Brewing Extravaganza

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Chief Assistant Brewmaster Joel and I held yet another Brewing Extravaganza this past weekend, brewing two beers, bottling one and drinking more than enough between the two of us.

For his part, Joel brewed a wildly successful British Brown Ale that is nearly a Newcastle clone (with his own touch). This ale was a huge hit among our friends and he flew through 40 bottles in no time. Supply and demand baby. Joel supplied it.

He did brew alone and feed Smitty Jr. and Joel-ette because yours truly forgot the one ingredient that makes a Belgian Dubbel...a Belgian Dubbel. And I live a half hour away. But that's what makes Joel the Chief Assistant.

I'll let Joel post his recipe if he so chooses. For my part, here's my brew:

Belgian Dubbel (18-B for the BJCP folks)

Size: 5.0 gal
Target Alcohol: 6.52%

1.0 lbs Munich Malt
1.0 lbs Pilsner Malt
1.0 lbs Aromatic Malt
3.3 lbs Liquid Light Extract
3.3 lbs Liquid Amber Extract
12 oz Belgian Candi Syrup
12.0 fl oz Traverse City Cherry Juice Concentrate - added to primary fermenter
1.0 oz Fuggle (4.8%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
2.0 ea White Labs WLP500 Trappist Ale

For the brewing geeks, my target O.G. was 1.062. My actual was 1.070. And for anyone who cares, my brewing calculator also determines caloric value. All things going the way they should, one bottle of this beer is 220.68 calories.

Things went well for the most part; no spills, boil-overs, ripped grain bags, etc. I pitched the yeast appropriately at about 75 degrees or so with plenty of aeration. But 24 hours later, I still have no noticable activity; my airlock is showing no signs of life. But I have had this issue with White Labs yeasts before. They seem to take a bit longer to wake up and start eating versus the smack-pack type of yeasts that wake up and start eating as you open the pack. But White Labs maintains incredibly reliable justs makes me nervous and antsy when I don't see my beer going nuts right now.

Wish me luck, and in the mean time, I'll look forward to enjoying another one of Joel's great brews.


Never mind. It started getting better this morning. I can see just a light foam on top. That means by this evening, there's a chance I'll need to hook-up a blow-off tube. Thursday or Friday, I'll add the cherry juice and we're off the the races again.


roger,  12:56 PM  

Dag, yo. Time to start making starters. check out on pitching techniques and his nifty yeast pitching rate calculator. An enlightening feature of the program is the viability calculator.

Sounds like a fun brew. I kegged the Rye IPA yesterday and will be brewing a Classic American Pilsner next weekend.

Smitty 1:07 PM  

Hey roger.

You know, I have always thought about doing a starter with White Labs' stuff. I never have had to with Wyeast and have been lucky in that they make most of the yeast I need. But for the Belgian, my brew store only carries White Labs. Shoulda made a starter. But I went home over lunch, and it has finally started going nuts. I feel a great sense of relief.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 2:50 PM  

I fully expect Joel to ad "Chief Assistant Brewmaster" after his name.

I further expecty to drink one of Smitty's finest...someday.

Colin 8:52 AM  

Hmmh, sounds like some good stuff you're brewing there!

Have you tried the Safbrew T-58 before? I personally have not, but US-05(aka 56) and s-04 from Fermentis both take off like a lightning bolt! I've gotten airlock activity out of US-05 within a couple of hours, and not just some inconsequential depressurizing, we're talking flowing Co2! Great stuff.

I got some good new Smitty,I'm moving into a nice little duplex with outdoor spickets and ahuge 62 degree basement! I'm going to be in brewing heaven, so my All-grain setup is going to have to get built real quick like!

Thrillhous 9:21 AM  

Sounds like a good one, Smitty. Glad to hear the yeast kicked in. What, no pics this time?

Smitty 9:22 AM  

Hey Colin!

Sounds awesome...where at? Still in Portland?

Safbrew? Do you order that yeast online?

Smitty 9:23 AM  

No, no pix TH. Busy brewing. Chief Brewing Photographer Mrs. Smitty was gone and Chief Assistant Brewmaster joel and I were too busy drinking to notice that we hadn't taken any pix.

I shoul take one of the massive yeast cake I've got right now and post it. It looks like a giant bubbling brain.

Colin 12:50 PM  

Smitty, I pick up the Safale S-04 and US-56/US-05 at The Red Salamander in Grand Ledge. Both of these yeasts have an incredible viable success rate.

I believe the Salamander has the t-58, but I can't be certain!

Colin 2:01 PM  

Oh yea, and the place is still in Portland.

Roger 4:34 PM  

The dry yeast will certainly get down to business faster than the liquid, as there are billions more cells in the packet.

You get no appreciable cell growth from popping the smack pack, just proof that there are some viable yeast cells left in the package. Stress in the reproduction phase (from underpitching or inadequate aeration) leads to some funky flavors.

The two things that made my beers better were fermentation temp control and pitching adequate amounts of yeast.

I'm glad your yeast got down to work.

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