Moving into all-grain brewing

Gary Glass, President of the American Homebrewers Association appears in this video. The video shows him pouring crushed malted grains into a plastic ice-chest and adding hot water (hot liquor in beer geek speak) to the grains and making a porridge (aka mash).

There is a formula for deciding how hot (the strike temp) the water you add should be to get the desired temperature for the mash (the target mash temp is quite often ~149F-152F).

After the grain(the mash)  has steeped for a while (60 minutes is common), the liquid wort is drained out to be boiled. (The ice-chest has some tubing on the outside and some screening on the inside to allow the sweet wort out and keep the spent grains in.) After the wort has been captured, it is boiled (60 minutes is common) just as an extract batch would be.

This Week on Brew Disasters: Cloning Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Basic beer brewing equipment. Includes four fe...

Nothing like my brewing equipment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Week on Brew Disasters: Cloning Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale.

Note: a pictorial of the brewing process is toward the end of this post.

We here at Flog-This-Dead Brewing are excited to try brewing a new (to us anyway) beer: Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale. The grain bill is 16 pounds; a 50/50 blend of wheat and barley. The beer has minimal brewing hops and, true to the Lagunita’s way, massive dry hopping, 4.5 ounces for a 5 gallon batch.

A huge thank you to the Jamil Zainasheff and Mike “Tasty” McDole of the Brewing Network‘s Can You Brew It and Lagunitas Brewing Company for sharing their Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale recipe with them. And, lastly, thanks to my buddy Paul for pointing me to the recipe and my loving wife for helping at just the right times.

As you may recall, we here at Flog-This-Dead Brewing just supplemented our temperature monitoring from a handheld Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer to a BrewMometer by Blichmann Engineering. So we started the strike water temperature for our mash at 20F above our desired mash temp, because we had found that after adding our grain the water cooled 20F. Apparently, having a thermometer probe further down makes a big difference and the mash temperature did not drop the 20F expected. Yikes, instead of a desired mash temp of 150, the mash temp was 170F! We yanked the bag of grain out of the mash tun and began cooling the watery wort down.

After cooling the mash conversion process started at a temperature of 149.5 and after 60 minutes finished at 137F. A batch sparge was used and the total wort produced was 10.5 gallons with a pre-boil specific gravity of 1.043 (1.033 @ 117F); a full 12 points below the 1.055 that was the target, the addition gallon produced had a lot to do with that (You would think I could subtract 9 from the yield of the first runnings, but no, I muffed it). One-half pound of corn sugar and one-half pound of dry malt extract were added to boost the specific gravity.

It took over about an hour and a half to get the wort to boiling for the 90 minute boil.

Total time for brewing day (including cleanup–that’s why it’s a hobby and not a business): 12 hours.

First impressions:

  • Appearance: 10L hazy-like smoggy LA day
  • Aroma: fruity, sweet,
  • Flavor: Sweet-malty, fruity, a sweetness lingers on the tip of the tongue
  • Mouthfeel: syrupy (it is wort after all)
  • Overall impression: Good start. Slightly maltier than hoppy.

The Flog This Dead Brewing‘s recipe:

Target Wort Volume Before Boil:  8.00 US gals  Actual Wort Volume Before Boil:  10.50 US gals
Target Wort Volume After Boil:  6.00 US gals  Actual Wort Volume After Boil:  7.50 US gals
Target Volume Transferred:  5.25 US gals  Actual Volume Transferred:  5.50 US gals
Target Volume At Pitching:  5.25 US gals  Actual Volume At Pitching:  5.50 US gals
Target Volume Of Finished Beer:  5.00 US gals  Actual Volume Of Finished Beer:  5.00 US gals
Target Pre-Boil Gravity:  1.053 SG  Actual Pre-Boil Gravity:  1.048 SG
Target OG:  1.079 SG  Actual OG:  1.056 SG
Target FG:  1.018 SG  Actual FG:  -No Record-
Target Apparent Attenuation:: 75.50%  Actual Apparent Attenuation: 100.00%
Target ABV: 8.10%  Actual ABV: 7.40%
Target ABW: 6.30%  Actual ABW: 5.90%
Target IBU (using Tinseth):  29.9 IBU  Actual IBU:  31.8 IBU
Target Color (using Morey):  5.3 SRM  Actual Color:  5.3 SRM
Target Mash Efficiency: 70.00%  Actual Mash Efficiency: 82.30%
Target Fermentation Temp:  64 degF  Actual Fermentation Temp:
Fermentables
Ingredient Amount % MCU When
2-Row Malt  8lb 2oz 47.30% 2.4  In Mash/Steeped
White Wheat Malt  6lb 2oz 35.60% 2.5  In Mash/Steeped
Torrified Wheat  1lb 12oz 10.20% 0.6  In Mash/Steeped
Toasted White Wheat  3.12 oz 1.10% 0.5  In Mash/Steeped
Extract – Light Dried Malt Extract  8.00 oz 2.90% 0.3  Start Of Boil
Sugar – Corn Sugar/Dextrose (Dry)  8.00 oz 2.90% 0  Start Of Boil
Hops
Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
Nugget 13.00%  0.39 oz 15.9  Loose Pellet Hops  90 Min From End
Willamette (rhymes with damn it) 5.20%  0.28 oz 3.9  Loose Pellet Hops  45 Min From End
Tettnanger 4.50%  1.18 oz 7.7  Loose Pellet Hops  15 Min From End
Willamette 5.20%  0.32 oz 2.4  Loose Pellet Hops  15 Min From End
Cascade 5.90%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Centennial 9.50%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Chinook 11.50%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Simcoe 12.50%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Amarillo 8.50%  0.63 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Columbus 15.50%  0.53 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Other Ingredients
Ingredient Amount When
Irish Moss  1.00 oz  in boil
Yeast
DCL S-04-SafAle

This week on Brew Disasters: Bottling Batch #2 of Laurel IPA

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A two and a half weeks ago on Brew Disasters we had checked the specific gravity of our Laurel India pale ale using a wine thief.

It tasted fine. There were hints of buttery diacetyl, but not overwhelmingly so. The specific gravity was 1.026. The original gravity was 1.068, which would give the beer an ABV of 5.6%.

But when we checked it again after a week it had dropped to 1.020. But when we checked it again a few days later it was still 1.020.  We had really muffed the mashing temperature.  Apparently there had been some fermentable sugars produced during the mash, but not enough for this batch to drop to 1.012 (7.8% ABV) as had December’s batch.

This batch of Laurel IPA had started with an original gravity of 1.068. Its final gravity was 1.020. That calculates to an average alcohol by volume (ABV) of 6.4%.

Batch two tasted great. The diacetyl taste had departed and the dry hopping with an ounce of whole-leaf centennial hops, and one-half ounce each of zythos and simcoe hops really made the aroma and flavor pop. It was time to bottle.

While the use of the whole hops made the beer taste great, the leaves got stuck in the mouth of the auto-siphon making the transfer to the priming bucket exceedingly slow. And, the further down the level of beer in the carboy dropped, the more frequently the siphon needed to be unclogged.

We are not putting whole hops in primary or secondary fermenters again. Once was enough.

This week on Brew Disasters: Laurel India pale ale

Aside

English: Malted Barley, more specifically a &q...

Milled malted barley before it is mashed into heated water. (From Wikipedia Commons)

This week on Brew Masters Disasters: Julian Shrago’s Laurel India pale ale.

Well, there’s trouble in Laurel Land. We really screwed the mash temperature and may have to throw the whole batch down the drain. Tens of dollars could be lost.

Mash, as you know, is the result of combining hot water and milled barley grain to make a grain soup that resembles oatmeal.

According to Wikipedia, mashing is the process of combining a mix of milled grain (typically malted barley with supplementary grains)… and [heated] water. Mashing allows the enzymes in the malt to break down the starch in the grain into sugars, typically maltose to create a malty liquid called wort.

Depending on the temperature, certain enzymes will be activated which will break down starches into sugars. The higher the temperate, the greater the non-fermentable sugars (top end 156), which will give the beer a sweeter taste with more mouthfeel. The  lower range releases more fermentable sugars for a drier taste (low end 148). There are temperatures that are  too low which will not activate any enzymes. There are temperatures that are too high that will denature enzymes.

My desired mash temperature was 151°F. I heated my water to 161°F. My expectation was that when I added the grain to the hundred and 61°F water it would drop about 10°F and give me my desired mashing temperature of 151°F. Instead, it dropped to 144°F when I added my grain. To low. Since I mash in converted cakes I decided to try slowly heating the mash to reach 1 51°F. I used a very low flame and monitored the change in temperature every 3 min.

I use a Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer to get my readings by poking it into the porridge-like mixture. I checked it didn’t seem to be raising much and in fact the temperature would peak and then begin to drop on my digital thermometer. I set my timer for another three minutes and checked my mash temperature after the timer went off. Well, lo and behold, my mash was now at 175°F, high enough to denature the grain’s enzymes. Oh crap! I added some cool water and brought it down a little not below 171°F. I added a little more cool water and finally I was able to get it down to 151°F. Then, the mash rested for an hour.

I continued on because as Charlie Papazian advises, “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.”

I did a 90 minute boil and added hops according to the recipe, and pitched the yeast at 3:30pm. Fermentation had started by 5:30pm. I have my fingers crossed that it is good yeast-caused fermentation and not from lactobacillus or pediococcus.

Here is Julian Shrago‘s of Beachwood Brewing‘s recipe:

THE LAUREL IPA
– 5 gallon batch at 75% efficiency –

* 11.5 lbs. American 2-row malt
* 0.4 lbs. Carapils malt
* 0.3 lbs. Crystal 40 malt

Mash @ 151 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.

90 minute boil

* 0.8 oz. Amarillo pellets (9.6% AA) for first wort hop (FWH)
* 0.55 oz. Summit pellets (18% AA) for 60 minutes
* 0.75 oz. Centennial pellets (9.2% AA) for 30 minutes
* 0.3 oz. each Simcoe (12.2) and Columbus pellets (14.0) for 10 minutes
* 0.5 oz. Amarillo pellets (9.6% AA) at flameout/whirlpool
* Dry hops: 1.3oz each Amarillo, Centennial, and Summit pellets for two weeks

Ferment with White Labs California Ale Yeast WLP001 or Wyeast 1056

OG/FG: 1.064/1.010
SRM: 5.2
IBUs: 108

Note: I subbed Zythos hops for the amarillo hops.

This week on Brew Disasters: House Pale Ale

English: Bathams brewery Mash tun, the spent m...

Aftermash. Spent grain being spaded out of mash tun. (Image via Wikipedia)

This week on Brew Disasters we’re brewing a totally new and untried recipe (at least by us at Batch-22). We’ve got the recipe for a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone from the Beverage People (I immediately changed the hops, so don’t blame them; blame me for the recipe) that we want to enter in Beer-vana. With entries due in only four weeks, we’re under the gun. [Queue theme song]

The recipe:

Two-Row Malt  9lb 0oz
Caramel 40L Malt  8.00 oz
Carapils (Dextrin) Malt  8.00 oz
Ahtanum  1.00 oz  60 Min From End
Ahtanum  1.00 oz  30 Min From End
Cascade  1.00 oz  10 Min From End
Cascade  1.00 oz  1 Min From End

Original specific gravity ~ 1.048-1.052

ABV ~5%, IBU ~ 40

I also am subbing a Wyeast 2007-Pilsen Lager for the White Labs WLP001-California Ale since the basement temps are around 52F, darned near ideal for lagers.

I’m still working to find a good house pale ale recipe. Or, perhaps, I have had good pale ale recipes and have had poor execution. These are my brewing notes from yesterday.

For this all-grain recipe, I chose to batch sparge, so the maximum amount of  sugars could be extracted from the 10 pound grain bill. The goal was to have about 8 gallons of wort with a specific gravity of 1.036-1.042 before beginning the boil. After the boil the goal was pale ale wort with an original gravity of 1.048-1.052.

And, I wanted to mash and sparge with equal amounts of water.

The grain will soak up a percentage of the water and hold onto it. So, I started there.
The formula for water loss due to grain absorption is 0.13gal H2O/lb x grain bill (1.3 gal/lb x 10 lb  = 1.3 gallons. If I wanted 8 gallons I needed to start with 9.3 gallons of hot liquor (liquor in brewing terminology is water plus any needed amendments e.g., gypsum).

Next, I decided on how much water to grain I wanted in the mash. I picked 1.5 qt H2O per pound of grain. 10.00 lb x 1.5 qt/lb = 15.00 qt = 3.75 gallons H2O

I heated a tad over 5 gallons (3.75gal + 1.3gal = a tad of 5 gal) to 163F for the mash water. I heat 5+ gallons to 163F (10F above the mash temperature desired), and then “doughed-in” the milled grain (your local homebrew store can help you mill the grain so that it’s not too fine).

After I doughed in making a grain soup,  the temperature was 136F and not 153F. A drop of 27F, and not 10F. So much for rules of thumb. Since I use a keggle with a hand-made false bottom for mashing, I lit the burner under the keggle and set the burner to a low flame (to minimize caramelizing the wort. NOTE: don’t try this if you use an ice chest to mash) and began recirculating wort to equalize the temperature within. Once the mash reached 153F, it sat for an hour to allow the enzymes present on the malted barley to break down the grain’s starches into simpler sugars that beer yeast can digest. After the hour, recirculated wort (Vorlaufed in beer-geek speak) until it ran without bits of grain in it.  I heated the mash up to 168F. Once in the 168F ballpark, I drain into boil pot and measure output (I also put a wire mesh between the bucket and the spigot to catch wayward bits of grain). I measured 3.33 gallons of output (the false bottom area still held about 3 gallons too).

I heated 2.75 gallons to 170F and added that to the grains and stirred it well so the liquor (aka hot water) would need to make new channels in the grain bed. Then it set for 10 minutes. I recirculated, drained, and measured. The two outputs added up to 8 gallons. The pre-boil gravity was a corrected 1.038. (Note: you can’t read hydrometer numbers without correcting for the temperature of the liquid. Hydrometers are calibrated to read 1.000SG in 59F water).

Once the output had been measured (8.0 gallons), it went into the boil kettle.

The wort boiled for 75 minutes. 30 minutes before flame out the wort chiller is placed into the boiling wort to sterilize it. The specific gravity at the end of the boil was 1.050. The yeast was pitched after the wort had cooled to 62F.

The Better Bottle Carboy is now in the basement and the thermal strip reads 52F. After 12 hours there is no sign yet of bubbles from the blow-off tube.

Tune in later to see if fermentation has started.