Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I had an accident...

So i used the HOLY MALT yeast cake from the previous post to pitch a smoked imperial porter on to, here is said yeast cake:

And here is what it looked like about 10 hours after pitching:

Look at that headspace...

Don't worry, i am good at sanitising and had it all under control.

Oh, and here is a picture of the fresh hops i racked the HOLY MALT onto. 40 grams of Chinook and 40 grams of Cascade. AWESOME!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I made a beer yesterday.

Beer style: Imperial Red IPA

Malt Bill:

6kg Pale Ale
900g Half Amber/Biscuit
800g Crystal 60L
150g Carafa III
100g Crystal 120L


25g Cascade @ 60mins
25g Cascade @ 50mins
25g Cascade @ 40mins
25g Cascade @ 30mins
40g Chinook @ 10mins
40g Chinook @ 0mins
Then dry hop with friends fresh Chinook/Cascade hops off his vine after primary.

23L, OG 1.060, Wyeast American Ale II

Beer name:

You know when you just want to make a ridiculous beer? That's how i felt yesterday. Brew day was kinda weird, had a few issues that i don't normally have. I took some pictures, and thought i'd share this little adventure with you. Let's begin!

Banana smoothie and a coffee, breakfast of champions.

Heating the strike water in off-screen pot.

This illustrates my new mashing setup pretty well, i've had it for a while, just never gotten around to posting about it. A really nice member of the Aussie home brewer forums gave it to me after he upgraded. His name is Jesse and he runs a hop business called Hop Dealz in Melbourne, i definitely recommend checking it out, because he is an awesome guy, and he sells good hops.

Mashing in an actual mash-tun and not using BIAB is SO MUCH BETTER. Even though i'm all for BIAB for new brewers, setting up a mash tun makes a huge difference. First of all you have much better temperature stability and secondly you can make much bigger beers. The only downside is cleaning it out, which isn't really that big of a downside at all.

Alright, malt all weighed out, time to crush! 

"Hey Hamish, can i use your drill?"

"No, my girlfriend has it and she's not home"

Alright, time to get Amish on this shit.

Fuuuck it was slow. But that's ok, i say to myself. It feels kinda nice actually, you can really feel the grain crushing under your own weight, and the sound it makes is really great. 

I am at one with the grain.

Well, until the hopper decides to come loose, and all the non-crushed grain goes pouring into the bucket full of my blood, sweat and tears.

It's totally cool, just re-crush the grain. But this time, do it a different way.

I'm pretty sure homebrewing turns you into a genius or something...

Crushed grain by my own fucking hands? This beer is going to RULE.

Great picture.

Alright, mash is underway, i guess it's time to heat up the sparge water and drink a beer! Which beer shall i drink? Oh how about this homebrew i made recently called the 'Burnt Toast and Jam'.

If you read my last post, you might remember a secret beer that i had been working on, and i didn't want to give anything away because it might be shit. Well, it's not shit. It's definitely not what i expected, but it's really good in its own way.

Basically it's a really dark, bittersweet ale with some peated malt to give the 'Burnt Toast' vibe, and then after fermentation i added a bunch of Blackberries to give the 'Jam' vibe.

It is a different beast. While being super dry and bitter, the dark crystal gives it this underlying syrupy-ness, (like jam) and then the acidity and tartness of the berries cuts right through. Weirdly enough, one of the most refreshing beers i've made.

Anyway, how's that mash looking?

Good. Yes.

Lautering time, and then i sparged it good.

I love brewing jargon.

Boil is underway and after the first hop addition, i get my first ever boil-over... I thought it would never happen to me. Everything just happened so fast!

It wasn't that bad, i lost maybe half a cup. Can't stop now though, i'll clean up later. Hop time.

Ooooo, fresh hops! A brewing friend gave me these from his harvest. I added a few of these along with pellets during the boil, but most of them will go in after primary fermentation. I need their aroma, and because i'm going to be no-chilling my beer, most of that might not hang around.

Recently i've been having a bit of a brewing crisis. I no chill my beer, which is when you put your post boil hot wort into an airtight container and let it sit overnight (or for as long as you want) to cool.

Some people don't like this for some reasons. Firstly there is the obvious: it is more susceptible to infections, which is absolutely true if you're not careful. Secondly, it will cause off flavours due to more exposure to oxygen and also because if it is left to sit at near boiling temperature, Dimethyl Sulfides (DMS), which cause sweet corn aroma and taste, won't be able to escape and will be trapped in your beer for all eternity! To be fair, i have no clue what DMS actually is, and i wouldn't have a clue if it was in my beer, but i know i am concerned about it because other people are. The last thing is that the cold break will be prohibited, meaning the proteins that form haze won't coagulate out of your beer and you will end up with hazy beer.

Anyway, as far as i can tell most of these are true except the last one. From what i've heard, the cold break happens no matter how fast the beer chills. I would have to confirm as all the beers i have brewed since no-chilling have all been wonderfully clear after a while in the bottle.

The others i am concerned about, but i am also concerned about water wastage, and my water bill. If you know of a way of chilling wort quick without wasting much water, let me know!

Anyway, i no-chilled the shit out of this beer, because all the beers i've made recently have been no chilled and have turned out great! I also put 40g of Chinook pellets in there as aroma additions (because the hot wort will stay hot for a while, and will still extract oils from the hops.)

This beer is probably the best smelling beer i've ever made. So. Much. Maltiness.

That brings us to the end of an exciting brew day, i hope you all enjoyed it as much as i did, even though there were mistakes, i still had an awesome time. Brewing is the best!

Also, if you haven't got this book, you should probably get it. I have been obsessed!

And to finish it all up and remind you just how small you actually are, here is an awesome picture of NGC 2841, a flocculent galaxy. Here is the full size, i recommend checking it out, it's very detailed.

Now that i think about it, it kinda looks like cold break being whirlpooled...

Why'd they name it NGC 2841 though? Why not something awesome like TERRORBANG!