Cookie Dough Brown Ale In Glass

On April 26, 2011, in Homebrew Gadgets, Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes
Cookie Dough Brown Ale Tap Handle

Cookie Dough Brown Ale Tap Handle

I now have ten gallons of Cookie Dough Brown Ale sitting in a couple carboys.  I’d love to take credit for the inspiration for this wonderful ale, but that goes to my brew buddy, Stephen.  The idea came to him one day when he was sitting around (probably with an ale in his hand:) thinking about how to take his Brew Barn Brown Ale to the next level, and the idea of adding dark brown sugar and raisins to the batch came to him, to give it a deeper, cookie-like quality.  He brews the ale as an imperial, but I scale it back a bit in the OG to make it a bit more of a session ale.  This is the third time I’ve brewed this ale and it just seems to get better with every batch.  The one I have on tap right now is easily in the top five best ales I’ve ever brewed.

This beer was also my inaugural run using my new Therminator plate chiller, and I was on edge throughout most of the brew session, knowing that a big change was coming to my process at the end of the day.  On top of the chilling process change, I haven’t brewed for at least three months, so overall, the brew day was just a bit out of the ordinary.  I chased my mash temps, and I forgot to add the Whirlfloc tablets at the end of the boil. In the end, I made beer:)

Here’s the recipe for Cookie Dough Brown Ale:

Cookie Dough Brown Ale
10-C American Brown Ale
Author: Mark Ranes
Date: 04/25/11

Size: 10.08 gal
Efficiency: 69.06%
Attenuation: 79.0%
Calories: 212.53 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.064 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.016)
Color: 24.6 (18.0 – 35.0)
Alcohol: 6.66% (4.3% – 6.2%)
Bitterness: 37.9 (20.0 – 40.0)

12.0 lb Golden Promise Malt
8.0 lb Pale Ale Malt
2.0 lb Brown
1.0 lb Cara-Pils® Malt
1.0 lb Chocolate Malt
1.0 lb Crystal 120
1.5 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
1.5 oz Centennial (10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
2.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient  – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
2.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
1.0 lb Dark Brown Sugar – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
12.0 oz Raisins – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
2.0 oz Centennial (10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
2.0 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
2000 mL White Labs WLP001 California Ale
2.0 oz Cascade (5.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2.0 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter

Therminator Set Up

Therminator Set Up

Overall, the chilling process with the Therminator went well.  Man, that plate chiller can drop the wort temperature fast!  I was a bit out of sorts with my anal retentive need to super clean the plate chiller though.  I had lots of problems with the March pump cavitating, while trying to repeatedly forward and reverse flush the Therminator.  And the hop bit just seemed to never stop coming out of the chiller.  Steve uses a sump pump for cleaning the chiller, and I got one for these from Mrs. Lazy Brewer for Christmas, but it was the one part of the system I didn’t take the time to flesh out all of the fittings for, so it wasn’t ready.  It will be the next time I brew:)

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New hoses and quick disconnects

New hoses, quick disconnects, HopRocket and Therminator

It’s been a while since I posted. Maybe because I haven’t brewed since the holidays.  Maybe because I’ve been busy with life.  Maybe because a major upgrade to my brewing system has me avoiding all things brewing – other than consuming homebrew.

Last Christmas, Mrs. Lazybrewer put a Blichman Therminator and Thrumometer under the tree for me and this year followed it up with a Blichmann HopRocket, and an additional March pump.  Over the last year I’ve picked up new stainless steel quick disconnects and high temp tubing, getting ready for the transition from my immersion chiller to a new plate chiller cooling system.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s taken me fifteen months to move from an old school wort chilling system to a new shiny high tech chilling system.  Because I’m a creature of habit – set in my ways – a stick in the mud!

It’s finally happening!  Today I spent a couple hours building new hoses and attaching male QDs to “devices” and kettles.  I’m 95% ready (I just need to get a couple 3/4″ F/F couplers for the water side of the Therminator) and plan of doing a water-only dry run on Saturday, followed by a Cookie Dough Brown Ale brew on Sunday or Monday.  I know that it’s going to be a worrisome brew day for me with the change.  I have well over a hundred brew sessions under my belt with my system, and current immersion chiller, and the plate chiller looks to be far more complex to manage and keep clean and sanitized.  Part of my hesitation over the last year has be concerning keeping the Therminator clean and not being the single point of infection failure for my brews.  I’ve read way too much on cleaning and sanitizing plate chillers on the web, and several of my closest brew buddies have been using plate and counterflow chillers for years without a single infection.  But still, I’m nervous, because I’m a creature of habit – set in my ways – a stick in the mud! I’m sure 5-10 brews from now, the Therminator will be my new habit, but getting there will wear on me a bit:)

I am looking forward to using the HopRocket, infusing my IPAs with oodles of hop goodness, but that’s a couple brews down the road.  I want to get the new chilling regime down first before introducing a new variable.

Waldo at Lagunitas Brewing Cmpany

Where's Waldo?

On a side note, we just got back from a Northern California brewery road trip.  We enjoyed stops at Russian River Brewing, Bear Republic Brewing, Anderson Valley Brewing, North Coast Brewing and on the way home, a drop-in at Lagunitas Brewing yielded a single release tapping of Waldo – which they bill as their hoppiest beer ever.  We spent two nights at The MacCallum House in Mendocino, and enjoyed great beer, wonderful food and spirited companionship – with some of the best people in the world!

Life is good!

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Santa Brings a Therminator!

On December 28, 2009, in Homebrew Gadgets, Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes

My new Therminator!

Woohoo!  Santa brought the Lazy Brewer a new Therminator!

I’ve been an immersion chiller kinda brewer since I first starting brewing.  I’ve always liked the fact that by using an immersion chiller, most of the cold break stays in my brew kettle.  I also have really enjoyed the 15 seconds it takes to spray off my copper coil chiller.  What I haven’t liked is waiting for 45-75 minutes (depending on the current groundwater temperature) for my wort to cool.  It just leaves the wort in the potentially dangerous temperature range, susceptible to  contamination, for too long.

I have been very hesitant to use either a counter flow or plate chiller because of cleaning and sanitation concerns.  I’ve seen sheets of beerstone that have flowed out of Stephen’s counterflow chiller and it chilled me to the bone. He’s never had a batch get contaminated, so I do believe his anal retentive cleaning and sanitation methods work – it just creeped me out when I saw the beerstone exiting the chiller.  Additionally, I’ve known several of my brew club buddies that regularly use plate chillers – and read the forum posts about cleaning and sanitizing them.  Steve started with a Shirron plate chiller, and promptly moved up to the Therminator.  He has a cleaning and sanitizing routine for the Therminator where he instantly pumps PBW through both his March pump and Therminator for several minutes, then pumps clean water through both, followed by StarSan to sanitize the equipment.  Like Stephen’s cleaning regime, I’m convinced Steve has covered all the bases to make sure he doesn’t infect a batch of ale.

Steve managing the Therminator connections

In the long run, I don’t see the Therminator actually saving me any time on brew day because of the need to meticulously clean the plate chiller after use, but it will allow me to avoid putting my wort at risk during the actual chilling phase.  This is obviously a good thing.

I still need to pick up some cheap quick disconnects for my water hose connections, additional tubing for wort, as well as a sump pump for moving the various liquids necessary for cleaning and sanitizing.

I’m a creature of habit.  After 95 batches, I have my brew day processes down pat.  Integrating the Therminator into my brewing process will throw me out of sorts for a while.  Steve has suggested I do a dry run with water, learning to manage the various hose swaps necessary for both chilling and cleaning/sanitizing. This sounds like a good idea…

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