Friday, December 11, 2009

Ice Coated Brewing

This past Sunday we brewed another batch of our Back Porch Brown Ale. The difference of brewing this day was that we started brewing was coated in ice.

~This was the deck, first thing in the morning, as we got ready to set up for brewing~

~We're getting set up now and you can see the ice still coating the deck. At least it's not raining, right?~

Brewing went well, despite the bitterly cold start to the morning. Several people have asked whether the cold weather makes it take longer for the water to boil, but we didn't find that there was much of a difference. Our burners are some high kickin' burners though, so maybe that makes a difference? The cooler weather DID make it a little bit quicker to chill down after the boil; which was good because it saved us some water consumption (less water needed to cool it down), and the quicker it cools down the quicker you can get it into the carboys. This equals a smaller chance for infection. Also, the quicker you cool it, the better "cold break" you will get which will reduce or eliminate the occurrence of chill haze. Chill haze doesn't affect the flavor of the beer though, only its appearance; so for those who want a nice, clear, "see-your-hand-through-the-glass" beer, chill haze is something that is a bit undesirable.

~Shannon, in his hat & gloves, helping to skim the foam off of the wort, at the end of the sparge, as it gets ready to boil~

~Here he is dumping the foam he skimmed off into a pot of water that will be dumped out on the grass~

We once again fermented 5 gallons with American yeast and 5 gallons with English yeast. We've been a little lax about keeping good records as to which yeast we prefer in the final product. Note to brewers: keep good records, all the way through!!
5 gallons we will keg and 5 we will bottle. Kegging is easy and quick, and it is hard not to keg all 10 gallons, but we're remembering the importance of bottling beer as well. Gifts, bartering, competitions, beer in bottles can be a good thing.

We'll keep you updated with what we brew next.