01.05.2011 - Made a starter for the imperial stout. boiled 7 ounces of DME with approximately 64oz of water to replicate Zamil Zainafheff's formulation in "Yeast." Also added 1/4 tsp. of Wyeast yeast nutrient. Boiled all of this for 15 minutes. Had to deal with a few early boil-overs, but it settled shortly after. Split the mixture into two growlers. Placed outside to cool and pitched one Activator of Wyeast 1056 into each growler. The packets: (1) MFG 30NOV10 (1534327) and (2) MFG 14DEC10 (1104347). Not thinking squarely--though it ends up not mattering--shook the growler with the older packet added right after adding the yeast. Placed sanitized aluminum foil over the top and left out overnight on the kitchen countertop.
01.06.2011 - After approximately 21 hours, the kraeusen has fallen quite a bit after being fairly high on both this morning around 8 hours in. The growler with the yeast that is approximately 15 days older appears to have finished quite a bit quicker. The kraeusen on that one never got quite as high. This morning, yeast was swirled and shaken at approximately the 7-hour mark and the 9-hour mark. This evening, yeast swirled again at the 21-hour mark.
01.07.2011 - After approximately 30 hours, the kraeusen has fallen to to a thin layer of foam on top of the beer. There is a layer of slurry on each one about half-and-inch thick. Interestingly, the older smack pack currently has a larger cake at the bottom. Whether this is due to the initial shaking or just because the yeast flocculated out quicker, we'll have to see. Placing both in fridge to flocculate out all the yeast so the wort can be decanted the morning of brewday.
01.08.2011 - Brewday. Mashed at 156F for ~70 minutes. Mashed in a 1.25 quarts/pound. Added 6 gallons and 42 ounces of 173F water. Mash a bit too high at 160. Added 32oz. of 45F water to bring to 156-57F. After 60 minutes, added 3 gallons sparge to bring to 170F. Volume dropped too low during boil, so added 1 gallon filtered water toward end of boil. Original gravity of 1.097. Got a little less than 5 gallons into the fermenter (6-gallon better bottle). Pitched yeast at approximately 6PM. The grain bill was altered as Northern Brewer delivered 10 pounds of Rahr 2-Row instead of Maris Otter. Recipe:
01.09.2011 - Disaster strikes. Blowoff tube into growler was a bad idea. Ended up losing quite a bit of beer. Cleaned up around 2AM when it was discovered. Unfortunately, left temperature probe outside of freezer so temperature dipped down to near freezing. Luckily, nothing froze and this served batch i quite well, as it dropped everything out and made kegging easier. Later in the idea, on the advice from Humbard, I siphoned what remained to a 3-gallon better bottle. Plenty of yeast in suspension came with, so no need to repitch. This was done at approximately 4PM. Ended up with approximately 2 gallons of 1.090 beer. By 11PM, a nice kraeusen has developed and the blowoff bucket is showing plenty of signs of activity. Temperature is sitting between 62 and 65F.
I will be brewing this again next weekend and will hopefully have better results. I am excited that I'll actually get to use all Maris Otter instead of the Rahr 2-Row this time, and after tasting the samples from Saturday's batch, I'll definitely be scaling the Columbus 60-minute addition down to .75 ounces or maybe a bit more.
01.11.2010 - Took a sample this evening while switching over from the blowoff assembly to an airlock. Gravity is down to 1.028. A quick taste brings some malt but mostly a strong alcohol bite. Hopefully this subsides and isn't related to stress caused during the overflow fiasco.