Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Apologies, and Beer Babbling

I must admit that I lied a little bit on my first post. I claimed that it was an Okacim clone that we brewed upon that fateful evening. But fear not gentle reader, I will tell you the real story. Tonight culminated the first part of our latest brewing adventure. I am going to take a bit of time to babble about our beer before bed. We racked the baltic porter over into a secondary fermenter, cleaned out the dead yeast from the bottom of the pail, and sent them to live in compost city! Now we wait a while longer for it to chill out, two weeks-ish, and then we'll be kegging this batch too!

The "almost Okacim" clone, dubbed as such because we've altered the brew to be our own by using a trappist ale yeast instead of the lager yeast traditionally used in baltic porters. The Baltic Porter style is characterized by a dark, complex flavor full of nut, malt, chocolate, licorice, etc. They usually run a pretty high gravity and often end up being in the 8-10%ABV range. These are some kickin' beers. Not for the faint of spirit. This is my favorite kind of beer that we've made so far. It's kinda becoming our club's signature beer.

This is our third time making a baltic porter. Previously to this we made an "almost Baltica" clone with ale yeast and another "almost Baltica" clone with trappist yeast. Taking the recommendation of the man down at the brew store, we ran slightly different direction with this brew by trying a different cloned recipe.

I really love brewing as a process from the beginning to the end. I love smelling the malted grains as we weigh them out at the shop and grind them. We taste the batch at every point in the process. From unfermented wort, sweet and thick, to skunked beer left out overnight. It's easy to snag a sip and really connects you to every phase of that beer's life. Our beer tastes amazing when it's warm and flat... and even better chilled and carbonated. It didn't even last long enough for me to take a good picture.
Not even bubbly yet

Next time at the GBC: This weekend, we're going to make ourselves some jihad wine to serve up some terr'st style lovin'

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kegging, no wait, ADVICE!

Now I'm not going to try to teach you how to deal with kegs from some position of authority. I've kegged exactly one brew. So far it's turning out as the best thing that has ever happened, so I'm willing to recommend the process. Here's a teaser shot of the cider absorbing CO2 at about 30 PSI. Should be really fizzy and tasty, especially when chilled.
Now, kegging is one of those things that when you're ready for it, you should already have a working relationship with the wonderful folks down at your local brew store. By the time you've gotten this far you've found your local brew store right? This place is the mecca of the home-brewer, or at least the local temple. There is nobody working there who doesn't love beer more than you can imagine. More than even I can imagine. Their wisdom flows freely, like good drink amongst better friends. Learn from the priests of the brew.

Okacim Update: It's bubbling away happily. Looks like another Baltic Porter win in our books. It's our third and is really becoming our signiture style thus far.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Okocim Porter

Okocim Porter is dark black in color with a creamy, cappuccino-colored head. The nose is malty and sweet with traces of roasted malt. The full-bodied flavor is brimming with roasted malt and molasses with a nicely balanced hop presence. This porter finishes with an aftertaste dominated by dry roasted grains.

We started by boiling about a gallon of water and let it sit for a while, until it cooled to ~150deg F. Then we chucked in a sock full of our specialty grains!

12oz Weyerman Caramunich Malt
4oz Paul's Black Patent Malt
4oz Paul's Chocolate Malt
4oz Weyerman Dark Munich Malt

We let that sit for about twenty minutes before sparging with cold water from the hose, bringing our total up to about 1.5 gallons. Then we brought it to a boil again before removing it from our turkey fryer and adding the following ingredients.

12.25 pounds Pale Malt Extract
12oz Malto-Dextrin
1oz Brewers Gold Hop Pellets

We brought this up to a boil, yet again, and let it roll for 45 minutes-ish. Here is Max stirring with the trademarked Samurale brewstick.
Jon spent a good bit of time scraping and hacking at this log to turn it into a handmade stirring stick.
Somewhere in here we sanitized the bucket with Iodophor sanitizer.

At T-minus fifteen minutes we chucked in the final bit o' hops.

1/2oz Sterling Hop Pellets
To cool the brew quickly, we threw in the wort chiller and ran some cool water through this copper pipe dunked in the brew. Garden hoses are important for brewing!
Finally, right before buttoning up our brew bucket we added the final ingredient. The little yeastie beasties that do all of the work to make our beer a beer!

White Labs 500 Trappist Yeast

In 5-7 days, we need to move it over to the secondary fermenter. We also have 5 gallons of cider waiting for kegging!

Next time: We're going to set up the kegging system and get our cider under some pressure. Sweet fizzy fizzy go!