Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's About Time

Today we moved the clocks back an hour and got rid of summer time. I remember an outfit of amateur astronomers that referred to Daylight Savings Time as Darkness Squandering Time. It's all a matter of perspective, eh? I lost a faithful companion as well. My Casio Twincept digital timepiece with analog display ceased working. I've had this watch for at least 15 years--using its features like stopwatch and timer in the classroom in my science teaching days. I used those same features on brew days to keep track of mashes, boil times, hop additions, sanitizing regimes, etc. This humble apparatus has been a part of dozens of lessons and lectures, as well as over 100 brews. I carried it with me and used its alarm clock and dual time feature for our summer odysseys overseas as well as our recent trip to Mexico. I replaced the battery in June, probably the third one of its lifetime. The watch was dead, the battery drained when I went to use it this morning. Time to get something new, I think I got my money's worth from this one.

Speaking of money, honey, I hit it right on the money today. I was hoping for a final gravity of 1.055 and I hit 1.056, 14º Plato. That was perfect! I tasted the sweet wort and I think we have a winner. Everything went according to plan. It was a gorgeous autumnal afternoon, cool and wet with intermittent sunshine and warmth. I followed my Winterfest formulation and didn't have any complications or setbacks. I did try to have a higher initial mash temperature, raising the strike heat to 172º F, but still only managed a 150º F mash. I let that go for 40 minutes, the 12 pounds of grain soaking in 12 quarts of liquor, then added a gallon of boiling liquor which brought things up to 156º F. I was hoping to start the mash up high like that and try to get a more dextrinous wort. But that's OK, like I said, it looked and smelled delicious. I tend to overshoot the color on my brown ales, pushing them almost to black, and I also tend to undershoot my ambers, winding up with sort of a dark honey color rather than a true red. I think I should have used a whole pound of the 60º L caramel, or maybe tossed in a 1/4 pound of something a little darker. We'll see. I had a great time today cookin' up a batch and I'm real happy with the result so far. Of course, only time will tell.

a.d. IV Non. Nov.

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