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In This Issue: Speedy Extract Brewing, Speedy All-Grain Brewing and Brewing with Flaked Adjuncts
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October 2014 Newsletter

Pot Belly Brew Shop

 

 

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We are one year old!

A huge thank you goes out to all our dedicated customers for the gracious support over this first year. We hope to continue to offer unmatched service and support to homebrewers in Göteborg, and all over Sweden. Cheers!

Techniques to Save Time on Brew Day

Speedy Extract Brewing

Brew days can be long days, sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse. There is nothing better than having an undisturbed six hour block of time to focus on brewing, meditation. However, a six hour block of time can be tough to fit in on a regular basis for some of us. Is it possible to successful speed up the brewing process to find more time to brew? And, is it really worth it to speed up the process?

The purpose behind speedy brewing, I feel, is to produce everyday beer. Quick production of easy drinking beer leaves time for the brewer to focus more closely on the complicated, sometimes experimental brews that do need the focus of a full brew day. The absolute easiest way to save time on brew day is to use extract. It feels like many brewers tend to stay away from extract, but it goes without saying that you can save a huge amount of time skipping over the mash and sparge. And the end result is not as bad as many fear. Brewers can save a lot of time by brewing less volume, heating up liquid at different stages in the brew process is very time consuming. Time can also be saved by cooking for less time. Generally speaking, you can get away with cooking extract for only 20 minutes. Lastly, using the ‘no-chill’ method can save you the time and hassle of fiddling with bathtubs or cleaning wort chillers, but brewing with extract does not take much time at all, so jumping over chilling your wort may not even be necessary.

The truth is that when brewing with with extract you can create almost any style of beer. For my speedy brew, I chose a pale ale around 4.5% ABV with a focus on fruity, citrusy hop flavor and aroma. I did have about 5 minutes of prep time to pull out all my brewing equipment and quickly wash my brew kettle, but no brewing water left the faucet before I was on the clock. Astonishingly, it took me 47 minutes and 31 seconds to brew my 5L extract batch, and this includes clean-up. That is like cooking dinner on a Wednesday night! Below is a description of the process and the recipe I followed. I was not as pleased as I thought I would be with the final beer. It is certainly drinkable, but would have benefitted greatly from a lower fermentation temperature. Brewing at the beginning of August, with fermentation temperatures topping 25 C, was certainly not the best idea.

The first step was to heat up my brewing water as quickly as possible. To do this, I put about 4L of water in my brew kettle and turned the heat on high. As this was heating up, I used my water cooker to boil up 2L of water to add to the kettle, adding this in two 1L steps. While everything was heating up, I chucked in a mesh bag filled with CaraMunich II speciality grains. After the second liter of boiling water was added, I was almost already at a full boil. At this point, I added the extract, which had been sitting in warm water to loosen up. After adding the extract, I threw in my first hop additions. I call this ‘first wort’ in the recipe just because it was in the kettle longer than the 20 minute cook. The boil was up and going within 15 minutes of starting. Then it was just like a regular brew day, make hop additions according to the recipe and get ready to move quickly after the cook. When the cook was over, I did try to use my wort chiller, but it was less than helpful with lukewarm water coming out of the tap in early August. So into the bucket the warm wort went to sit in the closet overnight. I pitched my dry yeast the next day, and the wort was off and running!

 

Speedy Extract Pale Ale

OG 1,050 / FG 1,012 / IBU 40
 

Malt

900g Muntons Light Malt Extract (liquid)
50g CaraMunich II

 

Hops

2g Chinook - 'First Wort' (12 IBU)
2g Amarillo - 'First Wort' (8 IBU)

2g Chinook - 10min (6 IBU)
2g Amarillo - 10min (4 IBU)
4g Chinook - 5min (6 IBU)
4g Amarillo - 5min (4 IBU)
8g Chinook - 
0min (0 IBU)
8g Amarillo - 0min (0 IBU)

 

Yeast

Mangrove Jack's Workhorse

Techniques to Save Time on Brew Day

Speedy All-Grain
Brewing

There was a lot more to consider when developing a speedy all-grain beer. The time needed for mashing, sparging and cooking is certainly set with reason. Cutting corners is not the way to get a staple great beer, but some of the mystique surrounding mash, sparge and cook times had to be challenged. The basic idea behind my speedy all-grain brew was developed after reading the May/June issue of Brew Your Own magazine. This issue was focused on sour beers, and included was an article about brewing Berliner Weiss. Things began to click as I read through the recipe attached to the article, which called for only a 20 minute cook. Cook time does contribute positively in many ways, especially when working with pilsner malt, but my first thought to save time was to challenge cook time. I decided to follow the simple malt bill for a Berliner Weiss, but instead of pilsner malt, I substituted with pale malt. A short cook with pilsner malt would surely result in some unsettling flavors, those flavors significantly reduced with pale malt. The final recipe came to 60% pale malt and 40% wheat malt. The idea was never to actually brew a Berliner Weiss, but use the ideas to create a sessionable pale ale. To achieve this, I decided to bomb it with deliciously fruity hops and use a clean American ale yeast to help pull it all together.

With a nice recipe to work from, it was time to look into other ways to cut down my brew time. With a wort chiller in the dead of winter, chilling is not very time consuming, especially when brewing a 5L batch. But it was the end of August, and the tap water was running quite tepid. No-chill brewing is a well known technique, but I’ve never been so eager to use it considering it is commonly quite cold here in the Nordic region which makes chilling quick and easy. But this was a perfect chance to apply this controversial technique, cutting down the time on my brew day by at least another 30 minutes. After the cook was done, and the 0 minute hop additions made, I let the kettle sit while I washed some dishes. This gave it time to chill down to about 80 C, and directly into the fermentation bucket it went! I let it cool down in my closet during the night, and pitched my yeast the day after. It worked great!

Cutting down on cooking and chilling only saved me about an hour on my brew day, rather insignificant. I knew there had to be a way to tackle the two hour mash and sparge process. The easiest way to cut down on brew time here is to use the BIAB method. This is a no-sparge brewing technique that saves you the 45ish minutes it takes to rinse the grains after the mash, and it actually works very well. Initially, with 40% wheat malt, I wanted to run a couple of steps during the mash. This was me thinking with my brewer brain and, of course,  would not save time. The steps, however, might help to develop the finished beer, and at that point I thought I’d need something to help make this beer drinkable. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around justifying a 60 to 80 minute mash when I was trying to brew quickly. The whole idea of this project was to challenge the norm, so I did some further research on mashing. All the sources I read agreed that much of the conversion happens within the first 15 minutes of the mash. The longer mash times ensure fermentability and flavor stability. But there was a sweet spot, especially with the highly modified malt that is most common in brew shops today. The sweet spot was 40 minutes. It seemed as though a near full conversion could be achieved with a forty minute mash. And there was my answer. To further save time, I would run a 40min single infusion mash, BIAB style. I never really thought that I would succeed with this, but the results were astounding. I came out with 65% efficiency after the mash, and a rather fermentable and flavorful wort.

As you can imagine, I waited with such anticipation to taste this beer. That first pour was one of the most exciting homebrew moments I’ve had in a while. And I jumped around my kitchen when the beer was absolutely delicious, trying to get my wife to understand what was happening. The problem here, however, is that we are biased when judging our own creations, especially in moments of strong emotion. To get a second opinion, I took the beer to an esteemed panel of SHBF beer judges. As I watched them taste it, having said nothing about the beer, I began to get a bit giddy. Fruity, nice body, full, doughy, noticeable hop character were the first impressions from the judges. After telling them how it was brewed, they almost could not believe it was true. The beer was a certain success! I’m hoping to continue to test this speedy process with different recipes, and hone it in to produce an even better speedy beer!

 

Speedy All-Grain Pale Ale

OG 1,047 / FG 1,012 / IBU 30
 

Malt

60% Belgian Pale
40% Belgian Wheat

 

Hops

2g Chinook - 'First Wort' (12 IBU)
2g Amarillo - 'First Wort' (8 IBU)
4g Chinook - 5min (6 IBU)
4g Amarillo - 5min (4 IBU)
8g Chinook - 
0min (0 IBU)
8g Amarillo - 0min (0 IBU)

 

Yeast

Lallemand BRY-97

Add Unique Character to Your Beer

Brewing With Flaked Adjuncts

Adjuncts in brewing constitute a very large group of ingredients used in a wide variety of ways throughout the brewing process. As a general definition, we could say that an adjunct is any ingredient that is not water, malt, hops or yeast. This is a very broad definition that can certainly be discussed. From honey to potato to fruit to raw barely, adjuncts can add unique character to your beer that is otherwise impossible to achieve using only the main four ingredients of beer. In this article, the focus is on flaked adjuncts, wonderful ingredients that offer brewers a great deal to work with.

This group of adjuncts packs a lot of punch, and the flakes are actually extremely easy to use. Flaked adjuncts have been pre-gelatinized for ease of use. Many raw grains need temperatures higher than in a normal mash to initiate starch conversion. This means that raw flakes and grains purchased at the grocery store should be treated separately from the mash, usually cooked on the side in a cereal mash, and later added to the regular mash. But flaked adjuncts have been specially treated by means of two warm rollers. The raw grain is passed through these warm rollers, pressed into a the flake shape and the sugars gelatinized. The flakes are then ready to be added directly into the mash.

In most cases, recipes call for one flaked adjunct up to about 10% of the grain bill, but it can be worth playing with these flakes to higher percentages. Using flaked adjuncts to 20% of the grain bill can give distinct character, but be careful as you approach 40 - 50% of the grain bill. Since these flakes are not malted, they do not carry with them any enzymes. The brewer relies on the enzymes from the base malt in the mash to do the job of converting the extra starch. If you plan to brew a beer that has 40-50% of the grain bill made up of flaked adjuncts, then it can be crucial to choose a quality 6 row base malt. 6 row base malts have more diastatic power than 2 row base malts. This higher diastatic power will help achieve a better conversion in the mash with high percentages of flakes.

I encourage every brewer to experiment with adjuncts, that freedom is the beauty of being a homebrewer. But brewer beware! Sometimes flavors can clash, so keep it simple. Below is a quick list of the most common flakes and the characteristics they give to the finished beer.
 

Flaked Barley

Adds body along with a grainy, bready flavor

Flaked Corn

Neutral flavor, slightly sweet, lightens the body

Flaked Oats

Adds body and creamy, silky mouthfeel, helps head retention

Flaked Rice

Very clean, light and dry, adds sugar without much flavor/body

Flaked Wheat

Adds body with a slight spicy flavor, helps with head retention

Click Here for More on Adjuncts from 'Brew Your Own'

Events

October 13 - Info
Gothia Hembryggarförening Klubbmästerskap
kl. 18:00 Medborgarhuset i Gamlestan

 

November 14 & 15 - Info
All In Beer Fest
This fantastic event gets closer and closer each day...

 

November 24 - Info
Bourbon Barrel Fill
GHBF Members, help us fill our 210L bourbon barrel!

In the Next Newsletter: Brewing Disaster Stories From Local Homebrewers (click here for more info)
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