Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Royal Ryeness Brown Ale

It's been a while since brewing a one gallon batch. So, for a yeast starter of American 1056, I'll be using up some old all-grain starter wort that's been sitting in the frig for quite a long time.

With these worts, in an addition to some pale DME, this beer should be brown with an OG around 1.050. I hope to have some distinctive malt flavors, and hopefully they'll be strong enough to stand up to some fairly aggressive hopping. Low AA% Spalt, and Willamette will be spread out evenly in the boil with some nice late hop aroma.

Royal Ryeness Brown Ale

.7 lb. Briess Pale DME
36 oz. Rhino Rye wort
22 oz. Robust Porter wort
22 oz. Pale wort

.2 oz. Spalt, 2.6%, pellet, 45min
.2 oz. Spalt, 2.6%, pellet, 20min
.2 oz. Spalt, 2.6%, pellet, 10min
.2 oz. Willamette, 4.8%, pellet, 5min
.2 oz. Willamette, 4.8%, pellet, KO
.2 oz. Spalt, 2.6%, pellet, KO

Wyeast 1099: American Ale

Overall, it should be unique. That's all I need with this batch.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Support Local Breweries

In short...lets support our local breweries. Compared to other cities, especially the beer meccas Denver & Portland, in Chicago there aren't many. But, with the addition of three new ones this year, its slowly getting better.

Here's a list of the locals...

In the City:

Goose Island
Half Acre
Rock Bottom
Revolution coming soon

Nearby: with city distro

Two Brothers
Three Floyds
Flossmoor Station

Monday, March 23, 2009

Currently on Tap

Yesterday I took a sample from four recently kegged brews. They were sitting at room temperature for about a week or so. I was interested in their level of carbonation and overall clarity and taste. Also, my brother was visiting over the weekend, and I wanted to give him a sample of all my lagers fermented over the winter.

After pouring and tasting the lot, I notice a really attractive color gradation. Conveniently, my wife was sitting at the dining table with her camera close by. This photo shows off the colors and clarity pretty good. They were poured in very old 10oz. glasses given to me by my Grandmother. I like the ghostly reflections on the table, and the solid clear glass feet of each glass.

Just thought I'd post something simple and fun for the time being. I've got lots of things going on right now, so posting has been slow. I've been building games from reclaimed/found materials. But more brews are near in the forecast, like big batch of Ordinary Bitter,an ESB and a Sterling pale ale.

From left to right...

German Pils-Golden Rauchbier-Awktoberfest-Double Dark Scottish Ale

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scottish Imperial Stout

My first Imperial Stout was the Old Rasputin Clone. I followed the recipe very close, and the stats came out perfect. After trying it side by side with the commercial beer, there were some elements missing. Mainly, the level of roast and hop flavor were lacking. It was a fantastic beer regardless, and had really smooth and rich caramel and light roast flavors with excellent body and head retention.

As soon as it didn't meet my expectation, I instantly started formulating the adjustments it would need to become more like that Old Rasputin. So, in this high gravity stout, I made those corrections, while adding a couple subtleties that allow it the title "Scottish Imperial Stout."

I raised the level of roast by doubling the Brown malt and increasing the Roasted Barley. This will definitely add to the overall roast character. I kept the hops very similar, but added a whole ounce at knock-out. Throughout the whole fermentation, a wonderful hop nose popped out of the airlock.

The only things I'm worried about this time around is the gravity/ABV. I used a different yeast for this stout...Wyeast Scottish Ale. With a target of 1.094, the OG came in a bit low, at about 1.088. Not too bad, but the FG might end a bit high as well. It's a good thing for Scottish ales to finish higher, and the same yeast fermented two prior beers beautifully (1.040-1.018 & 1.058-1.028). So, we'll see if this Imperial brew finishes low enough to give it an ABV around 8+%.

Fermentation was almost instantaneous, and tons of foam created yet another brewing mess this year (see the others here). The blow off collection tub tipped and overflowed, spilling over two good books and a couple rugs. As the 65°F fermentation started to slow, I switched on an airlock and moved it indoors where the temp rose to about 70°F. I've been spinning and disturbing the yeast cake at least twice a day since slowing down.

This beer will have a subtle essence of Scotch and Oak. Some light oak chips went into the primary after settling a bit. Then in secondary aging, it will get at least 1 ounce of Scotch (The Belvenie: 12 year, double wood) soaked, medium-dark French oak cubes. Every week I'll sample it to see if it needs more time, or more oak/Scotch. But I'm going for a super light subtlety here.

Scottish Imperial Stout

14.0 lbs. Organic 2-Row
1.00 lbs. UK Brown Malt
1.25 lbs. UK Faucett Crystal 95-115L
1.00 lbs. UK Amber Malt
0.65 lbs. UK Chocolate
0.45 lbs. UK Roasted Barley

2.25 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 75min
1.25 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 5min
1.00 oz. Northern Brewer, 7%, pellet, 3min
1.25 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, KO

Wyeast 1728: Scottish Ale yeast cakes

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 3/6/09
Racked: 3/27/09
Bottled: 5/11/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 1 tsp Gypsum, .25 tsp Acid Blend, 1 tsp Chalk
2nd Sparge: 1 tsp CaCl, .25 tsp Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1qt/lb
Mash Ph: n/a
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152-149°F/70min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 167°F/Vorlauff
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4.6gal/1.068

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 180°F/171°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3gal/1.038
2nd Batch Extra Vol: .5gal collected & added to boil

Pre-Boil Vol: 8 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.060
Boil Time: approx 3 hours
Post-Boil Vol: 5.25 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 70%

OG: 1.088
IBU: 77
Color/SRM: Black/47
Ferment Temp: 66-70°F

FG: 1.027
ABW: 6.4%
ABV: 8%

Monday, March 2, 2009

Northside Homebrewer's Connection

In December I decided to initiate the beginnings of a homebrewer's connection on the North side of Chicago. We met at my place during a pretty nasty winter evening. But it didn't take long before we forgot all about it, while engaging in some low key small talk and brewing stories. Sitting around the dining table, it was a very relaxing evening, one in which I hope will set the stage for upcoming gatherings.

I've come to a point where I'm brewing lots and lots of good beer, and sharing it with the usual line-up of tedbrew fans. I've also met a few online brew-bloggers, which has been really great. I know a good handful of brewers around Chicago. But I thought my hobby could expand even further by actively bringing local brewers together with some common interests and goals.

At this point I'm keeping the table open for ideas and growth. In general though, I'd like to see a network develop where everyone can easily get in contact with each other. There are too many homebrewers to count in Chicago, so many that there's probably one brewing right now a few blocks away from your home.

I have some personal areas of interest, of which some of them are...compiling a network database, local sharing of equipment & bulk buying, private and public tastings, and ofcourse regular meetings that bring home brewers together to share ideas, techniques, stories, literature and beer samples.

If you are in the Chicago area, and are interesting in being a part of the Northside Homebrewer's Connection, please get in touch soon. I will be hosting the next meeting at my home on Tuesday, March 10th.

Thank You

{redted8} [at] [g mail]