Saturday, March 07, 2009

Brew day (from two weeks ago): Road House Red

So, having a kid didn't slow down my brewing (as I fired up the mash tun a mere two days after Jonas was born), but it has slowed down my blogging quite a bit. Excuses aside, here's a quick wrap-up of my brew day from two weeks ago (Feb. 22, to be exact)...

Overall, it was a quick brew day. I only brewed five gallons, which cut down on time waiting for things to come to a boil. I was also on top of my game as far as getting ready for the next step while waiting for said things to come to a boil. The breakdown was pretty much as such: Noon- start heating water. 12:45-mash in. 1:45- recirculate. 2:00-sparge. 2:45-begin boil. 3:45-begin to chill. 4:00-done. On the plus side, I discovered I have a lid from a stock pot that fits perfectly over my kettle, which allows me to bring water to a boil a little faster. Also on the plus side, I overshot my estimated gravity (1059 as opposed to my target of 1054), meaning I netted an 83% efficiency! (I generally assume 75% efficiency and usually fall somewhere between 75% and 80%.) On the negative side, I screwed up my mash-in temp so ended up mashing around 151°F instead of the 156°F I was shooting for (though I picked that high target gravity assuming I'd be a tad low). Also on the negative side, I couldn't find my Irish moss. Neither are huge deals, though. I pitched some dry yeast (Safale S-04 Whitbread Strain) since Irish red ales call for a fairly neutral profile and it was off and running the next morning.

Now, fast forward to today. After letting it ferment in my basement for the past two weeks, I kegged the beer tonight. It finished at 1013--a tad lower than I planned, but to be expected given my low mash temp. That gives me a whopping (by Irish red standards) 6% ABV. Looks like everybody's gonna have a rockin' St. Patty's Day! I tasted a sample and there was a slight harshness to it that I hope will go away after it chills for a week, but nothing too noticeable. It also was really light on the hops (perhaps a little more than intended) but I'm sure that's accentuated by the higher-than-intended starting gravity, and I like my Irish reds on the malty side anyway. I've got it sitting in the Wiggum keg in my chest freezer at 40 PSI (don't worry... I'll kick it back down to 14 PSI tomorrow). It should be ready to roll come Sunday's parade.

A few housekeeping notes... First, if you're in Chicago and are going to be at the South Side Irish parade, drop me a line (rchibe {at} gmail {dot} com). Our homebrew club throws a rockin' party right off the parade route and you should stop by. I'll be the guy in this shirt:

(You can get yours here.)

Second, you may have noted references to keg names in my last couple posts. For purposes of keeping track of what's in what keg and keeping track of which kegs have issues (mainly leaky poppets) I've decided to permanently name and label each keg. So far I've done this with three: Frink (which currently holds our Dunkelweizen), Wiggum (the Irish red) and Krustofski (our dedicated soda/seltzer keg). I'll name more as they're filled.

Finally, since I've had a few late nights the past couple weeks, I've been drinking a lot more coffee than usual. This led me to do some experimenting, and I've come up with a pretty good hot toddy recipe. You add one shot Kahlua, a half shot Jameson, and some hazelnut creamer to a cup of coffee. The Jameson and creamer are meant to somewhat approximate Irish cream, but I'm pretty happy with it as is. So you can keep that in mind if we get stuck with another cold day or two before spring arrives.

So that's what's up for now. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I leave you with the following:


Blogger Adeptus said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry about that leprechaun stuff :)

I'll probably be having Altbier around St. Patrick's day. I say around, as I'll probably be away for the day itself, although I don't think it's celebrated in Muenster really.

I know you do it in style in Chicago!

5:39 AM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Señor Brew™ said...

I laughed out loud at the amateur sketch!

Glad to hear you're still brewing. I haven't been brewing or blogging, although I plan to brew on Sunday. Care to stop by?

11:47 PM, March 17, 2009  
Blogger Russ said...

Unfortunately, Señor, I have tickets for the Hawks game on Sunday, and with two kids a three hour outing easily turns into a five-plus hour outing. I swear I'll make it to a brew day one of these days!

8:59 PM, March 18, 2009  
Blogger Señor Brew™ said...

Hey did you hear that they're going to end the South Side Irish Parade? It was in the Chicago Tribune yesterday.

8:28 AM, March 26, 2009  
Blogger Russ said...

Yeah, the parade may be dead, but I suspect the parties will live on.

3:52 PM, March 26, 2009  
Blogger Hunington Sachs said...

I chuckle every time I see this label -- I appreciate your odd humor. My favorite Road House character is the grey ponytailed Sam Elliott. Makes me wonder: when this movie came out, did we see it as a serious drama, or was it B-movie kitsch, even then?

2:13 PM, April 11, 2009  

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