Today, I began my Christmas-week brewing! I have two beers on my list for this week. It's been a while since I last brewed, so I'm excited to finally brew again. I also had a chance to try out my new Blichmann floor burner. Since SWMBO didn't want me brewing inside the house, this was my answer.
First up was today's brew: NB's Witbier all-grain recipe.
I know it's not a super-fancy beer, but it seemed like it would be similar to a Blue Moon, which I do like. I needed to pick something relatively inexpensive to put into a secret santa pool, so this is what I went with.
The recipe is as follows:
- 3.5lbs Weyermann Pale Wheat
- 3.5lbs Belgian Pilsner
- 1lb Flaked Oats
- 2oz Hersbrucker hops (60 min)
- 1oz Coriander (10 min)
- 1oz Bitter Orange Peel (1 min)
Mash Temp: 152°F (60 min)
Estimated OG: 1.044
Since I do BIAB-style brewing, I had a single infusion at full boil volume. I started with approximately 6.25 gallons of water at 160°F, estimating for some water loss to the grain.
I hit my mash temp at around 154°F, but a small pinch of snow brought it right down to 152°F. Perfect! However, since I was brewing outside, the temp did drop a bit, despite wrapping the pot in blankets. So, halfway through the mash, I hit the burner for a few seconds to bump it back to 152°F. Easy!
After the mash was done, I tried suspending the bag under a ladder to let it drain. That did help some, but I wasn't happy with it. So, I ended up using a bucket to hold the bag and pressed more liquid out of it. I still ended up losing more liquid than I thought I would, and only had about 5.75 gallons of liquid pre-boil. So, I decided to use about 1 gallon to quickly do a dunk sparge in my bucket. I poured the liquid into the pot, and began my boil at around 6.75 gallons of liquid.
Pre-boil SG: 1.030 @ 65°F (1.031 corrected to 60°F)
The Blichmann floor burner turned out to be an incredible piece of equipment. It's really quiet. All I hear is the flow of gas. No rumble. No loud jet engine sound. And it brought my wort to a boil really quickly! I didn't even need to have the regulator wide open. It's awesome!
I did add a little extra liquid, so my boil took around 75 minutes to complete. Hops were in for the full 75 minutes. The rest was as-directed. I was able to boil off over 2 full gallons in that 75 minutes.
Post-boil SG: 1.043 @ 68°F (1.044 corrected to 60°F)
Perfect! Right on target.
If we look at efficiency numbers, here's what I get, using pre-boil SG of 1.030 for 6.75 gallons: (Anyone, please chime in if I'm wrong!)
Weyermann Pale Wheat: 38
Belgian Pilsner: 36
Flaked Oats: 32
Total Max Points: (38*3.5lbs + 36*3.5lbs + 32*1 lb) / 6.75 gal = 43.1 (or SG of 1.043)
My starting pre-boil SG: 1.031
Therefore, efficiency: 31/43 * 100 = 71.9%
Not bad. I'll definitely take it! But it was lower than I was expecting, since my last attempt was considerably higher. Plus, it seems a bit different than the post-boil SG. But, I assume that's due to the additions of coriander and orange peel, along with some finely-ground hops in the mix, not to mention the specific characteristics of these particular types of malt. I'm guessing this should always be calculated using pre-boil SG, correct..?
I did make a yeast starter last night to get things started. No stir plate or anything, just a simple starter in a flask. Following Mr. Malty, I used a 1.25L starter. This topped me up to almost exactly 5 gallons in my carboy.
I do plan to finish making a stir plate. In fact, it's nearly finished already. I just need a better potentiometer, since the ones I bought can't handle the current...
Anyway, I'll finish this up with a few photos of my brew day:
Stirrin' my boil on my sweet new Blichmann floor burner
Not just a boil... a SERIOUS boil!
Easy way to chill beer...
In the carboy!