Monday, October 19, 2009

Oktoberfest is never too late

I started an Oktoberfest this weekend. Grain bill is as follows:
44.9% Pilsner LME
44.9% Munich LME
10.2% Crystal (60)
I hopped it with traditional 2oz Hallertau. 1.5oz for 60, and the other .5 at 20 minutes.

I steeped the crystal in 3 gallons cold water and 1teaspoon of gypsum until I hit 170 degrees. It took the water about 25 minutes to hit the right temperature before I pulled out. I added a little too much water (about 3.5 gallons) then brought it to a boil before adding the pilsner and Munich which brought the boil volume to about 7 gallons. Once the wort was boiling again I added the first hop addition. At the 20 minute mark the other .5 oz went in. Still thinking I had too much water I let the it continue to rapid boil for another 40 minutes. This brought the total volume to 5 gallons which I think is a little less then what I wanted. Normally I like 5.5 gallons to make up for the hop and other "sludge" at the bottom of the fermenter. This way I get a full 5 gallons of beer (53 pints). I was able to bring the temp down to 69 degrees in about 10 minutes using a friends (thanks Brett) wort chiller. Tested the original gravity at 1.055 (my goal was 1.060). Pitched the yeast (White Labs 820 ) starter and brought it home to roost for 4 or so weeks in a waiting frig. Last time I checked the beer was at 49 degrees. A little too cold. I have to raise the temp soon or the yeast may act a little funny.
When it's finished I should have a nice amber lager that has 5.4% alcohol by volume.
In about one or two weeks I'm going to start a massive Imperial IPA that should blow the roof off any other IPA I've ever done. I'll be using 15oz of hops. My largest hop usage to date is 8oz. After that's started I'll make a Christmas Ale for the holidays.


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