Sunday, June 14, 2009

Worshipping at the maltar

I'm on summer holiday, and that makes everything more relaxed. Brew days are less frantic because I can get the clean-up and take-down done over a long evening--no early morning work alarms to worry about. Something about Sundays for cooking up a batch, I suppose I worship at the Malt Altar, the Maltar if you will, and need to keep the Sabbath like the rest of the believers. Who says The Big Guy doesn't drink beer?

Matt Cain was smokin' today for the surging SF Giants, throwing a complete game with nine strikeouts in a 7-1 win. I love baseball season, and having the G-men on the radio while the aroma of boiling wort mingled with the smells of spring was delightful. Yes, we are still having this wonderful spring, cool weather, occasional rain, the sun in and out behind the cloudbanks, and it feels great. I named the beer Summerfest, a bit boring, but we'll be sucking it down in the summer heat soon enough.

Two things about today's session: (1) I used 12 lbs. of 2-row and 1 pound of 20ºL crystal but only managed 13ºP wort--1.052--which is disappointing; (2) I used digital probes to monitor the mash temperature. I have a standard food thermometer with a steel cable and food probe that works for roasting meat, candy-making, and whatnot, and I finally realized it would be better in the brewery than in the kitchen. I also am field-testing some old lab apparatus from work, a Casio EA-100 kit. Using the temperature probe in "multimeter" mode was too easy. The two devices were several degrees apart, so I'll have to do some calibrating. But it sure is nice to have a continuous read on the mash, I think it will help me improve my technique and, I hope, my extract yield.

I kept the hops simple, a one ounce addition for sixty minutes and a one ounce addition for 30 minutes. That's two ounces of (7.4 % alpha-acids) organic New Zealand Saaz whole hops. Lovely stuff, should taste great. I used a pack of US-05 Safale yeast, pitching it directly in the carboy. The Giants Fever is done, we polished it off last weekend. It was delicious. I'm looking forward to the new one.

Happy Flag Day!

a.d. XVIII Kal. Iul.
(The Ides were yesterday!)

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