Sunday, April 27, 2008

"School's Out" Stout

Actually, I have twenty-nine work days remaining in the calendar. If this brew ferments out in two weeks, gets kegged and bottled, spends two weeks conditioning, and then two weeks in the fridge, it will be ready to quaff come summer vacation. The whole thing can take half that time, but I've found over the years that slow and steady wins the race. The beer is almost always better when you wait. Speaking of "School's Out" Stout, the Bazooka Screen™ made its debut on this splendid Spring day here in the State of Jefferson. (I've added the link to Zymico™ to the list below.) Here at French Street Brewery, we like stouts. This one had 5 lbs. of base malt, a Briess 2-row pale, 5 lbs. of Briess Munich, and 2lbs. of Weyermann Vienna malt. All of these ORGANIC grains were purchased pre-crushed from 7 Bridges in Santa Cruz. I had some odds and ends, not really adding fermentables, just color, body, and flavor, like a 120 ºL crystal, some flaked barley, and Weyermann Carafa-2, all three totaling a pound, also in the mash. I steeped a half-pound each of roast barley and dark chocolate in 2 quarts of liquor which I added to the kettle. The OG came out at 15 ºP (1.060) which means my kooky method was around 75% efficient. I doughed-in the grain with 14 quarts of 155 ºF liquor (municipal water from a lovely volcanic spring-fed creek, moderately soft, charcoal filtered, brought to a boil and allowed to cool, otherwise untreated). The mash settled around 140 ºF. I pulled out a gallon of the grain porridge and heated it to boil on the hot plate. This I added back to the mash tun, bringing the whole thing up 5 degrees. After some stirring, I added one gallon of boiling liquor, which brought the whole thing to a range of 149-155 ºF. Some mixing got things to blend a bit, 150-152 ºF seemed to be the final temperature. After 45 minutes I spray-sparged for 30 minutes with 170 ºF liquor, 3 gallons worth, then mashed out with another gallon, a quick fill-and-drain. The final gallon of liquor went in the kettle, bringing the volume up to 7 gallons. Organic Perle hops and a 70-minute boil produced 5 gallons of wort. I pitched Wyeast European Ale 1338 into the chilled wort, bunged the carboy with a foam stopper, and put it to bed. All in all, a great brew day.

a.d. V Kal.Mai.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Amquard Ale II & OSP VI

The Amquard Ale was moved to the refrigerator this afternoon. In a week or so we should get the first taste. I'm quite curious about my little "dry-hopping" experiment--one of these days I'll figure out how to get a rich hop aroma. We've also been enjoying the OSP. We had a bit of an issue with an under-carbonated keg, but I blasted it with 30 lbs. or so of gas for a week, and some tweaking and twiddling with the dispensing pressure produced a good draught. We've pulled a few pints since then and the brew has a sharp flavor and a dextrinous mouthfeel, but is also smooth and drinkable. The bottled version was a bit harsh at first tasting. We let it lager for a few more weeks and that has paid off. The flavors seemed to have married and the rough edges have been smoothed. The result? O'Connor's Stout Porter lives up to its name!

a.d. X Kal.Mai.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Beware the Ides

Tomorrow is the Ides of April--not nearly so fraught with literary danger as the Ides of March, but interesting nonetheless. The OSP has done well in the bottle, but the keg version was nearly flat. Not sure why, but I've been gassing it with a steady 30 psi and I hope to get it drinkable within the next few days. We bottled and kegged the Amquard Ale. Stephani and Amber will come away with a 2-Liter growler each, and will split 8 12-oz. bottles. My goal was a 6-pack apiece, but after kegging 2.5 gallons there wasn't enough left over, and the last bit in the priming bucket was pretty sludgy. I bottled a 12-oz. clear Newky bottle that had a bit of debris, we'll see how it settles out. I decided to play around a bit and added a cotton sack with two ounces of whole organic German Perle hops (from Seven Bridges) to the half-keg. I'd like to get a little hop aroma into this rather simple extract golden ale. It was a gorgeous spring day in the State of Jefferson, and we had a relaxed day here at French Street Brewery. I've got a bit of sanitizing left to do before I'm done with the brewery chores for the weekend. In the meantime I'm enjoying my favorite radio show, Craig Lloyd Faulkner's "American Rhythm," on KSOR 89.3 FM.

prid. Id. Apr.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008