Tuesday, December 25, 2007

White Ale Check and Current Inventory

Here's a follow up from last week's check on the Girls' Night Out White Ale.  It's pretty cloudy, as you can see in the photo.  Lotsa floaties in it as well, although the beer tastes pretty great.  Almost overpowering with the cloves.  I only put an ounce in, so I didn't think that would be too much.  I will probably drop it down to like 8-10 cloves next time.  Probably won't add the vanilla, and maybe not use the fine orange peel.  Go for something more coarse.

But like I said, it tastes good, but those floaties leave something to be desired.  This is before we charged it with CO2 as well, so there wasn't really much of a head on this.  Had one on Thursday of last week.  John poured the second one and he had way more of a head on his than mine, and also appeared to have less floaties.

The porter has officially been kegged as well.  We had a taste prior to kegging, and it was damn good.  Even without carbonation.  Not as dark as I would have liked, but we only used a 70*Lovibond crystal malt when the recipe called for a 120, which was not available.

Christmas Fridge

In the fridge this Christmas is the following:
22 oz Three Floyds Behemoth barleywine
4 12 oz bottles of Three Floyds Alpha King
5 12 oz bottles of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale
1 12 oz bottle of Bell's Winter White Ale
8 12 oz bottles of Blue Moon

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Homebrew Update - December '07

I got one of my Christmas gifts early.  A plastic, 6.5 gallon conical fermenter.  The great thing about conical fermenters is that you don't have to move the beer to a second fermenter because all the trub (yeast and other "floaties" - excuse my non-professional terminology) can be removed from the valve located at the bottom on a daily basis, instead of being left in the primary fermenter.

The upper valve on the cone can be used to get samples to check the gravity of the beer.  This also allows you to keep more beer in the fermenter, instead of excess beer for gravity tests through siphon hoses.  It also prevents infection from siphon hoses.

Meanwhile, over at John the Brewmeister's house, we've got two more beers fermenting the old fashioned way, in glass carboys:  A White Ale and a Porter.  Here's the White Ale recipe.

Girls’ Night Out White Ale 

5 gallons, extract/specialty grains


1 tsp Gypsum
½ lb Pilsner Malt
¼ lb Munich Type 1 Malt
¼ lb Caramunich Type 1 Malt
¼ lb cracked Wheat
4 lb Alexander’s Pale Malt Extract
1.4 lb Alexander’s Pale Malt Extract Kicker
1 oz Northern Brewer hops (60 min)
½ oz Saaz hops (30 min)
½ oz Saaz hops (15 min)
1 tsp Irish Moss
1 oz orange peel
1 oz cloves
0.5 oz Coriander seeds, whole
1 tsp Trader Joe's Vanilla bean mash
White Labs WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale Yeast

Step by Step: 

Put grains in grain bag or muslin bag.
  Add gypsum to 2 gallons of distilled water and heat to 165*F. Add grain bag, remembering not to add grains to water above 165*F.  Hold temperature at 155*F, stirring grain bag gently from time to time.  Leave pot uncovered during this time, allow grains to steep for 25 minutes. Remove grain bag and let drain.  Don’t squeeze grain bag!  Rinse grains by slowly pouring 1 cup of HOT tap water over top of grain bag.  Discard grains.  Add 3.5 gallons of of water, malt extract and kicker, and bring to a boil.  When boiling starts, add Northern Brewer hops.  Calm boil.  After 30 minutes of boil, add ½ oz of Saaz hops and Irish Moss.  Boil 20 more minutes and add the other ½ oz of Saaz hops along with the spices, ground course.

Original Gravity = 1.040
Final Gravity = 1.010 – 1.012

I'll post the Porter recipe in a later post.  Hopefully there will be more photos of the actual beers and how they've turned out soon.  John said the Porter tastes great and is close to final gravity.