Friday, September 5, 2008

Two New Brews

On Tuesday, we racked two new beers: one was an Amarillo Pale Ale, made with 2 ounces of Amarillo hops, and the other was a Czech-style pilsner.

The Amarillo ale is looking good. It's clear, nice color, and currently has a gravity of about 1.014. It will probably end up around 1.012 in three weeks. We had this one in the conical for about 2 weeks, and it's now in the keg. We're still doing partial mash recipes at this time. For this one, the recipe is as follows:

Amarillo Ale
6.8 lbs Pale Malt Extract
1 lb Briess Caramel 60L
1 oz Amarillo Hops @ 60 minutes
1/2 oz Amarillo Hops @ 15 minutes
1/2 oz Amarillo Hops 5 @ 5 minutes
1 TSP Irish Moss @ 5 minutes
White Labs California Ale V (WLP051)
We loaded up about 6 gallons of water and heated it to about 160F and turned off the burner. Put the Briess Caramel grains (freshly cracked from Shoreline Brewery, thank you, Sam) in a muslin bag and let them steep for a good 35 minutes. Added the PME and brought it to a boil and added the hops. Chilled the wort to about 70 F and then pitched the vial directly into the conical. Added a drop of olive oil and oxygenated it for about 90 seconds. I'm looking forward to this one.

For the pilsner, I used a variation the partial mash recipe from May-June 2008 issue of Brew Your Own magazine. This is the recipe:

Wiesbaden Pils
6.0 gallons distilled water
5.0 oz Pilsner Malt (2-Row)
2.0 lb Caramel Pils Malt 2*L
1.5 lb Munich Malt 10*L
3.0 oz Acidulated Malt (0.375 cup)
4.0 lb Generic Light Malt Extract - Light (stir in at end of boil)
1.25 oz Vanguard Hops (60 min)
1.50 oz Vanguard Hops (15 min)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (15 min)
0.25 oz Vanguard Hops (0 min)
Wyeast 2000 Budvar

O.G.: 1.049
F.G.: 1.014 – 1.018
IBU: 42

Put cracked grains in bag and steep in 3 gallons of distilled water for 45 minutes at around 150*F. Rinse the bag with a quart of cool water. Raise total volume to 5.5-6.0 gallons and boil for an hour, adding hop additions. Be sure to stir the extract in at the end of the boil.

Unfortunately, we did this brew starting around 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. The reason we did this was because we bought a big Activator pack of the Budvar yeast and smacked it on Thursday night. We've had a terrible time with this yeast. The first time we tried to brew a Pilsner, we just pitched a single vial of the White Labs version of the yeast and we didn't get fermentation, we got a bunch of growing things on the top of the carboy. So I bought all the ingredients and a Propagator pack, figuring to make a starter. I smacked the pack and gave it 3 hours. Overnight, the yeast did nothing in the starter bottle. So we ordered an activator pack, smacked it, and waited. On Sunday (three days after we smacked it) the pack began to swell. We made a starter on Sunday evening, and had to brew Tuesday.

Instead of just 3 gallons, when I got to John's house, he had 6 gallons going, and I managed to get all the grains into one bag. Looking back, we should have just done the 3 gallons and divided up the grains into several bags for more surface area coverage. I think I'd just prefer to do an all-grain version of this recipe. The gravity ended up at like a 1.039, when we were looking for a 1.049. The nice thing was we had whole-leaf hops for this brew, and they were awesome. Before racking it and putting it back into the fridge at 38 F, we sampled it. It's golden, light in body, but a hop monster. Not overhopped, but hopped like I remember a good pilsner being in Germany. The Budvar yeast is nice, it's very fruity. I'll have photos of these up in a few weeks.

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