Oct 5, 2009

Precipitator / Downpour Ale

Precipitator (6.2% ABV)
Downpour Ale (
6.8% ABV)
Target Gravity -- 1.064 (nailed it)
Estimated IBUs -- 24.9

Grain Bill:
24 lbs Munich II -- 85.7%
1.5 lbs Carapils -- 5.4%
1 lb CaraAroma --3.5 %
1lb CaraMunich --3.5%
.5 lb Chocolate Malt -- 1.8%

Hop Schedule
2 oz Tetnanger 3.2%AA -- 60 min
2 0z Tetnanger 3.2%AA -- 45 min
1 0z Tetnanger 3.2%AA -- 15 min

Bock -- Bavarian Lager Yeast
Ale Bock -- American Ale Yeast

9 gallons strike water (half reverse osmosis / half Crawford
7.5 gallons sparge water (3.5 of which was rain water)

Brewday Notes / Reflections:

9:45 -- Mash-in at 165 / 10:03 143 in middle, 154 on side stir stir stir / 10:18 around 154 had targeted around 151 with thermal mass set to .1 / 11:11 begin run-off / 1:25 boil starts / 2:09 switched propane tanks and added about 20 minutes to the boil since the last few were not very vigorous.

An extremely rainy day , but with a tarp, the shed roof made a nice tent for everything important. I had to take my rain coat on an off several times for other activities outside the shed. I was also graced by Meat Snacks' presence for some of the run-off, the whole boil, and chilling.

I made sure this time to run-off a little slower because last time my efficiency sucked. I also stirred more than I had in the past, which was a good idea since at dough-in, I was pulling up dry pockets of grain for several minutes. Efficiency ended up at 75%, and I nailed my target gravity.

Changed propane tanks halfway through the boil; I need to keep track of how long these are lasting so not to run out again. Now I have two tanks. The only other negative thing aside from the propane misshap that happened was that I may not have chilled the beer enough before pitching yeast. The ale was no warmer than 75, as was the lager. Each spent at least fifteen minutes in an ice bath, so they were probably a good ten degrees cooler than that. I think the level of intoxication influenced patience at the end.

Downpour Ale Notes:

10.21.09 -- Gravity measuring 1.013, which should be close to terminal gravity. I am going to let it sit for at least another week.
10.30.09 -- Kegged. Final Gravity was 1.012. (6.8% ABV)
11.07.09 -- Drinking about my third Downpour from my new .5L Spaten Oktoberfest glass, and I am quite pleased. The cara malts shine through nicely with a light dark caramel sweetness that is accented nicely by the bready toastyness of the Munich malt. The fresh Tettnager hops balance all this sweetness out with a very clean (I know this is oxymoronic) earthy bitterness. This is one of the better beers of late, and a good reminder why the cooler months are the best for brewing.
12.02.09 -- I bottled six of these this week as entries into our homebrew club's contest. What follows is a review on a day nearly as rainy as the day this beer was brewed. I heard a story recently on public radio saying that this year is Georgia'a wettest, as far as climatologists could reckon, in over five hundred years -- I digress:
Downpour Ale Review (during actual downpour ... see map below)
Appearance: Downpour ale is very dark brown, and may be percieved as black from a short distance. When held to the light, very little makes it though, but one can see that it is indeed a mahogany brown. Head is thick, and retains well.
Smell: The first thing one notices is the absence of a yeasty scent, which is expected when using a yeast as neutral as S-05. A faint bready smell and a just as noticeable caramel character are in there too. Hops also provide a little to the overall aroma, but Downpour Ale is for the most part subdued in the smell category.
Taste: This beer is subtle, but with a mild complexity that could be missed by one drinking this as more of a session beer (which I have done, and do not ascribe any fault to that manner of consumption). Bready nature of the Munich malt provides a strong backbone for the dark caramel / coffee sweetness from the dark crystal as well as for the earthy sharpness of the Tettnanger hops. An alcohol note arrives late, but it is not at all overbearing, even though the ABV approaches 7%.
Mouthfeel: This is a medium-bodied beer on par with porters and some lighter bodied stouts.
Overall: I am excited about this beer, and like its chances in the contest. I may be surprised, depending on the number of entries, if this does not make it to the second round. This beer is flavorful, and the drinkability does not suffer as it does in other beers with these kinds of characteristics.

Precipitator Notes:

10.30.09 -- Racked to secondary. Final Gravity was 1.o19. (6.2% ABV)

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