Friday, March 2, 2007

It's Friday already?!?

Where'd this week go? I didn't even realize I hadn't been posting until I got home today. So, catching up...

Tuesday: I got the (hopefully) last part I'll need to get the filter working. I also got seven liters of Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen Yeast that I'll use to brew some Tin Lizzie Hefeweizen later this week. While I was brewing today's batch of Harvey's Märzen - which I finished in a personal-record three hours and sixteen minuted - I cleaned and sanitized the fermenter that I'll use for that Hefeweizen. While the caustic was running through the heat exchanger after the brew, I called Linweld and ordered a new bottle of oxygen.

The missing link

Wednesday: Brewed seven barrels of Tin Lizzie Hefeweizen. It took almost exactly one hour longer than yesterday's brew, because wheat is a Really Sticky grain to work with, and you can't run the wort off as quickly as you can with an all-barley brew. If you try to speed up that part of the process, you're likely to end up with a mash tun full of concrete, which will lengthen your brew day significantly.

Thursday: Climbed into the kettle to scrub out the beerstone. Ran caustic, acid, and sanitizer through the heat exchanger. Cleaned, sanitized, and pressurized the bright beer tank that will receive the All-American Gold as it emerges from the filter tomorrow. Reassembled the filter and checked it for leaks, and found none. Cleaned and sanitized the filter. Gave a tour to a group of six beer lovers from Seward. Cleaned about three dozen kegs, and filled a few for the pub and for Monday's Grand Island pickup. Hy-Vee, ur local grocery store and the only decent beer store this side of Omaha, conducted a tasting of Unibroue beers, which I'll talk about in a separate article.

The keg pile, before and after cleaning

Friday: "Columbus, you are go for filtration." It's the day we've been waiting for. The filter is assembled and doesn't appear to be leaking, the tank is clean and ready to go, and the excess yeast has been dumped from the fermenter. The filter takes about 20 minutes to set up. When all goes well — and it did go well today — seven barrels of beer get through the filter in about 20 minutes. Cleanup afterward takes 1½ to 2 hours. I ended up with six barrels out of my 7½-barrel batch, because I siphoned off some yeast to use in last week's brews.

The filter in operation

No leaks!

Unfiltered beer on top, filtered beer on bottom

All-American Gold, before and after filtration

The beige schmutz is a mixture of diatomaceous earth and the stuff that got filtered out of the beer

A tour group was supposed to come up from Lincoln today, but they only got as far as Raymond before the snow turned them back. I tried to do our monthly excise taxes, but my new laptop (Gateway NX570X) doesn't seem to want to work with my old printer (Lexmark X125).

All in all, a satisfyingly productive week. Next week: more filtrations and more brewing.

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