Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Batches 014, 015, and 016: AKA The Brewganza

About two weeks ago at work, we got a shipment from White Labs with a random variety of yeast strains for us to sell.  We got a vial of Berliner Weiss and were thinking that it would probably just sit in the fridge until one of us bought it.  So I did.  Now, one vial is too much for a 1 gallon batch of Berliner Weiss, but I could reseal the vial and pitch into two different batches.  I thought that if I did this I would have to brew them fairly close together to lessen the risk of the yeast going bad, which had been opened and exposed to the air.  So I bought the yeast and enough grain for what I thought would be two batches.  I messed this part up.  I had written in my notes that I needed 1.5# of Pilsner malt and 1.5# of white wheat.  When I went to bought them I thought that was for 1 batch and bought two sets of those ingredients.  I was wrong.  I only needed 3/4# of each for a 1 gallon batch.  So I upped my batch size to 1.75 gallons.  I also combined my bags of grain and split them into 2# batches (1# of wheat, 1# of Pils each). So Saturday I brewed my first batch.

Batch 014: Icht Bin Ein Bierassenseiter (I am a beer outsider)
Berliner Weiss beers are fairly simple to brew.  Equal part of wheat and pils, keep it around 8 plato (~1.030 sg), and hop as little as possible, in this case 5 IBU's.  I used Hallertau Hersberker hops since they are the lowest alpha acid we had (and frankly I have ever seen) at 2.3%.  I mashed at 154 for an hour.  Now for the different part, boil for 15 minutes.  Thats it.  Hops go in at the beginning of the boil and pitch the yeast blend when it is cool.  You want this beer to be as light as possible and any issues with DMS from the pils in such a short boil will be counteracted by the lactic bacteria in the yeast blend.  So I pitch half of my vial of yeast and set it back in the fridge until the next day.

Batch 015: Icht Bin Ein Bierassenseiter II
Thats right, I brewed the exact same beer the next day.  Everything went exactly the same except for one small hiccup.  I didn't realize it had started boiling when it did, so it boiled for an extra 5 minutes or so resulting in it being half a degree plato higher in OG.  Not an issue.  This one will get a fruit addition in secondary, I just haven't decided yet.  Anyone have any suggestions?  It may just come down to walking around the market for what looks good at the time I rack.  I used the other half of the vial of yeast and set this next to the other to ferment and sour.

Batch 016: Hunter's Harvest
This was one of the first beers that I ever brewed.  I am thinking it was my 4th batch.  I had read of this recipe online and wanted to try it.  I loved the result so I am finally getting around to rebrewing this with a couple tweeks.  I used the same grain bill that I used for the last two brews because that is what I had on hand and it fit the style.  I did lower the batch size back down to the normal 1.25 gallons to up the gravity a bit though.  Now the fun part about this is that this is a hefeweizen, but with blood oranges in it.  For those who don't know blood oranges are a cross between oranges and grapefruit and are a deep ruby color and are packed with antioxidants.  They are a very nice berry flavor and fit perfectly with the hefeweizen style.

I mashed this one a little lower at 152 and measured out some more Hersberker for hopping.  As the wort was boiling I started dissecting the fruit.  I used two oranges, which is more than the original recipe called for, but if I put fruit in a beer, I want to be able to know that its there.  I want it to be balanced, but I don't want to have to search for it.  First thing you do is to zest the oranges.  Be careful to avoid the pith (tough white rind) as it is really bitter tasting and will bitter your beer.

 Next you peel the oranges and separate the sections.

 After I separated the sections I butterflyed them open to make getting the flesh out easier.
 As you can see there is still a skin like membrane around each section.  I pulled the fruit out of this to make it easier to extract the flavors and colors into the beer.
 All of the flesh and zest gets added to a small pot with a little bit of water and heated to about 165 to sanitize it.  Avoid going higher than 170 or else you will just make orange jelly.  I let this mixture steep in the pot while the wort finished boiling.  When it was ready to cool my wort I poured the flesh into a nylon bag and added the water and fruit to the wort and cooled the whole batch.  The fruit will remain in the beer during primary fermentation.  I will not be doing a secondary on this so the oranges need some time to impact the beer.

So for now, all of my primaries are full, and so are most of my secondaries.  I need to bottle up the Killer Bee this week along with the Triple Berry Cyser.  Now that I have knocked a decent chunk off of my to-brew list, I need to come up with some new ideas.  I still have a long list, but am always looking for something else that is fun.  If you have heard of any fun beers lately, let me know in the comments below

Until I bottle later this week,


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