18 March, 2014 AD
At the start of the brew day, I dropped my glass thermometer and broke it. Sadly, on the thermometer, it said “In case of breakage, DO NOT EAT or DRINK. ” I consulted with some other brewers (including Huck) and we decided that the tradition of drinking the same style as is being brewed was too delicate a balance to be neglected. However, I did abstain from food for the brew day.
This is a variation of the country-style festbier I made a few years ago. I wanted to put some wheat in there to give it a different flavor. I also played a bit with the other malts. Not too far out of range for the style, but a little non-traditional.
- 6 pounds Belgian Pilsner
- 2 pounds red wheat malt
- 1 pound Vienna malt
- 0.5 pound light crystal 10L
- 1 pound cara Munich
- 1 ounce Hallertau pellets (4.7% alpha) 1.5 hrs
- 1 ounce Hallertau leaf (4.1% alpha) split at 45, 15 minutes
- White labs Octoberfest Lager yeast
I made a starter the night before.
- about 14 quarts well water. Fix book says a little hardness in the mash is welcome in the style. The water at Solis Thoor is hard as shit, so I used it straight.
- Mash in: Strike temp = 100 F
- Glucanase rest: Temp = 100 F hold for 20’ (not sure where I got this idea)
- Protein rest: Raise to 125 F (122-127); hold 30‘
- Decoction 1: Remove 40% of thickest part of mash into second kettle
- Raise second kettle to 158 F (158-162); hold saccharification for 20’
- Keep rest mash 122 F (122-127)
- Bring second kettle to boil; boil 22’ (got a phone call…)
- Beta amylase rest: Recombine with rest mash. Came up a little cold, so put on fire to raise to 150 F (145- 153F) & hold for 30’
- Decoction 2: Remove 1/3 mash into second kettle, slowly raise to boil for 13’
- Alpha amylase Rest: Recombine with rest mash. Was dead on at 160 (158-162)F; hold for 1.5 hour (had to make a trip to feed a cat)
- Mash out: Raise to 170 F (168-171) and hold for 10’
- 4.5 gallons well water. Fix says the sparge water should not be hard as it brings out undesirable characteristics. So, I treated it with a tsp of calcium chloride.
The gravity at the start of the boil, just after sparge, was 1.048
- Total boil 1.5 hrs
- 4.7 AAUs (pellets) added at start of boil (boil time 1.5 hrs)
- 2.1 AAUs (leaf) added 45 minutes in (boil time 45 minutes)
- 2 AAUs (leaf) added 75 minutes in (boil time 15 minutes)
- to try to boost clarity a bit, I added 1 tsp Irish moss for last 15 minutes
Came up a little short on volume. Probably about 4.5 gals or so. Always disappointing after a 12 hour day. But I guess it is better than having 6 gals of bad beer. Color is a lot darker than I would have thought for the grain bill. Not really any dark malt in there, but I guess it picked it up from the cars Munich and maybe the red wheat.
Plan for storage:
Fix and Fix says that the beer should be transferred into the keg before the primary fermentation is over, when the gravity has dropped to 1.018 or so. I have never done it this way as I felt that the carbonation would be unpredictable. However, lately I have had so many carbonation issues that I am at the point where I am just not going to worry about it and pump it with CO2 to dispense. I am not going to try to prime it and get a natural carbonation. For the lagers, they are better with CO2 carbonation anyway.