The spirit’s foe in man has not been simplicity, but sophistication.
I’m not what you could call a patient man. In fact you’d probably be more inclined to call me a “loosely contained ball of explosive rage.” That is to say, I get frustrated easily. I have perfectionist’s expectations and a toddler’s attention span. At least that’s what I’ve found when it comes to homebrewing. I’ve recently decided to tug on my own leash a little bit and get refocused on the brewing aspect of homebrewing instead of the “ZOMG what beer can I make next?!” aspect.
Part of the reason for this have been my recent not-successes: Suicide by Hops, 187 and Midnight in the Garden. The first was a dismal failure due to over-consumption during the brewing process, and the latter two were a failure of uncontrolled fermentation and poor yeast handling. So I decided my best course of action was to take a simple recipe and work my way through all the steps of the brewing process, without drinking, and see how things turned out.
It is still early to tell how the beer will turn out, but this was my most efficient brew-day yet.
What decided on was a single malt and single hop (SMaSH) beer in the style of Marzen/Oktoberfest. I figured this recipe was as simple as it can get and it is the recent season for an Oktoberfest beer.
I nailed the original gravity (OG) of 1.052 according to both my hydrometer and refractometer; I had a mash pH of 5.3 (ideal is 5.2) and a final pH of 5.8. All my hop additions were on time (within 30 seconds or so), the wort chilled pretty quickly, and my new auto-siphon (thanks again to my girlfriend who got me this as a birthday present) made getting everything into the carboy easy and damn near effortless. I added a smack-pack of WYeast 1007 German Ale yeast to the carboy and shook the damn thing for about ten minutes – my next homebrew purchase will probably be an oxygenation system. After a good shaking, I carried the carboy down to the basement and loaded it into my new fermentation chamber (a 15 cubic-foot chest freezer I got off Craigslist with a Ranco dual-stage temperature controller I bought literally a day before it went on sale).
As of early this morning there wasn’t much activity, but as of about 15 minutes ago there was a thick krausen on top and bubbles coming out of the blow-off tube. Which is all to say that fermentation is underway!
I named this beer Spirit’s Foe in homage to quote at the top of this post; it’s a reminder to myself that not everything needs a metric fuckton of hops or speciality malts or super yeast strains. Let’s just hope the final product matches the brew day.
- 10 lb of Munich II (Dark) Malt – 10*L
- 1 oz of Hallertau (German) hop pellets @ 60 minutes
- 0.5 oz of Hallertau (German) hop pellets @ 20 minutes
- 0.5 oz of Hallertau (German) hop pellets @ 5 minutes
- Wyeast 1007 German Ale Yeast (Smack-Pack)
Stats and Targets
- 90 minute boil
- OG: 1.052
- FG: 1.013
- IBU: 23
- SRM: 12
- ABV: 5.2%