July 11th, 2005

  • thaen

We're Back, From Outer Space

So I lied (again): We didn't actually brew. We realized yesterday morning that we were low on propane, so brewing wasn't going to happen anyway. We also realized that we have 30 gallons of beer that we need to do something with.

We had 20 gallons in primary fermentation -- the Mystery Ale and the Irish Red. These had been in primary for nearly a month (the Mystery, actually, had been in primary for almost 6 weeks). We transfered to secondary mostly to filter (as opposed to encourage the next phase of yeast activity). This was the longest we have ever left a primary fermentation...

Both beers smelled fine, so that was a good sign. The Irish Red was fairly dark, though I think it will end up being a nice deep brown-red in the glass. The Mystery Ale was the real champ of the day. It smells (and tastes, at least at this early stage) _amazing_. Moreover, it has an amazing color. If you look at it through the carboy, it has a beautiful deep red color. If you look at a thinner slice of it, it's a slightly red-hued golden pale color. It achieved an amazingly high attenuation (80%+), going from 1.052 to 1.010, for an approximate alcohol content of 5.4%. Should be an amazing beer.

We also found that there are two kegs of beer sitting in the basement waiting to be carbonated (god we REALLY need to refill our CO2 tanks)... and we have no idea what beers are in them. The first is labeled as an amber that we brewed with a London-style yeast, but the label also says, "Not sure what this is -- could be the Brown or the Amber?" Great. The other keg is completely unlabeled. We didn't bother tasting yet.

Some Future Plans

This Thursday I'll be updating the Brew 101 section. The plan, over time, is to have 4 stages described:
- Novice Extract Brews: The first extract brews, using grain bags and extracts and less than $200 worth of equipment.
- Journeyman Extract Brews: Equipment advancement: Caring about gravity, using a wort chiller, the math, etc.
- Advanced All-Grain Brews: Equipment overhaul, simple sparging and mashing
- Expert All-Grain Brews: Advanced equipment, PH, water, gravity, and chilling concerns, the math, etc.

The current iteration of the Brewing section is basically step 2 above (Journeyman Extracts), though eventually it will be reworked to fit better into the other sections. This would have been done earlier, but World of Warcraft is eating up all my spare time! And, uh, I've been under a lot of personal stress. Or something.

We're also going to add a Recipe Design section, explaining how to design your own recipes from the ground up. Basically a condensed version of Ray Daniels' book, complete with worksheets and helpful charts (eventually).