May 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I found the was me!

As always, the explanation is usually something simple. This situation is nonetheless the same.

In the post about my brew day I noted that my OG was much higher than planned and I was not sure why. I had assumed that my tweaking of my brewing techniques had increased my efficiency 10 fold! But alas that was not the case.

It turns out my wort was on "Gravity Enhancing Substances" namely an extra 1/2 lb of Belgium candi sugar I mistakenly dumped into the brew pot.

After reading Ted's Home Brew Journal where he had had a similar freak occurrence and telling him my theory of the earths magnetic polar shifts and how it is now effecting my gravity readings (because there is no way I could f%&* up my recipe on brew day!), I revisited my recipe. In doing some math on a fancy pants brew calculator (that I am a HUGE fan of BTW) I noticed that my recipe called for 1/2 lb of candi sugar as opposed to the full pound that I added, eureka! Just the breakthrough I had been waiting for! We can all breath easy and go back to calling Al Gore the lying bastard that he is ;-)

Anyway, all kidding aside, simple answer. I think that coupled with my 1/2 assed gravity readings gave me my variation. I am not crying in my beer though, god knows there are worse things than beer that's a little stronger than you intended.

I need to get back to brewing with some patience. My brewing, like my golf game, needs to take as long as it needs to. Regardless of interruption. It's time for me to get back to allocating the time needed to make this happen.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Loving Californication

This is a late review of my Californication, but I have had a good chance to sample enough of it now to formulate a good opinion of this beer.

I have to say, I was a bit weary about this beer at first as I am not crazy about the "lager" taste that is the mark of lager yeast. I was not sure how that would blend with the recipe I made or if it would be overwhelming. Well I was very pleased with the flavor and the subtle nuances of this beer. Here is my assessment without any scoring:

Appearance: Pours medium copper color with a long lasting head. The head is really think and creamy and lasts quite a while. I think this is the result of the DME conditioning because I have never had a brew do this before.

Aroma: This has a very clean smell, a lot of malt without a lot of hops. There is a little hint of the Larger aroma, but it is second or third on the list of things I would say I can smell.

Taste: There is a light sweet flavor that is anything but overwhelming. It's subtle and stays on the tongue without dominating the experience. There is a touch of bittering at the end of the experience, but it passes fast and you are left with the subtle sweet carmel flavor (again, very subtle)

Mouth Feel: This is a very smooth beer. The carbonation is in line with the style being average for high drinkability.

Drinkability: This is one of the more drinkable beers I have ever brewed. It's smooth and refreshing with the ABV to make it a session beer. It has the body and character of a bigger beer, but stops shot of being overwhelming making you want more!

Conclusion: This is without a doubt one of the best beers I have brewed. It may be the style that I am growing attached to, but these days when a lot of brewers are really focused on big intense flavors, this is really refreshing. The American Lager I made was too little, the ESB, maybe a little too much, this is the baby bear, it's just right!

* For the record, I am wearing a golf glove because I took those pics on the way out to practice my short game in my back yard.

**Yes, I am anal and wear my glove when practicing in the yard, but not my shoes, I am not that anal.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Beautiful Day to Brew!

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the mid-west who have been effected by the tornado's. I lost my house to fire and I know how it feels to have to pick up the pieces, things will get better with time.

With that said, we were fortunate this weekend in the North East to have an albeit breezy, but sunny day in Upstate New York. Sunday I took advantage of the weather and brewed the crowd favorite Mulligan Wit.

Here some some items of note from the brew day:

  • I made a starter that I cooked a little hot and it boiled over in the stove.
    It's also had some of the DME scorched the bottom of the flask (first time using
    my flask, kind of a pain in the arss).
  • Started brewing at 8:30am, finish time 2:30pm, 6hr brew session.
  • I heated the mash water up to 175F and it leveled out at about 154F when it was in the mash tun. One item of note was that I got two different readings from the
    thermometer, I usually stick it into a tiny hole I have in the top of the mash
    tun, and it was saying 160F, when I put the thermometer into the mash, it was
    154F. I am assuming that this is because the steam is so hot in the mash tun.
    Take note for future batches.
  • The gravity of the mash was 1.060 without any adjustments to compensate for heat. I need to make sure that I start cooling these off more from now on.
  • I sparged at 175F and had two rests in the sparge. By the time I was done with the sparge I had used 5.5 gallons of sparge water and 4.5 gallons of mash water.
  • The beginning boil OG of the wort was 1.040, this was again without adjustment to temp.
  • I used a fine grain bag as a way to keep hop loss to a minimum. I also used this for all of the other items on the list for this recipe.
  • The boil went for about 1hr and 20 min., the end yield was 4.8 gallons.
  • The OG was 1.059, a whole .010 over my target at 1.049 so I added water
    and stirred it a while. I got it down to 1.052 and called it good.
  • I pitched at 74F and it was bubbling within 24hrs very actively!

It was a successful brew day. I doubt I will enter this one into any competitions as it's more of a brew that I enjoy than anything. I just hope that I am going to be able to get it close to what I had last year.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Return of the Mulligan

So I thought that the best way to wake my senses back up was to away I go. This is an all-grain interpretation of the Blanche de Bruges (Belgium White) that we coined Mulligan Wit after a piss-poor day of golf. I considered going safe and just making another extract brew, but I am always one for a challenge so here goes.

Grain Bill:
2 Row Pale Malt (Mutton's US)- 7.43 lbs
Flaked Wheat- 5.76 lbs
Biscuit Malt- .14lbs
Flaked Oats- .27lbs
Clear Candi Sugar- .5 lbs (45min)


1.5 tsp Ground Coriander (15min)
1.5 oz Bitter Orange Peel (1/2 @ 15min 1/2 @ 3min)
1/2 tsp Crushed Cumin Seed
1.5 tsp Crushed Grains of Paradise


1oz Saaz (3.75% AA) 60 min
1oz Styrian Golding (5.25% AA) 30 min


Belgium White Beer Yeast

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.009

ABV 5.6%

I made some adjustments to this recipe because I am shooting for a 7 gallon yield. I have been trying to get higher and higher yields and I am barley getting what I need to so I am going to shoot for a little more this time and see where I end up.

If you see anything here that looks out of place, now is the time to let me know because I am not brewing till this weekend!