Despite all of the gardening that has been going on, spring hadn’t sprung for me until now. That’s because today we brewed our first beer of the season. We only brew in the spring and summer, because we prefer to do it outdoors. Last year we created Tony’s Summer Ale, which was a universal success. My father even preferred it over Sam Adams Summer Ale, a huge feat. Sadly, we lost the recipe when my husband blanked his computer without saving the Beersmith files. So this year we’re starting fresh. Buckles hung out and kept us company.

I had meant to do a complete step-by-step photo tutorial, but I forgot to put an SD card in my camera in the beginning. Then I was frustrated and slacked a bit on the pics once I realized and put a card in. Next time, though, the tutorial will be complete. And hey, at least we have the recipe.

Ingredients:

6 lbs Wheat Liquid Extract
1 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt (steep)
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (steep)
2 ounces Cascade Hops [6.40 %] (45 min)
1 ounces Cascade Hops [6.40 %] (10 min)
1 tsp. Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min)
3 grams Grains of Paradise (Boil 10.0 min)
3 small Lemons, juiced and zested. (Boil 10.0 min)
2 small Oranges, juiced and zested. (Boil 10.0 min)
1 packet Dry Ale Yeast

Measuring the wheat extract. Initially we had planned on using 3 pounds of wheat and 3 pounds of light, but we neglected to pour vodka over the tops of the extracts at the end of last season. The wheat held up fine, but the light extract got moldy. I heard that you can scrape the mold off and use what’s underneath, but I’m not sure I believe it. It was gross and it went in the trash.

While we were measuring ingredients and letting the water come to a boil, we were steeping our dry grains. They got about 30-40 minutes. Then we removed them, twisting the bag a bit to get the liquid out. Once that was complete and the water was rapidly boiling, we removed it from the heat and stirred in the liquid malt extract.

After 15 minutes, we added in the first of the hops.

This hops is all for flavor. It will stay in for the remainder of the boil, another 45 minutes.

Stir, stir, stir, until the compressed hops plugs are all broken up. At this point we need to keep a close eye on the pot, because it really wants to boil over. That is part of the reason we like to do this outside!

I prepped the rest of the ingredients while Paul watched the pot. This is the grains of paradise, pulsed in my coffee grinder for a minute. They add a peppery undertone to the beer.

I zested and juiced 3 small lemons and 2 clementine oranges. I’d have used more lemon if I had it. We’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.

When the weather is this nice, we always bring the ferrets outside with us. They enjoy some sun and breeze, and I think they like the smell of the wort. I know I do!

When there was 10 minutes left on the boil, we added in the last of the ingredients. Lemon and orange juices…

Zest, grains of paradise, hops, and irish moss. These hops are for aroma only, and the irish moss will help the beer to clarify.

More stirring. Gotta break up that hops before the 10 minutes is over.

There we go.

After the full hour of boiling is complete, we removed it from the heat and gently placed our wort chiller into the pot.

One side is hooked up to a hose on a cold water tap. Cold water is pumped through the copper coil, rapidly cooling the wort. The water shooting out of the other end is very hot at the start.

A thermometer is inserted through a hole in the lid. We wait for the temperature to be about 80F, which hopefully happens in about 20 minutes. Once it’s cool we move it up high and place our carboy below it. Gravity is an essential part of the transfer process.

Though not as essential as it would be if we didn’t have this. This little pump really helps to speed up the process.

The tip of our racking cane is fitted with a filter.

The carboy is fitted with a cap that has 2 nipples. One is for the wort to run in from the pot, and the other is an air line that attaches to the pump. As air is sucked out of the carboy by the pump, the wort is sucked in.

This part always takes longer than I want it to. The filter clogs a bit here and there, and gravity is a slow creature. We use the pump just to start the siphon. We could use it to make the whole racking process faster, but it increases the amount of clogs. So that actually slows it down a bit.

Then we bring the whole thing inside to the dark spot where it will sit for 1 week.

We’ll check on it in 24 hours, see how it’s progressing.

PJ’s Summer Ale
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