Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Random Homebrew Stuff

I finished my first partial mash experiment on Saturday. It went...ok. I made a Hefeweizen using the following recipe:

2 lb 2-Row
2 lb White Wheat Malt
3.75 lbs M&F Wheat DME
.75 oz Hallertau 3.2% (60 minute)
.5 oz Hallertau 3.2% (30 minute)
WYeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen

I mashed the 4 lb mini-mash in a little more than 4 Qts at 152F for an hour. Then I sparged with 2G at 170. I ended with a 63% efficiency, which doesn't seem great but also seems in the ballpark...especially for my first effort. Plus, I have a feeling partial mashes will always have lower efficiencies than real all-grain methods because the sparging will never be as good. I used grain bags and poured the water (slowly) over and through the bags, but I think it would be better to be pouring over an actual grain bed. Maybe next time I'll work out a method involving a strainer or colander. Thanks to Daniel's book I was able to take a gravity reading after the mash and calculate exactly how much DME I would need to hit my target. It worked well, as I hit 1.050-1.051 when I was shooting for 1.052. My brewday lasted much longer than I'm used to, but much of it was figuring out logistics regarding the process (plus I broke a thermometer and had to go out and buy a new one) and it should run much more smoothly next time. Overall, I was please with the results and look forward to exploring this new method.

I tried one of my Centennial IPAs on Saturday after about 2 weeks in the bottle. Carbonation level was still a bit low, but not terribly so...a bit of a head formed. It tasted great. The bitterness was a little restrained compared to what I wanted, but I can attribute that to my soft water and hops that must have been from last year's harvest (they were in a nitrogen flushed package and stored properly, but still). Still, it has plenty of bitterness to let you know you're drinking an IPA, it's just a little softer. Contributing to this is a touch of sweetness provided by the Crystal malt, which gives it a nice complexity. Mandy seemed to love it since she drank most of it!

I bottled my Porter last night (or should I say India Dark Ale?). Mandy and I have started calling it "The Thing" and I labelled it with an X on the bottle caps. Two weeks in secondary have mellowed out the hops a lot and allowed some of the more traditional porter qualities to come out. Still, it has quite a bit of bitterness and hop flavor. I liked it, but I'm anxious to see how a few weeks of bottle conditioning will affect it. Will it be more of a porter, or more of an experimental hoppy beer? I think it will be drinkable (because it's drinkable now), but will I truly enjoy it?

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