Saturday, August 21, 2010

Roctoberfest Lager

Today, I brewed my second all grain batch. Today's creation is my second lager. It is an oktoberfest beer that I call Rocktoberfest Lager. My oktoberfest seasonal last year was good, but I expect this one to be better.

I think things went a bit smoother this time than my first All-grain batch. Of course, that makes sense. Most things get easier the more times you do them.

I actually started my mash pretty early in the morning, and then headed out with the beer model and assistant brewers to bowl. Connor got a 56 ... Not bad for for 5 year old. Tyler got an 81 ... Also not too bad. Tracy got 103, which I think is about average for her. I got a 162, which is good for me. After bowling, we had a picnic and came home so I could finish brewing.

So, my mash was longer than ideal. It was almost exactly 4 hours. It started at 150 degrees and I did not measure the temp when I got back. Long mashes never hurt me on partial mashes, so I expect this one will have no ill effects either. Experts will probably say my flavors will be different ... Maybe with a little tannic bitterness, but I will not worry about it.  RDWHAHB.

The sparge went well. This time I remembered to stir up the sparge and let it sit a few minutes. The wort came out a nice amber color, which I think will be perfect for this style of beer. Because of my low OG last time, I actually took a pre-boil gravity reading. I have never done that check before. Beer Smith told me to expect 1.050. I got 1.051. So ... Assuming my volume of wort was right (it was close, but I do not have a good way to measure my pre-boil volume exactly), I was right on track.

I popped open my growler of world-famous Dragon Spit Brown Ale to enjoy while doing the boil. I had read in the Mr. Beer forum recently that carbonating and conditioning home brew in a jug growler (like the one my DS was in) would not work because it would not hold carbonation. So, I was expecting flat beer. I was pleasantly surprised that my growler held the carbonation just fine. And, boy did I enjoy my beer while letting my propane burner take care of the boil.

The boil additions went as planned. I typed most of this blog entry into my phone during the boil.

The ice bath took a full 4 gallon milk jugs of ice. Really not sure how I would be able to do this whole brewing hobby without to chest freezer. I did get the wort into the low 50's before putting it in Tuke. Not bad at all.

My OG after boil and cooling came out at 1.058. Was expecting 1.057. Nice. I guess I have the process down ok.  Unfortunately, after last time's experience, I made my brewhouse efficiency at 65 for the recipe.  So, I did not really improve anything as far as my mash efficiency.  One thing that sticks in my mind is that all my partial mashes were perfect (or even more efficient than expected).  I'm wondering if I used a grain bag and "sparged" by simply steeping the whole grain bag in the water if I would improve my efficiency.  Maybe that will be what I try next time.  

Anyway, I am looking forward to trying this beer.  Now that I actually have this in Tuke, maybe the Rockies will start another one of their amazing runs to the playoffs.

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