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Checking the Progress of the Yorkshire Brown Ale

Posted by homebrewdad on 1/13/2012 at 05:41:07 AM


Today was day thirteen of my Yorkshire brown in the primary fermenter.  The bubbling of the airlock has all but completely stopped, so the main part of fermentation should be done - but to be sure, one must take a new specific gravity reading.  If you get matching gravity readings on consecutive days, then you actually know that fermentation is done.
I have pretty religiously kept the carboy wrapped in a towel - this protects the beer from light, which is very bad for it - and also helps to keep the temperature more constant.  The carboy has been kept in my closet, though, so the temperature shouldn't have varied *too* much.
My target original gravity was 1.051, and my target final gravity was 1.013, which translates to a beer with an alcohol by volume of just a hair under 5.0% exactly.  When I brewed this batch, my orignal gravity reading was very high (you may recall), at 1.075.  Today's reading was 1.012 - almost perfectly on target.  This confirms my suspicion that fermentation is done, though I'll take one more reading to be very sure.  This also means that my worry of there being too much sugar in the finsihed beer is unfounded, since the sugar all fermented out to the expected saturation. 
The sample did smell sweeter than I expected it would, but the numbers don't lie, right?
At any rate, next came one of the best parts of brewing your own beer - getting to taste it. 
I knew full well that the sample would be completely flat, since it hadn't been carbonated yet.  I also know that even though fermentation was probably done, the beer itself was not truly ready (especially if my original gravity reading was correct).
The verdict?  In a word, hmm.
There were no strange flavors, so my fears that the overly sweet smell meant some sort of contamination were once and for all proven to be unfounded.  The beer was a good bit dryer than I had expected - I was really figuring

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Tags for this post: gravity, original, specific, final, abv, alcohol, volume, warmth, ale, homebrew, brew, brewing

A Change of Plans Regarding Primary Fermentation

Posted by homebrewdad on 1/11/2012 at 05:33:45 PM


There has been a change of plans in regards to primary fermentation of my Yorkshire brown ale.  After doing a fair amount of reading and research online, I have decided to leave my ale in the primary for an additional week.  Originally, I had planned on a week in the primary, followed by two in the secondary, but now, I intend to reverse those.

Apparently, another week in the primary will help to ensure that my yeast can fully do their jobs, and should help reduce any off flavors in the finished beer.  From what I understand, the secondary is really more about clarity and conditioning than actual fermentation and flavor.  That being said, I don't want to sacrifice clarity, so I may end up just adding a week to the total process (two weeks primary plus two weeks secondary).

I can't wait to see how this batch turns out - but I want to make sure that it's the best beer that it can be.  I won't rush things and end up compromising my final beer.  I've waited long enough to get started in homebrewing; another week won't kill me.

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Tags for this post: change, primary, secondary, fermentation, clarity, flavor

Yorkshire Brown Ale - Post Action Report

Posted by homebrewdad on 1/11/2012 at 05:33:35 PM


Here is the followup post to how my very first homebrew session went - as you may recall, I was doing a dry malt extract recipe for Yorkshire brown ale.
I found it to be a very enjoyable process.  First off was making the grain tea, where I steeped my specialty grains in hot water for 25 minutes.  I then added water and brought the whole thing to a boil (nearly boiling over in the process).  From there, I removed it from the heat, stirred in my dry malt extract and a gallon of water, returned the mixture to boiling, added my bittering hops, and boiled for an hour.  Easy peasy.  My recipe did not call for flavor or aroma hops, so I didn't have to worry about the timing on these (though I did add a packet of yeast fuel with fifteen minutes left in the boil).
Next up, I cooled the batch down with my wort chiller, then poured it into my 6.5 gallon carboy (essentially a big honking glass bottle).  Following, I aerated via lots of shaking and sloshing, and finally, I added my liquid yeast (a limited edition variety from White Labs). 
I will admit to being fairly concerned, since my orignial gravity reading was way too high - I was expecting 1.051, but actually pulled a 1.075 (consistent over several samplings).  I double checked, and yes, I got a 1.000 for plain water... so theoretically, my hydrometer is not broken.  If that reading is correct, it

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Tags for this post: first, batch, yeast, liquid, original, gravity, ale, brown, yorkshire, ferret

My Very First Homebrewed Beer

Posted by homebrewdad on 1/11/2012 at 05:32:55 PM


I make this first homebrew blog entry as I prepare to make my very first batch of beer.  I'm pretty excited at the prospect; I've done a lot of research on the internet, have read countless recipes and tips... but I'm still anxious at the prospect.  Will I have the hydrometer issues that so many seem to have?  Will I manage to properly sanitize everything (and avoid funky flavors)?  Bottom line - will I come away with good beer?

We shall see, I suppose.

I'll be making a Yorskshire brown ale - specifically, Yorkshire Square Brown (limited edition), from Austin Homebrew Supply (the dry malt extract option).  I know that I'll have to steep the specialty grains as part of the process... I wonder how that will go.

I'm a huge fan of British and Belgian ales - give me something with some body and character, without hops that just bludgeon me over the head.  This recipe seems to fit the bill perfectly.  If all goes according to plan, I'll have drinkable beer in around five to six weeks.

All of my gear is brand new, thanks to Santa Claus... or more accurately, thanks to my wonderful wife.  I made up a wish list, and she essentially got everything on it from Austin Homebrew as my Christmas gift. 

Originally, I had made up my list and she shared it with my mother - who promptly replied that she would not be purchasing any beer making supplies, period.  My mother and I exchanged emails over this, as

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Tags for this post: homebrew, beer, first, try, yorkshire, brown, ale

Christmas in January?

Posted by homebrewdad on 1/11/2012 at 04:47:27 AM


Today felt a little bit like Christmas - my friendly UPS guy delivered  three boxes from Austin Homebrew Supply.  Of course, I did already know what was coming, but it was still a lot of fun to open them.

My order consisted of four cases of twelve ounce longneck beer bottles, six cardboard four pack carriers (enough to transport one case of homebrew at once, if I so choose), and all of the ingredients necessary for my next batch of beer - an imperial nut brown ale. 

This next beer will be a different experience for me in several ways.  First off, I had to assemble the ingredients for the recipe (which I got off the Internet), as opposed to the prepackaged kit that I bought for my first batch (the Yorkshire brown ale).  Austin Homebrew didn't have everything listed exactly like the recipe dd, so I made a substitution or two... we'll see how that afects things.  Secondly, this one is a big beer - the original gravity is supposed to hit 1.081, with a final  gravity of 1.016... or, in other words, an alcohol by volume of just over 8.5%.

To deal with this fact, I bought two packs of yeast (Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale) to do a double pitch, but I am seriously considering making my first starter.  I'm also considering making a starter *and* pitching the second pack "as is" to ensure that I'll have more than enough yeast.  If I do that, I'll surely

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Tags for this post: christmas, beer, ale, airlock, bubbles, primary, secondary, yeast

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