Sunday, November 16, 2008

My First Partial Mash

I broke in the mini mashtun today with the Late Harvest Autumn Ale clone I've been working on. The recipe is in the previous post. I used 5 quarts of water and 4 pounds of grain. I think I could do 5 pounds of grain but I would definitely have to do a thicker mash to fit it in there, probably 1 quart/pound instead of 1.25. I did make a few mistakes though. First, my strike water was a little too warm - about 168 after I added it to the mash, so I had to stir for a while to bring it down to 158, which I now realize is still probably too warm. Next time I'll just heat the strike water to 160. My next mistake was getting worried about the mash being too hot. About halfway through the mash I opened up the cooler and stirred some more to drop the temp. I ended up losing more heat after this because after an hour it had dropped to 148. As a result of these, the OG was 1.050, but I was shooting for 1.059. Oh well, lessons learned. Hopefully it's still drinkable. If I get motivated I'll post some pictures.

The "pilsner" has dropped to 1.012 and is golden and tasty. I put it in the garage to cold crash it before I keg tomorrow or the next day. The Centennial IPA is tasting pretty good too, but it's well on it's way to being kicked. I am having a really rough time keeping 2 beers on tap! Any of you have that problem? I'm going to have to crank out a quick APA next weekend to rebuild the stash, I'm thinking Nugget to bitter and Ahtanum for flavor and aroma to get a feel for what it can do.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Why does my blond ale taste like a hefe?

I'm sure all of my readers are concerned about what I've been doing in the month and a half since last time I blogged. Oh wait, I don't have any readers. Ha!

Since last blog entry I kicked the Brown and Mild ales, brewed a blond that I'm drinking right now, got an IPA with 4 ounces of Centennial during the boil sitting on 2 ounces of Centennial dryhops in the secondary, got a primary full of Bohemian Pilsner brewed with 5 ounces of homegrown Saaz but fermented with US05 at 62 degrees since I can't lager yet. I've also smoked about 25 pounds of pork on my new smoker. Good times! The Pils was brewed at RAZE's (Rochester Area Zymurgy Enthusiasts) Teach a Friend to Homebrew event on Saturday.

If you've been following this blog you probably know that about 14 of the last 15 batches I've brewed I've pitched US05 dry yeast. I have not had a problem until this blond ale I brewed up at the beginning of October. I've brewed something like 18 batches in the last year and really have my system and process dialed so the problem that's developed with this beer is driving me absolutely crazy. It tastes like a frickin wheat beer. It's got the same kind of esters that you'd taste in a hefe! What the hell? I pitched the yeast at 65 degrees and temps never got above that, they actually went lower, and it was a long and slow fermentation. The thing is, I've pitched US05 lower than that and fermented as low as 60 and never had a problem and still get the FG down below 1.015 every time. I think it has something to do with the sluggish fermentation but it's really weird how the flavors developed into a wheaty mess. It has been getting better in the keg and it's totally drinkable, but it just doesn't taste like it should.

Next beer on deck is going to be a clone of RedHook's Late Harvest Autumn Ale. Kristen and I went through a 12er of this while camping 2 weeks ago so I'm trying to clone it. I got the OG, IBU, SRM, and malt and hop varieties (but not quantities) off their website, so I used the TastyBrew calculator to come up with this for my first partial mash brew in my 2 gallon mash tun:

  • 2 lbs Rahr 2 row
  • 1 lb Weyerman rauchmalt (smoked malt)
  • .5 lb Caramel 60
  • .25 lb Caramel 120
  • .25 lb roasted barley
  • 4 lbs Briess pilsen DME
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer @ 60 minutes
  • 1 oz Saaz @ 10 minutes
Have any of you had this beer? How does the recipe look to you? I hit the stats that RedHook provided but we'll see. I'm not sure about the rauch malt, so I went with just a pound to start. If this all works out I can always try again. It was a nice malty and slightly smoky beer, perfect for cold weather.

I actually just ordered a bunch of stuff from Midwest Supplies too: Golden Promise, Maris Otter, more 2 row, and some yeast. I'm planning on doing a partial mash brew here and there. I might use the Maris Otter in an Oatmeal Stout and the Golden Promise in a big IPA. We'll see though. Anybody else brewing or drinking anything interesting?

Here's what the little mash tun I made looks like. These aren't my pics but mine looks exactly like this: