‘Written 12/6/2011. Brewed 12/2/2011.’
I really didn’t know much about craft beer in 1996. I had had a few here and there while stationed at Ft. Bragg and got exposure to a world of different beer flavors while stationed in Germany. I really didn’t care much beyond that until after I got out and realized how much I missed some of those flavors.
I was ready to start exploring what the US market had to offer and in Kansas City, in late 1996, there really wasn’t much. At least that I could afford anyway. I was able to pick up the occasional two or three dollar 22oz bombers, and Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale was one that I picked up frequently. One of the first times I had it was on an afternoon golf outing with my father at the local nine hole. Up until then, he wasn’t a golfer and the ONLY thing he drank was Miller Lite. Well, he picked up a golf habit that lasted about 10 years and, unfortunately, has only switched to Busch beer. That however, is another story.
What I used:
- 9.25 lb Marris Otter
- 5 oz Crystal Malt
- 3 oz Chocolate Malt
- 1 oz East Kent Goldings
- .5 oz Fuggles
- a whirlfloc tablet
I used the recipe given in ‘Beer, Captured’.
Here’s how I used it:
I heated 8 gallons of water to 162′ then poured four gallons of it water into the mash tun. I then added my grain to heated water. This brought the temperature of the mash down to 151′. This is exactly where I wanted it so, I closed the lid at 11:15 for the 90 minute conversion time. At 12:45, I began transfering the wort from the mash tun to the kettle. I collect and transfer the wort, one gallon at a time, with my first gallon being used for lautering. The first gallon is usually cloudy and contains lots of little bits of grain that made it through the filter in the bottom of the mash tun, so it goes right back onto the top of the grain bed to be filtered again. Being that you tend to ’lose’ water in the grain, I collected an initial three gallons of wort and then took two of the original eight gallons of water and poured it into the mash tun and collected it as it passes through the grain. This further rinses the converted sugars from the grain. I repeated this process until I had an initial boil volume of about six gallons. I like to account for a boiloff rate of about a gallon an hour. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. But, usually not by much.
At 1:01, my transfer was complete and I started the flame under the boil kettle. At 1:32, my boil started and I added 3/4 oz of the East Kent Goldings and the 1/2 oz of the Fuggles. This boiled until 2:17, at which time I added the remaining 1/4 oz of the East Kent Goldings and the whirlfloc tablet.
I let it boil another 15 minutes and at 2:32, turned the flame off and began cooling using an immersion chiller. The great thing about brewing during the winter months is that the cold water from the tap makes cooling wort with an immersion chiller really quick!
After an hour or so, the wort was down to 90 degrees and I transfered it into the primary fermenter. Again, I do this gallon by gallon and I pour from about a foot above the top of the fermenter to encourage a really good aeration.
This is where the day didn’t go as planned. I actually planned this brewday back in June. That’s when I bought the yeast. The recipe called for Wyeast ‘Ringwood 1187′. They didn’t have it. So, the second choice was ‘Irish Ale 1084′. They didn’t have that either. But, they had a Wyeast guide and I settled on Wyeast ‘Whitebread 1099′. When I got home, I tossed it in the fridge. Brewday got pushed off a week, then another… then another…. and another. By the time I opened the yeast pack yesterday to pitch, it had gone bad. By bad, I mean it smelled like sour milk that had been left out… side, in July, for a week, bad. I was so close to dumping this into my wort.
I thought for sure I was going to have to find a way to store the wort, now cool and very prone to infection, in the refrigerator until today and have to reboil to kill off whatever nasties have started to take root. Not something I was looking forward to 24 hours AFTER I was supposed to be done! So, on a whim, I called my local homebrew shop and they were open! For another hour! And, they had the correct yeast in stock!
Now the beer sits, slowly gurgling away in the fermenter and I am hoping that in the next six to eight weeks or so, I will know whether the small ‘bump in the road’ was worth getting this recipe exactly perfect.
Whatever, I’ll drink it anyway…