Showing posts with label copperhead pale ale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label copperhead pale ale. Show all posts

Monday, June 13, 2011

My First All Grain

Goodness me, that title sounds like I spent the weekend playing with Fisher Price toys! Alas such happy abandon was not on my schedule over the last couple of days, rather as I noted on Friday, I did my first all grain homebrew this weekend, the recipe for which you can read here.

I am going to assume that you don't need a blow by blow account of my brewing activities, but I thought I'd share (what a lovely post-modern touchy feely concept that is, I think I might puke) some pictures and a few notes about the stuff I learnt.

First up, allow me to introduce my little mash tun (oh good god, more kiddy toy references).

Because I only brew small batches, and have limited space, the cooler has a capacity of 2 gallons - I figure that when I want to make bigger beers, I will do partial mash and make up the gravity with extract. I also plan to replace the tap with something that doesn't need constant pressing to get the wort out. As you can see from the picture, I did a variation on the Brew In A Bag method, where I also sparged the grains. While talking about sparging, I only sparged once and my OG was a touch short of my minimum target, so I checked the gravity of the second runnings and it was 1.030. I was concerned that I would have too much wort in my pot (I do high gravity brewing, with ice cold water waiting in the carboy to make up the volume) and so I skipped the second sparge. You live you learn, and as Jamey from my homebrew club told me, going all grain is akin to learning to brew all over again.

A quick before and after, the grains, 80% American 2 row and 20% Caramel 10.

I did a 90 minute boil, adding Amarillo hops at 60, 15 and 5 minutes.

Everything was going swimmingly, until I put the boiled wort in the carboy of waiting water. I came up about half a gallon short on my volume. What to do, stick with 2 gallons or nip to the shop for an extra gallon of water? I nipped. and on measuring my now 2.5 gallon batch, it had an OG of 1.040 or 10o Plato, which gave me an efficiency, I believe of 57% and a conviction to sparge more next time. Regardless of the numbers, I like the look of the wort that will soon be and American Pale Ale (though the gravity is a touch short, so perhaps an American Best Bitter is better?).

If you follow my Twitter feed, you will also know that I bottled the three batches of witbier that I brewed a couple of weeks back. All three beers have an abv of 5.1%, which means that the only differences between the three beers is the yeast used to ferment them, and any flavours coming from the yeast strains. The picture below are the American strain (Wyeast 1010), a German strain (Wyeast 3068) and a Belgian (Wyeast 3944) respectively.

A homebrew packed weekend for sure.....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Copperhead Redux

It is nearly 2 years now since Mrs Velkyal and I left the winding streets and plentiful pubs of Prague for a life in Virginia. It was this time 2 years ago that I spent many a day travelling around the city writing notes for the Pocket Pub Guide to Prague and looking forward to doing my first homebrew session once I got to our new flat.

That first homebrew Stateside was a Transatlantic Pale Ale, hopped with Amarillo and East Kent Goldings and using White Labs Burton yeast for the fermentation, a fermentation that went nastily awry. It simply didn't ferment and I ended up chucking 5 gallons of beer down the drain. It was, however, that experience which forced me to reconsider how I was going to brew in the circumstances I found myself in. Firstly, I ditched the white plastic bucket and got some clear 3 gallon carboys, it had been such a pain in the arse brewing 5 gallons in a small flat that I decided to make my standard batch size 2.5 gallons instead. Secondly, I vowed never to use White Labs tubes of yeast again, I have never had a case of dried yeast or Wyeast not fermenting on me, though I have had a couple of overactive fermentations that needed a bit of cleaning. I also learnt that just because the tube say it will ferment 5 gallons without a starter doesn't mean it actually will, but 1 smackpack/pack of dry yeast will happily do 2.5 gallons with no starter.

Recently I have been experimenting with partial mash beers, brought on by the International Homebrew Project milk stout that was brewed back in March, and that piqued my interest in going to all grain brewing. However, the same limitations in terms of apartment size and storage space still exist and so I didn't want to get some insane setup that would sit in the corner intimidating me in to not brewing, so I decided to stay small and learn my new setup with some simple beers.

The key component of the new setup is my 2 gallon Igloo cooler which in the short term will be used as a "brew in a bag" mash tun. It has a tap on the front which will eventually be replaced with something that doesn't need pressing continuously when sparging. But I digress. I calculated that said cooler has the capacity to hold about 5lbs of grain, with a water to grain ratio of 1.3 quarts per pound. In trying to decide what beer would be my first all grain, I thought to myself that keeping it as simple as possible would be the way to go. So I decided to revisit the recipe for the original Copperhead Pale Ale, and modify it a bit. This is the recipe I will be brewing this weekend:
  • 4lbs American 2-row Pale
  • 1lb American Caramel 10
  • 0.5oz 8.2% Amarillo @ 60 minutes
  • 0.3oz 8.2% Amarillo @ 15 minutes
  • 0.2oz 8.2% Amarillo @ 1 minutes
  • 1 packet Safale US-05 dry yeast
I decided to shoot low on my expected efficiency, and so if I get 65% my OG will be 1.047, or 11.7o Plato. At that OG, I expect some 35 IBUs from the Amarillo. Also this weekend I will be bottling the three witbier variants that I brewed a couple of weeks back, which have been sat happily at 68oF and should be ready for drinking in time for July 4th, a most important date, my wedding anniversary.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...