Thursday, August 15, 2013

American Wild Ale 2013 - Brewday

It was clear after the pre-NHC tasting of all my sour experiments that the inaugural batch from my Homebrew Horny Tank was ready to keg. The HHT yielded a sharp acidity along with yeast-derived flavors of citrus, mango/pineapple, and musty basement. A lovely beer on its own, it will be a pleasure to blend with other vintages or fruit.

To move one beer out of the HHT means immediately replacing it. This second batch of wort was similar to the first: blond with 50% wheat, produced via turbid-mash. The remaining 50% of the grist was a blend of Rahr Pale Malt and Weyermann Pilsner Malt, a change that hopefully allows more malt character to come through in the finished product.

Last Christmas, a friend of mine graciously gave me several pounds old, loose-leaf hops he found while packing for a move. The Saaz and Mittelfruh varieties were already well on their way to being a perfect match for wild ale. On brewday, they were ready to go: dry with a faint, hay-like aroma, and devoid of any cheesy/mildewy flavors you might expect from poorly stored hops. Don't get me wrong - aging hops will normally stink of leftover Parmesan for awhile during the transition to properly aged hops.

All the details of the turbid-mash brewday are below. I took lots of pictures to (hopefully) make the procedure more clear and the read less tedious.

American Wild Ale 2013

Brewday: 07/21/13
Batch Size: 8 gallons
Estimated Mash Efficiency: 57.4%
Estimated OG: 1.049

8 lbs Raw Wheat (40%)
6 lbs Castle Pilsner Malt (30%)
6 lbs Rahr Pale Malt (30%)
2 lbs Rice Hulls

Hops: 4.8 oz Aged Hallertau Hops

Water: Kroger RO (10 gallons), Kroger Drinking Water (7 gallons)


Mash Water: Assume 2 qts/lb grain (40 qts = 10 gallons)

1st rest (113F) - 0.3 qts/lb
6 quarts of water at 138F (per Beer Smith), hold for 20 min
16:01 – mixed in Aluminum pot; T = 114F

2nd rest (136F): Infuse 3 qts boiling water (per BeerSmith), hold 20 min
16:25 – added 3 qts boiling water – 126F (boiled too long – may have loss ~ 1 qt)
16:32 – added 2.5 qts boiling water – 160F
16:37 – added 3 qts room temp water – 137F

Remove 1/3 of total liquor (4.8 qts), heat to 190F and hold
17:00 – Pulled 4 qts – heated to 192F (burn on bottom of pot??)

3rd rest (150F): Infuse ~3.25 qts boiling water (per BeerSmith, less 4 qts turbid pull), hold 30 min
17:10 – Added 4 qts boiling water: T = 146F
17:15 – added 70 oz (2.2 qts) boiling water : T = 150F, pH ~5.5 (per strip)
17:20 – added 1 tsp 88% lactic acid: pH ~5 (per strip)

Remove ½ of total liquor, heat to 190F, hold
Total liquor ~ 17 qts (less 1st pull). Pull ~ 8 qts
17:55 – Pulled 7 qts – heated to 194F with 1st pull

4th rest (165F): Infuse to mash out temp (165F), hold 30 min
18:00 – Added ~ 5.5 qts boiling water: T = 159F (good enough)
18:40 – Added turbid portion back to main mash (turbid T = 175F)

No rice hulls - dogs ate them:

Runoff: Collected 3.9 gallons with little resistance, despite a lot of raw wheat and no rice hulls. I think the first rest (beta glucanase rest) helped out here!

Sparged with 5.4 gallons at 162F (1.9 gallons would not fit)

Collected 9.1 gallons total at 1.043


20:15 – started boil. Added 3.5 oz aged Hallertau hops in 2 large grain bags (less than recipe, but it seemed like a LOT of hops!).

21:20 – SG = 1.050
21:53 – KO; chilled to 90F, transferred to bucket, and put in fridge. SP = 65F

Noticed plastic smell in bucket. Washed and re-sanitized. May be from Star San spray bottle? Taste before adding to HHT.

OG = 1.055

07/22/13 – Transferred to HHT at 65F (AWA from last year racked off immediately beforehand). No off-flavors in wort. Aroma was very much like honey. My sample was quite bitter, but I believe it was because I sampled after transferring (picked up sediment/trub/hop matter in sample).

Used extra wort to make starters for Bootleg Biology and BKYeast samples, as well as feed the wild culture.

07/28/13 – Took out of fermentation fridge after 1 week; no visual signs of activity (airlock bubbles, temperature rise). When I opened the lid, I noticed a thin, white pellicle and pineapple/grapefruit aroma (similar to last batch). Did not add additional bugs.

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