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Dedication

Yesterday was seriously cold…. Like high of 23, but closer to 15 all day. With snow still falling from the gray sky, covering everying in a blanket of chilly, I was outside in the garage brewing 10 gallons of hefeweizen. The brew day started around 3:30pm with me heating the mash infusion water, and ended somewhere around 9:30pm, and it was a constant battle of keeping one thing or another from freezing – toes, noses, fingers, hoses … all were trying to fail me.

This brew was intended as a reintroduction to some fellow homebrewers that have not done it in a while. We had set up the date a week or two before, and I already had a yeast starter on the stir plate before I considered what the weather was going to do. They arrived around 6pm after most of the mash run-off was complete, and saw bits and pieces of the remaining process through pitching the yeast – enough to bring back some of their lost knowledge for the extract brewing process. They will be back in a week or so for a quick refresher on kegging, and will go home with 5 gallons of the Hefe. I am likely going to put it on tap next as well, since Hefeweizens are meant to be consumed while “young”.

The brew itself went reasonably well – I hit all my mash temperatures, the final gravity and final volume were both dead on where I anticipated them to be, and the yeast is now fermenting away vigorously. While I like brewing in the winter because the cold ground water temperature allows for quick cool-downs (10-20 minutes for 10 gallons using an immersion chiller!), I have learned that there is a limit to what I’m willing to endure- I won’t be brewing below freezing any time soon.

In other news, my maibock wrapped up its primary fermentation this week around Thursday – a pretty quick fermentation for a lager. I pitched a huge and very healthy starter, so I guess I shouldn’t be suprised… but just to be safe I’m in the process of bringing it up to around 60 degrees for a diacetyl rest and to ensure that fermentation has finished up. I will probably leave it on the yeast cake until next weekend, then transfer it to a secondary and chill it down again.

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