So it became the time to continue the Clone Wars. This time, I moved ahead with Commandant Pliny. To do this, I would need to enlist the help of a few friends….
So, I invited over a few, we tasted some homebrew and craft brews, and I may have brewed a batch in there too.
To get things started off correctly, I made a starter in advance. I used Whitelabs wlp001 for the brew. The California Ale Yeast is listed as “famous for its clean flavors, balance and ability to be used in almost any style ale. It accentuates the hop flavors and is extremely versatile.” This is a pretty hoppy beer, so it seemed like the good choice. Lots of other homebrewers have used this or Safale US-05 dry yeast. I did some research since my last attempt at making a starter. I should not have used an airlock on the top. You need good oxygen to allow for yeast growth. This time, I put some sanitized aluminum foil over the top, and I spent time swirling it up each time I walked by it to help encourage some oxygen in there.
Before everyone showed up on brew night, I started the process, steeping the specialty grains with a bit of the Amarillo hops. This was a first for me. I have never put hops in the steep. Needless to say, it started the process off correctly with a nice smell in the house! As the steeping continued, guys showed up and the tastings began.
Now, I wish I had taken pictures of everything tasted, but alas, I was busy drinking and brewing. We had my Lt. Topper and a buddy’s Heady clone alongside a real Heady Topper. Now, my clone is not as close as I wanted, and I will probably not use Summit Hops again. His clone was INCREDIBLE! From there we tried the Ballast Point variants: Pineapple Sculpin, Watermelon Dorado, and Mango Even Keel. Then we got even more craftiness in there before switching to some more homebrews from Bill. Each beer that Bill presented to us was great! As I stated in a post on Facebook shortly afterwards: “Do you want your own brew to taste like swill? Invite Bill to come over! His beers are outstanding!” In total, we are rumored to have tasted 17 beers…..or more….for the night.
Oh wait, I was brewing!
This brew had copious amounts of hops in it. It also included two hopshots for straight hops extract going into the boil. I didn’t see the black oil specks floating on the top of the boiling wort like I did with the Lt. Topper brewing. I was pretty happy that I got to use my new spoon. No longer will I not be able to reach the bottom of my pot. No longer will I accidentally dip my hand into boiling wort.
After most had left for the evening, it was time to cool the wort down. If you don’t have a copper coil for chilling, I highly recommend it. JUST KEEP TRACK OF THE FAUCET ADAPTER. I had to look for mine for a minute or two. Once the temperature was down, I transferred to the Big Mouth Bubbler. I used this over my fermenting bucket because it holds more. This was a great call.
By the time the fermentation hit the 30 hour mark, I had to remove the standard 3 piece airlock from the carboy. BREW HACK ALERT! Use the siphon tubing you have and it fits right over the center tube of the 3 piece airlock. Then you have a 6 footish tube to run to a growler for an air bubbler. The activity remained VERY active over the next day. Then it seemed to die down, and now the bubbling is back after about a 12 hour slowdown. I haven’t checked the gravity, but I am sure it is close to being done. My starting gravity was 1.082, which was above the stated OG 1.070 on the kit. I guess I was pretty efficient.
Things to ponder:
- I love my big pot. It is what allowed me to split my attention with brewing and tasting and not worry too much about boil overs.
- A long spoon for the 44 quart pot was a necessity. This was a cheap upgrade to the brewing hardware that made a significant difference.
- I think next time I may limit my tasting, and finishing of all the bottles and cans a bit…..I was the only one not driving, and the cleanup was slowed due to all that good brew.
- This will be the first time that I try to harvest the yeast from the yeast cake. Spending $8-10 a batch on yeast can be really expensive in the long run….if I can get that cost down to $1-2 a batch, that would make a significant cost reduction to my brewing. I just have to also figure out how to store it.