Sunday, June 7, 2015

Spontaneous Partial Mash Brewday

Life being life, things have been happening - mostly bad. I got very sick, there, for a while, and fell behind on all the things. Brewing being brewing - a hobby that produces something that cannot be consumed while battling off a pernicious infection - everything brewing related fell by the wayside. Frustrated with my empty pipeline, one Friday evening, I swung by the homebrew shop and got what I needed for a fast, simple, fun partial mash with minimal equipment set up and tear down. I used two large kettles on the stovetop. One was for the partial mash's mashing, and the other was for the sparge water and main boiling. I wanted something for summer, which means light and refreshing, but I also wanted something with a twist of flavor and malts that would fool the eye even as the palette was sparkling clean. Wheat malt, caramel wheat malt, and chocolate wheat malt, then, for a light and refreshing twist on a classic summer wheat brew!

5 gallons of water+more for boil off replacement
1 can of Briess Bavarian Wheat Extract
2 pounds of American Pale Malt
2 pounds of Bavarian White Wheat Malt
1/2 pound of Flaked Wheat
1/2 pound of Caramel Wheat Malt
1/4 pound of Chocolate Wheat Malt
.75 ounce of Cluster hops @60
.25 ounce of Cluster hops @15
Safale US-05 American Ale

Simple right?

So, the partial mash process is painless. I mashed in 1.5 gallons of water brought up to 153 degrees, then placed in a warmed oven for an hour while I got the sparge water going in the larger kettle. (I used the smaller kettle for the mash because it is easier to move it in and out of the oven, you see.)

Once upon the stovetop, I washed as much sugar out of the grain bag as I could with my sparge water (which was heated to 175 degrees) and then tossed the grains into a colander in a bowl to strain out a little more wonderful malty liquid. Then, I filled up the kettle, and added the extract.

Once boiling, add the first hop addition and start the timer. Stir occasionally, and watch for boilover. At 15 minutes, add the second hop addition and let it finish out. Cool quickly in the sink, in a bed of icewater. Once it's down below 175 degrees, transfer to the sanitized bucket and throw it in your spare refrigerator to cool the rest of the way. (No copper coil: minimal equipment, minimal clean-up, minimal time.)

In the morning, pitch the yeast, and set the temperature control for 60 degrees. It will be a clean fermentation, right at the bottom of the yeast's tolerance zone. Keep it cool and fermenting for at least two weeks (which is the step we're on, now!)

After two weeks, pull it out and let it warm to room temperature to promote a nice clean beer, then crash cool the beer back in the fridge close to freezing. Bottle with an appropriate amount of priming sugar for an effervescent wheat beer, which looks to be about 4 ounces of plain sugar.

Hello summer? I hope. We'll see how it goes in a couple weeks, eh!

ETA: I have cracked open the first one, and it is so summery and delicious. It looks like darkness and winter, but the flavor is bright and fruity and light, with strong notes of blackcurrent, a slightly sweet finish that is refreshing with chips and salsa on a hot day. Definitely a do-over!

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