(27) Friday, September 2, 2011 Brew Day — Harvest Ale

Thursday Evening (9/1) Gretchen and I just picked the hops we grew at the cabin this year. When we did this last year, I told myself that I would be ready to brew with them this year. This is the result of that preparation. Amat Victoria Curam.

I worried about bugs and thought maybe I should wash the hops, so I asked for advice on the AHA Forum.

I found that if I let them sit overnight outside, most critters voluntarily vacate the premises! — pinnah

So that is what I am doing.

I ended up with the following:

  • 15¾ ounces of Cascade
  • ⅞ ounce of Chinook
  • ¾ ounce of Zeus

I also have 1 ounce of Magnum pellets at 13.5% AA — just in case.

Yakima Chief gives the range for Cascade as 4.5–7.0% AA. If I assume I am at the low end of the range, that would give me 4.5% AA for dried hops. Likewise, the Chinook would be 12% and the Zeus would be 14%.

Then there is the question of how to compensate for the undried state of the hops.

Dave Wills from Freshops recommends 5x and that has worked well for me. — Denny Conn

If we go with the one-fifth of the low end alpha acid for these hops we get:

Variety Alpha Acid %
Fresh Cascade 0.9
Fresh Chinook 2.4
Fresh Zeus 2.8

A hop schedule like this seems reasonable:

HOPS Weight Bitterness
Magnum, 13.6% AA, 60 minutes 1.00 oz 37 IBU
Fresh Zeus, 2.8% AA, 20 minutes 0.25 oz 1.2 IBU
Fresh Chinook, 2.4% AA, 20 minutes 0.96 oz 1.2 IBU
Fresh Cascade, 0.9% AA, 20 minutes 5.25 oz 7.8 IBU
Fresh Zeus, 2.8% AA, 10 minutes 0.25 oz 0.7 IBU
Fresh Chinook, 2.4% AA, 10 minutes 0.96 oz 0.7 IBU
Fresh Cascade, 0.9% AA, 10 minutes 5.25 oz 4.7 IBU
Fresh Zeus, 2.6% AA, 5 minutes 0.25 oz 0.4 IBU
Fresh Chinook, 2.4% AA, 5 minutes 0.96 oz 0.4 IBU
Fresh Cascade, 0.9% AA, 5 minutes 5.25 oz 2.6 IBU

That gives me a total bitterness of 61 IBU using Tinseth, and a BU:GU ratio of about 1.1 given my 1.056 SG original gravity.

The grain is weighed and crushed, the brewery is set up, and the water is measured out.

See you in the morning.

Friday 7:00 am (9/2) The gas is on. Shooting for 178 °F on the strike water in the kettle. That should drop to 167 °F after the transfer to the mash tun. No yeast to smack this time. I am going to use the yeast cake from the last batch(Wyeast 1768-PC English Special Bitter Yeast).

7:33 Strike water to 178 °F in the kettle. Draining to the mash tun.

7:40 Strike water is in the mash tun at 169 °F. I am going with that.

7:46 Grist is in the mash as are the mash salts. Resting until 7:56 to check temperature. Mashing until 8:46.

7:56 Mash temperature stabilized at 156 °F.

8:46 Mash is complete. Temperature has dropped to 155 °F. Proceeding to vorlauf and lauter.

8:58 Lauter is complete. Proceeding to sparge.

9:00 Heat is on under the first runnings. Boil salts are in.

9:03 The sparge water temperature is 172 °F. The sparge temperature is 161 °F.

9:10 The gravity of the first runnings is 1.061 SG at 123 °F. Calibrated gravity is 1.072 SG.

9:14 Second runnings are in the boil kettle. Boil volume is 6¾ gallons.

9:18 The gravity of the second runnings is 1.017 SG at 137 °F. Calibrated gravity is 1.032 SG.

9:25 Boiling.

9:28 Hot break has subsided.

9:30 Adding bittering hops. Fresh hops will go in at 10:10, 10:20, and 10:25 a.m. The immersion chiller, Irish Moss, and yeast nutrient will go in at 10:15.

9:41 The boil gravity is 1.041 SG at 118 °F. Calibrated gravity is 1.051 SG. Target was 1.052 SG.

9:52 I brought around the hose and cleaned out the mash tun. The spent grains went on the compost pile.

10:05 The fresh hops are all weighed and divided up.

10:10 The first fresh hops are in.

10:15 Chiller, Irish Moss, and yeast nutrient are in.

10:20 The second fresh hop addition is in.

10:25 The last fresh hop addition is in.

10:30 Flame out and chilling. Bittering hop bag lifted to drain.

11:13 Chilled to 68 °F. Removing chiller, stirring to form a whirlpool, and covering to let the wort settle. Original gravity volume is 5½ gallons.

12:32 Draining into the carboy. Original gravity is 1.060 SG at 71 °F. Calibrated gravity is 1.061SG. Target was 1.059 SG. I just kegged the last batch of beer so I could reuse the yeast cake.

12:53 Drained. Aerating.

12:59 Aerated.

1:43 Beer is in the fermentation fridge at 68 °F. I pitched a half-cup of slurry from the previous batch which is the amount recommended by the Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator.

Friday Evening (9/2) The beer is at 64 °F and there are some nice yeast colonies floating near the surface.

Saturday Morning (9/3) The beer is at 63 °F. That seems to be too cool for the yeast and the colonies have all sunk back to the bottom. I’ve got the fridge open to let it warm back up.

Saturday Morning (9/3) (A few hours later) The beer has warmed to 64 °F and I can see some small flocs rising up from the bottom and forming a nice sheet on the surface of the beer. I am going to say that 64 °F — in my setup — is as low as this yeast can go without going into hibernation.

Saturday Evening (9/3) The beer is actively fermenting at 66 °F and kräusen is starting to form.

Sunday Morning (9/4) The beer is vigorously fermenting at 65 °F.

Sunday Evening (9/4) The beer is fermenting furiously at 67 °F.

Monday Morning (9/5) The beer is still gently fermenting at 65 °F. CO₂ is evolving at about one bubble per second.

Monday Evening (9/5) I have moved the beer out of the refrigerator to rest at room temperature — 68 °F.

Tuesday Evening (9/6) The beer is still generating CO₂ at a rate of about 10–15 seconds per bubble.

Saturday Morning (9/24) I put the beer back in the refrigerator and set the thermostat for 35 °F in hopes of dropping out the yeast and any haze-causing proteins.

Sunday Afternoon (9/25) I kegged the beer adding 4 ounces of “Raw” Cascade Hops to the keg. These were fromHopunion (via Midwest Supplies) and were in a nice “light-resistant, nitrogen flushed N2 HopPack™ to minimize oxidation and ensure an ideal storage environment.” These were marked as 8.9% Alpha and 6.0% Beta. The final gravity reading for the beer was 1.018 SG. The target was 1.017. The hydrometer sample was promising.

Tuesday Evening (9/27) I sampled the conditioning beer. It is too cold — 40 °F — so I set the thermostat back up to 48 °F where I normally serve the house ale. This made it hard to judge the aroma. It is surprisingly clear. Nice, if small, head. What aroma there is — and this is backed up by the flavor — is slightly grassy. Really tastes and smells like a freshly mowed lawn.

Tuesday Evening (10/4) The grassy taste is completely gone.

Thursday Evening (10/6) Beer is at its peak.


Things to think about:

  1. I am out of Irish Moss Done!
  2. Using my own hops is cool
  3. Reusing the yeast cake is cool
  4. It would be nice to have a second Brew Hauler Done!
  5. I have enough residual light crystal to do the next batch
  6. I am almost out of yeast nutrient Done!

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