August 23rd 2014 Brew Day: IPL, IPA and the new Shandy!

A big day today.  We did a lot in preparation for brewing at the new brewery – everything from Shandy formulation, to trying our new pork sliders, to our new fresh coleslaw that we plan to serve.  We also put on tap a ginger cider that I made last November that has been quietly aging for nearly a year.

The night before I was busy cleaning and sanitizing the fermentors. But before that I had to replace a overhead fan motor for brewday.

Cleaning out the fermentors the night before.  Usually they don't need elbow grease...this one did.
Cleaning out the fermentors the night before. Usually they don’t need elbow grease…this one did.
Cleaning the night before.
Cleaning the night before.

Assistant brewer Jesse showed up at 8am on-the-dot.  I got up at 7am to start heating the brew water.  We started a little early as I wanted to show Jesse the location of the R.Shea Brewing building as he has only scene it from the outside.

Daniel showed up a little later – his first brew-day with us.  If you all don’t know Daniel, he has an incredible palate.  He is a wine drinker at heart though loves beer and is up with many current offerings and local taprooms.  He has been doing a lot of sampling this year and has been giving me incredible feedback.

The grain bill for two batches.
The grain bill for two batches.

So today we brewed an India Pale Lager (IPL) and an India Pale Ale (IPA).  If you have been following this close, we did an IPL a few months ago.  It failed.  It failed because I pushed the yeast over their threshold in the pressure fermentors.  It was a good experiment as I now somewhat know the upper temperature range for most lager yeasts under pressure.  Since early this year, I have done a handful of successful lagers at higher temperature, but except for the California Common yeast, this one was done 10 degrees higher at 65 degrees.  They don’t seem to like that.

So this is IPL 2.0 and I am keeping the yeast temperature at the high end of their range around 55 degrees.  It will be all Cascade hops.  We also did an IPA with all Amarillo hops – I’m a mono-hop kinda guy.

Mixing the grain.  We are figuring out what will most easily go through the mill without stopping...as we have to scale this up 6x.
Mixing the grain. We are figuring out what will most easily go through the mill without stopping…as we have to scale this up 6x.
Milling the grains.  The goal is to pour it all in at once without the mill getting stuck.  Certain grains (carapils) are tougher to mill.
Milling the grains. The goal is to pour it all in at once without the mill getting stuck. Certain grains (carapils) are tougher to mill.

We hit all of our gravities (sugar levels from the grain which get turned into alcohol) today.  It was a long day as we got done around 5:30pm.

My wife started formulating shandys too for which Jesse and Daniel tried many formulations.  Trying several shandys lately, I didn’t want something sweet…though I didn’t want the standard fruit.  We narrowed it down to a few recipes and are now just waiting for our next victims!

We are in the middle of shandy tasting...two-fisted we are.
In the middle of shandy tasting…two-fisted we are.

Before I move on, I have to thank Joe, current Vice President of the SAAZ homebrew club.  The day before I stopped down as he was brewing.  I learned a few different things which helped me get closer to solving a problem I had with a beer made months ago, essentially controlling/stopping hop bitterness quickly after the boil is done (especially with high alpha acid aroma hops) – trying to pump out and cool as fast as possible.   Thanks Joe!  (Note, if anybody wants to build a fermentation chamber, Joe has done a very impressive job for both lagers and ales at the same time with tight temperature control and  down to mid 30 degree temperatures for cold crashing) – just come to the next meeting.

In-depth discussion on how the flux capacitor has changed brewing today.
In-depth discussion on how the flux capacitor has revolutionized brewing today.
Joe at pumpout.
Joe at pumpout.

So below I am trying to use an idea I got after watching Joe cool down the wort FAST (lot’s of hops these two batches so I couldn’t pumpout too fast).  I resurrected a straight copper counter-current chiller I built a few years ago to try to cool fast before actually pumping out through the plate chiller.  Thanks Joe!  Sometimes just talking and watching other brewers helps you figure out stuff.

"You got this?"
“You got this?”
Trying a new method of cooling down the wort while doing doing a whirlpool with the tangential inlet.  I don't think it ended up offering any benefits.
Trying a new method of cooling down the wort while doing a whirlpool with the tangential inlet. I don’t think it ended up offering any benefits.
Nice, clear sparge on the India Pale Lager.  Site glasses are a must for any brewer looking to monitor the effectiveness of the grain bed.
Nice, clear sparge on the India Pale Lager. Site glasses are a must for any brewer looking to monitor the effectiveness of the grain bed during both recirculation and sparging.
Help with the cooling.
Help with the cooling.
Messy day.
Messy day.
The 'bar' is messy after a brewday.
The ‘bar’ is messy after a brewday.

All-in-all, a good day.  The next brewday I will invite more, I just only had one beer on tap.

 

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