Made Upon Request (Kinda)
When I started planning this round of brewing, I asked my friend Quincy Adams, what sort of beer he'd like to drink if I brewed it for him. He asked me for a hefeweizen. When I went to the homebrew store, there was no such kit. I looked to the witbeir kit, but being all extract (no grains at all), and low alcohol content, I decided against that kit too. However, for years, my favorite beer was Warsteiner's Dunkel, so when I saw the dunkelweizen kit, I knew I had the compromise I was looking for. So, Quincy, even though I didn't get you a hefeweizen, I hope you enjoy this beer when it is finally done.
Brew Day (06Dec13)
I'm not really getting faster at brewing, I'm just learning what tasks I can stack. Cleaning and sanitizing only took me about 30 minutes instead of the usual hour, and I ended up twiddling my thumbs while waiting for the steep water to boil. I like to preload my work, so I spend a lot of time cleaning after each batch, when everything is as easy to clean as possible. That probably helps more than anything else.
All in all, I am very pleased with how today went. I didn't boil over this time (the first time I think) and everything went smooth and timely. The boil took a bit longer than normal as it was near freezing today, but by the power of propane, the water heated. The cold also dropped the temperature too low during steeping, but by turning the propane on for another minute in the middle of the steep, I was able to keep the water within the recommended range.
My best guess as to the charred chunks at the bottom of the brew pot are from the liquid malt extract. I've been doing partial extract brewing, where I steep grains for some of the flavor and sugars, but also rely on manufactured (basically super concentrated) extracts. The LME is the two white canisters in the first picture in the gallery above. These are added to the brew when the brew pot has come to a steady boil, and you have to stir to keep them from boiling. Problem is, it takes some time to scrape it all out of the bottom of those canisters, so while I was, some of the extract already in the pot charred to the bottom. I know better for next time at least.
Aside from that, brew day went smooth. The next step is to rack the beer into the secondary fermenter.
Racking Day (14Dec13)
I had to return to work in west Texas right after my training, but I took the time to detour to San Antonio to rack the dunkelweizen and the VAC Cider. Racking day went really smooth. The biggest problem I had was that some of my pictures turned out fuzzy, which is not a bad day in my books.
The final gravity of this beer ended up being 1.018, which is a little higher than the range predicted by the kit (1.012 - 1.015). When I ran the ABV calculation, I found that this beer clocks in at a little over 4%. The next step will be bottling day.
Bottling Day (25Dec13)
Why did we bottle on Christmas day? Because we are awesome! That, and because the beer was ready.
Once again, bottling went pretty smooth! My darling and I have found that two people who are used to working in each other's space can be very efficient. I didn't taste or smell any off flavors in the sample I tasted, so here's hoping that none develop in the bottle! The bottles have been moved to a dark room to age, so now it's just a matter of waiting.