Sunday, September 11, 2011

AG#3 All Grain, Extra Dark Stout

For my third all grain brew I wanted to do a Stout and having seen a couple of recipes I liked the sound of but was unable to decide between the two, I decided to create a hybrid and at the same try to increase the darkness and throw some torrified wheat in to further help with the head of the finished brew.

Much more relaxed this time as well and I didn't encounter any real trip ups this time. Totally chuffed with my additional insulation on my mash tun, I didn't lose a single degree during the 90 minute mash.

First off, the obligatory grain shot. Naich on Jim's Beer Kit forum has started what I hope will become something of a trend to jazz up the boring grain shots a little. So, for mine, I have included a rabbit with a pancake on its head.

The grain bill. Quite a hefty bulk of grains and wheat as I wanted to achieve a higher gravity to end up with a slightly stronger stout:

Pale Malt
Flaked Barley
Roasted Barley
Amber Malt
Black Malt
Torrified Wheat to further help create a creamy head on the finished brew.

I haven't bothered with any water treatment yet, our tap water tests at around 6pH. I'll see in time if there's need to alter anything. We're in a very granite area so I'm not sure what calcium is likely to be present, perhaps the water board add some... dunno. At the end of the day if I can get nice beer, consistently without having to fart about too much I'll be very happy.

Very efficient mash of the grains this time, 90 minutes and didn't lose a single degree in temp - my new insulated box around the mash tun worked a treat. This shot is after the mash had finished and the wort run off with the sparging device in place to rinse hot water over the grain bed and extract further fermentable goodness and taste.

Quick video of the sparge. It's a bit boring but I'm posting it as I want some feedback about the flow rate, too high? too low? Personally I think it's a little on the fast side but any slower and the hot liquor doesn't reach the extremities of the tubing matrix.

Into the copper for boiling, new gas burner not quite in shot but it works really well too.

 Approaching the boil.

Rolling boil reached so ready to add the first, bittering hops (Target hops - I'm using these a lot right now as I just received a new bag with the date code about to expire... grrrrr!)

 Bittering hops added.

90 minutes later and time to cool the hopped wort to 80C so I can add the aroma hops (8g each of Cascade, East Kent Goldings and Northern Brewer).

Soaked the aroma hops for 20 minutes then ran the chiller again to drop the temp to 30C and transferred to the fermenter, vigourous aeration during transfer produced this very large head. Allowed the hopped wort to cool further to 25C and pitched the yeast (visible in demijohn in the background). I used a special Irish Ale yeast and because I'd made a starter with it, in the demijohn using some malt extract, it got to work right away.

 The remains of the day, great for compost.

Three or so hours later and the yeast was going mad, the surface was rippling with activity as the yeast began creating co2

As this has been something of an experiment and me being a total newbie I've been waiting to see how it turned out before posting the brew day. I have just finished bottling and I have to say the early flavours are very promising although there doesn't seem to be as much hoppiness as I'd have liked. We'll see how it goes. Nice smoky burnt flavours coming through just as I like and the colour is incredibly dark. The bottles I have used are 650ml hefty old swing top things so I've used one clear glass bottle so I can keep and eye the brew on it as it conditions.

 And here are the others :O)

It's quite surprising how that extra 150ml in these larger beer bottles affects how many you end up with.

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