Wednesday, August 31, 2005

 

Blowout!!!

Well, I was definitely correct when I said that the yeast were performing admirably... They blew out my airlock yesterday! The airlock was still in place, but it was totally gummed up and full of yeast. I sanitized a new stopper and airlock, replaced it, and knocked the kraeusen down by swirling the carboy liquid...

By this morning, the krauesen had risen significantly once again and was 2-3 inches from the airlock... Might have another situation to deal with when I get home. This Burton Ale yeast has some seriously gummy kraeusen!

I must have seriously stepped up the yeast and got it activated before pitching. I should have no problems repitching this weekend into 10 gallons of nut brown... Except maybe a shortage of airlocks!!! :-D

Monday, August 29, 2005

 

Textbook Perfect Brew

American Homebrewers AssociationMan... how often does that happen. This past sunday I got up at 4:30am to brew an ESB (Phoenix), and it was near flawless from beginning to end. I was dead-on with my strike water temp, the mash-in came out a little high (154) so I adjusted it down 3 degrees with a quart or so of cold water, and from there on out - perfect. Sparged 45 minutes, final gravity of 1.012 in the sparge. Boiled 75 minutes, cooled in 25 minutes, and managed to leave 99% of the break and hop material in the kettle - The wort was near crystal-clear in the fermenter. It was fermenting like a mofo within 4 hours, well within the recommended temp range for the yeast strain, and stayed there rock solid for the past 36 hours. Fermentation is starting to slowly wind down, and I've got an enormous fluffy cream-colored kraeusen on top.

This is going to be the perfect starter batch for repitching the yeast into 10 gallons of Nut Brown this coming weekend.

The yeast itself (WLP023 Burton Ale) was 2 weeks past the "best use by" date, so I actually stepped it up twice in starters - 1000mL, then decanted 500mL once the yeast was done & flocced out, then stepped up to a 1/2 gallon. It appears to be performing admirably.

Love these kind of brews.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 

AHA Membership Drive a Success

Need a lot of coffee this morning, as I stayed at Iron Hill until 10:00 last night! Had a lot of great beers and met a lot of nice people at the event. I'll try to recap what went on, before I forget!

First of all, the event was held at The Iron Hill Brewpub on the riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware. We were out on the upstairs deck overlooking the Christina River and the weather was perfect! The deck was already crowded as I arrived at 7:05 carrying a large bucket of ice. I immediately spotted several members of the First State Brewers. John and Cindy Cook were at a table enjoying a meal and some beers, while Jerry Carney, Marty Drinan and Garrett Sever were in line to meet the AHA rep and get an armband. I spotted John Biggins off to the right in line for a beer.

As Garrett said in his earlier post, he was a little uptight. I think he was expecting for us to have a boot setup for our club so we could greet people and serve beers. I told him to relax and have a beer; we'd meet everyone before the night was over. Garrett said he wasn't drinking, but he didn't say why. Too bad!

Shortly there after, Louis Glick arrived with his wife and infant daughter. Louis had been very active in the club many years ago and then fell off the face of the Earth! He surprised us a couple months ago when he showed up to a meeting at Marty's house! It's good to see him getting back involved.

Eric Dolbow was also there when I arrived. I believe I mentioned everyone from the club.

Marty brought 3 kegs of homebrew. Initially, he didn't know where we were supposed to put them, so he left them behind the beer tent. I initially left my keg of British IPA in my car, until things got rolling. At some point, however, Mark Edelson brought Marty's kegs out and set them in front of a small table that we commandeered, signaling that it was OK for us to serve! I quickly went to my car and fetched my keg to add to the array of homebrew!

At the event, I met with Terry & Doug of the SANDALS homebrew club from lower Delaware. They spoke of an event they're organizing at the new Fordham brewery in Dover and invited our club to join them. Terry said he would contact me with more details.

Speaking of the Fordham Brewing Company, I also met Walter Trifari, the head brewer there. He invited us to hold meetings there on occasions, if we would like. That sounds like a great idea!

I met Ric Hoffman of the Stewart's brewpub. Ric extended the invitation to our club to meet there, as well. Later in the evening, I spoke with Al Stewart. He gave me a handful of t-shirts to give away, with I did!

I met with Jay White, an AHA sanctioned beer judge in Delaware. Jay offered to help organized beer judge testing for members of our club. That also sounds very interesting! I'll pass along more details when I have them.

At one point in the evening, Mark Edelson of Iron Hill, stood on a chair and addressed the crowd. He thanked everyone for coming and announced that the $1/beer proceeds from the commercial beers that Dogfish, Iron Hill, Fordham, and Stewards served are being split amongst the homebrew clubs that participated. That was a very generous and unexpected surprise! However, I forgot and left with out the check! I'll have to send Mark an email! :)

That's about all I can remember at the moment. I'll add to this if I think of anything I forgot!

Cheers,
Scott


 

Success and Defeat

Well, the AHA membership drive went pretty well, I think. Lots of folks showed up, and plenty of people sampled the brews we brought. I got lots of good feedback, and not suprisingly a grimace from Iron Hill's Mark Edelson for my under-attenuated, over-oaked scottish wee heavy. I am still wondering why I brought it since I knew it wasn't that great a beer - even though my family can't get enough of it. Nothing but glowing comments regarding the Amarillo Pale Ale and the Oatmeal Stout though.

As a very generous gesture, the $1/beer proceeds from the commercial beers that Dogfish, Iron Hill, Fordham, and Stewards served are being split amongst the homebrew clubs that participated - Not sure what we're going to do with the money, but it was pretty nice of them to do.

Some of our members won raffle prizes - Your webmaster and chief blogger was regrettably not among them - And I think we probably picked up several new members in the process, including a 20 gallon all-grain brewer from the Glasgow area.

I can't say enough good things about all the brewers that were there. They are all very kind, generous, down-to-earth people that were a pleasure to talk to. I wish I were feeling more social so I talked to them more, but last night I was most certainly not feeling friendly. I tried to buck up and force myself to be so, but I think it probably came across strained to most. Not sure why I was feeling so antisocial... I am just a stressball at the moment, I think, and being at an event where everyone was drinking but me kinda compounded that.

Doing a Burton Ale starter tonight for my Phoenix ESB, which is a starter batch for my 10 gallon Nut Brown batch next week. I've also got 10 gallons of Belgian Wit on the horizon once I can find another ounce of Bitter Orange Peel. I won't complain about HDYB and their ordering hiatus since I completely understand why... but it sure is damn inconvenient, esp. since the next LHBS is like 60 minutes away. C'est la vie... I will just have to make do with the 300 lbs of grain, 6 lbs of hops, and 8 yeast strains I have on hand... ;-)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

 

Membership Drive this Tuesday

As stated previously on our site and the blog...

American Homebrewers AssociationThe American Homebrewer's Association is having a membership drive in Delaware at the Wilmington Riverfront Iron Hill location on August 23rd. Many local DE breweries are participating, and our club will have a table as well. It is an opportunity to renew or join for a very low price ($33) and receive a years worth of benefits including a subscription to Zymurgy magazine. You don't want to miss this! Click on the membership drive link for additional details.

Our meeting on Friday was great - Many thanks to Oliver for hosting it. The food was fantastic, and fun was had by all. Our bulk grain order from North Country Malt Supply came in and was distributed - I now have a ridiculous quantity of grain and hops in my basement & freezer. Very happy. So this week I'll be brewing an ESB (can't do the Belgian Wit since I am still trying to locate another ounce of Bitter Orange) and I'll use it to step up to a good volume for a 10 gallon batch of Nut Brown.

Monday, August 15, 2005

 

Meeting Time Again

This Friday, Aug 19th, 7:30PM at Oliver Weatherbee's house. Scott will send out the Wort's Hoppening with directions soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

 

Darn!

My comments are not posting, or at least I don't see them. What the heck is this? (Note toned-down verbiage)

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

 

Early morning mashing...

Almost done mashing my imperial stout... Been up since 4:45am. Full speed ahead... time to go get the mash-out water boiling. Hopefully I'll be done brewing by noon today... This is going to be a long boil... (nearly 2 hours).

* YAWN *

Coffee time too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

 

Competition prep

Well, my wife and I managed to counter-pressure fill 18 bottles tonight - 6 oatmeal stouts, 6 amarillo pale ales, and 6 oak-aged scottish wee-heavies. This time around I filled slow, upped the pressure, and lo and behold... no gushers at all. The only beer that hit the counter was what dripped out of the filler wand. I am actually a little scared... one of those "What if they're flat when opened" or "what if the bottles weren't sanitized enough?" ... but I think its probably just b/c bottling went so painlessly. While I only need a couple bottles each for the competition in october, this will give me a few to bring to meetings or to give out to folks.

On an interesting note - My amarillo keg is almost dead. My best friend from Dover definitely put a hurting on it this weekend. Thank goodness I have another 5 gallons! 10 gallon batches rule... Also, this will give me an opportunity to get some other stuff (belgian tripel, belgian strong dark ale, and my native rage IPA) chilled and tap (and hence in bottles for the upcoming competition!!!). I have plenty of brewing planned for the upcoming months - And I've got plenty of kegs to fill!!

Planned brews:



And those are just the ones I've got recipes drafted for. I have a few more running around in my head (not least of which is another 10 gallon batch of Amarillo Pale Ale)

WOOOOOT!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

 

Arrival of goodness

Oliver placed our bulk grain order with North Country Malt Supply last week, and it is supposed to arrive today. In total we ordered something like 525+ lbs of grain and nearly 10 lbs of hops... between Marty, Oliver, and myself. I have a feeling that these all-grain brewers will be pretty set for grain for many months. Oliver leaves for vacation tomorrow, so the earliest we will start seperating the order will be Sunday... although I expect early next week is more likely.

In addition I have a much smaller order from MoreBeer.com coming today with some silver ferrules to replace the brass ones on my kegerator tap handles, a thermometer for my 5 gallon kettle (I moved the previous one over to my 10 gallon kettle), and a few miscellaneous grain types that NCMS doesn't carry (Carafa, Victory).

Our American Pale Ale 10 gallon batch this past weekend went great, except for me not listening to my better judgement and topping up to 13.5 gallons at the beginning of the boil - As a result, we ended up with 9 gallons instead of 10 and the gravity was much higher than anticipated (1.059 instead of 1.052). I can't wait to try it - the 4 oz of late addition Simcoe hops really smelled fantastic as it fermented.

Coming up for me is a 5 gallon batch of Imperial Stout, 10 gallons of Nut Brown, and probably 10 gallons of Scottish 70 shilling... But I don't know what the timing of them will be.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

 

Lite Red Ale

Finally got to brewing the light Red Ale kit I got for my birthday.
I've developed a tendency to get a yeast starter going on day 1, brew the wort on day 2, then pitch the yeast early on day 3.
Well, the yeast didn't start, so I went last night to Wine and Beer Emporium to snag some new yeast (I'm trying a new American Ale blend). I started it last night, and pitched it this morning.
I'm in a hurry again because it has to get in the secondary before we leave for our Mexico holiday.
I'll let you know how it goes . . .

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

 

Stuff and stuff

Updated the site. Added a new topic under brewtips, added some info about the upcoming membership drive with the AHA.

American Homebrewers AssociationThe American Homebrewer's Association is having a membership drive in Delaware at the Wilmington Riverfront Iron Hill location on August 23rd. Many local DE breweries are participating, and our club will have a table as well. It is an opportunity to renew or join for a very low price ($33) and receive a years worth of benefits including a subscription to Zymurgy magazine. You don't want to miss this! Click on the membership drive link for additional details.

Personally - Brewed some. My 10 gallons of Amarillo Pale Ale and 5 gallons of OAVIP is now in kegs... and I've got 5 gallons of Black Honey Ale fermenting. My Oatmeal stout and oak-aged scottish wee-heavy are on tap, and I'm trying like hell to kick my Little Brave Red Ale to put the Amarillo on tap. Made a bunch of tap handle labels - some more comical than others. Brewing a 10 gallon batch of Nugget / Simcoe American Pale Ale this weekend with Brian (Fool Circle) this Saturday afternoon to show off the MoreBeer.com B3 10 gallon AG cooler system I got for my b-day this year (he's planning on investing.).

Recent tap handle labels:


Monday, August 01, 2005

 

Kegbot

What's a kegbot? Well, it's a mini fridge with a keg inside, plus a linux based computer. The system keeps track of who you are, how much you're drinking and in team mode- where you rank. Check out the project page here and some other statistic goofiness here.

As an avid computer geek and homebrewer, this I have to try.

PS - Take two of the honey wheat is doing nicely in the primary as we speak.