Sunday, September 28, 2008

Party On!

Full Season Ale came out of the keg clear and bright with a creamy head. It was a big hit: full-flavored, nicely balanced, easy-drinking, smooth and delicious. We sucked down the 20 pints rather easily. In fact, we dubbed the brew "Memory Loss Ale" as half a pint (at 7% abv) had a profound impact on your cognitive functions.

Today, half the Harvest Ale will go in the now-empty vessel. I'll post a post-bottling update later.

UPDATE @ 1655 PDT: The Harvest Ale only yielded a touch over 4 gallons. I lost at least 1/2-gallon to a sludgy trub. Nonetheless, we got a nice looking, smelling, and tasting beer in one 2-1/2 gallon keg, a sixpack of 12-ounce bottles, a fourpack of 0.5 Liter Grölsch bottles, and four 22-ounce bottles. I used 50 grams of dextrose in 1-1/3 cups of water for both priming jobs. The final gravity was 1.010 or 2.5 ºP, an eleven-degree drop, coming in at almost 6% abv.

And Tim Lincecum won his 18th against the Chavez LAtriners, striking out the first nine men he faced. Not a bad way to end the season.

a.d. IV Kal. Oct.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

162 and 163

Full Season Ale is on for a public tapping tonight! We cracked one of the kegs on Monday and had a sample with pals J & R. It is a big, potent beer, bright straw-yellow, with a full range of hoppiness. The final taste had a sour edge, maybe I went over-the-top with the hops. Or maybe it was just a bit "young" and needed a little more aging time in the fridge. Regardless, a party, a genuine social event, is on FSB's calendar this evening. I've got an untapped 2-1/2 gallon keg ready to go--twenty pints for a notoriously thirsty crew. I expect to have it emptied quickly. Tomorrow, I'll clean it out and fill it with the new brown (Harvest Ale) cooked up two weeks ago. I think I've come up with an easy transport system for both the keg and the gas cylinder set-up. I have an abundance of square-bottomed, thick-walled plastic bins just the right size. I can use one for the cylinder and toss in the tap, tools and towel I need. The other hold the keg and ice packs. We'll see how well everything works tonight. I'll report on things tomorrow after kegging and bottling #163.

a.d. V Kal. Oct.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Harvest Ale

I have a lovely batch of whole Northern Brewer hops from William's that are not organic. My old organic Perles looked and smelled sort of sad so I composted them. When I decided to "go organic" I still had some odds and ends around, like the hops. My plan is to make a "steam" with them this winter when I can use my favorite yeast strain, WYEAST 2112 CA LAGER. They have a rich minty-evergreen aroma, and they just seemed brighter and fresher than the Perles. At 8.2% α-acids I only used an ounce for an hour. Dr. Bob sez 25-32 IBU.

I used 10-1/2 pounds of the new pale 2-row from Great Western/7 Bridges, plus a half-pound each of 350ºL Briess Chocolate, 120ºL Briess Caramel, and Weyermann CaraHell. My goal is a malty brown, my beautiful bride's favorite brew. I wound up with 1.054 for five gallons. It was a low-temperature (148-150ºF) short-duration mash, only 45 minutes. These modern malts go quickly.

I scrounged another cheap-o yeast from the bargain bin, this time WYEAST 1332 NORTHWEST ALE. I should probably avoid that urge to save a few bucks. After all, freshness is a big part of why I brew my own. I need to find a local liquid yeast supplier or I need to go with the new generation of dried yeast.

It was an easy day--the whole shebang went smoothly. And the Giants won! The Harvest Moon shines brightly tonight and tomorrow, enjoy the lingering light--the autumnal equinox is just around the corner. The 13th is the Ides in a Roman September, so today is a.d. XVIII Kal. Oct. by their reckoning. This beer will split the birthdays here at French Street Brewery--let's say we'll be enjoying it on Hallowe'en.

P.S. Note the dearth of links and font fiddling, etc. For some reason I can't use my normal Blogger wysiwyg editor. That means I have to use html codes to make a link, etc. I'm lazy. I don't want to. I'll make sure all my links are up-to-date at the bottom of the page so readers can find any product I mention in a post. I hope to fix this annoying techie glitch soon.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

The Monday holiday afforded me a chance to get no. 162--FULL SEASON ALE--out of the fermenter and into the kegs. I used 50 grams of dextrose in 12 oz. water each to prime two 2-1/2 gallon kegs. Each keg got just about 2-1/4 gallons of beer from the 4-1/2 gallons the carboy yielded. It all looked and smelled good. The final gravity was 1.012 or 3 ºP and that makes this one a big 7 % abv. Wow. An ass-kicker! Should be ready to drink a a few weeks.

Balling scale (IB - FB) * (0.525)
(16 ºP - 3 ºP) * (0.525) = 6.8 %

Gravity Units (OGU - FGU) / (7.5)
(65 - 12) / (7.5) = 7.1 %

Today is the "Kalends" of September, the first of the month!