Thursday, March 13, 2014

Giant Freaking Barleywine - Brewday

I thought I'd give a little update in the Barleywine from my last post. The brewday itself was one of those stories you hear about on the "Brewing Disasters" shows on the homebrew podcasts (and I may send this one in if I find the time to write up the gory details). But the results were just about what I had hoped for, so it seems like it may end up being worth the frustration.

I missed low on the temp for my initial mash (156F instead of 160F), so I held it a bit longer to be sure I got the most alpha amylase activity out of it. I pulled the first grain bag after 60 minutes, and squeezed out as much as I could from the bag. I was left with about 3.8 gallons of wort in my cooler at 152F, at a gravity of 1.063.

I added my second grain bag and the second 8 lbs of Maris Otter. This brought the temp down to 140F. I let it sit for about 15 minutes, then added back 1 quart of boiling water to bring my final rest temp to 145F. I held this temp for an hour. I ended up with a preboil gravity of 1.113. After a 90-minute boil I got about 2.8 gallons of 1.142 wort into my fermenter. I'm pretty happy with this number. Any higher and I'd be concerned whether it would ferment down as low as I wanted it. But if it was much lower, then I could have easily hit that OG with a more standard single-mash using an extended boil.

Right now we're 8 days into fermentation. The Yorkshire Square yeast is still chugging away. I have it at about 56F right now, and will hold it there until fermentation starts to slow. I have some extra yeast tucked away from an earlier batch in case I need a "rescue" starter, but I think I'm going to hold off until I can get a gravity reading.

Speaking of gravity readings - the WLP037 is one crazy yeast. It is super flocculant - way more than even WLP002/WY1968. I literally could not get a gravity sample from my thief today because the wort was so chunky.

More details to come...

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