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Brewing With Friends – Outdoor Brewing At It’s Best

So, I am loving this snow day!  I am getting caught up with a bunch of website stuff!  A few weeks ago, I had a great time doing an outdoor brewing with my buddy Sully.  You may remember him from my outdoors brewing session with him last year.  This time, he was brewing his first 5 gallon batch.  How could I say no?  I of course couldn’t let him have all the fun, I brewed a 5 gallon batch as well!

Sully wanted to brew his Caribou Slober kit, so I figured I would do a brown ale as well.  To get us ready for this double brewing, I made starter with White Labs WLP001 yeast.  I made it with some extra dark malt extract.    I brought it over to Sully’s house in 2 mason jars.  I packed up all my stuff needed in the van, and headed over.  Just before we started, another buddy, Keith, decided to join us for a while, so we swung over to grab him.


We got things rocking and rolling for our partial mash.  Both of us had some nice specialty grains.  These grains, also known as spent grains, were later sent to his mom to make some tasty dog biscuits.   During this mashing in, we decided it was time to start tasting some craft beers.  Mmmmmm, they were good!

After we mashed in the specialty grains, we sent our wort up to a full boil and added more ingredients.  I had created some recipe sheets using Beersmith to help us keep track.  Timers on our phones meant we stayed on schedule, since at this point our timing deviated from each other.




A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Brewery…

A few hitches happened during our brewing session.  My hop bag came untied.  This allowed 2 ounces of whole hops to just float away in my boil.  This became quite an interesting thing!  The Bouncer MD ended up filtering out a ton of this when I was kegging the brew.  Sully had a small rip in his muslin bag.  Just a small amount of grains got loose into the boil.  We aren’t too worried about this as he ultimately ended up cold crashing his batch (long story).  During the hour long boil, I brought Keith back to his place.  During this time, Sully had the distinct pleasure of dealing with a small boilover on his batch.  There is an advantage to a big pot like mine – little to no boilovers even with full volume boils!  Honestly, no brew day goes off perfectly, so this shouldn’t be a surprise!


I drove about 30 minutes with my stuff all set in the back…shaken not stirred.

I brought along the wort chiller, but we let mother nature help us out, as well as some cold patio stones.  It is still winter, and yes we were outdoors with no snow, but I couldn’t see running water out there to use the wort chiller.  While cooling, Sully’s watch dog Bella made sure we were all good.

The lucky recipient of some spent grain treats after she watched over our brewing session.

After topping off Sully’s fermenter with some cold water, due to not doing a full volume boil, we pitched his yeast.  For mine, I pitched the yeast at home, since I wanted it to cool down a little more.


Some Thoughts About This Brew:

  • Brewing with others can be a lot of fun.  There are more moving parts to the equation!
  • Willyhexed Brown Ale (my brew) ended up hitting above my target  SG by a few gravity points.  Then it missed the FG by a few points.  It came out to 4.97%abv, just a bit outside my overall target.  I may need to re-calibrate my refractometer.
  • When I kegged this brew, I did prime it with a new experiment for me, KreamyX from Muntons.  I got some on the cheap.  If it works well in the keg, great.  If it flops, then I still can push ample CO2 through to get a decent beer.
  • The Bouncer MD totally saved my rear with the filtration.  You can check it out! 

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