So it has happened...the journey away from extracts and into grains has begun! Hello big@$$ stock pot, nylon bags, and mash temps. What's that? Full Boil? What the deuce? Calculations for time, water, and temperature...what...have...I...done? Hopefully made a successful transition to stovetop Brew In A Bag (BIAB)
Dark Voyage DunkleWeiss - Brewed on 11/23/2010 - 2 lbs Weyermann Light Wheat - 1 lb Malteurop 2-Row - 8 oz Weyermann Light Munich - 8 oz Briess Caramel 60 - 2 oz Briess Chocolate Malt - 1 oz Briess Midnight Wheat Malt - 4 oz Wheat DME (yep...I added this at the end to raise the gravity and ABV) - 1/2 oz Tettnanger pellets - 1/2 pack (left over from Simple Wheat) of Danstar Munich yeast I began the process by gathering up 27 cups (about 1.6 gallons) of water and brought it up to about 166* in my brandy-new 6 gallon stock pot (Sam's Club has a great price on this FYI) over the power burner of my gas stovetop. I also pre-heated my oven to its lowest setting (170*). I stretched the nylon bag (paint strainer from Lowes) over the pot and slowly added all of the crushed grains (so everything but the DME) while stirring the mix. After getting everything incorporated I checked the temp and it was down around 152*, so I turned the flame back on for a minute and brought it back up to 156*...flame off and I put the pot (lid on) into the oven. It barely fit, but it fit! I turned the oven off and let it sit for 60 minutes to mash. Every 20 minutes or so, I stirred the grains, turned the oven back on for a minute, and then returned the pot back inside it warming chamber. By the time the 60 minutes were up, the temp was still around 152*, and the wort looked and smelled lovely.
Time to drain the grains, so that entailed simply standing there holding the bag to let all the goodness drip out into the pot. Super fun...ugh. There has got to be a better way, but that will have to come later down the road. Next up, gotta try to "sparge" the grains to rinse all of the sugars off of them and get enough water volume into the boil. There are many options here, but I was shooting for the best efficiency possible, so here is what I did with what I had available: I heated up 1.5 liters at a time to about 170*, and poured it over the grains which I had put into a different pot (still in the nylon bag). I then stirred it up for a minute, let it sit while I heated up the next 1.5 liters, then drained the bag and poured that runoff into the big pot. I repeated this process for a total of 6 times, so I added about another 9 liters for my boil. This was a little time consuming, but, again, best I could do with what I've got. The spent grains were tossed in the bushes outside (I hear it is good compost), and the process continues.
Looking into the pot it seemed a little more than half full (remember 6 gallon pot and I was shooting for a MB sized batch)...so I figured I was good to go with the boil. It took a few minutes, but it eventually started boiling. Stupid me, I forgot to put another nylon bag on the pot for the hops addition, so I tried that out...a few minor burns later, the bag was in place. In went the Tettnanger pellets, and on went the timer for 60 minutes. At this point I contemplated the DME addition. A part of me wanted to skip it and thusly call this batch ALL GRAIN, but I did want to use some (since I have it and do not like being wasteful)...so with 15 minutes left I mixed it with 3 cups of water, brought it to a boil in a separate small pot, then added it to the big pot. Hopefully the end result is a little more in the body and ABV of this beer.
Once the boil finished, I moved the pot into the sink an ice bath and waited...and waited...and, well you get the idea. It took FOREVER for the wort to cool (now I am looking into an immersion chiller). The next hurdle was getting said wort into the MB keg. I didn't trust myself pouring directly from the pot (perhaps it is time to spend a few $ on a siphon) so I ladeled (is that a real verb?) the whole friggin' batch into the keg. That took a decent amount of time too. But, I did not spill anything, and I was able to leave a bunch of break material and junk in the pot.
When I started to cool the wort initialy, I also began to rehydrate the yeast. that whole process is only supposed to take like 15 minutes, and I had it sitting out for about an hour, so I hope the little guys get to work ok. Most of it seemed to simply settle on the bottom of the glass...so I am also hoping that the yeast was still good. A few days in the fermenter will tell that tale. I pitched on the high side (tired of waiting) at about 78*.
Fast-forward to the next morning: the keg temp was 76* and there was a thin krausen layer over the wort, so I will keep an eye on things for sure, but it appears that the Munich will do its thing and make some beer!
Ferment through: 12/7/2010 Bottle (in regualr bottles this batch) and carb through: 12/21/2010 A few were put into the fridge on 1/3/2011
First tester of the New Year!: 1/5/2011 - The tester was the trub bottle, and in had enough in it to fill a standard pub glass. The pour created a finger and a half of creamy off-white head sitting atop the dark earthy brown beer, and released aromas of chocolate and roasted malt. VERY pleasant I must say. The carb level was nice and the beer went down smooth. There were hints of dark chocolate and roasted nuts on the tongue, and the traditional wheat flavors were swirling in the background throughout the sip. A slight bitterness lingered for a moment, but it was not off-putting. For having cold conditioned for a mere two days, this turned out better than I had hoped. Looking forward to trying another one in a week or so.
- Had a little sampling on 1/16/2011 (Happy Birthday Julia!) and got similar responses to all those that tried this beer out. Chocolate nose immediately, but more of a roasted malt flavor with a slight dark/baking chocolate (as in a tad bitter) finish. It was definitely tasty! Stovetop BIAB = success! ~Next recipe~