Bejkee's Balcony Brewing Blog

Post #1 made 1 year ago
Hello and hope everyone had a merry christmas.

I'm starting a new topic to keep track of my brewing efforts, since the first one had a rather unoriginal title and "first brew day" story isn't really what it's about anymore. So, right now I'm wrapping up the brew day for my special after-wedding (my own) bohemian pilsner. I'm calling it "Svatý Václav - Svátebný Ležák 12°". Translated to English, this would mean "Saint Venceslas - Wedding Lager". And it is supposed to be 12 plato, like a proper traditional czech lager should be, but we'll see what turns out in the end...

I recently got a new grain mill, so I had fun trying that one out. It's quite a beast, it chewed through the 2.6 kg of grain in no time at all. Past are the days of ordering milled grain and worrying how time will affect it. The brew day is going relatively smoothly, if I don't take into account that I had to run across the street to the gas station to get a new (full) tank of propane/butane. And I also forgot to set one timer, so the last hop additions will be +- 1 minute. But I'm past worrying about little things like that.

Cheers! 
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Post #2 made 1 year ago
Ok, looks like it will be more of a 13°...  I dunno what happened, but my OG was 1.054 instead of the expected 1.048. I'm thinking it was my new grain mill, or perhaps my keeping more attention on the mashing temp, or perhaps I just weighed the grain wrong.
No worries, it will be just that little bit more festive, I guess.
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Post #3 made 1 year ago
Nice thread. It really is interesting keeping a history of brews and looking back at it later.
Are you using the biabacus? Keeping detailed notes and records are important to direct what happened during a brewday. We can also look at the file and help out if any problems occurred. 
Keep us posted!
Some people are like slinkies. Not good for much, but bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

Weehoosebrewing.ga
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Post #4 made 1 year ago
Here's the BIABacus file, in case anyone is interested. The recipe is a bit of an ad-hoc decision after a presentation from a head brewer from a czech micro that their 12° uses a just pilsner malt and a bit of munich. They also do decoction mashing but who has time for that? The hops schedule was taken from the brewing classic styles recipe for bohemian pilsner, but I toned it down just a bit, since that recipe is for a 14° which pretty much nobody drinks in the czech republic anyway.

I checked on the beer after a week and it's still sporting a healthy krausen and looking all pretty and all. It is sitting in the cellar of the apartment building at a nice and comfy 10 degrees C, and it will stay there for at least another two weeks. I'm still thinking whether to bring it to my flat for a diacetyl rest before bottling it or if I should just not bother with it and go straight to bottling.

Any input would be welcome.
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Last edited by bejkee on 03 Jan 2017, 18:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #5 made 1 year ago
Ok, polar air and -10 degrees C during the nights brought my cellar temp down to 6 degrees. This being near cold-crashing I decided to bring my beer to my flat and let it have a couple of days of diacetyl rest. Presumably some yeasties should still be floating around to do some cleanup work (and to eat the remaining sugar so I don't get any explosive surprises).

I'm reluctant to take samples for gravity measurements to determine if everything has fermented out, since the two stupid measurement cylinders I have either take a bloody half-litre or are too short to measure gravity below 1.03. :headhit:  I have poured measurement samples back into the fermenter before, but would rather avoid it if possible. On the other hand, spraying everything down with starsan should be ok, if I relax a bit and don't fret about "excessive oxidation". Any opinions on that matter?  :?:

The beer looks and smells delicious though... I can't wait for it to be drinkable.
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Post #6 made 1 year ago
Are you fermenting in a bucket? I usually just sanitize my hydrometer and toss it in the wort. May not be the preferred way; but it has worked for me.
Some people are like slinkies. Not good for much, but bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

Weehoosebrewing.ga
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Post #8 made 1 year ago
bejkee wrote:Ok, looks like it will be more of a 13°...  I dunno what happened, but my OG was 1.054 instead of the expected 1.048. I'm thinking it was my new grain mill, or perhaps my keeping more attention on the mashing temp, or perhaps I just weighed the grain wrong.
No worries, it will be just that little bit more festive, I guess.
I found that you had a minus 13% in Section X which raised your grain bill higher, another 408 kg more.  That would have given the potential of another 12 more gravity points, or 1.048 + 1.012 = 1.060, another words you should have gotten a 1.060 OG.  You got somewhere in the middle.  Since you didn't get a 1.060, you have something going on to look at further, efficiency wise.
How's the wedding coming?  :drink:
MS
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Post #9 made 1 year ago
Hello,

bit of an update here. I have bottled the last brew on last saturday. So far, I'm resisting the temptation to crack one open, but I did open the last bottle of my previous brew, which was a pale ale kind of think. I gave way too many of them away. I either need a bigger kettle or to become more selfish. So far option no. 1 is looking to be the winner.
Attaching biabacus below as well as a photo of "definitely not pilsner":
20170127-_DSC0162.jpg
@mad_scientist: I know, about the -13% setting, I had sort of dialed that in from my previous brew days, and as you can see on the current attachment, that setting was getting me close to the planned OG. I'm not too worried about +- 0.002, but perhaps 13 % was a bit too much. I'm going to tone it down to perhaps -6 % for the next day and we'll see where that gets us. The wedding was great btw., the deal is sealed.   :thumbs:
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Post #10 made 1 year ago
So today I chilled and cracked the first bottle of the wedding lager. The colour is a very light and almost clear gold. It has a nice barely malty body and a very pleasant herbal aroma. The bitterness turned out pretty well balanced with the body so I'm quite happy here. There is still a noticable yeasty aftertaste, but I think this should settle down after a bit of time in the cellar. I also wouldn't mind a tiny bit more of carbonation, but this is more a note for future attempts.
Attaching a picture for reference.
2017-02-03 20.44.38_small.jpg
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Post #11 made 1 year ago
It's been way too long since my last brew. So today I brewed Citra Fools Gold Lager. Learning a bit from the last lager brew, which now after three months is becoming very drinkable, but also getting close to extinct, I moved the efficiency settings back a bit. Now they are at -5 %, and I was quite close to intended OG than last time - at 1.055, which is just a bit higher than the 13°Plato I was aiming at.

For this brew I wanted to use the ingredients I had lying around from previous brews, while not caring too much about being too authentic. Since I only had about 30 g of Saaz remaining, the thought process was: "Citra lager seems to be popular these days, let's have a go!". Then I realized, that I also didn't have really enough Saaz for bittering, with its 3.5 % AA contents. So I was like: "screw this, lets just drop in some East Kent Goldings for the 60 minute bittering charge". The brew day went quite ok apart from some random splashing of wort in my kitchen floor, when I was siphoning it into the fermenter.
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Post #12 made 1 year ago
Enjoying the read bejkee :salute:

"Let's have a go!" Good attitude there. Not being scared of brewing is a great thing.

Don't try and adjust things so you "hit" your OG. Hitting your OG on every brew is a homebrewing myth. For example, brew an identical recipe on a day that is cold, still and humid, then brew it on a hot, windy, dry day. See what will happen to your OG?

The BIABacus hopes to default you into a position where you will always have to dilute a bit. As your experience grows, then you can fine-tune this a bit, but, don't go overboard unless you can predict the weather!

:)
PP
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Post #13 made 1 year ago
Speak of the weather...

When I started this brew, it was a very sunny and calm day. Beautiful and warm, spring was in the air. Heating the strike water was extremely quick and I almost overshot it. Then the mash was uneventful, although I had a bit of a harder time than usual when I was squeezing the bag. But when I started with the boil, of course an annoyingly strong wind came out of nowhere. It was messing with my burner left and right, but with the patented impromptu wind shelter (made of two baking sheets) it was still kind of manageable. In the end I'm sure the evaporation was quite a bit less than what it should've been. But a few points up or down won't make or break the beer at all, the more important thing is that there is a beer at all at the end of the road.
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