28 February 2016

Double brew day

Turns out I have trouble keeping it up. Four months is a long time between drinks, but here we are again.

I've been brewing and drinking, but just not blogging about it. Today is brew day again. Yesterday I swung by Baylands to grab some supplies. I had a vague idea I wanted to try using Munich as a base malt, but no plans beyond that. When  I arrived I noted that they'd taken delivery of El Dorado hops, so I decided a Munich-El Dorado SMaSH was in order. I also thought, since I was doing something completely different, I'd try Mangrove Jack's Belgian Tripel yeast. I have no idea how this'll turn out.

They also had Brooklyn, which is a new New Zealand strain with 17% alpha, so I picked up a pack of those, although I've not decided what to do with them.

The other beer I've decided to try today is a golden ale late hopped with East Kent Goldings. I've only used Goldings to date in Scotch Ales, so I thought it'd be jolly to give them a whirl as flavouring hops. I thought they might go well with a bit of Motueka. Because reasons.

I thumb sucked on the grain bills, then worked up the recipes this morning as I was heating mash water.

Munich El Dorado SMaSH

1 tbsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
1 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer
6kg Gladfield Munich Malt
25g El Dorado (First Wort)
1 tsp Irish Moss
50g El Dorado (Steep)
1 pkg Belgian Tripel (Mangrove Jack's #M31)
50g El Dorado Dry Hop 4.0 Days
Estimated OG 1.068

So, pretty strait forward recipe. 60 minute mash at 69c. 90-minute boil. All the bittering hops go in as first wort, as is my wont and I'm adding all the late hops in a hop stand. I'll cool the wort to 75c, then let the hops sit for 45 minutes using the counter-flow chiller to circulate the wort. I want this to be fairly hop-forward so I'm giving it a reasonable dose of calcium sulphate. This will sit for two weeks at about 20c, before being cold crashed and cleared with gelatin. I'll dry hop once initial fermentation has calmed down. Or when I get round to it. Next weekend seems likely.
Mashing in the Munich
Sparging the Munich
Munich El Dorado SMaSH finished wort
Goldings Golden

1 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
1 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer
2.5kg Gladfield Ale Malt
1.5kg Gladfield Vienna Malt
250g Gladfield Gladiator Malt
250g Gladfield Toffee Malt
250g Gladfield Wheat Malt
18g Pacific Gem (First Wort)
1 tsp Irish Moss
15g East Kent Goldings (Flameout)
20g East Kent Goldings (Steep)
10g Motueka (Steep)
1 pkg Safale American
Estimated OG 1.055

In this case I'm after a maltier, or at least less hoppy, beer, so I won't harden the water so much. Once again, 60-minute mash at 69c and a 90-minute boil. Bittering hops added as first wort hops and most of the flavouring hops in a 30-minute steep, though I will add some at flameout. Now that I've put the malts together on Beersmith, it looks as though this will turn out a bit paler than intended. The fermentation schedule will be as above.

Sparging the golden
Golden: finished wort (paler than intended)
Brew day notes

The Munich malt bestows a lovely rich colour all on its own. Pre-sparge gravity was, 1.080, which dropped to 1.060 after the sparge. After the boil and steeping, gravity was 1.068, which I'll take as the OG. So pretty well bang on.

As a steep temperature, 75c works well as that's also the mash out temperature and so doesn't require resetting the control unit.

I ended up using a slightly different set of hops to bitter the Goldings Golden, as I had an open, half used packet of Pacific Jade, which I substituted for some of the Pacific Gem. I also failed to get a pre-sparge gravity on the Goldings Golden, as it ended up finishing its mash at about the same time the Munich SMaSH finished its boil, so I was a bit busy. However, 15 minutes into the boil, when I eventually remembered, the gravity was 1.044. Post boil gravity was 1.051, so something of an undershoot. Had I not been distracted, I'd have added a bit of DME to lift the gravity a touch.

Although I am a big fan of the Grainfather, its efficiency seems to vary quite a bit depending on the grain bill. It seems to have a sweet spot somewhere around 5kg or 5.5kg and efficiency suffers above or below that. The overall efficiency of the Munich SMaSH was 85% versus 80% for the golden. Also, the Grainfather design is sub-optimal for both first wort hopping and whirlpooling. In the case of first wort hopping one has to try to sneak the hops in the side with the grain basket in the way, and with the whirlpool one must work around the lid and the counter-flow chiller. I've not bought the hop spider yet, but again I can't see how that will work well with first wort hops.

Brew Day Drinking

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man in possession of a chance to brew beer must be in want of drinking beer while doing it. Plus you have to make room in the kegs.

I started out with a low-alcohol weizen I made a while back. It's about 3% alcohol and a pleasant enough drop. I made it because most of my beers are closer to 5% or 6% and I needed something less intoxicating for social events and brew days. On reflection, I think it could use more alcohol.
I then moved on to the second batch of my Mosaic Vienna SMaSH. I actually kind of resent how good this beer is. It's pretty much the simplest beer I brew and if it's not my favourite it's close. As much as I enjoy it, it makes me feel a bit daft putting as much effort as I do into more complicated recipes. In particular, my efforts to expand on this recipe and make a bigger, fancier IPA have not born fruit. It's not that it's not good, it's just that it's less good than the SMaSH. This beer impertinently highlights the extent to which the malters, hop growers and yeast, umm, breeders are the real MVPs of the beer-making process. But aside from that I like it.

Vienna-Mosaic SMaSH


  1. Care to share the recipe for the Vienna/Mosaic SMaSH?

    1. Sure thing!