Wow! Wyeast 1388 is a Workhorse!

On March 24, 2008, in Craft Beer, Homebrewing, Stuff..., by Mark Ranes

Jeez – just a little more than 48 hours later, the Belgian Strong Golden is all but done! The airlock is only bubbling about once every 30 seconds and there’s a huge yeast cake on the bottom of the carboy. Tomorrow morning I’ll give the carboy a swirl (yea, I’m a swirler:) to re-suspend the yeast and hope to get a couple more points off the final gravity. I’ll not rush this ale out of glass, so it’ll sit on the yeast for at least ten days, if not longer.

On a completely different note, when I woke up Saturday morning, eager to brew the Belgian Strong, I noticed that one of my eyes was red – like a small blood vessel had burst, but it didn’t look too bad. My eyes are often pretty funky looking and red after taking a shower, so I didn’t think a whole lot about it. But within an hour or so it kinda blossomed (if you look carefully at Saturday’s pictures you can see it:) and over the next day it started looking pretty bad. Brenda suggested that if it didn’t get better I ought to call the optometrist’s office and see what they had to say. By Sunday, it looked bad and I had pretty well decided to call the eye Doc on Monday morning.

I called this morning and they reassured me that the burst blood vessel wasn’t dangerous, or even that urgent, but I could come in if I was worried. A strange coincidence, I’d planned on getting an appointment for a regular check-up this week since I’m on spring break. Of course, they had no last minute appointments available, but put me on the “call list.” Well, I got a call about 3:00 p.m. today saying that they had a cancellation for 4:00 p.m., so I jumped at the opportunity:)

The doctor looked at it, laughed (he’s an old family friend:), and said I had a good one indeed!

Red Eye Mark

It may take as long as a month for all the blood to drain out and make the eye look normal again. Great…

Tomorrow is a full day. We drop Brenda’s Jag off in Livermore to get worked on, I have a leather jacket to return to Wilsons in Pleasanton, then it’s off to EJ Phair (they currently have Drakes IPA and Schooners IPA as guest handles – yum!) in Concord – and a quick trip to MoreBeer. Once we pick up Brenda’s car, we’re heading down to Redwood City and the Paul Thorn show. Life is good!

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Strong Golden Showers…

On March 22, 2008, in Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes

The obligatory pre-brew photo…

Shit Eating Grin

The mash-in went perfectly! We hit 149 degrees on the mark.


Once we looked at just how much a bag of cane sugar is, we both decided to back off from 6 pounds of sugar to 5 pounds.

Cane Sugar

Per Jamil, we’re doing an extended mash – 80 minutes.


The OG seemed a little low after the sparge (pre-boil) at 1.036, but we still have a ninety minute boil to go, not to mention five pounds of cane sugar:)


Sampling the style we’re brewing…

Duvel Sampling

It’s in glass! OG is 1.084…

It’s in Glass!

I was really worried about the 1388 yeast.  I made the starter Wednesday evening and never saw any activity.  When I got up Thursday, nothing was going on.  I cooled the starter so the yeast would drop out and by late Thursday evening, there was a really nice yeast cake on the bottom of the flask.  I fed the starter about 400 ml of wort on Friday morning and it took off like a banshee after just a minute or so on the stir plate.  Four hours later, there was no activity!  I chilled it once again and then decanted off about 500 ml of nasty starter beer this morning, fed it another 300-400 ml of wort, and again it burst to life, fermenting out in about 2-3 hours!  Jeez – this 1388 yeast just chews through the wort.  I’m expecting a quick, violent fermentation in my carboy:)

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