Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brewing for Yeast Propogation

Yeast is, far and away, the most important part of the brewing process. Yeast is so important that sometimes I will plan my brewing process around making my yeast happy. Just last weekend, I brewed up a Scottish 70/- Ale (a session-strength ale) for the express purpose of building up enough yeast from the slurry to give me a nice cake for brewing up the beer I really want to brew (a Black IPA).

When you know you need to brew a batch to build up a ton of healthy yeast, the best thing you can do is to brew up a low-gravity beer. Since I wanted to build up a propagator of Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favorite 50 yeast (an American-style ale yeast), I made a 2L stir-plate starter, and then pitched that starter into a 1.036 wort of Scottish 70/- wort. Why a Scottish 70 schilling ale? Because I was tired of brewing bitters. Ad I had never brewed this style before. And it's not the worst style to try to win a medal with. Also, a key part of this style is the long boil. So I gave the beer 120 min of boiling and did a pretty classic British base malt and Roasted Barley recipe, with just a pinch of crystal malt. Here's the recipe:

Campbell's Heavy 70/-
Style: 9B-Scottish And Irish Ale-Scottish Heavy 70/-

Recipe Overview

Wort Volume Before Boil: 9.50 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.25 US gals
Volume Transferred: 5.75 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 5.75 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.20 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.024 SG
Expected OG: 1.037 SG
Expected FG: 1.010 SG
Expected ABV: 3.5 %
Expected ABW: 2.7 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 19.9
Expected Color: 10.8 SRM
Apparent Attenuation: 71.4 %
Mash Efficiency: 84.0 %
Boil Duration: 125.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 60 degF

UK Pale Ale Malt (Maris Otter) 7lb 0oz (94.9 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Medium Crystal (120EBC) 4.00 oz (3.4 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Roasted Barley 2.00 oz (1.7 %) In Mash/Steeped

US Ultra (9.0 % alpha) 20 g Bagged Whole Hops used 60 Min From End

Other Ingredients

Yeast: Wyeast 1450-Denny's Favorite 50

Mash at 156 degF for 60 mins

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lightening Strikes Twice (When Lightening is Failure)

So it took me two tries to pass the damn MPRE. It also took me two tries to pass the NY bar exam. And now I know it will take at least two tries to pass the CA bar exam, as I found out recently that I failed it the first time around. When you fail the California bar exam, but your score is really close to passing, they have another grader grade the exam. Then they average your two scores. In my case, the first grader failed me by a hair, then the second grader passed me by a hair, so they averaged the two scores and I failed by a half a hair - or .6%. Yes, out of 2000 points, where you need 1440 to pass, I got 1428.5. If I had just been assigned the second grader the first time around, I would have passed the bar exam. But I didn't. And so I have to pay a ton of money to take the damn test again. And since I scored fairly high (138 raw) on the MBE (the multiple choice portion of the exam that is the same in 48 states and several U.S. territories), I know that I have to focus my studies on the essays this time around - having severe problems with the formatting of legal essays since day one of law school.

But I brew on. I have brewed twice since finding out the bad news, and I plan to keep brewing at least once a month or so. I've neglected this blog lately, but I plan to post more during the next few months while re-acclimating myself to law-study mode. Now, as to those three most recent beers, I made another hoppy "San Diego Style" session ale (which is currently dry-hopping), which was made with WLP029 Wyeast Kölsch Yeast to build up enough yeast for the Düsseldorf Altbier that's fermenting as we speak. Additionally, I brewed a 5 gal batch of Duvel-like Belgian golden strong ale that will be delivered to a fellow Greenbelter, Andy Gray, for barrel aging with a number of souring bugs in a now-neutral American oak barrel.