A couple of new tools to make the brew day a little easier. First is a Pocket Scale accurate to 0.1 g:
It’s an AWS SC-2kg, the above link from Amazon should take you right to it. My previous scale was accurate to a gram, meaning when I weighed hops my readings were anywhere from 0.5g low to 0.5g high. Over an ounce, that’s an error of about 2%, not too bad and likely not noticeable at homebrew scale. The problem occurs with brewing salts. If I’m putting 4 grams of gypsum in my brewing liquor, my error is +/- 12.5%. That’s unacceptable for a process geek like me. The same measurement with the new scale is accurate to +/- 2.5%, good enough for homebrew. Above, I’m weighing DME for a starter for my last brew day. I finally got around to making my pumpkin ale just in time to have it ready for Thanksgiving.
The second new gadget was a birthday present from my wife, an oxygenation kit. It’s basically a valve for screwing into disposable oxygen tanks, the little 40 gram ones used with small hand torches, tubing, a HEPAfilter and an airstone. Two minutes oxygenation replaces 30 minutes aeration. I don’t have the equipment to measure how much oxygen is in solution but it should exceed the 8 ppm possible with aeration.
Yesterday was brew day for my Chunkin’ Punkin’ ale. It was good last year, should be better this year. Basically it’s an ESB with four pounds of pumpkin in a 5.5 gal (21 l) batch. I anticipate two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in it but here’s where I depart from the normal: Instead of taking a chance on 2 tsp at the end of the boil, I put one in. Then I make a tincture of one tsp pie spice in a couple of ounces of cheap vodka, the cheaper the better. At bottling I start adding it a little at a time until the spice reaches the proper level. Same with the vanilla. The result is a slightly sweet brew reminiscent of pumpkin pie. It doesn’t taste like it but I have the strong malts in the ESB suggesting crust, the spices and mild pumpkin flavor representing the filling and the vanilla the whipped cream.
Saturday I’m brewing on a digital brew sculpture from Ruby Street Brewing. I’ll take pictures and report on my lust following the brew day.