Saturday, October 3, 2009

Making one hop - Cascade

While I am waiting for the water to come to a boil from the crystal malt, here's an update on equipment. Yesterday at Listermann's, I not only purchased the supplies I needed for today's batch, I also bought a false bottom for the 10 gallon cooler and a sparger. Next I will need a sparging bucket and a 10 gallon boil kettle. An instant read thermometer would be nice too. Hopefully I will be able to acquire these over the next few months. I look forward to doing a partial mash before going all grain.

Today's recipe is quite simple, though the idea came from Mikkeller. This is the first in a series of ales using only one hop throughout. I also see it as a way to better learn what each hop does. Yes, I realize with all the varieties, this will take years, but I'm still heading down that road anyway.

With each batch, the recipe is 1 lbs of Crystal (10 L), 6.5 pounds of pale malt extract and 4 ounces of hops. Bittering will be for 60 minutes and flavor for 15. One ounce at heat off and one in the secondary. Some will be good, some not, but each will teach.

So, let's get to today's activities. I will update the blog at each stage.
  • Placed 2.5 gallons of cold water into the brew pot with 1 tsp of Gypsum. Crystal malt into a grain bag and placed in the water. Heat on and wait for water to start to boil. I placed my sanitized thermometer in to make sure I get to boiling temps before I turn the heat off.
  • Water has now started to boil. Heat off and holding bag over pot until drained. I do not squeeze the bag and will toss once drained. I have an electric stove, so waiting for the bag to drain also allows the element to cool a bit before I add the extract. Nothing like burning the extract on the bottom of the brew kettle.
  • Extract added and pot well stirred to mix the extract. Temperature dropped to 165 when I added the extract. Heat is back on and waiting for boiling to start. Will add boiling hops soon.
  • While I am waiting for the kettle to boil again, I get another pot out to sanitize the immersion chiller by boiling. This pot will hold a couple of gallons and will take quite awhile for it to start boiling. I boil the chiller for ten minutes.
  • Timer set to 60 minutes and will be started when boiling does. The timer on the stove will be used to time when the flavor hops and Irish moss go in.
  • Just dawned on me that I should perhaps be putting times on this updates. Ok, will from now on. Time are in 24 hour, Easter Daylight Time for the US.
  • 1328 - temps in the kettle are now at 180 F. Hot break is starting to form. It too much starts to foam, I will skim some off.
  • 1330 - pot with water for sanitizing the immersion chiller is on the back burner. I have an old (ok, very old) Caloric brand oven/stove. There are two large burners and two small ones and it is very inefficient. One of these days it will get updated.
  • 1333 - temp at 190 F and kettle starting to show signs of boiling. I put the bittering hops in a hop back and placed then in. Timer not started yet. I tend to use the disposable bags as the vinyl ones I cannot seem to get cleaned well enough to not retain odors. If anyone has tips, please let me know.
  • 1336 - temp now at 200 F and boiling will start soon. Water in the sanitizing pot is barely warm to the touch. Both burners are on high.
  • 1341 - boiling has started. Started timer and skimmed off hot break with a sanitized slotted spoon. Thermometer shows temp of 208 F. This is an old candy thermometer that I've had since I first started brewing, not sure how accurate it is. Water in pot for chiller is started to steam a bit. This was filled with cold tap water and I need to boil off the various chemicals in the water before I put the chiller in.
  • 1350 - boiling is really going well now and the temp is up to 210 F. While it is boiling, I will be getting the sink faucet converted so that the water line feed on the chiller can be connected. Have to keep on eye on the brew kettle though, as a boil over would be a mess.
  • 1404 - just under 20 minutes to go till the Irish moss and flavor hops go in. Water in the sanitizing hot is steaming, but not yet boiling. This is why I start it the same time I crank the brew kettle up. Sometimes, I use the same pot to steep the specialty grains.
  • 1409 - while I'm waiting for things to get to the next step, I'm gonna open a mystery bottle of my homebrew that's been in the fridge for quite some time.
  • 1410 - ugh, it was one of my attempts at a stout, more than likely Crystal My Oats v2, and it has gone B.A.D. bad. Out it went.
  • 1412 - the water for sanitizing the chiller is now boiling, so I've placed the chiller in. I'll let it boil for at least 10 minutes before turning off the heat. I will leave the chiller in the water until I need it. I also fetched a cooling rack/large trivet that my wife bought at Ikea. It is large enough to place the hot boil kettle on, without harming the kitchen counter top. This puts it closer to the sink for cooling.
  • 1425 - Irish moss and flavor hops are now in. Had to put some more water in the pot with the chiller. Will boil it a few minutes more. Next will be heat off and aroma hops in, then hook up the chiller.
  • 1433 - Six minutes to go in the boil. I have to take my daughter to a birthday party that starts at 1500. Not sure if chilling will be finished before then or not. Fortunately, the house is only about 5 minutes away.
  • 1439 - heat off, aroma hops in. Those did not go in a bag and will stay with beer through primary. Now to hook up chiller and get cooling started. One thing to remember about the chiller, any water that was still in the copper coil when boiled will be very hot once the water flow starts. Keep hands away from the end till flushed.
  • 1445 - chiller hooked up and running. To flush, I have the cold on high, but I turn it to barely a trickle afterward. This way, the water will come out the nose very hot, sometimes steaming, which is exactly what is wanted. Copper is a very good conductor of heat and the hot water testifies to that. While it is cooling, I'll run Keleigh to the party and then rack to fermentor and pitch when I get back. The cooling will take about 15-20 minutes.
  • 1512 - cooling done and disconnected chiller. Now to rinse the fermentor, rack off and fill with cold water to 5 gallons. Then aerate and pitch.
  • 1553 - yeast finally pitched and fermentor placed downstairs where it is currently 68 F. Pitch Munton's Premium Gold dry yeast. Have fun little ones. SG is 1.050.
I hope this gives everyone what it is like to brew, albeit with extract. I know I didn't put all the times on here, but the fun and games started around noon. The volume after racking to the fermentor was about 2 gallons, so half was lost in the malt and boil. Filling from my fridge's filtered and cool line takes time and I should have been filling one gallon junks during the boil. This helps to cut down on the time the wort is exposed to the air for filling and before the yeast is pitched. We shall see if all goes well.

Now the cleanup begins. If I am lucky, I'll be done with that in about an hour. I've already cleaned the chiller and boiled in for about 10 minutes to make sure all the nasties are off of it. The brew pot is always the fun one to clean and I usually let it soak for awhile. I did get some water on the floor while rinsing various equipment, so I'll have a stick floor to clean. All in all, this is about typical for me. I long for the day when I can do this all in my garage.

Happy brewing.

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