Saturday, October 15, 2016

Graff -- A Beer-Cider Hybrid (Apple Ale)

The next batch of homebrew is the combination of two familiar creations. One part ale and four parts apple juice makeup Graff. The idea behind Graff is to add a small amount of malt and hop flavor to nullify the strong alcohol taste usually found in strong cider. With some inspiration for this thread at homebrewtalk, I got to work putting my recipe together.

Apple ale ingredients
Grains and juice ready to be combined.

For my variation of Graff, I decided to use the brew in a bag method. 4 lbs of two row provide more than enough malt for the purpose of this brew. A little bit of Crystal 120 provides some necessary color to contrast and balance out the cider, while a small amount of flaked wheat shall provide head retention.

Setting up the brew in a bag in a bucket
I used two gallons of mash water for this part. The grains are mashed for 90 minutes at 65°C.
Ensure the mash water is above 65°C before adding the grains.
After removing the grain bag from the wort and sparging a little. Next step is boiling.
Sparging optional, but it helps extract more sugars
I transferred my wort to a 3 gallon kettle and started heating.
This is an ideal recipe for those with small stoves or kettles
Don't take selfies when you're kettle is about to boil over!
Once the boil begins, I added in 0.5 oz of UK Kent Golding hops. I boiled the wort for 1 hour with the hops in. Any hop varietal can be used for Graff. Varietals with alpha acids below 6% are ideal as the apple juice will not drown out the bitterness.
For those wondering, no the watched pot did not boil over.
While the boil was finishing up, I prepared my fermenter by first adding 2 gallons of apple juice. I planned to use the juice to cool the wort down once boiling was done. (The specific gravity of the apple juice was 1.050)
I had this juice stockpiled for a while.
Upon adding the wort to the fermenter, I ended up with 3.25 gallons of liquid. This means I overshot my boil by .25 gallons. For future batches, I shall lower my mash water to end up with closer to 1 gallon.
Almost got my wort target!
I then finished by topping up with 1.5 more gallons of apple juice. The last half gallon will be used to bottle condition the finished brew. I filled up my fermenter quite high, leaving very little headspace. Fortunately, I soon found out after adding the yeast, this stuff does not blow off.
The Crystal 120 really adds a nice color to the liquid.
I chose Safale S-04 as my yeast for this batch, as I always liked the apple flavor it left behind from the juice. It'll be interesting to see how the residual fruitiness interacts with the malt.
Any clean, dry fermenting yeast strain will work.
The starting gravity for the Graff was 1.060. It should finish between 7-8% ABV when complete. I'm going to bottle it as soon as it finishes fermenting with no secondary fermentation. Any amount of clarity shall come from bottle conditioning. Until then, cheers!
GRAFF (Not Meth)
GRAFF (5 Gallons)

4 Gallons Apple Juice

4 lb Two Row
0.5 lb Crystal 120
2 oz Flaked Wheat

0.5 oz UK Kent Golding

Safale S-04

1 comment:

  1. Great write up, Graff is not something I have experimented with before or even really heard of. I like the idea of trying this out and maybe researching the history behind it a little further.