Monday, April 2, 2012

Party Bock Brew Day

What to do with a rainy Sunday?

Well, if you're like Keith Urban, you can stay in bed all day...

...but if you're a homebrewer, the answer is simple: BREW!

A good friend and awesome blogger I follow likes to do what she refers to as "live-blogs," where she writes a blog while watching or experiencing something exciting. Most recently, this has included watching an episode of Hoarders and the movie Scarface. Last Fall, she wrote about those times when I joined her family and some friends to get drunk tour local bourbon distilleries (Part 1, and Part 2). We're talking about some really awesome stuff here, people.

Because I like the idea so much, I decided to copy it and give you a play-by-play of my latest brew day: Party Bock.

Just a little preface - Party Bock was created in response to a challenge from a friend. You see, we're hosting a going away party for some close friends of ours, and it just so happens that there is barely enough time for me to brew a batch for the special occasion.

I decided on a Bock as the inspiration 'cause I think it'll appeal to just about everybody. Even though it's darker, it's not thick like people tend to think dark beers are. And it should finish on the sweet/malty side of things (but with 2 ounces of hops there should still be some hop presence there to balance it out).

"Party Bock" just popped into my head on day, to the tune of "Party Rock" by LMFAO, and now I can't stop singing it. I'm sure it'll be 100 times worse the day of the party (when I'm drunk) singing how "Party Bock" is in the house...

Also note that "Bock" is German for "goat," so I think we're going to have fun with this one...

11:20am - Getting all of the equipment out of the closet and ready to be cleaned.

11:22am - Bright flash of lightning followed by some house-shaking thunder! Glad I'm indoors!

11:25am - Giving the yeast starter I made on Saturday a good swirl.

11:29am - Washing the pot so I can get the steeping grains steeping while I wash up everything else.

11:40am - Put 3 gallons of water on the stove.

11:43am - Giving the yeast another swirl.

11:46am - Looking at my notes from the last brew so make sure I'm not missing anything.

11:48am - Adjusting the recipe for a boil size of 3 gallons instead of 4 gallons, and changing the hop additions accordingly.

11:51am - Checking the water temp. 160˚F. Crap, it's too high. Moving the pot off the burner to let the water cool off some.

11:52am - Getting the steeping grains ready while the water is cooling.

11:55am - Checking the water temp again. 155˚F Time to add the steeping grains!

12:03pm - Setting a timer so I know when the steeping grains are done steeping.  25 minutes to go.

12:04pm - Letting Hunter go outside since he's been bugging me about it for at least half an hour, and it's finally stopped raining. He loves licking the water off the deck! Weird dog...

12:07pm - Checking the temp of the water again. 148˚F Turned the heat on to bring it back up a little.

12:10pm - Measuring out the first .5oz hop addition.

12:12pm - Turned the heat back off and stirred some more. Looking good! Note that the color looks really dark here, but once it's diluted it should be lighter.

Edit: After looking at other recipes, the base malts this recipe called for are quite a bit darker than a typical Bock. That's okay - it should only really have an affect on the color (the steeping grains are going to provide the majority of the flavor).

12:16pm - Giving the yeast starter another good swirl.

12:17pm - Washing up the rest of the equipment and stirring the pot.

12:21pm - I wonder if I can make bread with these malts. I bet a bread with chocolate and caramel malts would be A-MAZING.

12:23pm - Mixing up the sanitizer. 5 minutes left on the steep.

12:24pm - Huntie wants back in. Oh God, he's all wet!

12:25pm - Cursing the people at Munton's for gluing the entire label on the malt cans...

12:26pm - Putting the malt cans in a hot water bath so the malt will come out easier (but hopefully not the labels!).

12:28pm - Steep complete. Removing the grains and turning the burner on high. It's time to boil!

12:33pm - Seriously considering saving these grains to make a bread with... man, they smell so good!

12:34pm - Swirling the yeast starter again while singing "Party Bock is in the house tonight!" in my head.

12:35pm - Gathering laundry. Yeah, I'm triple-tasking today. Still waiting for the wort to get boiling.

12:41pm - Starting a load of laundry. Getting closer to boiling...

12:45pm - Adjusting the recipe for a late malt addition (to keep the color a little lighter).

12:47pm - The late addition made the beer really hoppy but not any lighter. Decided to add both cans at the beginning.

12:50pm - Decided to do a blow-off tube on this one instead of an airlock again, just to make sure there won't be any explosions. Still not quite boiling.

12:53pm - Finally boiling!

12:54pm - Opening the malt cans...

12:56pm - Stirring in the first can of malt...

12:57pm - Crap, phone's ringing. Too busy to answer.

12:58pm - And it's ringing again. Probably Jennifer. Still don't have a free hand.

12:59pm - Called her back. 'Cause I'm a good husband and all.

1:03pm - The malt brought the total volume almost all the way to the top of the pot. Need to make sure I leave a little more room next time!

1:04pm - Put the pot back on the burner to bring it back to a boil.

1:07pm - Jennifer's home!

1:09pm - It should start boiling any second now...

1:12pm - Hottest wife ever!

1:15pm - Gave the yeast starter another good swirl.

1:16pm - Jennifer smelled the wort. "It doesn't smell too bad!" In the words of Borat, great success!

1:17pm - Still not quite boiling, but really close.

1:18pm - Let the boiling begin! Added the first addition of hops -- 0.5oz Tettnang. Set the timer for 60 minutes. Gotta watch it close -- the pot is nearly full and this is where it foams like crazy!

1:20pm - Timer started.

1:21pm - Things got a little foamy, but not nearly as bad as before. I guess liquid malts aren't as foamy as dry malts.

1:22pm - I thought Jennifer would change her mind about the smell after the hops were in. "It still doesn't smell as bad as before." Awesome!

1:25pm - Maintaining a nice, rolling boil.

1:27pm - Time for lunch! Mmm, leftover pizza from Old Chicago...

1:31pm - Jennifer keeps coughing. She says she has a cold, but it's probably the smell of the beer...

1:35pm - Second hop addition -- 0.5oz Tettnang. Nothing to do for 30 minutes now. Time to eat lunch and clean up.

1:38pm - The sun decided to come out finally. Good thing, too, 'cause we have scouts at 4 and we're supposed to be planting a garden. (Although I hope that part gets cancelled... I don't like mud).

1:50pm - So I'm 2 hours into this thing, but most of it has been waiting for the water to heat up. Hopefully soon I'll be able to upgrade my equipment and start using a propane burner -- that'll make the process go by a lot faster!

1:57pm - Another stir. 22 minutes left on the clock, so 7 minutes until the next hop addition.

2:03pm - Measuring out the third hop addition.

2:05pm - Adding the third hop addition -- 0.5oz Tettnang.

2:12pm - Crap! Got distracted by blogging that I forgot to add the Irish Moss with the 3rd hop addition. Adding it now. 8 minutes left.

2:15pm - Adding the fourth and final hop addition -- 0.5oz Tettnang.

2:19pm - Prepping the ice bath to cool the wort once the boil is done.

2:20pm - Boil complete, commence cooling.

2:28pm - Refilling the sink with more cold water. I forgot to save some ice yesterday, and our ice maker takes forever to refill the bin, so I have to resort to using cold water to cool the wort. Not a problem, but it does take longer.

2:37pm - Refilling the sink with cold water again.

2:50pm - Refilling the sink again, this time with ice.

3:01pm - Checking the temp. 75˚F. Perfect! Pouring the sanitzier out of the fermenting bucket and getting things ready for the transfer.

3:07pm - Pouring the wort into the fermenting bucket.

3:08pm - Making a mess.

3:09pm - Getting as much wort out of the hops as possible, and topping up with tap water.

3:10pm - Stirring the wort to mix everything thoroughly.

3:15pm - Taking an initial gravity reading -- somewhere above 1.050 but not quite 1.054. Let's call it 1.053.

3:17pm - Swirling the yeast starter again really well.

3:19pm - Pitching the yeast!

3:20pm - Mixing the yeast in thoroughly.

3:21pm - Sealed up with an airlock for now. When I move it into the fermentation chamber I'll switch out the airlock for a blow-off tube. Gotta wash up the growler first, though.

3:30pm - The hard part's over. Now, it's up to the yeast to make the sugary water into delicious beer. I hope they do a good job!

Finished just in time for scouts!

The blogging definitely made the process take a little longer, but not this blog -- the one I was writing about our race yesterday (instead of cleaning while waiting for the boil to finish).

So as you can see, most of brewing is cleaning and waiting. The real magic happens behind the sealed lid of the fermenter.

Check back in about 3 or 4 weeks to see how the bottling day goes!


  1. I can't wait to drink the Party Bock!!! I, too, have been singing "Party Bock is in the house tonight" every time you post about it and I'm trying to think of more clever words for the rest of that verse to be the beer's theme song.

    1. We need at least 3 verses and a chorus by party time.

  2. Nice! We have some time... let's come up with something good!

  3. Love this! The Borat reference is my favorite part. Haha!

  4. Love the new look of the blog, the fact that you're singing Party Bock is in the house toniiiight while you're making it and also the shout-out! YOU happen to be an awesome blogger that I follow! :) Also, can we just dress one of the dogs up as a goat? I feel like that would be cleaner.


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