It’s time to brew the Cloud Cover winter ale for the first time since 2004. This winter ale was last brewed two winters ago before the new year with my buddy, Chris Mack (miss ya Chris). Chris taught me how to brew in Seattle with a version of this beer based upon an attempt at cloning Deschutes Jubelale with some tweaks. Ours was to be a little less sweet, a bit more roasty, a bit more hop. A hoppy, roasty, winter warmer. It tasted amazing. That was the beer that got me hooked on home brewing.
Chris and I brewed together up until I moved to Bend, OR. about two and a half years ago. Since he had the all-grain equipment, and the recipe calls for a significant amount of must-mash grains, I didn’t brew the Cloud Cover last year. I still don’t have the all-grain setup I’m gunning for, but I’ve done enough preparation to do a partial mash extract version. Plus, I’m not willing to go another year with no Cloud Cover. This year’s version will be made with Rogue’s Pac Man yeast. One smack pack has been hiding in the back of my refrigerator, and it puffed up nicely despite the age. I’ve dumped it into a starter made with 1.25 cups of light DME yesterday, and it’s been pretty active.
The brew session went well, and 24 hours later, the airlock is percolating at 1 beat every 2-3 seconds.
Day 4 … still fermenting with airlock pulse of 1 beat every 4 seconds. I put my nose over the airlock, and good lord the hops. Love that smell!
Day 7 … Transferred to secondary glass carboy. Great color, but the one ounce of dry hops in a grain bag soaked up a lot of beer.
Day 9 … I’ve been reading about cold conditioning to help clarify beer, and something about improving taste. Moved glass carboy to the 55° garage for conditioning to see if I notice clearer beer. Thank you, perfectly-timed cold snap!
Day 13 … No patience for any more cold conditioning … moved glass carboy back inside to warm up for bottling.
Day 17 … Bottled with 3/4 C corn sugar.
Day 29 … First taste … bottles been hanging out in 65 degree closet. Still needs about another two weeks. Like where this flavor’s going though!