Archive for June, 2013

2013 Home Grown Hops Update

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
Centennial hop plant: RIP

Centennial hop plant: RIP

This year has been a stark contrast from the weather of 2012. Last year it was hot, dry and often. This year has only seen a few hot days and even fewer humidity ridden days. The plants have never been starved for water (rain barrel is always full from the frequent rains, down pours and monsoons) but they have never really hit that growth stride prodded by long days of sunlight and heat.

Each of my three plans (Centennial, Mount Hood and Cascade) have had their bouts of trouble. The Centennial and Mount Hood had all three of the main bines nipped during a wind storm a month ago. The Mount Hood has been recovering nicely while the Centennial just is sputtering. The Cascade doesn’t get the same amount of direct sun as the other two and only shot up two bines. One tip was nipped while the other continues to grow and, overall, is the tallest of any bine between the three plants.

The Centennial has had buds already form with many cones formed, some almost full size. All this in spite of being nine feet tall. The Mount Hood is getting bushy, looks really healthy, preparing me for a what I believe will be a great harvest. The Cascade is in it’s first full year in my yard (rescued from Chuck’s hard pan soil of 2012) and will produce mildly at best.

Now the sad news. While chasing a rabbit away from the garden (destroyed the broccoli), I took a quick glance at the hop plants (a daily ritual). I quickly noticed that the Centennial was limp. Crap! A few days earlier I noticed that the rope I used had been severed from an earlier storm at the base of the plant. The plant was only held to the grown via the bines. Fast forward to yesterday: another windy storm hit, cutting all three bines, cleanly, at the base. RIP 2013 Centennial. I harvested a mere 10 cones and, in frustration, through them in the compost with the bines.

Another year and another year of hop growing woes. Hopefully I will still get enough from the Mount Hood and Cascade to make a wet hop beer this harvest. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: There are 45 miles of nerves in the skin of a human being.

Brewed: t de dames

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

After brewing a couple of Flanders Brown Ales it was time to try my hand at a red. It helped that I had recently picked up some ECY02, East Coast Yeast’s Flemish Ale yeast. To be honest the yeast is the main reason I wanted to brew this beer. I really didn’t know much about the style.

What better place to turn than the usual suspects of books and sites. It didn’t take me long to find this recipe and another that I liked, seemingly hitting the style profile. My goal is to brew both of the recipes in order to compare which one I like more. It also gives me the ability to play around a bit more: adding fruit, barrel aging, etc.

The name of the beer goes back to my caddying days. t de dames translates (according to google) to “ladies tee”. A sour red beer about sums up my thoughts on caddying for women. It wasn’t a fun time: more demanding, slower play (causing the day to last longer) all for less money. Not quite the American dream. Therefore a beer that is going to take a while to age and will be sour seems to have a fit. Enjoy!

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: ECY02 Flemish Ale
Yeast Starter: 2 liter
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.00
Original Gravity: 1.053
IBU: 23.2
Color: 22.9 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Mash Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 7.0%
Fermentation: 6 months+

Grain Bill:
10.0# Pilsner
1.50# Munich
1.00# Caramunch I
0.50# Special B
1.00# Liquid Candi Sugar 160SRM

Saccharification @152.0*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces Fuggles @60 minutes
1.00 ounces Fuggles @30 minutes

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes

Useless Fact: In the United States, more Frisbee discs are sold each year than baseballs, basketballs, and footballs combined.

Brewed: Premier Lambic

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

inside home brewing mash tun

My second attempt at Premier Lambic via turbid mash (never done it any other way). They say you never get a second time to be the first time. True. This is more of an attempt at trying to iron out the turbid mash process (which I try to detail below and/or you can look at the first brew day for links to the sites that gave me knowledge).

The goal of multiple batches is three fold:

  • More practice at trubid mash – my first go around was a little crazy (sort of like making bread for the first time). The process took forever, I felt like I made a few mistakes, and I just want to get this process done in case I run across ECY01 again in the future.
  • Reusing the hard to get ECY01 – it took me over a year to get a vile of these critters. I harvested some from the initial brew day, I couldn’t let them go to waste. I had trouble getting the beer going in spite of a two liter starter.
  • Have enough lambic for a playground – I don’t know if either of these lambics will worth the time and effort but, if they are, I won’t enough to have straight and some to add fruit in, possibly even some far out there fruits.

Turbid Mash:

pots used for turbid mash

I use the in house stove allowing me to have multiple burners and different size pots on each burner (have to do a wizard act to get them all to fit). I feel I have more control and can have each pot at a different temperature if needed.

turbid mash step 1

I placed 1.5 gallons of water in a pot for the initial step. Once the water hit 146*F, it was placed in a five gallon pot for mixing with the grain (the pot is 75% full at this point, a bigger pot or stirring vessel would be better). This is such a low water to grain ratio that it would be impossible to mix in the mash tun (due to the tubing). Also, be prepared to have tired wrist or two when you thoroughly mix this together. It is stiff!

The mixture was at 113.5*F. I let this rest for 20 minutes.

turbid mash step 2

Added five quarts of water for the next rest. 4 quarts were boiling while the fifth was at 155*F. This combination of water made the grain bed too hot. A lot of stirring ensued. Started a five minute rest at 140*F. I believe, in this step, you are shooting for the 133*F range.

Being my second attempt, do I have to change the name of the beer? Enjoy!

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, June 09, 2013
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: ECY01
Yeast Starter: 2 liter
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.00
Original Gravity: 1.052
IBU: 13.1
Color: 3.6 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 120
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68%
Alcohol by Volume: 4.7%
Primary Fermentation: 365 days @68*F, including some oak chips

Grain Bill:
6.00# Pilsner
3.00# Red Wheat
0.25# Rice Hull

Turbid Mash

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces Saaz (3.20%) @120 minutes

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes

Useless Fact: Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.