Is in the keg. Took the final gravity reading at 1.015, a bit higher than what I expected, especially given the large, highly-active starter that I pitched. But, it has a nice color and taste, even though flat. Now I just wait for carbonation.
That’s what I named my Christmas beer. It’s a pretty good beer. The main detractor from the Christmas beer was that when I Christmassed it, I over bittered. The beer is an Arrogant Bastard clone, and so is sufficiently bitter already. Then I added the orange peel and curacao (along with everything else), which sealed the deal. Consequently, I had to sweeten it with 4oz of milk sugar (lactose). It worked very nicely, the beer has a sweet front end and a very balanced bitter finish. Bitterness does pass with time, so it was important not to over-compensate on the sweet side.
Old Christmas Bastard was well-received by friends and family and all that remains is three twenty-two ounce bullets. In addition, I entered the beer in the Wizard of Saaz competition which concluded recently, and, unfortunately, by some cosmic mistake, the beer was not judged in the competition. The message from Mike Yingling read, partially, as there was a “screw up in the cellar. The beer was on the pull sheet but the stewards & cellar master must have made a mistake. I’m very sorry your beer was not judged.” However, I am far more interested the evaluation of the beer, and Mike emailed to tell me that it would be reviewed and the results sent.
So, there goes the first competition; but that was the first for me. There will be many more, now. I’m very interested in getting the feedback on my beers as, when you brew for a long time, as I have, you get into certain habits of approach to the brewing process. I try as much as I can to read and adjust and experiment, but at the end of the day my brew session is to get the beer brewed so I can drink it! Competitions will help point out areas that are weak and push me in the direction of exploring more intensely the questions of the process.
|Munich Malt||5 lb|
|Pilsner Malt||5 lb|
|Vienna Malt||3 lb|
|Hallertauer||1.5 ounce (60)|
|Hallertauer||.5 ounce (20)|
|WLP830 (German Lager)||1.8 Litre|
Everything went very smoothly. I treated my water with salts to boost the water profile (tsp epsom salt, tsp calcium chloride, ph stabilizer). Mashed at 156 for 50 minutes. Got 2.8 gallons on the first run at 16 brix @ 140 degrees for a 1.078. Sort of confirmed by a hydrometer reading of 1.054 @ 140 degrees = 1.070 approximately. Second run at 1.25 gallons with 10.5 brix @ 142 degrees for 1.043, hydrometer 1.030 @ 142 for 1.046. Third run at 1.5 gallons at 6.5 brix @ 148 degrees for 1.020. And a fourth run of 1.3 gallons which was nearly water and I only used about a quart. The pre-boil gravity was 1.056. I boiled for one hour. Cooled the wort to 63 degrees (which is the temperature of my basement where the starter had been sitting) and pitched. OG was at 1.050 which I’ll discuss in a minute. Hooked up to my handy-dandy Johnson control unit/heater set up and threw the fermenter in the refrigerator at 53 degrees. Now I’ll just wait for nature to take it’s course.
Per the above, I continue to have issues, for some inexplicable reason, with my gravities at OG time. I cannot understand how a wort with a pre-boil gravity of 1.056 can boil for one hour and come out at 1.050. That seems impossible. Water should evaporate and sugar should not. I confirmed with the refractometer which showed even lower. This is a source of endless confusion for me. I can understand if one over-collects on the sparge and then has too much water in the kettle, but I measured the pre-boil gravity… Regardless, I may have to take another tack and do some calculations on pre-boil gravity, evaporation rates, and so on to see if I can estimate the OG. But the fact that the tools reported something else is highly upsetting. In the end, I guess, it’s all about what the beer tastes like. But still.
Cleveland Beer Week is upon us, with dozens of great breweries descending upon Cleveland in a host of locations throughout the city. Jammin’ brews will be available from East to West in our fair City of Cle, from XYZ Tavern to the Cedar Lee–and from North to South.
Love Stone Brewing Co? Great Lakes? Hoppin Frog? Fat Heads? They’re here. 21st Amendment? Dogfish Head? Smuttynose? Sierra Nevada? They’re here. Beer will be flowing and locations will be hoppin–literally in a whole slush of senses.
If you love beer, this coming week is a GREAT week to be in Cleveland. I’m definitely going to find a way to get away from the children, out of the house, and hit a few locations for some frosty pints!
For more information including events, breweries, and locations check out http://www.clevelandbeerweek.org/