Monday, January 20, 2014

Another Stout!

It was sunny and relatively warm today, and I spent most of it making an all-grain stout. Ten pounds of Irish Ale Malt, a half pound of Golden Naked Oats, and a quarter pound each of roast barley and chocolate malt made up the grist. I also tossed in a pound of flaked barley. Although my strike heat was 170ºF, I could barely manage 148ºF in the mash (I used three gallons of liquor). It was cold outside, and it's always hard to do a proper mash on these short winter days. I scooped out two quarts of the stuff, put it in a pan, and brought that to a boil with another quart of liquor and tossed that back into the mash and managed to get 152-154 ºF after a thorough mixing. A half-assed decoction saved the day! I gave it an hour and it finished at 150ºF. I sparged with three more gallons of liquor and managed about four gallons of wort at 16ºP (1.064) which I diluted to seven gallons, giving me 10ºP (1.040). After a 70-minute boil that included an hour of bittering hops (one ounce of Ivanhoe cones at 8% α-acids) I finished with about 4-1/2 gallons with an original gravity of 13ºP (1.052).

I pitched Safale-05 (American Ale yeast) and stashed the carboy in the closet at 64ºF. The previous batch, the New Year Stout, went into the keg today, and is sharing the fermenting space. The new brew is for St. Patrick's Day. I think it turned out great. It might be a little too light, dark brown more than black, but I've an easy fix for that. When I mix the priming sugar at kegging time, I use a "tea" made of black malt rather than just water which adds the necessary color. Regardless of how one defines a stout, I think it has to be a black beer. I know St. Patrick's Day is eight weeks from now, but just about every beer I've ever made has gotten better with time. So, let's not rush things.

a.d. XII Kal. Feb.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year Stout

It was a beautiful day in the State of Jefferson. I enjoyed the sunshine all afternoon while I brewed a batch of stout. It was a simple one, with six pounds of extract, but I used the dry stuff, the powder, not the syrup. The result was a robust original gravity, 14.5 ºP or 1.059, high compared to the 12 ºP or 1.048 I usually get. I always forget that the powder gives you more yield per pound--makes sense, the syrup has all that water still in it--but I never think that way. I also reduced my brew length a bit, from 28 Liters to 26, which meant I had to tip the kettle to get all the wort, there was no excess. That pushed up the gravity a bit, too. I suppose I made the equivalent of a seven pound syrup batch, which is fine for stouts, they can handle it. I used a half pound apiece of black malt and roast barley, which I steeped in the kettle while it was heating. An ounce of Ivanhoe hops (8% α-acids) for an hour (in the 70-minute boil) provided the bittering. I don't typically add hops after that, I want the grain flavors to dominate in a stout.

The extract came from Briess, which I bought at Grains, Beans & Things in Medford. I pitched a sachet of Safale-05 from Fermentis.

Happy New Year 2014!

prid. Non. Jan.