Monday, April 26, 2010

Brew Day April 22nd, 2010 - "Easy Blonde Ale"

I started this home brew thing with an American Brown Ale and went right into a Chocolate Stout and everyone is asking me to keep it simple. I like to drink beers with high hop bitterness and a lot of complex flavours, but unfortunately, not many of the people I know have the same taste as me. So for my third batch, I took a few steps back. I originally was going to brew a Pale Ale, but after reading a little more, I discovered a style that is an easy drinking summer type brew that would cater more to the non-beer drinker. It was decided to brew a Blonde Ale, because this one had an ingredient list half the size of my previous two brews, I decided that this was easy and therefore the brew has already been named "Easy Blonde" Ale. I would find out on brew day however, that nothing is easy. I discovered I forgot to pick up a grain sock ..... I will get to that later.

Here is the recipe:

2.5 L - Pale Extract
1 lbs – Carastan Malt
1.5oz – Hallertau (60mins)
0.5oz – Hallertau (20mins)
6g  - Irish Moss (20mins)
0.5oz – Cascade (10mins)
10g - Mauri ale Yeast

Primary – 6days @60
Secondary – 10days @60

Seems easy enough right? I had already sanitized my equipment when I realized that I forgot to pick up a grain sock so I had to improvise. I hit the home brew forums and it was suggested to use cheese cloth or paint straining bags, I even briefly thought about using a real sock.....mmmm "Sweat Sock Ale" I decided to just steep the grains directly submersed in the water in a steeping pot, then I would strain the steeped water into the brewpot. I don't know how much of a difference this makes as far as extracting fermentable sugars and colors etc. I didn't want this beer to be too dark in color, so I only steeped for 20 minutes.


Steeping the grains without a grain bag

Straining the steep water into the brew pot

After the 20 minutes of steeping, I added water and the Malt Extract. I have been reading about adding the extract, or a portion of it, later in the boil. This will give a lighter colored finished beer. This method will also make the hops come through stronger, so the hop amount may have to be cut back. I didn't want to experiment too much, I will first see how the color turns out and make changes if needed for the next time I brew a blonde. I forgot to include pictures of the extract on my first two brew day posts, so here they are for this one.

I used 2.5L of extract because the gravity readings on the Chocolate Stout were quite low. The Brown Ale seemed to be just right, but this is suppossed to be a lighter beer. Hopefully I can target in on the proper amount of extract for future brews, I think this time it will be where I want it. The wort was brought to a boil and the hops were added as per the schedule.

I have been doing some research on the effects of temperature on gravity readings and it turns out, there is quite an effect. I knew my wort was still warm when I pitched the yeast on my first two batches, and I also know I cooled the brew pot and filled up the fermenter the same way. I took the temperature and was surprised to see it was 106F The Hydrometer read 1040 and with the temperature correction, the real gravity is a 1046.
Hydrometer showing a 1040 @ 106F

I made the mistake of assuming that adding all that cold water to the wort when topping up the primary would have cooled the wort much more. I can now go back and correct my original gravity reading on my first two batches. I will assume I took the readings at 100F

Brown Ale: 
OG - 1048 FG - 1014 ABV= 4.6%
corrected to 100F
OG - 1053 FG - 1014 ABV= 5.3%
Now that seems more like, although, I still think this beer is stronger that 5.3 based on the way my body reacts to it.

Chocolate Stout:
OG - 1043 FG - 1020 ABV= 3.1%
corrected to 100F
OG - 1048 FG - 1020 ABV= 3.8%
I would like to see this beer a little higher and I still think it is, there is something i'm not doing right with my hydrometer readings. Also with this beer, the 1020 FG leads me to believe the fermentation wasn't complete and I should have left a few days longer. I will make sure the Easy Blonde is left alone until she's ready!

I also have to start reading up on the temperature effect on the yeast when pitching at high temperatures. I have a feeling that I should be allowing the wort to cool more before pitching.

I decided to brew a Blonde for others to enjoy, as it will hopefully be an easy drinking light tasting beer. If it is a success, I would like to take the recipe to the next level and add some fruit to the secondary fermenter, and then age it in a third.

I never really thought of it before, but I am now looking forward to doing a Strawberry Blonde.

1 comment:

  1. Strawberry Blonde? Not sure you can go back... I mean you've already done a Chocolate.