Monday, January 9, 2012

Honey Wheat Ale... Ale's What Cures Ya!

     It's been awhile since I last brewed because I've been reserving my beer budget for the kegerator bar build that I just finished.  I knew that in my next brew I wanted to do a honey beer and something with a fairly fast grain-to-glass time.  I felt that my founding fathers ale had a solid wheat base that would probably pair nicely with honey.  So I pulled up the old recipe and went to work putting honey with it.
Brice stirring the mash.  Target temp was 153
I decided to leave the grain profile the same but change the hop profile.  In fact I thought I might experiment by pairing honey wheat grain bill with more of a pale ale hop profile.  Since one of my favorite hops is centennial I wanted to use that.  However, didn't have any centennial or cascade so I ended up settling with a new type of hop I haven't tried before called Zythos.
Recirculating the run-off
I started the boil at 8.5 gals and boiled down to a little under 6 gals.  I pulled off 5.5 gals to leave ~.5 gal of trub.  I ended up forgetting to drop in the whirlfloc tablet during the last 15 mins of the boil but since it is a wheat beer the final product will be cloudy enough that it wouldn't have mattered.
Rapi-Kool Paddle in action
Cooling went very fast with the new addition to my cooling setup (Rapid Cool Paddle).  The OG was 1.070 with a overall eff of 85%.
Hop butt...
12 hours later I had vigorous fermentation...  FG came in around 1.012 for a total ABV of 7.6%.

After tasting I have to say I like the results (still a little young) but with as much hops as I added to the brew I expected a much more hop presence than I have.  With these results I will probably not brew with Zythos again or at least not for an aroma or flavoring hop.
Three Weeks Later from the keg...
Southern Sweet Hard Cider Brew

About a week or so after brewing this I still hadn't got my fill for brewing for the month. So I decided to re-brew my southern sweet hard cider that has been pretty popular.  It's a very simple recipe.  The trick is that in order to back sweeten you have to stabilize the cider (halt fermentation).
Southern Sweet Hard Cider Ingredients
There are a few difference ways to do this.  You can chemically stabilize the cider using K-Sorbate and K-Meta-Bisulphite.  You can also use pasteurizing methods.  Keeping in mind some people have sulphite allergies.  I instead choose to keg my cider.  That way since my kegerator is <40*f the cider will not pick up and ferment any further after back sweetening.
The catch is that if I bottle off the keg the bottles need to say cold. If the bottles warm up to room temp they could explode.  Cider seems to take a lot longer to ferment than beer.  So it will probably be 2-3 weeks before I'm ready to keg and back-sweeten.

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