Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Grumpy Urbanist

If a recipe is new, sometimes the name I give it when formulating it ends up being temporary. In this case, I had in mind something like "Dead Greek God", on account of the fact that I was using hops from the now deceased Zeus hop vine (it inhabited a large pot next to the driveway and unlike the ground-planted hops, was the victim of winter kill this year.)

The larger bowls are Zeus leaf, and the smaller bowls Palisade pellet.

But, I was feeling a bit grumpy and stressed out in the morning as I got the mash going, and depressed upon reading things like a bake sale with a drive-through. So anger-tweeting got me through the mash, and so too has it provided a new name for this beer.

Brew day went well, with a brief visit from our friends J and C. C has an interest in homebrewing and I routinely offer her an invite to see how an all-grain process goes. Oh, and J happens to be the namesake of the previous batch, which didn't get a brew-day post:

It's an "in" joke.

But back to the Grumpy Urbanist. For once, some accuracy in my numbers. Pre-boil gravity came out at 1.051 (vs a target of 1.050) with an Original Gravity of 1.060 (target 1.057). Much better than the terrible undershoots of the last few batches. Not that I've seen any meaningful efficiency improvements, mind. I've just dialed my expected efficiency down to a weepingly low 65%. Clearly, Chris needs a new mash tun.

This recipe is a little wacky. Brew with what ya gots. And I gots:

  • The aforementioned Zeus hops - pungent, obnoxious, good for bittering
  • "Palisade" pellet hops - similar to Willamette. Mixing pellet and leaf is a pain on my system, too.
  • T-58 yeast - kind of a specialty yeast that produces some estery and peppery flavours
  • 5lb of rye malt to go along with the last 5lb of pale, and a few more pounds of pilsner to round out the malt bill.
I figured that this beer could be a mess, in terms of flavour. Sometimes, though, you got to get a little freaky. But what I didn't expect was that this beer would quickly be a mess in the brewery, as well:

Airlock = insufficient.
Mad kreusen.

I've never seen a fermentation take off like this. These pictures are from ~20 hours into fermentation. I was already seeing strong gassing off at 6 hours! I should have known this might happen, since it's typically not until the next day that I see any activity.

So, cleanup on aisle three, change out the lid, and then back to the blow-off tube for the rest of fermentation.

Fortunately, at high kreusen like this, a fermenting beer is actually quite robust even in the event of a containment breach of the warp core. The overpressure means there's very little opportunity for outside air or microbes to get into the fermenter, let alone through the thick layer of CO2 foam. But I'm glad I caught it, because the sweet wort would also attract insects, and that would be that.

The recipe is below. I've also included the Golden Pockets, which turned out to be remarkably close to Dirty Fawcett that it's almost indistinguishable. It is slightly superior to it, though, so I'll regard it as a successful refinement of DF instead of a failed attempt to produce a different beer.