Friday, August 7, 2015

Fermenter Fill Day

Problem 1: 20 lbs of American pils that must get used ASAP

Problem 2: too many empty fermenters
The Players
5G (plastic) - Belgian Tripel to Barrel to glass, likely blend or split to sour.
Wild bucket #1 - mix culture: Saison vial, Caison dregs, lacto (use BrettC Berliner dregs), Nelson DH
Wild bucket 2 - Brett C plus lacto and a few 100ml Belgian Sour Mix beer
3G (glass #1) - Brett C primary ferment to three 1G projects (hops, wild fruit and dregs)
3G (glass #2) - Yogurt Weisse - lacto, finish with 001

Brew day wine: 
secondary cab to 6G glass
Pitch white to bucket

Wine post brew day:
Cab to barrel for tertiary bulk aging
White secondart to 6G carboy then keg for bulk aging

Solution: Record Brew Day

The Story

Brewing by necessity, I need look no further than a room of empty fermenters and a bourbon barrel to know that something must be done pronto to remedy this poor sight.  90 minute boils, parti-gyles, split batches, no boil worts and lots of bugs, 5 primary fermentations, 8 hours, 7 (or 8) resulting beers...what could possibly go wrong?

First, the main mash will be a full tun of pilsner malt (mash 148 for 90 minutes) which will be run off to the kettle until 7.5G is obtained.  A 90 minute boil will ensue with a 60 min addition of Saaz (1oz), 3lbs Pale Belgian Candi sugar at 10 and a 0 minute charge of Styrian (2oz) effectively lining this wort up for both a Tripel and a Saison … the theoretical IBUs are only 7.5.  This brings me in below the theoretical 8 ibu threshold where lactic acid production is inhibited or slowed, but well below my normal hopping rate for these beers…side bar on IBUs….

At this hopping rate the Saison should work out nicely with the Brett working through the mix, but the Tripel may be a bit on the malty side post barrel.  Im hoping the tannins from the wood help bring balance to this, but you also have the bourbon sweetness so I may end up a little south (malt forward) of tasty-tasty.  

If that is the case, after the barrel aging is complete, I can try blending with something dry to bring balance in (game time I ended up tossing in 16 IBUs of Warrior).  Or, perhaps blend back the side pot of souring beer I’d have going, or just add some wort and sour dregs to the main batch and let the bugs eat at the leftovers.  (Conceptualizing the Kentucky Common from Otter Brewing in Tacoma here).  Sounds good….in theory, but we will see what the yeast have in store.  Many seeds for hindsight are being planted on this brew day!  Ready, Fire, Aim!  I love homebrewing.

There is one more option. I started a Cab Sav. Im going to finish it in the bourbon barrel for two months then put the Tripel in for 2 more months. This beer will be ready in early Spring. Perfect.

Back to the boil...after flameout of the main batch…

Split boiled wort to two glass carboys each with 2.75G chilled sterile water, target OG 1060ish. The Saison gets a pitch of resulting slurry from 2L starter of dregs from my Caison (brett C and Saison) and a lacto slurry from the yogurt experiment,  or L.Acidophilus (or both!). The Tripel gets a pitch of 50/50 Belgian Ale and Belgian Strong slurry from a 2L decanted starter.  

Ferment the Saison warm (plus 70), ferment the Belgian cool (below 70...or as low as the basement will allow). From here the Caison II will ferment out and get a dry hop of Nelson and perhaps some citrus zest and coriander. 

Moving on from the main batch………..oh we are just getting started!

Next, parti-gyle: I’ll “cap,” the mash (addition of malt to the top of the mash) with some specialty malts that need to get used and add another 9G of sparge water, see math below on the 9G.

Math in public: 9G - 2G absorbtion = 7G w/3G to the no boil leaves 4G for the 45 minute boil, resulting in 3.25 hot wort

Add the water then the grains (keeping them in the top third per Radical Brewing Randy Mosher’s suggestion), give it a stir and 20 minutes to get a little conversion.  Recirculate and run out. 

Boil for 90 minutes, and gets hit it with 1oz of Styrian at 20. before chilling, and send that to the other 3G ferementer and add a huge pitch of Brett C given to me by the Devils Purse boys.  After primary (6 weeks), I’ll harvest the Brett C to maintain a “clean” culture and rack brew to 1G fermenters for a few fun fruit and dreg projects.  Hopefully I come into a solid beer from the dregs and will parlay that discovery into a repitch of the mixed culture to a full batch in the very near future.

Lastly, there is 3.3 lbs Wheat and 3.3 lbs 2-row LME from a false start project.  During the mash I’ll bring 2.5G water up to temp with a pound of acid malt steeping then, mix the LME. Pull the acid malt at 170ish and at 200 toss in a few hop pellets, rack to 3G cold water in bucket. (120 initial target and to warm water bath...hangs around 100).  Pitch Caison dregs, add some L. Acidophilis for fun and just let the dormant bugs in the bucket go to town. No plan here, just shooting from the hip.  Surely fruit, or bugs or herbs or stuff from our homebrew club's ingredient challenge will come into view as next steps once the beer has a voice.

Starter Prep
Tripel - 50/50 blend 1.25L - Belgian Ale 550 and Belgian Strong Ale 545: chill and decant - Done

Caison II - 48 hour, 2L mixed culture: Caison dregs (Saison 565 and Brett C), 1 vial Saison 565, BrettC Berliner Weisse (Brett C, natural lacto culture and East Coast Ale): chill and decant: 

Solo Brett C: Large pitch of Brett C 250 for 24 then stepped.  Pitch to solo plus wild bucket.

Yogurt Weisse: no starter needed, pitching lacto starter from yogurt experiment and 001 repitch.

Wild Bucket: Brett C plus lacto.

Day prior prep
Crush all grains - including Pils, acid malt (1lbs), victory, bisquit, munich
Have capped grains crushed and in marked baggie
All 4 fermenters cleaned/sanitized with airlocks in place.
All diluting water to fermenters (big fermenters and wild bucket) 2.5 each= 7.5G
Main mash water - 6.25G mash water to boil kettle (1.25qts/lb..ok down to 1qt/lb) and add Calcium for all beers
Sparge water - 9G ready to go (sani and aubachan buckets)
2.5G to small kettle (LME batch)
2.75G to wild bucket

Brew day overview
All yeasts out of fridge and warming up - present and reporting for duty.  Leave out to warm up.

Main mash water to 170

Main Mash - 148 @ 90

Start heating sparge in my pot and second small kettle. Get LME brew done. Heat to 200, cool to sub 90 and pitch starter. Place in warm water bath.

Begin heating sparge

Main mash finishes (1.5 hour) - Recirc and run 7.5G to MoBigs kettle. Main batch boil begins, 90 minutes. Saaz at 60.

Cap mash, add sparge, stir and let sit 20 minute.  Recirc and run to my kettle.

Collect all second runnings and boil 90 - minutes (pilsner malt)

Main batch approaches 10 minute mark: add 3 lbs Belgian Candi Sugar, nutrient and chiller

2oz Styrian at flameout and begin cooling.

Chill main batch to 100 and whirlpool 20 minutes. Chiller to Brett C boil.

Should be finishing up Brett C boil by now. No nutrient. Begin chilling. Goes to 3G fermenter.

Main batch whirlpool over, Rack 4G main batch to each big glass fermenter. Add can of heated pils LME to tripel, and take the OG up.....sorry purists, I know this is pretty bad, but if you've read this far you can already see its no time for being snooty :-)  Rack remaining to other big glass fermenter - add Caison dregs, vial Saison yeast, lacto.

Brew Day Notes: 8/8/15

Strike 170, mash 148 for 90. Fly sparge to 7.5G. Boiled 90. Added .5oz warrior at 45 (too much for lacto of Caison II...we'll see how that goes), 3lbs candi suagar at 10, 1oz styrian at flameout and another ounce in whirlpool. Split to two fermenters with filtered RO water.  Aerated both extensively. Lots of nutrient.

Tripel: Pitched at 65 and left outside over night in low 60's. 50/50 blend Belgian Ale yeast and Belgian Strong from a 2L starter.  Ripping after 12 hours. Added a blowoff tube.  

Caison II: Pitched at 75. Got Caison I dregs, dregs of natural lacto Brett C and East Coast Ale yeast (Redeye'd Berliner), and a pitch of Ultimate Flora yogurt starter. Also ripping after 12 hours.

Capped with 1 lb Munich, Vienna, Rye and .5lbs C80. Rested 30 minutes and ran off. Fly sparged to 6.5G. Boiled 90 adding only a few warrior pellets at 60 then 1oz Styrian at 20. Split to 2 fermenters. Also received whirlfloc and nutrient.
Pitched both at 80.
1. Brett C only. 1000ml starter
2. 1000ml Brett C starter and Greek starter. - found airlock off in the AM, cleaned and replaced. Plenty of activity so likely nothing got in.

Yogurt Weisse: Didnt add the acid malt. Just brought up LME of 2-row and wheat to 200, crashed and pitched at 120. Pitched Acidophilus starter and purged with CO2. 18 hour slater pitched 001 repitch and some unopened expired English Dry and 001. Also broke open 2 more acidophilus pills (6 billion cells total) and added direct. Aerated 2 minutes.

8/20/15 - everything working at 72. Gave love swirls to each last week.

8/26/15 -saison two, 1004

Yogurtweisse - 1009

Brett C only got oak. Brett C lacto got l. Planarium

9/16/15 - bottling caison II. Two tabs per. Purging CO2 ran out. Blend 2:1 main to lime side pot

10/3 - Yogurtweisse - 1008. Side pot: Added 12oz blueberry and blackberry to 1G. Plus 10B more L. Plantarum and 3B L. Acidophilus plus wsrmed the brew up and pitched 100ml slurry from Caison2...for The Brett. Needs a little sweeping up. Sitting at 95 degrees.

Tripel to bourbon barrel - 8Brix, 1.011. Very edgey. Plenty of lovely esters but tiiiime is needed.

Caison 2 is carbed - both versions are epic. Tasting notes from Oysterfest...glorious! Reminiscent of candied peaches. Lacto needs time and there is some cleaning up to be done.

10/19 - pellicle starting to form on yogurtweisse. Brix 4.9. Brett starting to come through. Lactic has brightened up. Pretty one dimensional.

Tasted the Tripel - winning!   Splitting off a gallon, knock out sach. Add wine grapes and lacto.

10/26ish - BrettC Only - kegged and force carbed.  After a couple days this beer is awesome!  Oak is not as forward as tastings, very complimentary.  Added 5 bourbon soaked Hungarian oak cubes to keg.
Kegged the cider adding 12 oz of pomegranate juice.  It is good on its own, but a little one dimensional for my taste.  Of course, its a cider so I shouldn't be took picky there.  The pomegranate works beautifully and added a depth and complexity, but also a light acidic tinge to the beer.  Going for champagne like carb here, so I expect that lactic pom character to get enhanced.  Its very good and a great beer alternative for guests.  More mixed berry cider projects need to be on the horizon, but I am very happy with this base cider recipe.   Question: If I did want to add depth to the base cider, how would I do it?  Well, maybe a little backsweetening with reduced apple cider?  This iteration is solid because I went with a acid forward fruit, so the dry character helped the pom acid to shine through.  If I was heading towards blending something with a more soft sweetness then maybe a little more apple sweetness to compliment would be in order.  Think tropical fruits: mango, papaya, guava...OOOOOO, a tropical fruit cider.....Hmmmmmm.

11.11.15 - BB Tripel to keg.  30 psi at room temp (no sapce in fridge) will get her to normal ale levels.  Split 1G off, knocked out the yeast with Camden over a few days and added 1 cup Grenache grape juice from a kit plus some L. ACIDOPHILUS and slurry of Caison II. Placed in 75 plus degree environment for first week.  Mucho activity.

11/22/15 - 24oz frozen/thawed cranberries, zest of lemon and orange to 3G of yogurtweisse.  Added fresh Caison II slurry and BrettC slurry.

12/23/15 - Cranberry weisse is tasty.  MIld cranberry compliments the lactic.  Zest of orange comes through on the nose.  A very nice beer.  Good now, who knows what next year brings.  Ready to bottle and age.

12/23/15 BrettC Lacto has come around a bit.  Not a complex beer, caramel is up front with a light tartness.  A simple Brett Beer that is bottle ready. 1/27/16: added half light toast oak spiral

1/20/15 - Tripel with Grenache grape juice is confused.  Looking at at least 6 more months.  A medium-low sweet new from the grapes.   Grape character is soft, not overpowering here.  Additional oak may be required.   Additional attenuation as well, so French saison yeast needs to be dosed in and once it's dryed out, consider the oak..perhaps from the lambic.