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Showing posts from September, 2016

My Brewing Process, Part 2 - Mashing

In the last post, I talked about how I select and modify recipes to match my equipment, process, and efficiency. I also talked about how, before I start to brew, I clean, measure, and arrange everything so that the actual brew goes as smoothly as possible. In this post, we're going to look at the mash process and how I typically do it.

My brew day sheet tells me how much mash and sparge water I've calculated that I will need based on the grain bill and equipment. I begin by filling The Grainfather with the mash water and dropping in a Campden tablet to remove chlorine and chloramine. I fill my sparge water kettle with the sparge water amount, plus one gallon to account for dead space in the Mega Pot kettle.

When The Grainfather has reached the mash temperature (or the temperature of the first step in a multi-step mash), I begin scooping in the crushed grain.

Every few scoops, I stir the grain with the stainless steel spoon you see in the photo above. This ensures that all the …

My Brewing Process, Part 1 - Getting Ready to Brew

A couple of homebrewing friends have asked me about my process. They want to know how I go from a recipe to a finished beer, the steps I follow, why I follow them, and the tools I use. This post is an attempt to capture and share all the information.

It's important to note that my process changes a bit as I learn new things, gain new equipment, or discover better or easier ways to do things. Consider this post a "snapshot" of my process and equipment as it stands right now. Six months from now it could be different.

The Equipment
My current brewing equipment consists of the following:

iMake's The Grainfather RIMS brewing system: This handles mashing, boiling, and chilling of the wort. I also added the Graincoat accessory to reduce heat loss and speed up kettle heating time.An induction cooktop and Mega Pot 1.2 kettle: This provides heated sparge water. I have it on top of a tall table, at a height that I can open the valve on the kettle and have sparge water flow down …

Trappistes Rochefort 10 Clone, Version 2.0

A few months ago, I made an attempt to clone the excellent Trappistes Rochefort 10 beer in my Grainfather. The resulting beer turned out well, but had two significant flaws. It had no head when poured into a glass and it was missing a caramel/toffee note that was in the original beer.

Since then, I believe I've sorted out the foam/head issues. The original recipe used a high percentage of adjuncts (D-180 candi syrup), relatively low-alpha-acid hops (4% and 6.4%), and probably had yeast that got a bit "tired" after fermenting an 8.5% or higher beer. In this version of the recipe, I've replaced some of the Pilsner malt with Cara-Pils and Melanoidin malts, which I've found produce an excellent creamy head without appearing to affect the flavor of the beer. I also replaced some of the Styrian Goldings hops pellets with German Northern Brewer pellets at 10.1% alpha acid. I'll also bottle the beer with a freshly-rehydrated yeast and priming sugar, which should ensu…

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe Double IPA Recipe

Weyerbacher discontinued their Double Simcoe Double IPA recently, and also released the recipe below. If you like that beer and want to try brewing your own, this recipe should get you on the right track quickly.

Note: I know this is a DIPA, but the stated hops amounts at flameout and dry-hop seem awfully high to me.

The Recipe
The recipe is based on the following specifications:

Batch size: 5.5 gallonsTotal grain bill: 16.25 poundsOG: 1.085 (23 Brix)SRM: 7.6IBU: 92.8Brewhouse efficiency: 75%Boil time: 60 minutes The ingredients: 12.5 pounds of Muntons 2-row Pale Malt (76.9%)2.25 pounds of Muntons Crystal 150 (13.8%)1.5 pounds of Weyermann Munich (9.2%)2.1 oz. Simcoe pellets @ 60 min.8.0 oz. Simcoe pellets @ 0 minutes8.0 oz. Simcoe pellets for dry hopping1 Whirlfloc tablet @ 15 minutes1/2 teaspoon Yeastex @ 15 minutesWyeast 1272 American Ale II yeastMash Schedule Mash at 154F for 60 minutesMash out at 167F for 10 minutesFly sparge 5 gallonsBoil Schedule 60 minutes total boil timeAdd 2.1 oun…