Saturday, February 5, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Stout: MMXI

I ran my last 18 lbs. of 2-row malt through the mill today in anticipation of a no-sparge brew tomorrow. I'm also going to make a tea of steeped dark grains: 1 pound of dehusked Carafa II, 1 pound of chocolate rye, and 1/2 pound of black patent. This I'll do in the brew kettle with a couple of gallons of liquor while the mash is cooking. I'll throw in a pound of flaked barley as well and then take the first runnings only. We'll see what we come up with after dilution to the full 28-L brew length. If it is a lower gravity brew I'll make a dry stout and if it is a higher gravity brew I'll make a sweet stout. How's that sound? I love making a stout for St. Patrick's Day!

Jeffrey Donovan at the The Pro-Mash website explains the finer points of "no-sparge" and "first-runnings" brewing:
No-sparge mashing is simply collecting the first running from the mash tun as opposed to sparging out the additional sugars . . . 'Pure' no-sparging is to simply take the first running when the mash is complete. 'Batch' sparging is to add an additional infusion of water at the end of the mash, but to sill not-sparge the mash in the traditional 'rinsing of the grains' fashion.
I usually batch sparge because I can still taste the sweet sugars in the malt after taking the first runnings. I have to decide to let that go this time and simply blend whatever I get with the black liquor I make it the kettle. When I top it off I will know the expected gravity and decide on the hops. I think I'll stick with the high-alpha Admiral variety that I've used before. I want a grain flavor, with just enough hops to balance the malt. I don't want to taste the hops so much as notice the clean bitterness. It is a tough thing to get right. Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday.

Non. Feb.

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