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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Airlock: Take Two

Now it is really time to put the regular airlock on top of the carboy.

A couple things to notice: first, the temp is at 70' which is the ide temp for an ale yeast to work at. Second, check out the sediment buildup at the bottom, looking like some Martian landscape. No worries though since we will filter that out prior to bottling. And now it's time to empty the overflow bucket and clean the blowout tube.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Airlock time!

A short 48 hours after the brewing was done, the carboy is ready for a standard airlock. Foam is no longer getting to the blowoff tube so I can now remove it.

While ambient temp for the room is 69', the combination of a heating pad (on low for every other hour or so), two blankets, and the fermentation process itself, the bubbling wort is actually at 76'

which is the high side of where the yeast likes to be at. I will let it come down some to room temp, and that should work fine.

On second thought I think I will wait until the morning to trade airlocks...the foam wasn't quite done so better safe than sorry.

And so until tomorrow, I leave you with a picture of the Christmas present from my mom-inlaw.

Can't wait to use em all...

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It's Alive!

As advertised, the fermentation process is going strong. Less than 24 hours after the yeast was pitched, the blowoff tube is put to use with foam and spent yeast ending up in the bucket. Inside the carboy, the brew is actively foaming up as if it were a rootbeer being poured into a glass.

I will check on it periodically and switch over to a standard airlock when the blowoff tube is no longer needed.

As a side note, Friday is a big day here in Oregon and in Ohio. The Grandaddy of 'em all, the Rose Bowl will be played in Pasadena, CA between #8 Ohio State (good defense, okay offense) and #7 Oregon (decent defense, great offense) in a clash of playing styles, sweater vest vs visor. OSU boasts a defense vs the run that is top 10 nationally, however the teams that UO has come up against this year with tough run defenses have been run all over by the ducks (USC-391 yds, Ariz-175, Ore St.-288, Cal-236) and in the head-to-head mathhups, the Ducks beat Purdue and USC, the 2 teams that Ohio St. lost to. It promises to be a good game, and Go Ducks!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The yeast is now becoming active and feeding on the sugars in the wort. The byproducts of this feeding are alcohol and carbon dioxide. So in essence, alcohol is yeast poop. Truely magic!

Something in the mail

A package

came in the mail today...wonder what it is and who it's from.

Really, Dan? Really? That mystery solved, I move in to see what is inside this Canadian package.

Huzzah!!! Corner Gas DVD!!! Donkey shorts and grassy ass Kender!!! Merry Christmas indeed!

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Beans and Yeast

Now it is time to split and add the vanilla bean and then pitch the yeast.

Once that is in, I pitch the yeast.

And now it's time to shake it up!

Shaking, or aerating, the wort basically mixes the yeast into the beer. And since the yeast will be very active for the first day, I will install a blowoff tube with the other end in a bucket of chlorine water.

The blowoff tube allows excess foam to exit the airlock I created without blocking it up. The chlorine in the water prevents any bacteria from ruining the beer. At this point I just wait for a couple days, and once the blowoff tube is no longer needed I will replace it with a standard airlock. Until later, Huzzah Beer!

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...And welcome back.

As you can see we are at a perfect 66' F which means it's time to take our first readings. Using a hydrometer, I can measure the sugars in the beer and a second reading after fermentation will tell me how much sugar was turned into alcohol.

Using a turkey baster of all things, I transfer some wort into a flask and drop in the hydrometer.

These two sides are most important for our readings, potential alcohol and specific gravity. The third side is sugar percentage, or 'balling'.

The potential alcohol reads at just over 8%, I'd call it 8.1%. Notice the beautiful color!

Balling at 15.5% sugar.

And last but not least, a specific (or starting) gravity of 1.062. I will need to adjust for the temperature since it is most accurate at 60, and the wort is at 73', I will get online and let the internets do my math. And voilĂ  the Internet strikes again. According to my corrected specific gravity is 1.063526088...we'll just keep it at 1.0635. Next up, adding the bean and the yeast!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Not yet...

Just checked the wort's temp and it is still around 90 degrees inside and 74 near the glass, so I brought it in and put it in the spare room on the floor. It should be perfect in the morning for pitching yeast and taking my hydrometer readings.

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Ingredient List for Sasquatch Loader Stout

6.5 lbs HFC Dark LME (liquid malt extract)
1.0 lb HFC Dark DME (dry malt extract)
.25 lb Dark Crystal Malt (grain)
.25 lb Chocolate Malt (grain)
.25 lb Roasted Barley (grain)
.50 lb Flaked Oatmeal (grain)
.50 lb Lactose (sugar)
.50 lb Brown Sugar
4 oz Mild Molasses (sulpher free)
1.25 oz Northern Brewer Hops (bittering)
.375 oz Mystery Hops (picked from my cousin's back yard) (aroma)

11.5 g packet Fermentis Safale S-04 yeast
1 Bourbon Vanilla Bean, split (added at the ferment)

I really hope this turns out well, it's such a mix of styles. Sweet stout, oatmeal stout, cream stout, and then adding the vanilla to the ferment...I think it will kick ass! Here's what Beer Tools has to say:

Vital Statistics
Original Gravity: 1.071
Terminal Gravity: 1.017
Color: 26.51 SRM
Bitterness: 34.6 IBU
Alcohol (%volume): 7.2 %

Results prepared by

The boil is done!

The boil has finished and I am letting the hop bags drain into the carboy before I pour the hot wort into it.

And then top it off with more cold water. The temp reads 110 still, so I'll put it out back to tale advantage of is now my bitch!

Now I wait for my wort to get around 70' so I can add the vanilla bean and pitch the yeast, thus starting the miracle of alcohol.
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Ready the carboy

1 1/2 gallons of cold water with ice for good measure are added into the glass carboy where the fermentation will take place. There is still 14 min left before the last hops, enough time to do some dishes and gain some points with the mrs.

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The boil is near

As the temp nears 212' I prep the hops for the boil. These Northern Brewer hops will be in the entire 60 min and the others will go in for the last 10 for aromatics.

And the boil begins a 50 min timer that will be the addition of the buttering hops.

It's good to stir it every few minutes to keep it from burning to the bottom or from boiling over...either thing is a pain to deal with.

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Like coffee...

I hope I'm using this blog thing right, although I prolly ain't. At this point I'm basically using the grains like a coffee maker, pouring hot water over them to release the malty goodness I need for my wort.

I hope you enjoy this action photo...not easy to do with the iphon.
I have now added the liquid malt extract and 8 oz of lactose sugar for the "cream" part of the recipe. I will also add 8 oz brown sugar and 4 oz molasses for character. Why? Because I can :). I have also added flame to bring this dark mix to a boil so I can add hops!
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Sparging the grains

The grains have been steeped 30 min and now it is tome to add the malt into my mix. I have
Already added 1 lb dry dark malt extract (hate dme...liquid is much easier) to 1 gal water in the brewpot. I will use the strainer to filter out the grains. Then I will add the 6.5 lbs liquid dark malt extract.

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Oatmeal, anyone?

I added the grains to 2 qts of water and am bringing up to 165' F. The grains are dark crystal, chocolate, roasted barley, and flaked oatmeal ( for body).

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The First Post

Hi. If you are actually reading this, I am suprised. Should be even more suprised that I am doing this. I figure I'll give a step-by-step view of me making beer and other things going on with me that may or may not have anything to do with beer. First up, the start of a Vanilla Cream Oatmeal Stout...or at least I hope it is...