This is the second part of this brewing session. Please read part 1 if you haven’t already as it explains a lot about this beer and how to make it.
On day 2, we are on the actual brew day itself. Already completed are the Candi Syrup and the starter (let the starter spin on the stir plate until it’s time to pitch). Now it’s time to break out all the brewing equipment and make sure everything is clean and ready to go. As most readers of my blog know, I use the Brew In A Bag (BIAB) method of all grain brewing. It’s no better or worse than any other method of all grain brewing, it’s just a different way to reach the same goal. If you haven’t tried it, give it an honest shot before dismissing it.
I guess to begin with here, you’ll need the recipe. This was 2 years in its creation and recently I looked over a couple “award winning” tripel recipes. Guess what, mine is real similar to those. Here’s the recipe.
12 lbs Pilsen Malt 2-Row
2 lbs Munich II
8.0 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine
2 lbs Invert Sugar
2.00 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.90 %] -Boil 60 minutes
1.00 oz Saaz [5.40 %] – Boil 15 minutes
1.00 oz Styrian Goldings [3.40 %] – Boil 5.0 minutes
1.0 pkg Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500)
Keep in mind that since we’re using Pilsen malt that means we’re going to boil for at least 90 minutes in order to boil off any DMS. The above recipe is formulated assuming 75% efficiency. The Original Gravity (OG) should be 1.090 with 5.5 gallons as the batch size. The color should be 4.5SRM and it should have 28 IBU’s. Feel free to adjust the recipe as you see fit for your tastes and equipment. If you do use my recipe, please give proper credit to my blog.
On brew day I started out by weighing out my base grains and adding my specialty grains. Once everything was weighed I loaded up my trusty Barley Crusher. I know that some people don’t like the Barley Crusher, for me it was an affordable mill that to date hasn’t let me down. Would I like to have a motorized 3 roller monster mill? Of course I would! Can I afford one? Nope. Hey now… If anyone wants to buy me a birthday present now you know what to get me! Since I use the BIAB method I can crush my grains real fine without worrying about a stuck sparge (no sparge in BIAB). With that comfort in mind I normally run my grains twice just to make sure there are no uncrushed grains. The results look something like this.
OK, so far we have checked and cleaned all brewing equipment, we weighed and crushed the grains. Now it’s time to get down to brewing this beer. With the amount of grains I was using, knowing my boil off rate, the absorption amount and the amount lost to trub (absorption+boil off+batch+trub loss = total water needed) I knew that I needed 8.25 gallons of water. I also knew that with that much water and 14lbs of grain, I was going to be pushing it for space in my 10 gallon kettle. I could have used my 15.5 gallon keggle, but since I’d have just enough room, the thermal mass would be greater and heat loss over the 90 minute mash would be minimal.
I heated my 8.25 gallons of water to 155F, then inserted my grain bag (thanks CustomBIAB) and slowly added my grains. After stirring the grains to make sure there were no dough balls (dry clumps of grain) I checked my mash temperature. Perfect! 149F I wasn’t kidding when I said the pot was going to be real full. I maybe had enough room for another .25 gallons of water or another pound of grain. Keep in mind that I needed room for the lid. Once the lid was in place I wrapped the pot in my old sleeping bag and set my timer for 90 minutes. While waiting for the mash to complete I was getting everything ready for the remaining portion of the brew day including running to grab a 16lb bag of ice that will be used during the chilling phase.
Once the 90 minute mash was complete it time to remove the bag. Now normally I would grab the bag and lift it out and wait for it to drain. However, lately I have been suffering with De Quervain’s Tendonitis which makes it difficult to lift and hold the bag for extended periods. So instead of my normal method of lift, hold, place in second pot with colander to drain. I used a hook and pulley and simply suspended the bag over the pot for 20 minutes. I then squeezed the bag to get as much good sweet wort out as possible. Yes it’s OK to squeeze the grains, No you won’t extract tannins that way.
Now I don’t know why I never used a hook and pulley before. Quite frankly it makes the brewing process easier. Sure it limits me to one location for my brew pot, but that’s not really a bad thing now is it?I was even able to suspend my hop sack from it instead of tying it off to the handle. While waiting for the bag to drain I did fire up the burner to start heating the wort. I did leave it on a low flame setting as I didn’t want a boil going before the bag was completely drained.
Soon after the bag was drained and squeezed, I was nearing a boil. Once I got a good roiling boil going and was past the point of hot break (Hot break is when the proteins in the wort form a thick foam and if you don’t pay attention and manage your heat will boil over creating a huge sticky mess) ( set my timer for 90 minutes. Now if you have an Android Smart Phone there’s an app that will read Beersmith files as well as BeerXML files. That app is called BrewAide its free and it works great. of course you can read my review of it here.
From here it was pretty much a normal brew day. The one exception would be adding the Candi Syrup with 15 minutes left in the boil. I added my hops as per the recipe starting at 60 minutes left in the 90 minute boil. At 15 minutes left I added the Candi Syrup, my second addition of hops, and then placed my immersion chiller in the kettle. At 10 minutes I added a Whirlfloc tablet. With 5 minutes remaining I added my last addition of hops.
At 0 minutes it was time for flame out. I turned on the water for the chiller and let the cooling process begin. Now here’s where I differ from some people. I do a 2 stage chill. The first stage is 212F –115F, this is all tap water. Now in order to get the most cooling for my tap water I do have it barely running so it’s not gushing out the other side. Slower moving water has a better chance of doing it’s heat exchange thing and the temp drop faster. Once we hit 115F I added 16lbs of ice to a cooler, fill it with water and connect my immersion chiller to a pond pump in the bottom of the cooler. the exit water goes back into the cooler. This recirculates until I reach pitching temps. Why waste water if you don’t have to? The reason for waiting till I reach 115F is so the ice doesn’t all melt in the first 5 minutes of cooling.
While waiting for the wort to cool I clean and sanitize a carboy using my Carboy Cleaner and Starsan. Once I reached pitching temps I transferred the wort to the carboy and added the yeast. During the transfer to the carboy the wort get aerated pretty well (I pour the wort into a big funnel and it drops into the carboy). As always I fitted a blow off tube (good thing too since after 12 hours it was blowing lots of foam). Starters are always a good thing and for a big beer like this it is a requirement. I had signs of fermentation within 4 hours and by 12 it looked like this.
There’s part 2. When the fermentation is complete I’ll move on to part 3 (there’s that number three again) which will be bottling in Belgian bottles complete with corks and cages. Until then if you have ANY questions, please feel free to ask.