Saturday, April 22, 2006

Heffe Weistrophy

I popped the cap on my second batch tonight. It's still a very young beer. I think it needs a little more time in the bottle. But, there is a distinct banana taste and a typical heffe weissen yeast taste. I think it will smooth out nicely. It's not quite as dark in real life as in the photo.

I made up a label for it while waiting for it to be finished. I named it after a Thelonious Monk tune, Epistrophy.

I think my next brew will be a Dunkle weissen.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Checking the Gravity

I pulled a sample and checked the S.G. of my Batch #3 tonight. It was at about 1.010 - 1.011, which is right on target for the recipe. That should give me about 4.8% a.b.v. if the F.G. does not drop any further. I'll check it again in a couple of days and then rack to secondary.

I tasted the sample and I has a sweet carmel flavor that I think will be very nice once it has finished.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I woke up to a surprise yesterday morning. The air lock on the fermenter was full of beer and foam. The top of the pail was ballooned out. I took the air lock off and put a blow off tube on (It's not a very good blow off tube, all I had was some 3/8 tubing and the air lock to make it out of).

Even after that I had so much yeast activity that the top was on the verge of blowing off. It was leaking out of a couple spots. I had to crack the top several times to relieve the pressure.

By this morning everything was good. The lid does not seem to be leaking any more and the blow off tube is bubbling nicely.

I moved the fermenter down to the bottom of the stairwell where the temp is in the mid-60's.

This was supposed to be in primary for a week or so and then to secondary for two weeks at 55deg. I'll have to keep checking the temp. If I can't keep it at a fairly low temp, then there is no real reason to leave it in secondary for that long.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Batch #3, Osmosis Amoebas German Alt

I brewed my 3rd batch this morning.

I'm making an Alt beer from extract that is basically straight out of Papazians book.

It's his Osmosis Amoebas German Alt.

  • 6lb DME amber
  • 2 oz N. Brewers hops (8%)
  • 3/8 lb Chocolate malt
  • Re-Pitching Irish Ale Wyeast 1084

The difference between my recipe (above) and his is that he had 1/8lb. black caraffe. I didn't have it so I just increased the amount of Chocolate by the 1/8lb. And, his calls for German ale yeast and I'm re-pitching Irish Ale.

The O.G. was about 1.043 - 1.044 adjusted for temp.
(The PapaZ recipe says O.G. should be 1.040 - 1.044)

I calculate the IBU's at 42

IBU = AAU(16) x U(.176) x 75 / V(5gal)recipe

(based on John Palmers - How to Brew website:
IBU calculation)

3 gal. boil, topped off to about 5.5gal. I'm going to put this in primary for a week or so, then rack to secondary where it's going to sit for two weeks.

The Chocolate roast smells like fresh brewed coffee.

I've devised a system, now that it is starting to warm up, to keep the temp as steady as possible. I have a 6gal. round Igloo cooler. The bucket I use for a primary will fit in the cooler perfectly and this will sit in the front stairwell (where the temp is always about 10deg. cooler than the house.) The cooler should keep the temp fairly constant. When I rack to secondary I'm going to a 5gal. glass carboy. That will also go into the cooler and the cooler will be filled up with water to make an insolated water bath.

The recipe says that you should try to get the secondary temp to about 55deg. for two weeks. I doubt that I will get it down to 55 but it should be about as cool as I can keep it, and relatively constant.

All wrapped up

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ahh, I just popped my first Home Brew!

Nice dark amber color with a good head

It has a roasted nut flavor with a very dry, stout like aftertaste.

This was a kit from Austin Home Brew, with a can of Cooper's Dark Ale

The yeast, that came with the kit did not show any activity when I tried to re-hydrate it. So, I went to the LHBS and got some Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast. I think that may account for the dry after taste.

I'm going to call this my 'Squirrel Nut Brown Ale'

Opening first bottle tonight!

I put two bottles of my first batch in the fridge this morning. It's been two weeks today since bottling. Still not quite sure what it is I made. It will be interesting to see how it came out.

Now that the warm weather is approaching I'm going to have to make some changes. I don't want to have to run an A/C all day to keep my brews at the proper temperature. I think I'll have to start storing my primary and secondary in the front stairwell. It is always several degrees cooler in there. The problem is that the front stairwell is where I am storing all my equipment when it's not in use. I guess I'll have to spend some time rearranging things.

I'm most likely going to brew this weekend. I've been checking out posts on various homebrew forums about pitching the harvested yeast. Some people say make a starter and others say that if it's only been in the fridge for two weeks to just pitch it with out a starter. Some say pitch it cold right from the fridge and others say to take it out a few hours before to let it warm up. This will be the first brew that I am steeping grains, but I don't think that will be a very big deal to do.

I'm thinking that my next batch after this weekend will be an all or partial grain attempt. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this exactly. It's either, mash on the stove and hope I can get the temps (step mash) right, or, step by adding more hot water to the mash. I still have to get another bucket to make the Igloo/double bucket sparge tun.

Monday, April 10, 2006

2nd batch in bottles

I racked my second batch (Hefeweissen) to bottles this weekend. I came up about three bottles short of two 12oz cases. I didn't know where the 5gal mark on my carboy was and I wanted to make sure there was enough headroom for fermentation.

I also harvested and washed the yeast from this batch (Wyeast Hefeweissen). I did the same with my last batch of Wyeast Irish Ale yeast. My plan is to use that (Irish Ale) yeast in my next batch. I'm going to make an Alt beer. I was trying to find a recipe that would make something similar to a Long Trail Double Bag. I found a recipe on a home brew forum, and later found that it was almost identical to Papazian's recipe for Osmosis Amoebas Alt.

Basically it is:

6lb of amber DME
1/4 cup of chocolate malt (steeped)
(the recipe called for another 1/8 cup of currant malt(?) but the LHBS didn't have it, so I'm thinking of just adding a little more of the chocolate)
1oz Northern Brewers hops @ 60min.

I'm also thinking about trying an all-grain or partial-grain at some time in the near future. I have a 6gal round igloo cooler and I picked up a bottling spigot that I put on this weekend. I'm going to get another 'beer & wine' bucket and drill wholes in the bottom of it to make a igloo/double bucket sparge tun. (the 'beer & wine' bucket that I use as a primary fits perfectly in the Igloo. The 'beer & wine' bucket has a 7.9gal cap. up to the rim. This plus the extra space under the 'false bottom' will give me over 8gal cap.