Our grain bill, as well as our recipe in general, was pretty simple. But have no fear, we did a very complicated mash schedule for your amusement. For an 11 Gallon batch. 80% efficiency
The Humble Monk
1.042 OG (which we nailed)
12.1 # Castle Chateau Pilsen - Belgian Pilsner
1.1 # American Wheat - (lots of ferulic acid)
0.6 # Special B
1.0 # Belgian Candi Sugar at 10 minutes
0.3 oz of Magnum at 60
1.1 oz of Saaz at 30
1.0 oz of Nelson Sauvin at 3 (we know it isn't traditional but, you gotta have some fun weird stuff)
2 sticks of Cinnamon at 10 minutes
1 oz of Coriander at 10 minutes
|The wort was beautiful golden, and milky|
Now to make sure we created the esters we needed in the finished beer, and because we wanted to develop a great mouth feel for this beer, we had to do a multi step mash. We were already pitching dry, and fermenting at room temperature. But we had to create the right environment for the yeast. Step mashing is a breeze on this system. Here is our schedule.
15 minutes at 118-120 F
15 minutes at 132-134 F
40 minutes at 146-148 F
10 minutes at 156-158 F
|Brew Lab's 3v system. Makes multi step mashing a breeze.|
"Wait, what? you guys did something to limit your efficiency? how crazy are you? efficiency is the sacred holy bovine god of home brewing... how could you do that? more sugar is always a good thing right?" Well, "yes," we took steps to limit the transfer of sugars, and "no," more sugar is not always a better thing. Higher efficiency is not always a better thing. Like always, I am promoting the common sense notion, that brewing, is 45% cleaning, and 45% learning and 10% brewing. When you learn how to manage your mash, you can take steps like we took to get the beer you want. Maximum efficiency is not the goal of a mash The goal of a mash is creating the wort you want, and having a lot of fun.
Now if you don't want to do a multi step mash, and you certainly don't have to, an alternative approach is to adjust your grain bill to include more wheat. Trust me on this, a quality yeast will still give you the flavor you want. I love Fermentis Abbaye (BE256), WLP500, and WLP530. They are my favorite abbey style yeasts. I recently brewed with Imperial Monastery, and I'll let you know how it turns out. So far it seems pretty great too, but with a softer phenol profile. I haven't tried Wyeast Belgian Abbey, or Belgian Abbey 2 (1214 and 1762) so I cannot comment on them yet, but I'm sure they are wonderful as well. I should mention I have also brewed abbey style beers with Danstar Abbaye; it is also great stuff. Wow, we brew a lot of abbey style ales...
Before I go on I want to remind you that when you do a single step mash, you will not develop all of the same characteristics of a multi-step mash. You are asking sugars to do the job of proteins with regard to mouth feel and foam retention. A single step mash will work to a certain extent. But it won't be exactly the same. There is a reason the monks do step mashing and it is not just because of undermodified grains. ONCE AGAIN THERE IS MORE GOING ON IN THE MASH THAN THE SIMPLE CONVERSION OF STARCH INTO SUGAR. And I think we can all agree, they are pretty good brewers.
The boil went as expected 13 gallons boiled down to 11. We added our hops and spices at the appropriate times. We filtered, chilled and transferred. Then we pitched a pack of yeast in each carboy. We did not use oxygen to aerate. Fermentis is packaged with nutrients and oxygen. So all we did was shake the carboys for 5 minutes. That's it. The final result? We nailed it! 1.042 on the nose, and a clear golden elixir van de liefde. This should be an amazing beer. I can't wait to try it. If you are in Kansas City in about 3 weeks, stop by the BrewLab and try this beer!