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[May 25, 2003|Irregular] [very soon|Zymurgy] Liquid Breakfast Cereal - batch number 03-2

This week [Oakland, California|Oakland] experienced a [heat wave]. While I had intended to brew some evening this week, the heat kept me from firing up the stove and boiling water for hours. I have never been the [southern accent|sort to start a morning with a cold can of cola], but I was forced to keep a [more refined|pitcher of iced coffee] in the fridge. It would have to happen early Saturday morning, I reasoned.

The [the Oak Barrel|brewing supply store] I frequent sells whole [hops] in four ounce bags. It's a decent amount for the price, but I enjoy brewing with a [Homebrewing 202: Hop Selection and Use|wide variety of hops], and tend to end up with several half-bags in my freezer. This batch of beer would solve that problem.

    So, at 8am, I put a big pot on the stove and began to bring
  • 2 [gallon|gal] of water to boil, with
  • 2 [teaspoon|tsp] [baking soda] to increase the water hardness a touch.
    And in a second pot, I set
  • ½ gal water on the stove.
    Once the smaller pot hit 180 [degrees|°][Fahrenheit|F], I poured 1 [pound|lb] crushed crystal 40L malt into it and took it off the heat. Over the next hour, as the large pot came to a boil, I stirred this smaller pot and tried to maintain an even heat. This process is called [mashing], and it allows the enzymes to break down the carbohydrates into [dextrin]s and [sugar]s in the malted grain.
    With the large pot boiling, I sieved the mash through a mesh bag and a colander to remove the crushed grain. Then I added the liquid to the larger pot. Following that,
  • 6½ lbs light malt extract were stirred in.
    I've upgraded to a pot with a heavier base, but still I kept stirring until the syrupy malt extract had dissolved. The sugars boiled for about 30 minutes. A fine head was created whenever I stirred, and this presages a fine head on the finished ale.
    The bittering hops,
  • 3 [ounce|oz] Cascade hops (7.1% alpha acids), went in for 35 minutes of boiling.
    After that, I took the heat off, and steeped
  • 2 oz Hallertauer hops (4.6% alpha acids) for about 20 minutes with the lid on.
    I then strained out the hops, pouring the [wort] over 6 lbs of ice to cool it more quickly. About an hour later, I decanted it into a five gallon [carboy], pitched in Wyeast strain #1056 "American ale", and gave it a [how to bless beer|blessing]. By early evening, it was evident that the yeast had taken and fermentation had begun. It is my intent to rack the ale into a clean carboy and add more finishing hops in a couple of days; there are 3 oz of Fuggles hops in my freezer yet.

UPDATE [July 1, 2003] With [misuba]'s assistance, I racked the ale to a bucket, leaving the settled proteins and grain dust. I then cleaned the carboy out, and put the ale back in, over 3 oz Fuggles hops (about 5% alpha acids, IIRC). Fermentation resumed within an hour. The carboy now gets a little agitation to beat the ale into the floating hops every 8 hours or so.

UPDATE [July 13, 2003] The dry hops held down between one-third and one-half gallon of beer. I boiled 6 quarts of water with 2/3 cup corn sugar (priming sugar) and got 43 bottles (7oz, ne guinness) and 5 champagne bottles (750mL) out of it. Should be drinkable around the end of the month.

UPDATE [July 28, 2003] I opened a bottle for a taste this evening. It is not yet fully carbonated, and rather caramelly tasting from the sugar that will (soon, I hope) create that carbonation. That said, it is fine drinking for this state.

UPDATE [August 26, 2003] I've chilled a bottle and opened it this afternoon. It has fermented nicely in the bottle, creating a thin layer of dense almost eggwhite-like head when poured. It stand rather clear in the glass. The taste is almost crisp, the hops, though do not really come through strongly, I fault the extending water I added at bottling time. I think it needs (another) week.

‡ The name of this batch was suggested by [ophie], in the spirit of the old adage, "Beer - it's not just for breakfast anymore".