Today, I knew I had to brew something hoppy, but I wasn’t sure what at first. I have a limited number of kegs to rack beer into, and several full batches of beer to rack; while I can get away with leaving one of my Saisons on the yeast a week or two more, it’s really time I bottled my meads — a task for next week, to be sure. But I was also hoping that, just maybe, I might be able to condition up a hoppy beer for a party next weekend. Nuts, I know, giving so little time to condition, but I figured maybe if the ABV was low enough, it could be fully fermented out in a few days, and kegged by, say, Tuesday; if it were hoppy enough, that might just be enough time for a decent batch of μIPA.
I decided to stick with what has worked before,m though of course I had to tweak the grain bill a little to fit what grain I have in stock. So I went with what I had: it’s basically equal parts Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich, with more Caramunich than before, and a little Melanoidin malt, some raw wheat, and some Quaker Quick Oats, plus a tiny smidge of Gambrinus Honey malt.
I mashed the whole lot of it — and it was a long mash, as I made a trip to the gym to work out — and the first runnings were a little too dark for my liking, though of course, it’ll lighten up with second and third runnings: I now know for sure how to get a deep mahogany color if I want a high-gravity beer, though. For a double batch, I find it’s easiest to do two sparges, though it takes a little more time.
I went with a hop schedule very much like my last Citra-and-Sorachi μIPA, with the adjustments mainly being in the later additions, to match with the increased wort volume.
My choice of yeast was limited in one sense by my fermenters: while I have two glass fermenters empty at the moment, I didn’t want to rack both my Saisons off the yeast–especially the Saison Dupont, which is more tolerant of the high temperatures the beer is sitting at, out in the common room. The French Saison yeast, however, could do with a lower temperature, especially for its start, so I figured I’d use that for half the batch. For the other half, I decided to use the same yeast as last time: good old California Ale yeast (White Labs 001), though I will have to cool it somehow. My best guess right now is that I’ll end up sitting it under the water tap in the laundry room, with a fan aimed at it, and run the cool water tap into a bucket where I can leave the carboy standing. (The Saison will be fine in a bucket on my living room floor, I think: that’s where the air conditioner is.)
I’m making no special additions to either beer besides the hops, and Whirlfloc near the end: I figured the Saison would get what it needed from the yeast, and the μIPA half should get more than enough hops for its portion of the batch to have plenty of character. Though I boiled the brews separately, this was strictly so that I wouldn’t have to leave the window open while chilling the wort, and invite a trillion mosquitoes into our home. If I could have done it all in a single brewpot and gotten it into the house for chilling, I would have done so.
That said, I discovered that when you’re boiling a small amount of wort in a big pot, it’s hard to get an actual boil going. While a single heat stick will do it with 48 liters of wort, it apparently doesn’t do it so well when you’re dealing with a mere 21 liters. I let the bigger batch boil for an extra five minutes, therefore, so the boils in the end aren’t really identical at all: for one, all the hop additions are five minutes earlier than noted, and for that one, I added a final hop addition at flameout to make up for what was lost in the extra boiling minutes– specifically, 9 grams of Sorachi Ace and 22 grams of Citra. We’ll see if it makes any difference. Given the extra hop addition, I decided to make that one the μIPA, while the portion that finished quicker goes into the Saison bucket.
Note to self: when brewing in the summer, it’s best to take advantage of the lower numbers of insects in the daytime: start the brewday at 7am to be sure you get it done before sundown.
In any case, that’s the story on today’s brewday. Here’s a recipe.
Next up, I think, is a Berliner Weisse, next Friday… but I need to order some wheat for that. And, luckily, I found my missing rice hulls, which will, I think, come in very handy… in any case, I need to make a starter for the lactobacillus, and another one for the Kolsch yeast I’ll probably use.
UPDATE: The French Saison-yeasted batch was bubbling within a couple of hours of racking the wort onto the yeast cake, and still is bubbling quite vigorously; the California Ale-yeasted portion is also bubbling, though more slowly, and has a nice thick krausen on top of it.