What’s Brewing? June 2020 Edition

I’ve been able to get in a bit of brewing this past month during downtime, working through some of my ingredient stock and anticipating the kinds of styles I’ll want to drink over the summer. A perpetual problem is that I rarely have time to lager properly before a tap opens up, so I need to increase the frequency of my lager brew sessions!

Beer Batch Updates

  • I kegged my “kitchen sink pale ale” on 30 May, adding dry hops and priming sugar at that time. I let the beer carbonate for around 10 days before putting it on tap. It was super hazy, almost cloudy, for the first day or two, but has dropped out a bit since then. It has a ways to go before it comes close to clear, something I’ve noticed previously with the Windsor and S-04 dry yeast strains. The yeasts have nice character, but do not flocculate anywhere nearly as well or as quickly as the manufacturers imply (in my experience).
  • My Dortmunder Export Lager is in the keg, finishing out at 4.9% abv. I kegged it on 6 June 2020, and force carbonated at 33°. A week in, the flavor is really nice, bringing a good malt character without being overly heavy or cloying. It has a decent bit of haze still, so I added a dose of gelatin, anticipating that I’ll be serving the keg sooner than later. I would love to let my lagers condition for a longer stretch, but I just don’t brew often enough.
  • The altbier is kegged (11 June 2020), and now carbonating with priming sugar. I hope to let it go another week or so before cold crashing. I might give it a shot of gelatin then, because I’ll likely have a tap slot opening up soon. The beer clocks in at 4.6% abv, and has a really nice flavor on my first tasting.
  • I brewed a kölsch-style ale last weekend, trying a slightly different recipe from past iterations. I used 95% pilsner with 5% light Munich malt, Sterling hops, and K-97 dry yeast.
  • Yesterday, I made an American amber ale, with a newly devised recipe. It was 70% 2-row and 15% light Munich malt, with crystal 80 and crystal 60 to add a caramel note as well as to use up my supply of those malts. I also had a dash of Carafa III for color adjustment, and Cascade as the solo hop.

What’s On Tap?

  • Adalatherium Pale Ale
    • As described above, this was a quick pale ale to satisfy my hop needs.
  • The Celtic Elk Stout 1.1
    • I’m almost at the end of this keg, and it still drinks really nice. The altbier will go on tap to replace this one.
  • Alta California Lager 2020
    • This beer is nearly gone, also; it has clarified really well, and is a nice beer for hot afternoons.

What’s Coming Up?

  • As noted last month, I’m pretty keen on doing a light (lite) American-style lager. I finally punched in the recipe for Annie Johnson’s famous “Mow the Damn Lawn,” and hope to brew it soon. I’ll be repitching the Que Bueno yeast I harvested from my Alta California Lager.
  • I’m also thinking a new SMaSH pils, centered on Mt. Hood hops this time. It will be a standard German-style pils, and I’m hopeful I’ll have a little more time to lager it this round before it has to go on tap.
  • To use up some ingredients, I’m going to do a Rye IPA (RyePA?) with a Pacific Northwest style hop bill.

Other Than Beer

  • My lacto-fermented food projects have been doing pretty well. The carrot sticks I did were super tasty, and we just finished the jar last night. I’m also particularly pleased with my first batch of sauerkraut. It’s tart, crispy, and as good as anything I’ve gotten from the store. I started a second batch last weekend.
  • The juniper syrup I made last month was pretty good, and I made a second batch with some adjustments. Specifically, I halved the sugar–the problem with many syrup recipes (or I guess the point of many syrup recipes) is that they have too much sugar, and so you end up too….well, syrupy…in many cases. I’ll need to up the acid a touch, to help it keep, but I’m getting closer to something that works for me. The current recipe is 3 tbs. juniper berries, 3 cardomom pods, 1 srig rosemary, and the peel of an orange, simmered in a cup of water with 1/2 cup sugar for 15 minutes. I let it steep in the fridge overnight, and then filter it out.
  • Just for fun, I might try to make a pseudo-gin, by infusing vodka with various botanicals.
man with sunglasses looking up at a jar of sauerkraut held aloft
Behold the sauerkraut.