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.

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