Sunday, May 07, 2006

Edmonton Big Brew Day

On Saturday the Edmonton Homebrewer's Guild held its version of the AHA's Big Brew Day. CLick on the link for more information, but basically the Big Brew Day is a day where homebrew clubs across North America brew one of two recipies all at the same time on the first Saturday in May. The EHG did their big brew at Alley Kat Brewing (where I am the brewer) this year, and we had quite a good turn out. Hopefully, we will have the largest output in Canada. After the boil, we ended up with about 18.4 hl of beer (1840 L). We used pretty much all of it. OH, sorry... we brewed the Summer Kolsch (links ro recipe) at the brewery. Well, we sortof did. We used pale malt (since thats what we have at the brewery) instead of pilsner malt, and there was one very big difference....
We were supposed to mash at 65 C. After the dough-in... well with all the stuff going on I guess somebody forgot to turn off the steam jacketing on the mash tun... by the time the error was noticed, the mash temperature had increased to 78 C!! For those of you who don't know, thats the usual temperature of a "mash-out", where you heat the mash hot enough to denature (deactivate) the enzymes converting starch into fermentable sugar.
To fix this, the temperature was lowered with cold water and more pale malt added to at least give the beta-amylase a fighting chance. I figure we'll get a fairly dextrinous wort still with a nice heavy body. The beer I got from the big brew is fermenting quite happily, so it must be ok. If this turns out to be a great beer, maybe I'll try a mash schedule that incudes a "mash-out" at the start of the mash more often!

I basically got about 90 L of beer, divided up as such:
  • ~46 L into a 58.8 L standard keg that I use as a primary fermenter. To this I added our Alley Kat Ale yeast slurry. Its a somewhat neutral yeast, more british in character, as that its not as "clean tasting" as american ale yeasts... possibly a little floral flavours and green apple.
  • A 23 L glass carboy that I pitched with ~1 L of beer from the bottom of our special hefeweizen batch (which was quite yeasty). This should taste WAY different from our regular ale yeast.... a lot more bannana and clove character. Usually this yeast is used for wheat beers... not this time.
  • A 23 L bucket that I pitched with our Alley Kat ale yeast again. I boiled up about 1.5 L of water with some fuggles hops, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. I added some hersbrucker hops after the boil was done, cooled the mixture, and added it to the bucket. I may have used too much cloves, but I guess we'll see how it turns out. My apartment smelt great afterwards, so lets hope the beer tastes good too!
Well... cheers!

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