Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Birthday Edition: Brewing QLC

Yesterday was my birthday. I don't feel a day over 43. Not bad.

This year, I decided to take PTO and brew on my birthday. I got this idea when Scott at SNB Brewing mentioned that he has did the same thing this year. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

And what better to brew on my birthday than my world-famous Quarter Life Crisis? Obviously, my life is over a quarter over now. It is closer to being 27%, but I am ok with that.

Brew day began at 5AM. I overheated the strike water a bit and had to add cold water to bring it down to the desired temperature. I went too low, so I added more hot water. Eventually, I got the mash more-or-less where I wanted it. This yo-yo style of getting to the right temperature probably is not the best practice for precision brewing, but I find it always works out fine.
Another early morning mash
The recipe called for two sparges, but the fact that I used so much water getting to the right mash temperature made me go with just one. My pre-boil volume was high and my pre-boil gravity was right - on, so obviously the single sparge was not a problem.

The boil went as it should. I used a Whirl Flock tablet instead of Irish Moss. I can't say I noticed a difference there. My ten minute hop addition was all in a large hop sack. I think this might be the most hops I've ever added to a beer. Once I add the dry-hops I am almost certain it will be the most.

First Wort Hops smell so good
I chilled the wort to just under 70 with the immersion wort chiller and then got it the rest of the way to 60 soaking the fermentor in cold water. This has now become a regular part of my process.

I ended up with just under 6 gallons of 1.070 wort in the fermentor and pitched the Super Yeast at 60 degrees.. Because this would almost certainly result in a blow-off, I siphoned off about 3/4 of a gallon into a cleaned and sanitized milk jug to ferment separately from the rest of the beer.

Both fermentations seem to be going well at 65 degrees.

After the main "hot-and-heavy" fermenation seems to be done, I will dry-hop the big fermentor. I have not decided if I will put the beer into a secondary or not. It probably depends on whether or not I have bottled my Snowball's Chance (in) Helles in a timely manner (that is what is currently in the smaller better bottle fermentor).

Snowball's Chance (in) Helles in secondary
So, my birthday brew day went well.

I am very much looking forward to having this hoppy beer on tap in a few weeks.

Go Blackhawks!

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