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Old 06-22-2008, 07:15 PM   #1
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Default AHS Oktoberfest/Marzen Mini-Mash Kit

This was my first mini-mash. The directions that come with the kit are thorough enough even for a first timer like myself.

I started last week by making a starter for the WL820 lager yeast. I built it up to three quarts. It was crash cooled last night and this is what I had this morning:



I decanted most of the wort off and went about prepping to brew.

Put 3 gals of spring water in the pot and dipped about 1/2 gal off for sparging the grains (left front pot. Left rear is LME warming up). I brought the water up to 155F. Put the 3.5# of grain in a nylon bag, hung it from my ghetto hanger and started steeping.





Steeped for 45 minutes at 155F, then sparged with 170F water.



to be continued...


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Old 06-22-2008, 07:16 PM   #2
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While the grains were draining off, I warmed up 3# of the 6# total LME in the kit. I decided to deviate just a bit from the instructions and do a late addition of half the LME.



I brought the pot out to my turkey fryer burner and brought it to a boil. Took it off the boil and added the 3# of LME. Brought it back to a hard boil, added the bittering hops and started my 60 minute timer. The minute I added the hops everything smelled amazing! Put a smile right on my face

At 15 minutes left I added the rest of the LME and the flavor hops.



The silicone glove is awesome for this, since I don't have to worry about steam burns!

At 5 minutes I added the aroma hops, then at 0 went into a tub with ice water (the pot, not me). I kept adding fresh cold water from the hose and went from 212F to 90F in 16 minutes.

I brought the wort inside and put 2 gallons of spring water at 36F in the carboy. Added the wort, learning that the screen in the funnel is a Bad Idea. I ended up pulling the screen out and putting a fine mesh sieve in the funnel. That gave me a lot more filtering surface area and didn't clog as easily.

I took a hydrometer reading which was much too high. Added another gallon of spring water and nailed the 1.054 target OG. Temp was right at 59F.

Shook the daylights out of it in preparation for pitching.



Opened the starter and was immediately assaulted with the strongest yeast smell I've ever encountered. Wow! Guess I did something right with it.

Pitched the yeast, swirled it all together and put it in my fermentation chamber at 60F. Once I start to see signs of fermentation I'm going to start dropping to 55F.

So my first mini-mash was pretty easy. I was astounded by the sheer volume of grain, my only other beer so far being a True Brew kit. I really liked the smells of the steeping grains. I'm hoping that translates well into the final beer!

-Joe


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Old 06-23-2008, 05:10 AM   #3
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The guys at AHS have told me that, short of AG, mini-mash is the easiest way to improve the beer. I used mini-mash for the AHS Holiday Ale and I wish I would have done it from the start. It really only adds another forty five minutes.

I'm going to get the Marzen kit in a few weeks, I'm excited about it. You'll have to keep this updated with the progress.

You and I both need an immersion chiller!

Eric
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricCSU View Post
You and I both need an immersion chiller!
Yes indeed. It would certainly be easier Although I was able to get the wort down to pitching temps in under 20 minutes, which I think is pretty good.

As for an update, no activity as of 8am - 20 hours in.

-Joe
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:53 PM   #5
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I've done several mini-mashes now, and have noticed a marked improvement in the beers I make- better flavor, clarity, and head retention. I think you'll be happy.
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:54 AM   #6
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Well here we are about 34 hours since pitching. It's not knock-your-socks-off fermentation, but I can see bubbles in the Star-San in the blowoff growler. So I'm guessing we're on the right track.



Temp is right on 50F.

-Joe
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:28 PM   #7
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woohoo, good strong bubbling this morning! I've got bubbles in the blow-off tank every 1-2 seconds and a nice thick head on the beer.

It just looks so yummy - like a giant glass of stout. Must resist using blowoff tube as a straw...be strong...

-Joe
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:54 PM   #8
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So I just took a peek in the fermenter freezer and WOW! This thing is bubbling like mad! Several bubbles per second at 50F.

Whew

Once again, I can't thank the general populace here enough for all the patience, help and advice. The price for a supporting membership is well worth seeing that bugger bubbling away in there. Considering it's my second brew ever, at least

-Joe
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Old 06-28-2008, 03:02 PM   #9
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It's day 7 and it's still bubbling every 1-2 seconds. The kraeusen hasn't fallen yet, but it's definitely changed from the fluffy Guinness looking head to a darker, more solid looking brown.



-Joe
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Old 06-28-2008, 11:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricCSU View Post
The guys at AHS have told me that, short of AG, mini-mash is the easiest way to improve the beer. I used mini-mash for the AHS Holiday Ale and I wish I would have done it from the start. It really only adds another forty five minutes.

I'm going to get the Marzen kit in a few weeks, I'm excited about it. You'll have to keep this updated with the progress.

You and I both need an immersion chiller!

Eric
I have a chiller and AG setup but no lager fridge. We should get together on this one.

- Eric


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