Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brew Day - Punk! Ale


So Sunday I brewed the yearly Thanksgiving Pumpkin Ale. I was shooting for something like Dogfish Punkin’ Ale, but scaled from 7% to 5.5% ABV so my guests don’t go unconscious.

Brew went without complications, except in cooling. My plate chiller requires ice water to work well (my hose water comes out at about 80, not good if I want to cool to 70!) and it takes about 20lbs of ice and 15-20 gallons of water to chill 5 gallons. There has to be a better way to conserve water. Only had 10 lbs of ice, so ended up chilling to 77. Still, within a day it was down to 67 for the ferment. Thank you Stopper Thermowell!

Also my two digital thermometers were off by 8 degrees. >:( One had the mash at 147, one at 155. Within 45 minutes they’d agreed on 151. It’s possible there were heat pockets, or that my probes are dying. Over all it’s ok, if it was somewhere in the middle of the range it should be fine. Will try them in some boiling and freezing water before the next batch.

This year’s recipe is notable in that it uses real, fresh pumpkin. I bought two pie pumpkins (about 4lbs), split and roasted them at 350 for an hour and a half. Added the mush into the mash, heated on the stove first with a little water so it didn’t crash the temp. I added some Melanoidin malt to give it an orangy-red color. It seems 4 oz may have been too much, it has a deep amber color. We’ll see how it looks in a pint glass.

You’ll note there are no spices listed. This year I’m trying something different. Usually I add some spices at the brew, and some in the secondary, and some at bottling. This year I’m going to make a tincture in some Licor 43 - Cuarenta y Tres, (a Spanish aperitif with a strong vanilla flavor) and some fresh ground pumpkin pie spice. I’ll let it sit a few weeks and add to taste at bottling.

Without further ado, the recipe:

Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer
Type: All Grain Date: 10/16/2008
Batch Size: 5.25 gal Brewer: Russell Everett
Boil Size: 7.48 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Taste Notes:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
3 lbs Pumpkin (3.0 SRM) Adjunct 22.64 %
8.0 oz Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 3.77 %
4 lbs Pale Malt (Weyermann) (3.3 SRM) Grain 30.19 %
3 lbs Maris Otter (Crisp) (4.0 SRM) Grain 22.64 %
1 lbs Caramel Malt - 60L (Briess) (60.0 SRM) Grain 7.55 %
8.0 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) Grain 3.77 %
4.0 oz Melanoidin (Weyermann) (30.0 SRM) Grain 1.89 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (90 min) Hops 16.1 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (20 min) Hops 9.1 IBU
1.05 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 lbs Brown Sugar, Dark (50.0 SRM) Sugar 7.55 %
1 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.057 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.53 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.48 %
Bitterness: 25.2 IBU Calories: 250 cal/pint
Est Color: 16.6 SRM Color:

Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body Total Grain Weight: 12.25 lb
Sparge Water: 3.78 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Single Infusion, Medium Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 3.83 gal of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 2.14 gal of water at 196.6 F 168.0 F
Other Brewing Notes:

Also moved the meads into tertiary. The Jackfruit is down around 0.998 and tastes like a dry Chardonnay, a bit hot though. Will add some honey to sweeten at bottling and run it through the wine filter. The Traditional mead is up around 1.040 and is very sweet, the Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast is still going after three months. It will be a while before it clears.

The Cream Ales are on tap. Both are good in their own ways. Some chill haze, I blame the cereal mash and the flaked wheat substitution. The higher efficiency is actually a bit troubling. I wanted lawnmower beers, and they go down like one, but there's a kick to them. I think I’ll take the hop profile of the Northwest Cream Ale and make an American Pale Ale out of it.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

GABF Winners Announced

The winning breweries in the 2008 Great American Beer Festival have been announced. This year there were 2902 beers entered in 75 categories, with an average of 39 per category and over 100 in American IPA.

The big awards went to:
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year

Pyramid Breweries Inc.
Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year

AleSmith Brewing Co.
Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year

Rock Bottom Brewing
Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year

Redwood Brewing Co.
Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
A good list as usual. Alesmith is singularly amazing of course, and Pyramid wins medals every year for its various wheat beers. No medals for the Magic Hat half of the company though...

It's interesting to note that Rock Bottom is a brewpub franchise, like Gordon Biersch and The Ram, and their different locations entered beers separately. So if you look at category 53: Irish Red Ales you'll see that Rock Bottom won all three medals, from three different brewpubs... The props went to 'The Rock Bottom Team'.

Also of note:

Former Titanic brewer and friend of the homebrew club Jaime Ray won a silver for his Montgomery Blonde. Congratulations!

The Aged Beer category looks like it was fun. The winners were '06 Alaskan Smoked Porter, Vintage Alesmith Speedway Stout, and '03 Sam Adams Utopias. Yum!

The Gold winner in the Pro-Am was brewed at Big Time in Seattle. Go Seattle homebrewers!

So I didn't make it to the GABF again. Maybe next year...
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Sky Full of Bacon: Head Cheese

The wonderfully titled Sky Full of Bacon has posted an excellent video about his attempt to go whole hog by using a pig's head to make head cheese. If you've got 20 minutes to kill, check it out. It covers pretty much everything I believe about eating local, organic and not wasting any part of the animal. I've never made head cheese, but perhaps some day. I particularly like the interview with his pig farmer at the farmer's market. It was conversations just like that that completely hooked me on trying to eat local, and getting to know the people that grow your food.

Sky Full of Bacon 04: A Head's Tale from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

In other related news, the seeds for our "Victory Garden 2008" arrived yesterday. We're waiting on one more package, then it's time to germinate the seeds. Gardening in Miami presents unique challenges, not least of which is the reversed growing season. We'll be planting in a month or two, and harvesting from January to April.
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