Monday, March 22, 2010

Batch 3 All Grain

Octoberfest age group award mug.

The mash.

Bag of crushed grain, ready to mash.

Last bottle from our first brew of brown ale.

Darrell and I did our first all grain batch of beer on Sunday. It was an Irish Red picked for the amount of grain (wanted around 10 pounds) and Darrell wanted to try an Irish Red. Used this recipe,Quaffable Irish Red, from the Home Brew Talk forum. Didn't notice the ingredients were measured in tenths of a pound and not ounces. I converted on the fly at the brew shop, while the clerk measured out the grains. Little rounding here and there, plus on the hop addition during the boil because we don't have a scale. (note to self, need to buy a small scale, yes Paula like some use to weigh dope;)

The difference between all grain brewing and extract brewing is similar to the difference between making a cake from scratch or from a box. The extract beer kits have a can of malt syrup and the other ingredients to make the beer. With all grain, you take the raw malt grains, crush them and bring them to temperature to convert the starches to sugars. The sugars are sparged from the grain hulls and the liquid is collected to boil. From that point the brewing process is the same as with the extracts.

We picked Sunday as our brew day because of the rain that was due to hit in the morning. Me and the Wich brothers lucked out on our morning long run and made it home before the rain started. Good thing to, it turned into a soaker later in the afternoon. Hope, it washes all of the pollen out of the trees. Anyway Saturday was to nice of a day to be inside. We went fishing instead. (first frickin' tick of the year as well)

The brew itself went extremely well. We used the Zapap method to sparge our grains. I drilled a million holes in the bottom of a four and a half gallon icing bucket from the local bakery for the lauter tun, on Saturday morning. Still brewed on the stove as in the previous brews. Had to use an additional pot to boil water to temperature for the sparge. Think we could add at least another pound and maybe a half before we hit capacity in our 5 gallon brew pot. Still looking at a 30 quart turkey fryer setup which would eliminate this capacity issue, but like everything it's just another expense.

The grains/hops used for this brew: 9 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) America, 14.5 oz. Caramel Pils Malt, 5 oz. Special Roast Malt America, 2.5 oz.Biscuit Malt, 2.5 oz. Chocolate Malt, .6 oz of Galena hops, and 1.2 oz of Goldings hops. Also this was the first time we used a liquid yeast. It was the smack pack, Wyeast 1272 American Ale II. Really smelled great throughout the brew. This was a about a 5 hour event from start to finish. Lots of cleaning, double sink in the kitchen just isn't quite big enough. Would be nice to have a dedicated double laundry sink size set up. But, not to worry. Lots of folks brew in apartments with great results. Our original gravity reading was 47 verus a predicted 48. So we did pretty well. This batch should have and alcohol content in the low 4% range, versus our previous batch which is in the upper 5% range.

Did a couple of things different with this brew. Darrell really wants to get a clearer beer, so after we'd cooled the wort, we strained most of the remaining hops out while pouring the wort into our fermenting bucket. This was before we pitched our yeast. Also, we plan to transfer to a secondary fermentor once fermentation has stopped in a week or so. Plus, before we bottle we're going to try to crash cool the secondary fermentation for a day in the refrigerator to force any remaining sediment to the bottom, so it doesn't end up in our bottles.

Would also like to either purchase or build a wort chiller. The size I'm looking at is around $70. I'd like to build one if I could purchase the parts for around $35, otherwise, just as well to buy the one already built. This time it took at least an hour or more to cool our wort enough to pitch the yeast. Started off with the pot in the sink but ended up moving it into a larger keg sized container filled with cold water to speed up the process. I'd thought about just letting the wort cool overnight to room temperature, but wanted to have the fermentation process started before the weekend was over.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


New mug to add to the collection. Picture of my Octoberfest beer mug, didn't turn out? But, doesn't really fit the theme of the coffee mugs. Calling this a mug is a stretch, it's almost as big as the liter beer steins from Germany and about as thick. It's the age group award given out at this years Tom King 5k and half marathon.

Nothing special about this mug. Just an age group award from the running club in Texas. RAW. Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers. But, it's the one mug that's used every week with the morning coffee. More race directors need to take note, a mug makes a better award than a trophy that sits on a shelf or in a box in the closet.

This mug was from the 2000 Peachtree Road Road race. This race is a 10k on July 4th down Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia. At one time it was the largest 10k race in the world. Nike gave a mug to the first 1,000 runners across the line. Tough part was getting seeded to be at the front of the race to have a shot at being one of the first 1,000 runners. The mantra for this race is the three H's, heat, hills and humidity.

One of the first mugs I ever got from a race. Not an age group award, they gave a mug to everyone who entered. This was my 3rd marathon? In 1998. The Blue Angel Marathon in Pensacola Florida.

The mark has been set for the upcoming 5k season. According to the Jack Daniels VDOT tables yesterdays race effort at the Tom King 5K, gives me a 50. I need to raise that to between a 53-54. This should yield a sub 19:00 5K or better yet around a 18:50.

Only good thing about the race was winning my age group and no rain during the race. Temperatures were perfect. Only reason I managed to squeeze out a first in my age group was because the Fast Master, won Masters and the rest of the fast guys were running the half marathon. Did win a cool coffee mug. Its about as big as the German liter beer steins and almost as thick. One of the better age group awards I've won over the years.

I think I'm better suited to longer races. The 5k race is over to quick and has to be run almost out of control from the gun. My first mile yesterday was right at my target pace, but then I slowed. Sure didn't seem like I slowed. I kept pace with the runners around me. Passed a few people, actually only eleven runners finished in front of me. Chased some little girl for the last mile and a half towards the stadium. She ended up being the first female and only finished seconds behind me. I didn't get past her until less than a half mile to go. Sure did worry that she might out kick me at the finish. But it wasn't her that beat me to the line. Another runner pasted me right at the line and finished 1 second ahead on gun time, but a second behind on chip time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

spring is in the air

Snow run from a few weeks ago on Riverview and the last house hit by the April tornado last year. Really need to get in the habit of grabbing the camera for some of the slower slogs.

Sunrise from a few weeks ago, that I just now pulled from the camera.

Paula and the boys have been sniffling the last few days. Don't know what's blooming other than weeds. Some of the trees have started to bud and the grass is starting to show some green, mostly weeds. Glad my allergies haven't started up yet. Was nice running in shorts yet again this morning. Here's to stowing away the tights again until the fall. (seriously doubt that will happen)

Rained last night and looks like more rain on the way. What's really going to suck is running Tom King in the rain yet again. Perhaps, we'll get it in between showers. I've only run it once in the rain, last year. The prior year I was out that morning in the rain and wondered how in the world they were going to have the race with all of the lighting. (evidently they didn't have as much in Nashville as compared to Murfreesboro)

Darrell and I brewed up our second batch of beer over the weekend. This one is a Anchor Steam clone or California Common. I've never had the Anchor, but it also compares with the Flying Dog, Old Scratch amber lager. We got the ingredients from Rebel Brewer in Goodlettsville. They have a storefront in the Space Park North business complex off of interstate 65. Little bit of everything in the store. They put together the beer ingredient kit as we waited. (according to the web they were out of the ready made kits)

The more I read about all grain brewing, the more I'm ready to take the plunge. Think batch number three will be all grain. Only thing I want to get besides the grain and ingredients is another bucket to sparge/mash. One of the better web sites I've found for research is Home Brew Talk.

One mistake we made with the first batch was dumping the entire fermented batch into the bottling bucket. The trub, left over grains and hops were a couple inches deep in the bottom of the bucket. That shouldn't have made it from the brewing kettle into the fermentation bucket. Ooops. That made our finished beer a little cloudy, plus we didn't wait but seven days to bottle. Perhaps this second batch we'll let settle for a little while longer until it clears completely before bottling.

Beer brewing bible, bottles ready to be delabeled/cleaned and ingredient kit.

Beer brewing kit from All Season in Nashville, plus brew pot.

One liter flip top bottles before bottling our first batch of English Brown Ale.

Dylan's lego castle.