Sunday, September 17, 2006

Brew day: Cloud-to-Ground Weizenbock

Last night Leah and Marta brewed our popular Cloud-to-Ground Weizenbock. Leah and Marta are planning on entering it in the Queen of Beer competition, so per the rules of the women-only event, I was relegated to heavy lifting duties. Theoretically that made for a relaxing evening for me. Realistically it meant I got to clean/sanitize stuff all evening, and do the heavy lifting. Fun!

Anyway, here's the lowdown. Leah and I have developed a stovetop partial-mash routine that's pretty good, but this month's Brew Your Own magazine had an article about doing a partial mash with a small, round beverage cooler, and we decided to try it since it seemed less messy. The procedure pretty much went as follows: put the grains into a nylon bag and then place them in a 5-gallon Rubbermaid cooler. Added 9.5 quarts 164°F water (with a target mash temp of 153°F) to 7 lbs. grains. Let it mash for 1/2 hour. Drain the first runnings (recirculating until clear). Then add 190°F sparge water to the fill level of the mash water (was probably around 6 quarts). Let sit five minutes and drain. As an observer seemed to work pretty well, and was much less messy than our old method of sparging with a strainer over the stove.

The rest of the evening went as planned, except that I misinformed Marta as to how much water our brew kettle holds at certain levels. As such they ended up with too high an initial volume and had to boil an extra 45 minutes or so before they even got to 6.5 gallons, at which point they added the hops and boiled another hour. The end result is we were high on our final volume and low on our original gravity (1064 instead of 1074). The thing that sucks about that is 1.) now I'm not sure how efficient the mini-mash method was; and 2.) we had a half pound of liquid wheat extract we could have added. Oh well. They pitched with a 600mL starter of White Labs Hefeweizen IV (WLP380) yeast. Woke up this morning and it was fermenting like a mofo (for those of you who don't know, mofos are highly fermentable).

Couple other notes... First, successfully kegged the ESB earlier in the day. As would be expected since I just kegged it, it was very cloudy and low on carbonation, but was happy with the results. Did a mini-tasting with our S.O.B. ESB, Fuller's ESB, and Lakefront Organic ESB, and found ours compared particularly favorably with Fuller's. Could use a little more hop nose up front--might consider reducing the bittering hops just a hair and dry-hopping next time. Still need to check on the final gravity (I hope I can do that with carbonated beer!). ... Also, no news from the Cactus or Schooner competitions, but I can deduce from this post on that Leah and I are not finalists in the Sam Adams Longshot competition. Oh well. I just hope we get score sheets. Well, that's a wrap on another successful brew day.


Post a Comment

<< Home