Monday, September 17, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
So, according to the brewing instruction in my kit from Midwest Supplies, my beer is ready to be bottled, but I'm trying to heed the advice of Charlie Papazian and John Palmer and let the beer condition on the trub for an additional week. The yeast seem to be inactive as there are no bubbles and the temperature has been steadily, but slowly, dropping. I'm expecting a noticeable color change soon as the beer clears. I'm thinking I may have pitched the wort too hot. We'll see.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Well, I was worried that I might have had a stalled, or stuck, fermentation. The regular belching of the blow-off tube in the sanitizer stopped without warning. I didn't see any bubbling at all in the sanitizer so I replaced the blow-off tube with the airlock. That has been bubbling--slowly. On closer inspection, I can still see bubbling on the edge of the carboy, but I'm still a bit concerned that fermentation may have slowed to a crawl. I was set to pitch more yeast, but that was probably premature.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
I boiled three gallons of water to add to the wort at the end of the boil. As it turns out, it wasn't enough.
I steeped the specialty grains in a muslin bag for 30 minutes at 155º and then an additional 10 minutes off the burner.
After adding the liquid malt extract, I brought the wort to a rolling boil for 20 minutes to reach the hot break. I ran into trouble using my stainless steel kettle on a flat surface stove burner. It vibrated violently after just a few seconds. I had planned to use a propane burner outside, but rains forced me into the kitchen. Keeping a light touch on the handle of the burner solved the problem but was quite annoying after about three hours of brewing. I boiled the bittering hops for 60 minutes, adding the aroma hops for the final 10 minutes of the boil.
I chilled the wort by first topping it off with a couple gallons of the water I boiled before starting and then immersing the kettle in a bath of water, ice, and salt. Then, I stirred in the dry yeast packet, and siphoned the wort and pre-boiled water into the carboy which only got the liquid level up to base of the curve on the carboy. I scrambled to boil and chill more water. I did my best to shake the carboy to aerate the pitched wort, but I'm going to need to figure out a better way to do this for future batches. Finally, I fixed the blow-off tube to the carboy and sunk the end in sanitizing solution.
- 6 lb. Gold LME
- 2 oz. Special B
- 8 oz. Caramel 80L
- 2 oz. roasted malt
- 1 oz. Hallertau hop pellets (bittering)
- 1 oz. Fuggle hop pellets (aroma)
- 6 g Muntons dry yeast
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Today, I'm soaking bottles to remove the labels. I used two scoops of a sodium percarbonate cleaner (e.g. OxyClean) dissolved in 10 gallons of warm water in a plastic storage bin. It holds about 60 bottles. I'll let it sit overnight and then scrub off any residual paper and glue.
Tomorrow, I plan to start making my first solo batch of beer.