Saturday, October 10, 2015

Der Kaiser - Brewday & Recipe

Brewery: Old North Brewing
Style: Altbier
Date Brewed: 10.8.2015

I am seriously the absolute worst at brewing seasonally. I love drinking seasonally appropriate beers, but I am absolutely terrible at planning far enough in advance to actually have a beer ready in time for it's prime season. 

Such is the case with this Altbier. It took the first cold snap of the autumn to convince me to actually brew this beer. As soon as the temperature dips below 60 F, my desire to drink huge hoppy IPAs and other pale beers basically vanishes. Instead I crave more complex malty flavors - North English Milds (stay tuned for one coming up soon), German dark lagers, rye beers, and stouts. This beer was my attempt to brew something malty as fast as possible.

Since speed was of the essence (only so many gorgeous autumn days ahead before the winter sets in) I decided a German ale rather than a lager was in order. I've been dying to brew an alt since I first saw Brau Kaiser's Kaiser Alt recipe. I've been wanting to try another decoction mash since I flubbed one in my New Zealand Pilsner this past summer.

This was one of those brew days where nothing goes quite right. I forgot to check the amount of propane I had left in my tank, and ran out right after I started my protein rest. I managed to boil enough water inside on my stovetop in time to make my Sacchrification rest, and then ran to the hardware store to switch out my tank for a fresh one. Then my decoction mash was a bit short, and I only hit a mash-out temperature of 165 F. I was batch sparging anyways, so I wasn't too worried. Then my sparge got a bit stuck as I got a little overzealous with my draining speed and compacted my grain bed. Then my pre-boil gravity was a bit too low and I forgot to take my pre-boil volume measurements, so I decided to boil for 5 minutes longer than originally planned (for 75 minutes instead of 70 minutes). Then my OG ended up being a few points high and my volume a little bit short. I ended up racing a ton of trub into my fermentor on accident, and then my WLP 029 refused to do their job...

I think you get the point. If it could go wrong on brewday, it probably did.

Hopefully this is a lesson in Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew. Hopefully.

Batch Size: 5.0 gallons into fermentor (5.6 gallons overall)
Measured OG: 1.050
Anticipated IBUs: 27
Anticipated SRM: 13.3+
Actual Brewhouse Efficiency: 71.4%
Boil Time: 75 mins

89% [8.28#] - Weyermann Munich I (7.1 SRM)
10% [10.04#] -Weyermann Caramunich I (51 SRM)
1% [0.09#] - Carafa Special II (415 SRM)

1.43 AAU [1.66 oz, 4.6%] - Liberty @ 60 mins (27 IBUs)
1 Whirlfloc tablets @ 15 mins
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 mins

WLP029 - German Ale/K├Âlsch Yeast

Winston Salem, NC municipal water treated with 1/2 of a potassium metabisulfite tab and brewing salts added to achieve the following ion content:


Protein Rest - 14.27 qt @ 131 F for 20 minutes
Sacchrification Rest - Add 5.5 qt of boiling water to raise mash to 151 F for 45 minutes
Mash Out - Decoct 7.25 qt of thin mash and boil for 20 minutes. Add back to mash
Drain Mash/Lauter Tun and Batch Sparge with 4.43 gallons @ 170 F

3 days at 65 F. 24 hour ramp to 69 F. Hold for 5 days. 48 ramp to 33 F to cold crash.

9.27.2015 - Started some old WLP 029 yeast in a 1 L starter on my stirplate. They seemed to wake up well, and I pitched those yeast into a second 1 L starter some days later. I cold crashed in my fridge and held them there until I found the time to brew.

10.08.2015 - Brewday. Snafus detailed above.

10.10.2015 - Still no yeast activity, so I pitched a fresh vial of WLP 029 and restarted the fermentation program. Hopefully the yeast were just being lazy, and this gives them the numbers to really get started.

10.24.2015 - Dropped the temp down to 33 F as fermentation had finished. Dosed with some gelatin to fine (Bad german brewer! Bad! No reinheitsgebot for you!)

10.30.2015 - Amazing. I love this beer. Tasting notes will be up soon.

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