Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Fermentation Update: September

Right, so I've had some serious writer's block these last few months and it's been hard to motivate myself to sit down and post. Two posts in August and July. Ugh. Well, no time like the present.

One of the things I've been intending to start up is a sort of monthly update on things. For example, I usually post when I brew something, but I rarely come back later and talk about how it turned out, how it aged, did in competitions, and so on. So here goes.
This one came out spectacularly. I'm quite pleased with it, except for its unusually low gravity. Something is up, either with my grain mill or my base malt, but I've been dropping down from my usual 75% efficiency to somewhere near 70%. The last brew I did I calculated at 70% and it came out bang on. So that's the plan, until I can get this back under control. Otherwise this is simply a great German Hefe, and much much easier than a complex decoction mash schedule. Great Success.
The Sake continues to age well. Don't like the Genshu strength, going to dilute it next time. And it's a bit lactic. But still, it's very passable sake. It took Best In Class at the Evergreen State Fair last week. Of course it's also the first and only sake they've ever had entered. BUT they're leaving that most mythical and elusive of BJCP categories, Category 29 (Sake) in for next year, so I encourage everyone in WA, and even in other parts of the US, to enter it. Let's get an amateur sake competition built up!
I've been very pleased with how this one turned out. Bottling via a keg, with a concentrated growler of sweet cider for sweetness made one hell of a session draught cider. It took Best in Class at the Evergreen State Fair a week ago. I'm making another batch in a month or so, and this time I'm thinking of getting twice the cider and making one more of a "Foighten' Cider" this year.
The dopplebock ferment is done, got it down from 1.094 to 1.023 (9% ABV) before I racked it over. It was then dropped down to 36 over about 5 days and has been sitting there for two weeks. By my rough calculations:
0.09% ABV x about 4.5 gallons before icing = 0.405 gallons of straight alcohol

icing out 1.5 gallons of water we get:

0.405 / 3 gallons remaining after icing = 0.135% ABV or 13.5% alcohol.
Of course it will almost certainly be less than that, the ice removal is never 100% water. Still, it's going to be at least 12%. Two more weeks in the lager fridge, then I'll keg it, freeze it, and use a jumper cable to transfer the eisbock to a 3 gallon keg. Then another month lagering at 36. Then carbonation, and bottling with my BeerGun. Early tastes had it much hoppier than I'd planned on. Hope that calms down as it ages.
I'm very pleased with this beer. It's clean, nice, hoppy and malty, just a refreshing light Summer beer. If I've got a gripe it's that it's a bit low on body. Maybe I'll mash it a bit hotter next time. Also, I think I'll swap out the Munich for MFB Special Aromatic. It also doesn't have the floral aroma hop complexity of Chuckanut's. Probably just the result of sub-par homebrew hops.
This one is still a work in progress. Some of the hops I used weren't as fresh as I'd like, and I'm now convinced that my open-top conical will oxidize the beer if I brew less than 10 gallons in it. Due to either the hops, the conical, or both it had oxidation problems. I think the rye is a bit excessive too. May drop it down to a pound or two and up the munich and aromatic. May use Spalt next time too, if I can find any.
This beer was really quite fantastic. Unfortunately, the entire keg was drained at Beerstock 2010 this year, so if you were there you got to try it. Otherwise, sorry. But the real story is that this is the maltiest damn thing I've ever brewed. It was clean, malty sweet but dry and fully attenuated, pleasant hop levels, nice color (if a bit light). That MFB Special Aromatic is great stuff. Next time I may add just a quarter pound or so of CaraMunich, but otherwise I'm not changing a thing about this. The only problem is that it's now September and I don't have time to brew it again for Oktoberfest. Oh well.

  • Dandelion Belgo-Pyment - Dandelion Wine with honey, grape juice, and Belgian Strong yeast. Currently in mid-fining. Post when it's finished.
  • Chanterelle Belgian Blonde 2010
  • Seattle-Belgique IPA
  • Brother Russell's Dubbel 2010
  • Brother Russell's Tripel 2010
  • Brettanomyces Russellensis (a 100% Brett beer)
  • Punk! 2010
  • Fresh Hop beer of some kind (Maybe. My hops are a total disaster this year)
  • Mead Day 2010 - a Bochet Mead and maybe a Ginger/Lemongrass Sparkling Hydromel.
  • Cider Pressing 2010
  • Yggdrasil


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