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Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde Secondary
Racked to secondary tonight.  Gravity is at 1.012, placing ABV at 5.5%.  I tasted it and the spruce tips are detectable, but light in flavor, so I decided to "dry spruce" it with 1 1/2 ozs fresh spruce tips. (That is the bag floating in the top left of the fermenter.)  I don't know how much flavor and aroma will come from the spruce tips, but that is half the fun, right?  That is what I love about homebrewing!  We can take it anywhere we want to!  I really hope this beer finishes up nicely.  I can't wait to share it with friends, family, and Aurora City Brew Club members. CHEERS!      

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde

High krausen even with Ferm-Cap S added.  (I only used one drop per gallon, maybe I should have used two drops instead.) That krausen is 3" thick!

This my new Big Mouth Bubbler Plastic 6.5 gallon fermenter with the dual-port lid that I purchased from Northern Brewer.  I have an airlock in one stopper and the other is solid. This allows for the use of a thief or siphon through the second port, or even a way to add more products to secondary.  Pretty cool idea!  It will be very easy to clean as well, as I will be able to get my arm inside the large mouth opening!  These are also available in 5 gallon, and in glass or plastic at decent prices.  Great product and great service as well!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spring Spruce Tip Blonde

Mash day started at 7:00 a.m.  The mash bill consists of Weyermann Pilsner Malt, Weyermann Munich I, and Briess Caramel 10.  Strike temperature 167F to achieve mash temperature of 155F, single infusion mash.  Not sure on the quantity of spruce tips this first go round.  I'll play it safe and go lighter than I was originally planning.

After some consideration and input from others who have used spruce tips, I will use 10 spruce tips at 20 minutes, 10 spruce tips at 15 minutes, 10 spruce tips at 10 minutes, and 25 spruce tips at flame out. I'll be hopping with Chinook and Cascade, late additions, since I don't know how much bitterness will be contributed from the spruce tips.  I chose Chinook hops for their pine and citrus flavors and aromas and Cascade hops for their Citrus notes as well to highlight the spruce tips which have a citrus and slightly resinous aroma to them.

Boil underway.  Smells awesome.  Pilsner, Munich I, and Caramel 10 smelling delicious already.  I'm going to be adding the hops in late additions to keep the bitterness down but impart a lot of aromas.

And into the fermenter after cooling.  Recipe OG was 1.052.  Actual is 1.054.  I ended up with 5 gallons going into the fermenter.  Lost quite a bit on the boil.  Usually have 5.25 gallons going into primary.

The aromas of citrus and resinous pine are quite nice.  If I lose some aroma through the brew process, I will try "dry" sprucing.  Updates to come on the progress.  CHEERS!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Specialty Hard Cider

I started this batch on March 30, 2014, and since the yeast finally decided to start dropping out, bottled it today with an FG of 1.004. I found that the yeast I chose for this batch is a good match to leave a little residual sugar and not dry the cider out too much.  ABV is 8.6%. Color is deep golden/slightly orange. Smell: Aromas of apples, cinnamon, and a hint of clove.  Taste: semi-sweet apple, cinnamon, and very light clove on the finish.  The spicing is subtle so as not to overpower the apple flavor.  Overall the spice and the cider itself seem to be well balanced.  Not bad for my first 6 gallon attempt at a specialty hard cider.  I bottle primed with 4.75 ozs of dextrose (corn sugar) in hopes that the yeast is still healthy enough to carbonate.  I'll know in a week or two. CHEERS!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Smoked Maple Nut Brown

And into the bottles finally!  FG at 1.016 placing ABV at 7%.  Smell: aromas of sweet cherrywood smoke, maple, and toasted nuts.  Taste: smooth, medium-body mouthfeel and the flavors of the maple, cherrywood smoke, and nuttiness, meld together nicely with a slight bitterness, possibly slight astringency, that balances out the sweetness.  After a few sips there is a slight warmth, but no hot alcohol in the flavor.  I bottle primed with 4 oz of maple sugar.  I'll post again in 2-3 weeks after conditioning.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Smoked Maple Nut Brown

Still some very slight activity going on in the airlock.  Decided to pull a sample for a gravity and tasting. Gravity at 1.016 placing ABV at 7%.  Smell: Sweet aromas of smoke and maple with a deep nutty character.  Flavor: Medium body:  Tastes of maple, smoke, and a nice nutty finish.  Once the airlock activity subsides, I will bottle.  I'm going to bottle prime with maple sugar.