Archive for May, 2010

Amarillo Rye Pale Ale

I LOVE Founders Red’s Rye PA. It’s a strong, hoppy, spicy ale that has tons of flavor and aroma from a combination of a complex grain bill and a ton of Amarillo hops. Last year, I found a clone recipe and made it. It turned out great (after about 4 months of aging in the keg), but at 7%, it was pretty deceptively easy to put away, and put me down for the night pretty early.
With summer coming, and a bunch of rye to use, I thought of scaling the recipe down to about a 5-5.5% ‘session’ rye pale ale. The initial recipe (on the right) used Cascade and Amarillo, and came out at around 85 IBUs. This new recipe (also over there on the right) uses all Amarill0 hops, and the grain bill is scaled back and changed a bit.
No photos of the brew session, though I will say it went smoothly. It was only a five gallon batch, since I still haven’t put the keggle back together yet. I was planning on using a smack pack of Denny’s Favorite yeast, but the pack wasn’t inflating as much as I’d liked, so earlier in the day I rehydrated two packs of US-05 instead. When I went to bed last night it was bubbling almost non-stop, and had a nice krausen on top of it. I plan on dry hopping this in the keg with another ounce or two of Amarillo.

The ten gallon batch of Cascadian Dark Ale I brewed last weekend is done. I plan on kegging half of it (with an ounce or two of Cascade in the keg), and dry-hopping, then bottling the other half. Final gravity was around 1.018, and it had a nice hoppy bite to it, with just a hint of the dark malt roast flavor. It’s a different flavor that I’ve really come to enjoy.

National Homebrew Day!

Saturday was National Homebrew Day, with hundreds of sites all over hosting group brews. Ed Hoffman was kind enough to offer his bar patio to the cause. Our friend Jason brought his equipment down and set up to brew a Red Ale kit from the co-op, and I brought down enough equipment to brew 10 gallons of the Cascadian Dark Ale. It was a sunny, breezy afternoon. I showed up around noon and set some gear out:

The last time I used to keggle, I had issues with leaving wort behind. I took care of this issue by installing a dip tube that reaches down to the outside bottom of the kettle, leaving a quart of wort and hop material behind. This, coupled with the paint strainer hop stopper thingy I made should make for easier draining. Of course, when you load up the hop stopper with 11 ounces of hops, things happen. Let’s just say I’ve learned a new trick. Also, I need to rebuild the bulkhead and valve seal, since I tweaked it a bit installing the dip tube, but it was only a very minor inconvenience. Here’s the tube in place.

So for the brew data. I misplaced my pound of Cascade pellets (??!) so I switched up the hop schedule a little bit and did the following: 1.5 oz Columbus first wort hop, 2 oz Columbus at 30 minutes, 4 oz Cascade at 10 minutes, and 4 ounces Cascade at 5 minutes. After drawing wort, I added a few pounds of liquid extract to bolster the gravity to near the previous batch, since my mash tun was maxed out at 26 pounds of grain. A larger mash tun will be the next upgrade, but I am in no hurry. After a couple of minor boilovers, I ended up with around 9 gallons of wort, measuring a gravity of 1.074. I was only looking for 1.067, so I topped each carboy off with a quart or two of water to get the gravity in line with the previous batch. I pitched 1.5  packs of Pacman yeast per carboy. Color was not as black as last time, but plenty dark for me.

Here’s what they were doing this morning.

All in all, a very pleasant and successful brew day. Thanks to everyone who came out to check it out, thanks to Ed and Rebecca for hosting and grilling. We’re already talking about doing another brew there this summer.

After the last batch of rain and sun, my hops are doing fabulous! This was taken last night. That birdhouse is around 12 feet up.

I’m going to try and get at least one more 10 gallon brew in before the new baby girl arrives. Also, I’ll be brewing a kit from the local co-op in preparation for a homebrew demo in June I’ve been asked to do. More on that soon.