Idaho is having summer temps in the triple digits. Not unknown as this is high desert though it usually cools off more at night. My timing for making beer kind of sucks but it needs to get done. I’ve started doing an iodine test of the starch conversion and so far I am getting a good conversion at 60 minutes. That saves me both 30 minutes of time and energy by getting the wort started more quickly. You can guesstimate and follow a beer recipe but having the equipment to test your beers can make things easier, faster as well as producing a superior product. I recommend keeping a beer journal for recipes especially if you are experimenting with different hops and yeasts. Keep track of your dates and the alcohol content and if you like a beer and what you liked on the taste.
I’m starting to back off on how I use some the hops going for a milder flavor instead of the “Hop Head” beer recipes you often see online. If you like hops have fun but I’m moving towards using the same amount of hops but just a 60 min. boil of my wort. I still get a nice hoppy flavor but it’s a bit more subtle. Today I’m using up the last of my Bellma hops for an English style Ale that went over so well with many of my local beer testers/lovers. This will be an entry in the county and state fairs. I got my German style wheat beer done with Tettenger Hops and I’ll enter it in the fair, but it’s just a nice summer beer that is easy and pretty fast to make compared to most all grain beers I have done.
I’m trying out a new Lager type recipe using a hops called Zythos that has more of a citrus flavor instead of the sweet flavor of the Bellma Hops. My basement is just about the perfect temp for fermenting both lagers and ales. A little on the cool side for ales and a little on the high side for lagers but well within the temp. range of the yeasts that I use. I have made some very nice lagers and my beer lady asked how I do it? It seems that many folks have a difficult time getting lagers at the right temp and giving them time to work. My beer lady told me not to freak out if the air lock doesn’t bubble, sometimes the fermenting process is just not energetic enough to move the air lock. That doesn’t mean it’s not happening! Use that Hydrometer to test your fermenting buckets after five to seven days. I have had a few buckets that I thought would be a complete duds as far as the air lock bubbling but they fermented just fine when tested with the Hydrometer. Trust your nose and your taste and if you drink beer you know when the smell or flavor is “off ” after you make a few batches.
I just follow the basic recipes, I try to stay consistent and watch my acid content of my hops. I make sure I sanitise properly and hopefully just do simple beers very well. I don’t like adding ingredients just for the sake of making the simple, complex. Making a few very good, yet simple(easy to brew) beer as perfect as possible is my goal. Two of my favorite breads consist of just three or four basic ingredients. I can add whatever I like but the basic recipe is the same. I really like simple stuff in my life!