Monday, August 28, 2006

R.I.P. Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat

The Leipzig-Style Wheat (a.k.a. Leipziger Gose) is no more, unless you want a half-glass of "beer" that's mostly yeast and trub. Our next brew will likely be our first shot at an ESB. I'm not a huge fan of English beers (in fact, this will be the first English style we will have brewed, except for a stout which most people think of as Irish anyway), but I had a Fuller's London Pride the other week and I guess it inspired me.

Our Nimbostratus Dunkel is lagering away at 35°F and I'll probably carbonate it in three weeks or so. Next up Oktoberfest-wise is our Weizenbock. Mmmmmm...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rackin' time!

Checked the Dunkel yesterday. Gravity is down to 1011, which should be final. Tested for diacetyl and it seemed clean, so I'm turned down the thermostat to 60° and will rack to a keg tonight and drop it another 5°. Now I just need to figure out when to brew the Weizenbock. I'm also contemplating only doing three beers for Oktoberfest (might have to go out and actually BUY some beer then) so I can brew once for my personal consumption. Would like to do a Scottish ale, but since it's a quasi-lager (i.e. lower temp, longer fermentation time) I might do something else that will be ready sooner. Maybe a regular old altbier? But even that needs cold conditioning. Oh well, we'll have to wait and see...

Friday, August 18, 2006

D'oh! Leipziger Gose almost gone

Got out the trusty beer gun and bottled a twelve-pack of our Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat (or, auf Deutsch, Leipziger Gose) for various upcoming competitions (four for the Sam Adams Long-Shot competition, three for the Cactus Challenge (down in Lubbock), two for the Schooner Homebrew Championship (up in Racine, WI), and three extra bottles in the unlikely event we're a winner in the Sam Adams competiton in which case they need the three bottles to do lab tests). Much to my dismay, after finishing the bottling I found the keg to be incredibly light. I guess it's not too surprising, as the Gose is a great summer beer and visitors have been drinking it up. Of course, with most of our upcoming brewing devoted to our Oktoberfest party, things may be a little lean for a while. Fortunately I have bottles of various microbrews and imports up the yin-yang, so I guess I'll finally start to work my way through those.

In other brewing-related news, I "transferred" our last bottle of Cocoa Puffs Stout from a 22-oz. bottle to a 12-oz. bottle for the Cactus Challenge's "Area 51" unusual ingredient competition. And, since I didn't think the Cocoa Puffs stood out enough, I boiled a little bit of the beer with a whole bunch of baking cocoa, making a thick goop, and threw some of that in the 12-oz. bottle before filling it up with the Cocoa Puffs Stout. I only wish I could try it myself to find out if it kicks ass or sucks ass. Oh well. I guess I'll find out when I get my score sheet.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Munich Dunkel--Diacetyl Rest

Checked on the Munich Dunekl this afternoon (meant to do it yesterday but was busy watching TWO babies) and the gravity was already down to 1022. Oops. Anyway, kicking the temp up to 65°F for the diacetyl rest; hopefully a couple days will do it. Then the plan is to drop the temperature down to lagering temperature (35-40°F) and rack to a keg. Color looks a little light right now (bright amber), but that's looking at it through a hydrometer tube... I'm sure it will look a nice dark copper when served in a pint glass. Taste is crisp and on the dry side; hopefully the lagering will mellow it out and bring the malt flavor to the forefront. Only caught a hint of diacetyl on the back of the palate; we'll see where it's at in a couple of days.

Monday, August 14, 2006

On tap right now...

So, I've hatched a plot to convert our lagering fridge into a four-tap kegerator, which I'm hoping to unveil at this year's Oktoberfest party. In the meantime, our kegged beer is sharing time between our lagering fridge out in the garage and our temperature-controlled fermenter/chest freezer in the basement. Anyways, here's what's on tap at the Chibe Gasthaus right now:

Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat
This is our first crack at a Leipziger Gose, a slightly soured, unfiltered wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt. It sounds weird but it is incredibly drinkable--similar to a Belgian Wit (Blue Moon, Hoegaarden, etc.). 5% ABV. On tap in the garage.

Imperial Oatmeal Maple Whiskey Stout
Brewed on St. Patrick's Day 2005 by our homebrew club, HOPS!, this beer is NOT for lightweights. After being aged in a whiskey barrel, I stabilized the yeast and added fresh maple syrup before kegging it. Think of it as an after-dinner ale. 10% ABV. On tap in the basement.

Not sure what we have up our sleeves next. We're planning on brewing four different beers for our Oktoberfest party (which we've already started with our Nimbostratus Munich Dunkel). Ideally, we'd like to brew once before then for our own consumption, but that's a lot of brewing, especially with a newborn baby and me starting my job in September.

New brew--Nimbostratus Munich Dunkel

On Thursday, 8/10, we brewed our first Munich Dunkel (dark lager), which we're calling Nimbostratus Munich Dunkel. While the name was chosen beforehand, it was appropriate because we got two inches of rain during the boil. We managed to use our patio umbrella to protect the wort (for the most part). We overestimated the boil-off (starting with 7 gallons of wort for an intended 5.5 gallon batch), which left us at an O.G. of 1046, a bit shy of our target of 1053. Next time we'll go with 6.5 gallons pre-boil.

Pitching with a 750mL yeast starter around 10:30pm, fermentation was vigorous by 6am the next morning. At that time got the carboy into the chest freezer at 60°F, dropping the temp 5°F each of the next two days to a fermentation temperature of 50°F. Will up temperature to 65°F for diacetyl rest when gravity hits around 1025-1028.


Just a quick word about this blog... The main purpose is for Leah and I to keep track of when we rack, keg, etc. We keep a hardcopy brew log, but usually we forget to update it after the actual brew day. We won't be posting recipes here, but we will note what we brew, the original gravity, and what happens after that. And, of course, if anyone is planning on dropping by and wants to know what's on tap, they can find out here! That's it for now...