Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The plan keeps coming up again...

Late summer is always a bear for us when it comes to brewing. See, there are three different events that we need to plan for: my church's Oktoberfest party, my homebrew club's Oktoberfest party, and our Novemberfest party. We generally bring one keg to each of the Oktoberfests and have three kegs for Novemberfest, so that's 25 gallons of beer right there. Since we can brew 10-gallon batches, that translates to three brew days with three different styles, two of which need to be ready by late September. This year we're planning on brewing an Oktoberfest/Märzen, an Altbier and a Schwarzbier.

Now the tricky thing with planning is making sure we have adequate space for everything. You figure the lagers will need at least three weeks in our temperature-controlled chest freezer for primary fermentation, and the Alt will need around two. After primary, we have a fridge in the garage we can use for lagering, but that only holds three kegs. Of course, if the chest freezer is being used for primary fermentation, that means we can only lager three kegs at any given time. Therein lies the problem.

There's also the issue of timing. If I need at least three weeks in primary for each lager, that means the brews have to be staggered three weeks. And if it takes roughly six weeks for the lager to be ready overall, that means nine weeks before two batches of lager can be ready. Looking at my calendar, that means I have to brew the first beer by August 1st for everything to be ready by the 25th. Oh, and we have a baby due six days before August 1. Hmm...

For now I think the easiest solution is to try and brew our first beer (probably our Oktoberfest) sometime in early July. Then it gives us a little more flexibility for a brew day in August. And then we can brew the Altbier in late September, thus avoiding any issues with refrigerator space. This does run the risk of Leah going into labor during a brew day, but if that happens I guess we roll with the punches.

In the meantime, it looks like we'll have to put our Rauchbier on the backburner (my buddy Mark and I want to try smoking our own malt in an effort to duplicate Schlenkerla's Fastenbier). Nonetheless, between the brewing and the baby it looks like late summer/early fall is going to be rather busy!


Anonymous Hunington said...

Why not just buy a used fridge and stick it into your garage? Doesn't have to be fancy, and you can just unplug it when you're not lagering. No Johnson control needed. Craigslist, often free.

9:40 AM, July 01, 2010  
Blogger Russ said...

Hunington- That IS my lagering fridge. Right now I have one kegerator in the basement that holds four cornies, one chest freezer in the basement that holds either four cornies or ten gallons of beer, and one fridge in the garage that holds three cornies. Since this is the only time of the year that space becomes a problem, I'd hate to get a second fridge for the garage. Although it IS tempting...

1:52 PM, July 01, 2010  
Anonymous Brian said...

Great Song.

Ive pretty much given up brewing anything but Saisons in the dog days summer.

9:07 AM, July 02, 2010  

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