Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An emergency yeast cake.

So after I tapped my maples in preparation for my next barley wine I realized I was missing something. I do not not have a yeast cake of California ale yeast to pitch onto. I realize I could make a huge starter or several packets of yeast, since I am using SafAle US-05, however I feel like the yeast cake is best. Simply because I had such great success using that method with my first barley wine. So what to do? Well, brew up a batch quick. I have no idea how long it will take me to collect enough sap but I can let the batch sit for my usual 3 weeks, or if per chance I collect enough sap sooner (say a week or week and a half) I can rack it off sooner.

So, last Saturday I brewed up a 5 gallon batch of Altbier. I had been toying with brewing this for a while as a means of using up some grains I had that I did not see using and had been around for a bit too long. Namely some Munich, a lb. of melanoidin, and some Caramunich. All seemed reasonable ingredients if not totally tradtional for an alt. The plan was to use what I had and not buy anything new. So, I used some chocolate for color (rather than a more traditional debittered carafa) and some US-05 as a neutral clean yeast. Most importantly I would have that yeast cake!

I won't go into too much detail as I mainly made this for the yeast to harvest. Also I normally do not brew any German beers and I feel I hardly have anything helpful to offer anyone in that regard.

The recipe for Reste Altbier (remainders altbier)
3 lb. 8 oz. Marris otter (I believe pilsner would have been a more tradtitional choice)
3 lb. Munich malt
1 lb. Melanoidin (makes up somewhat for the fact that I did not decoct?)
12 oz. of Caramunich II
8 oz. of Carared
2 oz. of Chocolate malt (again carafa would have been a more authentic choice)

43 g of Northern brewer (6 %AA) at 60 minutes.
3 g Irish moss at 15 minutes.
Mashed at 150°F for 60 minutes. Boil for 90 minutes.

Ferment at 68F (until the yeast is needed...) Then cold condition for 2 weeks.

Barley wine here I come!

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