A cool crisp morning…. about 10 F. The smell of freshly brewed coffee and ice cold beer was in the air. Big Brew 2010 has begun! The day prior we assembled the brew fort of blue tarps to block the wind, and hoped for good weather. Firing up the propane burners didn’t really seem to provide warmth. Alas, we must try some winter warming beers! As Jman and I crushed some grain, we sampled some of his Coffee Steam Lager and then proceeded to some well aged Gruit which over time has developed a lovely herbal sourness with a megadose of wormwood. Is wormwood safe? I don’t know. But its o so tasty. Do you see lights? I’m trippin’ balls! I digress…
The goal for our tag team New Year Antarctic adventure brewing session was this: Brew up a kick ass biscuity flavored big beer – parti gyle style!
The plan was to follow the Duble Duble recipe from Randy Mosher’s book “Radical Brewing”. Except we would do our own take on it. JMan suggested making the brew with some interesting biscuity malts. The small beers that would come from the second and third runnings would hopefully be equally as “bready / crackery”.
For those of you that don’t know, Randy Mosher describes the Duble Duble as a beer that is made by mashing in at 1.5 qts per pound, running off the first runnings, heating those runnings back to strike temperature, and mashing in onto a fresh bed of malt. This is supposed to concentrate the wort to a higher gravity than you could by single runnings alone. You can then take second and third runnings from your mash to get a medium and small beer. In theory this is true. Our first runnings topped out the refractometer, but as we sparged with enough water to get to our boil volume, this was diluted. But by the time the boil was done, we did reach close to our target, gravity into the fermenter being 1.105.
Chime in Jman – was this fun or what?!? We has some issues keeping the mash warm on such a cold day – our strike temps seemed to be low at every step. Luckily we has the trusty “heatstick” to get use where we needed to be. I don’t think I’ll ever mash in a cooler again without one if I can help it! The brew day progressed as well as it could on such a balmy day. Thankfully Jman has some good brews and snacks to keep us warm!
JMan nonHostile Blog Hack: All suited up for the weather, windblocked and a slow propane leak seemed to numb the senses enough. The coffee infused brews and convenient ice distillation took the edge off the rest. The sight of chilled glasses with cool brew steaming on such a day was surreal. or was that a side effect of the wormwood stuffed gruit?
I know the wormwood kicked in when we started second guessing the process. why run one wort through two mashes? Why not do a dual mash, taking the first runnings into one pot, second in a second pot and so on? Those initial Brix reading blew the top off the refractometer. Well, we are this far stick to the plan.
The electric-bogaloo-brew-stick really saved the day. as tubing was freezing to the point where it could be utilized as a bottle opener, it chilled hot wort on its way between tuns. As it would work out this process along with the-heat-at-will wand allowed for step mashes each time. Not to mention the danger factor of the hotwired stick, water risk and the omniscient aroma of propane in the air.
It was a good experience, defying the elements and rational thought, brewing in sub temps. but it proved that there are very few limits to what a determined brewer can brew outdoors. It will be hard to dip much below those temps and warps the senses. It may be cool one day, but never too cold to brew.
Recipe is as follows:
Big Beer – 6 gallons
12.5 lbs Halcyon
1.2 lbs Special 50
Mashed at 152 F 60 min @ 1.5 qts per lb
Sparge to collect enough runnings to strike in second mash @1.5 qts per lb
Heat runnings to strike temp and mash back onto fresh malt
12.5 lbs Halcyon
1.2 lbs Special 50
Sparge to collect total boil volume – just shy of 9 gals – pre boil gravity – 23.4 brix
90 min boil
90 min – 1.3 oz summit 18.5% AA
30 min – 3.5 oz US Goldings 4.9% AA
0 min – 2.5 oz US Goldings 4.9% AA
option to dry hop
O.G. into the fermenter 25.6 brix = 1.105
Add yeast starter – White Labs Edinburgh Ale Yeast WL028
F.G. As of 1-17-10 by MadMatt 15.6 brix – 1.035 – 10% ABV
Medium Beer – 6 gallons
Cap 1st mash with 2.5 lbs Biscuit – Heat strike water and mash for 60 min
Sparge to to collect enough runnigs to strike in second mash
Cap 2nd mash with 2.5 lbs Biscuit – Heat runnings and mash for 60 min
Sparge to collect 7 gals of wort
Preboil gravity was 10 brix
60 min boil
60 min 1 oz Willamette
20 min 1 oz Fuggles
0 min 0.5 oz Willamette 0.5 oz Fuggles
option to dry hop
O.G. into fermenter 12 brix = 1.047
Add yeast starter – White Labs American Ale Yeast Blend WL060
F.G. as of 1-17-10 by MadMatt – 6.2 brix – 1.009 – 5.1% ABV
Baby Beer – 3 gallons
This is a little less organized as it was end of the day – we had been brewing for 8 hours in 10F weather and drinking delicious hop nectar
Sparge 1st mash with 170 f water – drain and use to sparge 2nd mash
collect & boil 4 gal 60 min
pre boil gravity 5.6 brix
60 min 0.5 US Goldings
30 min 0.5 oz Willamette
5 min 0.5 oz fuggles
pitch random yeast cake from JMan’s previous batch of Blind Pig Style IPA HDV This was done fermenting in a blink
O.G. into fermenter – near 1.030
The 6 gal batches were divided into several fermenters, so we could each take half, then secondary in 3 gal carboys and optionally dry hop or not. I took mine home the following day in a 5 hour car ride across MN and WI. It seemed to fair well, and both of beers seemed to die down at about the same time. I wasn’t sure if my car ride would effect the fermentation by agitation. It didn’t seem to.
Tastings of the final beers to come at a later date.