Irish Red Ale

All that remains is to add the yeast. Everything went pretty smooth. No boil overs, a quick cool down, simple treatment of the grains. Almost too easy!

I started by sanitizing everything, and throwing some water in the freezer. Then I got busy with the boil. To that end, I put 2.5 gallons of water in the pan, and started bringing it to a boil. To this, I added a grain bag filled with 1.5 pounds of 120 crystal malt, 0.25 pounds of chocolate malt, and 0.25 pounds of victory malt. Rather than really sparging, or a separate heating episode, I just brought the liquid to a boil with grains in the water, as suggested by the book the recipe proportions were in. And it seemed to work just fine.

Once it was to a boil, I added two tubs (each 3.3 pounds) of CWB Sparkling Amber liquid mal extract. This is a little more than the recipe called for, but I think it’ll be fine. This then required bringing it back up to temp, which didn’t take long. Once back up to temp, I added an ounce of Challenger hops, the bittering hops for this beer. I then proceeded with the hour boil.

While the recipe only called for a half ounce of my flavoring hop, Santiam, they sell it in 1 ounce packages. So I decided to use half of it at the mid-point of the boil, and the other half, as recipe suggested, in the last minute of the boil. Once again, smooth sailing.

At this point I filled my tub with ice water and brought the pan into the tub. A little bit later, I could see the temp had not gone down quite enough, so I added a quick gallon of chilled water from the freezer. That brought it down to the near-room-temp I was looking for. I had set up a grain bag in a fermentation tub, and poured the wort into it, using the bag as a filter for the hops. It wasn’t a catch-all, but it did help a lot. Using the tub also gave me a good way to measure the volume. After water, boil, extract addition and removal of grains and hops, the volume was at 2.5 gallons.

So I added 2.5 gallons more of water to the tub, stirred and then checked specific gravity – right at 1.050. Then, using a funnel, I transferred the strained liquid to a 6.5 gallon carboy standing ready. Of course, this is a five gallon batch, but that gives head room. Grains and spent hops went to the compost pile, after cleaning up the kitchen, then it was dinner (leftover beef burgundy and smashed red potatoes) while watching an episode of MASH.

And as I said at the beginning, now I’ve just been waiting to add the slap pack of yeast. I had intended on Irish Ale Yeast, but my supply shop did not have any on hand, so I have 1335 British Ale II from Wyeast. Right after this post is done, I’ll be heading to pitch the yeast.

To all a good night, and hope you have a great week.

Oh, and the pickles see not much activity yet. It’ll take a couple days.


A Wonderful Time Of Year

It’s summer! Wow, I’ve not posted on here in a while. Lots has been going on, but things have been slow on the fermentation front. Not a standstill, but not overly active either. Things progressing, a couple beer attempts, and at least one mead started.

In any case, it was nice to head to The Happy Berry today and take home 33 pounds of fruit (18 pounds of blackberries and the rest blueberries). Some of that will end up as jam, and some as wine/mead. I wonder what a “cider” of blackberry would be like…

Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles

I also started my first vegetable fermentation with some of the cucumbers (munchers) from the garden. Dill pickles are a nice treat, so I set about starting my first batch using the recipe from Alton Brown as a guide. Looks like things should turn out okay, but it’s a little early to be certain. I don’t exactly have a good 1 gallon vessel for that type of fermentation, but I had one big enough for the amount of cucumbers suggested, and hopefully a smaller bag of the salt-water solution can seal the cucumbers under the brine well enough.

We have a ton of things in the garden. We’ve already made quite good use of the zucchini and squash, though if the caterpillars have anything to say about it, that may end. The peppers are slowly getting going. And the corn is growing slowly, as well. We should have a ton of tomatoes, if all goes well, though they are green at the moment.

Also, with some hints from a friend, I have a plan for testing out lemoncello, limecello and orangecello. So I picked up the fruit and the base for it this afternoon. Maybe there will be some time tomorrow to start on that. But tomorrow, there is a bigger goal, and that is getting the Irish Red Ale started.

I picked up the ingredients as a Father’s Day gift, and I suppose it’s high time I get the ingredients into a fermenter! I plan on using a little more malt extract than the recipe actually calls for, and a little more hops, as well; both modifications are really dictated by packaging sizes. But hopefully the color and body will be right, and the flavor good. I do like a Killian’s – not that I expect it will come off exactly like that. Just saying that I do like that style of beer, and wouldn’t mind having some on hand, and the knowledge to reproduce in the future!

Pickles, beer, fruit, jam, garden, cellos…bed.