The bird burned as the beer boiled
27 October 2013 AD
A chocolate stout.
While brewing, I came upon a dead raven in the yard. Given that I was planning this stout to be consumed on winter solstice, I took this to be a bad omen. This one at least, will not be available to make the journey into the other world to bring back the sun. So, I decided I would give him a proper sendoff.
Nevermore, my brother…
- 10 pounds American 2-row malt
- 1 pound crystal 120L (the brew store did not have 80L)
- 12 oz roasted malt
- 4 oz chocolate malt
- 9.9 AAUs Northern Brewer
- 5.3 AAUs UK Fuggle
- White labs Irish Ale
Starter made with 1/2 c light extract to 1 pint of water
Mash schedule- simple infusion
I mashed in with about 4 gallons of water, enough to get the grains all wet. Mash and rests all went very smoothly.
- Strike temp 130
- Mash in to 124F.
- 30 minute protein rest
- Raised to 150F for a two hour sach rest
The sparge went… less smoothly
- Unknown quantity of sparge water at 170F
About 5 minutes into the sparge, I heard a troubling sound. I looked up to see that the hose that ran from the sparge water bucket to the sparge arm had pulled out of the bucket and water was shooting into my garage from 7 feet up like a drunken droid pissing off the top of the stadium wall. I tried to reinsert the hose, but with the water at 170F, that proved difficult, and my options were limited. Fortunately, the bucket top that holds the sparge arm over the lauter tun has a big hole in it (for viewing I guess), so I was able to direct the pissing stream into the bucket until I could get the water level low enough in the water bucket to tilt the bucket and stop the stream. Then I reinserted the hose, but by this time I had lost a lot of water into the garage and run a lot of it in a rather haphazard way into the lauter tun.
I considered heating more sparge water, but by the time it got hot, the mash would have cooled down. So, I just decided to go with whatever liquid I had. I thought I would end up with a small volume, but it would be the heavier running so on the strong side. At the end, it did not turn out to make much difference.
S.g. was 1.043 or so at start of boil. Since I thought I would be short on liquid, I did not want a long boil. I boiled one hour, adding all hops at start of the rolling boil.
While the beer was boiling, I constructed a pyre to send off brother raven in a fitting manor.
Starting Gravity= 1.055
Pitched yeast starter just before bed. The starter was bubbling well before pitching. By morning, a vigorous fermentation had commenced, bubbling out of the blowoff tube in the spare bathroom. I don’t know why when I make stouts, the fermentation is vicious, but when I try to make other things, I have a hard time getting it moving.