Archive for the ‘General Brew Stuff’ Category

Another Fermentation Oddity

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I brewed up a pale ale last weekend.  I performed my normal brew day process, with my normal brew day sanitation and my normal brew day mash and boil.  I hit my expected OG and racked to the primary fermenters at 71 degrees – nothing odd there.  I added my yeast, this time opting for Nottingham dry yeast since it did so well for me in my Cascadian Dark Ale.  I put the fermenters in the freezer and set my temp controller to 66F.  I checked on them 24 hours later and there was some action stirring up in one fermenter, but the other seemed a bit sluggish.  No biggie.  48 hours later and fermenter #1 is bombing away as expected, but fermenter #2 is still just getting started, only a small bit of krausen starting to form.  Since I’m seeing some action in #2, I figure I’ll let it go another evening and if it’s still sluggish, I’ll add another pack of Nottingham and be done with it.  Sure enough, there’s only a bit more movement by day 3, so I head down to the homebrew shop, pick up a fresh pack of yeast (and two new airlocks, cuz I keep loosing the tops.  I don’t know why).  By the time I get back, about 2 hours later, I open the freezer and #2 has decided to kick off and go gangbusters, no additional yeast needed.  So what happend?  I have two hypotheses:

  1. I normally fill the fermenter to at least half full before adding the yeast, but this time when filling the second fermenter, I added the yeast at the same time I started adding the wort.  I had drained my Star San sanitizer out before adding anything, but there was still some residue hanging around.  I suppose it could have wiped out some of the yeast cells since the concentration was not yet diluted by the wort, thus forcing the colony to start up from a reduced cell count.
  2. Due to the 71F temperature of the wort, setting my freezer to 66F instead of doing a slower step-down of the temperature from 70, then drop to 69 an hour or two later, etc, until 66F is reached, may have shocked the yeast a bit thus explaining the slower start up.

I lean more toward #1, as that was really the only difference between the two carboys, but it could have been a combination of the factors above.  As it stands today, fermenter #1 has completed most of it’s primary fermentation and fermenter #2 is just winding down.  I’m planing to add oak chips to both this coming Thursday and let sit at 66F for 14 more days before racking to the kegs.  I’m very curious if there will be any noticeable differences between the two?  Stay tuned!

Slate does homebrew – Slate V

Friday, September 24th, 2010

I love that “populist” sites like Slate highlight homebrewing with videos like this.  It gives people who wouldn’t otherwise attempt homebrewing a bit of motivation, especially when it’s being done by a cute, quirky girl.  It would have been great if she had mentioned all the information and help you can easily find on the Internet, but we can’t have it all!  Her experience with brewing is the common first-brew story I always hear, and it’s a good one.  “I didn’t know what I was getting into”, “it wasn’t as hard as I thought”, “I’ll probably do it again”, “My beer turned out much better than I thought”, etc.  My only nit pick is that she served the beer in the bottle instead of giving people glasses to drink from.  Classic rookie mistake! 😉  Always serve your homebrew in a glass to give it a moment to breath and open up!

Searched for some Cascadian Dark Ale (or India Black Ale)

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Not that I searched too terribly hard, but I couldn’t quickly find some CDA to try, so I said, “screw it!” and brewed 10 gallons of my own!

I’ll post some tasting notes when it goes on tap.

NHC 2010 is in the books

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The National Homebrewer’s Competition wrapped up last week in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.  I’ve yet to go to an NHC, but based on the video provided by Brewing TV and the commentary from The Brewing Network I gather  this would be quite a party.  It’s also an interesting demographic that seems to appear based on all the video I’ve seen.  If you were to show the video with no sound and ask people, “ok, what kind of convention was this?  A) A D&D Convention, B) A brewing convention, or C) A software engineering convention”, I’m betting it would be a pretty even split.  I say that with love, since I’m kind of one of these guys, but jeez… 😉

The other aspect, and perhaps this is obvious, is that to enjoy the NHC properly, one should probably go with a brewing club, as to enjoy all aspects of the conference.  I’m not sure that going as a solo, non-affiliated homebrewer, would garner the same experience.  However, that would tend to mean you need to find, become involved with a club.   That sounds simple, but it involves a non-trivial time commitment.  Time, being something I currently find hard to come by, has become my main hurdle.  Having said that, you could probably just get a few buddies together and crash the thing all independent-style and still have a rockin’ good time.

Brewing TV episode:

Happy Father’s Day!

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Hope everyone is able to have some homebrew, or even better, be able to brew a batch today!! Good on all ya daddies for keeping the family stocked with fine ales and lagers!

Open fermentation

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I just watched the latest episode from the guys at Brewing TV on the joys of open fermentation.   I would love if any other brewers would comment, because I was wiggin’ out watching him do this.  Nothing that I’ve seen in a brewing demo has ever elicited the overwhelming sense of dread that this has.  I’m betting it’ll turn out fine.  Probably, he’ll come back and say it was the best version of this he’s ever made, but damn!  I couldn’t help but picture him racking the beer to the secondary and seeing a dead spider go flying through the tube, or he walks in and there’s Mr. Fluffypants, the tabby cat, batting away at the bubbles.  😯

Guinness really is good for you? Well lucky for me!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

If the BBC says it, it must be true!
“A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.”

Guinness could really be good for you

Now on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I figured, what the heck? So I posted my RSS to Facebook. WEEE!!!

Half Moon Brewer’s FB Page