Friday, January 17, 2020

Mandarina Munich SMaSH 1.0

Last weekend, I brewed a SMaSH beer using only Viking Pale Ale Malt, Mandarina Bavaria hops pellets, and Safale US-05 yeast.  As part of my ongoing effort to learn what the various base malts contribute to the flavor of a beer, I'm making this one with Munich Malt.  The main challenge this time is that I'm using 5 pounds of malt instead of the 4 I used last time.  To get the gravity close to the last two batches, I'm bumping the volume up from 2.5 to 3 gallons.

Ingredients

5 pounds Avangard Munich Malt (Munich Avangard - Malz Premium 6L)
1.5 tsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer
0.25 tsp. Brewtan B (20 min. boil)
1/4 Whirlfloc tablet
3 gallons of mash water
1.75 gallons of sparge water
1 packet Safale US-05 yeast

Brewfather estimates the beer will have the following qualities:
  • Batch size: 3 gallons (estimated and actual)
  • Original Gravity:  1.049 SG estimated (1.055 actual)
  • Pre-Boil Gravity:  1.042 SG estimated (1.039 actual, at 4.25 gallons)
  • Final Gravity:  1.011 SG estimated
  • SRM:  6.2
  • ABV:  4.9%
  • IBUs:  23
  • BU/GU Ratio:  0.47 estimated (0.42 actual)
  • Mash pH:  5.25 (read 2-3 times during the mash)
  • Bottling Wand:  Stainless 1
  • Fermenter:  Anvil stainless 1
  • Carbonation Method:  3 small tablets per 12-ounce bottle
  • Cap color:  Yellow
Mash Schedule:
  • Mash in at 120F
  • Mash at 120F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 140F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 156F for 30 minutes
  • Mash out at 168F for 10 minutes
  • Sparge with water at 170F while heating to a boil
Boil Schedule:
  • My pre-boil volume was 4.25 gallons vs. the 3.14 expected, so I boiled it down to that amount before starting my 60-minute countdown.
  • 60 Minutes: No additions
  • 20 Minutes:  Brewtan B
  • 15 Minutes:  Mandarina Bavaria 0.5 ounces plus Whirlfloc
  • 5 minutes:  Mandarina Bavaria 0.7 ounces
  • Chill to 66F
Fermentation Plan:
  • Ferment at ambient temps until finished
Post-Brew Notes and Observations

01/16/2020:  It's become clear to me lately that I need to rework my mash and sparge water calculations.  Before I began using the PicoBrew Zymatic and the Brewie+, my brews with The Grainfather were generally spot-on.  I was rarely more than a few gravity points off the estimated OG with BeerSmith and rarely had to boil longer or add water when I had the beer in the fermenter.  The last two brews have been wildly off.

The Viking Pale Ale SMaSH beer I did last weekend came up about a quart short in the fermenter, but hit my gravity target so I let that go.

This beer had a pre-boil volume of about 4.25 gallons, so I ended up boiling an extra 40 minutes or so to hit the planned pre-boil volume of 3.76 gallons.  Then, after the customary (additional) one-hour boil, I wound up about a half gallon short in the fermenter with a gravity many points higher than intended.  To dial that in a bit, I added distilled water to the fermenter up to the 3-gallon mark, which dropped gravity down to 1.055 SG (which was still six points higher than the 1.049 SG I'd estimated).

Apart from that, the brew went fine. Mash pH stayed in the 5.2-5.4 range throughout the 120F and 140F stages (I didn't measure after that).

Brew House Efficiency on this batch was a bit of a shocker, though. With The Grainfather in the past, I'd achieved a pretty consistent efficiency of 78-83%.  That would be lower on high-gravity beers with a large grain bill, but it was consistent enough that I adjusted my recipes for 80% efficiency and nearly always hit my targets.  The calculator built into Brewfather and the calculator at Brewer's Friend both say that this beer went well past that historic figure.  Brewfather reports my brewhouse efficiency for the batch at 89.12%.  Brewer's Friend calculated 89.19%.  If you think that's wrong, consider that 5 pounds of grain yielded 3 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.055 SG.

The wort had a nice aroma to it, reminding me of sugar cookies or maybe snickerdoodles baking in the oven.  The color was a mahogany brown and the wort looked extremely clear in the kettle.

I pitched the entire packet of dry US-05 onto the wort after topping up with distilled water.  After I had finished cleaning everything, I swirled the fermenter to help get the yeast fully into suspension.  Basement temps this time of year are pretty low, so I decided not to bother with temperature control on this batch. US-05's optimal temperature range is 59-75F.  My basement's ambient temp ranges between 62F and 65F, which is toward the lower end of that range, so I can't see the beer going over 75F during fermentation.  If it gets a bit warm, I may wrap a wet towel around the fermenter (which is stainless so it should pull the heat out well).

01/17/2020 12:33pm:  There are signs of fermentation.  The gravity is down to 1.053 SG this morning, per the Tilt, and temperature is reading 64.9F.  The temp has remained consistent since yeast pitch around 9:30pm last night.

01/20/2020 1:25am:  The gravity has dropped to 1.029.  Temperature peaked at 68F and is currently down to 66F.  I may need to heat the fermenter up a bit to get the gravity down to something closer to the expected 1.011 SG final gravity.

01/21/2020 6:59pm:   Gravity is now 1.026 SG.  Temperature is 62F.

01/24/2020 4:55pm:  Gravity has been holding at 1.026 now since January 21.  It will be time to bottle this soon, though I am surprised the gravity is this high.  A taste of the beer showed it to be very grainy in flavor, quite bitter, and very dry.

01/26/2020:  The beer was bottled today in a mix of bottle sizes, with 3 small carbonation tablets per 12-ounce bottle, 4 per 16-ounce bottle, and 6 per 22-ounce bottle.

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