Monday, April 19, 2010

Adventures in Home Brewing- 4th Edition

Because I had put off brewing last weekend, I knew I had to do it this weekend. SO, I decided to brew this morning! Unfortunately I was woke up around 8am by Sarah, who is known to get up early on days off, and I decided to get things done early.

Some quick stats:

Style: Belgian Wit
6lbs Weizenmalt (wheat & malt) from Williams Brewing
2oz. Sterling Hop Pellets, Alpha Acid = 6%
125ml Belgian Wit (Activator Wyeast) yeast
Original Gravity = 1.042% @ 78% F

I typically start off brewing with about 3 to 3 1/2 gallons of water, to make my wort.

Adding the malt extract to the boiling water

I was going to add a second variety of hops, but I opted to simply use the extra ounce of Sterling hops that I had already opened. It's my intention to perfect my own recipe of this particular style, seeing how it's one of my favorites- so the next time I brew, I'm going to change the type of hops and yeast, until I find a combination of ingredients I like.

I should mention that this is my first non-kit beer. In addition, it's also my first time using the Activator Wyeast. I've heard very good things about the Wyesast from a few of my friends who brew, so I'm quite excited to see how this turns out.

I'm still trying to find ways to make my brewing experience both easier and quicker, which will soon come in the way of an immersion wort chiller. This will mean I can pitch the yeast (add it to the cooled wort) sooner, which will aid in the fermentation process.

I'm also going to try a secondary fermentation with this beer, in addition to dry hoping with an ounce of German Hallertau Hop pellets. The secondary fermentation will help with the quality and clearity of the beer, and the dry hoping will add to the aroma of the beer. I had planned on adding an ounce of bitter orange peel, but figured I'd see how this came out first, and then try it again with the orange peel and probably some coriander.

Speaking of fermentation though, I tasted my Red on Friday night.

It tasted quite nice actually! It had a pale red color, was a bit on the sweeter side- which I find somewhat common in red ales- but unfortunately was not very carbonated. According to The Homebrewer's Companion this could be due to inconsistent and low temperatures. The stat sheet I got with the kit stated it should be between 60-75 degrees, which it was; however, we did have a variation in temperatures over the past three weeks. So, I'll let it condition in the bottle for another week or two before trying it again. I'm hoping the added time will resolve the situation.

I've had issues with over carbonation with my first few batches, so I've tried to reserve a few ounces of priming sugar. It could be that I left out too much, but it didn't seem noticeable at the time. I'm going to assume it was the temperature and we'll go from there.

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