Sunday, January 19, 2014

Baltic Porter w/ multi step mash and cold steeped grains

I needed to brew a Porter for an upcoming brew club meeting. After researching the differences between stouts and porters, I settled on the idea of brewing a Baltic Porter because the differences to the other styles of Porters (and Stouts) stood out the most to me.

The main difference between a Baltic and other types of Porter is the fermentation. A Baltic traditionally uses a bottom fermenting lager yeast instead of an ale yeast.

Baltics are known for having a rich malty sweetness in both aroma and flavor. Other things I was looking for was a very smooth roast that stopped short of anything aggressive.

One technique I have been eager to try is withholding dark grains from the mash and boil. Instead these grains are cold steeped for 24 hours and added at some other point. I have seen some adding them to the fermenter, but I went with adding them in at flameout. By doing the cold steeping and withholding it from the boil, you increase the aroma of the malts, and lessen any of the acrid or burnt characters of the darkly roasted malts.

To 1.5 pounds of black and chocolate malts I added 3 quarts of water or 2 quarts of water per pound of grains.

I added the water and grain into a large jar about 24 hours before I brewed.

Just before I added them, I used 2 different size strainers to lauter the dark malts.

At flameout the strained liquid (2 quarts) was added to the kettle.

New Baltic Porter
Baltic Porter
Type: All GrainDate: 01/03/2014
Batch Size (fermenter): 13.50 galBrewer:
Boil Size: 18.08 galAsst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 minEquipment: 26 gallon- All Grain
End of Boil Volume 15.08 galBrewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 12.75 galEst Mash Efficiency 85.9 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two StageTaste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
10 lbsPilsner (Franco-Belges) (1.7 SRM)Grain134.5 %
6 lbsMunich Malt (9.0 SRM)Grain220.7 %
6 lbsVienna Malt  (3.0 SRM)Grain320.7 %
3 lbsBrown Malt (Crisp) (65.0 SRM)Grain410.3 %
2 lbsRye, Flaked (Briess) (4.6 SRM)Grain56.9 %
8.0 ozSpecial B Malt (180.0 SRM)Grain61.7 %
2.00 ozPerle [7.50 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop719.9 IBUs
2.00 ozWillamette [4.75 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop86.3 IBUs
4.0 pkgSafLager West European Lager (DCL/Fermentis #S-23) [23.66 ml]Yeast9-
1 lbsChocolate Malt (Castle) cold steep, add end of boil (430.0 SRM)Grain103.4 %
8.0 ozBlack Malt - cold steep, add end of boil (500.0 SRM)Grain111.7 %
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.063 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.062
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SGMeasured Final Gravity: ?
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.6 %Actual Alcohol by Vol: ?
Bitterness: 26.2 IBUsCalories: ?
Est Color: 28.4 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Temperature Mash, 2 Step, Medium BodyTotal Grain Weight: 29 lbs
Sparge Water: 12.79 galGrain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 FTun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSEMash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps
NameDescriptionStep TemperatureStep Time
Protein RestAdd 10.09 gal of water at 128.2 F122.0 F20 min
Beta Sacch'Add -0.00 gal of water at 149.0 F149.0 F30 min
Alpha Sacch restAdd -0.00 gal of water and heat to 158.0 F over 10 min158.0 F30 min
Mash OutHeat to 168.0 F over 10 min168.0 F10 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 12.79gal) of 168.0 F water

Update 2/6/14: It has been about 3 weeks since this was brewed. The color came in a little lighter than I was hoping for but still in the SRM range of a Baltic.

Early tasting was promising. The aroma of the beer was fantastic. The next step with this beer is a  short aging in a freshly dumped 10 gallon rum barrel. On Feb 4th I filled up the barrel. I think the aging period will be very short on this one. I plan on taking a sample in the next day and make a decision on pulling it or leaving a little longer.

Porter Vs Stout... Fight!

I have been thinking a lot about Stouts and Porters lately. My brew club just held a style meeting on Stouts. We must have sampled around 20 of them. All the styles were covered and even included some odder variations like a Mole (Mexican Spiced Chocolate) and an Oyster Stout. They were all pretty good.

Our clubs next style meeting will be focused on Porters. For this reason I have been researching the two styles to try and discern the differences. Let me tell you, it's a mess! Where do I even start?

I guess the first thing I will mention is that originally the term Stout did not have anything to do with the color, flavor, or aroma of a beer. It just meant it was strong. So any beer could have been described as being stout. Of course that would change over time, but that is the origin of the word.

A common theme I came across in research is that many people think the main difference is roasted barley. Stouts use it, and porters do not. However lets debunk that one right away. It is just not the case, and it goes both ways. Roasted barley was not even introduced into brewing until the late 1800's. But even then it was not readily accepted into the mash tun. I came across one source that said Guinness did not start using roasted barley in their stout until 1930.

From Martyn Cornell: "At Whitbread, whose Chiswell Street premises, on the edge on the City of London proper (the "Square Mile"), was one of the top two or three London porter breweries, in 1805 the firm used 160 quarters of pale malt and 56 quarters of brown malt to make both its porter and single stout, and 136 quarters of pale together with 40 each of amber and brown malt to make its double stout. From these 216 quarters of malt it would make 798 barrels of porter (3.7 barrels to the quarter, around 6 per cent alcohol by volume), or 720 barrels of single stout (7 per cent abv or so) or 580 barrels of double stout (2.7 barrels to the quarter, around 8 per cent abc).

The brewery made it's porter and single stout with the same malt bill. It's double stout was made with additional amber malt. The resulting beer was 6%, 7%, or 8%. I am going to guess the yeast used for all was the same. Nothing is mentioned about hops, but I am sure they were all hopped similarly as well.  So really we are back where we started. The term is being used to describe the beers strength. At this point in time a very similarly produced beer is called a porter at 6% ABV and a Stout at 7% ABV.

After all of this I would have to say that the only difference between stouts and porters is whatever the brewer wants!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Anatomy of an up-cycled Brew Stand

A couple of weeks ago I had a friend over for a brew session. He asked me some questions about my brew stand and about how much I have invested into it. I really had never added it up, but I figured it was much less than an off the shelf brew sculpture with similar specs.

There are a small number of commercially built brew stands out on the market. These come in various designs, but they are all pretty costly. They range from around $2,000 to $5,000. My favorite is probably Morebeers tippy dump system. In stainless with all the bells and whistles the price comes in at over $6,000 for the 20 gallon version.

I guess the main thing I would point out about my brew stand is that it is completely weldless. It is also pieced together out of a number of parts. The idea behind this post is to explain all of those parts, and try to put a price to them all.

The base of the entire stand is a heavy duty "Gorilla" rack from Costco. It was actually a gift, but I will list the price to include in the total. I use two shelfs, the bottom and top. For the third shelf I just run a single bar just below the level of the burners. It's maybe 7 holes up from the bottom of the rack. This is just to add some stability

The only real modification to the rack was a set of caster wheels I picked up for cheap at a local industrial surplus store.

For burners I used one Blichmann floor burner for the boil kettle. The burner and stand for both the HLT and MLT was originally a two burner cajun cooker cart. It was also found at a surplus store. The cart was actually two pieces. I basically discarded everything but the top section with the burners.

Here is what it looked like out of the box:

Everything else on the stand consists of gas piping, and 110v solenoids on the HLT and MLT. In addition there is a tankless water heater and three stage water filter bolted to the side of the rack.

Here is a good picture of the stand and the main components just discussed. The picture is a little old. At the time I was using a PID, and only the large boil kettle is still in use. In it you can see the blichmann and the remains of the cooking cart.

The burners are all hooked up to a single propane tank. The HLT and MLT also have standing pilots and needle valves to adjust the pilot size. Here is a close up look at this set up. You could forgo the main red valve since you have the normally closed solenoid, but I like it for a quick shut off ability.

My first attempt to add everything up I came in at just under $3,000 for everything except the computers (tablet, laptop) that I use to run the BCS since those things are not dedicated to the brewery. I also did not include my grain mill, fermenters, kegs, etc. It's just the items connected to the stand. This is not bad considering the size of the kettles and that it is completely digital.  It's half the price of Morebeers single tier digital 26 gallon set up.

Part Price
Heavy duty rack 150
Blichmann floor burner 150
two burner cajun cook stand 60
Solenoids 65
Gas piping, valvles 120
Hose, cam locks 100
Morebeer 26 gallon HLT, MLT,  Kettle, sparge arm 1300
March Nanobrewery pump 350
Plate chiller 80
BCS 460 180
Wiring, temp probes 100
Water filters, parts 85
Tankless water filter 200

Tankless Water heater
Pretty much my current setup.

UPDATE: Here are some close up pictures of my favorite brew gadget, the LPG tankless water heater.

Gas Connection to heater
Gas connection at heater
Flexible pipe connection

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 Recap

It was quite a busy year, and I have definitely neglected the blog lately. Here is bit of an update on the past few months at the lab.

Here are the beers I have brewed since my last blog post:

Winter Warmer (Coriander strong ale)
Wee Heavy (Split fermentation. 5 gallons fermented with Scotch Whiskey distillers yeast)
Oyster Stout (Yes, freshly shucked)
Pils IPA (IPA 85% Pilsen 15% Rye)
Wild Ale version #3 (An all brett pale ale with mosaic & azacca hops)
India Pale Lager (An IPA fermented with lager yeast)
Big Coffee Brown Ale (Inspired by Surly Coffee Bender. Aggressive coffee) 
American Special Bitter - 4% Special bitter made with a large amount of late addition American hops. Mosaic, Amarillo, Azacca, dry hopped with Antanum, and fermented with GigaYeasts Conan strain.

A quick count shows close to 30 beers brewed this year. I averaged 2 a month, but did a few extra brews here and there.

In the brewery were a couple of notable upgrades. First was the switch over to the BCS 460 brewing control unit. I had a couple of small hiccups with it at first, but it runs great now and I really enjoy using it. The other big upgrade was my ez-mash step up. It's a propane fired tankless water heater and it makes my brew day a little shorter. Most of the year I get ~170 degree water coming out of it at around 1.5 GPM. I can be mashing in with 10-15 gallons within 15 minutes of getting my brew day started.

Some other highlights of the year in brewing:

I brewed my first all brett beer. It was probably my favorite beer of the year. It also won 1st place in the specialty category of the Beehive Brewoff.  Speaking of beer competitions, I also judged in two local contests this past year. It was a lot of fun and I learned a bunch about the whole process.

This was the first full year for the Lauterday Brewers home brew club that I help run. It really took off this year! We always have a great crowd, but in the last part of 2013 we had a ton of interest. Our last few meetings have been just packed with upwards of 30 brewers attending! It's a great time that I am always looking forward to. 

The brew club did two group barrel brews to fill our Jack Daniels barrel. The first was a Russian Imperial Stout. The second, and still sitting in the barrel is a huge English style barley wine. This year we plan on two barrel brews using wine barrels! We have a lot of other great ideas that I am so excited about! I can't wait to announce some of the cool shit we will have going this year!

Here's to an amazing brewing year for all in 2014!

The Lauter Day brewers barrel aged RIS