Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Brew Beer in 3 Minutes

It took way too long for me to put this together, but here it is:

From my brew day this past weekend.

Note: At the end of the video, I meant to place an approximate length on secondary fermentation of 4 -6 weeks. Obviously, this is subject to change if you are brewing either a huge beer or a smaller session beer.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Keep on Racking in the Free World

I decided to rack the Maibock into secondary fermentation today and store in the kegerator for lagering.  Some people have been asking what lagering is versus a lager beer.  A lager beer is a beer that is fermented with a lager yeast (bottom fermenting).  Lagering is a conditioning period where the beer is stored at cold temperatures (approximately 33 to 38 degrees) for an extended period of time (atleast a few weeks, but sometimes months).  Lagering helps round out a beer brewed with a lager strain and will help achieve that "smoothness" that is desirable in a lager beer.  Lagering also helps clarify beer as any particulate matter tends to settle to the bottom during lagering.

As pictured above, I took a gravity (a measure of the density of the liquid) reading before racking into secondary and noted it to be about 1.022 brix (a scale for measuring gravity).  Hopefully when done this brew will have a final gravity around 1.015 coming down from a starting gravity of 1.066.  Beers with higher final gravities will have a more noticeable sweetness relative to those with lower final gravities, due to the existence of unfermented or residual sugars.  In my opinion, a good maibock should have a noticeable sweetness.

I was messing around with my new ipod nano, which now takes video (in case you've been living in a cave and didn't hear), and I took a quick video of the inside of the HolzBrew kegerator:

Surprisingly the video quality wasn't too bad for being on an mp3 player.

I hear that Northern Virginia is getting 22 ouncers of Troegs Nugget Nectar in this week, as well as, Bells Hopslam. Now that's a great week for beer. I've put an order in for a sixtel of Nugget Nectar, hopefully it all fits in the kegerator.

Keep it racking,


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Temperature Control Woes

I love a full flavored and well made lager, but I hate making them myself.  Over the years I've built fermentation chambers and used temperature override controls for freezers in order to achieve lager fermenting temperatures.  All of which have been a pain in the butt (and a storage nightmare, considering we live in a small condo) and I've never quite been satisfied with any of the lagers I have brewed and I blame it on the difficulty of maintaining the proper temperature.  I can brew ales, but a great lager has yet to roll out of the holzbrew kitchen.

Below the Maibock fermenting away three days in:

The first day I stored it in my kegerator at about 41 degrees F, but the fermentation was non existent.  The second day I took the fermenter out of the kegerator and let it warm up slowly.  All of day 2 it was fermenting in the 50 - 55 degree range and a nice fermentation was underway.  Today as you can see it has warmed to about 60 degrees which is too high for a lager, I've placed it near the fireplace as that is a very drafty and cool area in our condo, but it seems to be maintaining a temp of about 60 (and it is bubbling away quite fiercely).  I think I'll let it go here for at least a few more days in order to get the majority of the fermenting done and then move it into the kegerator for a week around 42 degrees and then drop the temps for 2 months closer to 34-35 degrees for lagering.  Hopefully the lagering will help even out any off flavors from fermenting a little on the warm side.

Keep it cold,