Monday, August 31, 2009

Big Batch Small Beer

We really went big with the final beer for the upcoming wedding in a month. Not big in aroma, body, color or taste, but really big in size. A brewing record for me was made last Friday with a 13 gallon batch of small beer. This sort of volume, in a light style, will quench the thirst of their guests, while the two bigger beers will provide distinctive flavors and much more alcohol.

Just a few days before brewing, an edition of Zymurgy came to the door with articles all about brewing a small/mild beer as a big batch. This influential zymurgical coincidence happened right before brewing my first Tripel. Each time, the mag enhanced my recipe and approach for brewday.

For this batch, 15 gallons passed through a mash with only 14.3 pounds of grain. Borrowing some equipment from Felipe's new all-grain setup made this much easier. The mashtun was luckily filled to the very brim with mash-out water. It's cool to note that the volume lowers about a half gallon after absorption during the mash. After 4 gallons drained, Ryan and I proceeded to fly-sparge with an additional 8 gallons on the stove.

Knowing the final wort would get really thin, I made sure the acidity of the 168°F sparge water was around 5.3pH to prevent any tannin extraction (or so they say that's what happens). Never before running this much water through a mash, I was very curious to see how low the gravity would get as we sparged. It was cool to see the final reading at 1.007. See all the readings below.

This small beer was originally much lighter in color, but was deepened with some darker crystal malts to create a distinctive visual appeal among the other two beers being served. Guests will clearly see a difference in there cup, as the Tripel is straw-like golden, the Porter is ruby-black, and this one has a sunset amber hue to it. The deeper color will also give an illusion of being a bigger beer than it really is.

Two kegs of this ale will be served. One straight. The other will get an infusion of fresh lemon basil from the bride and groom's very own urban garden.

Check out the other matrimony ales...

Cocoa & Ancho Chili Smoked Porter
Belgian Tripel

Big Batch Small Beer

11 lbs. Organic 2-Row
1 lbs. CaraPils
1 lbs. Amer. Crystal 20L
.5 lbs. UK Crystal 45L
.18 lbs. Belg. Special B
.35 lbs. Belg. Aromatic
.35 lbs. Belg. Biscuit

3 oz. Willamette, 4.5%, plug, 60min

Wyeast 1056: American Ale

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 8/28/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 1.5 tsp Gypsum, .5 tsp CaCl, .75 tsp Acid Blend
Fly Sparge: 1 tsp Gypsum, .75 tsp Acid Blend, .5 tsp Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.6 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.3
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 151°F/70min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 168°F
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4 gal/1.044

Fly Sparge H2OTemp: 168-170°F
Fly Batch SG 1: 1.028
Fly Batch SG 2: 1.015
Fly Batch SG final: 1.007

Pre-Boil Vol: 15 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.028
Boil Time: 75min
Post-Boil Vol: 13.25 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 84.4%

OG: 1.033
IBU: 22
Color/SRM: light amber/6-9
Ferment Temp: 72-65°F


Friday, August 21, 2009

Cocoa & Ancho Chili Smoked Porter

When two beery minds brainstorm malty creations, this beer probably gets blurted out a lot. But, how many brewers out there would give it a try? A full batch at that? I will!

Only a week ago, Ryan and I found ourselves throwing back and forth ideas for a fun and unusual Porter recipe. Then it hit us...a Cocoa & Ancho Chili Smoked Porter! This would be superbly experimental and perfect for Matt's upcoming wedding...especially amongst a beautiful outdoor country setting, while the reception meal will feature continuously grilled kababs. What a prefect pairing!

Luckily, I've had a hand in brewing with all three flavor profiles. Various smoked beers...Smoked Scottish Ale, Rauch Bock & Golden Rauchbier, a Cocoa Porter using roasted cacao nibs, and a wonderful 1 gallon experimental pale ale using ancho chili's in the secondary.

Now all I gotta do is merry these flavors together inside a rich tasting Porter recipe.

A big thanks to Ryan for helping out, mostly by having fun distracting playing with my daughter. This dextrinous wort posed unrelentless foaming and potential boil-overs the whole time. A bit frustrating to me, but the calm and collected Ryan said he didn't mind at all, and wiped lids like a champ.

The wort smelled very unique with rich chocolate notes and a subtle smokiness. Having some hot wort poured over cream, it tasted like a hot chocolate with a hint of smoke. We both think when its all fermented, the added chili's will make this beer unforgettable.

Check out 2 more beers
brewed just in time for
the wedding of two very special friends...

Belgian Tripel 3-Peat
Big Batch Small Beer

Cocoa & Ancho Chili Smoked Porter

5.0 lbs. Organic 2-Row Pale
5.0 lbs. German Smoked Malt
.80 lbs. UK Crystal 45L
1.0 lbs. Amer. Chocolate
.23 lbs. UK Chocolate
.41 lbs. UK Brown
.48 lbs. De-Bittered Black Malt
1.0 lbs. Flaked Oats
.50 lbs. Carapils

Hops & Chili's
1 oz. Willamette, 4.8%, pellet, 60min
1 oz. Kent Goldings, 4.5%, pellet, 60min
1 oz. Willamette, 4.5%, plug, 25min

7 Ancho Chili's, sliced thin w/ some seeds each secondary
? Roasted Cacao is chocolaty enough

Wyeast 1098: British Ale decanted 1 qt starter

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 8/21/09
Racked: 9/1/09
Kegged: 9/10/09

Water Adjustment London-esque 1:1 ratio Chicago:Distilled
Strike: 1.125 tsp Gypsum, .5 tsp Acid Blend, 1.125 tsp Chalk
2nd Sparge: 1.125 tsp Gypsum, .75 tsp Kosher Salt, 1 tsp Chalk

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.3 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.2-5.3
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 155°F/60min
Mash Out Temp: 166°F
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4gal/...n/a

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 185°F/172°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3.4gal/...n/a

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.4
Pre-Boil SG: 1.050
Boil Time: 75min
Post-Boil Vol: 5.9
Mash Efficiency: 68%

OG: 1.058
IBU: 38
Color/SRM: Reddish-Black/37
Ferment Temp: 70-73°F

FG: 1.022
ABW: 3.8%
ABV: 4.73%

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Belgain Tripel 3-peat

Today we brewed another one of my Belgian Tripels, the first of three beers that will be served at Matt & Heidi's wedding. It's my 3rd time brewing it, and by making some very subtle changes, hopefully will maximize the quality.

The first batch turned out on target and fantastic. The 'repeat' was good, but a bit "hot" in alcohol, accidentally over-hopped (by .5 oz.), a touch too dry with a hint of cidery flavors coming through.

In this 3-peat batch, some adjustments I made were: 1. lower the alcohol a half a point 2. raise the mash temp a couple degrees for more maltiness/residuals 3. mellow the hops a tad 4. use less yeast to encourage a longer lag time and more yeast reproduction

The brewday was a big success, and we finished in record time. The mash sat nicely at 152°F. We chose the freshest hops, and sticking with straight Saaz in the finish. The gravity points throughout the day were great, with a malt-only OG sitting perfectly at 1.074.

Today we saw superb hot break material in the boil and continued protein coagulation after the cold break when chilling. The wort smelled and tasted clean, sweet and smooth in hops. As long as the fermentation temperatures stay on the low end (68-70°F), this Trappist style ale should turn out fantastic.

It was great having Matt over for a 6am start time, helping to brew his matrimony ale. While it was early & quiet in the house, we got into some meaningful conversation, a time & experience I value greatly. We also finished in what I believe is close to record time. Though the hopping is not too complex, he did help to make the final decisions on hop varieties and additions. Our friend Ryan will help make the Porter this Friday, and we all will be back in the kitchen on the 28th to brew a mega 13 gallon batch of Small Beer.

The next two matrimony ales...

Cocoa Ancho-Chili Smoked Porter
Big Batch Small Beer 1 keg Lemon Basil Infused

Belgian Tripel 3-Peat

13. lbs. Belgian Pils
2.0 lbs. German Vienna
1.0 lbs. Wheat Malt
1.5 lbs. Clear Candy Sugar (boiled & added later)

.80 oz. Magnum, 14.9%, pellet, 60min
.50 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 30min
.70 oz. Saaz, 4.7%, pellet, 10min
.30 oz. Saaz, 4.7%, pellet, KO

Wyeast 3787: Trappist High Gravity 12oz. starter

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 8/16/08
Racked: just primary
Kegged & few bottles: around 9/8/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: .5 tsp. Gypsum, .5 tsp CaCl, .6 tsp. Acid Blend
2nd Sparge: missed

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.2 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.4
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152°F/75min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 169°F/20min
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4gal/1.069 (left 1 gal in mash for 2nd sparge)

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 180°F/ n/a
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3.25gal/1.038

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.25
Pre-Boil SG: 1.063
Boil Time: 75min
Post-Boil Vol: 5.8 gal
Mash Efficiency: 75%

OG1: 1.074 (grains only)
OG2: 1.083 (w/ sugar)
IBU: approx. 39
Color/SRM: Pale Gold/4-5
Ferment Temp: 68-71°F
Bottling Yeast: none

FG: 1.015
ABW: 7.1%
ABV: 8.9%