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Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:09 pm

Indoor triumphs over outdoor? I'm kinda ashamed to be a regular Topix poster and confess this but...With a free Friday today I originally figured to do a quick hitter up into the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. Competing against this was the fact that I hadn't brewed a single batch of beer outside of winter and spring breaks since moving to Fresno in 2005. Ah, there you see the question gets more interesting: Serious beer or serious high country fishing? Judy said she felt too tired with her work schedule to take a quick sneak out trip today so brewing won. Brewing is pretty difficult with the little ones around. The older one wouldn't disrupt anything but the younger one...Katrina loose in one's brewery isn't a pretty picture. Accordingly I brew only on vacation while kids are in daycare. Summer months? Well, ambient in this house is near 80F (in order not to go broke with our utility bill for air conditioning) which doesn't lend itself to anything except brewing Belgian ales (very different from our old Hayward abode, of course). Our usual standards are pale ales and IPAs which wouldn't turn out as well fermented in the high 70s (way too fruity). We do very much like Belgian ales, though, which turn out just fine, or even benefit from high fermentation temps. Given how many we drink and how expensive they are, why a summer brewing session waited until now is a bit baffling. But, better late than never. Brewery batch no. 89 (11th since moving to Fresno) is now boiling on the stove top. The outdoors? Well, tomorrow we'll go up to the high country with the kids and grab some fat brookies, but today a bit of work will bring 5 gal. worth of drinking pleasure down the line. In the meantime, as you may have figured out, brewing any batch of beer is enlivened by consuming some of prior batches--a very nice experience overall. And the wonderful smell of brewing is so hard to beat. Yummmm.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html



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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby rlown » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:15 pm

you obviously need a propane powered king cooker for your wort boil. shortens the time dramatically unless you've got an amazing wok burner on your stove. Also, it keeps the resultant humidity/heat outside, like in the garage. :drinkers:
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby JMat » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:43 pm

GB,
I probably would have chosen the same... Just finished a couple Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA's and I'm with you. Although like rlown said... I sure hope the boil is outside because a 1-1.5 hour boil inside, this time of year, could blowout your A/C. Between the humidity and the heat, of course.

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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:47 pm

rlown wrote:you obviously need a propane powered king cooker for your wort boil. shortens the time dramatically unless you've got an amazing wok burner on your stove. Also, it keeps the resultant humidity/heat outside, like in the garage. :drinkers:

Funny you mention that, because we have a very bad stove set up here in Fresno. We have been thinking about the propane cooker for some time. Our range here is the second worst I've ever cooked on. It is one of the idiot JennAir things with the downward sucking fan (at least it's a gas range, though). What folks do for aesthetics in defiance of physics! With this thing situated in the island of our kitchen putting together a right and proper upward-drafting range hood would be a major operation (but will be done one of these days because this is an intolerable situation for someone who cooks as much as I do--boiling pasta water is much slower with this set up, too). In any case it would be OK if the switch to the moth--f----- fan wasn't automatically on (and impossible to turn off) when either of the two left hand burners switch on. The difference? With fan off (boiling on right hand burner only) I can bring 4 gal to a boil in about 40 min (don't have a big pot, so I do two at once after I lauter--first runnings in one, second runnings and hops in the other). Up to now, a loose connection had always helped me out. For some reason, just putting the heavy pot down disabled the switch and the fan didn't go on. This made for some fairly efficient brewing. For example, batch no. 88, brewed this past winter went about like this: I woke up no earlier than about 7 or so, got the strike water going, mashed in at about 720 or so (don't recall whether I took kids to daycare or my wife did), was lautering at 0900, was knocked out and into my cooling coil cycle by 1300 and had the fermenter happily situated by 1350, with everything else cleaned and put away by 1420. Today, the fan switched on (and couldn't be turned off) and that brought me all sort of grief. Two hours to bring the left hand pot up to boil. Moreover the vigor of the boil in both kettles was far less than without the fan, so I had a lower starting gravity but much more starting material than I'm used to (well past shoulder of my 6.5 gal. carboy). I did start much later today than usual owing to the spontaneity of the process (no ingredients in advance), and the fact that our local homebrew shop didn't open until 10 am. I didn't mash in until 1115 this morning and I didn't get the wort in the fermenter until sometime after 1900 (owing to the stove issue, in part). Also, the drawn out affair resulted in me drinking a bit more than normal during the brewing, so I actually forgot to do my last hop addition, so I'm going to have fun and do a staggered two-part dry hop process later. All in all, though, a day well spent, though. There is one very nice thing about brewing on the range. The house will have that brewing smell for the next two days. Still, the king cooker would be nice.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:57 pm

JMat wrote:Just finished a couple Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA's and I'm with you.

Nice choice. My lineup today included Green Flash Le Freak, my 2009 Palisade-Amarillo based IPA, and the 2008 Pyramid Snowcap, a rather eclectic lineup. Most likely this batch will be bottled and the next batch (my wife will brew this one) brewed on another Friday furlough day in November. Yup, I'll forgo big browns at Courtright or something for another batch.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby rlown » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:23 pm

Way too funny. I had a Jenn-Aire setup at my last house in Mtn View. Sucked LARGE. Downdraft vent and all. Immediately went to the king cooker in the garage and it changed my life for brewing (and chinese food prep with the wok.) Where do you ferment? i have to assume inside due to the Fresno heat in the garage. God, i need to start a batch now.. I have a 3 tier design ready to go and a welder friend to make me the rack and stub in my stainless kegs for the system.

You've made me thirsty again. But, not before Royce and Puppet next year. that'd be bad.

do you do grain mash or pre-mix? I started (of course) with pre-mix, but grain is the way to go. Used to buy it in 50lb sacks, so..

we might have to take this off line as this isn't directly related to the Sierra. Russ.
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby hikerduane » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:42 pm

giantbrookie, how much hops do you use for a batch? Are they loose or smashed down to measure? I grow a few for the looks and they have just flowered and waiting for them to dry. I tried a dried flower last year and the bitterness sure stays in your mouth for a while I have a variety that is supposed to be the most bitter. I need to mulch and manure mine more for more vigorous and greener vines I think. They take off quick in the Spring then take a turn for the worst in the looks department by August, but I still get some flowers on them which I don't use since I don't brew.
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby rlown » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:52 pm

Duane,

What variety hops do you grow? usually i use a good 1-2lbs dried depending on what i'm brewing, at different stages in the process. I like Cascade hops for general purpose.
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby hikerduane » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:27 am

I found my info on hops, of the varieties offered I have Nugget circled.
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby rlown » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:25 am

If you're interested in some recipes that use the Nugget variety, check out http://brewery.org/brewery/files/cm2.pdf

The Cat's Meow is kind of the beginners bible of brewing recipes. After about 30 batches, you start getting comfortable in tailoring your own, and after 90, you get funky with your yeast selections (maybe even cultivating your own. I know, it's sick. :drinkers:
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby hikerduane » Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:33 pm

I don't drink much beer, plus, I am gone during the week to work, so my place either gets warm in the summer or stays at 50 in the winter weekdays. I have winter rye growing which I just use as a cover crop, but I could grow barley and more hops.
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Re: Furlough Friday: Indoor or Outdoor? (Indoor wins)

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:37 pm

How much hops? I am very much in the West Coast tradition of extreme hop amounts. For anything but Belgian ales and lower gravity British bitters, my wife and I have a motto "triple digits or die" (ie 100 IBU plus), for we like things well bottom loaded (ie bittered) as well as the massive amounts of late boil flavor hops and the avalanche of aroma from the dry hop charge. I do tend to put a lot of effort into the malt end of things, though. For all but the highest gravity brews, I brew all grain, and my base malt of choice is Maris Otter 2 row which is much richer and aromatic than N. American grain. On some occasions I will use German or Moravian pilsner malt because I liked the honeyed aromatics of that malt, although this is more work because in spite of claims that these malt are modified enough for a single step infusion mash, they tend to work out better with the two step mash (ie protein rest, then saccharification rest). For hop varietals, I do like the over the top Pacific NW strains, but I will mix it up and do the more European flavor profile hops, too (including those that are grown here).

Regarding Nugget, it was one the first of the ultra alpha hops developed here (issued sometime in the early 80's, I think). It was also two decades ahead of its time because it had spectacularly low cohumulone (meaning that its bitterness is very clean). I just used Nugget as the bittering hop for my latest "Belgian IPA" (following the likes of Houblon, Le Freak, or perhaps closer, De Ranke XX Bitter). The new ones they have now are not only low cohumulone but their aroma characteristics are amazing. Simcoe is my favorite West Coast hop , although I've never taken advantage of its high alpha (usually in the 12 plus percent range) and super low co-humulone (below 20 percent of alpha acids), because the aroma is so fine. I use it almost exclusively for dry hopping. Amarillo, which for many has surpassed old standbys such as Cascade, Centennial, etc. as the West Coast signature citrusy hop, takes second place, to me to Simcoe which mixes the tangerine citrus with spectacular evergreen-pine and basil notes.

Just got back, by the way, from the last family Sierra trip of the year (see fishing section).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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