Monthly Archives: August 2009

Weekend Recipes

Recipes for this weekend’s big brews. I finally hit full capacity on my lauter tun, but I should have no need to go any bigger than these.

Recipe: Big Red

Style: American Barleywine

Actual OG: 1.109

Expected OG: 1.100 SG
Expected ABV: 10.5 %
Expected IBU (using Rager): 78.4
Expected Color: 17.2 SRM
Boil Duration: 120.0 mins

UK Pale Ale Malt 19lb 0oz (83.3 %) In Mash/Steeped
German CaraMunich II 1lb 6oz (6.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Rolled Oats 12.00 oz (3.3 %) In Mash/Steeped
German Munich Malt 8.00 oz (2.2 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Chocolate Malt 2.00 oz (0.5 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Roasted Barley 1.00 oz (0.3 %) In Mash/Steeped
Sugar – Turbinado 1lb 0oz (4.4 %) Start Of Boil

US Amarillo (8.0 % alpha) 1.00 oz Loose Pellet Hops used All Of Boil
US Centennial (8.5 % alpha) 1.00 oz Loose Pellet Hops used All Of Boil
US Amarillo (8.0 % alpha) 1.00 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 30 Min From End

Other Ingredients
Irish Moss 1.00 oz used In Boil

Yeast: Wyeast 1318-London Ale III

Recipe: Scotch Ale

Style: Strong Scotch Ale (Wee Heavy)

Actual OG: 1.080

Expected OG: 1.073 SG
Expected ABV: 7.3 %
Expected IBU (using Rager): 35.4
Boil Duration: 90.0 mins

UK Pale Ale Malt 16lb 0oz (99.2 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Roasted Barley 2.00 oz (0.8 %) In Mash/Steeped

UK Golding (5.5 % alpha) 1.34 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 60 Min From End

Irish Moss 1.00 oz used In Boil

Yeast: Wyeast 1318-London Ale III

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Pitching the right amount of yeast

I’ve been reading Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff lately, and he offers one piece of advice which I have recently taken to heart, and have found to be extremely helpful. Jamil often repeats that you should pitch the right amount of yeast, and that this quantity is often more than most would expect.

When I began home brewing, I began with all extract kits. For better or worse, these kits only required that you follow the brief instructions enclosed within, and your beer would come out fine. I did this successfully for a long time, and developed the notion that one packet of yeast per batch of beer was the correct amount. This turns out only to be the case in extremely mild, low-gravity beers. For many mid-range beers, the right amount is 2 packets, or vials of liquid yeast. This can be expensive, especially with liquid yeast, which is why making a yeast starter can be so helpful. It only requires a small amount of malt extract, and you can vastly increase the amount of yeast you have available to pitch.

When I first learned about yeast starters, it was my impression that they were only necessary for large, high gravity beers, and I made one for fun, but didn’t realize that it can make the difference between a clean fermentation and a slow, strained fermentation, or even a complete versus incomplete fermentation.

While I haven’t managed to over pitch yeast into a batch yet, I have had some very active and complete fermentation. The last batch I made was using yeast that claimed 73% attenuation, but my actual was well over 80%, which was great.

Yeast are the workers for your finished product. You may feel like you’re doing all the labor, but the real alchemists are the yeast — tiny little creatures who can make the difference in the flavor, aroma, and character of your beer. Respect the yeast, make sure there are plenty of them to do their job, and you’ll be rewarded.

Improvements in efficiency

saisonI have been frustrated recently with some apparent reductions in my brewhouse efficiency. I’ve been striving to continually improve my processes, and it has seemingly been decreasing my efficiency. That’s a tough thing to realize for the beginning brewer.

Fortunately, this week I read a couple articles that brought to light some corrections to my process which helped this weekend, and I achieved a 20% improvement in efficiency.

The first lesson I learned was to make sure that you adjust your gravity reading for temperature. I had read, and been practicing, that you should stop sparging your mash after the gravity reaches 1.008. This number is much lower, closer to 1.000 if your sparge water is 170F. I had stopped my sparging early on a number of occasions, trying not to over-sparge my grains.

Lesson number two was to make sure that your mash isn’t too thick. I had been using a 1:1 ratio of ¬†quarts of water to pounds of grain in my mash. I upped it to 1.4:1 this time, which has the added benefit of increased thermal stability due to an increase in overall mass.

This week’s recipe was a Saison that came together as a result of ingredients on-hand.

Actual OG: 1.070
Volume At Pitching: 6.25 US gals
Expected OG: 1.056 SG
Expected FG: 1.013 SG
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

UK Pale Ale Malt 11lb 0oz (84.6 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Munich Malt 1lb 0oz (7.7 %) In Mash/Steeped
German CaraMunich II 1lb 0oz (7.7 %) In Mash/Steeped

Tettnang (5.5 % alpha) 1.75 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 60 Min From End
Tettnang (5.5 % alpha) 1.75 oz Loose Pellet Hops used At turn off

Yeast: Fermentis T-58

Mash at 148 degF for 60 mins

Recipe for today’s English IPA

challenger-hops

Recipe: IPA Maiden England
Style: 14A-India Pale Ale(IPA)-English IPA

Final Batch Volume: 5.02 US gals

Expected OG: 1.052 SG
Expected FG: 1.013 SG
Expected ABV: 5.0 %
Expected IBU (using Rager): 41.8
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

UK Pale Ale Malt 8lb 11oz (81.3 %) In Mash/Steeped
German CaraMunich III 1lb 8oz (14.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
German CaraRed 8.00 oz (4.7 %) In Mash/Steeped

Hops
UK Challenger (7.0 % alpha) 1.34 oz Loose Pellet Hops used First Wort Hopped
UK Golding (5.5 % alpha) 1.12 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 10 Min From End
UK Golding (5.5 % alpha) 1.12 oz Loose Pellet Hops used At turn off
UK Golding (5.5 % alpha) 4.00 oz Loose Pellet Hops used Dry-Hopped

Other Ingredients
Irish Moss 1.00 oz used In Boil

Yeast: DCL S-33-SafBrew