I have not done much experimenting when it comes to actual BREWING lately, so I figured I would use the small batch opportunity to try out two things: caramelizing my wort and saving hop flavor/aroma while using my newly adopted no-chill method. What is no-chill? Well, recently I started to genuinely HATE chilling my beer after the boil. Its not fun, it wastes water, and in the summer it takes way too long. So I did some research, and found a process that the Aussies have been doing for quite some time: NO CHILL BREWING! Basically, instead of using an immersion/CFC/plate/what-have-you chiller, you just dump the boiled wort into a food safe bucket, seal it, and let it chill over night. The next morning, dump in the yeast. Since learning about it I have been using it with great success, and I don't plan on ever going back.
The problem with this method is that the hops spend more time than usual at near-boiling temperature, which turns pretty much any hop addition into a bittering addition. Dry-hopping obviously helps with aroma, but I have been having difficulty getting the hop taste back into my beers. Couple this with my desire to make a dark beer the way our ancestors used to before the really dark malts, and I had myself a fun experi-brew-day.
So first things first... BEER
Awww yea. Like Popeye and spinach, my home-malted, home-brewed elixir gave me the power to... make more home-malted, home-brewed elixir.
First I needed a plan. Here it was:
-1 gallon batch. First .5 gallon of wort will be reduced and caramelized as much as possible before burning, and then added to the boil. All base malt should be used.
-Hops. Mini-boil .7 ounces of hops for 5-10 minutes in extra wort. Cool quickly, stir in after wort has chilled enough for pitching.
Easy enough! LETS DO THIS.
Time to get back to the grind... lolz. With my current awesome 90+ percent efficiency, I only needed 2.5 pounds of base malt to make a 1.08 beer. F ya. My arms definitely appreciate the smaller grain bill.
Mashed in. One thing I didn't think about was the difference in thermal mass between a 2 pound grist and a 5-7 pound grist. I tried to mash at 158, but for the life of me I couldn't get it to hold any higher than 150. Lame. I should have done it on the stove like the olden days.
SCIENCE. So here I am sparging, with the .5 galllon of first runnings on the stove while I fly sparged the rest (1.5 gallon) for what would turn out to be 1:45 boil. Good thing I had enough pots.
Heat sticks are great. Got my brew from sparge to boiling in like... 5 minutes! Pretty awesome.
I ended up reducing the wort for one hour. By then the main boil had been at an easy boil for 45 minutes. I dumped in the sticky mess you see here:
At this point, I ran off another quart of wort, got it boiling and measured out .3 oz of Chinook.
A one gallon batch of (wee heavy?) something. I am pretty stoked on how dark it is, but the bummer is that apparently part of that has a lot to do with how Im kilning my malt. The wort, as you can see in the pictures, was already relatively dark in the kettle. DEFINITELY not what a 100% pale grist should look like. I did kind of expect this already though, since my beers have tasted more like a Munich based beer than a pale malt based beer... which to me is fine. I love those high kilned malts.
Anyway, thats that. Im just gonna bottle this thing in a week (as long as it hits its target FG) and let it age that way. Ill let y'all know how it turns out!
Hurray for experiments! Hurray for science! HURRAY FOR BEER!!!