All Grain Smashing Pumpkin

Last Monday I attempted my second all grain brew, which I was really excited for because I tried my first all grain, and while it needs a bit more time in bottle, it came out surprisingly well.  This was another kit from NorthernBrewer that I got at the same time as my wheat kit.  Knowing what I was doing this time really helped this brew.  I know I still made a few mistakes but nothing like last time, and my last brew turned out fine so how bad can it really be?

I heated my water for mash to a proper temp and accounted more for heat lose to my grain and heating the tun.  After around ten minutes in the tun I checked the water temp and it was at 148 so I added just a little more hot water to bring it back up to 152 degrees F.  It ended up being in mash for around 75 minutes because I tried to make myself a quick dinner before heating my sparge water.

After I got done sparging I headed out side to boil in the dark.  With band cancelled I figured I would have plenty of time to brew in the evening, but I didn’t think about how early it gets dark now so I spent most of my boil time standing in the dark.  I guess standing in the dark beats standing in the rain but I still think I will do my next brew in the morning.  I brought my brew to a boil and added my Cluster hops.  After an hour of boiling I added the pumpkin pie spice.

This time around I used a new set up to cool my brew and I don’t know what I was doing wrong but I had it down to 75 degrees F in somewhere between a half hour and an hour.  I used my new wine thief to take some of the wort out to test the original gravity and poured the rest into my fermentation bucket and added my California Ale Yeast WLP001 and let the yeast get to work.  The original gravity for my brew was 1.054 which is what the recipe said I should get, so that is really exciting.  My wine thief pulled out a lot of crude that was floating in my brew which I think means the filter in my mash tun let too much through.  I am not sure how much of a problem that will be after I move it to secondary and then move it to a bottling bucket, but I will have to check that for my next brew.  Yesterday I found my airlock had filled with gunk and over flowed but I think it still kept out anything that would have tried to get in so I think I am fine.  I sanitized another airlock I had, pulled out the old one, and replaced it with the new one so I should be fine.

Smashing Pumpkin Ale

Mash Ingredients

  • 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-row Pale
  • 2.5 lbs German Munich Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Briess Caramel 80
  • 0.25 lbs Briess Caramel 60

Hops/Additions

  • 1 oz Cluster (60 min)
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (0 min)

O. G. 1.054

IBU 25

Bottling and Secondary of Orange Wheats

Today I bottled my Orange American Wheat 2 and added my sweet orange peels to my third Orange American Wheat when I transferred to secondary.  I miscalculated how many bottles I would need so I ended up putting the extra beer in a growler.  Hopefully the growler will ferment properly because it was more of a spur of the moment idea.

I used two third cups of sugar like my first Orange Wheat for priming this time as well to get around to give me around 2.6 Volumes of CO2.  I liked the amount of head I was getting from my last orange wheat which I tried last night to see how it was doing.  I took a specific gravity of 1.010 at 66 degrees before bottling today giving me 4.3% ABV.  According to Rooftop Brew’s Glenn Tinseth’s formula IBU calculator this brew has a total IBU of 16.9 which is a characteristic of beer I will have to learn more about.

Orange Wheat 2

CO2 Volume: 2.6

ABV: 4.3%

IBU 16.9

My Orange Wheat 3 had a specific gravity of 1.010 at 66 degrees also giving me a ABV of 4.8%.  I added dried sweet orange peels to my secondary to see how that will make a difference in taste.  Moving my brew to my carboy I found that I had more of this brew than any of my others because it almost over flowed my carboy and I still had brew left in my primary bucket.  I am not sure how I ended up with so much of this brew because I did not do anything different with this brew but I must have added more water to this brew.

Orange Wheat 2

Potential ABV: 4.8%

IBU 13.7

Brew 5 Orange American Wheat 3

Yesterday was my fifth brew and my third in my series of tests to find the best way to add orange flavor to wheat beers.  It was my standard American Wheat brew but I am adding sweet orange peels in secondary.  I boiled for 30 minutes as usual and used my wort chiller to bring down my wort to 75 degrees F before adding the yeast.  Even with the wort chiller running ice water through the wort I still had time to go for an hour run before I was ready to add my yeast.  I took a specific gravity of 1.040 at 75 degrees so I should be able to get a 4% ABV which is a little lower than my last brew but still not something I am disappointed with.

This will be my last brew before the semester ends so I don’t have to worry about coming back down to bottle over the summer.  I plan on moving to a full grain set up over the summer to give me more control over my brews and to really get into brewing and the science behind it.

Orange American Wheat 3

Extract: 2 cans wheat extract

Yeast: WL300 hefewiezen

Hop: US Hallertau

Flavor: Sweet orange peel Secondary

 

Belated Bottling and Secondary

Thursday I realized as I got ready to bottle that I was out of bottle caps.  So I had to put off bottling until last night.  I bottled my first Orange Wheat beer and am very excited to try it in a few weeks.  This is the first brew I did not use a prepackaged bag of priming sugar but measured out sugar cane to prime with. I used two thirds of a cup of cane sugar boiled in one cup of water for my five gallons of brew.  Ideally this should give me about 2.6 Volumes of CO2.  I took a SP of 1.010 at 68 degrees before I added my priming sugar to my Orange American Wheat which should give me an abv of 5.1%.  I got just over 50 bottles from this brew and hopefully it will turn out with a nice sweet orange flavor.

To clean and cap my bottles I talked my lady friend into helping.  She does not like beer in the slightest but she knows I love to brew so she wanted to help. You know you found a good girl when she will volunteer to help clean and cap your bottles, two of my least favorite things in brewing.

After I bottled my Orange American Wheat I moved my second orange brew, my Orange Wheat, to secondary.  I took a SP of 1.010 at 68 degrees so this brew should have around 4% abv.  This is a lower abv but it will help me determine when and how I will like to add my orange flavoring.  In another 12 days I plan to bottle this batch, which will be my second to last brew before the semester is over.

Brew 4 Orange Wheat

Today I brewed my fourth brew, a wheat beer with orange zest.  This was my second non-kit brew and I am starting to experiment with flavors and ingredients.  I used a can of wheat extract and a can of light extract, and used saaz hops for the first time today.  I added orange zest in the last 5 minutes of boil to compare to adding peels in primary like in my last brew. I used the white lab hefeweizen ale yeast WLP300 again as it seems to be working nicely in my last brew, but this time I remember to take it out of the fridge four hours before adding it to the wort like the bottle suggests.

Last night I built a wort chiller using 10 feet of 3/8 OD soft copper tubing and two 5 feet pieces of 3/8 ID food grade tubing.  I was hoping I could get the wort chiller started with my auto siphon and pull ice water from a bucket to chill the brew but the suction would not keep the water flowing so I had to continuously pump the auto siphon.  I chilled the brew to 80 degrees and took a specific gravity of 1.040 before I added my yeast.

I have my preferred airlock in use on my first orange wheat while it is in secondary.  This caused me a bit of dismay because I had to use my 3-piece airlock which I have never used before but hopefully I have it in place right and it will not cause a problem for me.  The beer closet currently had over 15 gallons of homebrew in it before I removed the case of German light.  So much homebrew would make anyone smile.

Orange Wheat Transfer to Secondary

Today I took a break from studying and transferred my third brew to secondary after a week of primary.  My brew had orange peels in primary that I did not transfer to secondary.  This is the darkest brew I have had so far which is odd because it is almost the same recipe as my first brew.  The brew still had bubbles coming out of my air lock as recently as this morning which is a testament to the white lab yeast I would have to think because my past brews stop bubbling after around three days of primary.  As you can see in the image below my specific gravity was around 1.010 at 68 degrees before I transferred it to secondary.  Assuming the specific gravity does not change in the next two weeks that should give me around a 5% ABV, possibly closer to 6% according to some calculators.  In just over a month I hope to be enjoying my first non kit brew and also my first flavored beer.

 

Brew 3 Orange American Wheat

For my first brew not using a kit I am making an Orange American Wheat. It was very similar to the American Wheat I brewed but I added two oranges worth of zest at primary.  My brew used two cans of wheat extract, cascade hops, and I am trying out white lab’s hefeweizen yeast.  I cooled the wort to 85 degrees and took an initial specific gravity of 1.045 when I added the yeast, then added the orange zest.  This is my first time playing around with not using a kit so hopefully it will turn out well.  I am looking into doing a full grain brew in the near future, hopefully by the end of the semester.