Saturday, June 6, 2009

090601 Coldwater 420

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Tim commissioned a batch of what we hope will turn out to be something like Sweetwater 420 pale ale. The materials came in on Tuesday and, because we were working against a July 4th due date and we had some out of town visitors, F&H opened up for a rare impromptu midweek brew session on Wednesday. Tim came by after work and we were also visited by work colleagues Greg Beresnikow and Chuck Toth and old friend Alan Matthews.

(Plug: If you're looking for lifestyle shots or have commercial photography needs, Alan's your man. Check his work out at He has the eye. None of the photos on this blog are his - he does much better work.)

The brewing experience was a little different because I had a lot of help. Here's a shot of the brewmasters admiring the process.

This recipe is really hoppy (for me, anyway), with three additions during the boil. On the whole we managed to keep the boilovers down to one, and we got the wort cooled in a reasonable time without having to break out the pre-chiller. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to use it pretty soon though as it's heating up outside.

I started to get concerned about the fermentation because as of Friday there wasn't any apparent activity in the primary, not even a partial pressure showing in the airlock. I knew that the sanitation was good, and that I followed all the steps - but it occurred to me that I didn't do something in the right order. I didn't take the OG reading until after I had pitched the yeast. It didn't dawn on me at the time that the sample I pulled would be likely to have a lot of yeast in it. (The gravity measured 1.057 which was a little higher than expected, maybe because it was leavened.)

In fine tradition however the yeast picked me up, and on Saturday morning when I checked there was a good krausen:

The fermentation was quite vigorous although not on the same scale as the Honey-Brew List:

What threw me off of course was that the last batch, the Honey-Brew List, took off like a rocket. I had forgotten that the Geordie Ale had a significant delay between going into primary and actually starting to show fermentation progress. Once again, the advice to be patient proved useful.

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