What’s Brewing? May 2020 Edition

Following the relatively quiet brewing months of March and much of April, I’ve been able to get back into the swing of things again. With extra time at home, I’ve also been making various syrups and other fermented goodies. It’s a lot of fun!

Fermenter with the Alta California Lager, ready for kegging

Beer Batch Updates

  • I brewed a German wheat ale on April 26 (Humboldt’s Hefeweizen), and it has been carbonated and is now on service! It’s a super straightforward recipe, with pilsner malt, wheat malt, and a touch of melanoidin (to finish out my stash of that malt). I’ve not brewed this style in some time (it looks like 2015 was my last batch), so it seemed like a good time to give it another try.
  • I kegged the 2020 edition of the Alta California Lager on 10 May 2020, and put it on tap yesterday. It has been lagering for just under three weeks, and has a ways to go yet before I’ll consider it optimal. Luckily, I can focus on the weizen for now, which is a bit better young anyhow.
  • On May 3, I brewed a kitchen sink pale ale, to use up a few stray ingredients. I’ll keg it in a day or two, using priming sugar for carbonation.
  • Last weekend, I made an altbier, repitching the yeast used in my kolsch-style ale earlier this year. The recipe is straight from the Brewing Classic Styles series book on altbier, just for a change of recipe pace. Fermentation took a few days to take off, but it’s now going gangbusters!
  • Yesterday I started a Dortmunder Export Lager, as a style new to me. I was going to repitch some German Lager yeast (WLP830), but the jar in my fridge hadn’t clarified terribly well. I took this as a sign to toss the yeast (which had already been through two batches), and just went with dry Saflager 34/70. I did some experimenting with water chemistry on this batch, which I plan to detail in a later post.

What’s On Tap?

  • Humboldt Hefeweizen — as described above, it’s a fairly traditional German wheat ale. I’m serving it at a pretty high carbonation (~3.5 volumes of CO2), and it has been quite enjoyable so far. This is one I want to drink quickly….it might be my favorite on tap at the moment!
  • Celtic Elk Irish Stout — this is a traditional-ish Irish stout, filling the dark beer morphospace in my tap selection. The batch is a slightly modified rebrew of one I did a few years back.
  • Alta California Lager — a Mexican-style lager, intended as a light and drinkable summer beer.

What’s Coming Up?

Freshly empty malt bag…now I’m all set to make more German beers!
  • I’m thinking a kolsch-style ale would be nice. Not sure yet on recipe.
  • An American-style lager (using a repitch of the yeast from my Mexican-style lager yeast) is also under consideration. I’m thinking something using rice to lighten it up.

Other Than Beer

  • I put a batch of sauerkraut out to ferment last weekend. Why not expand into other fermented foods, after all? Today I’ve also started a batch of fermented carrot sticks.
  • I’ve done a bunch of drink syrups…tonic syrup, of course, but also ginger syrup. For the latter, I need to cut back on the water (maybe 1 cup instead of 2?), because it ends up pretty thin, even though the flavor is great. I also did a juniper syrup, to have as an alternative for gin-based drinks. The initial taste is quite good!