Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yeah, I'll brew after work...that's a great idea!

Nope, it wasn't. Well, at least this time. I started heating up the water around 5:30 pm and cleaned the last piece at 2:00 am! Jeff and I decided to re-brew our Amber recipe, 10 gallons worth! The last recipe was a little too sweet and malty, not enough hop flavor and aroma. We would like it to be  touch drier and less sweet...but still have the malt flavor and a good hop nose. So, we lowered the mash temp, cut back on the caramel malts, and added a huge slug of late hops. It's fermenting now and will be ready in a week, then we'll be able to see if the new recipe changed anything! On a side note, I kegged the new Blonde and Pale Ale on Tuesday and they tasted really good. The Blonde is very light bodied and the Pilsner malt really helped bring out that grain flavor in it. The Pale Ale was a medium bodied, slightly sweet with caramel flavors...though I think it could have used more late hops. They will be served at the big party next Saturday, so hopefully they are conditioned enough and carbonated by then!

So with the Amber ale we brewed Thursday night, one of my volume calculations was off and the boil kettle was right at the top...whoops. The gravity reading still came out to what it was supposed to be (surprisingly) and now we'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. There were a slew of problems with the brewery that just happened to hit at around midnight, so that didn't make it too fun. Luckily, I had Friday off! Here's a pic of the boil kettle full of 14 gallons of wort in a rolling boil, least to me:

On the other hand, Amy (my sister) and I went hiking with Moxie yesterday; it was great. This is what spring in Colorado looks like. I don't think the snow will be gone until August.

Hope everyone had/has a great weekend. I'll check in again soon!

Monday, June 6, 2011

That was a long one

On Saturday, I decided to have a double brew both beer styles and volumes! I usually just do 5 gallon batches because I like to have 4 different kegs on tap at the house. Bigger 10 gallon batches would take up two kegs each, and thus only give me two styles of beer on tap (a shame). Anyways, I brewed two 10 gallon batches because half of it is being brewed for the biggest birthday party of the decade! My nephew and brother-in-law (is that right? or is he technically my sister-in-law's husband...I like using brother-in-law) just had birthdays recently...4 and 40!

Lowell Brewery working hard

Charlie and Jeff ...4 and 40! My sister-in-law, Abby, made the invite. Check out her blog, she's talented!
I brewed a revised Blonde Ale recipe and a new Pale Ale. This time around, I added a little pilsner malt to the Blonde to hopefully improve the malt flavor and I used some late addition Crystal hops. Should be an easy drinker. I have never brewed a pale ale (surprisingly) and this one is mostly 2-row and crystal malts with Cascade and Centennial hops. It shouldn't be too bitter, but with a nice hop flavor and aroma. I also thoroughly cleaned the brewery and all the available kegs! Basically, I started at 6:00am and finished around 8:00pm (with a little beer break and socializing in between). It was a long day and I was feeling it...I'm getting old.

Blonde boiling away (right) and the Pale right in line behind it (left) in the mash tun!

Have I ever showed you the inside of the brewery's control panel? Sounds racy, eh? Well here it is. I wired everything myself and had it checked with an electrician. Even though it looks like a bird's nest, it works great! It's all sealed and waterproof too...which helps with the whole electrical fire/electrocution thing. Don't worry, Mom, it's safe.

The guts
After finishing the brewing part and hauling jugs with 5 gallons of unfermented beer (wort) in them...we were ready to throw the yeast in and make some booze!

Just after putting the yeast in

Walah! 12 hours later, the yeast were eating the sugars and bubbling away making beer! Blonde on the left, Pale on the right.

It's been hot here, in the 90s, but hopefully the fermentation temps will stay low for the next couple of days and we'll get some delicious beer out of that long day. Well, this has been a long post, but it's been a little while since the last one. See all of you soon! For the locals, keep your eyes and ears open for a Lowell Brewing Co. festival at the end of July/beginning of August. Sally and I were thinking it will be a charity event for some of our favorites!

Oh, by the way, the On Golden Blonde and Bellamy Amber kegs emptied last weekend! On tap now, the two Busted Wing IPAs...delicious. 

All of you that have received gifts of beer from me, whether in bottle or on tap, don't forget to give us some feedback and review the beers (link on the left)!