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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tomsawyer on August 18, 2013, 12:22:58 PM

Title: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on August 18, 2013, 12:22:58 PM
My friend asked me if I had 5-10gal of beer he could have to serve at a fundraiser.  The kicker (aside from the issues surrounding homebrew at a fundraiser) is that the event is Sept 7 and he asked me last Friday!  So I have exactly 3wks to go from grain to glass.  I told him not likely, but then decided to take it as a challenge.  So Saturday I brewed 18gal of cream ale, 75% Belgian pils 25% flaked corn with just a touch of light crystal and a little wheat malt.  Bittered to just under 20IBU with a 30min addition of Perle.  Watered the wort down to 1.042 to keep it light and reduce ferm time.  Fermenting with a generous charge of San Fran yeast cake from the 10gal batch of Cali Common we kegged just the day before.  I'm fermenting at 68F under pressure in the Brewhemoth so I'll have a leg up on carbonation when kegging time comes.  My biggest concern is clarity, and I might add some finings towards the end of fermentation.

Think theres a snowball's chance this will work?  If not I'll donate a case of wine.  I probably should've used a different yeast but this cake is the freshest and most plentiful thing I have, plus I'm assuming this is a BMC crowd so the recipe is sort of a light beer substitute.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: cornershot on August 18, 2013, 12:57:58 PM
I have no experience with the San Fran yeast but I think you'll be fine. Not sure if this is helpful but I recently had a couple kegs freeze while conditioning. Not freeze solid, but they got slushy. One was a table strength saison and the other, a blonde. Neither suffered any ill effects, no carbonation loss, but both had absolutely brilliant clarity upon thawing.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: duboman on August 18, 2013, 01:00:27 PM
My guess is it should be good! Assuming you are going to keg, get it to serving temp and add some gelatin for the last few days and it should clear nicely while you force carb it.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: majorvices on August 18, 2013, 01:20:03 PM
HefeWeizen or Belgian Wit can be turned around in 2 - 3week easy. And re big crowd pleasers to boot.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on August 18, 2013, 01:24:44 PM
I havne't had really good luck with gelatin for some reason.  I'm thinking I might use a two part fining agent like Superkleer.  The stuff reacts and drops fast, might strip a little flavor but with this beer that could be a good thing.  Freezing is tempting as well, I do want to get it good and cold before I send them the kegs.

I figure I'll just tell him to call it "homebrew", that might get people to drink it more than calling it a cream ale.

I thought about a wheat beer, but figured this would be more universally appealing.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 18, 2013, 01:42:19 PM
I havne't had really good luck with gelatin for some reason.  I'm thinking I might use a two part fining agent like Superkleer.  The stuff reacts and drops fast, might strip a little flavor but with this beer that could be a good thing.  Freezing is tempting as well, I do want to get it good and cold before I send them the kegs.

I figure I'll just tell him to call it "homebrew", that might get people to drink it more than calling it a cream ale.

I thought about a wheat beer, but figured this would be more universally appealing.
Some of the local places love BioFine Clear.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on August 18, 2013, 06:47:04 PM
Three weeks is enough time to get most session strength beer carbonated into bottles (if you don't cold crash) so if you are kegging it shouldn't be a problem.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on August 19, 2013, 11:26:56 AM
Sounds like a good time to invest in a kegging system.

Since its for charity, y'know...
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: AmandaK on August 19, 2013, 11:44:04 AM
Sounds like a good time to invest in a kegging system.

Since its for charity, y'know...

Sounds like he already has kegs.

But Lennie, I brew like this all the time. I've gone through about 25 gallons in the past couple of weeks just by brewing saisons, pale ales and ESBs for parties. 10 day ferment, force carb via shake method and boom, fresh beer in two weeks!  8)
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on August 19, 2013, 01:13:03 PM
I'll look for Biofine, I've heard of it but never tried it.  If I can procure it in time I'll give it a go.  I already have the other stuff (Liquor Quick) for my winemaking efforts.

Amanda, glad to hear the testimonial.

I'm fermenting in the Brewhemoth and I had CO2 after 24hr, put the spunding valve on and running at 8psi for a few days, then I'll crank it to 15psi.  Hopefully this will keep the krausen down, this 18gal batch is the most I've done in the Brewhemoth that holds 22gal.  I'm assuming thats to the very top.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: Jimmy K on August 19, 2013, 02:26:53 PM
Three weeks shouldn't be that much of a challenge, just make sure you pitch enough yeast.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on August 19, 2013, 02:30:33 PM
I had a full quart of slurry we harvested the previous day.  I really don't have a good sense of how fast the San Fran lager yeast goes, normally when we run a 10-15gal batch through the Brewhemoth we aren't in a hurry.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: chumley on August 19, 2013, 07:02:10 PM
Three weeks is a lot of time.  I have made several beers that were kegged and served exactly one week after they were brewed: hefeweizen and bitter. Its all about the yeast: WY3333 and WY1968.

Cream ale, though, is a poor choice for a three week beer as it benefits from cold conditioning.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on August 19, 2013, 07:08:41 PM
I'm hoping it will have a week of cold conditioning.   The BJCP category says cold conditioning isn't usual for cream ales.

The use of a lager yeast (albeit the San Fran yeast) might make this something more like an American lager?
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: AmandaK on August 19, 2013, 07:57:32 PM
Three weeks is a lot of time.  I have made several beers that were kegged and served exactly one week after they were brewed: hefeweizen and bitter. Its all about the yeast: WY3333 and WY1968.

Cream ale, though, is a poor choice for a three week beer as it benefits from cold conditioning.

I wouldn't say that a cream ale is a poor choice for this exercise. I'm brewing another one for a quick turnaround with US-05 in the next few days, seems to work just fine for me. I'm sure Lennie will be just fine.  8)

Although, I'll say that most beer benefits from cold conditioning. Seems that the last pint of the keg is always the best!  ;D
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: udubdawg on August 19, 2013, 09:14:34 PM
I've never used San Fran Lager that warm.  Generally 57-60.  Is it still clean at 68?  If so, I'll add that to my tool box...


Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: duboman on August 20, 2013, 12:25:56 AM

I've never used San Fran Lager that warm.  Generally 57-60.  Is it still clean at 68?  If so, I'll add that to my tool box...

I also like it on the colder side, it tends to get pretty fruity mid to high 60s IME
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on August 20, 2013, 03:39:10 PM
I think the pressurized fermentation helps keep the esters down.  We've brewed Cali Common a couple of times now in the Brewhemoth and its pretty clean as far as esters.  At least its on the order of US05 as far as ester profile.

I've been thinking of making a fermentation chamber for the Brewhemoth.  I could go with a commercial upright freezer but that is a bit pricey.  I have the cooling coil attachment but I think you'd have to insulated the tank itself for it to do much good.  I'm thinking of making a small room in the garage where there is a small window, and putting a small AC unit in the window.  Insulate the box with 2" foam board.  Then I could put the conical in there as well as kegs and stuff.  Probably look redneck as heck but its only the garage and we don't park cars in it anyway.  In fact this is going to be done in conjunction with my putting a brewstand out there so I can just brew and pump the beer over to the fermentors.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: ynotbrusum on August 27, 2013, 07:08:12 PM
I think you are fine on all counts - if it doesn't fine out, then just serve in opaque cups!  As to the garage foam room - great idea; I was thinking the same thing when I had another chest freezer drop into my lap, so that solved that - I ferment in 60L Speidel's and similar plastic containers, so they fit in the chest freezer, though lifting them is a bear!
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on September 06, 2013, 02:27:21 AM
Thought I'd provide an update now that we're close to the event (Saturday afternoon).  I ran the ferment at 15psi all week and its been producing gas until just today.  Filled a couple of cornies tonight, the beer is still fairly cloudy but it tastes dry, esters are low and no off flavors.  All in all a decent neutral brew for the BMC crowd.  Hope they like it.  I bumped the pressure to 20psi and will lager for 36hr and serve it up.  There still another 7gal in the Brewhemoth, I'm going to let it sit and clear another week before kegging it.  Harvested yeast last week so I can do this again if needed.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: duxx on September 06, 2013, 03:40:29 AM
Lennie, kudos for exposing more people to homebrewing with your donation.  Just remember you still have to "market" your beer even though you're giving it away.  Make it sound exotic yet "safely" adventurous for the BMC crowd.  I would call it something like an Unfiltered Pre-Prohibition American Lager.  That should get their attention!
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: AmandaK on September 06, 2013, 07:41:28 PM
Lennie, cheers on making it work! And Steve, good idea on the marketing - if it tastes good, no one will ever know - it's genius!

I thought I'd post another data point for those that stumble upon this later.

I brewed a Cream Ale (close to the Jamil recipe, but not exact, with US-05) on 8/25/13, OG 1.051, fermented at 66F. On 9/2, I took a gravity reading through a 1/2" of krausen on 9/2 (8 days later) and read 1.016. I pulled it out of the fermentation chamber, kept it at room temperature (75F) and tossed in 1tsp of Fermaid-K. Two days later the krasuen fell and I took a gravity reading, it was 1.008. It's currently in for two days of crash cooling, then I'll gelatin in the keg while carbonating and serve it on September 14th for a party!

I think that makes for a 10 day ferment with a couple more days in there for 'polishing'.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on September 09, 2013, 06:34:30 PM
That is true Steve, I told the guy to just call it "homebrew" but your name is more intriguing and less scary.  I was told the overall reaction to it wasn't stellar but they did drink it all.  I wish I had fined it the day before, but I wasn't wanting to bleed the pressure off the fermentor just to add the finings.  I suspect it would have gone over better if it weren't as cloudy but then again BMC drinkers don't even like the taste of the competition's BMC so thats a tough crowd to break into.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: stlaleman on September 09, 2013, 07:49:22 PM
Lennie, the internal chillers work great. At the NHC, we kept an uninsulated Brewhemoth (but only water in it) in the low 40's throughout the show. I have been fermenting in my shop (unisulated shed with a tin roof) this summer, was holding 67 in two Brewhemoths thru the last bout of 100 degree weather, tho I did throw a sleeping bag over them. The new 3/8 models work better.
Title: Re: Quick Beer?
Post by: tomsawyer on September 10, 2013, 02:58:12 AM
What are you using to cool and circulate water (or glycol)?  My own half-baked attempt involved a little pond pump in a 1/2gal container of water that I had in a wine cooler.  I drilled holes in the side of the wine cooler for the hoses.  It didn't change the internal temp as far as I could tell, although I was only monitoring temp with a temp strip on the outside of the conical.  It just seems to me that the amount of surface area of the conical is as much or more than the internal chiller, so you'd have to insulate the conical to get anywhere.  Sounds like I might've given up too soon.  I have the narrow chiller unit as you probably know.

I've kept the Brewhemoth full ever since I won it, its one truly exceptional device.  Pressurized fermentation is awesome, it does good things as far as the ferment and you come out with carbonated beer too.