I finally found some time to brew, helped by the fact that I took off this last week of 2011. It was a busy brewing week, and here are the (quick) highlights:
On Tuesday my friend Wayne came over with some honey from his bee hives to make some mead. Wayne gave me honey previously, and I used it two beers, a honey porter, and a tripel. This year's crop was apparently excellent (the sample I had was very good), so we made a dry mead. The process was incredibly simple, and today (Friday) the airlock is bubbling along merrily, so fermentation is going well from what I can see. I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out, as my previous attempt at a mead was a sweet mead, and came out quite well, but is a bit sweeter than I like it.
On Wednesday I brewed an IPA. I used the Stone IPA clone recipe as a staring point, but changed some significant things:
- I used English Maris Otter as the base malt instead of US 2-Row pale ale malt
- I used Safale US05 as the yeast, rather than the WLP007 Dry English Ale yeast that Stone specified (still not their house yeast, I gather)
- I swapped out an ounce of the Centennial aroma hop for an ounce of Citra. The Citra smelled heavenly, and I think I'll dry hop with that as well.
On Thursday I brewed an Oktoberfest / Maerzen. The recipe is 46% Pilsner, 46% Munich, 8% CaraMunich, and it smells fantastic! I am fermenting with natural refridgeration, so I hope that Mother Nature helps me out, and keeps the temperatures below 50 for January, and below 30 for February. It is tough to count on that, as she is fickle this year, and it has been unseasonably warm! In fact, my starter needed some additional time, so I let it go overnight, and then racked the beer onto the yeast cake this morning after I oxygenated it. As of now (Friday evening), it looks like fermentation is starting, but it is not yet at high krausen.
Last, today I picked up more malt (I feel like I am swimming in it) from the Malt of the Month club (see Valley Malt in Western MA), so I'll have to keep brewing or really be in trouble! BTW, Valley Malt is a really cool local maltster, and I'm happy to support them since they are doing some interesting things locally. The malts I have used have all been interesting. I used one of them in an American Amber ale in November, and I'm pleased with the results.
That's it for now. Hoppy New Year to all!