour of beer history and ingredients that really inspires you to start building your own recipes.

I adjusted the recipe to end up with more of a medium-strength beer rather than the strong one in the book. This recipe is centered on toasted oats, which I haven't done before. I toasted some Quaker quick oats in two batches on a large cookie sheet for about 20 minutes at 300 F. They smelled great, but didn't seem to really brown at all. I decided it would be better to under-toast them than burn them.

Oatmeal Cookie ale:
  • OG: 1.055
  • 28 IBU
  • 5.25 gallons
Grains & sugar:
  • 5.7 lbs Maris Otter pale malt (Thomas Fawcett)
  • 2.06 lbs Biscuit malt
  • 0.47 lbs Brown malt
  • 1.12 lbs Rolled oats (1 18 oz can of Quaker quick oats, toasted for 20 min. @ 300 F)
  • 1.0 lb Dark brown sugar
  • 0.4 oz Northern Brewer hop pellets (10.4% aa) @ 60 min
  • 0.5 oz Northern Brewer hop pellets (10.4% aa) @ 20 min
  • Wyeast 1028 London ale yeast
I am planning to mash this at 157 F, to keep it a little thicker even with the pound of sugar added. I'll report back in a few weeks once I see how this turns out.