Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nutty Bruce's Brown Ale and Tangerine Mojo update

Bruce, Mike and I couldn't have asked for a more luscious day to brew. I woke up this morning and it was crispy by Central Florida standards, roundabout 55F or so. Good coffee morning, good chilly morning to suck down a cup of joe, meander out into the backyard and fill my kettle with water to heat.
There are so many great things about simple, backyard brews, and one of them is the fact that you can actually leave your backyard to run errands while your kettle heats up. I found myself truckin' on down the road in the GMC with the wife going to the Lowe's Garden Shop for mulch, flowers and other things to solely keep her happy. We were on our way home going down our neighborhood street when I saw someone putting down a beautiful red oak from their backyard. Thirty minutes, that was just enough time to fill the bed of the truck with a couple cords of fine wood for next winter, oh and by the way my "frustrated with the wife" workout (chopping wood can be extremely therapeutic when you are angry). After all this I still wasn't hot enough to strike a mash.
Mike shows up on a triathlon bike weighing less than my finger and Bruce shows up in his truck full of glass carboys and away we go!
Striking the mash, we shared stories and worries about the future. I could bore you with them but I won't, suffice to say we did what all men do in the backyard, talked about taxes, culture etc. whilst whittling wood and watching the kettle. The day warmed up to a perfect seventy two F. and we were just loving the clear blue skies, no wind and perfect weather. I would classify this day as one God has blessed me with, I couldn't live in a more wonderful place in the world.
We tasted my Tangerine Mojo, which has already been racked from primary and into secondary. Most of the heavy fermentation leg work is done but there is still quite active Champagne yeast working around raw, wonderful pulp. Mike commented that it tasted like a Mimosa and I agreed only to add that it had a pleasantly sour element on the top like a Belgian or Biere de Garde. Yeast and pulp alike are continuously settling and I will probably be racking it from tank to tank for quite a while. The champagne strain is so complete in fermentation and crisply dry without being a tart. I'll rack it til it's clear of pulp and then prime and bottle, this mojo is a cocktail that needs to be served chilled and naturally carbonated. Hard to believe it only cost me time and a couple of packets of cheap, dry yeast. Everything else except the sugar was free and living in Florida that stuff is like sand.
As for the Nut Brown, I hadn't made it in many years and was looking forward to reintroducing Victory Malt to my system. The strike temperature was little low but the setpoint for starch conversion was well within the parameters. We had an excellent boil and cool down, transferred to Bruce's glass carboys for him to take home, ferment in his closet, fill his keg and enjoy. One seven gallon carboy will use the Nottingham strain while the other three gallon carboy will use the French 1056 dry strain version (Safale '56). Man oh man, what a day, what a beer, the relatives up North are still dealing with snow and we get to play in Eden!


  1. I apologize if I've asked this already: What sorts of issues do you encounter brewing in a warmer climate zone? I know your post recounts how temperate the day was but I assume you've got your share of hot days that make brewing and fermenting and kegging potentially difficult. I live in Arizona and wouldn't think of trying to start a larger sized brew operation in the yard or garage - I'm only using a Mr. Beer kit from time to time in the house.

  2. Sorry it took so long to get back with you, I have been neglecting my blog in pursuit of finishing the ever-increasing wife to do list. Anyhow, the only major problem with summertime in Central Fla. and brewing in the backyard is the heat which is no joke. I highly recommend searching craigslist for a chest freezer and buying a plug in thermostat to control temperatures, you will find that not only will you be able to increase yield, yeast generation and beer quality you can also vary between ales and lagers with regularity. Consistent refrigeration was one of the main keys to my success as a homebrewer. If you want beer of exceptional quality, get away from the Mr. Beer Kit, for goodness sake! Spend a little money and invest in all grain, you will never go back and your love affair with homebrew will start all over again. Good luck, brew dude!