April 29, 2009

A Moving Day

In addition to the explosive qualities of Batch Gimmel 2, we had another reason to be a little off-kilter. For reasons we couldn't avoid, the 2JB operation had to hit the road from Nahum's house to the 2JB Annex (aka, my house across the street). We packed up all of the equipment and ingredients into the back of a car and drove the full 50 or 60 yards to my back door.

It was strangely melancholy. I mean, we weren't throwing in the towel or crippling the 2JB machine in any way...it was just kind of weird seeing everything in the car trunk, like school had ended and now we had to get going into a post-graduation future. Which was across the street.

The strange juju of the move was quick to dissipate once we got to brewing. The task at hand: a second batch of 2JB Originale. Once again, we had in mind to test our ability to keep a consistent flavor batch-to-batch...and once again we were foiled. This time it was right in the bag of ingredients. The 1st pail of Originale had mixed a full can of light amber malt with the leftover dark malt from a previous brew. We'd asked for the same stuff, but our homebrew shop seemed to have supplied us with regular amber malt. No biggie, but it meant we'd already sealed our fate and an inconsistently darker batch of beer was to come.

Shrugging our shoulders, we set to it and dipped a grain bag filled with 1/2 lb. of crystal malt into 2 gallons of water (plus 1 tsp. of gypsum). Just before the boil, the bag came out and in went 20 oz. of dried malt extract, our 3.3 lb. can of Munton's regular malt and somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 lbs. of dark malt extract.

The hops went according to plan, at least. 1 oz. of Northern Brewers hops at the boil, followed by 1/2 oz. of East Kent Goldings + 1 tsp. of Irish Moss half an hour later. Ten minutes before the end of the boil we added 1/2 oz. of Cascase hops, and another 1/2 oz. 5 minutes later.

We sparged to the Ale Pail and added 3 gallons of water. Now, I should point out that we picked an unusually hot day for this brew: it was mid-April and we were facing temperatures in the mid-90s. Our wort was at 120 degrees...and we didn't seem to have a smart way to bring hte temperature down to a yeast-able level. We figured this out doubly when we looked at the prepped yeast...and it was already bubbling and multiplying before it had tasted a bit of hops!

No big deal: in the end, we just brought the bucket to the basement, which in the 2JB Annex is consistently cool. The wort got down into the 70s in a little over an hour, and we pitched in 1/2 a package of Windsor Ale Brew yeast (about 5.5 grams) along with another 5.5 g. of Saf Lager S23 Dry Lager yeast.

The cap went on tight, and before we knew it the air lock was bubbling away contentedly. It was an odd brew, and maybe not quite what we'd been aiming for, but the 5 gallons currently doing its thing in my basement is clearly destined to be a top-notch batch of Originale.

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