This brew day we decided to get a little adventurous. We brewed a cream ale kit from Midwest that we decided to split during fermentation by keeping half of it the original cream ale and adding peaches to the other half. After reading a lot of forums and asking around, it seemed that about 2 pounds of peaches for every gallon of beer was a common response. After much debate about what peaches to use we decided to get some flash frozen peaches thinking that would give us the best chance of not infecting the beer with anything. Not sure if it would have made a difference or not, but we were already branching out with the fruit and didn’t need anything else to possibly ruin the beer.
Cream Ale Brewing
Extract brew days are starting to get a little more routine. My brewing partner and I are starting to get a feel for brewing with each other and it is certainly increasing our efficiency and ease of brewing. Like most extract kits this one included some grains for steeping to add a little depth of flavor and some color. Our water was brought to a boil, then our grains were steeped for about 15 minutes. After steeping the burner was turned off so the extract could be added. There is a fine line here between wanting your water warm enough to absorb the extract, but not so hot that if any touches the bottom of the boil pot that it will caramelize. A nice slow steady poor and a constant whirlpool stirring is a pretty easy way to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
This ale suggested a pretty standard 60 minute boil, so that is what we did. Like most things this brew day, the boil was very uneventful. Well actually, about 20 minutes in I got a call that I needed to go pick up my daughter from school. It was a good thing that I was brewing with my cousin or else the boil might have gone over a little, but he was able to man the pot in my absence. He has been brewing longer than me, and actually introduced me to home brewing, so he was more than qualified for the job. With about 15 minutes left in the boil we dropped our wort chiller in to sanitize the copper. After flame out, we removed the pot and started running cold water through the chiller until the wort temperature was below 70 degrees. The wort was then siphoned into the carboy and yeast was pitched to start fermentation.
Again, nothing really exciting to report about brew day. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch and I was even able to smoke some pork to eat once the wort was taken care of. And by taken care of, I mean that my cousin seatbelts the carboy in the front seat of his car for the trip back to the fermentation chamber. Priorities.
Fermentation and Bottling
This was the first chance to use my new siphonless Big Mouth Bubblers and they performed flawlessly. Getting the chilled wort into the carboys was a breeze and bottling would prove to be easy as well. We decided to split the wort into two carboys after primary fermentation to experiment with adding some peaches to our beer. Just over 2 weeks in primary and 2.5 gallons was transferred and 5 pounds of peaches were added. After another 7 days in secondary for both beers, they were bottled.
This was my first time bottling and it didn’t take very long to appreciate kegging. There are so many items that need to be clean and sanitized that make the process take a while. The benefits of bottling are that with our new experimental fruit ale we would like to share with others for feedback, which is easier to do with 12-ounce bottles. I’ve tried dragging a keg around with me for samples, it’s about as much fun as it sounds. Bottling was uneventful leaving us with 16 bombers and a variety or smaller bottles for sharing. After 2 weeks letting the carbonation take in the bottle we will be ready to sample. Fingers crossed for how the cream ale with peaches will turn out. Next brew day we will be brewing our Irish Red Ale again, but this time for a competition.