Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Brew day: Downdraft Helles

Our ongoing effort to replenish our kegerator stock continued on Sunday as we brewed our Downdraft Helles. It was pretty cold out that day (24°F when I started and 21°F when I finished) so I decided to go with a simple infusion mash. I mashed in around 1pm at 154°F (a couple degrees below my target) and, since my grains were all light, added 1/2 tsp. of acid blend.

It took a while to heat nine gallons of sparge water so I mashed for a little over an hour. I recirculated for fifteen minutes and sparged for an hour and a half, collecting 12.5 gallons. I started my boil at 4pm with hop additions at 90 minutes, 60 minutes and 20 minutes. My initial refractometer reading showed I was coming in seven or eight gravity points above my target so I upped my bittering hops a tad (just to bring my IBU's up by two).

I chilled down to around 48°F (one of the perks of brewing lagers in the winter) and took a gravity reading... turns out I was only a couple points above my target gravity: 1053 instead of 1051. That brings me to my lesson for the day: my buddy Kevin told me a couple weeks ago that he was thinking of getting into brewing but decided after reading my blog that it was too complicated and he'd rather just drink beer. On Sunday I made my brew day far more complicated by worrying about my refractometer readings and boil rates and it turned out I was pretty much right at my target gravity. So basically, I make things more complicated because that's just how I am, but I would probably brew beer that's equally good if I relaxed, didn't worry, and had a homebrew.

Anyway, I oxygenated and then pitched a yeast slurry courtesy of Doug and Tracy at Metropolitan (and if I've ever overpitched I did it on Sunday), and by Monday morning the carboys were bubbling away. So there you have it.

On a side note, I also racked our None More Buzzed coffee stout over 6 oz. of Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso beans on Sunday, and then pulled the beans out last night. Its final gravity was 1014. It's now on tap and tasting pretty good if I say so myself. So our horrible nightmare of two weeks without beer on tap has officially ended.


Blogger Señor Brew™ said...

I don't miss the perks of brewing lagers in Chicago winters.

9:52 PM, December 08, 2010  

Post a Comment

<< Home