Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hot Brewing action inside...10 gallon double batch... Weizenbock and Stout

Sunday was brew day.  We brew almost every weekend as a group, and I brew every week, either with the group or on my own.   But this Sunday was a process test.  Can we make 10 gallons of beer nearly simultaneously on two 5 gallon systems.  With 4 of us brewing, 10 gallons is a case of 12 ounce beers, or 12 bombers each.  By brewing 2 batches we can make 2 different styles, and increase variety.

The day was cold, the
mash was a challenge
The Oatmeal Stout mashing in
the electric brew kettle.
Sunday was our test run.  And to tell the truth, it went well.  My fledgling brew crew is turning into a semi experienced efficient team.  Everyone has certain skill sets and personality attributes that will make this a championship team in the future.

We brewed a weizenbock and an Oatmeal Stout. The weizenbock because Jake loves weizenbock, and the stout, because... St Patrick's day is coming.   The Stout was also a tribute to Alan Rickman... so we named it "Severus Stout, The Potions Master"    The weizenbock is called "Ill be bock"

Brewing 2 batches at the same time can be hectic.  But with a good team and good planning, you can pull it off.   Organization, and division of responsibility are the key to a 2 batch brew day.  So John and Jake handled the Weizenbock, and Mark and I handled the stout. Jake and Mark are both very precise people. John and I are both overview people.  We all love beer.  So great team.

Jake had to stir and
adjust the heat
constantly during mash, 

He is not smoking, that is
the thermometer cover.
Very sanitary Jake!
The mash for the stout was uneventful.  Mark took charge and kept the temperatures perfect.  The weizenbock was more challenging.  The weizenbock was brewed in the garage.  The temperature outside was 2 F.  Maintaining the mash temperature was nearly impossible, even with sleeping bags, and reflectix insulation.   (next time well be using a bag in a cooler, and doing a no sparge brew in a bag in a mash tun type of it?  good!)   A bag in a cooler will allow us to continue to crush fine, and gain the efficiency of BIAB, but keep more consistent mash temperatures on Jake's system. And it takes about the same time as BIAB, so it won't expand our brew day.

As it was, Jake had to work his but off to keep the mash going,  Stirring, and heating occasionally.   I'm sure it was the most frustrating mash of his young brewing career.   But he and John powered through and still produced a 1.074 Mash, expecting 1.080 so not too far off.  That is actually pretty good on a brew day where you can't keep the mash temperature consistent.  They were also mashing at a fairly high temperature to create more mouth feel.

You can see the amazing deep dark
brown color, almost black... yes I
know BJCP says Black... I dont
really care.  It's awesome. 
The stout on the other hand overshot.   Mark kept it at 154-156 for the entire mash, and we still overshot by .05 points.  Still with in tolerable limits.   I must admit I love the smell of stout mashing. The roasted grains create the most wonderful aroma.   Some people cap their mash with the roasted grains opting for less bitterness, and "toasty-ness" from the grains.  But I prefer to just use a little less and let all of those flavors mash away.   I think that makes my stouts a cool color, deep brown, almost black, and full flavored.   They can take some time to mellow, but I don't really mind the wait.

The boils were uneventful.  Both systems easily handled the volume being boiled.  The weizenbock finished it's boil about 12 minutes before the stout.  Not quite enough time to chill before the stout was finished but close enough.  Next time well space them out better.   The weizenbock was chilled with the stainless 25 lft chiller.   It chilled in about 18 minutes.   The stout was chilled with both chillers.  It chilled in about 12 minutes.   Love using both chillers. Using two coils chills so fast.    The simplest and most affordable way to chill rapidly is to use two 25 linear foot chillers.   Just expand one large enough to allow the other one to slide into it.   Make sure all of your clamps and hoses are tight.  Boom, instant turbo powered chilling.

Aeration with a mixing
Jake and John are experimenting with a new way of aerating wort prior to yeast pitch.  New to us at least.  And it worked great.   They attached a mixing paddle to a drill.  The mixing paddle was sanitized, and used to aerate the wort.   The stout was aerated with our standard aquarium pump method.

John pitching a 1 liter starter of wheat beer yeast into the
weizenbock.  It really took off. 
John made a yeast starter for the weizenbock.   It is a 1.074 beer, so it was necessary to pitch a big healthy colony of yeast.  If you're not making yeast starters, give it a try it is actually really easy.  A cup of DME, 4.25 cups of water... some yeast... easy.  Of course you have to sanitize everything.  But you don't even need a stir plate.  I suggest watching the brewing tv video, and using yeast calculator.  Just make sure you tell it how you're making your starter...  And despite what you may have read you can use liquid or dry yeast.   We use both. But remember it is hard to get more than 300 Billion cells growth per liter, so you may need to do a step up.  Making a yeast starter has lots of great benefits; less chance of minor infection, cleaner beer with less esters and phenols, faster fermentation, and higher attenuation of the yeast.  We only needed 277 Billion cells so, no step up was needed.

We had the common sense to attach a blow off tube to the weizenbock.  Good thing we did.  John is fermenting it upstairs to keep it warmer than usual.  We want those wheat beer flavors... He reports full blow off, and bubbling so loud that it kept them awake at night.  Awesome...well awesome except for keeping John and Beth awake.

I think next time we do a double batch, we'll make 10 gallons of John's cream ale recipe. Brew on 2 systems and combine.  He calls for kolsch yeast, but you may want to try US05 for a crisper beer, or white labs cream ale blend. It is really excellent recipe.  UPDATE:  TRY K-97 for john's cream ale recipe.   He leaves out the rice... and after years of "barley, corn, rice... repeat" cream ale recipes, it is a really nice change.

That's all for now sports fans...



  1. That's the life of a brewer. Talking about st. Patricks day in January, Christmas in September, lol
    Good article man!

  2. Thanks Lucas. I have some cool stuff coming up with Fermentis on Yeast. We have tried the stout and the weizenbock they are both amazing.