Homebrew Session – Dry Stout

Who knew that a $7 thermometer could make such a huge difference? I basically added ~13% eff to this brew session, to come in at ~73%, much better then the 60% on the last batch of IPA.

For the dry stout I had an OG of 1.050 @ 76F with ~6 gallon of wort going in the primary fermenter. After I pitched the yeast it only took about 6 or 7 hours, before the airlock was bubbling like crazy. So enough rambling on my part, here is the recipe that JRR and I cobbled together two weeks ago:

6.5 lb – Pale Malt (2 row) UK
2 lb – Barley, Flaked
1.5 lb – Carafoam
1 lb – Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
.5 lb – Carafa III
.5 lb – Barley, Roasted
.5 lb – Chocolate Malt (UK)

1 oz. – East Kent Goldings – Pellet – 60 min
1 oz. – East Kent Goldings – Pellet – 15 min
1.8 oz. – Centennial – Fresh Whole Hops – Dry Hopping

Wyeast Irish Ale – 1084

Other info: Mashed for about 90 minutes at 148-150F with 4.25 gallons of water; sparged with 5.5gal of 185F water; First running was 3.5gal and the second/final running was 3.75gal; 90 minute boil; 5 days in the primary, FG 1.012 @ 80F; at least 11-14 days in the secondary before kegging.

Lessons learned:
1) Having a good thermometer makes a huge difference in trying to get the best efficiency out of your grains.

2) I used the primary fermenter bucket to measure all the water. (Why didn’t I think of this sooner?) This is much easier then remembering how many measuring cups you added to the pot. Just fill to a gallon line, then use a measuring cup to adjust the volume up or down from there.

3) 1 gallon of 185F water will not bring a 150 mash up to 168F; at best it will raise the temperature to 160-162F. Next time I’m going to add a gallon of boiling water for the mash out.

4) If there is only thing I am always going to do in the future, it will be to make and use a yeast starter before pitching the yeast into the primary fermenter.

Fresh centennial hops IPA

This beer has so much fresh hops that it is ridiculous, 10.5oz in total. If you were to measure this amount of hops by volume instead of weight, it works out to about 1.5 gallons of hops. Just the pics alone demonstrate how much hops this represents. Keep in mind that 2009 has been a slow homebrew year for me, in that this is only the second batch that I’ve made this year, with the other being a pale ale for a St. Patty’s Day get together. Out of that pale ale I ended of racking and saving the yeast, and repitching it for this IPA.

So here is the breakdown of the recipe I hashed out with JRR for a ~5gal batch: Continue reading

Yeast starter for weekend brew session

It looks like the centennial hops have reached there peak, so it’s time for a brew session on Saturday. After quickly hashing out an IPA recipe with JRR (recipe and brew session to be posted later.) I made a quick trip to my favorite local homebrew shop to get all the grains for the brew and some light DME for the yeast starter.

My mixing ratio for the yeast starter was 2 oz (by weight) light DME to 16 fluid oz of water. I put the mix on the stove and brought it to a boil, letting it boil for 15 mins. I then cleared out my ice maker of all the old ice, dumping it in the kitchen sink. Putting the pot on the ice pile to cool it all down to room temperature. Keep in mind that the separated yeast that I am using has been sitting in a growler in the back of my fridge since St. Patty’s this year. So hopefully this starter will get the yeast alive and kicking again.

As kind of a side note, it’s amazing how cheap a brew session can get when you don’t have to get hops or yeast. All the grains for this weekends 5.5 gallon brew session ran $17.23 (not including tax.) That’s nuts, when you consider that it costs ~$18 for 4 oz of dried hops and a vile of White Labs yeast. No wonder a lot of guy/gals are now starting to grow their own hops and reusing yeast. The money saving is just undeniable.