You know we didn’t really have anything much planned for this weekend as far as brewing goes but we ended up doing a good amount of brew-related activities. Just a bunch of little odds and ends activities that we had to do.
Most importantly we took the jump and entered some of our brews in a homebrew competition. Yep, that’s right… let’s see what the judges have to say. I entered my Synesthesia Saison (and it is awesome and if the judges don’t agree they are obviously cretins with the palates of goats) which if you’ve read my previous posts on this brew then you know that it was a mission of mine to brew a killer saison. I have to say that I was very happy with the results. Lots of nice fruity esters up front with the saisony/Belgiany funk and a bit of spice and pepper kick. It had a thick, white head on it, too… which I was worried about based on a couple of our more recent beers not carbing up right. I really hope I don’t have to hunt these judges down at their homes for giving me some bogus scores, but I will if I have to. Brian also entered Rainy Day IPA, mostly just to get feedback. I thought RDIPA was a pretty solid brew (don’t tell him I said that, his head gets swole up way too easily) but he’s not happy with the way it came out. It didn’t have quite the crisp hoppiness he wanted, but more on our quest for that below. On a side note Brian’s wife is no longer allowed to have any of our beer after some unfavorable comments on Untappd. She is suuuuch a hater.
After we ran our entries to the drop off point we headed back to the brewhouse to test some gravity and take some samples. We were chatting on the way about trying out our new grain mill (a Monster Mill 2) and spontaneously decided we were going to brew a 1 gallon SMaSH to use up some ingredients, test out adding gypsum to our brews to lower pH (hopefully to improve both mash efficiency as well as flavor in our hoppy beers), and to test out our grain mill.
We didn’t have any issues with the mill itself, it got its crush on like a champ, but my Black and Decker cordless drill is definitely not up to the long term task of crushing grain. We’ll definitely need to add a dedicated drill with a little more torque to use on an actual brew day. Without going into all the boring details we totally train-wrecked the details of this brew day by setting up the wrong profile in Beersmith. We won’t get to see what kind of efficiency improvements we may gain from milling our own grains and improving mash pH, but maybe we can see at the end how it impacts flavor. We did successfully pull the pH down a bit on our wort, we’d been hanging around 5.7 and this batch came out at 5.4.
We also sampled Brian’s Atlantarctica Tripel White IPA and it’s pretty tasty. Very fruity and hoppy aroma, nice Belgian funk and hoppiness on the palate. Gravity read at 1.015 with our target being at 1.017 so I’ll check it again in a couple days to see if it’s ready for dry hopping. We may try kegging this one again, we’ve stayed away from the kegs after having a couple bad experiences with them when we first got our keezer. The kegs have been shoved in a corner and we’ve been using the keezer as a fermentation chamber – but we’re going to give it another shot. Wish us luck