#5 is in bottles

The, as yet still nameless, batch#5 is now in bottles:

IMG_4878

#6 (more on this later) is about to finish primary fermentation.

The start of “brew log”

So this is as much for my future reference as anything else but I decided it would be smart to start keeping a record of my beer brews. I’ve already started to forget some of the earlier batches we did and for a while recently Jesse and I were wondering why the Cascade hops we’d used weren’t as potent as the usually are. It turned out that we’d used some Pacific Gems that we’d received accidentally in one of Seven Bridges, unfortunately many, botched orders. Hopefully this will help us refer back to our mistakes and triumphs and try to figure out what it was we did that made that taste so…you know.

So I think this is technically our 5th attempt (we brewed the 4th batch since the last brew related post) but will be the first recorded brew. After sticking with some variation on a fairly typical West Coast Pale Ale up to this point, we decided to go with something lighter, more summery, with more of a European influence, but with a twist to keep it very West Coast and, in fact, even more geographically specific than that. You’ll see.

So Jesse wanted to make some kind of a pale lager, maybe a Pilsener. The problem being that San Francisco in the summer doesn’t really provide a suitably low temperature for that to quite work. So what could we do? Well luckily that had already been thought of well over a hundred years ago and we decided to make a Steam, or California Common, beer. That is, using lager yeast at a temperature one would normally ferment an ale at.

The Recipe (for 5 gallons)

4lbs Organic pale liquid malt extract
2lbs Organic corn sugar
2oz Organic Saaz hops
11g Safelager S-23 dry lager yeast

1 hour boil with 1oz of hops at the beginning and 1oz at the end.

After pitching, the yeast got to work very quickly and by the following morning the C02 was leaving the blow off tube very rapidly. At this point I was wondering whether, due to the increased temperature, the fermentation would happen so quickly that it might by done in a 2 or 3 day period. But as I write this 5 days later, the bubbles are still at about 8 second intervals so we have a little way to do yet. The last thing to figure out is how to tackle the conditioning process. I imagine that to be a true steam beer, it must also be conditioned at 65degrees. Maybe a little more research is called for.

Homebrew #3

Jesse, Kellen and I brewed a batch of beer yesterday. This one is a pale ale (although, as you can see in the video, it’s coming out pretty dark) brewed with cascade hops for bittering and finishing and american ale yeast is providing the fermentation. As you can see it is getting busy. It should be in bottles next weekend.

Also the slightly strange setup (lots of cardboard, and the carboy sat in the brew kettle with an aluminum foil hat on top) is due to me being slightly paranoid about being in a newly rented apartment and having a particularly explosive fermentation process last time. I don’t really want beer spraying out of the airlock and the resulting mess again.

Update:

I have posted videos for day 2 and 3 on my viddler account.

uncarbonated, room temperature beer

so the bubbles slowed towards the middle of last week, i gave the beer a couple extra days to be on the safe side and today i decided to bottle. the peliminary taste test came out good. it’s always gonna be weird tasting uncarbonated, room temperature beer though. i can’t wait for a week’s time and there are some cold ones in the refridgerator.

so paul and jessalyn moved out on wednesday. jesse has meant to have been moving in everyday for the past four. it’s 7:30pm and he’s still meant to be moving in today. the house is already changing. the two living rooms are becomign somewhat color themed. it looks like the dining room will be green and the other one orange. it looks pretty good so far. also, when we fix pauls san francisco picture, we’ll have two pictures that incorporate lighting.

so i’ve spent a while over the past week editing the cyclocross wikipedia page. you should check it out.

byo.com/yourfirstbrew/

Tuesday was my day off and despite not posting at the time, I followed through and started the beer brewing process. Here are a few facts.

  • It took one hour to bring just over 4 gallons of water to a boil.
  • It took about 1 1/2 hours to cool the 4 gallon wort down to around 70 degrees in a sink full of ice.

The whole process went pretty smoothly I thought. I was a bit more concerned with doing everything right (and I ended up doing most of it by myself) than documenting the event so the photos are a bit lacking unfotunately but here are a couple:

hops

wort

So now we are on day 4 of the fermentation. I was a bit worried at first because there was none of the explosive bubbling I was expecting for the first 48 hours of the process. I thought maybe I had somehow managed to not cool it properly and kill the yeast but sometime on thursday it decided to start doing its thing and when I checked on it of friday morning it was bubbling and spewing brown froth out of the top.