So, for the last couple of months things have been slightly slow around the trailer. While we worked our way through the backstock of homebrew, enjoyed the new micro-brewery in town, and generally tried to keep up with lives and work we’ve not done an awful lot of brewing. Last weekend we decided to make up for our downtime.;)
The first thing we did is an ESB that we’ve been meaning to make for a while. Derick’s a big fan of the stouts, porters, traditionally darker beers of england and ireland and really wanted to do an ESB. I love a good stout, and have had some fun with non-traditional porters in the past, but tend to trend more towards a good love of light malt and big hops. So we compromise. The ESB we did is a fairly straightforward extract kit with a bit extra malt in the steeping bag. This seems to really have jumped out at us.
We also did a traditional Pilsner, and you can see it fermenting below. One of the things we’ve found with the double pot method of brewing is that we tend to get a little more liquid than expected, and we’ve only got the one 6.5 gallon carboy. The bigger batches with the liter yeast starter require the monster blow off tube. As you can see from this photo, it’s full. 🙂 You can also see the usefulness of the chest freezer style keg fridge. The temperature is a solid 48-50 degrees inside, and is perfect as a lagering “cellar”. This will be a neat one to try later in the summer.
We’ve also started another batch of mead, this time with a german blueberry concentrate we found at the little imported German foods store in Moline. This should prove interesting, though resident brew-meister Aaron at Millstream has already turned his nose up at the idea. He’s such a snob sometimes. 🙂
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a brew session without something that completely breaks the style, and I think I’ve accomplished this again with my version of a “summer wheat”. 8 lbs of malt extract, 2.5 lbs of grains steeping, and 5 ounces of Horizon , Amarillo, and Cascades should make this a big beer with a high hop concentration (I’m estimating around 7.5% ABV and probably in the 60IBU range). It’s got a great color right now, and will be an interesting beer to taste. As always, my methods and decisions have been questioned, with some wondering how well that much wheat will stand up in the beer and whether the hops and wheat will cancel. I love proving people wrong, so we’ll see how it turns out.