I managed to squeeze in a brewday this weekend despite my daughter’s morning basketball game and an appt in the middle of the afternoon. First time I’ve ever collected all my runnings into my kettle, gone off for an hour, and then returned to get it boiling. But, it seemed to work fine. With all the day-to-day things going on, finding time to brew is harder and harder, but I had had the ingredients for 2 weeks and wanted to get it done.
So, I managed to get home from coaching my daughter’s game at 11:30 and get it done by 5, despite being away for an hour in the middle. I tend to avoid brewing if I can’t start in first thing in the AM. Not a fan of being out there (in the 20° winter weather especially) in the evening trying to finish brewing. But, I managed to finish the boil and start chilling before dinner (thankfully, because I needed the propane tank back on the grill to cook dinner!). I left the kettle outside with the immersion chiller in the 20° temp while we ate. By the time I brought it into the basement and transferred the wort, it had cooled to just under 60°! First time I’ve chilled it below the pitch temp! Ferm wrap and temp controller hooked up to the carboy, pitched the S-05 (I haven’t seen a big enough difference when using Cal Ale yeast to bother with liquid yeast) and it’s now bubbling away, with over an inch of krausen, holding around 66-67°.
Seeing that I don’t yet have an aeration system, I typically rely on simply shaking the fermenter to aerate, or this method in the picture. I use a racking cane to move the wort from my kettle (no valve on the kettle) to my clean, sanitized bottling bucket. I then run the wort form the spigot into the carboy, with the wort spreading out wide across the inside of the glass. I still give the carboy a couple shakes too. Now I know this isn’t the same as using an aerating stone hooked up to a aquarium air pump, or better yet, pure oxygen, but it’s good enough so far.
So, here’s the skinny on batch #3. I went back to the grain bill from batch 1 (2 lb of rye, vs the 2.5 lb I used in batch 2). Not a big change. And done mainly because I didn’t want to buy a third pound and only use half of it. Silly, I know. But my LHBS sells the rye in 1 lb bags, so taking a fraction of a pound isn’t possible like it is for all the other malts that are stored loose in big plastic containers.
So, minor grain difference. Main difference is the hops. Still heavy on the Amarillo, but this time I went with Magnum for bittering, vs the Northern Brewer (Batch1) or Chinook (batch2). And I used Simcoe along with the Amarillo for the flavor and aroma charges:
US Magnum (13.5 % alpha) 21 g Loose Pellet Hops used 60 Min From End
US Simcoe (13.0 % alpha) 14 g Loose Pellet Hops used 20 Min From End
US Amarillo (9.3 % alpha) 28 g Loose Pellet Hops used 10 Min From End
US Amarillo (9.3 % alpha) 28 g Loose Pellet Hops used 1 Min From End
US Simcoe (13.0 % alpha) 28 g Loose Pellet Hops used 1 Min From End
US Amarillo (8.6 % alpha) 28 g Loose Pellet Hops used Dry-Hopped
US Simcoe (13.0 % alpha) 14 g Loose Pellet Hops used Dry-Hopped
Thankfully, I managed to hit my numbers (preboil 1.048, OG 1.063). If it finishes where I think it will (1.013-1.014) then I’m looking at a 6.5% ABV. Roughly 75 IBUs, but again, it will probably taste more like a 65 IBU bitterness given my “system”.
And now we wait. And drink English bitter. And wait. Assuming 14-21 days fermenting, with final week being in secondary with dry hops. Then at least 3 weeks carbonating in the bottles before trying. If past performance is any indication, these hit their peak around 6 weeks in the bottle. Should be interesting to see how fast these carbonate in the bottles vs the English bitter. I would have guessed the lower ABV bitter would have carb’d up quicker, but the difference could be the yeast. Or it’s just the cooler house temps in the winter that cause a slower bottle carbonation.