Saturday, March 29, 2014

Das Alt Bier

Brew Day – Sun. 25 Jan. 2014

With the new kiddo, brewing time has become a precious commodity. It seemed appropriate then to share this brew day with a friend of mine whose first child was due in less than two months. I made up a starter the day before with WLP 036 German Alt Yeast.

I used the recipe "Alt.Beer.Recipe" from the book Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. The homebrew shop in Boulder was out of pilsner malt extract and so I ended up going with 100% munich malt extract instead – I figured  it would still be beer.

Getting ready to make the starter

OG: 1.050 (12 .3 op) – Actual: 1.060 (oops)
FG: 1.014 (3.5 op) – Actual: 1.016 (better)
IBU: 32
Color: 16 SRM (31 EBC)
Alcohol: 4.7% ABV (3.7% ABW)

Boil: 60 minutes
Pre-Boil Volume: 7 gal lons (26.5L)
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.042 (10.5 op)

Pilsener LME (2.3 °L) 7.4 lbs. (3.35kg) 
Munich LME (9 °L) 0.7 lb. (318g) Actual: 8.5 lbs

Steeping Grains
Carafa Special II ( 430 °L) 0.25 lb. (113g)
CaraMunich (60 °L) 0.25 lb. (113g)
Pale Chocolate Malt (200 °L) 3.0 oz. (85g)

Magnum 13.0% AA for 60 min. 0.6 oz. (17g)

Dan, my co-brewer for the day, was an excellent assistant. With his help we did the brew day in a little over 3 hours. I once again did a full wort boil staggered over two pots. The pots were staged 15 minutes apart with half of the ingredients (approximately) put into both. The singe hop addition made things very easy and the wort was easy to transfer to the fermenter.

Clean-up complete
One hurdle that we had to overcome for fermentation was that the homebrew shop was also out of one inch tubing (I was beginning to notice a theme with this homebrew shop). Initially I tried to put a smaller (3/8th inch, I believe) hose on the top with the airlock. This tube kept getting blown off. Then I realized that I had a large half-inch auto-syphon tube. This seems to stay on a lot better (although a one-inch tube would have been better).
This fermentation stretched the capacity of my airlock and blow-off tube
Bottling – Wed. 19 Mar. 2014
I did not have time to bottle this one after a month so instead I transferred it to a secondary fermenter  on 23 Feb. I have felt that I bottled my last few beers too early and so I felt that giving it a few extra weeks in the fermenter would be a good idea. And I did not have time to bottle.

Racking from the fermenter into the bottling bucket
 So finally, almost two months after brew day, I bottled the beer. The process took about two hours. I got 48 bottles. Ingredients were $41.12. So this one came to 85 cents a beer. Not bad.

Moment of Truth

While I like to wait two weeks, that is not always an option. So after a little over a week I tried the first beer on the 27th. It came out dark reddish brown and clear. Reasonable carbonation for a week. As expected, it was nicly malty with just a bit of caramel / chocolate in the background. I have no idea if it ended up in the alt beer category, but it’s a good beer so far.

Das Alt Bier

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