Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Batch 13

Counting the beer I made with Jeremiah, yesterday's batch was my thirteenth. I think I got away with it, more or less. Cat's Paw Pale is not going to be very pale. That Smuttynose grain bill produced a drop-fucking-dead gorgeous ruby, pomegranite wort. It was just stunning to look at. What color it'll be in a couple weeks is anyone's guess, but I think it'll be fairly far from pale. Shoals Pale Ale is noticably too dark to be a pale itself, and I think mine may be half a shade darker than that, plus this extra, red register, wherever that came from. On the advice of a guy at Northern Brewer, I subbed Simpson's Caramalt in for Hugh Baird Carastan--they're about the same Lovibond, and, supposedly, about the same malt. I'm guessing that's the difference--their catalog says it gives a slight red hue. Any rate, beautiful beer.

My mash must've have been insanely efficient somehow. I was trying to get 6 gallons at 1051. I wound up around 1065 late in the boil and added water like crazy. I got it down to 1054 FG, but basically filled the carboy. All numbers are approximate because my volumes are all guesses (should just graduate all my carboys), but no matter how you slice it I'm pretty sure the efficiency on that batch of beer was close to 90%. I filled the carboy up into the tapering part--there's probably eight inches of beer surface on the top--aerated, pitched, and kept my fingers crossed. There's something like 6.75 gallons in there--and I actually had to leave perhaps a pint and a half in the kettle. I attached a very loose blow-off tube. Lag time was short--was bubbling slightly a couple hours later. Sometime in the middle of the night, the stopper blew out, which I kind of expected. I put it in really loose, lest the damned carboy explode or something. This morning I cleaned up the top with a sanitized turkey baster, picked out the hop fragments that had jammed it up and re-did the blow off tube. I'm not too freaked out about the sanitation thing since, realistically, it had to be producing enough CO2 to protect itself for a little while. It's chugging along well now. The blow-off tube calmly moves trub-tainted foam through while bubbling steadily and periodically blasts air into the little jug of scum in a slightly alarming fashion. So I think it'll be alright. It damn well better be good because I'm going to have a shitload of it.

Oh, I also racked Dr. Doom--tastes very promising and has gotten down to, like, 1009 or so. It's now in the basement dropping sediment for a few days--may bottle this week.

Twiggy Pilsner got racked out of primary. It's at 1014, which is about right. I'm giving it a two-day diacetyl rest in the kitchen and then will put it back in the basement. My hope is it starts to clear up. I may wait one week, rack it again, give it one quick violent stir to drive out the air bubbles, wait another week for it to chill, and then bottle two weeks from now.


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