Monday, December 31, 2012

Final brew of 2012 - Smoked Porter

Yesterday we capped off a 1 bbl weekend by brewing up 16 gallons of smoked porter. This is the second time we have brewed this beer. The first 15 gallons we made were probably one of my favorite beers of the year.

A few details were changed for this batch. I split up the chocolate malt % using two different chocolate malts. Half came from Crisp Chocolate malt with a 600-700° Lovibond, and the other half with a more standard chocolate malt of 300° Lovibond. Another change up was using US-04 dry English ale yeast rather than US-05 dry American ale yeast. Lastly the bittering hops changed, but the IBUs remained the same.

The recipe uses Briess cherry smoked pale malt as 20% of the grain bill. I really like this percentage on the final product. It is not super powerful, but it is there. It just balances well with the strong dark malts.

The resent issue we have had in the brew house with astringent and tannin flavors seems to be corrected. We brewed an IPA a few weeks back and were extremely cautious about over heating the mash. That beer seems to be fine. We switched back to using our brewtroller system this weekend. We replaced our mid mash thermowell with one that reaches the middle of the mash tun. We used three different temp probe placements (at one time) and found the best to be the one in the mash, followed by one on the mash return. The lest trust worthy was the one on the ball valve. That one has already been removed.

Here is the brew day in pictures.

44# of grains to mill

Filling the tub with grain

Clean water going into the hot liquor tank

Heating and recirculating the HLT water

Mash tun with a temporary temperature probe on the sparge arm return line

Boil kettle

Brewtroller screen. Nice equalized temperature in the return and middle of the mash and only 3 minutes into the sacch rest!

New sparge arm in action. (I love this thing!)
Popped the arm up and out of the wort to show the spray action. Nice and clear wort!

Sacch rest = break time

Up-cycled case for the brewtroller

Boil under way

Mash tun clean out

Smoked Porter "DEC 30"
Robust Porter
Type: All Grain Date: 07/28/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 16.00 gal Brewer:
Boil Size: 19.68 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Stainless Pots (26 gallons) - All Grain
End of Boil Volume 17.68 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 15.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 74.4 %
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
16.00 gal Salt Lake City, UT Water 1 -
20 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 44.4 %
12 lbs Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 3 26.7 %
9 lbs Smoked Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 4 20.0 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (600.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.3 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6 3.3 %
1 lbs Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 7 2.2 %
2.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 30.4 IBUs
4.00 oz Willamette [5.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 8.1 IBUs
3.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 10 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.070 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.068 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.020 SG Measured Final Gravity: ?
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.6 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: ?
Bitterness: 38.5 IBUs
Est Color: 41.5 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 45 lbs
Sparge Water: 11.02 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 15.56 gal of water at 167.1 F 156.0 F 45 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.43gal, 10.59gal) of 168.0 F water

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MacGyvered IPA brewday

We had no business brewing today. We had it all planned, but we over thought the whole brew day and it should have cost us.

In a all hands on deck approach to recent issues in the brew house we pulled all the hardware off the pots for deep cleaning. We also popped open our pump for an inspection and cleaning. Putting it back together I made a clean cut through the o-ring. No bueno.

Attempts to place the broken o-ring in the pump to seal it back up failed. A Sunday search of hardware stores failed. The last option to salvage our brew day would have made MacGyver proud. We took a tiny section of heat shrinking tubing and used it to reconnect the o-oring. It worked immediately and never leaked once.

The reason for pulling everything apart is that our recent brews have all suffered from similar off flavors. This flavor is tannin and gives a wine like character to the beers. The problem also happens to coincide with the setup of our brewtroller system.

We settled on temperature as the most likely cause. For whatever reason the temp was reading lower than what it really was, and the result was overheated water pulling tannins from the grain.

For today's brew session we kept a couple of calibrated digital thermometers around the mash. We also went back to using our old temperature control system. We also skipped mash out. I am pretty confident we did not overheat today.

In addition to all that, we also used our newest entirely unnecessary but totally cool and overbuilt brew toy. The "Ultimate" sparge arm from Morebeer. This thing was super easy to use compared to our previous sparge apparatus. That one require a balancing act and sometimes resulted in falls from the mash tun. The arm adjusts up, down, left, right, and the output can be placed just below the liquid level, but above the grain bed. The results were really nice too. We always recirculate our mash and get nice clear wort, but this time it seemed even cleaner and clearer.

I sure hope this beer turns out great and we can put this past bullshit behind us. The batch we brewed is a clone of Cigar City's Jai Alai IPA. I can honestly say it is one of the greatest beers I have ever had. It is impossible for me to get in my area, so I hope this is a close match!