Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Our Saturday Double Brew Session 8 hours of brewing fun...

8 hours is a long brew day.  If you have ever dreamed of being a professional brewer... try a double batch day.   Not a partigyle.  A true double batch day.   We have been double batching for a while now, in an effort to build up stock.  But with 16 gallons fermenting, I think we're in pretty good shape.  So next weekend a single 5.5 gallon batch of beer, partial mash style.   The team understands all grain.  Now I'm going to teach them a more reliable, and in my honest opinion, better method.

On saturday we were at it again. This time two beers, a standard american lager (just for learning about lagers) and another improv pale ale.   Each week I try to add another element to our brew day. These guys are beer fanatics.  I may have finally found my championship team.  And finally, after weeks of anticipation, Jake joined the team.   It was a welcome addition.   His pallet is excellent.   He can taste a beer and describe accurately what it needs to go to the next level.   With my experience, John's passion, MA's exotic beer knowledge and Jake's pallet I think some medals are in our future.   Who knows, a medal here, a medal there, a small microbrewery... then world domination and the fall of the MBC conglomerate...(insert maniacal laughter here).

We milled our own grains this week.  There was a slight snafu in terms of grain volumes, but fortunately we have plenty of grains, so we were able to adjust.  We grind our grist fine.   We set the mill gap to the size of a credit card.  Yes this creates some flour.  But we use a brew bag so we don't care.  I haven't had a stuck sparge in years.   If you're not using a brew bag, you need to be.   Even if you are a 3 vessel guy.  It completely eliminates the need for vorlauf.
And because you can grind your grain bill smaller, your efficiency will improve. Please don't argue about this point, it is so well established.  Physics is Physics everywhere in the known universe.  More surface are = more starch in contact with more enzymes more quickly...   You can see in the photo just how fine we mill the grains. On this day, in this kitchen... we hit 91.2% efficiency... yes 91.2%.

We were brewing on this day with RAHR 2 row base malt.   If you don't know RAHR they are a major producer of brewing malts.  A lot of guys think of Rahr as the affordable choice, but affordable does not mean lower quality.   I love 2 row base malt for general all purpose brewing.  It is incredibly consistent and extracts like a champion every time.   Special thanks to RAHR and BSG for their advice and support.  If you have any questions about malt, or brewing that you can't get answered locally.   Reach out to the maltsters, and suppliers.  You think you love beer?  These guys really love beer, and they are happy to help.

We followed our normal taste and test procedure for the mash.   Tasting occasionally and testing for conversion with iodine. When it passes the iodine test and tastes right, we're done with the mash.   If we need more melanoidal malty flavors, we remove some of the mash and we decoct... oooh fancy... not really. This is just the old school stuff we used to have to do to get the flavors we wanted.

When the mash was over we drained the bag, and Jake squeezed it like it owed him money.  Then off to the boil.   The hops?  all saaz.   So this will be an americanized version of a czech saaz lager.   (we didn't use pilsner malt).  We chilled, aerated like crazy (30 minutes with an aquarium pump) and we pitched rehydrated Fermentis 34/70, my workhorse lager yeast.

Temperatures are perfect in the garage right now for lagering.  The batch is holding steady at 52 F.   Should be a great clean, american lager.

Then like crazy fools... we did the entire process all over again...

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