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ESB Spring 2018

Recipe / Brewsheet

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Starter

Going to make 2 gallons of starter wort for canning (1.5 gal) and for starting a yeast repitch for my Belgian Dark Strong that’s stalled out.

Recipe

Recipe / Brewsheet

Belgian Dark Strong – Winter 2018

Brewed the same recipe as previously. I recall it being really good, though I didn’t give any updates in the blog post.

Recipe

Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (3/11/2018)

Terrible.

Actually it didn’t turn bad until the end when I started the cooldown. I forget how exactly, but a hose popped off my pump when I was recirculating, causing wort to spray all over the garage. After that my garden hose outlet popped off twice spraying the garage with hot water. I was an idiot and had the outlet crimped shut by a propane tank sitting on it. I popped the hose off twice before I realized.

After all that, I succeeded in getting a little under 5 gallons into the fermentor at 1.107. Much better OG than last time.

Pitched about 1 cup of yeast collected from my dubbel about three weeks ago. Aerated with O2 for 1 minute.

Fermentation

In Rubbermaid in garage with aquarium heater at ~68.

Krausen and airlock activity after <20 hours, continuing pretty vigorously for 4 or 5 days. It actually steadily grew in intensity until it started blowing off. I didn’t initially set up a blow off tube, thinking the <5 gallons in a 6.5 gallon carboy would be fine.

Pretty soon after blowing off, fermentation slowed considerably.

Sample after ~6 days: 1.070! Very sweet, as expected based on the gravity, but not bad. Bitterness is very minor and alcohol is smooth. I was worried that I was fermenting too warm for the gravity, but I would expect the fusel alcohol to have come out by now if it would, so the smoothness is a relief. Bumped up the aquarium heater a couple degrees to hopefully kick fermentation up a little. There’s an awful lot of sugar to still finish off. I may need to throw in a higher-attenuating yeast if it doesn’t keep dropping steadily.

Sample after ~10 days: 1.060. I kicked up the fermentation temperature a few degrees since the start. Initially it was about 66F for a few days, then up to ~68F for a few more, and now up to ~70 or so. Booziness in the aroma, sort of a rum and coke smell. Not nearly as sweet and more firm bitterness especially on the back end. No noticeable alcohol.

Sample after 15 days: 1.052. Still chugging along, at least. Maybe it will eventually finish. Not much has changed flavor- or aroma-wise since the last sample. Still sweet, though not sickly sweet. Firm bitterness. Most alcohol is apparent in the aroma, not so much the flavor.

Sample after 23 days (after returning from vacation): Still 1.052. I roused the yeast by shaking the carboy. If I don’t see a gravity drop after a couple days, I may need to pitch some new yeast. Given the time (close to 4 weeks), I think I’ll rack to a secondary and pitch. 4 weeks is in my head as a guideline for getting beer off the yeast, at least at ale temperatures.

Sample after 27 days: 1.050, so it actually dropped a couple points. I don’t think that’s enough to where I’ll give it more time to finish up. I’m going to pick up a packet of dry yeast (US-05, maybe) and add it after I rack to secondary. The taste, aroma, mouthfeel, etc. are basically unaffected, which is to say, pretty tasty.

After previous sample, racked to secondary, leaving most trub behind. Pitched hydrated and grown (in ~1.5L starter) packet of Safbrew T-58 ~28 days after initial pitch (was same price as US-05, so I figured I might as well). Steady airlock activity after <6 hours, so maybe I have some hope to get this down to a respectable FG.

Sample after 33 days: 1.033. Decent attenuation after ~5 days of the repitch. Carboy slowly bubbling (every 10 seconds or so), having kept fairly steady activity the whole time.

Belgian Dubbel Winter 2018

It’s been almost a year since I last brewed! Gonna re-brew a belgian. With the little bit of off-flavor I’ve had with my non-belgians, I’m gonna stick with something where I won’t have to worry about it (or maybe it’s just hidden in the other flavors of belgians). Plus, this beer was delicious last time.

My plan was to split this brew over 2 days. Mashing and sparging the first day; boiling, pitching, etc. the second. I succeeded in achieving that plan, but I don’t think I want to try it again. It just felt like I had 2 brew days and man, are they starting to feel like work.

Recipe

Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day – part 1 (2/3/2018)

Dough-in: 1:30

Lauter: ~3:00

Good lauter with the fly sparge (i.e., no clogs). Took ~20 minutes, turning on the pump at the end when I felt confident that I had enough liquid left to get me topped off.

Heated to 190°+ F before transferring to a couple pots to keep on the stove inside (I don’t want to leave it all in the garage overnight). I figure at this point, separated from the grains and headed to 190, there’s not much to worry about.

Brew Day – part 2 (2/4/2018)

Chill

<140: 2:27

<100: 2:40

<80: 2:40

<70: 2:19

Stop at 65: 1:49

OG: 1.071

Finally feel like I didn’t over-sparge. I ended up tilting the kettle a little at the end and still ended up a little shy of normal in my 6-gallon carboy. Normally I overdue it enough to over-top my carboy (i.e., I’m usually nervous when I remember that I should have accounted for my starter wort). As a result, my gravities are a little on the low side.

This time, I ran off a good amount and kept the boil pretty vigorous for the 90 minutes. The result, I think, was a good boil volume and gravity ended up a tad high, actually. I guess what I should really take away is that I need to get a proper measuring instrument. I long ago lost a makeshift marked wooden dowel I made shortly after getting my kettle.

Fermentation

Starter didn’t show much activity after being on the stir plate from before noon until after 7:00. Hopefully there’s not a problem.

Aerated 1 minute

Pitched ~7:30 pm

Not much activity after 12 hours (some bubbles on the surface). Good krausen within 24 hours, though.

Sample after 5 days: 1.021. very bitter, sharp in the back of the throat. Very cloudy.

Sample after 8 days: 1.014. actually less bitter. Alcohol in the aroma, not really tasting it, though. Dark fruit maltiness. Maybe it’s in my head, but the candy syrup send to be coming through.

Sample after 10 days: 1.010. bitterness continues to lessen. Malt mellowing a bit. Less sweetness, drying out.

Impressions

I’m nearing the end of the keg.  It’s been stored at 45F for the last 3 – 4 weeks and carbonated to ~2.5 volumes.

A little over-bitter.  Very clear, dark amber.  Light caramel and dark fruit aroma.  Firm bitterness throughout.  Somewhat sweet, caramelly flavor.  Smooth but somewhat sharp mouthfeel, perhaps from the bitterness, maybe from carbonation; dry finish.  Overall, the over-bitterness detracts substantially.  It’s still highly drinkable as an over-caramel american (i.e., bitter) brown, maybe.

Spring 2017 Scottish

Recipe

Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (2/26/17)

Pre-boil:  1.052

OG: 1.058

Cooldown

  • <140 F: 2:35
  • <100 F: 4:30
  • <80 F: 2:38
  • <70 F: 3:10
  • Stop @68 F: 2:12

Fermentation

Yeast was old (bought in ~November) and the starter didn’t show a lot of activity.  I’m not super optimistic that fermentation will be too vigorous and I expect to notice some fermentation problems (fusel alcohol, etc) in the final product but hopefully it’s not too bad.

12 hours later:  smooth, unblemished surface.  I expect it’s taking longer for the yeast to grow to an appropriate population to get going well.  Unfortunately, that probably means more growth than I hoped for (though not more than I expected).

<24 hours: good krausen.  Not so vigorous that the blow-off is necessary, but it’s setup in case

36 hours: vigorous fermentation, though still not enough to require the blowoff

48 hours: not much change from 12 hours ago, still pretty steady

60 hours:. Slowing, krausen dropping, but still steady

At 68F for the first 4 days when activity was vigorous to stay, then ramp to 75F when activity mostly stopped.

ESB Summer 2016

Finally getting around to brewing.  Just duplicating what I did most recently except for using London Ale Yeast (WLP013, I think…).

Brewsheet / Recipe

Brew Day (7/10/2016)

Cool down

<140°: ‎2:49.06
<100°: ‎3:36.46
<80°: ‎  4:‎47.34
Stop at 72°@ 16:01.62

Fermentation

Fermented for 2 weeks, temperature controlled at 70 for the first week, ~75 for the second.  Starter looked great when pitched and resulted in steady fermentation for a few days before dropping off suddenly (as expected).  A little bit of blowoff (that was luckily prepared for).

Impressions

Pretty typical Portland ESB for me (i.e., what I expect from my ESB brews in Portland).  A little “muddy” making me think I may be suffering from too pure water.  While it’s great to have a blank slate when brewing, it can’t necessarily be left alone and result in the beer I want.  I think I need to play with some mineral additions in the future and see if I can get the crispness I’m missing.

I should really try a pilsner some time…

Old Ale

Optimistically planning to reuse the yeast from the latest ESB, wanting to step up the gravity and color with an old ale.  I’m surprised I haven’t brewed one before, but I didn’t find a recipe for it.

Recipe

Recipe / Brewsheet

Yeah, this didn’t get brewed.😣