As September kicked off, I was way behind on my goal to brew 15 batches this year. I had only completed 6. Fast forward to now, and I’ve just completed a c-c-combo of back-to-back-to-back weeks of brewing. This is my first time ever brewing three batches in three weeks. I had not actually planned to brew today, but I figured I could move my pumpkin beer to the keg and free up a fermentation chamber so that’s what I did.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Two weeks ago, I brewed my annual batch of pumpkin beer, Symphony of Decay. Today it exited primary fermentation and was transferred to a keg with some gelatin for fining. I also topped it off with a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice to up the aroma a little bit. Probably a bit of overkill, but I worried a bit about the gelatin pulling some of the pumpkin character out of the beer. I tasted the sample from my hydrometer (hit the reading, dead nuts) and – oh boy – this may be the best batch yet. It really should be though, I’ve brewed this recipe every year for 4 years. Which isn’t to say everything went according to plan. I actually ended up dumping almost two gallons of this batch post-fermentation because I didn’t have room in the keg for it. SoD was my first batch on my new Anvil burners, and I need to re-calculate my brewhouse efficiency to compensate. I’m noticing significantly less boil-off.
Last week I brewed a Nugget Nectar clone (Ambrosia) with a couple buddies from the homebrew club. It was an away game, but things went pretty well without the home-court advantage. That should be ready for its first dry-hop charge in about 4 days or so.
And finally today we had trouble right from jump street. First off, there was a thunderstorm. So yeah, that made things interesting. Normally being outside surrounded by metal in a thunderstorm is a stupid idea, but today… it was still a stupid idea but I did it anyway.
Today’s recipe was a variant on my Oktoberfest recipe. And by “variant” I mean I accidentally grabbed 4.5lbs of Maris Otter instead of 4.5lbs of Munich malt. Oops. The plan is to turn this into an amber kellerbier. Kellerbier is a style I’d heard of but hadn’t had the chance to try until a local restaurant (The Townsend) had one in the can. Kellerbier, which means “cellar beer”, is basically a helles or an Oktoberfest that is fermented and lagered in a barrel at cellar temperature. They used to be lagered in caves, which is pretty cool. It’s usually served with very low, natural carbonation. Since I don’t have the time, energy, equipment, know-how or a cave, I’m going to do this the AHB way (see also: the wrong way). After primary fermentation – about a month – I’m going to add some French oak chips for about a week to pick up some of that oak character and serve is on low (but not too low) PSI from a regular old corny keg. If that sounds like a bit of a cop-out please remember that it was brewed in a fucking thunderstorm.
The windy conditions weren’t great for my Anvil burners, or more accurately the winds made it harder for the burners to effectively use the limited amount of propane that I was feeding them. I emptied the two propane tanks you see in the picture above. On a nicer day I would’ve had enough gas (hehe) to power through, but unfortunately today we came up about 10 minutes short on the 90 minute boil. I missed my target OG by about .007 and ended up with more wort than anticipated. Still, I have high hopes for this batch.
As always, I’ll let you know how they turn out.