Hi all, I've done a couple ciders over the past year, but hadn't stepped into brewing yet. Until this past weekend. I went down to my LHBS (Brewer's Connection in Tempe, AZ) and talked to some of the guys down there. they directed me to their recipe book and helped me put together an ingredient "kit" based on my preferences, their knowledge and one of their extract recipes. Great guys and have been helpful with my cider making too.
Think of this as my brewing journal for my first brew. I'll be placing the recipe along with my notes as the process goes along. Technically we are in day 2 right now, but allow me to catch you up.
The "kit" I picked out is their "Dangerous Belgian" recipe. It should be the strength of a Dubbel, but with the lighter coloring of a Tripel. Since this is their recipe, I've linked to the recipe site here: http://www.brewersconnection.com/recipes/dangerbell.htm
The recipe was modified a bit by my interest and their suggestion. I have placed that below:
6# Light DME
1# Light Belgian Candy
1tsp Brew Saltz
1tsp Irish Moss
Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes
Instructions/Process taken (8/21/10):
1. Activate yeast (the 3522 apparently takes a long time and did indeed take about an hour and a half before the bag was really expanded)
2. Iodophore everything
3. Bring 2 gal. filtered water, brew saltz, candy and 3# of DME to an easy boil
4. At start of boil mark time (for me was 8:16pm) and add 1oz of Hallertau, boil for 20 min.
5. After 20 min. add 1oz of Hallertau (added at 8:36pm) and boil another 20 min.
6. After 20 more minutes (40 min. total boil) add 1oz of Tettnang, 3# of DME and Irish Moss (I did this at 8:57pm...a minute offish)
7. Boil another 15 minutes (for a total boil of 55 minutes), then turn off heat (9:09pm)
8. Gently stir for several minutes, stirred until 9:15pm.
9. Remove hops with strainer (oh crap, where is that strainer...oh crap...my strainer isn't fine enough to get the hops out--used hop pellets--whatever, I left them in for the night until I could get a strainer the next day.
10. Placed 16# of filtered ice into fermenting bucket and poured hot wort over ice.
11. Topped off to 5 gal. with 1 more gallon of filtered, cold water. stirred vigorously until temperature was consistently down (temp was around 60*F)
12. Checked O.G. (remember very nearly 3oz of hops in still--was at 1.070)
13. Pitched yeast, closed lid and aggitated for two minutes (they didn't tell me to do that, just thought I remembered reading that somewhere)
After that I fitted the airlock with iodophore solution in it and put in my cider making/brewing cabinet to await the next day.
The instructions call for 4-5 days in primary, then 7 days in secondary with a final gravity of 1.008-1.010. It then calls for 7-10 days bottle conditioning. I expect to take a little longer with the colder start and lower starting yeast count and maybe let condition 14-21 days. I'm thinking I will switch to secondary at 1.012 (does that make sense to anyone or should I let it go all the way to 1.008-010 before taking to secondary?) All fermentation and conditioning will take place at 72*F which is the steady temperature in my cabinet.
Bought proper strainer with fine mesh.
At 3:15pm, used strainer to remove hops (and probably a lot of the yeast).
Checked S.G. after straining and found at 1.068.
At 7:30pm, checked cabinet and saw bubbling in airlock, I may just let this one go without buying more yeast...
Got up this morning to find that my airlock had bubbled over violently some time during the night and had some fluid on the lid. wiped down the lid, then removed the airlock and stopper for cleaning with Iodophore. left stopper hole open in cabinet for 5 minutes while the stopper and airlock soaked. I hope that didn't let too much of anything in. Replaced stopper and airlock now filled again with iodophore and after 30 seconds was bubbling away again. All this happened at 7:30-40am.
Last night I checked my airlock and am showing an average of 56 seconds between bubbles. seems like primary fermentation is slowing down. Now I have to make my decision as to whether to go into secondary fermentation or let it settle out in the primary vessel. See my questions in the comments regarding this decision.
Alright, that's were I am at this point. I'd love any feedback you have and I'll continue to update this first post as time goes on.