Archive for April, 2009

Birth of the Pumpkin Fly

4/18-4/19 I again went up past the Cheddar Curtain to brew a couple of batches & test out Jeremy’s upgraded all-grain setup. Upgrades included a new cooler mashtun, march pump, water filter, the counterflow chiller we built earlier this year, and some alterations/additions to the stand. The brews were a 5 gallon Hefeweizen, 10 gallon IPA, and 10 gallon Hoppy Amber. The ground was soft due to rain earlier in the week, but the casters still worked well to move the stand around to the back patio. Hefe went really smoothly considering the previous night’s sampling(mmm, KBS), BW’s AND Taco Bell….the only issue was upon vorlauf, the tubing came off the ball valve which resulted in 152 degree wort pouring out onto my arm….”HOT, ah, HOT, [String of expletives]” I believe was my quote.

Standard Hefe recipe, 4 lbs pils, 5 lbs wheat, an ounce of tradition hops, and 3068 Weihenstephan yeast.

Second batch was the IPA. Worried that the roughly 25 lb grain bill would not work well in the 10 gallon MT, we decided to split the mash in two…in order to roughly split the grain we used a plastic pumpkin shell. There was a dead fly in it when Jeremy found it in the basement that we almost missed before starting to divide the grain. Long live the Pumpkin Fly IPA. But all worked out, two smaller mashes, and one big boil. Unfortunately we didn’t beat the rain so mid boil, had to relocate the brewery to the garage which consisted of carrying the still boiling 12 gallons of wort around to the garage (luckily no injuries) and then rolling the cart and misc items around to get under cover. Upon re-firing the burners, the tile on top of the cart cracked sending a couple pieces to the floor….after a morning of Ice Cube, it sounded like a drive by. A thin gauge aluminum or steel heat shield should prevent this in the future. Also, upon attempting to chill it became apparent that the chiller had clogged. I hooked up the air compressor to flush out the tubing while Jeremy held the other end….Ended up as a Hops Facial as the plug fired out the end, ricocheted off the bucket he was holding and splattered all over. After that everything went fine. Can’t wait to try this as I changed the malt bill a bit and up the mash temp to add a bit more body and increase the balance a bit…should be good.

Sunday we brewed a 10 gallon batch of the hoppy amber. Still raining out slightly so brewed in the garage. Went fine, but need to get a better way of adding sparge water to mash tun, as we tended to lose quite a bit to spillage resulting in lower mash temps, and lower boil volumes. Mash temp on this was a little low, the efficiency was still pretty good, but we missed a bit on volume. Other than the lifting, the 10 gallon batches are the way to go…same amount of work, and twice as much beer. I dryhopped both the Amber and IPA on 4/19 and will keg them both on 4/25. Must have really overpitched on these, they were pretty much done after 5 days of fermentation.  Can’t wait to see how they turned out.

On a side note, I got to try the New Glarus Crack’d Wheat while up there, and it’s delicious….planning on brewing an attempt at that on 4/26….see how it goes.

Drama Queen

I took the time to label this batch.  It seemed funny at the time…..and well, it still does.