So I picked up a used refrigerator to kegerator conversion kit from Craigslist.  It is set up for Sanke kegs, so I ordered a sanke to ball lock conversion and a used 5 gallon soda keg.  A friend gave a 10 gallon soda keg. So there you ave it, I am now set up to keg.

I kegged both the Lorelei Shay Dry Irish Stout and the formerly unnamed IPA, now known as Can You Smell What the Hops Are Bringin’ IPA.

I still need to report on the tasting of these beers.  Stay tuned!

IPA in Secondary with Dry Hops

IPA in Secondary with Dry Hops

I also transfered my Un-named IPA to the secondary fermenter today. I added tons of dry hops, 2.05 oz Centennial, 0.75 oz Cascade, and 0.40 oz  Amarillo.  Alright not a ton but a lot.  Should be really good.  It’s already pretty bitter and hoppy, the dry hops should add some really nice aroma.

Brewer’s Log Brew Date 10-1-10 1429

Today was brew day.  My shortest time between brew days yet.  I brewed an Dry Irish Dy Stout. I’ve named it after my Daughter Lorelei Shay.

The Mash

It went very smooth today.  I don’t think I had any mistakes that I discovered yet.  The mash went smooth. I used my Rubbermaid cooler converted to a mash tun. As you can see, it is not very full because this is a fairly low gravity beer at a predicted/target  OG 1.039. I mashed for an hour.  My target dough-in temperature was 149F.  I hit 150F, so I was happy with that.  The lower thermal mass of the small batch allowed it to cool fairly quickly.  It fell about 5F or 6F every 15 minutes so need to add some near boiling water each time I checked and stirred the mash.  This kept it between 146F and 152F for the 65 minutes I mashed. Not too bad.

Kettle Additions

Kettle Additions

So I based this Dry Irish Stout loosely on Beamish.  The malt bill is based on clone recipes I found for Beamish on the web.  The hop bill is not.  As with most of my hop bills they are based on what I have in the freezer.  I used Nugget for bittering again, 0.6 oz (at 60 minute) of the 1.6 oz left over from the accident during the IPA brew day.  I also added 0.5 oz of Fuggles for bittering at 60 minutes as well.  The flavor hops were 0.5 oz of Williamette at 15 minutes.  Most Dry Stout recipes dn’t call for aroma hops but the pack of Fuggles that I opened was 0.75 oz, so I chucked the remaining 0.25 oz in at Flame out and let steep for about 20 minutes.  My kettle additions are pictured to left.  From left to right, bittering hops, flavor hops and whirlfloc,yeast nutrients, 6 oz cane sugar, aroma hops.

Coming Up To a Boil

The Boil

I modified the amount of water that I need to boil for 5.5 gallon batches, lesson learned from the last batch.  My kettle appeared to boil off 25% an hour after the last batch.  So for a 5.5 gallon batch, I need 7.33 gallons.  As it turns out, my evaporation rate is probably something closer to 20-22% because I ended up of about 5 2/3 to 5 3/4 gallons after this batch.  The boil kettle starting to come to a boil is pictured to thefar right.  It is nice and dark, like it should be.

Fermenter with Wick Cooler

I added a picture of the boil at the near right because while I was looking at the photos, I remembered that I did have a mishap during this session.  Notice the wort chiller in the pot, well one of the tubes caught on fire because it was hanging down touching the burner.  No big deal, I put the fire out and just shortened the tube.  I guess o brew session can go without a mishap.

I got my best efficiency yet with this batch.  The OG came out at 1.041, about 2 point higher than predicted using 63% efficiency in the calculations.  This higher OG combined with the large batch size, put my efficiency at about 69%.

The photo to the left is the wort in the fermenter with the wick cooler set up.  This is a t-shirt draped over the fermenter with the fermenter in another container with a few inches of water.  The water rises up through the t-shirt and when air passes over it, it actually removes heat from the fermenter.  Nice.  This system can be improved further by blowing a fan across the set up.  I don’t need the fan because it is cool enough in my laundry room to go without.

So, I’ll post some gravity checks in 7-10 days.

I am planning a brew day for this Sunday. It is going to be cold, so we shall see if it happens. If it does, it will be a Dry Irish Stout. Stay tuned

Brewer’s log, Brew Date – 30-12-09 1133

So I’ve already made my 1st mistake with this one and I just started boiling.  But I’m jumping ahead.  Let’s start at the beginning.  I got up at about 7:05 to start the brew day.  Got my medium and small pots out and started the water to boiling in each, the medium pot on my propane burner and the small pot on the stove.  While the water was coming to a boil, I got the rest of my equipment out and set up.

The mash in my converted cooler mash tun.

I mashed in with 162F water to precisely hit my desired mash in temperature of 149F; and it worked, hit 149F on the nose.  stirred the mash every 15 minutes and topped off with a few ounces of boiling water to maintain 149F.  Total mash time was a little over an hour. I ran through the vorlauf

Runnings cleared up in about 1 quart of vorlauf.

and it cleared up in less than 2 quarts.   Open the valve on my cooler mash tun all the way and let that baby drain fast, like Denny says.  I poured in the next bath of water at about 173F to mash out at 168F.  remember the grains are still pretty hot so it doesn’t take much of an increase in temperature to get to mash out.  I let that sit for about 10 minutes, and drained fast again.  I collect about 6.8 gallons, so I added a pitcher of hot water to the cooler and ran that through to get to the 7 gallons I was shooting for.  I guess this means me system holds more water than I calculated for.  I figured that the grain and the tun dead space would hold about 0.125 gallons per lb of grain, but it looks like I ma be up around 0.135 gal/lb.

Next comes the boil.  The wort came up to a boil rather quickly, about 15-20 minutes.  Here where the first mistake comes in. I had all my hop additions laid out

The boil additions - Bittering, flavor and aroma hops, yeast nutrients, whirlfloc and dextrose.

and labeled using the bags they were packed in.  But, I guess that wasn’t good enough.  I grabbed my 1st addition and went outside. I threw in two muslin bags at 75 minutes like my recipe says, only they were my flame out Centennial hops (2 ounces) and not my 1.6 ounces of Nugget bittering hops!.  So when i realized this I put the Nuggets back in the freezer and grabbed two more ounces of Centennial hops.  Now it is an all Centennial IPA. Not a terrible thing, but I was trying to get rid of the Nuggets.  Now the beer will have about 111 IBUs. It is going to be really bitter. RDWHAHB

The rest of the brew day went fairly smooth and was one of my most relaxed yet.  I think this was due to the fact that I orgainized all my brew supplies on a new shelf unit in the laundry room.

The only other hiccup was when I encountered frozen water lines outside and couldn’t chill there.  I took the brew pot down to the laundry room and chilled it using the water from the laundry tub down to 80F.  I got it the rest of the way down to 68F using a cooler full of ice water and a small pond pump hooked up to my immersion chiller.  I then transfered to the fermenter, aerated and pitched 1 sachet of  rehydrated Safale US-05 dry brewer’s yeast.

Brewer’s log, Brew Date – 30-12-09 0745

So, brew day has finally arrived.  It is just too long between brew days.  Initially, my plan was to brew  Monday but the snow storm last week moved our family Hershey Candy Lane trip to Sunday/Monday.  Then it was going to be yesterday but it was just too windy, gusts to 40+, not to mention cold!

Today I am brewing an IPA.  Using mostly Centennial Hops in late additions, and Nugget hops for bittering. I am hoping for a cross between a Midwest (Michigan, mainly) and West Coast IPA.  More specifically, I would like the hopping profiles or flavors of the Midwest (Bell’s Two-Hearted IPA, Founders Centennial IPA), but the bitterness, dryness and light color of the West Coast IPAs like Port Wipe Out IPA, Stone IPA, and Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, or even Stone Ruination. Here’s hoping…err…hopping!

I would like to thank Homebrew42 on BeerAdvocate for the recipe suggestion that formed the basis for the recipe I am using today. So without further ado here is the recipe:

  • 11 lbs 10 oz American Pale Malt
  • 10 oz Crystal 20L
  • 10 oz Carapils
  • 1 lb Dextrose (10 min.)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon yeast nutrients (10 min)
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet (15 min)
  • 1 11.5g sachet Fermentis US-05 Chico Ale Yeast

Hopping Schedule:

  • 1.6 oz whole Nugget (11.5% AA) 75 min.
  • 1.0 oz whole Centennial (9.6% AA) 20 min
  • 1.0 oz whole Centennial (9.6% AA) 10 min
  • 1.0 oz whole Centennial (9.6% AA) 5 min
  • 2.0 oz whole Centennial (9.6% AA) Flameout
  • 1.85 oz whole Centennial (9.6% AA) Dry hop
  • 0.75 oz Cascade pellets (8.6% AA) Dry hop
  • 0.4 oz Amarillo pellets (8.0% AA) Dry Hop
  • 0.55 oz Centennial pellets (9.1% AA) Dry Hop

Mash in at 149° F for 60 minutes.  Drain 1st runnings.  Batch sparge at 168° F . Chill to 68°F. Pitch rehydrated yeast. Ferment for 7 days or until complete. transfer to secondary fermetation vessel and add dry hops.  Dry hop for 7 days.

So here is how I intend to to achieve my goals for this beer stated above:

  • The Crystal 20L will impart just a hint of mild caramel sweetness and a light golden color.
  • The Carapils will lend body as well as some sweet malt flavor while improving head retention.
  • The dextrose will help ensure a dry beer because the yeast will feast completely on this simple sugar.
  • Mash at low 149° F for a very fermentable wort.

You may be wondering why some of the hop weights are not standard; this is because I am using up some leftovers from my hop freezer.  This hop schedule gives about 108 IBUs on the Tinseth scale.  This is Stone Ruination territory. But, these hops are 2007 crop and have been in the freezer  for a while.  While they have been sealed in Foodsaver Bags, they may have lost some of there AAs.  So better to be hoppier than not hoppy enough, in my opinion.

I have some hops in my freezer and I want to brew an American IPA. I am looking for recipe suggestions. If I pick your recipe suggestion, I will send you a six-pack of the finished product!

I don’t stock any grains, so that aspect is completely open.

My all-grain system currently gets about 65% eff. (trying to improve, but that’s were we stand)

Hops in freezer:
8oz. Whole Centennial (8.6%AA)
1.5 oz Whole Nugget (11.5%)
4 oz Whole Willamette (5.0%)
2.5 oz Fuggles (5.5%)
4.5 oz Cascade Pellets (7.8%)
0.4 oz Amarillo pellet (8.0%)
0.55% oz Centennial Pellets (9.1%)

So I await your suggestions.