Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Wee Heavy Scotch ale.

The final installment in my Scottish ale succession. This will likely take the place of my previous Scotch ale in using the name "Wicked Auld Thistles" ale. It has taken me a while to sit down and right this one up. I brewed it on February 28. Wish I had typed this up while it was still fresh in my mind... Alas, I did not, so here we go.

Was a bit off on this one. As usual with all the different things I have going on I cannot easily pinpoint where things went awry. First things first though. Recipe and procedures.

16 lb. 8 oz. of Marris Otter malt (99%)
2.75 oz. of Roasted barley (1 %)

28 g of Golding hops @ 60 Minutes
7 g of Golding hops @ 45 minutes*

3 g Irish moss @ 15 minutes

Mashed at 158°F for 60 minutes

*a slight deviation from the overall scheme here. It needed more hops obviously to balance the higher gravity. I decided to add some at 45 minutes instead of all at 60 minutes. I figure this will provide some needed hop character without too much flavor. This will be so big, sweet, and chewy that it will need a touch of more hop presence to balance it differently.

Collected 1 gallon of first runnings and reduced it (caramelized) to about 1 quart. Collected an additional 7.25 gallons of wort (which measured 1.055). Boiled total of 7.5 gallons of wort with a preboil gravity of 1.064 (on target) for 120 minutes (2 hours)

Chilled down to about 54° F and pitched onto the yeast cake of my last Scottish ale brewed, Bompa Bristle's 80/- (shilling). Maintained a temp of no higher than 60°F.

Where did things go amiss? Well it was not too bad. Started off with an unwatched pot syndrome on the caramelized wort. It was steadily reducing away. Not too fast. Alas, I learned that when it gets down to the end it is more prone to boil over. I lost an unknown amount. Regardless my preboil gravity was spot on. Though my preboil volume was a quart low. Unfortunately I did not learn my lesson wit the first boil over. The brew kettle then also boiled over at the commence of boil. Again, unknown volume lost, though according to my volume stick it was not too much.

I then apparently missed the pot with my second hop addition. I was late adding these at 39 minutes. Some of the hops remained on the rim of the keggle. I flicked them in when I was adding the Irish moss and chiller at 12 minutes. Yes I was late adding those... So, I may end up with some inappropriate hop flavor/aroma but I think it was small enough that it will not be perceptible. Especially with the aging this will be getting.

Finally, I was off on my OG. I ended up with a gravity of 1.082 instead of 1.090. I guess I waited to post this because I am still scratching my head over some of these variables. I ended up with 5.50 gallons in the kettle as predicted. It appeared? I measure after it was cool. However I only was able to transfer 5 gallons and there was maybe a quart when I scooped out the remainder to try and funnel/strain more in. There was not that much hop or break material, so where did that other quart go? Maybe I need to recalibrate my volume stick. I pitched onto about a ½ gallon of yeast (and trub) from the previous batch. So I have 5.50 gallons in the fermenter in the end.

Other than that things have gone well. Fermentation took of vigorously within a few hours on the cake and I was able to maintain temps better this time. Only slight fluctuations up and down but mostly steady for the first 36 hours or so.

I also attempted to collect a second batch of beer from the grains to make a two penny ale. However I sparged with too much water. I added 5 gallons of 170°F water to the mash after my intial wort collected. I ended up with 4.5 gallons of wort with a SG of 1.012. Way too low to bother with I figured. Perhaps with better planning it could have worked but it was an after thought.

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