Monday, April 6, 2009


Yet another of my mac themed blogs this one entitled to let you know, not only do I compute initial conditions for the binary black hole problem, not only is my user pic one of my own pieces of art, but I also brew beer on weekends. Yes, today I am the proud father (don't take that too seriously, I have real respect for true fathers) of my own double double. It's my forth batch of beer and let me tell you, I have learned a lot in the process.

I learned how to start and keep yeast. I learned to pitch the right ammount of yeast. I learned to boil the hops well before the malt. I leanred to take my time and make the best wort I ever could. Now I proudly watch as my beautiful yeast keep churnin' up CO2. Yes that makes me a contributor to global warming but believe me it's worth it for truly good beer.

I'll just let you know what a double double means. To start with, that means a lot of hops - which means a lot of bitter. But before that I started with a pure barley grain. I steeped one pound of roasted barley in hot water for twenty minutes. That will yield a slight coffeeish taste to the whole affair. I then applied my first ounce of Chinook hops which rates at 11.5 AAUs. That's a representation of bitterness. 11.5 is fairly high. That boiled for thirty minutes.

At that point I added one pound of Munton's light dried malt extract. That's malted from barley for those non-brewers out there. I also then added another ounce of my Chinook hops. With all my bittering hops now in, I set it to boil for another thirty minutes.

Ah, the smell of hops still fills my house.

At this point, it was time to set about the real business of adding the finishing hops. Two ounces of Cascade hops at 5.9 AAUs to finish. That got ten minutes. At the same time I added another three pounds of Munton's dried malt extract. Things were starting to get strong.

After ten minutes of boil it was time to finish the wort. I had six point six pounds of Munston's hopped dried liquid malt extract to add. That came in and was there for a whole other ten minutes to caramalize. This summed to a five gallon wort (that means five gallons of beer in the end) and I am now watching it bubble away.

You see, the yeast converts the sugars boiled out of the barley malt into alcohol. This process creates CO2. On a typical beer, your carboy can likely be topped with a simple air-lock. An air-lock is a nifty device which allows gas to leave the carboy but does not allow anything to enter. On this particular batch, however, a simple air-lock wouldn't do. You see, a typical batch of beer would be brewed with perhaps only five pounds of barley malt. Mine, on the other hand, was brewed with eleven point six pounds of barley malt, ten point six of which were light malt. What this means is more than twice as many sugars for the yeast to convert. Of course, all this meant I had to use more yeast than usual. My local brewpub, Foothills (if you're ever in Winston-Salem and you don't go to Foothills, you're an idiot) spared me a good bit of ale yeast - about an eighth of a gallon to be exact. That was precisely the ammount needed for such a strong undertaking. What this means however is a huge ammount of Kreusen. Kreusen is created in the early fermenting process. Kreusen is extra yeast and hops gathering at the top and forming into a thick foam.

Typically, this Kreusen isn't a problem, but when you're going over the end on strength of your beer, your carboy likely can't contain it. If you don't think of this ahead of time, this can often mean having your air-lock fire up like a missile and you have excess beer all over the place. So when you know this will be a problem, you set up a run-off hose. The run-off hose runs into a bucket of water and all the excess Kreusen flows into that.

Currently, I am happily watching my future beer blow CO2 into a bucket. Yes I am adding to global warming but I am doing so in the wonderful goal of making really good beer and no-one can complain at me for that.

1 comment:

  1. It's pathetic really. I'm like a proud father watching over his child. Every time a bunch of CO2 exits, it's like I had a son giving off a real loud burp. I just applaud.