Sunday, May 05, 2013

Brewing for the Nationals

Did I mention that my Sasquatch Hunter German Altbier won first place at the Denver Regional round of AHA's National Home-Brew Competition in Category 7 : Amber Hybrid Beer?

Yes, I have mentioned it to lots of people. Hopefully I am not coming across too much as an arrogant, bragging ass. At some point I'll share some of the humbling things about the other beers I entered to the competition to knock myself down a couple pegs.

As I mentioned in Kind of a Big Deal, the first place win advanced my beer to the finals of the National Home-Brew Competition. Unfortunately, I did not save enough bottles to send to the finals.

This meant I had to brew it again this weekend.

As lots of you know, the first Saturday of May is National Homebrew Day, and for as long as I remember, the American Homebrewers Association has organized a Big Brew Day. Basically it is just an excuse for homebrewers to get together in packs and brew together.

The SheppyBrew Beer Model (aka my wife) and I have made it a tradition to brew together on Big Brew Day. You can follow lots of posts (including this one) by going to my Big Brew Day label on this blog. Originally, I was planning on brewing Laser Salt Sandy Blonde Ale with her, but the home-brew competition win changed that plan. We had to brew Sasquatch Hunter German Altbier. Luckily, the Beer Model was ok with this.

One interesting thing about brewing with my wife is that brewing gets started much later in the day. It was after 8:30 when we got started, which is almost 3 hours later than I started last time I brewed this. The late start allowed me to study my notes. I honestly have never been as concerned about trying to do everything as close to another brew day as I was for this brew day.

It appears that everything last time was pretty by-the-book other than that I overshot my strike temperature and had to add ice to bring my mash down.

Mashing in
So, this time, we purposely mashed in a bit high and reduced the mash temperature by adding cold water.

Not sure this was a good idea as I ended up having to add some hot water when I cooled the mash too much. But eventually,  we got things where we wanted them .... I think.

Studying the recipe?
First wort.
Everything else seemed to go exactly as it did last time. I even played WII Mario Kart during the mash. My pre-boil gravity was exactly the same. My volume was a bit higher, but that is obviously fine.

May the 4th be with you.

Adding Hops
The boil went as planned. We remembered to add what we needed to add when we needed to add it.

When we measured our gravity it was a bit high compared to the recipe plan, but EXACTLY what it was last time I brewed it. Just like last time, I dillutted the wort with 1/2 gallon of water. Just like last time, it reduced the OG to 1.052, which is 2 points higher than the recipe calls for, but exactly what we wanted.

Transferring to Carboy
Just like last time, we let the wort cool in my littler carboy and then transferred the cool (and clear) wort into the bigger carboy.

This time we did not watch the Hobbit while the wort was settling. Hopefully that doesn't affect the quality of the final beer.

The Sasquatch Hunter
My pitching temp was 60 this time. Last time I have recorded that it was 62. That should be fine. We added clarity ferm, making this a Gluten Killer, just like last time.

As far as I can tell, we did everything exactly as I did last time I brewed this beer, and every measurable data point I have seems to support this.

This time, I did end up with a little extra wort (about a gallon and a half) which I put into a Mr. Beer fermentor with some of the harvested WLP830 I had from my latest series of lagers (Snowball's Chance (in) Helles, Khazad-dûm Black Lager, Helles in a Hand Bock-sket). I will bottle this up and compare it with the "real" batch.

And, now, the yeast is working on making the wort into beer. I do think that ideally, I would have a little more conditioning time before having to send my beers to Philly, but I think the beer should turn out similar enough to my first (award winning) batch that at least I'll represent well in the finals.

We will see how it does.

Go Blackhawks!

No comments:

Post a Comment