Friday, December 22, 2006

Eis Eis Baby!

So the Upper Mississippi Mash-Out is coming up soon and it has a special category: "Eis-Anything!" (their exclamation point, not mine). Well, I had two gallons of hefeweizen left over from our Novemberfest party, and we just happened to have a nasty cold spell the first week of December here in Chicago. So I threw the keg outside and about a week later I pulled it in. My idea was to siphon out whatever was in there, put it in a couple tupperware containers, and ice it further in our garage freezer. Well, I broke through the ice with my siphon starter, and when I tried the iced beer, it was incredible! Strong banana aroma (which is interesting because the beer originally had more clove), nice alcoholic warmth, just enough bitterness (including a little bit of flavor hops) to balance out the concentrated sweetness of the beer. Unfortunately, I didn't have any bottles ready, so I siphoned into the tupperware containers even though I no longer planned on further icing the beer. Eventually I siphoned into a keg so I could keep it on CO2. We ended up with a gallon of Eisweizen from two gallons of Hefeweizen, so I'm estimating the alcohol content at around 8.5%. Here's hoping it does something at the Mash-Out!

Long overdue Christmas Ale post

So we brewed our Snow Squall Christmas Ale, a Vanilla Doppelsticke, on Oct. 29th. It came out with an O.G. of 1069. I racked to the secondary on Nov. 12th, adding two vanilla beans which had been steeped in rum for a week. I kegged on Dec. 9th, and force carbonated to 18 PSI. So far it's not as vanilla as I would have liked and it needs to be cold-conditioned longer, but it's suitable for serving at Christmas. It also is a little thin. While I did a bastardized decoction with the mini-mash, I shot for a mash temp. of 160° F which I think was too low. Obviously, once we go to all-grain we'll start focusing more on mash temp., so I'm not too worried about it for now. I think the bigger problem was that we didn't control the fermentation temperature. Oh well... I think I was still a little burned out from the brewing frenzy prior to the Novemberfest party. Which reminds me... here's what's on tap right now:

Snow Squall Christmas Ale: 7.8% ABV

Dust Devil Leipzig-Style Wheat

Nimbostratus Dunkel

Winter Lightning Eisweizen (I'll post about that now)

Next up is probably a Scottish ale AND our first all-grain!