Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anniversary Ale I

I can't believe it's been a year already. Why it seems like it was just the other day that I was over-pouring my extract, mis-measuring my gravity, and forgetting to stir in my priming solution. I've come so far in the last year. Now I'm screwing up my mash temps, missing my target OG, and still forgetting to stir in my priming solution. Progress, right?

The recipe is basically the same as my first batch except it's all grain now, I dropped the late hop additions, and I (tried too) beef up the gravity. I wanted a big beer, but I had some problems hitting my mash temps and ended up with about 55% efficiency so I ended up with a beer in the 7% ABV range. Going forward I'm going to try a series of recipes that all have twelve pounds of grain and work on hitting a consistent mash temp. I really didn't want to start my all-grain brewing with a couple of high gravity beers, but those were the beers I wanted so I went for it. One was good, one was not. Once I get my mash technique figured out I think I'll be a little better with my efficiency. By the time this December rolls around I should have my all-grain system dialed in better and I'll be able to hit that higher OG, maybe add some more chocolate as well.

Besides the mash everything else with this brew turned out really well. Color is a deep dark black with a light brown head that eventually settles down to a thin film that leaves a touch of lacing on the sides. Aroma has a milk chocolate mixed with coffee smell to it. Flavor is even better with more of a dark chocolate bitterness mixed with caramel. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, I think the carbonation is perfect. Alcohol isn't noticeable at all, I kept the fermentation temps pretty low. There really isn't anything I don't like about this beer, I wanted it to be stronger but it's really good as is. It has this chocolaty creaminess to it that I'm really digging. It works well as a dessert beer, I like to pair it up with various pieces of gourmet dark chocolate.

Expected OG: 1.090
Actual OG: 1.073
Expected FG: 1.020
Actual FG: 1.021
IBU: 55
Boil: 75 minutes
Pre-boil Volume: 7 gallons (estimate)
Final Volume: 5 gallons
Apparent Attenuation: 70%
ABV: 6.9%

15 lbs. American 2-Row (Briess)
1 lbs. Caramel 40L (Briess)
1 lbs. Caramel 80L (Briess)
12 oz. Chocolate Malt (Briess)
8 oz. Black Malt (Briess)

1 oz. Warrior (pellet 15.8% AA) @ 75 min.

8oz. Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder @ 0 min.

1 packet each Safale US-05, Safale S-04

Spring water from Welpman Spring in Morgan County, MO

Heat 6 gallons of water to 169˚, also heat up a gallon or so to a boil to use to preheat the cooler.
Add preheat water to cooler and let sit until strike water is ready.
Dump preheat water and add grains and Ph 5.2 buffer.
Add strike water, stir. Should be about 154˚
Stir every 20 min for a total of 60.
While mash is sitting heat 3.5 gallons of water to about 175˚
Drain cooler into bucket – be sure to recirculate until its clear.
Add sparge water, stir, let sit for about 20 min
Recirculate, drain.
Hopefully I have about 6.5 gallons of sweet wort.

Heat to a boil, add hops.
Boil wort for 75 mins.
Add cocoa powder.
Chill wort to about 70˚ or less, transfer to carboy, aerate, take gravity, pitch yeast packets.

Brewed on 12/6/09 by myself.

12/6/8:40am – The 170˚ strike water was not quite enough, only got up to 150˚, had to add a little bit of boiling water, and then some ice cubes, and then some more boiling water to get it to about 150˚ (I'm really good at this).

12/6/9:30am – With the extra additions I collected almost 4 gallons of first runnings. Added about 2.5 gallons of sparge water and it didn't get close to a mash out temp, so I added a little more to get it up around 155˚, still not there but oh well.

12/6/11:30am – Pre-boil gravity looks to be about 1.060 from about 7 total gallons, hopefully this boils down to 1.090, we'll see. (I don't think this is right. 7 gallons of 1.060 should boil down to about 1.084, I think)

12/6/12:30pm – OG looks to be about 1.073 which would be about 55% efficiency.

12/6/1:15pm – Pitched both yeast packets into 68˚ wort, dry.

12/7/9:00am – About 1.5 inches of kraeusen. Temp is around 59˚

12/7/6:05pm – Churning along real nicely, kraeusen is at the neck of the carboy. Beer is at about 57˚ and ambient temp is like 49˚ so I'm going to try to warm it up a bit.

12/9/9:00am – Primary fermentation appears to be about done, removed blow-off and moved to office where it can warm up a bit and finish. Fermentation temps never got above 62˚.

12/15 – Moved it back into the cellar (mid 40s). Hopefully it's finished, going to let it sit and condition for a few weeks.

12/31 – Bottling day. 44 x 12 oz for 4.13 gallons. Used 2.9 oz corn sugar for about 2.2 volumes of CO2.

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