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Deadweight Scotch #2

May 16, 2012

Having recently bought 2 55# bags of grain (1 Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter, the other Best Malz Dark Munich) and running low on my last ESB, it’s time to brew again.  Although not necessary, I wondered what I could brew that would use both of the malts I bought.  Of course my Deadweight Scottish came to mind.  Having heard the judges’ desire for a “bigger” beer, I upped the munich and the overall gravity.  I left the caramel and roasted barley the same, though.  I’ll mess with them next if I think I need to.

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe / Brewsheet

Pre-Brew

Milled the grain at a setting more coarse than normal (3rd from the most fine on the club’s Valley Mill).  Hopefully I’ll get a better lauter than I have been without sacrificing too much efficiency.

For future reference:  I ended up picking up Fuggles hop plugs this time.  It will be interesting to see what that’s like.  I had heard they were on the decline so I was surprised that the brew shop had plugs and not pellets.

Brew Day (5/20/12)

At the last minute, I decided to do a first wort hop instead of the 15 minute addition.  I suppose I’ll lose any aroma I would have gotten with the 15 minute, but thought I could accomplish the flavor and bittering with 2 oz. of hops that I was otherwise going to get with 2.5 oz..  Most importantly, I saved myself from having an opened bag of hops in the freezer.  I had meant to do a little less than half an ounce since Brewing Better Beer states that he counts FWH as 50% greater flavor contribution than an equivalent late hop addition, but it turned out to be too hard to split the plugs so I just threw in one 1/2 oz. plug.

Also, it looks like the coarser milling might have helped.  I still overshot my OG estimate, but not by too much (got 75% efficiency instead of the projected 70%).  The lauter went more quickly, too.  This time it was only 30 minutes or so and with the valve only about 1/2 open for most of it.  Lately, I’d been taking more than 45 minutes to lauter with the valve full open.

Finally, I added a section of tubing to the outlet of my chiller so it could reach all the way out of the garage.  I used to have a setup where I’d fill a bucket and dump it as it filled up to keep from flooding the garage, so I had to keep the flow rate downto be able to keep up.  With this modification, I was able to crank up the flow rate and despite it being a pretty warm day (~85 F), still chilled pretty quick (~10 minutes from flame out to 68 F).

Fermentation

Pitched shortly after running off to the carboy (about as long as it took to shower and grab some food).  With the high gravity, I ended up re-pitching 1 cup of yeast from my last ESB.  It was fairly dense, though not too packed (I set the cell concentration slider about 3/4 from the top on Mr. Malty’s calculator).  I also shook the heck out of the carboy to break up the clumps, so only oxygenated for 30 seconds.  Put carboy in Rubbermaid cooler with ~10 gallons of ~67 F water.

Krausen formed and good airlock activity by the following morning.  Kept cycling ice packs to keep temp in check.  Generally changed in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  Temperature hovered around 67 +/- 1.  While the temperature isn’t what I’d really like, the fact that I oxygenated well and pitched a lot of apparently healthy yeast makes me hopeful that I won’t have to worry about hot alcohol with this high gravity beer.  Time will tell.

Sample @ 6 days

1.033 – Caramel-sweet aroma with a heavy dose of alcohol.  Flavor is more of the same except the sweetness dominates and the alcohol is smoother than the aroma would suggest.  Still plenty noticeable, but not overpowering.

Kegging

Kegged after close to 2 weeks.  Gravity hadn’t been changing since the sample a week earlier, so I figured it was safe.  I’d really like to get better attenuation out of this, but with the high gravity I don’t know how possible that is.  I’ve heard East Coast Yeast has a nice Scottish strain that attenuates really well.  I’d like to try it sometime, but don’t think I’ll spring the cash for something like that just yet (the cost of the yeast plus cool shipping is a bit pricey).

The smell was awesome.  I’m really excited about this brew.  A really nice caramel with assertive, yet not overwhelming alcohol and a little bit of background spiciness (really need to pin that down…).  Unfortunately I had an issue with the last kegging and drained a full CO2 tank to nothing on it so I was out of CO2 for this kegging and the few days after (the refilling place wasn’t open on the weekend and I didn’t have a chance to get it filled the day after kegging which was a Friday).  Instead I added some priming sugar (~3/8ths of a cup of corn sugar – should give just shy of 2 volumes) and swirled everything up and purged a couple times with the lid on to displace the oxygen (swirling a third time to just build a little pressure to help seal the lid).  I’m not too optimistic that the lid will hold any generated pressure, but I’m hoping.

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From → Ale, All-Grain, Brews

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