Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Batch 300

Batch 300 itself was inspired in part by a great commercial beer, Weyerbacher 12. I am a great fan of rye as an adjunct, and had been starting to dream up a strong beer for batch 300 when a friend gave us a bottle of this extremely tasty, viscous beer. Unlike so many commercial beers featuring rye, this one showed off the great distinctive spicy, bready character of the rye instead of burying it with hops. Yeah, something like that... I prefer to use flaked rye instead of the rye malt that Weyerbacher used, so the percentage of rye in the recipe is less, but should have a similar, ie massive, impact on the character of the beer. Charlie P, at this point, would say "enough with the shuck and jive, on with the recipe." So, why not:

48 lbs Canada Malting 6 row malt
20 lbs flaked rye
2 lbs Crystal 40
3.2 oz Nugget hops, 12% alpha for 60 minutes
1 oz Saaz hops, 3.2% alpha for 20 minutes
1 oz Saaz hops, 3.2% alpha for 10 minutes
1 oz Saaz hops, 3.2% alpha for 5 minutes

Because 70 lbs of grist is more than double the practical maximum my little 10 gallon brewery can accommodate, we apportioned the mash between two 10 gallon and one 12 gallon cooler style mash/lauter vessels. We made a very thick mash, .75 quart/lb., so that we could do a protein rest at around 125F before boosting to saccharification temperatures with infusions of boiling water. This was all planned out in advance, on the back of a discarded envelope. Strangely, we were required to do a fair amount of improvising on the fly to get the job done. And of course, one of the three lauter tuns proved to be balky and sticky, refusing to cough up the sweet wort. Skip had to dump the whole thing into a kettle and heat it up to 170F, return it to the tun, vorlauf, lather, rinse, and repeat. Runoff was slow but steady from the other two lauter tuns, and eventually we'd collected about 13 1/2 gallons of sweet wort at around 1.084. We boiled vigorously for about an hour before adding kettle hops. I didn't gauge the evap rate as well as I could've, so we ended up a bit high on volume, with an OG of 1.095. Close enough for amateurs. Due to the prodigious hot break, even casting out of the kettle was bog slow. The wort was promptly turned over to some very active and hungry yeast, Wyeast 1056, which had a full head of steam up within a couple of hours. While I was seeing to my other job as pitmaster, Skip conducted a second mash and lauter and filled his kettle up. We decided that that wort would be treated to a full course of Cascade goodness; one big late addition and one kettle addition for a total calculated 35 BU. This should be nicely balanced with the OG 1.054 wort we ended up with. This, in its turn, was fed to more 1056, and joined its big brother in the Circus Room. Then, the brewing staff turned to feasting....

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