Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hotter Than Hell Brew Day

I brewed last Saturday, and holy-crap it was hot! I brew in a west-facing garage, and I couldn't get started until 1 p.m., because I helped put-on a little race that morning.

On this particular brew-day, it was 100 degrees F, with 68% humidity. For those of you from drier climates, this type of weather can kick your butt (or even kill you), if you're not prepared. I just treated it as "heat-training," and drank a few pints of water for every beer that I drank. I had some salty snacks available to keep the ol' electrolyte balance up. I also used an old window-shaker air-conditioner; I sat in front of it while doing some tasks, and as much as I could.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008MillingGrain
Milling Grain

I had invited Christy and her boyfriend Greg over. Christy is an extract brewer (from Colorado originally), and she wants to learn the all-grain brewing process. (Both of them went up to Oregon for the Oregon Brewer's Festival, also). My son, Matt came over for a little while, and Jim (another brewer) came over, too. It's crazy how I always get a crowd on the hottest or coldest brewing days of the year! Christy's dog was the only sane creature in attendance; she begged to go into the air-conditioned house, so we relented and let her stay and play in the house.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008BrewCrew2
Brew Crew

I've been on a brewing roll, lately, and I'm not going to let some nasty hot weather get in the way! I'm trying to re-stock my normally well-rounded offerings. I usually like to have at least 5 different homebrews on tap, but currently only have three: a 1-year old Barleywine, a Maibock, and a Porter. I also have a 5 year old Barleywine, but I rarely give out samples of that.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Fridge
Garage Fridge Offerings
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Failure
Failure is not an option!

The Porter (at 4.8% alcohol) was the only "session-like" beer on tap for brew day. It was hot enough that some folks had a "hoppy beer" on their minds, instead of a dark Porter. I came up with a special strategy for the hop-minded: I poured a small amount of hoppy Barleywine into a glass, and then topped it off with a Boulevard Pale Ale, keeping the alcohol percentage in the neighborhood of 6 - 7 %, instead of kick-in-the-head range. We grilled some chicken, had some fresh veggies, and also chips and hummus to top it all off. A nice day, despite the heat.
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Mashing_in
Brew Day Aug 2, 2008Brewing
Hot work!

The homebrewing part went very smoothly. I brewed yet another version of my Über Saison, which always has an interesting grain profile, but this time I used some off-the-shelf Wyeast, instead of my own privately cultivated "BadBenomyces cerevisiae." The cooled wort's original gravity ended up hitting 1.072. It's now bubbling-away in the primary. The Double IPA that I brewed 2 weeks ago is in secondary fermentation, and I'll transfer it to tetiary conditioning soon enough. Hopefully, I'll have it on tap within a week or so.

Happy trails and cheers!

Bad Ben


Homemade Beer said...

I'm all about the ales too, but pale lagers definitely come into their own on really hot days

Anonymous said...

That sounds like one hell of a good day.