Sunday, March 13, 2016

"916" Brew Day Part 1 -- Firestone Walker 805 adaptation

916 grains
A nice mixture of two row, white wheat, and honey malt.
I got an idea for a new recipe when I was getting my starter ready for Ol' 22. I took a taste of the beer I decanted from the saved yeast; it did not taste bad at all. The starter was only a small amount of dried malt extract. So then I thought to myself "why not try making a blonde/honey ale from WLP023?" From WhiteLab's website, they don't recommend using Burton Ale yeast to make a honey ale. But maybe with the hard water I have in the Sacramento region, it will turn out working.


I looked around to find a mass produced beer to use as an inspiration for the recipe. After looking at 805 by Firestone Walker so many times in the grocery store, I decided to give that one a try. It just so happened to be the flavor I was looking for.
Heat cycling
Heat cycling the mash tun
I designed my recipe based upon that brief taste test. To get the honey flavor, I would add in honey just prior to the boil. With this in mind, the brew would not need as much two row to achieve the target gravity. However in doing so, my grain bill remained too low to make full use of my new mash tun.
Recirculation
Recirculating the get all the valves and fittings heated
I didn't want to go back to doing Brew-in-a-bag when I had just broken in my mash tun. Since I really wanted to use it, I thought to myself: Why not double up the grain weight to make twice the volume?
Mashing in the grains for 916
Mashing in!
It wouldn't be hard to add in the grain to my mash tun; I had just done a batch using 16 lbs of grain for 5 gallons worth of beer. The problem here would be managing and being able to boil enough wort to end up with two fermenters full of wort once brew day was complete. The easiest way for me to do this with my current setup would be to do two sublots of boiling. I would make ~16 gallons of wort from lautering, and boil 8 gallons at a time with my two 4 gallon kettles.
Moving the grains around
A mash as thin as my BIAB batches
To get 16 gallons of wort, I'd need to start with about 9 gallons of water in my mash tun on brew day and mash in all my grain to that. Once the 90 minute mash completes, sparge with ~8 gallons of water (accounting for the grain) to get my starting boil volume. This is doable in theory, now it was time to prove it.
Mash in complete. Time for the waiting game.
Let this sit for 1.5 hours.
The mash was as thin as some of my BIAB batches, but I doubt that is going to cause any issue. My manifold is setup to prevent any husks from passing through even with an unstable grain bed. While the mash was going, I had to take my kettles back and heat up the sparge water necessary.
Ready for sparging
Sparge water ready
For this setup, instead of lautering directly into my kettles, I would be sending the wort into several buckets. Once there, I'd mix the wort by casually pouring it from one bucket to another, to keep boiling consistent between the two kettles for both sublots.
Mash complete. Time to lauter.
Post mash excitement

Lautering begins
Lautering begins. A nice pale, yellow color.
It took some patience to ensure that all the wort I wanted to get out of this grain bed was properly mixed. I used the tubing on my valve to divide the outflow as well as I could to ensure even mixing up front. What was left was brute force dumping one bucket into another. An idea I had here was to empty out the mash tun to mix and drain all the wort, but that would have required scooping out all the grain and risked the chance of husks getting into the wort.
Don't agitate the grain bed
The grain bed begins to settle
Lautering while trying to achieve ideal mixing
This is going to be exciting
Wort after mashing
New wort production record
With lautering complete, it was time to pour the first sublot into the boiling kettles and start boiling.

While that was happening, I took the time to empty out the grain from the mash tun into a specifically marked container.
Post mash grains
That's a lot of grain
Many commercial breweries and some homebrewers have their spent grain hauled off to farms where it is fed to livestock. I struck a deal with one of my coworkers to trade him the spent grain from this batch for some eggs from his hens.
Grain to trade
To be used as chicken feed
These had to be the best eggs I've ever eaten. I'll have to continue this exchange as long as the chickens find the grain tasty. And to think that I have been placing all this spent grain in my green waste bin for all my batches before this one...
Best eggs ever
Eggcellent Eggchange!

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