Sunday, June 30, 2013

First brew of 2013 - Black IPA

So, it's been a pretty long time since I brewed.  In fact, I'm embarrassed to say, the last beer I brewed was over a year ago! (yes, I made a mead last fall, but that doesn't really count...).  I've been excited to finally get back to it!  My parent's bought me a recipie kit from Austin Homebrew for Christmas - a Black IPA.  It's an all grain kit, and the grain is un-crushed; good because it keeps better this way, but I didn't have a grain mill so I haven't gotten around to brewing it until now.  I finally bit the bullet and bought a Barley Crusher grain mill with a 7 lb hopper.

Brew day went pretty well, considering how long it's been since I've brewed!

The new Barley Crusher mill worked like a charm!

I had to improvise a new fermentation chamber as the last one I built was insufficient to deal with the Houston summer heat.  So for now, I hooked up my temperature controller to an old minifridge.  The minifridge's internal thermostat doesn't work anymore (it just runs at full all the time until everything freezes), so I figured since I was going to bypass that anyway and use my temperature controller, it would work perfectly as a fermentation chamber!  I removed the door lining, and the fermentor just barely fits.  Looks like my next project will be to build a bigger fermentation chamber around this fridge.

Black IPA

Estimated OG: 1.078 SG
Estimated Color: 24.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 171.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 76.7 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     
14 lbs 12.0 oz        Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)          
8.0 oz                Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)          
8.0 oz                Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)                    
8.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)    
1.04 oz               Millenium [15.20 %] - Boil 60.0 min      
1.04 oz               Warrior [15.23 %] - Boil 60.0 min       
1.04 oz               Zythos [10.90 %] - Boil 60.0 min         
1.04 oz               Zythos [10.38 %] - Boil 30.0 min         
1.04 oz               Falconer's Flight [10.85 %] - Boil 15.0  
2.0 pkg               California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) 
1.00 oz               Falconer's Flight [11.40 %] - Dry Hop 
1.00 oz               Zythos [10.90 %] - Dry Hop 

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 16 lbs 4.0 oz
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 5.58 gal of water at 160.3 F        150.0 F       60 min        

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.36gal, 3.99gal) of 168.0 F water

Friday, June 28, 2013

3rd Year Hops!

The hops have been doing pretty well!  Just thought I'd add some pictures of their growth.  I had to add a fence to keep the deer out (we have a heard of about 20 who migrate through our yard every day!).  One of the plants even has about a dozen cones on it already!

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Property - New Hop Trellis

My how the time flies!  Much has changed since my last post.  We moved further into the country so that we could have some more land and have room for a big garden, chickens, etc.  Our new home is a beautiful log cabin on 1.6 wooded acres!  But the real selling point for me was the barn - a 2,000 square foot metal building!  I have big plans for the barn: workshop, climbing wall, storage, but best of all - an upgraded brewery!

I decided to build a new hop trellis on our new property.  Fortunately, I found a dead tree trunk in the woods that was perfect - probably about 12 feet tall and fairly straight.  I screwed 3 eye bolts in at the top of the trunk.
Then I attached a steel guy wire, and a length of twine to each eye bolt.
I dug a 3 foot hole, and put a piece of brick at the bottom to make a stable bottom.  After placing the trunk in the hole, I filled around it with crushed stone so it will drain, and hopefully the trunk will be less likely to rot.  I evenly spaced the 6 lines around the base of the trunk, and dug a hole at each line for a hop hill.
My daughter helped me with the digging... :-)  I dug up the root ball from our old property and cut off some rhizomes about 4 or 5 inches long.  After planting a rhizome in each hole, I filled the hole with steer manure compost, and covered the mound with mulch.  Finally, I ran some drip irrigation lines from the garden to each mound.
Looking forward to seeing how they grow in the new location!  I don't expect a large harvest this year, since I am starting from small rhizomes again - they will mostly be establishing their roots this year.  Still, it would be nice to get enough to make a fresh hop IPA!