Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks For Beer

Bellevue Bitter turned out to be a nice beer.  But cold weather is really the best time for me to brew so I moved on to other beers I "need" to make.
I kegged a Pale I made as a house beer last week and made it again for the bottle on Friday.
The gravity looked good and the beer started well.
A bit of trub slipped through the strainer when I put the wort in the carboy but, as always, I expect it'll settle out.  The color was nice too.
I bottled Eric's Oktoberfest on Monday and saved the Bavarian Lager yeast so I could make the beer again yesterday.
Although I'm not sure how much good it does, I did a decoction.  I do this while a low temperature mash step is performed to maximize the starch content of the grain for the main mash.
Some of the wort is drained off and boiled for a few minutes.
Then the hot wort is added back to the 122 degree mash to bring it to 155 so the starch conversion can take place effectively. 
The starting gravity was a little light because I sparged a bit too much but I got an extra quart of beer to drink.
The cold weather helped but I did have to pump ice water through the chiller to get the wort to 53.
I pitched the yeast and set the vault to 52.  As of this morning there appears to be a nice layer of krausen forming on top of the beer. 
This is good given the chilly fermentation temp. 
The yeast will work for 4 weeks before the beer is packaged and conditioned. 
I expect this to be a nice, malty beer with an unmistakably clean lager taste.

Hoppy Thanksgiving.
And, good beer to you.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bellevue Bitter

I bottled my best bitter today.
I made Bellevue Bitter a couple of weeks ago and was really pleased by the color of the wort during the sparge.

It looks like melted caramel.
The fermentation went well and the beer finished out at 1.010.
This will be a nice 5.1% English Pale when it carbonates.
The last time I made this beer (formerly called Big B's Best Bitter) it won 3rd Best of Show only to be outdone by my American Brown, which got Best of Show that year.
I hope this beer is as good.
Peace, Love, Beer.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Draft Beer Quality on TV

Yesterday, while on my day job, I had the chance to cover a Draft Beer Quality conference held for the continually expanding number of local craft brewers here in Nashville.
I had the chance to meet and interview Linus Hall of Yazoo who explained how seriously he and his team are concerned about the way their product is handled between the time it leaves the brewery and when it is presented in the glass to a consumer.
Topics included CO2 pressure, how serving lines are cleaned and the size and length of the pressurized beer line from the cooler to the bar.
The event was put on at the Mercy Lounge by a couple of industry experts including New Glarus' Jeff Schaefer.  New Glarus isn't even distributed in Nashville but Jeff says he wanted to come here and offer his expertise to this emerging market.
You'll see him at the tail end of this news package I shot for WSMV.  It was supposed to be a smaller story but I'm interested in this topic so I stayed a little longer and asked if our afternoon shows could use it.
The story also includes the perspective of Christian Spears of the newly opened Tennessee Brew Works.  He says the conference could not have come at a better time since his tap room opened only days ago.