Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Brew day: Great Storm Novemberfest

As I discussed last week, I decided that for this year's Novemberfest party (Nov. 13th for those of you in the Chicago area) I would create and brew a new style. What I came up with is sort of a light-colored Sticke Altbier with 25% rye. I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out.

I brewed my creation on Saturday. Leah and I had to check out a school fair in the morning (yes, Dorrie will be starting Kindergarten next year) so, since I would be getting a late start, I decided to only brew five gallons. I also decided to go with a simple infusion mash.

I mashed in around 12:30 and noticed I seemed to have a lot of water in the mash tun for only five gallons. I later figured out why... I measure how much liquid I have in my keggle by measuring the distance from the top of the keggle to the top of the liquid. However, I have two different keggles that were cut differently, so the numbers are actually off a little between the two. I accidentally used the wrong number, which meant instead of 1.5 quarts per pound of grain I intended to use, I was actually a little over 1.7 quarter per pound. (On a side note, I usually use 1.25 but with 25% rye I wanted to avoid a stuck sparge; a pound of rice hulls helped too.) I also added 1/4 tsp. acid blend since I didn't have any dark malts.

I was afraid I would end up with poor efficiency since the enzymes would be diluted. I also got impatient and started sparging after only 45 minutes (which is pretty typical for me when using a 1.25 qt./lb. ratio, but a bit short even for 1.5) which wouldn't seem to help things. I recirculated from 1:20-1:30 and collected 6.25 gallons of wort between 1:30 and 2:30. After a 1:25 boil, I ended up with five gallons at a gravity of 1069, three points above my target--so I guess my efficiency wasn't so bad after all. After chilling to 70°F and adding a 1/2-gallon starter of WLP 320, my gravity was diluted to 1066; perfect!

So overall, a quick, relatively non-eventful brew day. I also had the pleasure of being joined by my new neighbor Gustavo, who's interested in learning how to brew. Gustavo's into Belgian beer, so I might use that as an excuse to brew my Worst Case Scenario again. Oh, and as you can see below, despite the chilly October temperatures Dorrie and Jonas were more than happy to help clean the mash tun:


Blogger Matt said...

Can you talk about how you recirculate, and is there a benefit to doing it longer?

2:59 PM, October 06, 2010  
Blogger Russ said...

Sorry, Matt, I may have been unclear in my post. I recirculated from 1:20pm to 1:30pm, NOT between one hour and twenty and one hour and thirty minutes (which would indeed be quite long).

3:39 PM, October 06, 2010  

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