Since we here at Atomic Donkey Brewing like to do things backwards, we decided to brew our Socratic Method Imperial Pilsner again. It should be done just in time for the Holidays. Maybe I'm the only one, but I like a nice crisp Pilsner in the winter. Regardless, the brew session went very well. We were over at Crooked Oak Brewery again for this one. The weather was a little cool and overcast. Perfect for brewing. So with the windows open and the burner going full tilt, we mashed and boiled our way to an original gravity of 1.084. The last time we brewed this beer it came out around 9.1% abv I believe. We will have to check our records to be sure. It should come out about the same. There were only a few minor tweaks of the recipe. Nothing that should affect the abv substantially.
Once the process was done I hauled the wort back to Atomic Donkey Brewing where I cooled it to 54f and then pitched our yeast. This was where we made our only mistake so far. Instead of making a starter I just pitched the liquid yeast strait out of the vile. This was at about 8pm on Sunday, August 18. The next morning around 9am I gave it a quick check and there appeared to be no activity. It was then that I realized last time we had used a started due to the potential high alcohol content. So in a panic I drove to the nearest store that carried yeast. Bought two packs of saflager, returned to the brewery and made our starter. The activity in the starter was almost instantaneous. I let the yeast do their thing for 16 hours and then pitched the whole thing into the still non-fermenting wort. This time we did not have to wait long. Within a couple of hours we had the first signs of an active fermentation. That was on Wednesday the 21st. It's now Monday the 26th and the blow off tube is still bubbling away. In 2 days we will drop the temperature to 28f and there it will sit for the next 3 months. It's a test in patience but last time it paid off. We are sure it will do the same this time.
In other beer news. Our American Pale Ale has come out better than I imagined (see pic below). The aroma of the Galaxy hops comes through so nicely. A subtle hint of passion fruit is the first thing I notice. The taste is even better. Due to impatience on my part we chose to force carb this batch in one of our kegs. This has led to a hazy looking APA but that's just fine with us. We have dropped the pressure down to 4psi and will let it rest for a few days now in order to clarify a bit. Thanks to this beer I am now obsessed with Galaxy hops and plan to order as many as I can get my hands on. It is a very unique hop. We have never smelled anything quite like it before.
On our hop front, our brewery grown hops are producing very well for us this season. We have been picking every other day. Yesterday we picked a wet 2lbs of our Willamette. This is the first season we have gotten anything worth picking from this vine. In the past it has always been the first to grow and it is also one of the tallest. But the hop production has always died as soon as the temperature hits 90. Maybe its due to the copious amounts of rain we have had this year or perhaps the cooler than normal temps. Most likely a combination of both. But we have a lot of hops right now.
2lbs Willamette (wet)
10oz Cascades (dry)
8oz Chinook (dry)
2oz N. Brewer (dry)
I see a nice all home grown IPA in the near future. Hope that everyone is doing very well. We will be giving out samples of our APA and Hefeweizen (8 bottles left) to a few lucky folks. We are also increasing the size of all of our batches in order to facilitate giving away more samples. You all will be the first to know when that happens. CHEERS from ATOMIC DONKEY BREWING.
Started dry hopping our APA yesterday (Sunday the 11th). We went with Galaxy. This is a newer hop that we have never used before. The aroma is absolutely second to none. Our gravity bottomed out at 1.012 and the brew tastes very nice so far. A mild hoppiness to it. Can not wait to taste this after a few more days with the galaxy's soaking. Will update you all once the brew is kegged. I'm thinking that will be this Friday. Till then, CHEERS!
The American Pale Ale has been fermenting nicely in the chamber for the last few days. Lots of bubbling action in the airlock. Perhaps a gravity check tonight or tomorrow just to see where we stand. On a side note, don't ever stick your head down in the chamber and take a breath. The CO2 almost knocked me out. I blame the dumb decision on a lack of sleep.
We hope everyone enjoyed National IPA Day yesterday (8-1-13). Since there was no Hoppy as Hell available we went with another local brewery by the name of Evolution Craft Brewing. The brew of choice was their delicious Lot 3 IPA. Did we perhaps celebrate a little too much? Sure, but it was worth it.
More updates to come as things occur. CHEERS!