Sunday, April 29, 2012

Batch #9 - Ryan's Wheat Revenge (All-grain)

Collecting the sweet wort.
This is my first attempt at all-grain after 8 batches of acceptable extract.  I'm actually more of a Pale Ale/IPA fan but with Summer looming this seems like a good recipe to start with.  That, coupled with the fact that my girlfriend said, "Why don't you ever make something that I like..?" sealed the deal.

Truth be told, this is actually my second attempt at this recipe.  The first one ended during the boil when my oldest son was checking the temperature and accidentally broke the glass thermometer into the wort.  Poor little guy was so upset he ruined Daddy's beer.  I felt bad for him and said, "Accidents happen little buddy - nobody should ever cry over spilled beer.".  Assuming this one comes out good I think I will re-name it in his honor to cheer him up.  How about, "Ryan's Wheat Revenge"?

OK, on to the beer...

5 lbs. 2-Row Pale Malt
4 lbs. Wheat Malt
8 oz. Cara-Pils/Dextrine
8 oz. CaraVienne
8 oz. Rice Hulls (to help establish the grain bed since wheat tends to be more sticky that 2-Row, etc.)
1 oz. Sterling Hops (45 minutes)
1 oz. Palisade Hops (last 2 minutes of boil)
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1 tblsp 5.2 pH mash stabilizer
5 oz. Corn Sugar or approximately 2/3 cup
9 gallons of drinking water (added .5 gallon to compensate for the added rice hulls) - Used Crystal Springs (Spring Water) with this batch.

Fermentation going crazy!
  1. Prepare a yeast starter at least 24 hours in advance of brew day.  Did not make a yeast starter for this batch since the alcohol content is relatively low.
  2. Clean and sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with your beer.
  3. Prepare your strike water by heating 13 quarts of water or 3.25 gallons (1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain) to a temperature of 162-170 degrees.  I heated the water to 169 degrees and this seemed to hit the target for mashing.
  4. Add about 4 quarts of your strike water to the mash tun to heat it up and begin adding your crushed grains and the remaining strike water.  Stir thoroughly to avoid dry pockets (dough balls).
  5. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined check the temperature to ensure it is approximately 152-154 degrees.  If not, adjust by adding hot or cold water.  Mash temp maintained about 153 degree throughout the hour.
  6. Once your mash is at the proper temperature add pH stabilizer and close the mash tun and let steep for 60 minutes.
  7. Prepare your sparge water by heating 5 gallons of water to a temperature of 170 degrees.
  8. Optional - check for starch conversion by performing an iodine test or simply taste the mixture.  If conversion has taken place the mixture will taste sweet.
  9. Perform vorlauf by slowly collecting the first runnings of your wort and adding them back to mash tun.    Take care to not let grain bed collapse by draining too quickly or dumping first runnings back in the mash tun with too much force.  Repeat this step 2-5 times until the runnings are free of debris and running relatively clear.
  10. Collect your first runnings into your brew pot by allowing all of the wort in your mash tun to slowly drain out.  Take your time and be careful to not let your grain bed collapse.
  11. After your mash tun has drained close the valve and add all of your sparge water to the tun and stir.  Do not worry about disturbing the grain be as you are going to create a whole new grain bed for the second runnings.
  12. Repeat Step 9 above (vorlauf) and collect enough wort until you have about 6.4 gallons of beer or a measured pre-boil specific gravity of 1.048.
  13. Return your brew kettle to burner and bring wort to a vigorous boil.
  14. As soon as the beer begins to boil add 1 oz. of Sterling hops for bittering and boil for 45 minutes.
  15. Add the wort chiller to the boil during the last 15 minutes to sterilize.
  16. During last 10 minutes of boil add 1/2 tsp. of yeast nutrient dissolved in small amount of warm water.
  17. With 2 minutes left in the boil add 1 oz. of remaining Palisade hops.
  18. Terminate boil and chill to fermentation temperature of approximately 70 degrees.
  19. Take a specific gravity reading and record.  Target SG is approximately 1.048 (according to BrewSmith software).
  20. Estimated post-boil volume is 5.98 gallons.  Optional - add water to achieve target SG.  Ended up with less than 5 gallons in carboy after boil.  Should have been more but still seemed to hit target OG.  Not sure what, if any, affect this will have on the finished product.
  21. Transfer to fermentation carboy.  I strained this batch to reduce trub.  Make sure you have the volume you are aiming for and if it is off then consider adding top-off water.
  22. Pitch yeast and aerate well using pure oxygen.
  23. Attach blow-off tube and ferment until complete according to hydrometer readings.
  24. Optional - Transfer to secondary fermentation carboy for clarifying.
  25. Prepare priming sugar by boiling 2 cups of drinking water and add 5 oz. (approximately 2/3 cup) of priming sugar.  Be careful not to scorch.  Boil for 5 minutes and add to bottling bucket.  Add wort, stir gently for 1 minute and bottle.  My last batch was over-carbonated so I am reducing the amount of sugar in this step to approximately 4 oz.
Notes, Results and Lessons Learned:
Batch #9 patiently bottle conditioning
  • Brew Day - May 5, 2012
  • Transfer to Secondary Fermentation - NONE - I've been reading a lot about this topic and there is a fair amount of evidence that keeping the beer in Primary for 3-4 weeks is beneficial and can produce better beer.  Secondary is useful for dry hopping and clarifying but can also introduce air which results in off flavors.  Experimenting with this Primary-only on this batch.
  • Bottling Day - May 28, 2012 (23 days in Primary - no Secondary).  Yield - 48 bottles.
  • OG - 1.051 - right on target!
  • FG - 1.010 - on target.  :-)
  • ABV - 5.4%
  • Notes:
    • I would increase the volume in step 12 to at least 6.5 gallons.
The Verdict:

Opened a few more bottle on June 16, 2012 and it seems to have improved over time.  I'm going to go ahead and enter this one in a couple of contests. I don't expect to win but would like to get some feedback on this one.

Update - dropped off 3 bottles at Twain's on 6/22/2012 for their Light/Dark competition.  Hope to at least get some feedback.

Update - made it to the final round of judging!  Winners to be announced 7/26 at 7pm.

Update - well.... we didn't win but it was truly nice to be recognized.  One of the judges said he really liked the flavor of the beer but in the end it was a Maibock that took the crown.  Here's how the winners stacked up:

1st - David Little My Bock Maibock
2nd - Brandon Red Rye Red Rye
3rd - Lee Webster Low Country Comfort Amarillo-hopped Pale Ale with Cerrano Peppers

1st - Ben Halter Coquito Stout Stout w/rum soaked cinnamon sticks + vanilla beans
2nd - Jonathan Crowe PDG Black IPA
3rd - Luke Rabun Buddha Belgian Stout Belgian Stout

Update - Entered this one into the Southern Brewer's Challenge on July 30th, 2012.

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