Got a few all grain batches under my belt now so.... decided to get a little bold and try something bigger than usual. SWMBO and I have Brittish roots and she has some Scottish mixed in too... so... thought I give a shot at something from the days of yore. I wasn't trying to clone anything in particular, just wanted to try something different so... jumped in with both feet and learned a few things along the way...
Batch Size: 5.5 gal
Measured OG: 1.120
Measured FG: 1.034 (as of now..)
Calc. Color: 21.4 SRM
Calc. IBU: who knows…!
Calc. Efficiency: 73 %
Boil Time: 120 Minutes
22 lbs Maris Otter
1.0 lb Carafoam
0.5 lbs Light Roasted Barley
0.5 lbs Smoked Malt (beechwood)
2 oz Heather Boil 60min
1 gm Sweet Gale Boil 60min
½ oz Mugwort Boil 60min
2 oz Heather Boil 10min
½ oz Mugwort Boil 10min
2 oz Heather Added to primary after 5 days
1pk Wyeast 1728 - 3 liter starter
Because of my current setup, I had to break this down into two pots so, 12lbs of MO was mashed into one with everything else going into to the other. I was shooting for some real body so I mashed at 154F for 60 mins. Calculated the strike water temp with the iBrewMaster app and did fairly well… hit 152-154F on the mashes… with 3.5 gallons of water and 12lbs of grain in each, both pots were pretty full…
Once the runnings cleared on the MO-only sparge, I gathered the first gallon, transferred to a pot and started boiling down. Didn’t really pay attention to the final volume, just kept stirring and cooked until I hit 250F on a candy thermometer then added the rest of the sparge. Gotta say… I had some of the semi-crystalline syrup left on the spatula.. YUMM!! I could eat that alone on ice cream..!! Tasted like rich English toffee…
Relaxing with a Belgian Wit I brewed last month while straining the wort....
Ended up with about 7 gallons of wort or 3.5 in each pot… the herbs listed above were divided in half and added to each pot at the times listed. By the time I was through with the boil, chilled the worts and strained, I was about a quart short of my 5.5 gallon target… topped up with some previously boiled water. Aerated with a drill-mixer for a good 5 minutes before pitching the starter slurry (after cold crashing). Took about an hour for the first bubbles to show up and a real head formed after about 4…
good thing I used a blow-off… the next morning, the headspace in the carboy and tube were full of foam.! The fermentation was really vigorous and the temperature crept a bit higher than I wanted.. almost 80F so I tried to temper it with a make-shift swamp cooler but it stayed around 74F for the first 36 hrs or so… things subsided and it came down to 68F after 48 hrs where it has stayed since.
Tasted the gravity sample after two weeks in the primary… mostly tasted the mugwort… sort of a meld of sage and eucalyptus … weird. After 3 weeks, the gravity was down to 1.036 so I racked it off the sludge and strained out the ‘dry hopped’ heather into a secondary. Its been in the secondary for two weeks and just measured a gravity of 1.034. The gravity sample tasted much, much better… the mugwort has mellowed and the heather and malt are coming forward. Has a nice auburn color but it is a little thicker than I was thinking so I’d probly skip the carafoam next time. Just going to let it stay in the secondary for a month or so then bottle it up… hopefully the yeasties have enough fight left in them to carbonate. Anyway, my PLAN is to leave them alone until summer…