An epic flame and the Tall Boy kettle rattled towards a boil, 28 litres of Pilsner in the making.
The graduation of my all-grain brewing from the kindergarten of an 18 litre pot and homemade double bucket lauter tun to a post-secondary 60 litre kettle and 40 litre converted Igloo cooler mash tun complete with false floor and ball valve for easy sparging.
Let’s not forget the Barley Crusher roller mill for crushing the malt now arriving on my doorstep in 25 kg bags. All part of the Mother of All Brewing Equipment Orders I placed in November from Ontario Beer Kegs and Hop Dawgs that included 60 kg of malt, a dozen different hop varieties and two dozen yeast strains.
Lest all of this sound like the hopped-up pub banter of beer-anoraks [which it is], simply know this: when it rains on Gabriola and the house building stalls, the beer [wine or cider] making commences.
I see it as time well spent on the house build.
Instead of chiselling or hoisting beams I’m laying down hectolitres of crisp Czech Pilsners, malty Munich-style lagers, heady porters, enduring session ales and fresh milds to bend the rubber arms of volunteers who will be press-ganged into cob floor building and light clay straw mixing this coming summer.
Absolutely nothing says natural building like free beer.
Bring on the rain or the sun. We are happy either way.
Beer anoraks read on, everyone else skip to the photos
Pilsner recipe (28 litres)
Adapted and modified RU Kidding Me? Pils from Papazian, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, pp. 301-303
5.75 Pilsner malt, crushed
332 g aromatic malt
62 g Saaz hops (60 min boil)
31 g Hersbrucker-Hallertauer hops (30 min boil)
6 g Saaz and 16 g Hersbrucker-Hallertauer (1 minute boil)
Whirlfloc (Irish moss) 10 min boil
21g Saaz hops for dry hopping while lagering for 4 weeks
White Labs Pilsner lager yeast WLP800 (two vials)
Mash all grains in 12.5 litres of 68C water for 45 minutes at 68C, raise to 70C for 15 minutes, heat to 75C, drain and sparge with 11 litres of 76C water.
60 minute boil with hops and Whirlfloc added as above. Cool wort to 23C, sieve and sparge into fermenter. Aerate well and cast two vials of yeast. Ferment at 13C until fermentation visibly stops, rack and add dry hops and lager for 3-4 weeks at 2-13C. Clarify with gelatin if necessary a week before bottling. Prime bottles with 175 ml of brewer’s sugar dissolved in 300 ml of boiling water.
Drink immediately or age for up to 6 months.
It’s all about scale
Little arms, big grinding energy
Pilsner malt enroute to a higher purpose
Aromatic malt ready for the mash tun
The orange beast of a mash tun. Nice ball valve.
The clever false floor of the mash tun for straining out the spent malt
Like a Renaissance fountain of wort
The false floor in action
The brewer’s secret weapon: detailed notes
Czech Saaz pellets
Out of the kettle and into the fermenter. 40 days from Pilsner