Friday, October 23, 2009

Freak E Blonde Ale (Video Documentary)

It has been a while since we have given you a video documentary of a typical brew day at The Freak Brothers Brewery so, we thought it was about time for one. This is a Blonde Ale that we are brewing to serve at Jimmy Carter Happy Hour. It will be at El Bait Shop, in Des Moines, on October 29th, at 6pm. Show up if you like and we will be serving our beer. It's FREE!!! (please tip) So have a look at these videos. Check'em out, Relax and Have a Home Brew!

This is the sparge process that takes place after the grain/malt (or the mash) has been converted (cooked). As you can see, we are racking (transferring) our wert (the sweet liquid that has been extracted from the grain), from the mash tun, into the boiling kettle. We are showering the grains with 170 degree water from the hot liquor (hot water) tank. This is called sparging. The purpose of the sparge is to rinse all of the fermentable sugers out of the spent grain. We try to keep about an inch of sparge water on top of the grain bed. It travels through the grain, through the racking cain and, it (minus the spent grain) all ends up in the boiling kettle. This takes about 25-30 minutes.

As you can see, there is no longer any liquid standing on top of the grain. The grain bed is all most dry. The boiling kettle is just about full. In about 15-20 minutes the kettle will be full and we have cranked up the heat to get it boiling. Gotta keep a close eye on it to avoid a boil over. That makes one hell of a mess.

We use a thermometer to see how close we are to boiling. When it gets to 200 degrees we don't take our eyes off of it for a second.

We came close to a boil over. (Not really that close. It's just one of the things we always have to keep a close eye on.) I have only had that happen one time, in the 14-15 years, since I bought this system. I boiled over a couple of times back when I was working on the stove top. Seems like you have a better chance of boiling over with smaller volumes. Or, it could be that I just watch things a bit closer now. Experience is everything. Learn your system and, keep a close eye on things. First and foremost, buy a freakin' pot that is 25% larger than what you need. That is the key.

We caught it and kept it from boiling over. Truth of the matter is, it was not that close. It's all a part of brewing. We know what we are doing and , we know how to avoid it. It was really not a big deal. Just fun to watch.

Here is our bittering hops being pitched into the wert. It is 3.5 oz. of Willamette. 4.6% alpha acid.

Quite often we have a game on the tube. I just thought you would like to see E's reaction to this game. Funny Shit!!!!

We have come to the end of the boil. It's time to shut things down and cool the wert. We have recently started doing things a bit different. We now run the wert through the wert chiller, back into the boiling pot (not pictured), rather than run it straight into the fermentor. This seems to help with clarity. It filters out all the trub.

Here we are filling the fermentor. We used to use an attachment that T's into the bottom of the fermentor but, we have found that it is much easier to just use an air stone to oxygenate the wert. It works just fine.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our videos. We will try to do more in the future.

Freak Out! And Brew On!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

High Gravity Version Of Our "Best of Show" Porter

This is a pic of the sparge process. It is another batch of our best performing beer. It has always done well in competitions. E believes that my water profile just works well with this type of beer. There may be something to that. Bottom line is... It's just a damn good beer. We have made it 5 or 6 times and have made very few adjustments. One thing we added a few batches ago was some honey malt. That is about the only change we have made to it.

However, on this particular batch, we boiled it down a bit further than normal. It gave us a gravity of 1.073 rather than 1.063. Now it is closer to a robust than a brown. It turned out well and, we will have it at Jimmy Carter Happy Hour on the 29th of October. Come on out and try some. We will have several other beers and a cider for you to taste. Hope you can make it.

This is a photo of the beer being racked from the mash tun into the boiling kettle.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Freak E Twitter

Looks like E started a Twitter account on here. I just noticed it. Fill us in E!