What’s Brewing? July 2020 Edition

After a flurry of brewing in June, I took a few weeks off to let some batches ferment, condition, and carbonate. My lagers are often a little rushed to the tap, so my hope is to build in more wiggle room in my schedule so that the beers get more time to…well, lager. Even so, the fermenters and kegs are pretty full right now!

Beer Batch Updates

  • I kegged my amber ale on 23 June 2020, after 10 days in the fermenter. As is usual for ales these days, I’m carbonating with corn sugar, and topping that off with a bit of CO2 from my cylinder. I ended up with 5.0% abv, pretty much exactly along calculations for his recipe! I threw the beer into the lagering chamber on 7 July 2020, after two weeks of carbonating at ambient temperature.
  • My kölsch-style ale is carbonating and conditioning. In this case, I’m force carbonating at 33°, to help keep the delicate flavors more intact (versus letting it sit at roughly room temperature to carbonate), and also to get a jump start on dropping out the yeast. I used K-97 on the batch, which experience shows tends to flocculate pretty slowly. This beer started at 1.048 and ended at 1.009, for 5.1% abv. Initial tastes are pretty good–it’s still super hazy, but the flavor is really nice.
  • I brewed a light (lite) American lager on 20 June 2020, the famous “Mow the Damn Lawn” recipe from Annie Johnson. It’s a wonderfully simple beer, with just 2-row and flaked rice, clocking in at 1.045 o.g. I repitched a jar of Que Bueno yeast (Imperial) from my Mexican-style lager, and the little yeasties took off! Even though I was fermenting at 49°, I got pretty steady bubbling out of the blowoff tube within 12 hours. I’m going to let this beer get a good long fermentation, and hopefully a good long conditioning phase.
  • A few days after my light lager (24 June), I set in for a Munich helles-style lager. I patterned the recipe after one from Gordon Strong, with a bulk of pilsner malt supplemented by light Munich and touches of Carahell and Carapils. I’m also hoping to have a long conditioning phase with this one.
  • For both of the above lagers, they ran at 50° from 24 June to 1 July. I let them free-rise to 54° on the evening of 1 July, up to 58° on 3 July, up to 60° on 4 July, and then started a slow drop to 55° on 5 July. I ratched it down to 50° on 6 July. Over the course of the day on 7 July, I dropped to 45° and then 40°. On 8 July, I dropped to 35°, before a final drop to 33° on 9 July 2020 (today).

What’s On Tap?

golden lager with frothy white head, held aloft in clear Willi Becher glass against green sunlit yard
Tremonia Lager, in a Willi Becher Glass
  • Adalatherium Pale Ale
    • I put this beer on tap just a few days before the June “What’s Brewing?” update, and now it’s really at peak drinkability, and pretty nice clarity too. As described in the tasting notes, the yeast/hop combo doesn’t quite work, but it’s not a dumper, either. How’s that for a ringing endorsement? It’s definitely gotten better as it sits in the keg.
  • Tremonia Lager
    • My first-ever Dortmunder Export is pretty delightful, and makes a nice pale lager for afternoon sipping. It continues to drink nicely, although I expect I’ll probably finish up the keg soon.
  • Alstadt Alt
    • After a month of kegging and conditioning, the beer is finally dropped clear. It’s super enjoyable!

What’s Coming Up?

  • I need/want to do another IPA soon, and am thinking about a session rye IPA (RyePA?). The idea is to do something in the classic northwest IPA tradition, with old-school citrus/piney hops.
  • It’s been years since I did a Berliner-weisse style beer, and with the warm summer months, there’s no better time. I’m going to give it a try sometime soon, probably with a smallish (3 gallon) batch and a yogurt-based culture.
  • Also along the lines of lightly soured beers, I plan to do the Raspberry Belgian.

Other Than Beer

  • I snagged some Willi Becher glasses, to upgrade my drinkware. I used to love my lonely single Willi Becher, but it broke. Searching online, it was easy to find these glasses in the 16 oz. and 20 oz. sizes, but I honestly don’t want (or need) to pour that amount of beer most of the time! I settled on 0.375 L / ~12 oz. glasses, but wow, they were hard to find at a decent price. I eventually got success, and am really happy with them (see the above photo). In a good slow pour, the head piles up so nicely!
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