I’m not sure why, but on Saturday I decided that I needed to brew some beer. That’s not totally surprising – I have all the equipment that I need for extract brewing, it’s just that it’s been 4 years since I brewed any beer, and 12 years since I brewed regularly.
The biggest problem I’ve had since we moved to Brambly Hill is finding a place to ferment the beer. I made two batches at the Hill, one in 2002 that I fermented on the built-in sideboard in the mobile home, and one in 2006 that I fermented in the chest freezer in the barn.
Neither of those places are available any more. Both the sideboard in the mobile home and the mobile home are long gone, and we keep the freezer full of food instead of fermenting beer. There are lots of places to put a carboy, but not many that meet all the requirements – steady temperature, dark, out of the way.
That changed when we built the wall between the laundry room and the powder room. Now I have a little room that doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic that I can stash a carboy in while it works. It’s not ideal – we do use the powder room – but it’s the best place I’ve had since I moved to the Hill.
Anyway, Dana and I made a trip to Homebrew Heaven for supplies on Saturday afternoon. I decided to start with of a batch of “Ye Olde #2,” my favorite recipe so far. It was only a little tricky. I couldn’t find my brewing log, so I had to rely on a note that I wrote in my PDA in 2002 with an ingredient list, but the list didn’t include the yeast type or type of bittering hops to use. I decided on Yakima Northern Brewer for the bittering hops and Wyeast 1098 for the yeast.
Here’s the grain bill for the recipe:
- 7 lbs light malt syrup
- 1 lb 20L crystal malt
- 1/4 lb cara-pils malt
- 1/4 lb wheat malt
I pretty much use this grain bill as the base for all my recipes, altering it to get different character for the beer. It gives me a O.G. of about 1.050 which ferments down to a 4-5% beer.
The hop schedule goes like this:
- 1 oz. bittering hops for 60 minutes (in this case, Northern Brewer, though I’ve used others).
- 1/2 oz. Yakima Kent Goldings for 15 minutes (the original batch used imported East Kent Goldings, but I haven’t seen them for years).
- 1 oz. Fuggles for 5 minutes.
I should probably list the IBU or HBU of the hops, but I don’t have the numbers with me right now.
The beer went into the carboy about 3:00 p.m. and I pitched the yeast. This morning at 7:00 a.m. I heard a “bloop” from the powder room; there is about an inch of foam on top of the wort and a regular bubble of CO2 coming out.
Now it’s just a waiting game – primary fermentation should be done in a couple of days and then it’s into a secondary carboy to finish off. We’ll see how I did in a few weeks.
- 1-27: Racked the beer from the 6-gallon primary fermenter to my 5-gallon secondary. Left all of the trub behind, beer is starting to clear nicely.
- 2-6: Bottled. I tasted a little of the leftovers in the bottling bucket, for flat beer it’s tasting pretty good.