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Brewing in the New Year

Brewing 2008So we’re not even 2 weeks into the new year, and I’ve already brewed 20 gallons. Great start…

Last weekend was 10 gallons of an american amber brewed with 100% homegrown Nugget hops. As with all of my “Homegrown” ales, I have no idea how this one is going to turn out – Bitter? Sweet? Perfectly balanced by some benevolent blessing of Bacchus? Who friggin knows… All I know is that the gravity came in around 1.060, and 8oz of homegrown nugget went into it – so unless my homegrown hops have really low alpha acids, it shouldn’t be too bock-like.

This weekend was 10 gallons of a slightly reformulated Amarillo recipe. I decided to go lighter on the crystal and add a pound of carapils, and used Warrior pellets instead of Amarillo as the bittering hop. Another change was the yeast – I typically use WLP051 California V yeast, but this time around it was 5 gallons with WLP001 and 5 with S-56 Safale dry yeast. I like the WLP051 and the character it gives the amarillo ale, but I wanted to use this batch as a starter for an upcoming 10 gallon batch of American Brown (same recipe I brewed with my friend Brian late last year), and that beer used WLP001.

I am also doing a small experiment with these batches. Both were pitched at cellar temperature (64 deg F), and I’ve noticed that they start alot slower than when I pitch around 70-75… no suprise there. Pitching colder does however allow me to forget about trying to maintain the temperature as fermentation progresses. I let the homegrown go and it barely crested 69 degrees, and was done fermenting in 3 days… So I don’t think the lower fermentation temperature hurt anything. I also used the dry S-56 dry yeast in 15 of those 20 gallons, so I figure it will be a good taste trial. While I am competent enough to grow yeast volumes to the proper pitching sizes for 20 gallon batches, it sure would be convenient if I could just sub in 4 packets of dry yeast at $2 each.

I haven’t done so well meeting my 2008 homebrew resolutions with these last 2 batches, but there are still 50 weeks left in the year… I’ll get them done.

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Categories: Brew session
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