Sunday, November 15, 2015

Double Batch Brew day... Pliny the Petulant, and a "free brew"

Saturday was a brew day.  The guys I am brewing with currently are relatively new brewers, but man are they learning fast.  John has a passion for brewing unrivaled by any but my own (and RobRaider), MA is cerebral and organized, and man does he know beer.  Next week we finally add Jake to the crew, and our assault on the brewing world begins in earnest.

Beautiful Mash.
The day started early with the Pliny inspired beer.   We were trying to make Pliny the Toddler.  When you change brewing locations, everything changes.  Your water profile, your heat source, your efficiency.   We don't really have efficiency dialed in quite yet.  Last week we overshot big time, this week... we overshot again.  So Pliny the Toddler became Pliny the Petulant.

No color change?  The mash is
complete, the mash is done. 
We doughed in at 156 F.  The mash fell to 151 F.  Perfect.  We mashed for a total of 49 minutes.  We don't follow a strict time schedule for mashing.  If you read this blog, you know I am a proponent of understanding what is going on, as opposed to just following some arbitrary time schedule.    We check our mash two ways.  First, we taste the mash... I can not stress enough the importance of tasting your mash.  Please believe me when I tell you,  You will know when the mash is done just by taste.   Second,  we check the mash with iodine.  Surely you know that trick.  But if you don't, there are hundreds of you tube videos about it.  But the basic process is put a spoon of mash liquid onto a plate, put a drop of iodine in the mash.  If it turns darker... the mash is not done.  There are still starches in the mash that need to convert.  If it stays the same color... it is done.   Technically you could start your boil then.   Just pull your bag and rock and roll.  But we wait.   We wait and we taste the mash.  We taste until the mash gets the grainy, bready, nutty, delicious taste we want.   I posted about this the other day.   Many of you read about it.  I sure hope you are trying it.   We wait until we all taste that taste.

There are alot of hops
in Pliny the Petulant
We pulled our bag, and MA squeezed it like it owed him money.   The boil was uneventful.   Added our hops.  We used our dry erase  board again to put in all of our additions. You can have 3 timers going, a kitchen timer going, you can have your recipe in hand, and you can be creating a brew log on and you should still write down everything and follow it. Something about writing it down keeps you from screwing up.

Two batches of beer on the stove!
Right as we started the boil.  One of the guys, I think it was MA said, "Man I wish we could brew more today"  Ill be honest this statement took me back to many years ago when I said something similar to Mankind.   Ill never forget, Mankind looking over his thick glasses and saying " well we have everything we need so... lets do it" I responded incredulously "everything we need? We used all of the grains"  But ever wise, and all knowing, Mankind looked patiently at me and said... "we may have used the grains... but we certainly didn't use all of the sugar in the grains".  I couldn't help but re create this exact circumstance on Saturday.   And that is how we decided to brew a second batch of beer with our grains.   There was only one problem.  Mankind and I used to partigyle off of imperial batches.  This was supposed to be a session beer... we'd need more sugar.   So we took the grains and soaked them in 2 gallons of 155 F water.   We let them soak as we went to the boil on the first batch.

Fresh Coriander crushed
in a bag.
The brew board, MA keeps it
orgainized.  I write the brewlog, John
keeps the brews going,  We all sample
great beers. True Fun!
As we were chilling down Pliny the Petulant, we checked the gravity on the second batch.  The gravity came in at 1.022 but it was at 160 F at the time.   A quick adjustment told us the gravity was around 1.034.  We added Corn Sugar, Honey, and some brown sugar.   Our gravity came to 1.055.   We decided to follow the Belgian brewing motto... "brew what you can, where you are, with what you have"  We had some hops that were for dry hopping, and we had some bitter orange peel, and some fresh coriander seed.  We used a Belgian ale yeast that I had in my kit.  I have no idea how it will turn out, but it sure was fun.   For good practice we recorded every addition.  We created a brewlog, and we followed good brewing practice.    What if this thing is amazing?  We'll be able to recreate it. As you can see, we sampled some interesting beers during our brew session.  We tried Dogfishhead 120 minute IPA,  Boulevard "Snow & Tell"  And a sour from Anchorage Brewing called "The tide and it's takers"  Great stuff.

The brain floating in
the chilling wort.
I have to mention the "chills" for these beers.   We are getting such great breakdown of the proteins that when we go to the chill the cold break is impressive.   The cold break looks like an alien brain.   After chilling we aerated and transferred to our trusty little brown kegs.   We aerate with aquarium pumps. The pumps have heppa filters.   So we are confident that we are not pumping anything into our beer that we don't want in there.    We re hydrate our yeast.  I know they say you don't have to, but I always have.   The fermentation starts quickly and predictably.   Heard from John a little while ago,  he reports that a Krausen has started on the Pliny,  and that the "middle child'  is bubbling away.   Next weekend we will expand on the concept of partigyle.  We will be making a SNPA clone, and something with the second runnings.  What?  who knows...stay tuned sports fans.    

Another note,  we tried the Zombie Dust clone.  Yes, it is only a week old, but remember we aerated like crazy and overpitched the yeast.  It is fantastic.   Tomorrow night, John will dry hop it, and Wednsday or Thursday night the cold crash will begin.  We'll bottle it this sunday.

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