So I thought we had narrowly avoided a major beer blowout earlier today. Well it turns out that may have only been round 1. Yes yes, when I returned this evening I found Stout all over the ceiling, wall, pictures, mirrors and just about everything else. Seems the airlock blew out and the beer followed right behind. It was not a stream of beer but instead drops everywhere. Comes off the walls easy enough but not the ceiling. I replaced the airlock with another on the stout and it immediately filled up with krausen and started to runith over with beer. Fermentation should be subsiding overnight. I will give it a few more checks and wipe downs before bed.

I managed to avoid a disaster with the Belgian, so far. The blow off tube is doing its thing and funneling all the overflow into a gallon jug of water. The bubbles are none stop. Looks like an aquarium. Both brews have been moved to the extra room just in case.These brews are going to be fandamntastic. CHEERS!!

Spots around the thermostat 6 ft away
The rug where it was sitting
This is roughly 30 sq ft of ceiling
This is what the new airlock looked like less than a minute after putting it on.

There are spots on the ceiling some 10 ft away from where this thing was sitting. I've had to release pressure several times this evening and will do so once more before bed. Along with the bubbling there is a loud hissing sound coming from the CO2 escaping through the airlock. I've never seen fermentation like this.

That Was Close!!

Not mine but it looked very similar to this when I walked in the door.

So I receive a call from SWMBO about 2 hours ago. The beers were fermenting VERY aggressively and already filling the airlocks. I ran back to the brewery just in time for both to start flowing out of the airlocks and down the sides of the carboys. A loud whistling sound could be heard upon walking in the front door. So I grabbed a tube and a different cork. After repeatedly wiping away the krausen pouring out of the airlock I started to take the cork out slowly to release the pressure. Instead, the cork shoots to the ceiling followed by a few ounces of brew. I got the other cork in and ran the tube into a jug of water. This was the Strong Belgian Jenny.

Next was the Stout. Same sequence of events except that this brew sprayed on the wall and not the ceiling. Both are now taken care of, maybe. After a quick clean up I was out the door. This is the most intense fermentation we have ever seen with our brews. That's great news! Even more excited than we were yesterday. CHEERS!!

Busy Day at the Brewery

The brew day started at 8am yesterday with cleaning and prep of all the equipment. We usually do this the night before but other obligations would not allow. So we started at 8 and finished cleaning and putting everything away at 7. That's with a dinner thrown in as well. So not too bad. Both brews were without any major incidents. I did however run out of propane right before the boil on the 2nd brew. A quick run to the store and 15 minutes later we were back up and running. The end product was the Double Chocolate Brad and the Strong Belgian Jenny.

Original gravities for both were right where they should be. We used a liquid starter for the Belgian due to the high abv. It should come out between 8 and 8.5%. The Stout should come in at a high 6%. This brew day has re enforced our need for a brew rig. My back is feeling the effects of lifting a keg with 9 to 10 gallons of water and 20lbs of grains. Thank goodness I'm in such great shape. <-- Hear the sarcasm?

The Strong Belgian Jenny started a vigorous fermentation within an hour of pitching the starter and the Stout was going strong as well after about 6 hours. They look delicious. We cant wait to see how these turn out.

If anyone ever has any questions about anything on the blog or brewing please feel free to email me at CHEERS!!

Side by side.

2 Brew Day

The Double Chocolate Stout is done and sitting in the dining room. Original gravity was dead on. No issues to speak of. The Belgian Strong is now mashing. Yeast starter is ready and wanting to get into that brew. I will update with pics later tonight or sometime tomorrow. Oh, and I am sore! Too much lifting. Can't wait to get the brew rig done.

Next Brews

Just picked up the ingredients for the next 2 batches. These are being brewed for a friend of Atomic Donkeys special day. We will be brewing a Belgian Dark Strong Ale and a Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. The Stout should come in around 6% abv. This may sound a bit high but I can guarantee you will taste more chocolate than alcohol. The Belgian will finish at around 8 to 8.3%. We are very excited to have this opportunity and also excited to brew these two delicious styles. Stay tuned for pictures and updates.. CHEERS!


Double Chocolate Stout

Mule of the Week: Dogfish Head

Faithfull Ale

We had been picking a specific brewery for each month and then picking one of their brews every Thursday to write about. We have come to realize that it's much easier to just pick a different brew every week from different breweries. So that is what we will be doing from now on. Also, please forgive the absence. Between the holidays and the 3 weeks of sick kids, there was a far greater lapse in postings than had been anticipated.

This week we have chosen to write about one of the more interesting brews we have tried in some time. Faithfull Ale was brewed in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of the album "Ten". Being a big Pearl Jam fan, the second I heard about the possibility of this brew being created I was excited. The folks at Dogfish Head call it a fruit forward Belgian-style Golden Ale. I can't think of a better way to describe it. It's certainly complex but has that very refreshing Ale feel to it. It's not the type of beer that's going to leave you full after just one. But this is not at all similar to one of those watered down creations from the thugs at AB or Miller-Coors. Faithfull Ale has an incredible taste to it. It's brewed with black currants which I don't believe I had ever had before. If you are looking for something a little different but still want to know you're drinking a real beer, pick this up.

This is the 3rd Dogfish creation in their Music Series. The Miles Davis-inspired Bitches Brew (Very good) and the Robert Johnson inspired Hellhound On My Ale (yet to try) were the first two. Dogfish Head is always pushing the envelope of brewing. As I have stated before, their beers are the reason for me getting into the world of brewing myself. They never fail to impress. Faitfull Ale is yet another example of an edgy but delcious creating from Sam and the staff at DFH.

Parts are on the way

Just ordered the burners and regulators. They should be here in a week or so. Already found the steel. As soon as the burners are here work will begin in haste. Stay tuned. CHEERS!

Brew Table Design

This is the type of design I am going for. I found out today that someone I work with also welds and happens to have a connection for buying steel. So this will help cut down on the price of the build. Looking at about $150 for the steel. The brew pump will cost around $140. Then I will have some other expenses such as converting two more kegs. This project will get under way as soon as this weekend. If not this weekend definitely in the next 2 weeks. I will keep updating as it progresses. We are very very excited to take this next step. Please stay tuned... CHEERS!

Next Project

So when we brewed our last batch (Atomically Red Irish Ale) we realized something. 10 gallon batches are awfully hard to lift and move around as needed. With this in mind we decided that we needed a brew stand of some kind. Since my welding skills are lacking, doing the 3 tiered gravity fed system is pretty much out of the question. So what we will be going for is just a nice portable wooden structure.

This project has not begun but will be done before the next batch is brewed. Pictures will be taken along the way and posted. I hope I have all 10 fingers when this thing is done. We shall see.

On the brew front, the Late to the Party Pumkin Porter is finally carbonated!!  It turned out pretty good. My only issue with it is that it seems to be lacking in body. A few more samples and I will be able to pinpoint what I do and don't like about it. The German Altbier is carbing up nicely. Very unique taste. I'm a big fan of it so far. We will be bottling the award winning Atomically Red Irish Ale in the next week. This batch is even better than the last time we brewed it. Very excited to have this bottled up.

Stay tuned friends. CHEERS!!

Updates coming this weekend

The Atomic Donkey staff has been overtaken by illness these last few weeks. We apologize for falling behind on our posts. We will make this up to you all this weekend. Stay tuned. 2012 has gotten off to a rough start but its coming around. CHEERS!