Brewday: Pliny The Elder

I recently figured out that brewing is a stress release for me, so when I have a ton of stuff going on, I usually end up making some beer. One particularly busy time in February was preceded by me making four freaking all-grain batches of beer in a week. I have a big week coming up, and I’m sort of hung up on a story I’m writing, so yesterday I made an extract Pliny from More Beer.

We’re having weird weather in Los Angeles, and yesterday a lot of warm unsettled air dropped hail and quite a bit of rain all over the place, so I set up under an overhang by my back kitchen door, and got to work. This particular kit uses six separate hop additions, including 2 ounces of whole Cascade while steeping the specialty grains (holy hell did that smell good), as well as a lot of extra sugars (maltodextrin and dme and corn sugar) to lighten the colour and increase the fermentables.

It was a delightful brewing experience, just me and the weather and my dog sleeping on the floor in the kitchen behind me. I had some trouble keeping the long boil going (I’m still figuring out my new regulator and burner), but I had an uneventful brewing session that gave me a little over four gallons of wort that finished at 1.098. After topping it up to 5 gallons, the OG dropped to 1.078, so if my yeast stays happy and hungry, this could be a monster double IPA when it’s all done. I pitched 2 smack packs of 1056 (I didn’t think to make a starter this time, which was kind of silly considering the high OG) and after about a 5 hour lag, they went to work. I’m using a blow-off tube into a glass Wheaton lab bottle filled with StarSan, and HOLY BALLS is it going crazy. It sounds like playing cards in the spokes of your childhood dirt bike and the wheel is just slowly spinning in perpetual motion.

This is a great kit, and More Beer includes instructions for full or partial boils (I did a full boil, and in the last 30 minutes had a ton of evaporation, probably because, like I said, I’m trying to figure out this new regulator and burner). They also give you the recipe for all-grain, so if you wanted to make it yourself after you’ve made the extract version, you have that at your fingertips.

In other homebrewing news: later today, I’m going to bottle the tripel I made three months ago (usually I keg, but I think a tripel should go in big bottles). I pulled a sample of the possibly-infected Patient Zero yesterday, and it tastes off to me. I’m hoping that the yeast will clean it up for another 10 days or so, but I think it may be a lost cause.

But that’s one of the joys of homebrewing: it’s entirely out of my hands (and inside one of my kegs) so all I can do is let it do its thing, hope for the best, and accept that it’s out of my control now.


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