brewday

Euforia (Duclaw Brewing Company) Well, being in Florida we were spared the widespread panic of a blizzard this weekend and we were left with a couple strong thunderstorms and colder weather.  Never fear, 40 degree temps won’t keep me from setting up in the garage for today’s brew.

Today’s recipe is a clone from Duclaw Brewing Company in Maryland called Euforia.  The company lists it as a Toffee Nut Brown Ale with notes of toffee, caramel and almond.  with creativity on the part of this homebrewer, it’s not as sweet as the original, but still maintains the toffee-like notes.

For those who haven’t followed this blog, and don’t want to poke around and read my prior posts, I use a very basic setup consisting of a “re-purposed” half barrel keg for a Hot Liquor Tank (HLT), a 36 quart igloo cooler for a mash tun with a manifold for extracting the wort, and finally, a 15 gallon Bayou Classic kettle.  I have fought many urges to tinker, upgrade, acquire as much gadgetry as possible.  Most of this is due to financial concerns, but hell, this system is easy to clean, it makes good beer, and it’s mine!

As I near the end of the third runnings of my batch sparge, I realize how much I miss this beer from it’s creators.  Living on the Florida Panhandle, the craft beer and brew pub revolution hasn’t really made the scene.

Third runnings are complete and I have 12.7 gallons of sweet wort ready for boiling and hop additions.  This beer is very much too my liking in regards to hops.  There is only one 2oz addition of US Fuggles (AA: 4.5%) at the beginning of the boil.  If I could go the rest of my life without drinking excessive “Murican” IPAs, I would be ok with that.  I won’t put down the style, but it’s just not for me.

Well, time to get this wort boiling and start the cleaning regime that curses all homebrewers.  See you for the taste test!

 

Until next brew day!

I thought that may have caught a few peoples attention.  Well as we all know, blumpkins are a year-round favorite, fall is for everything pumpkin.  And with that, my second brew in Florida is my annual running of Blumpkin Pumpkin Ale.  And with this mid-November day sitting at a beautiful sunny 75 degrees, who can argue that this day was meant for making homebrew.

I missed an entry with my last batch of Concussion Red.  But with the move, figuring out my new location, and how things were going to be setup, I didn’t want to get too involved with things outside of the actual brew process.  So with that, I have one brew day under my belt at the new house in Florida, and things went very well and actually turned out to be a little easier than the old house.

As I mentioned before, it’s around mid-November and well within limits of being called shorts weather.  The days of the brew-a-geddon in 20 degree weather may very well be behind me and I’m looking forward to almost all-year round brewing.  The next summer may prove to be too-much, but we’ll see how that goes when we get there.

Now on to the topic for today, my (yes, another version) version of a Pumpkin Ale.  So, for all intents and purposes, I really could care less for the pumpkin aspect of the beer.  Yes, there is pumpkin in it, and yes it does contribute to the flavor, but I am more interested in the pumpkin pie spice associated with the smells and tastes of Fall.  My reason for trying my hand at a pumpkin ale was to reduce the overbearing hops and pumpkin pie spice flavors and smells associated with commercial varieties of this style of beer.  I wanted a good ale with subtle qualities that come through as the beer warms from 50-ish degrees to the end of the glass around room temperature.  My last iteration almost nailed this profile on the mark, and I have increased the spice just a little to accomplish my goal.  I found, for my taste, 4tsp of pumpkin pie spice is the perfect balance to a nice malty stronger ale.

With this 10 gallon recipe, I decided to take a chance with two types of yeast.  This was mostly influenced by the lack of selection at my local homebrew store.  But I figured it would be a nice experiment that won’t affect the overall outcome too much.  Instead of using my usual English Ale (WLP002), I have chosen to ferment the first 5 gallons with European Ale (WLP011).  The attenuation is similar to the english ale strain, but will produce a minimal amount of esters comparatively.  The second experiment will just deviate companies using the London Ale (1028) string from Wyeast.

I guess I can’t go on and on about everything in the beer without mentioning the base of a Pumpkin Ale.  As I mentioned, using pumpkin is just simply a technicality for calling it a pumpkin ale.  But, with the addition of 2 pounds of pumpkin puree, it needs to be mentioned.  With this much puree, there will be a considerable taste associated, and more importantly, more fermentation to add to the already rising alcohol percentage.  I decided to use puree for two reasons.  First, it’s ways easier than digging several pounds of pumpkin guts out of it’s host.  And second, I think it blends into the flavor profile without being too overbearing.  Make sure you get a puree that does not have any spice or added sugar as this could lead to off flavors and higher than normal alcohol production.

All in all, this looks to be a great fall season with a nice warming ale that will leave all happy and a little redder in the cheeks.

 

Until next brew day,

Tony

 

As with everything in Maryland, Spring decided to take it’s time and prevent me from getting outside to make beer.  I tried to tough it out during the winter, but damnit, it’s just too cold to be huddled around a propane burner when I can just stockpile before the big freeze hits.  So on this very nice and breezy 70° breezy day, here I am, outside for the start of the next brewing season.  And hey, the kids will finally get some color (go vitamin K), making what I like to call Wheaticus.

Wheaticus started out as clone for Sam Adams Summer Ale.  Through trial and error, and modifying the recipe to my liking, it took on a life of it’s own, and with that, deserved a name.  Although the name implies that it is a wheat beer, it is only comprised of 39% wheat, with the rest made up of US Pale 2-Row and Crystal 20°.

Everything started off like any beginnings would, with mass chaos and lack of planning.  Although I had all of my equipment, and used it many times before, taking a couple days to check everything, re-clean all of the hidden places that seem to be never ending, and more importantly, making sure you have everything!  I was diligent about ingredients, anything I didn’t have on hand, I took note of and headed out to the local homebrew store to buy.  Come Sunday morning, I was weighing out all of my material, getting equipment in order and setting up.

As I was just about to start heating up the hot liquor tank, I noticed that all three of my propane tanks were empty…..doh!!!!!!!  So in a mad rush I ran out to find only one store in the area that had any propane left.  Remember, this is the first nice weekend we have had since the onset of winter.  It would figure that there would be a spike in propane sales.  But for all it’s worth, I found propane and learned yet another valuable lesson.  Even if you think you have everything, there will always be that one important piece that will go wrong on a great brew day.  That is just how great beer seems to be made at this household.

With all of the commotion that comes with the holiday season, I am a few days late getting this post out.  But, without fail, here are the events from Saturday.

As you are reading this, you can probably conclude that civilization as we know it still exists and everyone is thriving as good as they can with the down turned economy and day after doomsday forecast.  I decided to have my own brew party with a couple neighbors, who both have drastic difference in taste for beer.  So without fail, I decided to undertake something that I have never attempted before, brew two beers on the same system in the same day.

If that isn’t enough, the weather decided not to hold out and dropped to a brisk 35-45 degrees with gusts of wind throughout the day.  If I was any less dedicated to making 20 gallons of beer, we would not have been out there in this weather.  Needless to say, we started set up at 9 AM and dove right into the first batch.

Our first batch was for the hophead in the group.  It was a clone from Anderson Valley Brewing Company called Hop Ottin IPA.  This 10 gallon batch used an insane amount of Columbus and Cascade hops.  So much so, that I thought the recipe was wrong when I was at my LHBS buying the ingredients.  The morning was a bit chilly and the wind kept us modestly covered up.  Even with the wind and bone chilling cold, my burners worked without flaw.  My only real concern was the Igloo cooler I use for my mashtun.  I was worried that the cooler wouldn’t hold temperature in a cold environment, but was I wrong.  The temperature only dropped 1 degree in an hour and made for a great runoff.

The next batch was one of my favorite recipes, a chocolate oatmeal stout.  Things weren’t exactly progressing as fast as we thought, and with the days at their shortest of the year, the impending doom of darkness was creeping up on us.  The cold air started creeping into our souls made for a less-than-desirable end of a brew day.  The back yard gets very dark at night, so I was forced to bring my car around back and finish off the brew day by headlight.

All in all it was a great brew day.  I was able to teach this fine hobby to a couple neighbors and aspiring hombrewers, and for my efforts, got 10 gallons of beer and a new found respect for the cold of December.

Today started off pretty good.  It was a brisk 45 degrees outside and plenty of sunshine.  At this point, I had brewed enough on the current setup to have all of my numbers dialed in and I could concentrate on just making great beer consistently.

After all of the equipment was setup and the water hit temp, I mashed in and quickly discovered that I was 10 degrees over my initial mash temperature.  I have never encountered this situation where the water temperature only dropped 4 degrees!  I quickly started stirring with the lid open to get down to a reasonable temperature before I started extracted tannins.  After about 10-15 minutes, I noticed the temperature wasn’t dropping at all.  I checked my thermometer and realized in that very instant that it was defective.  Mother of all shitty things!!!!  So, after it was all said and done, I was actually 10 degrees below my target temperature at 145.  I guess I should never trust a thermometer that falls victim to a rolling boil several times.

After that entire ordeal was said and done, I still came within 3 points of my bre-boil gravity.  Who knows, mashing at this lower temperature may just give me a flavor profile that I’m happy with.

As usual, the boil, well, it boils.  There’s not much going on for this hour unless I lose a thermometer to the hot liquid death.  At this point the sun has gone down below the other houses and the cold is starting to creep in.  Still a nice day outside, and I figure, it will help cool the wort that much faster after flameout.

As I boil the wort, I find it very efficient to clean all of the other equipment that I have used througout the day up to that point.  It makes the very last part of the cleanup that much easier to manage.  Plus, who wants to spend an additional 30-40 minutes after the yeast have been pitched and are comfy, warm, and eating all that great food you just provided them.

So, all in all, even with the temperature SNAFU, I will chalk this up to a successful brew day.  Having a computer out here with me makes things much easier.