Today we put our new equipment to full use by brewing a 10 gallon batch for the first time. We made our IPA so that we’ll have 15 gallons of it for the Super Bowl. We’re also planning on brewing another batch of our stout. We are now fermenting in temperature controlled chambers for more consistent flavors. We also used our new pH meter and our first batch hit the target pH exactly. Here are some pictures of the new equipment. Big thanks to Kelly for getting the fermentor, and Brian and Rory for helping us brew today.
After crushing the 23 pounds of grain for this batch we stirred it in the mash tun to steep. The mash tun is a 10 gallon cooler which was just enough to fit our mash. We have a second cooler acting as the hot liquor tank.
We got the RIMS tube dialed in and circulating the wort. We pulled off samples throughout the process in order to monitor ph.After the boil, we cooled the wort with our plate chiller and moved it in to our new fermentor. The fermentor is impermeable to light, and allows us to dump the trub from the bottom so we never have to change fermentors. It’s capable of holding over 20 gallons and we plan on eventually doing consecutive 10 gallon brews to fill it.
This is our new temperature controlled fermentation chamber. The conical fermentor will go in here after we build a solid bottom shelf for it. There is a temperature controller wired to a heating element and the freezer’s electronics.
Here’s a sneak peek at the paint job on the new keezer. The lid is chalkboard paint so we can write what is on tap right on there. I bought the rest of the pieces today and we’re hoping to build the collar this weekend and finish this bad boy up. We’re wiring the temperature controller tonight so we can use it as a fermentation chamber for now.
We’ve been brewing every weekend trying to stock up for the Super Bowl. The last Saturday in December we made The second batch of our IPA. Last weekend we made the second batch of our Pale Ale. This weekend we’re thinking of making a double batch of our IPA so that we can use Mike’s new 20+ gallon conical fermentor. Last week he got a fridge and a temperature controller so we now have a controlled fermentation chamber.
Mike also got some water testing equipment so we can tailor our water to each beer and get really scientific. It’s just another way to control the taste of our beer.
In brewery news, we are now officially incorporated. We also met with a designer to start work on a logo. Next we’re trying to find a location, and we’re really excited to attend the craft brewers conference in DC in March.
We’re also trying to finish work on my keezer next weekend so that it’s ready to roll before the super bowl.
I’ll snap some pictures of the new equipment at work and our double batch brew this weekend so you can check them out.
That’s right, Pirate’s Piss is ready to drink. I don’t think I’m overstating this when I say that this is the biggest moment of the year, and possibly the decade. After neglecting this beer for several months in the closet we were worried it might be spoiled but luckily we had flushed out the oxygen before its long wait and it survived intact. Once our piss was down to temperature we force carbonated it so we could try it ASAP.
There’s nothing like the gurgling sound of a home brew gorging on some carbon dioxide to get me excited. Once the swashbuckler was satiated we hooked it up to the kegerator and poured.
If you check out some of the previous posts you’ll see we crafted a brew with as much alcohol and “drink-ability” as possible. One thing became immediately clear, our first goal has been achieved. There is no doubt when you take a swig that the alcohol content is high. According to our measurements we hit about 9% ABV. As far as the drink-ability is concerned, I’d say there’s some room for improvement. Whenever you work yeast that hard for that long you get some tannins and undesirable flavors. While we’re generally pleased with the result, there is definitely a barley-wine characteristic from the yeast.
There is no doubt we will enjoy (carefully, at 9% ABV) our first release of Pirate’s Piss. We have some ideas for the next round, including “icing” our beer to get higher ABV without adding the wine characteristics we got in this brew.
Now, for those of you saying, what about the other brews? Yesterday we removed the chili-cilantro bag from the chili-brau. We took the opportunity to take a taste after 26 hours of fermentation. The result was fantastic. A strong habanero flavor with a fresh kick of cilantro and some nice back-end heat. I could not be more pleased with its progress. Both new brews bubbled furiously for the first day or so and have calmed down to a more steady pace. A few more weeks and they’ll be ready to try. We’ll probably wait until the Pirate’s Piss is kicked before we keg again but I don’t expect that to take long.