Citizens, sweet and seemly it is to overshoot the hell out of both volume and gravity when brewing a beer like this.
Scaling back, keeping things manageable, and overcoming in the face of adversity: ending 2012 with a brew day like this is highly fitting for me personally.
After a phlegm-yacking cold virus decimated the household this week, a subzero outdoor 10 gallon double decoction big lager brew day was just not in the cards for your author, physically or psychologically. But it’s the solstice, there was a raging yeast cake, and a blast of cold northern air was making the ambient basement temp an offer that a lager primary fermentation could not refuse.
So I scaled back the batch size to a kitchen stove-capable 3 gallon BIAB that would let me slug down hot tea and stay warm from dough-in to knockout. I made of MZAtor 2.0 a moveable beast.
And then either that wee little decoction, untapped alchemical power of Weyermann floor-malted Bohemian dark, a long-forgotten Mayan prophecy, straight up proto-Saxon pagan solstice power, or some combination of the above kept the post-boil wort above volume and a good 15 points north of planned OG. And for a honker of a Doppelbock, I will take it, gladly. Thank you, Wotan.
If you also brewed today: how’d it go, homies?
I’m just heating my mash water up here in Philly at 5:30pm. It’s a nice balmy 30 degrees with a 15-25 mph wind going. I love brewing outside…. I’m planning a Belgian stout tonight. That mucus filled virus has crushed this household as well. Since we were treated to some lunchmeet early, and I too had a yeast slurry waiting…. There was just too many signs not to brew.
Didn’t get to brew today, but I sure am glad you’re blogging about beer. Really enjoyed u on BTV. Cheers and happy holidays!
Halfway through the boil of a Dawson’s Kriek, feeling the funk. I’ll let you know how it is in two years.
Went for two and brewing a Patersbier after my house bitter. Mashing the Patersbier as I type. it will be a late night here in Glens Falls, NY but not as cold as your back 40. Definitely some proto-Saxon pagan solstice power pushing the trees around 45mph outside the haus.
Wasn’t able to brew today but we’ll be firing up the brew kettle for a little Keeler’s Reverse Burster Altbier. It’s good to see you again. I owe a lot of my advancements in brewing to you and JK. Happy Holidays and Prost!
I wish I could partake from the lagerly lager temps that you mentioned. Unfortunately I did not get to brew down here in sunny south Florida. Really appreciate all of your help. Good to know I have solid advice every time I seek it out.
Brewing a Belgian Witbier. All went well, but my ferment temps are lower than the ideal, will probably miss out on some of the Belgian funkiness. But happy to finally brew something up anyway.
I brewed a wee heavy Thursday, didn’t want to brew and fight off zombies in the same day.
How do you chill your wort for a lager? Narziss fermentation calls for a pitching temperature of 44*F. My ground water won’t let me get there with an immersion chiller.
Chill it as far as you can witj ic then put in fridge or other temp controled device.
I use a plate chiller (Therminator) for all my 10 gal batches, immersion for anything smaller. MN groundwater at this time of year will get it below 50F either way … I don’t always follow the Narziss protocol, but when I do and can’t get there with warmer chill H20, I do like caucasian1975 says and rack the cooled wort to a sanitized fermenter and place it (unpitched) in the 35F lager chest overnight (or longer). I forget where I first read about this technique – Fix? Noonan? – but IIRC some continental brewers use this “float tank” as a further opportunity to separate cold break prior to pitching.
Michael, need to stock up for some 2013 brew days. Who are your preferred suppliers these days?
I get my bulk grain and yeast from Northern Brewer. For the past couple years I’ve also been buying whole hops in bulk direct from growers to supplement my homegrown hops.
Hopsdirect.com is an awesome resource also. I recently obtained a pound of hard to find Centennial hops pellets through them. They are very high quality hops! Extremely fresh and they smell terrific.
Michael, a question on decoction mashing. Probably a stupid question at that. A buddy and I have both watched your Decoction Day video and thought it would be a cool idea to do a side by side brew day of a Vienna Lager. One Decoction mashed and one single temp infusion mashed. Same grain bill, yeast starters, fermentation temps yada yada. Then compare differences in flavors, color, aroma and so forth. So, when decoction mashing, is it possible to use a 10 gallon cooler as your main mash tun that you pull your decoctions from? Or do you need to have a kettle on a burner to have constant heat being applied to, to better maintain rests. This will be the first time either one of us uses this method,
Both work fine. A cooler has the advantage of holding temps nice and steady over the long stretches of time while pulling & boiling decoctions. A kettle MLT bleeds heat faster but gives more flexibility to correct an undershot temp. Good luck and have fun!
Thanks for the reply. And thanks for all the work you’ve done with the B.T.V. videos. I am a novice homebrewer, and the information you guys gave really got me inspired to learn as much as I can about brewing beer. I look forward to following your blog, and continuing to learn and improve my brewing. Your work is as noble as the Hallertau Hop.
Dude, come on … nothing is as noble as Hallertau!
What do you think of this Dawson? Hoppelbock. Brew a Doppelbock, using decoction mashing. Add hops to the each decoction, and boil for say 15 minutes. With a double decoction, you could wind up with quite a few hop additions. If put in a hop bag during the decoction, and then removed, could that serve the same purpose as having multiple 15 minute hop additions? Then winding up with a lot of hop flavor and aroma but not the bitterness imparted from a full 60 minute boil? Or maybe this is a terrible idea? Haha
Well … ; )
I have never done this, and since the physical and chemical composition of a thick-mash decoction is quite different from that of post-sparge wort, and since the temp would be greater than when mash hopping at normal mash dilution, I can’t really say what the effect would be … maybe more IBU contribution than mash hopping but less flavor than with FWH? You never know until you try, and then make sure you let us all know how it works!
Man, I don’t know if I’m daring, or confident enought to try it yet haha. Just pure imagination, and boredom at work leaves me thinking about stuff like that. Hell, the Robust Porter I brewed on New Years Day tasted red wineish when I took a hydrometer test today. Don’t really understand that by the way. Two packs of S-04 pitched and temps in the closet I ferment in never got above 62 degrees. Fruity esters shouldn’t be THAT present, and sanitation was fine. Anyway, decoction hopping a Hoppelbock might just have to wait for a while, unless a seasoned veteran (hint hint) is willing to try??
HI Dawson, since you are working with Wyeast now, why do you propose re-releasing the Hella bock lager yeast? I have seen your endorsement of this particular strain on BTV but I have not had a chance to try it yet!
Oh, I’m on the case. But they weight customer requests more heavily than what this nerd says. Make it so, as the man said.