Sunday, September 22, 2019

Santa's Reward Ale 1.0

Some time ago, I picked up a recipe for a Christmas ale called Bad Santa.  Thinking I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided to brew it, only to find that I did not have at least one of them - Munich Malt.  Since I'd already crushed some of the grains and mostly wanted to brew this to confirm that the Brewie+ is once again functional after recent repairs, I made some substitutions.  Given that I was no longer following the original recipe, I decided to rename it so as not to dishonor the original recipe's creator if this batch doesn't turn out.

Ingredients

6 pounds Swaen Pilsner Malt
2 pounds Briess Pale Ale Malt
10 ounces Honey Malt
7 ounces Vienna Malt
1 ounce Aromatic Malt
4 ounces Crystal/Caramel 10L Malt
4 ounces Caramunich I Malt
0.3 ounces English Black Malt
7 ounces Maple Syrup (post-boil, pre-chill addition)
1 ounce German Northern Brewer hops @ 4.8% AA (60 min.)
1 packet Safale S-04 English Ale yeast
1/8 tsp. Brewtan B (mash water)
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B (20 min.)
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (15 min.)
1/4 Whirlfloc tablet (15 min.)
6 ounces Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate (whirlpool)
1 tsp. Vanilla bean paste (whirlpool)
13.88 liters mash water
5.00 liters sparge water

The original recipe called for light malt extract, which I replaced here with Pale Ale malt.  It also called for Munich malt, which I discovered I was out of.  I replaced that with the closest thing I had on hand, Vienna (with an ounce of Aromatic malt for fun).  I also did not have the dried cherries I thought I had, so I substituted the 12 ounces of dried cherries with 6 ounces of Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate.  I'm hoping that will provide a good cherry flavor with some tartness to balance the malty sweetness a little.  We'll see in a few weeks...

Estimated characteristics:
  • Batch Size: 2.5 gallons estimated (3.0 actual)
  • Original Gravity: 1.085 SG estimated (1.077 SG actual)
  • Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.070 SG estimated (1.055 SG actual, before the addition of Cherry Concentrate and Maple Syrup)
  • Final Gravity: 1.020 SG estimated
  • IBUs: 30 estimated
  • SRM: 13.5
  • ABV: 9.2% estimated
  • BU/GU:  0.353
  • Fermenter:  McCoy
  • Bottling Wand:  Stainless #2
Mash Schedule:
  • 10 minute mash in at 104F
  • 45 minutes at 152F
  • 15 minutes at 158F
  • 10 minute mash out at 167F
  • 20 minute sparge at 168F
Boil Schedule:
  • 75 minutes:  No additions
  • 60 minutes:  1 ounce Northern Brewer hops pellets
  • 20 minutes:  1/4 tsp. Brewtan B
  • 15 minutes:  1/4 Whirlfloc tablet, 1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
  • 0 minutes:  Tart Cherry Juice concentrate, vanilla bean paste
Fermentation Schedule:
  • Ferment at 70F until final gravity is reached
  • Transfer to secondary, add 1.5 cinnamon sticks and if needed, more cherry juice concentrate and vanilla bean paste.  14-21 days in secondary.
Bottle with 1 Coopers carbonation drop per bottle and condition at least 4 weeks.

Post-Brew Notes and Observations

09/22/2019:  I crushed the grain and loaded it into the machine. I then loaded the hops, Brewtan B, and yeast nutrient into the Brewie+.  I entered recipe details and then weighed out 13880 ml (13.88 liters) of water and loaded it.  I waited for the Brewie to heat that to 104F and pump it into the mash compartment, whereupon it asked for 5 liters to be added for sparging to the boil compartment.  I weighed out the 5 liters.  Replacement of the wires and valve in the Brewie allowed me to complete a full clean and a test recipe yesterday, so I'm optimistic that today's brew will complete successfully also (but there's never a guarantee, is there?).


Update 7:30pm:  The brew finished a while ago. I ended up with 3 gallons in the fermenter, which did not surprise me because I'd added a half-liter more water in the sparge step than I planned, because I was concerned about a Brewie message indicating that I needed at least 5 liters of sparge water.  I set up the temperature control apparatus and had it begin cooling the wort down from the original 76F to the intended 70F and attached a blow-off tube since the fermenter was pretty full.  As I write this, the Brewie+ completed a quick clean cycle and is now working on a full clean using some PBW to help more fully clean it out as I don't expect to use it again for a few days.

09/23/2019:  The gravity started dropping around 1:30am and by 10:30pm had dropped from 1.077 SG down to about 1.043 SG. That's roughly 44% attenuation and 4.7% ABV in about 28 hours.  The temperature has averaged 70.5F since yeast pitch.

09/24/2019:  Gravity has dropped to 1.011 SG, which is quite a bit lower than anticipated.  It represents about 86.4% attenuation and an ABV of 9.8%.

09/25/2019:  Transferred the beer to a clean and sanitized fermenter.  Prior to transfer, gravity was reading 1.009 SG - which represents attenuation of 82.7% and an ABV of 10.2%.  After the transfer, the Tilt Hydrometer was cleaned and re-sanitized.  Pure vanilla and two Ceylon cinnamon sticks were also added.  At that point, gravity read 1.014 SG, temperature read 69F.  The beer is still cloudy at this point, but there are still signs of slow fermentation.  I may treat it with gelatin later to clear it up.  The aroma was impressive, though.

09/26/2019:  Gravity is now reading at 1.018 SG, which is up from its low point of 1.009 SG. My assumption is that the yeast residue stuck to the Tilt Hydrometer affected its reading.  I can't see the addition of vanilla paste and cinnamon sticks adding 9 points of gravity.  Interestingly, the estimated final gravity was 1.020 SG. If it's reading 1.018 SG now, that's close enough to the estimate to be realistic and probably accurate.

09/27/2019:  Gravity is reading 1.016 tonight, down from the 1.018 SG last night. Temperature has been holding at 69F.

09/28/2019:  Gravity is 1.015 today.  Temperature has been holding at 70F.

09/29/2019:  Gravity is reading 1.014 today, which represents 82.4% attenuation and an ABV of 9.2%

10/03/2019:  Gravity is reading 1.013 SG, and has been there since about 8am on 10/1/2019.  The cinnamon sticks and vanilla have now had about 8 days in the beer.  The original recipe recommended 14-21 days of contact time, so I'll possibly bottle it around 10/13/2019.

10/04/2019:  A taste of the beer revealed no cinnamon flavor and minimal if any cherry.  I added the rest of my container of tart cherry juice concentrate and two more cinnamon sticks.  If this doesn't help, I may seal some ground cinnamon in a "make your own" tea bag and add that to the fermenter along with more cherry juice.

11/03/2019:  The beer was bottled today, using 3 small carbonation tablets per bottle (low carbonation).

No comments:

Post a Comment