Friday, June 10, 2016

All Grain The Easy Way....No Sparge - just make some beer!

So we here at Counterbrew are kinda known for complicated mash schedules,  advanced decoction, water adjustments, absolute hop monsters, and mixed fermentations.  But we started this blog as a way to get people brewing better beer with easy methods.  To encourage new and intermediate brewers to try some all grain brewing, and to make it easy and fun for them.  So this week,  we'll be returning to our roots.   There will be no advanced mash schedule, no cold steep of roasted malts.  There will be no dry hopping,  no hop stands, and no decoction.  I know, it's shocking.

This week we make it easy. We make a recipe that will be ready quickly.  No Sparge and Grain to glass in a month (less time if you keg).   We are making water additions as easy as possible.  We are making the mash as easy as possible.   We are using a durable yeast that can ferment at basement temperatures.   Presenting the counterbrew, Easy Blonde.  This will be the beginning of a new series on Counterbrew, where we show you some extremely easy beers to brew.

Now, we did not develop the Centennial Blonde recipe,  credit for that must go to a gentleman who goes by Biermuncher on Home Brew Talk.   He has lots of great recipes, and finished with 2 of the top 3 recipes last year in the HBT top 100.   But this recipe is damn near the ultimate house ale.   Flavorful enough for craft beer fans, but easy drinking enough for beer muggles.  We will probably make 10 or 15 gallons of this, because it really is that good.   But we will present a recipe for 5.5 gallons.  If you have never tried the Centennial Blonde,  I truly encourage you to give it a try, it is a fantastic, almost magical blend of 2 hops.   We've changed the grains in the recipe over the years to meet our tastes, but we leave the hop bill alone.

Easy Blonde - Inspired by biermuncher's Centennial Blonde.
O.G, 1.042
F.G.  1.008
SRM - 4
IBUs - 22
ABV - 4.5%

6 # of Pale Ale (or pale two row)
2 # of Vienna
.5 # of C 20
.3 Centennial at 60 minutes
.3 Centennial at 35 minutes
.3 Cascade at 10 minutes
.3 Cascade at 0
US05 1 package - do not rehydrate.
1 whirflock 15
1 tsp yeast nutrient at 15
1 tsp gelatin fining

  • Mash grains at 150 F, for 60 minutes in 7.61 Gallons of water.  
  • After 60 minutes drain wort and begin the boil
  • Make hop additions at scheduled times. 
  • Chill - We'll be using our jaded hydra -  the best chiller you can buy.
  • Aerate - you can shake, use pure o2 (30 seconds), or use an aquarium pump
  • Pitch the yeast - pitch dry, sprinkle over the top.  
  • Ferment cool,  you can ferment this one in your basement, US05 is fine up to 72 F Ideal would be 64-66 F.
  • This will be done fermenting in about 5 to 7 days, but let it go for 2 extra days.  
  • Fine with gelatin and cold crash for 2 days. 
  • Keg or bottle. If you keg you can be ready to drink this beer in 14 days.  If you bottle you can be ready to drink in 21 days.  

You're going to love this beer.  I suspect it will become you go to house ale.   It is so critical to adjust your hops based on the alpha acids from year to year.   Sometimes we're at .6 per addition, sometimes were at .3, it just depends upon the alpha acids from year to year.  But keep them balanced, and don't change them.   It is the combination of centennial and cascade that make this beer fantastic.   Enjoy.  We'll post a brew day, next week.   We'll make sure to add videos, cause we know you guys like the videos.    But no sparge is really as easy as brewing gets.    Soon we're going to do a video of our super easy triple decoction in a bag bohemian lager... ok, well not super easy, but as easy as triple decoction can be.   In the near future, the gang will continue to make great beers, that any one can make,  but the small batch stuff will be highly focused on sour beers, and very high gravity beers.  In small batch we'll be exploring turbid mash, and reiterated mashing.

Update:  We brewed this beer, but It turned into a partial mash.  We were asked to test a new mash water calculator, and we did.  And It sucked.  I should have just used beer smith, or Brewtoad.   But fortunately the wort tasted amazing, so we were able to get to gravity with a DME addition late in the boil.  

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