Showing posts with label rampenlicht. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rampenlicht. Show all posts

Monday, June 13, 2011

My First All Grain

Goodness me, that title sounds like I spent the weekend playing with Fisher Price toys! Alas such happy abandon was not on my schedule over the last couple of days, rather as I noted on Friday, I did my first all grain homebrew this weekend, the recipe for which you can read here.

I am going to assume that you don't need a blow by blow account of my brewing activities, but I thought I'd share (what a lovely post-modern touchy feely concept that is, I think I might puke) some pictures and a few notes about the stuff I learnt.

First up, allow me to introduce my little mash tun (oh good god, more kiddy toy references).

Because I only brew small batches, and have limited space, the cooler has a capacity of 2 gallons - I figure that when I want to make bigger beers, I will do partial mash and make up the gravity with extract. I also plan to replace the tap with something that doesn't need constant pressing to get the wort out. As you can see from the picture, I did a variation on the Brew In A Bag method, where I also sparged the grains. While talking about sparging, I only sparged once and my OG was a touch short of my minimum target, so I checked the gravity of the second runnings and it was 1.030. I was concerned that I would have too much wort in my pot (I do high gravity brewing, with ice cold water waiting in the carboy to make up the volume) and so I skipped the second sparge. You live you learn, and as Jamey from my homebrew club told me, going all grain is akin to learning to brew all over again.

A quick before and after, the grains, 80% American 2 row and 20% Caramel 10.

I did a 90 minute boil, adding Amarillo hops at 60, 15 and 5 minutes.

Everything was going swimmingly, until I put the boiled wort in the carboy of waiting water. I came up about half a gallon short on my volume. What to do, stick with 2 gallons or nip to the shop for an extra gallon of water? I nipped. and on measuring my now 2.5 gallon batch, it had an OG of 1.040 or 10o Plato, which gave me an efficiency, I believe of 57% and a conviction to sparge more next time. Regardless of the numbers, I like the look of the wort that will soon be and American Pale Ale (though the gravity is a touch short, so perhaps an American Best Bitter is better?).

If you follow my Twitter feed, you will also know that I bottled the three batches of witbier that I brewed a couple of weeks back. All three beers have an abv of 5.1%, which means that the only differences between the three beers is the yeast used to ferment them, and any flavours coming from the yeast strains. The picture below are the American strain (Wyeast 1010), a German strain (Wyeast 3068) and a Belgian (Wyeast 3944) respectively.

A homebrew packed weekend for sure.....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Transatlantic Threesome

I awoke early on Saturday, as is my routine, but once the dog was walked, I immediately hopped in the car to buy water for brewing. I use purified drinking water for my beer and so I was at our local Food Lion right on opening time to buy 9 one gallon bottles for the brewing session that I had planned.

The seed for the brewing session was planted last May when I did a comparative tasting of two versions of my LimeLight witbier, one fermented with my usual 3944 Belgian Wit yeast, and the other with 3942 Belgian Wheat. Using the 3942 was a case of having to use what was readily available in order to meet a deadline, and the local homebrew shops not having any 3944. When I tasted the two versions, I was struck by the difference in colour, but from the comments that followed the post, it became clear that the age of the extract was the most likely cause of the differences. I thus hatched a plan.

My plan was really very simple, brew three batches of the beer in a single day and ferment with three different yeast strains. Thankfully LimeLight is an incredibly simple recipe, because it is the only beer I brew that gets all its fermentables from dry malt extract. The recipe for each 2.5 gallon batch was as follows:
  • 3lbs Muntons Wheat DME
  • 0.5oz 3.9% Saaz hops @ 60 minutes
  • 0.25oz 3.9% Saaz hops @ 15 minutes
  • 0.5oz fresh lime peel @ 15 minutes
  • 0.5oz cracked coriander seed @ 15 minutes
  • 0.15oz dried sweet orange peel @ 15 minutes
  • 0.25oz 3.9% Saaz hops @ 1 minute
The orange was a late addition to the recipe as I had forgotten that it was in the fridge and I won't be brewing with peel again until the autumn when I make my Christmas beer.

To ensure, as much as possible, consistency across the three batches, I made sure that I followed the extract same procedure for each. The DME was added to 1.5 gallons of water, while 1 gallon was chilled in advance and put into the fermenter when required. I had played with the idea of brewing a single batch and then splitting it into the three fermenters, but my brew pot would not have been big enough. Thankfully all three brews were remarkably similar, all with an OG of 1.050 and looking like the sample below.

On the yeast front, I used:
  • 3944 Belgian Wit
  • 1010 American Wheat
  • 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen
I decided to put the fermenters in my storage room rather than in the utility room as it maintains a fairly constant 66oF as opposed to the mid 70s. 24 hours after the yeast had been pitched, this was the sight that greeted me.

The beers are the Belgian at the back, American in the middle and German at the front. As ever I named the beers and created labels. LimeLight itself remains LimeLight, but the version with weizen yeast is called Rampenlicht, the German word for "limelight", while the American is Broadway American Witbier. The beers will stay in primary for 14 days before being bottled and left for a few weeks, being ready around the middle of July.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...