Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saison de Rye

Brew date: March 28, 2015
#37 - 4.5 gal and 2.25 gal

About a month ago, I picked up a six pack of Door County Brewing's Biere de Siegle, more or less on a whim. It really knocked my socks off and is the inspiration for this beer. I was already considering doing a saison for my next batch, and this sealed the deal.

Besides doing a lot of drinking sampling to get the flavor profile just right, I found this great article which breaks down the grist ratios of Biere de Siegle. In addition, I did a fair amount of reading up on saison as a style, including posts from Growler magazine, BYO, and BeerSmith. I also found this BeerSmith video podcast on saison to be tremendously helpful.

Bottle Yeast Capture

Besides the article on Biere de Siegle, I decided to try capturing yeast from some of the bottles I was already drinking sampling. I built up the culture over two weeks and by the time I made my final starter, I had at least 1.5 L ready to rock. I pitched this in just over 2 gallons of wort. I'm excited to see how it compares to Wyeast's Belgian saison strain. Unfortunately, I'm only set up to warm one carboy, so I selected the Wyeast to receive this treatment. Until I know how the DCB strain ferments, I want to make sure the larger of the two batches ferments closer to the temperature profile.

Insulated Mash Kettle

After the wide temperature swings I experienced during my last batch, I outfitted my mash kettle with a few layers of reflectix insulation wrap. It did a great job holding my temperature, even during a prolonged mash. This stuff will be invaluable next winter! (Note: Do not attempt to heat the kettle while the wrap is on. The burner
will melt it.)

Brew Day

Given the substantial amount of rye (~30%), I opted to do a protein rest and added a half pound of rice hulls to prevent a stuck mash (it was still a pretty slow runoff on brew day).

Brew day went long due to slow mash run off, pump problems (I had to take it apart), cinched water hoses, and a slipped tube during whirlpool. This was on top of a protein rest and and extended mash. By day's end, I was pushing 8 hours -- set up to cleaned up. WAY too long.

On the plus side, it was a clear and comfortably warm spring day and I had my dad over for company.

11 lb Pilsen malt (Dingemans)
2.5 lb Rye malt (Briess)
1.5 lb Flaked rye (Briess)
0.5 lb Vienna (Best Malz)
0.25 lb White wheat malt (Briess)
0.5 lb Rice hulls
0.5 oz Styrian goldings (4.5%, pellet) (60)
0.75 oz Crystal (3.8%, pellet) (60)
0.5 oz East Kent Goldings (5.7%, pellet) (60)
0.25 oz Fuggle (5.3%, pellet) (60)
1 t Irish moss (15)
0.5 oz Styrian goldings (4.5%, pellet) (15)
1.5 L Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison starter
1.5 L Door County Brewing - Biere de Siegle yeast starter

Water profile from Brewer's Friend calculator:
5 gal filtered water
5 gal RO water
7 g Gypsum

OG: 1.065
FG: 1.016
ABV: 6.37%
IBU: 30

Mash in 6 gal @ 129F
Protein rest @ 122F (15)
Sacc rest @ 148F (90)
Mash out (10)
Batch sparge 4 gal (10)
Boil (60)

First running: 2 gal @ 1.088
Second running: 5 gal @ 1.048
OG: 1.067*
*Added 0.8 gal filtered water 10 minutes before end of boil. Original gravity was 1.073. 

Chill to 66F and pitch
First 24 hrs - 64-66F
Warm to 73F (range 71-73)
Warm to 74F on 3/31 (range 72-74)

Fermentation #2:
Chill to 66F and pitch
Ferment at room temp 64-66F

Monday, April 6, 2015

Heart Full of Black Russian Imperial Stout [bottled]

Bottle date: March 31, 2015

74 g corn sugar
1.5 c filtered water

Desired CO2: 2.2 vol (4 gal @ 60F)
FG: 1.023

Transferred remaining 1 gallon to secondary on 4 oz cacao nibs for a few weeks.

Heart Full of Black Russian Imperial Stout

Brew day: Feb. 14, 2015
#36 - 5.5 gal

I picked a damn cold day to brew this one -- single digits, blustery. It wreaked havoc on my mashing temperatures: One minute I'm reading a solid 153F for my sac rest, I walk away for 10-15 minutes and it's plummeted to 135F. Lots of tweaking all afternoon. And given the mash thickness, heating the kettle was also hard to gauge. I would get temperature spikes up to 170F if I wasn't constantly stirring during heating. Regardless of all this work, my efficiency was still WAY off.

I also recently saw this post about tips for brewing big beers, which recommends accounting for a lower original gravity once you start getting north of 1.080... Shit. I wish I had known all of this during the planning stages of this batch.

15.25 lb Maris Otter (Muntons)
1 lb Roasted Barley (Briess)
1 lb Caramel 120L (Briess)
1 lb Chocolate malt (Briess)
0.75 lb Caramel 40L (Briess)
0.5 lb Flaked Oats (Briess)
0.25 lb Black malt (Briess)
1 oz Northern brewer (10.6%, pellet) (60)
0.5 oz Columbus (15.2%, pellet) (60)
0.5 oz East Kent Goldings (5.0%, pellet) (15)
1 t Irish moss (15)
1.5 L starter 2 pk Wyeast 1028 London Ale
5 gal RO water
5 gal filtered water
5 g gypsum
5 g baking soda
4 g calcium chloride
Mash in 6 gal at 166F
Sac rest @ 153F (60)
Mash out @ 168F (5)
Batch sparge 4 gal (10)
Boil (60)
Chill to 60F
OG: 1.094
FG: 1.023
ABV: 9.3%
IBU: 66
1st runnings: 3.5 gal @ 1.093
2nd runnings: 1.040
Pre-boil: 6.5 gal @ 1.070
OG: 5 gal @ 1.081

Pitch @ 57F
Allow to rise 8 hrs and heat to 64F in furnace room
Peak fermentation temp hit 70-72F over 24 hrs
Chill to 60F for 12 hrs in laundry room
Warm to 63-65F and move to furnace room