Man, it’s FINALLY warming up here in chilly Minnesota. It has taken so long to get to this point that coincidently I had a lot of time to brew these past few months. Further motivation was provided by the fact that my wife and I will be going to Europe very soon (my first time), and I don’t anticipate having much time to brew until maybe late-June, but more likely not until mid-July. As a result, I hit it hard in March/April, having brewed something crazy like five batches in seven weeks. Considering I did a total of only eight batches in all of 2010, this spring has indeed been quite intense. (more…)
My dad came over last Saturday to brew an amber ale with me for an upcoming NBA club meeting (we’re all brewing off the same recipe with different yeast strains to taste the effects certain yeast strains have on beer). Though it was good to hang out with him, man was it ever a disaster of a brew day. Why? I think I can break it down to one crucial error: I sparged too quickly. Yes, I’m aware of how gross that sounds. Har har.
In an effort to shave time off my brew day, I sparged in about 10 min. and while I’ve heard a fast sparge like that can work ok for some, clearly for me it does not. Prior to last weekend, I don’t think I’d ever sparged in under 45 minuets. It was a ballsy move, and I rightfully got kicked in the balls for doing it. My OG post-boil was 1.020 or something horrendously low like that. Without much time to think, I pitched directly onto the Frosty Dog kölsch yeast cake. While fermentation took off right away, it was pretty much done by Sunday morning. Took a sample for a gravity reading. It tasted like cat pee. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more mad at myself after a brew day.
In the spirit of not being defeated, I went back to Midwest that morning and got supplies for a re-do. This time, I planned to sparge for close to an hour. And juuuuuuust to make sure I got my gravity up, I upped the 10 lb. recipe to 14 lbs. while keeping the ratio of pale vs. amber the exact same, percentage-wise (which is like 8.4 lbs. pale, 5.6 lbs. amber) . I upped my 60″ and 30″ hop additions from .25 oz. to .5 oz. to help balance out the increased gravity. My OG came in right around 1.055 (but that’s with 14 lbs. of grain — man my efficiency fukcing sucks…). I just syphoned the cat pee off the kölsch yeast cake (which was pretty big and healthy at that point after having done what essentially amounted to 5 gal. yeast starter with it Saturday) and sent that cat pee straight down the drain. That was a first. (more…)