16 October 2016

posted by benjy edwards

After trying out the extract kit last weekend, now it is time to do a full all-grain ten gallon batch.  Our dark mild is almost gone, so that is needed once again and is a good low-gravity beer for the yeast to grow.  The recipe is unchanged except for increasing the quantities of pale chocolate, chocolate, and brown malt in order to punch up the roastiness and chocolate character of the beer.  Hops change too, but in a mild they are just there for a background bitterness.  This time we used Bramling Cross at 45 minutes left in the hour-long boil.  We kept the mash rest down to our now-standard 30 minutes, and instead of recirculating for three times, we cut it to twice, since the wort was running clear and in a dark beer such as this, total brilliance is not really needed.  In any event, I trust the Fuller’s yeast to clear it.

The original gravity was 1.042, which is two points above target.  The ground water is still at summer temperatures, so the wort in the fermenters was in the high 70s and was chilled down to 66F in the refrigerator.  We had to split the yeast from last week into a second fermenter, which makes it difficult to divide it evenly.  By Sunday evening the original fermenter was underway, with the second carboy yet to begin active fermentation.  All in all, another successful day of wort production.  It is good to be back in the regular routine of brewing.  After taking a month or more off, it is a bit awkward to get back into the good habits of making beer in our standard process.  There are always a couple of moments during the brew day where I have to pause and recall what few things need to be happening simultaneously at that moment for things to go smoothly and nothing gets missed.

Speaking of simultaneous events, during the wort recirculation we kegged up the Stumptown Brown clone from last week.  No dry hop in the keg, and there was no leftover beer from the primary, but we were lucky to fill the keg all of the way.  The gravity was down to 1.018, so with the new yeast culture along with what I would expect to be a lot of unfermentable sugars from the vanilla almond granola we added to the steeping grains, we have a rather sweet beer.  It will likely attenuate a bit further in the keg and along with the bite of carbonation, it should be more balanced in the end.  It was force-carbonated and chilled.

The next batches, as referred to last week, will be Hophead, our hoppy brown,  then perhaps a pale ale and IPA.  However, we may switch things up and brew at least half of the pale ale for cask, since we are low on cask ale at the moment.

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