Home > Brew session > First Batches of 2011

First Batches of 2011

2011 has started off pretty slow in the brewing department, mostly because of the ridiculously cold weather we’ve been experiencing. Last year I struggled through a batch where hoses were freezing up on me, the cold made me miss some mash temperatures, and other issues – so this year I vowed I would not deal with that stuff until it got warmer. That unfortunately meant I didn’t brew for the first 4 weeks of the year, and since my last batch was early November – I’ve basically not brewed for 3 months. My keg supply has dwindled down to two remaining, with an army of empties standing at the ready.

The first batch of 2011 was 10 gallons of Maibock, the sixth batch of lager-style beer I think I’ve brewed. The batch as I remember it went pretty well, and at a crisp 36 degrees outside I didn’t freeze any hoses and the wort cooled very quickly. I pitched a big mixed starter of WLP820 Octoberfest and WLP833 German Bock yeast, so the flavor profile should be a little different than previous batches (where I used strictly the German Bock strain). It was a pretty long boil – 120 minutes, and my initial gravity turned out pretty high (1.070+), so hopefully there was enough yeast to finish the job. Nothing is worse than putting all that time and energy into a beer and it turns out overly sweet and underattenuated. We’ll have to wait for May to find out.

One week later I brewed 15 gallons of Smoked Porter. The weather was warmer this time, and I got to use my 26 and 28 gallon kettles for the first time in a while. This brew day was textbook perfect, and although my mash did cool off more than I wanted it to, it did not get stuck. I used my automatic grant to transfer the wort (pretty much the only way I do large batches anymore), and all the electronics and pumps worked as expected. Making 15 gallon batches seems somehow trickier than 10 or 20, and I haven’t exactly figured out why – perhaps because I am not accoustomed to thinking in those terms – But this time I did not end up short and managed to get 15+ gallons into the fermenters. I pitched healthy starters of WLP002, had full fermentation within 12 hours, and was done within 72.

I am completely out of primary fermenters, so until I move one of these two batches to secondaries, I won’t be doing more brewing. I will likely rack the porter today and the Maibock later in the week.

Here’s hoping I do a better job of writing new posts and keeping on top of this blog thing – if life stops getting in the way, of course 😉

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