Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Three days of Brewing: Day 2, Oatmeal Stout

Before I get into today's activity, I have a post-script on day 1. The airlock on the IPA started jumping around 1.5 hrs after I pitched the yeast (or the wort, since the yeast was already in the carboy), and within 4 hours it had overwhelmed the airlock with Kraeusen. Luckily I was there, as my son and I were having dinner, and I was able to insert a blow-off hose before any damage was done. It was pretty fun eating dinner and watching the Kraeusen fill the tube (photo at left) and move through it. We moved the bucket and fermenter to a location that was in the mid-50's to cool it down so the fermentation temp would be around 68.

This morning I could hear the bubbles coming out of the blow-off tube like a heart beat through the wall of my bedroom! The temp of the carboy was still quite high, despite the fairly low ambient temp. Wow!

On to today's brew. Anybody who knows me knows that I love Oatmeal Stout!  I won the Patriot Homebrew competition because it was one of the few beers that I brewed over and over to try to get it right.  So now it is a regular fixture in my fridge, and I need a new batch.  The recipe is published, but it still gets tweaked slightly every time I brew, and this time is no exception, as I subbed out Crystal 80 for Crystal 60, just slightly lighter, but otherwise not much different.  I got an earlier start today, so now, at 11:30ish, I am pretty far along in collecting my wort.  As it should be, Oatmeal Stout is dark, nearly opaque, and I'm getting excited about drinking it already!  Of the 3 beers I'm brewing this week, this will be ready to drink first, probably in a couple of weeks. Here's why:

The IPA will ferment in a short time (really short given the strength of the fermentation), but will need to sit and dry-hop (addition of hops after fermentation, to add aroma) for a couple of weeks.  The Pilsner is a lager, and will take 2-4 weeks to do the primary fermentation, then it needs to sit in the cold ("lager") for about 4 weeks to finish off and be ready to drink.  The stout should be done fermenting and ready to drink in about 2 weeks.  Nice!

Well, while I wasn't looking, I managed to collect about 8 gallons of wort in the boil kettle. I only needed 7, so now I'll have to boil for 90 minutes instead of 60 to get the right gravity. Still, not the end of the world, I think.

90 minutes later.... Well, the evaporation hasn't been as rapid as I thought, and my gravity is still low. I think.  It should be up around 16.4 Plato and it is now around 15.0 Plato. Not the end of the world, but it has me wondering if I correctly measured the evaporation yesterday--or if this much heavier wort is just evaporating more slowly because it isn't boiling as vigorously.  Hmmm.

Well, into the fermenter it went at 2:40pm, with a brand new bubbler-style airlock.  If it blows through the airlock I have another blow-off tube and it is next the bucket!

Tomorrow: Pilsner

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