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.
3 days ago