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Maibock

April 12, 2014

As a second – and really the motivational – brew in my Spring Lager Binge, I will brew a Maibock.  As opposed to the partial mash in the past, I will be going without the extract this time.  Consistent with that, the mash will consist of ~70% German pils and 30% light German munich.  The brew shop indicates 1.5L Pils and 6L Munich, so it should be pretty light in the end.  Considering this light grist, I will need to perform a slaked lime treatment the night before with the usual 1 g/gal slaked lime and 0.5 g/gal CaCl2.  I plan to follow that up with Gypsum to balance the Cl- in the mash.

Recipe

Beersmith Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (4/13/14)

My first brew back in the garage after a long, cold winter.  Despite it being better setup for brewing with a 3-tier setup and proper kettle and HLT with fittings, it feels like more of a chore.  I’m not sure if it’s more because I’m outside by myself for several hours or because I keep running in and out to get things and to not be alone in the garage.  Regardless, if the weather is good enough, I figure I’ll keep brewing outside.  I can get full-batch boils up to 10-gallon batches and if I make a mess it’s outside on concrete so I can just spray it down.

Unlike my Munich Helles brew, I was able to hit my temperatures really well with the decoctions.  I’m sure it helped to decoct 1/3rd each time, more than BeerSmith tells me to so I was able to just continue adding until I got the right temperature.  When returning the thick decoction, I actually added a little cool water from the HLT to allow me to return all of the mash.  I figure it’s safe enough because I was targeting on the low-end of water-to-grist (1.5 qt/lb) so the extra water shouldn’t have made it too thin.  The thin decoction for mash out also hit right on, but I didn’t have to add any cool water, which was fortunate because I had my HLT up to sparge temperature @ 170° F.  This meant I was able to properly mash out and sparge at ~170° for once.

Prior to winter, I had gotten away from tracking gravity during the boil, but tried to keep an eye on it this time.  Not knowing where my measuring stick was to determine when to stop the lauter based on volume, I instead used the refractometer to try to stop at the correct gravity.  Unfortunately, the refractometer wasn’t calibrated well for the wort – something I didn’t notice until after the brewing, of course – so I ended up at ~1.053 pre-boil when I thought I was at 1.059.  The OG then ended up being 1.066 when I was shooting for 1.070.  I don’t expect it will have a major impact on the final beer, though.  Really, if I was able to only lauter until I got to the right volume, I think I might have been pretty on.  It was only that my refractometer told me I was still high on gravity that I kept lautering, thinking I already had enough volume.

Started the whirlpool about 5 minutes prior to flameout to sanitize the chiller, pump, and tubing.  This is something I’ve always done with my chiller, but the addition of the whirlpool has me concerned about DMS.  While the kitchen brewing was unable to bring the wort back to a rolling boil after adding the chiller due to low power output, my banjo burner has plenty of power to bring my wort back up to a boil.  It seems like the whirlpool might prevent that turnover though, because I saw no more rolling after starting the whirlpool, being replaced with the whirlpool itself (i.e., the circular motion of the whirlpool prevented the noticeable vertical exchange of bubbles with the surface).  Now I don’t think there’s anything to worry about; just because I don’t see the bubbles forming and escaping through the turnover of the wort doesn’t mean it’s not still happening and taking DMS with it.  Further, I could find no mention of anyone else concerned about it on the internet, some going so far as to imply that DMS isn’t a real concern, similar to hot side aeration or overpitching.  Maybe I’m just too sensitive to DMS after tasting my latest Munich Helles which seems to have the same flaws my previous brew did (if not worse).  Hopefully nothing shows up in the finished beer, but if so, I might need to consider how I handle the sanitation in the future.

Fermentation

As planned, I siphoned the Maibock wort on top of the Helles yeast cake, having kegged the Helles earlier in the day.  I ended up letting temperatures adjust for several hours (6 – 8?) before siphoning, with the Maibock reading right around 48° F.  Hopefully, the rest was long enough for a significant amount of trub to settle and get left behind, but I didn’t notice a lot of what was left in the original fermenter, so I’m not sure.  Fortunately, the run-off from the kettle was pretty clean, so there shouldn’t have been too much to separate.

Fermentation was in full swing by the afternoon following pitching (<18 hours), filling the keezer with a strong sulfur odor.  Temperature solidly maintained at 48° with fermentation activity for at least a week.

After ~2 weeks:  krausen has considerably fallen but airlock maintains activity, bubbling a few times a minute.

Sample @ 3 weeks:  1.017 – Clear, golden.  Moderate “green” beer fragrance (diacetyl?) along with caramel.  No detectable hop aroma but firm bitterness throughout masking subtle munich malt character (caramelly, bready).  Potentially some hot alcohol (hopefully it smoothes to “warming”).

Impressions

This is a pretty darn good beer.

Appearance:  Brilliantly clear, golden.  Moderate white head dissipates to an odd kind of “colonies of bubbles” that one could maybe describe as “rocky,” though maybe “clumpy” is better.

Aroma:

Flavor:

Overall:  I kinda want to submit this to competition to see how it would do.  I really like it.  Hopefully I can get around to bottling some up (something I’ll probably need to do in order to free up some keezer space for fermenting) and hopefully I can keep up with my brewing so I don’t have to raid it so I can keep some bottles around for a bit.

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From → All-Grain, Brews, Lager

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