I’m leaving for St. Croix on Friday, so I’ve been trying to cram as much brewing into this week as possible. I had meant to brew an amber ale on Sunday, but Daylight Savings (and a hangover) put a pin in that plan. My homebrew club is having a brown ale competition on April 8th so I needed to make sure I had one of those brewed and fermented. So instead of trying to cram another brew day in after my trip, I decided to brew the amber on Monday and brew the brown today. As of right now (4pm EST), the amber is bubbling away in the fermentation chamber, and the brown is in a snowbank chilling down.
Brewing in my backyard provided an interesting challenge on account of the mountains of now and the warmer temps causing it to melt around my system and under my feet. At a few points today, snowmelt came flying off my roof and either into my system of off my arms/back as I attempted to shield the beer. Outside of that – and a minor boil-over today – the brewdays went off without a hitch.
I did have some volume issues with the amber, which I’m going to chalk up to using a mismash of my 10-gallon system and my old 5-gallon system. I had to use my 10-gallon, non-insulated, mashtun to mash both of these beers, and boil both of them in my 8-gallon kettle which generally has a TON of boil-off. So I ended up with only 4 gallons of amber in my fermenter which will probably result in about 3.75 gallons in the keg, but if it comes out well, it’s a good excuse to brew it again. I did over-compensate with the brown ale today, so I doubt I’ll come out with less than 5-gallons of the brown in the fermenter.
That is one of the benefits of brewing more frequently; instead of slavishly following my calculators, I can tune my approach to my system. I would very much like to get some consistent brewing going on my full system so that I can calculate and dial in my efficiency, but for now I’m happy just getting the time to brew as often as I want and to have the products be pretty damn tasty.
For those interested, here are the recipes.
The amber is based on Alaskan’s Amber ale, and it stole the name from the amber ale I never bothered to carbonate: Uncommon Wrath.