Coming into July, it was time to start preparing beer for any Oktoberfest or other fall party we might through. First up was a redo of the Festbier recipe.
I tried another different online homebrew supply store for this recipe. The ingredients for this batch, ordered from Atlantic Homebrew Supply. I was happy with their prices, and with their quick processing and shipping of my order. In addition, I was pleased with their quick responses to my emails about the current alpha acid content of the hops I wanted to purchase.
As I have stated previously, buying hops online is kind of a crap shoot. A ‘typical’ alpha acid (or range) is usually shown, but I have had enough experiences in receiving hops with significantly lower alpha acid content than those shown when I placed my order. My work around has been to order more hops to be safe, but then I can end up with an inventory of partially used or unused hops.
When I placed my online order, I requested information about the current alpha acid content of the Hallertau and Saaz hops I ordered. They responded promptly via email with the information, and added two more ounces of Hallertau hops to my order. They went even further in customer service by including the two additional ounces in my order so it could ship on schedule, and offered me a work-around to pay for the additional hops, which I happily did. Moreover, I noticed that they took the time to consider my suggestion of providing ‘real time’ information of the alpha acid content of their hops – I noticed later that they changed the generic range shown for the hops to a ‘current alpha acid content’.
Given some of the past headaches I had with other online suppliers, I was tremendously pleased with the experience!
The ingredients for this batch were:
The ingredients, which – except for the Honey Malt – were purchased from Rebel Brewer, include:
- 9.5 pounds of Barke Pilsner Malt
- 1.0 pound Cara-Pils Malt
- 1.0 pound Munich Malt (10°)
- 6 ounces Honey Malt
- 3.0 ounces Hersbrucker Hops (2.2%)
- 1.0 ounce Saaz Hops (3.0% alpha acid)
- 2 pack SafLager 34/70 Dry Lager Yeast
For the second batch in a row, I had a problem with the grind of the grain being so fine that pieces were pulled through the false bottom in my mash tun and clogged the valve, not permitting the wort to flow out during the initial stages of the vorlauf. I had to blow back through the tubing running from the mash tun to the brew pot to clear it and get the wort flowing. But seeing as how the grain was from a different supplier leads me to conclude that either the crush of the grain I’m getting from multiple suppliers is too fine in general, or there is a problem with my connection between the false bottom and the output valve.
The predicted specs for this beer (using BrewPal) were as follows:
- Original Gravity: 1.061
- Final Gravity: 1.013
- 6.3% ABV
- 24 IBU
My actual starting gravity came in at 1.064. After two weeks in primary fermentation, I transferred the beer to secondary with a gravity of 1.018. Approximately 8 weeks were spent in secondary, and in the beginning of Oktober, I fined the beer with gelatin and let it rest at around 34º for three days, when I kegged and force carbonated the beer.
I didn’t get as good a result as I have gotten previously from the gelatin fining. The beer was still a bit hazy upon pouring.