July 18th, 2005

  • thaen

Lessons Learned

I was across the country at a wedding for the weekend, but Brendan, Dan, John, and Adam brewed a 5-gallon batch of an Imperial Stout. They learned two things:
- It's good to make sure that the ends on your hose are firmly attached, and not cracked or broken, in order to avoid getting the power strip behind the computer wet, and possibly shorting out the monitor.
- There is no way we could have made a 10-gallon batch of this. Even with adjuncts, the grain bed was enormous, especially for just a 5-gallon.

Myself, I learned a few things:
- The new Harry Potter book is the best yet.
- Brewing a Pilsener in true decoction-mash style is a fucking project, which is a shame because every step of the brew except the mash is so simple compared to most other styles.
- In 1817, the brew world was forever changed by a guy (whose name I will eventually have to know) that invented a kilning system that used water to prevent the barley from burning while being kilned. This allowed the production of good Pale malts, and put the smoking-barley-over-the-fire people on the fast track to obsolescence.

Also, two "mystery beers" that have been kegged and sitting in Tam's basement for a while now finally got carbonated, thanks to Adam. I tried to ask Brendan what they tasted like, whether they were any good, but he couldn't tell me. He kept getting the two kegs that they tasted confused... the whole interaction left me wondering if he was even paying attention while tasting the brand new beers.

I updated the brewing area again. This time just a small change: I had forgotten that in order to wake the yeast properly when pitching, you have to yell "WAKE UP FUCKERS!" It's a critical piece of the process.

The Stout recipe used is forthcoming.
  • thaen

Dan's Additions

Dan had some additions to the earlier post, but since *someone* changed the community to require review of new memberships (wtf? this is open source beer, damnit!), he can't get permissions to post.

A quick glance at the recipe gleaned that this is actually a "Imperial Porter", not Stout. Stare at Ethan long enough and he should tell you the difference between the two.

Also learned in this brewing instance is that you should not let Jon coerce Brendan into playing catch outside whilst you stand alone guarding the post like some medeival picket man, destined for a brief but illuminating chat with a garrote wire about the meaning of life. The end result of this was basically a catastrophe, during which
a) The boil began, and boiled up about a foot in the brew kettle, to within an inch or two of the top.
b) The hops suddenly needed to be doled out in correct porpotions. A monacle would have helped, as I stooped over the counter, divying up precious greens.
c) The draining lauter tun began overflowing the container within which the excess was suspended.

Needless to say, this was too much for me, especially since I didn't have the aforementioned monacle. There was so much sticky water on the floor, you don't even know.

Here is the actual recipe:

Target gravity: 1.082 - 1.084 (woah buddy!)
This is supposed to yield about 8.5% alcohol.

11 lbs 2row (There was a specific name for it, but it was 2row)
20 oz choc malt
20 oz ?? (something lightish... update later)
16 oz 80L crystal malt
4 oz Black Pattent
1 lb amber candy sugar.

60 min single step infusion mash at 154-156.

26 AAU Magnum hops for 60 mins
1 oz Fuggles for 30 mins
1/2 oz fuggles at 10 mins left.

Yeast was Wyeast Thames Valley (#1275).

Pulled all of that from memory at work. The recipe is at home.

We came out with a gravity of 1.062 @ 59 (measured at 79 deg, 1.060). We did pretty poorly on this one.

When we started the boil, apparently at some point it was determined that we had to add water to account for boil off (I must have missed that). So Brendan added a gallon of water. Everyone had left by the time I transferred it to the carboy, but not all of what was in the brew kettle fit in the carboy. This no doubt caused the dillution to 1.062. We are considering doing an experiment to determine exactly how much water to add.