Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Collaboration Brew

I know that it has been a little while since I have posted. I've been thinking of this post for almost two weeks. A few month back, I sent my friend Matt Aerni a text that I wanted to do some sort of collaboration with him. He was really excited aboot the idea and agreed that this is a great idea. We started to hash out an idea for a brew, so we decided on a holiday beer for us to share with people. We both had ideas on what we wanted it to taste like and we went and did some research. We wanted something that had complex flavors with a really simple yeast that will come with a nice clean flavor. We wanted to enhance the spices mostly, but have a couple of flavors that came from the malts. After a few rounds of hashing out a recipe we decided on this:

12# Marris Otter Malt
2# Honey Malt Malt
0.5# CaraPils Malt
0.5# Caramel/Crystal 60 Malt
0.5# Caramel/Crystal 120 Malt
0.25# Special B Malt
0.125# Black (Patent) Malt Malt

We started brew day on Saturday November 12, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. I loaded my car that morning to bring all of my brewing equipment from my place in Cincinnati to Matt's place in Oxford. The day began with heating of the water and crushing of the grains. What was nice, with 3 or 4 people around, I didn't have to do all the crushing. After all the grains were crushed, mashtun preheated, and all of the water for the mash, we mashed in 2 gallons at 170ºF to get a mash temperature of 140ºF. We let it sit for 15 minutes before bringing raising and locking the mash temperature at 156ºF and held it for approximately 60 min. Strangely, the mash temperature dropped to 152ºF during the steep time, so I am not sure how that will effect the beer.

After steeping the grains we did a vorlauf to clear the wort. We mashed out 4 gallons, then sparged with 180ºF to get a final volume of 7 gallons. We started the boil and to the 60 min. boil we added hops, honey, and spices at the following increments:

1.00 oz. Magmum (14.00% AA) at 60 min.
2# Honey 10 min.
1.00 oz. Saaz (4.00% AA) at 5 min.
5 cloves flame out (steep for 30 min.)
2 cinnamon sticks flame out (steep for 30 min.)

We started cooling the wort with the wort chiller. We ran into a small problem. The outside faucet was turn on too high and it blew the line off of the chiller, spraying water everywhere (hopefully not into the beer). We fixed the minor problem and finished the cooling of the wort. While cooling the wort we hydrated the yeast (Safeale US-05). When the wort got down to 70ºF we pour the wort into a sanitized fermenting, allowing plenty aeration. We then added the yeast, put on the lid, added the air-lock, and added vodka to the air-lock.

After fermentation is done, we will secondary it over vanilla beans that are soaked in bourbon. We will periodically taste it to see when it is ready. I hope to have it shortly before the Christmas holiday for a beer tasting. Sorry that this post had no photos, I forgot my camera.

Edit:  Pre-boil Gravity: 1.072 (74% efficiency), Original Gravity: 1.100 (73% efficiency)

Edit2:  I have to thank Matt Aerni for the photos that he took while transferring to the secondary. Final Gravity currently 1.036 making it a 8.5% ABV