January 22, 2012

Dogtails II Brewed

As a follow up on the last post, I brewed this beer yesterday. A few brew notes:

The sour mash/wort went as expected. It really lagged the first 12 hours or so but after that it really took off. When I tried to add the sour wort to the boil kettle it wouldn't come out because there was a big chunk of thick krausen gumming up the mouth of the growler. It ended up falling out into the boil kettle so I tried to fish out as much as I could. I'm not too worried that some of it got left behind since the boil would have killed all the bacteria off. It had that predictable rotting creamed corn smell I always get from a sour mash/wort.

I used some left over stout wort to make the starter and I couldn't help but taste it as I decanted off to get the cake ready to pitch. Although my wife kind of liked the starter taste I thought stout and rustic saison yeast did not taste well together. It reminded me of a too estery stout and it had a real slick mouthfeel that I disliked a lot. That might have been a result of uncarbonated stout (with all the flaked grains -- I think there were flaked oats, which tends to create a little slickness) or the effects of aeration. Either way, it was not good. I don't see saison stouts becoming popular in the future.

The wort ended up a little darker than I expected, which was probably the result of the caravienne. I don't mind that it's a little dark because the apricots will lend a lot of color and cover it up. I think the caravienne will still work out flavor-wise.

Rather than a 90 minute boil I had to boil an extra 30 minutes to try to get down to the right post-boil volume. I don't think I miscalculated the amounts between the sour mash and regular mash but I ended up with about four gallons rather than 3.5 and after 90 minutes of boil I still had more than three gallons left. Obviously I am over calculating boil off by a lot. The humidity here seems to reduce the boil off but I can't quite get the right numbers. I should check with some local brewers. More beer is rarely a problem but I don't want the beer to be too watery so I figured extra boil time and cutting the 20 minute hop addition would try to produce a beer as close to what I wanted.

Sadly I also broke my floating thermometer moving it from the mash to the sparge kettle (I brewed BIAB). I hit the handle on the kettle and broke the bottom. Fortunately the glass and weight beads did not get in either kettle. Fortunately I also had the thermometer that came with my turkey fryer so I was able to roughly gauge sparge temperature and cooling temperature. I know everybody breaks those thermometers so I don't feel too bad that I got 2.5 years out of it. I might replace it with an electric thermometer.

All in all not the worst brew day. I pitched last night around 68F and this morning I woke up to an airlock chugging away.

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