Sunday, April 26, 2009

Giants Fever III

The beer went to the keg this evening. We had a bit of a heat spell earlier and it pushed the hall closet up to 70 ºF, but the trend lately is cooling, so I expect things to drop back down a few degrees. The yield was 4-1/2 gallons, and I batch-primed with 100 grams of dextrose. I ran it all into the two 2.5-L corny kegs. The final gravity came out at 2 ºP or 1.008. I'll give it plenty of time to condition--at least 10 days, then lager it for at least two weeks. Check back then.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Giants Fever II

It has been almost a week, and the thick layer of fine, creamy bubbles marking primary fermentation has started to subside. The temperature held for most of the week at 66 ºF, but with the warm weather enveloping the State of Jefferson this weekend, it has inched up to 68 ºF. As long as I can keep things there, or at least under 70º, I'll be happy. I'm not a big fan of racking beer. I don't like to disturb it. I used to think the trub was responsible for off-flavors, but the quality of yeast is so improved these days I don't worry about it much anymore. In fact, the oxygen introduced and the contact from handling is probably worse. Plus, I'm lazy. Racking means more cleaning. I've had pretty good luck letting the ferment run out to two weeks, then sending the beer straight to the kegs, so I'll stick with that. I think this is going to be a unique and interesting brew--the multiple hop additions and the variety of grains and adjuncts should produce something a bit out of the ordinary. This yeast always gives me such bright, clean flavors, and seems to especially emphasize the malt side of the equation that I'm getting thirsty just thinking about it!

a.d. XIII Kal. Mai.

Monday, April 13, 2009


A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the San Francisco Giants had a "theme song," and the money portion of it went:

. . . be a believer
in Giants Fever . . .

It had one of those 70s-disco feels to it, catchy, pointless, impossible to erase from the memory banks. I've cooked up batches before in the spring that have been called "Giants Fever" so I thought I'd go for it again. The team is 2-5 and spent the afternoon stinking up Chavez Latrine, but hope springs eternal, eh?

Today was my kitchen sink brew. I had 5 lbs. of pale malt, and several 1-lb. packages of grain that I added to that. To wit: 1-lb. pilsener malt, 1-lb. Vienna malt, 1-lb. British pale malt, 1-lb. CaraPils and 1-lb. wheat malt! Crazy, huh? Then I added a pound of specialty malts (1/4-lb. roast barley, 1/4-lb. 140 ºL Extra Special Malt, and 1/2-lb. 60 ºL caramel), and presto! there was a load for the mash tun. All this stuff is organic/7 Bridges.

I used 3 gallons of liquor at a 171 ºF strike heat and the mixture settled in nicely at 156 ºF. After thirty minutes it had dropped two degrees and another two degrees after an hour. I re-circulated two gallons and then sent all the runnings to the kettle. I re-filled the tun with 4 gallons and ran that out as well. The "batch-sparge" is the lazy man's method, but it seemed to work fine. I got about 5+ gallons and topped it with 2 gallons to start the boil at the 28-L line. The yield was 5 gallons at 1.043, which I was happy with. I made three hop additions, one at 60, one at 30, and one at 10 minutes--1 ounce, 1 ounce, and 1/2 ounce of whole New Zealand Saaz (alpha acid 7.4 %). It should make a nice amber brew with a full flavor and light-to-medium body. My yeast o'the day was SF Lager (810) from White Labs, one of their pitch-n-go vials. I have made many brews with this yeast strain and I love its crisp, clean finish. The carboy went to the closet a little before 1500 hours State of Jefferson Daylight Time. It was a pleasant 66 ºF, just right, let's hope the cool weather holds and that I can keep it there or a little lower for at least a week.