Time is of the essence. I'm looking down the barrel of deadlines, commitments, life, etc. It's hard to keep up with brewing when life gets busy. One of the tricks that people do, when they brew few and far between, is to brew a large batch of wort, and split it up into carboys for different yeasts. In my case, half the batch is going to go with the White Labs Mexican Lager into the fridge for a deep, cool ferment. The other half is going into the middle room along with some caramelized dates, sage, and lemon verbena and the big, bad powerhouse Wyeast French Saison that will likely finish fermenting the whole five gallons in approximately 3 hours. I am exaggerating the time, but not by much as those familiar with that yeast strain will know. ;)
Right, I got a big, big heavy 60 quart stainless steel kettle sitting on a Bayou Classic, and burning that propane down.
I mashed 16 pounds of Pilsner Malt, 4 pounds of Vienna Malt, and 1 pound of Crystal 20l with 3 steps up, starting at 132, then 147, then 156 (thereabouts... Still working out the kinks of my step mash technique and the way south Texas summer heat messes with temperature calculations.) After 30 minutes at each step, I noticed that attenuation had slowed down and I was running out of room in my 10 gallon cooler. So, that was the end of that mash. I slowly recirculated the mash liquor until it looked more clear and a grain bed had formed, and let it go.
With my imprecise method of getting my temperatures, I was pleasantly surprised by full attenuation.
Anywho, I topped up the 60 quart can for a long, hot boil, and put an ounce of US Magnum at 90 minutes as a big, bad bittering charge. At 15 minutes, an ounce of Crystal went in, too.
It made beer. Two buckets full. One will be a Saison, the other a Lager. After brewing all the wort, I took a handful of sage and lemon verbena from the garden to cook down with the dates, and tossed it all into the Saison bucket. I expect to pitch the yeast in a few minutes, and can't wait to see what happens between the two very different, twin brews.
I should name them something twin-like. The Saison will be the bigger and faster of the two. It shall be the Governator, with the yeast of decimation. The Lager will be called Penguin. It will be kept very cold for a long time, and will bring a chill to the hottest of days.
Lemme see if this foolish machine allows the uploading of photography.
Apparently not easily. Perhaps someday, pictures will come. Alas, not today.