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Fall 2014 Alt

May 28, 2014

Gonna try an alt brew using leftover Wyeast 1056.  Judging by past evaluations, I have been happy when using an appropriate (~1.5%) Carafa II as opposed to ~0.5% – which resulted in too light of color – or a mix of debittered black and black patent, therefore I may need to go to Brew and Grow to grab a bag.  Other than the yeast and taking care with the carafa though, the recipe is a straight scaling up of the last 3 alts I’ve brewed (matching the Carafa of the first).

In order to keep temperature low, I can fit one fermenter in my Rubbermaid and just change out ice as needed, but I’m not sure what to do with the second.  After I bottle up at least one of my existing kegs and until I brew my Doppelbock, I suppose I can use the keezer set to the low 60’s (though I’d rather not since I’d like to drink the beer in there colder than that).  For temperature, I figure ~65 might do well considering it will be low for the 1056 even if fermentation with a proper alt yeast would be more like 60-62.

Scratch that, I never got around to brewing again before moving from Wisconsin to Oregon.  Now that the 1056 yeast is long gone, I decided to get proper WLP036 yeast (is it available year-round now?) and put it to use on the grains I had bought.  However, now that I’m starting over brewing, I have the full keezer available for temperature control so I can fit 2 carboys and I bumped up the volume to a full 10 gallons and I’ll try to ferment at 60 (like my last alt).

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (9/21/2014)

First brew in the new house with attached garage.  The distance isn’t really that much shorter, but it feels like the house is a lot more accessible and that I’m not cooped up by myself brewing.

During the mash I used a new corded drill with paint stirrer to break up clumps and mix everything together.  Also, didn’t have my electronic thermometer ready for dough-in so I used my old mechanical thermometer.  I thought I remembered that it read 5 degrees high, so I took it beyond the 154° strike temperature, hitting about 160° instead.  Still, it read ~141° when I did get the electronic thermometer going shortly thereafter.  I ended up recirc’ing through the boil kettle back on top of the mash for a little while.  Setting up the pump was a little bit of a challenge but after 20 minutes or so I got the temperature up to the desired 148° and left it there for the remainder of the mash.

I didn’t start heating the sparge water soon enough, so the mash went long while I brought it up.  After getting it to temp though, I kept it there pretty good for the whole sparge (adding water periodically to keep it topped off and keeping it bouncing around 170°).

Chilled to 72°.  Took 23 minutes just to get there with the warm hose water, so I called it good.  Transferred fermentors (6-gallon and 5-gallon Better Bottles) to keezer to chill to 60°.

Seriously overshot my gravity target.  Pre-boil was 1.061, OG was 1.070.  Better to be high than low, I suppose.  I just hope I have enough yeast…

Fermentation

Left fermentors in keezer overnight at 55° to allow starter to finish.  Meanwhile, boiled second stage of starter.  Following morning, crashed starter for an hour or so in the fridge and decanted.  Poured second step wort (~1600 mL) on top, placed back on stir plate in keezer (now at 60°).  Left until lunch (~5 hours) before splitting starter between the two fermentors (6-gallon getting ever so slightly more).  Not much activity until the following morning (>36 hours after cooldown) when thick heads were observed and slow bubbling in blowoff jar (I made sure to accommodate blowoff this time).

Started lagering in garage fridge @ ~42° on 10/10/14.

Samples:  Licorice flavor that is consistent with other alt brews.  Seems likely it’s a yeast character.

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