Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another journey

Well, this blog will not only cover our journey to the East Coast, but also my journey to becoming a master brewer! Okay, well maybe just a journeyman brewer. Rather, someone who can brew beer for cheaper than I can buy at the store, at around the same quality.

So, for those interested in brewing, continue on! Those not, uh, don't. Though you can still drink some.

My first beer is out of Charlie Papazian's Book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, named "Elbro Nerkte," a lightly carbonated Brown Ale, though I had to do some substitutions because I didn't order well. Because I've been on a Frank Sinatra kick lately, I want to call this one "My Way Brown Ale" which feels fitting. I'll wait to see if it is any good before wasting a name on it though!

Here are the ingredients I used

My Way, 5 gal
6.6 lbs Dark Liquid Malt Extract, Breiss
.25 lbs Black Patent Malt
.50 lbs Crystal Malt, 40L
1 oz UK Fuggle Hops (boiling)
1 oz Kent Goldings Hops (boiling; sub for 2nd oz of Fuggle I didn't have)
.5 oz Cascade Hops (aroma)
4 tsp Gypsum
2 tsp Irish Moss
Wyeast liquid English Ale Yeast
3/4 cup Corn Sugar (priming, for carbonation)
So. Many. Bottles.

4.5% ABV, 41ish IBU

First thing I did was pop a nutrient bag in the yeast pack, to let it inflate (it activates the yeast). I steeped the Crystal and Black Patent malt for a half hour, then strained as much as I could out. Very much like tea. Brought it (around 1.5 Gallons) to a boil, then added the LME, Boiling Hops and Gypsum. Boiled for 60 minutes, added the Irish Moss at 45 mins and the Cascade Hops at 8 min. Transferred the wort into the glass Carboy, then topped it off to 5 gallons. Put it in fridge until it got down to 75 degrees, then added the yeast. Put a blow off hose on it, and put the other end in a container with bleach water.

Within 12 hours it was bubbling on the other end, and by 24 hours there was a big head of foam on it (the Krausen). It kept rising for an additional 24 hours, then dropped. Within 72 hours total, fermentation was done. I capped it with an airlock filled with Jim Beam (figure that's as good a sanitizer as anything), which continued bubbling. Bottled it about 24 hours later. I got 42-45 bottles (3 may have too much sediment, because I sucked out a whole bunch of the 'trub' near the end) out of a potential 57. Bottling is a giant pain in the ass, by the way. I boiled the corn sugar and put the mixture in the carboy before siphoning it into the bottles. Capped them, and have been waiting for about 30 hours.

Original Gravity was about 1.52, Final Gravity was about 1.18, so ABV should be around 4.5%.

This was a *very* quick brew, as it will be drinkable within 8 days and peak at 13 days. I am not sure whether this is a good thing though, since I bottled even quicker than the recipe called for.

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