Saturday is brew day… part 1

The ferementation room is finished and… empty.

I am down to my last 10 bottles of my first batch.

The wife and kids have left for the day to have lunch and take in a musical down at Fair Park.

Time to brew.

I have spent the past couple of weeks deciding what to brew for my next batch. The plan for the fermentation room was to eventually allow me to brew multiple batches (at multiple stages) at a time – so I thought it might be best to “christen” the room by brewing two batches… that, and I could not make up my mind what I wanted to brew.

After attending the Addison Oktoberfest, I knew I wanted to brew a hefeweizen. The past couple of years, Spaten has been the official sponsor of the Addison Oktoberfest – but I prefer the flavor of the previous sponsor, Paulaner – specifically their
Hefe Weissbier Naturtrüb. Such a brilliant beer – nice clean wheat flavor with a decent ABV.

One of my requirements for my next brew day was that I wanted to move away from kit brewing. I don’t have the ability or the equipment to start in on All Grain brewing, but I knew I wanted to include steeping grains in my next batches… it just seems like the right thing to do. Along these lines, I did a little research on the Homebrew forums and found a Paulaner clone recipe that seemed like it would fit the bill:

  • 4 oz Munich Malt grain
  • 1 lb light Pilsen DME (dry malt extract)
  • 5 lb Bavarian wheat DME
  • 3/4 oz Hallertau hops
  • Wyeast 3068 (pitching yeast)

This would give me the opportunity to try the steeping grain technique, along with a quicker fermentation – the Hefe beers benefit from a shorter primary ferment and go straight to bottling and carbing a little sooner than most beers (although patience is the key in brewing… you can’t argue with drinking a little quicker).

For the second batch, I was considering a hoppier IPA. One of my favorite beers is the DogFish Head 90 minute IPA – it’s an incredibly hopped-up beer with a considerable ABV. The key to the DogFish Head craft beers is the continuous hopping – the beers are hopped on a regular interval over a 60, 90 and even a 120 minute boil. This creates a very strong beer… if you don’t like hops it can be quite a shock to the palate… if you love hops, you’ll never touch another IPA.

I had found a couple of clone recipes for the DogFish Head 60 and 90 minute IPAs – but they all were written for AG brewing… a little bit of a bummer. I decided to try the conversion using Beersmith – but I couldn’t quite wrap my hands around the process. When in doubt, I’ve learned to consult the experts… so with both recipes in hand, I took the short trip down the Dallas North Tollway to my LHBS (local homebrew shop).

Quick aside… if you are interested at all, or at least curious about homebrewing AND live in the DFW area – please make a pilgrimmage to Homebrew Headquarters. This place is fantastic and the staff is both knowledgable and friendly… they have been an immense asset as I’ve gotten started with this obsession.

I walked up to the counter and handed off my recipe requests… the Paulaner was met with a smile and that order was filled quickly. I had left the name off the second recipe, hoping to feign ineptness if called to the carpet on the ambitious DogFish clone. After a few seconds of studying my recipe, the following exchange took place:

Homebrew: Is this a DogFish 90 clone?

Me: Um… yeah.

Homebrew: (eyebrow cocked) How many batches have you brewed?

Me: (sotto voce) This will be my third.

This was met with a gentle laugh, not even close to being condescending.

Homebrew: Hang on… let me check something.

He reached under the counter and pulled out a thick book of recipes.

Homebrew: Let me make you a copy of this…

He turned to make a copy and then presented me with the official DogFish Head 90 minute clone recipe… officially put to paper by the hand of DogFish Head founder/president Sam Calagione.

Score! (see… I told you they were both knowledgable and friendly)

He then proceed to fill the grain bill for the DogFish Head recipe:

  • 1.66 lb British Amber Malt grain
  • 8 lb light Pilsen DME
  • 2 oz Amarillo hops
  • .5 oz Simcoe hops
  • .5 oz Warrior hops
  • 1 oz Amarillo hops (dry hop)
  • .5 oz Simcoe hops (dry hop)
  • .5 oz Warrior hops (dry hop)
  • Safeale #4 (pitching yeast)

Seeing the ingredients stack up on the counter, I experienced a slight bit of anxiety.

Me: (nervously laughing) So… you think this might be a bit much to try at my stage of brewing?

Homebrew: Nah… the first time you make this, will be frustrating. The second time is where the fun begins… you’ll be fine.

I added a couple of extra airlocks, stoppers and my first grain bag to the list… and walked out with all of this:

brewday1

After a stop by the grocery for spring water and ice… my first non-kit brew day was about to commence.

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~ by brewdaddy on October 5, 2009.

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