Exhausted. Totally spent the past 8(?) hours brewing... Usually, my AG brew day takes about 5-6 hours with clean up. Not sure what took so much longer this time, probably a bunch of little things I guess. Also, I took my time and tried to find my zen (eventually I did)... Probs shouldn't even be writing this up tonight but I want to get it out while the details are still in my head.
So... French Saison! I have been waiting to brew this beer for six months. The actual brewday was typical, pretty much the standard routine. But now that the brewday is done, I get to mess around with fermentation temps. While I have controlled ferm temps before, it was always to keep them normal despite environmental influence. This time, I am going to be pushing temps way beyond normal.
Quick summary of the recipe...
75% Pilsner, seems like all my beers these days use pils as the base malt... of course this also means a 90 minute boil...
25% Rye malt, my first time using rye. I had heard a lot about rye being worse than wheat for sticking a sparge. So I did my usual 1/2 pound of rice hulls just like I do for wheat and I had no problems.
1/2 pound of belgian candy sugar... added late in the boil, this serves two purposes. First, it adds a bunch of fermentable sugar so it will boost the ABV. Also, it will help the yeast really dry out the beer and attenuate really, really low.
For hops, I just did a single bittering addition and it wasn't anything drastic. This really just balances out the beer. Hops isn't the focus of this style.
Just to FF through the mash, preheated mash tun, heated strike water, doughed in (mix in grains to hot water), hit my mash temp (152) and mashed for an hour. I mashed out, double batch sparge... All total routine.
I'm kinda struggling for words tonight... so I hope you like pictures!
I was really nervous draining my second sparge. Wasn't 100% confident on my calculated volumes and was worried I would overflow the kettle. Last time I got another pot and ended up not needing to. This time, I played the full danger game and let it go... right to the top! Being this full, I really had to baby the boil so I wouldn't go over.
While I was heating up to boil, I cleaned out the mash tun. Here's a dirty tun and a bag full of spent grains. I know what you're thinking... "What can you do with those?" well, you can compost them, some people make dog treats with them, spread them out to attract deer... I can def tell you what not to do with them. Do not put the bag in the trashcan in the shed and forget about them for the hottest week of the summer. Holy. Crap. Worst smell ever.
Oh, what's this? a video? Sure! A full rolling boil, I could watch this for hours (oh wait... I totally do) Also... do you hear that?? Me neither. So quiet, totally chill...Also also, see all the stuff rolling around in there? That is the break material... coagulated proteins. A good hot break helps those proteins clump up and they will then settle out in the fermentor later. This will help a lot to get really clear beer... I have another pic later that will show you what I mean.
And here is my zen... Sitting in the quiet on a beautiful day, drinking beer I made while making more beer... Greatest hobby? I think so...
Idk if I ever showed what the hops look like...? They are ground up and extruded into pellets for better shelf life (I think) Looks like rabbit feed... Ask me about the time my three year old boy found a hop pellet I dropped while brewing. I'll give you a hint, he's braver than me and I am kind of a hop head... Also, I would bet money that he never picks one up again...
On the right is the Belgian candy sugar, basically rock candy. On the left is whirlfloc... one tablet added to the boil with twenty minutes helps to get clearer beer(er).
My gravity sample post boil... See how clear!?! If the pic was zoomed out a little more, you would see all that break material in the bottom of the sample tube. It settles out fast once it has a chance to sit still. Also, my gravity ended up at 1.061 (corrected for temp) that works out to 78% efficiency! so... that's awesome especially after the last two lower efficiency batches.
My super mad scientist setup for controlling the temps... Let's see... Fermentor in rubbermaid bin full of water. Aquarium heater in water. My electrical meter with thermocouple (really accurate thermometer) taped to the side of the fermentor to monitor temps. Also, starting out with a blowoff tube just in case..
So, that sums up brewday... I'll def document the temp control (should I do total nerdy graph?) because that is the part I am really excited about...
Also, kegged the Wibier 2.0 tonight. This one sat for 2 weeks which isn't a really long time for a beer, but twice as long as the last one. Tasted the sample and I am much happier with the flavor on this one (though I like the inefficient one too) am I full rambling here? I think probably... but the mouthfeel was more substantial and it has a smoother, rounder flavor than the Inefficient Witbier.
A look in the fermentor, you can see the orange peel and coriander seeds floating around...
Nice color, lighter than the last one. But check out that gravity! 1.008! Idk why it went down that low... I think because I mashed on the low side and then my mash temps fell 5 degrees over the hour (which I am finding is the norm doing 5 gallon batches in a 10 gallon mash tun)
Anyway... the other goal tonight was to kill the keg of Inefficient Wit. I knew it was really light and I needed the space in the kegerator to carb the Wit 2.0... Mission accomplished.
Also this. Total teaser for my next project...
Remember all that business about upgrading to ten gallon batches? Sure you do... Later.