Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Birthday brew session and 1st Brewtroller attempt

Yesterday I brewed up a British Mild. This is the lowest gravity version of the English Brown ale style. I wanted a relativity small and easy beer to brew as I was trying out the new Brewtroller setup.

The good news: I loaded my recipe and used the strike volume suggested by the Brewtroller, and I hit my OG. So it seems like I have the equipment set up in the system correctly. Things started off pretty good, and my HLT heated up to the desired temp and turned off.

The bad news: I doughed in and started recirculating the mash. I had my Sacch rest set for 156. 156 came and went and my burner stayed on. I had it set up correctly from what I could tell, but it just did not work. I ended up having to switch the temp probes and wiring around to make the system think my MLT was my HLT so it would maintain my setpoint.

So all was not lost, the session turned out fine, but there is still work to do to get the software to work as I desire.

Here is the recipe I brewed up for anyone that's interested.

Birthday Brown (mild ale style)

Style: MildOG: 1.044
Type: All GrainFG: 1.010
Rating: 0.0ABV: 4.3 %
Calories: 134IBU's: 17.49
Efficiency: 75 %Boil Size: 11.04 Gal
Color: 19.3 SRM Batch Size: 10.00 Gal
Preboil OG: 1.039Boil Time: 60 minutes

Grains & Adjuncts
12.50 lbs76.92 %Golden Promise (UK)60 mins1.038
1.50 lbs9.23 %Simpsons Medium (UK)60 mins1.035
0.75 lbs4.62 %Briess Caramel 120L60 mins1.032
0.50 lbs3.08 %Chocolate Malt (UK)60 mins1.034
0.50 lbs3.08 %Brown Malt (UK)60 mins1.032
0.50 lbs3.08 %Naked Oats (UK)60 mins1.046
AmountIBU'sNameTimeAA %
2.00 ozs17.49Goldings, East Kent45 mins5.00
AmountNameLaboratory / ID
2.00 pkgSafale S-04Fermentis S-04
Mash Profile

Full Body Infusion In60 min @ 156.0°F
Add 19.69 qt ( 1.25 qt/lb ) water @ 170.0°F

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Brewer, geek, cellerman...

Well nothing was brewed today, but a lot was created. Some were actual things, some just ideas.

First things first. Geek.

Today the brewtroller platform upgrade was completed. The mounting box is very temporary, but fully functional. A new gas control valve was added as well as cool new gas pilot lights.The brewtroller is now in charge of the HLT and MLT! Tomorrow we will run through a water only brew session using an iPad as a control panel and make sure all is well.

While I was working on the new set up I got a call from Tim. Epic was practically giving away bourbon whiskey barrels that were used in the production of their smoked and oaked porter.

What size? 53 gallons? good lord!

SO I now have a huge barrel sitting in my garage. Tons of ideas flood my head, tons of problems too. It looks like I need to become wise in the ways of the barrel. I hope the reward is epic.

Improv IPA day follow up

So I need to get better at follow ups to some of my brew session posts. Today I figured I would write about the double IPA brewed back in July.

This was a fun beer to brew, and we went into it completely unprepared on hop schedule. We selected the type of hops beforehand, but that was it. We added them as we went along, and just wrote them down so we would not forget. The hops selected were Zythos (10.9%), Sorachi Ace (10.9%), and Calypso (12.9%). The Zythos is a proprietary blend of 7 different hop types in one and was created mainly for IPAs.

15 gallons were brewed and we boiled for 90 minutes. Here are the actual additions:

1 oz Calypso - 75 mins
1 oz Sorachi Ace - 60 min
2 oz Zythos - 60 min
2 oz Zythos - 20 min
2 oz Zythos - 15 min
3 oz Sorachi Ace - 10 min
3 oz Sorachi ace 5 min

Dry hopped
4 oz Sorachi Ace 7 days

So we figured this would be a DIPA, but after drinking this I did not feel it was quite to that level. I think it ended up more or less an IPA. I wish I would have taken a picture of this in the glass, but it is all gone. I will have to remember to start doing that again. I ended up calling this the IPZ due to the zythos hops we used.

For just winging it, this beer was pretty fabulous. It fermented nice and clean on US-05 yeast. It had a really nice lemony citrus on the front end and finished with a nice pleasant bitterness in the back of the mouth. My wife was one of the biggest fans of this beer. I am not sure what to think about that as she is not a hoppy beer person. Maybe she is actually starting to acquire a taste for them?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The first RevLabs 1BBL brew day

1 BBL was our goal for this weekend’s brew session. It could be the last brewing we do for a little while so we wanted to make sure there is plenty of beer around. Today the brewing rig will be torn apart so we can rebuild it to run on the brewtroller platform. Phase one will be automating the HLT and MLT and setting it all up to be run from an iPad.

As for the beer, we tried our first parti-gyle style brew session. The first beer we brewed was 20 gallons of what I hope will be a nice Pale ale. The grain bill is pretty standard for a Pale. The hops were all a compromise because the ones we really wanted to use were not available. So as we were mashing we came up with the hops schedule

RevLabs Pale Ale
Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.061 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.012 FG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.1 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.5%
Bitterness: 37.5 IBUs
Est Color: 6.2 SRM

35 lbs
Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
76.1 %
8 lbsVienna Malt (3.5 SRM)
217.4 %
3 lbsCaramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)
36.5 %
5.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop424.6 IBUs
3.00 ozPerle [4.00 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop55.3 IBUs
2.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop64.9 IBUs
2.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 5.0 minHop72.0 IBUs
1.00 ozWillamette [4.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min
0.7 IBUs
2.0 pkgAmerican Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [124.21 ml]Yeast9
4l starter

This beer went about as perfectly as planned. We nailed our targets just as planned, and all equipment worked out flawlessly.

Once the wort for the pale ale was in the kettle, we started on the little bastard. The plan for this beer was to make 10 gallons of a sessionable harvest ale, or wet hop ale and use the 46 pounds of grain still in the mash tun.

The first step was to add 5 gallons of water to the tun, check gravity and then add up to 5 more. The strengh was ok so the other 5 was added. At that point we did not feel the gravity was high enough so we added fresh pale malt and a small amount of crystal 60. I felt we were now ready to brew that lower gravity ale.

For bittering hops we used Hopshots obtained from Northern Brewer. 5 ml went in at 60 minutes. That should have been about 25IBUs. Another 5ml went in at 30 mins (12.5IBUs?).  At this point I gathered the family and and we all went to work on harvesting the cascade hops I have growing in the yard. We gathered up a pound and they went in at 15 minutes. Another half pound went in at flame out.

At that point we had hops clog up our recirc so we had to take emergency action. We quickly put our tri clover strainer into place and because of the small amount in the kettle I was able to tip the kettle and put our kettle screen into place. From there it was a breeze to chill down to 70 degrees.

The only problem is that with a pretty rigorous boil, and all those whole hops, we increased the gravity, and lost wort to the hops. We ended up with 6 gallons of 1.054 wort. Kind of a bummer, but still had a great time brewing it.