Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brewing break

Sorry for the dry spell. Between these posts I've gone on vacation (thrice), started a new hobby (photography), and tried to prepare for the upcoming holidays.

I say holidays because I consider New Year's a set of holidays, too. I get the days off so why not call them holidays?

As such I've volunteered to brew two Cornelius kegs (five gallons each) of beer for our New Year's party. These brews will be unique in that I have but two "free" weekends between now and Dec. 31. I'm planning to brew up a storm (har-har) December 19-21 to kick-off primary fermentations. Why a whole weekend for two beers? I don't have a wort chiller! I depend on the ambient temperature of my garage to cool wort to the proper yeast pitching temperature.

Since the two brews (recipes forthcoming) are ales I expect primary fermentation to complete within a week. At this point I have three options:
  1. Place primary fermenters into garage for a few days before racking to kegs
  2. Rack directly to kegs and carbonate
  3. Rack each into secondary for two days in the garage.
#1 will force any remaining yeast to flocculate and drop out of the beer before kegging. Unfortunately the beer will remain on the trub (flocculated yeast, coagulated proteins, and hop residue) for a few days which may alter the beer's flavor profile.

#2 is quick and easy but I'll need to discard the few pulls from each keg to get rid of the flocculated yeast.

#3 removes the beer from the trub and ensures the "cleanest" possible finished beer.

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