Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Mill Run (Devils Purse Mystery Grist)

Ah ha, a new challenge on my brewing hobby, the mystery grist.  DP tested their mill and had spent grains of various origin and amount.  They didn't keep track in the least and added a whole smattering of grains, including but not limited to crystal, rye, wheat, smoke, 2-row and so on.  I couldn't just let that all go to waste!
The plan was to just go with a Nordic style as Mike thought it made sense from what he remembered in the grist, but I had to know where that smoke landed to really be able to gauge what this mystery grist was all about.  Simple solution, mash it!  So that's what I did.

2 quarts of water, 1 pound of the grain in a steeping mesh and landed at 146.  I sparged with .1G hot water and got right back to 2 qts of runoff and an OG of 1043.  It has a very earthy feel to it, the caramel is medium with hints of dark caramel, maybe toffee and dark caramel character, and a low level of roasty notes.  The smoke really didn't come through.

I can't help but peg this as an English style wort and am going to go that route.  I am thinking I'll mash at 154 as I plan to add date sugar to add to complexity in the aroma and flavor. Hops will be EKG or Fuggles to balance at .5 BUGU with just a 60 minute charge.

Ferment with London Ale yeast, but Irish Ale or 001 would be fine as we have no idea where this is headed.  That is the original concept based on the wort, will the beer be awesome or terrible, time will tell.

I have 30 pounds of the stuff so I split it into 3 batches of 10 and included samples of the wort to two other brewers to get their mind wrapped around the wort they will get (generally speaking).  Also planning on sending second runnings to Eric to work his own Mild Magic.  He has gotten into tea infusions and this wort will work well for that effort.

The one big takeaway for me is I plan to do a Mystery Grist Challenge with the homebrew club.  I think it would be critical to have samples of the wort on hand for folks to taste, so they can start working the remainder of their recipe right there in the shop!  Maybe we just do a single mash and throw the unfermented wort in a keg and pressurize for samplings at the shop...I like it! It would be really interesting to see where people take the wort just from tasting it in the boil or after!  Just one more notch in the belt of folks trying to find new reasons to test their skills, senses, and see where the brew takes them instead of the other way around.

Brew Day: 3/18/15

Logistics: Bottle SMaSH beers, arrogant to keg of LH SMaSH with 1oz bag chinook, clean arrogant yeast, DPMG to Arrogant bucket.

So I found date sugar at whole foods, pricey stuff!  At $12/lb I just went with a half a pound and bought an additional pound of pitted dates as well.  Within a mini-brainstorm this AM as I stared out the window into a Spring that is begging to appear, I figure I'll take a qt of the first runnings of what will be a fly sparge process and add that to a pot with all the sugar and dates.  I'll do a low slow simmer of that during the hour boil to sanitize the dates, dissolve the sugar and reduce a little wort, further adding to the dark caramel character of the brew. The name of this game is earthy, dark and not so much rich as just flavorful on the dark fruit, dark caramel complexity side of the brew flavor wheel.

Brewing Water: Target Edinborough (malty) -
2tsp Gypsum and Baking Soda, 1.5tsp CaCl to mash.

Strike: 5G at 164 - landed at 152

1. Boiled 3.5G water, mix, vorlof, run out (still only got to 162).
2. Collected .5G first running to pot and added .5 lbs date sugar and 1.25 lbs. pitted dates, put on low, uncovered simmer for 60 minutes.

Boil: 45 min addition of 1oz EKG whole leaf hops targeting .35 to .45 BUGU.  I guessed I'd hit about 1060 with the reduced wort and 1063, so the 23 IBUs I got from the 45 minute addition worked out to .37 BUGU.

Cooled and added reduced/chilled wort and date concentrate direct to fermenter, racked chilled wort on top.

Yeast: Mix culture 001 and 007 from Barley Bastard, washed. Measured 150ml clean slurry was where I landed from the wash. Not quite large enough for a cool fermentation, but just a little over for a room temp fermentation, so we roll with it at room temp (65).  A little low for the 001, but it will free rose to optimum for both. They each have highly attenuation abilities and 007 will lend  some English character, why not.  I could see this brew being badass with a Scottish Ale yeast, but that's for another day.....Wee Heavy with Dates....Oh man, that might have to happen!

The mashed wort went from muddled and without direction to incredible with the reduced wort and date sugar/date mixture.  In the end, I feel like the muddled character of the "mystery grist," was tied together well by that process.  Time will tell if we pulled something off that's worth talking about, but in the meantime it has left me with plenty of learning, and fun ideas for the future. 

Pitched - 65 - 1056
Lag 12-18 hours at 63.
D3 - 5/5 - 68
3/26/15 - 9.1 Brix - 1023 - 67 - swirled. Will check back next week and split batch.  Taste is a hodgepodge and Date didnt come through as much as I would have liked to this point.  Time will tell.  I think oak and port is the best move for now.  Brett is not worth it in this wort.
4/3/15 - solid now.  Earthy aroma with some caramel sweetness.  Slightly bitter.  Time to oak and carb the rest.  Fg terminal - 8.9 brix - 1022
4/10/15 - bottled.  Light oak character is nice and complimentary.

Tasting Notes - Delicious. Ive since oaked the brew and carb has settles in. Deep caramel, and earthy aromas. To me the Dates come through as the characteristic stone fruit, dark fruit character.  

Nice off white head doesnt fully dissipate throughout the pour. A deep brown hue all the way to the edges.

A very malt forward beer, with a nice low-low roast charcter, hints of chocolate and dark caramel. Medium body and medium residual sweetness.

Of course this is all for not s there is no way to know what the grist is, but nonetheless, it was an experiment in reverse engineering which is the jumping off point for more fun challenges to come!

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