I just finished reading the book “Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation.” If you are anything like me, this is the book you have been waiting for. For the past year I have been pouring through vastly huge books about the science of brewing. But in the end not a single one of them broke down fermentation in a way that anyone could understand it. At the same time, not a single one of those books actually looked at the everyday view of fermentation and how yeast affect the entire process. I mean they are great when you want to know the entire chemical process but most of us don’t have our masters or doctorate in chemistry.
It may seem a small victory, but to actually understand the effect that flocculation has on your finished beer was enough to make the purchase of the book worthwhile. I don’t know about anyone else but even though I made it a point to watch over every aspect of my brewing process, I realized that there was more I could do on the cold side of the process to ensure a successful batch of great beer. I think that may be one of the defining things that separates the good from the great. Of course, cleanliness and sanitation are in there as well, but anyone who is making really good beer already have a decent handle on that aspect.
Pick up the book and grab a pint … Its well worth the read.
The Irish Rye turned out pretty tasty. I do think I prefer the effect of the Irish yeast on it much better than the English ale yeast. I think the Irish allows a slight bit more diacytal than the English. It tends to make it a bit creamier in my view. In this iteration it is a bit cleaner tasting though. Either way, I still find this to be one of my most enjoyable beers to drink.
I transferred the Kolsch tonight. One advantage of Michigan at this time of year is it isn’t quite freezing out yet but its still pretty cold. I am able to allow the kolsch to lager for a few weeks in my garage. At least that is my hope. So far the flavor is interesting. In a way like the steam beers I have made in the past it has a slightly estery lager flavor profile. I am anxious to see how the lagering time affects this. Alcohol wise it finished out at roughly 4.5%. Not too bad. It actually feremented down a bit farther than I thought it would. When it is finally down I think it will be slightly dry with a mellow hop profile. Having never used Perle hops before I like the affect they bring to the brew. This should be a flavorful but easy drinking kolsch when it is finally ready.
I will be kegging the Oatmeal stout on Saturday. I am looking forward to this one. I was quite happy with the last tasting of it. I am pretty sure it should carry quite well once it is carbed up.
On that note I will also be brewing EMO Ipa tomorrow. As always it will be a monster. High hops profile but still balanced with a fairly large alcohol bite. I had considered knocking the grain bill down to leave me at about 5.5% alcohol. But I think I follow the original plan and keep it roughly around 7%. Fairly big beer with a nice amount of hops.
And now, as always, its time for a pint. Enjoy the pint you have in front of you.
I noticed something today that struck as “Wow, thats stupid”. There is a bag of potatoes sitting on my kitchen counter right now. Its waiting patiently for Thursday when it will be turned into mashers for Thanksgiving dinner with my family and my parents. (Bear with me there is a point in here somewhere). Written on the bag was a side logo with the words “great for cooking”. Now to me this begs the question, what else will you do with them? I mean you could make a potato clock or possibly power a low wattage light bulb. But seriously, wouldn’t you think the reason you bought the potatoes was to cook them in one way shape or form?
Now the point of this whole thought process, what does this have to do with beer? You had to know I would make a parallel in there somehow. Isn’t the purpose of beer to drink it and find some form of enjoyment in the drinking? I can hear you saying so many other things that beer can “do.” My favorite is “Beer, making white guys dance since 1885 (notice the date is really irrelevant)” Honestly, does drinking really make you that much more attractive? To some add campaigns thats how you get the hot bikini models. The reality is, unless you drink it none of this is going to happen.
So, my question of the day is, if the purpose of the beverage is to drink it, why do we need the rest of the hype? Are we really so mindless that we will allow clever ads tell us what we want?
Anyway, lets go get a pint…
Although today isn’t as busy as next week will be, it still seems a fairly busy brew day. First and foremost, we have an Oatmeal stout update. It would seem that some of my changes to increase the body of the original stout have paid off. At this time it is roughly 4.75% alcohol. This is still a bit higher than I wanted with this beer so I will have to make a few more changes to bring it more inline with what I am looking for. It doesn’t seem to have the sharp espresso notes of the dry stout. Instead it is more of a robust rich coffee flavor. I am anxious to see how this one finish when it is fully carbed (it will go into conditioning next week).
Currently sitting in the mash tun are the grains for the Kolsch. This one will have a fairly long road ahead of it after the yeast are pitched tonight. I am planning a week in primary and then two weeks in secondary (and secondary will be done at lager temps). I guess its good that I am patient.
Next week I will begin work on Emo IPA. Im going to go a little odd with it though. My current plan is to propagate the Kolsch yeast to use with the IPA. But this will be treated as any other ale I brew and it will not receive the same lagar type conditioning that the kolsch will receive. The interesting thing about this yeast is it is supposed to highlight the hops flavors but also ferment fairly clean. So my english style ales shouldn’t have as much diacytel left over as they would with some of the english yeasts I have enjoyed using in the past.
Well, at this time I have work to do. I guess its time for a pint…
Busy day, well it seems they all are lately. Earlier today I kegged the Irish Rye. It will be rough but I am now patiently waiting for this one to be ready.
I have now begun work on Magic 8 Ball. I did a few changes to the original recipe. The biggest change was to swap out a pound of my main malt for a pound of flaked oats. I also added a little bit more roasted malt and even a bit of black roasted malt. The changes were minor but the finished beer may end up just a touch bigger than the original recipe (roughly 1% bigger). This may not seem like much but for what it is, its bigger than I intended the beer to be. Of course the only person this will ever bother is me. So the beer is around 5% alcohol when done, in the grand scheme is it important? Of course, I have standards I like to meet. Call me sick and demented. The nice thing is I consider this a tester batch so once I see how it turns out I will be making adjustments on future batches.
My brew schedule is changing a bit. Instead of roughly every other week, I will be maintaining a schedule of every week. This means my free time has slipped to almost nothing now. Not too big a deal, I’d rather be brewing anyway. I picked up another propane tank today in preparation of how much I’m going to be going through soon. Probably a wise choice.
Next week I will either be brewing up a kolsch or I will hit the Emo IPA again. Either way they both are on the docket of beers that will be brewed within the next few weeks or so.
And on that note lets toast to the present beer in the kettle and to the future beers that will grace our kegs…
People tell me I can’t count it as being busy since I am doing stuff I want to do. But really, it would seem my Saturdays have now turned into brewery days. Today I will be moving both the cider and the Irish Rye to secondary. I also have bottling to catch up on. Its like the work never ends. (Mind you I usually end up having a pint or two while I am doing all this).
I checked the cider earlier to see if I would need to hit it with stronger yeast. Nicely, it is done. It finished out around 11.5 to 12%. Keep in mind though that is only the first part of its journey. Its next step will be to spend some time in secondary and then its final rest in the bottle. In the end I am saying that it still won’t be ready till next October. The alcohol maybe good but the flavor needs a decent amount of time to mellow and become the cider I know it can be.
As always, the nice part of how quick most beers go, I will have something to enjoy while waiting for the cider to finish. The Irish Rye will go to secondary today and then next week will be going to keg to condition. It will only be a few more weeks before it is on tap and bottled and ready to go.
Next week I will be brewing Magic 8 Ball again. I think I might have mentioned this before. I am changing the recipe slightly by adding a bit of oats to it. This should increase the creaminess of the finished beer.
I will be bottling some Tequila Sunset and Fraoch today as well. I keep meaning to completely bottle the Murphey’s wheat but I am just so unreluctant to drink it since I have much better beer available right now. I probably should just bottle it and let it age more, it might improve the flavor. (the key to almost everything in the brewery… let it age, time can adjust many flavors).
Time to work … I am thinking Tequila Sunset today
I am now putting to use the new cobra tap I picked up recently. The kegerator is now a three tap (although I do have to open the door for the third tap). Currently I have Tequila Sunset on the cobra handle. Comparing and contrasting this beer with its prerunner (Murphey’s wheat), I will say I am much happier with this one. Murphey’s only claim to fame at this point is that it does contain alcohol. Otherwise it is less than mediocre. I may just bottle it all and use it solely for cooking, cause it is almost painful to drink.
On the other hand, Tequila Sunset has made a decent showing. I am picking up definate Tequila notes. Appearance wise it is incredibly cloudy (just what I wanted from a good wheat). The color is almost perfect, an orangish-brown like a nice autumn sunset. The head leaves a bit to be desired. Its color is white to slightly off white but disappears fairly quickly. Mind you there is a bit of whispish head that persists till the end of the glass with very nice lacing.
The flavor does show through with tequila notes but it doesn’t have that feeling of drinking a shot like it did when I first took it to secondary. Actually, it comes through as a nice easy drinker. I almost feel like the Tequila is a quiet sleeper that creeps up on you. Those flavor notes are in the background, biding their time till they can spring on you.
In the end I really like it. I am not sure how it might perform in competition if I decide to take it that way. But I do feel I would be happy to pay for a pint or two of it if it was something on tap somewhere.
Now, its time for me to get back to another pint or two… I gotta empty that keg of Murphey’s somehow…