Jeef’s Corner #1: Buckwheat Hefeweizen

Author: Jeff

Early spring in Eastern Washington, as I have recently discovered, is extremely unpredictable. It can get up to almost 70F during the day and drop into the 30s at night. It can be warm and dry one day, while rainy and frigid the next.

Because of this quirk of meteorology, when my new friends Aaron and Tevor asked me to brew a beer to buoy our team’s spirits during the upcoming Palouse 100k Relay, I was at a loss as to what brew might be appropriate. A light, crisp Berliner would be great if it was hot and brutal along the Snake River, but conversely terrible if it was raining and cold. A Scottish Export could be nice if snowing, but potentially devastating if a warm front came through.

A happy medium, I decided, was a high protein Hefeweizen – refreshing in all temperatures, with just enough spice and ester to be warming and interesting if it was chilly. Additionally, the high protein content provided enough rationalization to call this a “Recovery Beverage.”

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Process Comparison: Fermenting in a PET Carboy vs Corny Keg

Homebrewers go through many steps to eliminate post fermentation oxidation of their beer. One of the ways that’s commonly expounded is to flush kegs/bottles with CO2 prior to racking. While I don’t regularly do this due to sheer laziness, I have recently been looking for ways minimize oxidation post-fermentation in an easy practical manner. One such method that had been intriguing me for some time now was fermenting in corny kegs. I had heard about corny keg fermentation on older brew strong episodes in which JZ and Palmer poo-pooed this practice due to the shape of the keg not being ideal for the yeast. I didn’t really think about it much more. I first noticed corny keg fermentation in use in a brulosophy article on pressurized fermentation by Greg Foster. While I had no real interest in pressurizing my fermentations, fermenting in a corny keg would mean one could simply ferment, hook up to CO2, and rack into a purged corny keg for serving. Ultimately this would mean the beer would never have to touch oxygen after the first CO2 expelled from fermentation blanketed the beer. Also, this would mean no lifting carboys onto a raised surface for a gravity transfer, no risking glass shards (for those who use glass regularly), etc. There are of course draw backs to fermenting in a corny, the smaller volume means that 5 gallon batches may need to be sized down slightly. However, with liberal use of fermcap-S, maybe not that drastically. Before diving headlong into fermenting in a corny keg I needed to do a side-by-side batch and have them served blindly to me in order to confirm whether or not I was ready to ditch the carboys.

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