What’s Brewing? February 2021 Edition

I’ve had to slow down my brewing pace a bit, because I have a pretty good supply of beer at the moment. Even so, I’ve managed to get a few batches in!

Beer Batch Updates

  • I kegged my altbier on 31 January 2021. It hit a final gravity of 1.013, down from 1.040, for 4.3% abv. I used priming sugar for the initial carbonation, and finished it up in the lagering chamber before putting it on tap a few days ago.
  • I kegged my English IPA on 13 February 2021. It started out at 1.064 and finished at 1.019, for 5.9% abv.
  • I brewed a schwarzbier on 6 February 2021, repitching the Harvest lager yeast from my recent German pils batch. I expect it should be pretty close to finished, and I’ll begin cold crashing it this week.
  • I brewed an orange wheat ale on 13 February 2021, using a past recipe. I grated the zest from three oranges, and that is now steeping in a few ounces of vodka, to create an orange tincture that will go in at kegging time.

What’s On Tap?

  • On my picnic tap, I’m enjoying the clone of Houblon Chouffe. It’s at peak drinkability now!
  • The London Porter is conditioning on tap; as seen with past experience, the ESB yeast is pretty slow to flocculate. After a week or so, the beer is finally starting to drop clear. The yeast seem to have stalled out during fermentation, because it was 1.025 when I kegged and is now a notch below 1.020.
  • The latest version of Alstadt Altbier went on tap two days ago. Although it needs to condition and clear up a bit more, it’s a fantastic beer already. The aroma has a malty, floral character that is just plain delicious.
  • A German pils (“Pilsnerpeton“) also went on tap two days ago. This was my first all-Viking pilsner malt recipe, and I’m pretty pleased with the results. I dropped the hop level a bit on this one (targeting ~26 IBU), because I was feeling that some of my past versions were just a touch harsh for my taste (35 to 38 IBU). This is a lot closer to what I am looking for! The beer needs to clarify a bit more (it’s had ~5 weeks at lagering temperatures), but it’s quite nice. In a side-by-side with Bitburger, the commercial pils had better clarity, but mine had amazing heading and head retention, as well as excellent flavor (see the comparisons below).
Side-by-Side, Before and After. A commercial Bitburger is the left glass, and my Pilsnerpeton homebrew is the right glass. About 10 minutes separates the two photos.

What’s Coming Up?

  • Ingredients for a Munich dunkel are on-hand, to do the 2021 edition of my Dunkelosteus. I’ve missed that beer!
  • I need to brew my Alta California Lager soon, so that it can condition for a month or two in order to be ready for the warm days of late spring. I’ve done it with both grits and flaked maize, and think I’ll be going back to a cereal mash with grits on this version.
  • I have really enjoyed having a half-batch of something “different” on-hand, and as a way to try out high alcohol or experimental beers for which I wouldn’t want a full five gallons. I’m not sure what’s next in that arena, but I’ll figure out something.

Other Notes

  • Inspired by a recent article in Zymurgy, I made a batch of preserved lemons. It took about four Eureka lemons from the tree in your yard. After around four weeks of pickling, they turned out fantastically! I made some chicken tagine last night for supper. I had been a bit worried that the rind would be too much on these versus Meyer lemons, but it wasn’t a problem.
  • I also started a new batch of sauerkraut; the previous batch is running low.