Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Claim 52 Mystery Wort BrewHaHa; RECIPE: Mild

The idea came to me while reflecting on our club's Iron Brewer competition: adding a mystery ingredient to a recipe that is already formulated on paper.  I thought, "Adding Cap'n Crunch to an IPA isn't really that challenging, is it?"  Then it came to me... what if we did a brewing event with a huge twist?  No one knows what the grist and wort composition is until just before brewing with it?  I contacted the President and VP of our brew club for a go-ahead on the plan, and then contacted a local brewer to help out.  Trevor, owner and brewer, at Claim 52 here in Eugene, was very active in the local home brew scene before going pro, and still judges in the BJCP comps in our area.  He was very gracious and really liked the idea.  We would give him the number of brewers, and he would make enough wort for each of them to get 5 gallons post boil.  He was the only one with full knowledge of what the wort would be, what specialty grains would be used, what the mash temp would be.  We, as the brewers, would have to show up prepared for anything that came out of that mash tun.

Each of us were to bring hops, yeast, fruits, spices, and sugar adjuncts to the brew day along with all of our equipment to make a 5 gallon batch of beer.  We were not allowed to augment the grain bill by adding any other grains, or grain color additives, but we could use up to 1# sugar adjuncts to increase the OG or slightly alter the fermentability.  We had 20 minutes to figure out our recipe, and disclose what we were brewing.  I gave everyone the option of adding other things at home so long as they were disclosed on brew day.  You could add Brett at bottling, or age on fruit, or add sugar at high krausen, or add oak, but it had to be stated ahead of time and it had to be in there once done.  This was to keep people from trying to cover up flaws in the beer with post fermentation altering, no covering phenols by adding Brett and calling the beer a Belgian.

We ended up with 7 brewers including myself, and 7 different beers.  Our president did a Dusseldorf Alt.  One brewer added 1# Amber Belgian Candy Sugar and aged on raisins, figs, and dates using Belgian Abbey for a Belgian Dubbel.  Another brewer did an ESB with Bitter Orange Peel.  2 did IPAs.  Yet another did an Amber Ale with lime zest and 2 kinds of chili peppers.  I took that last runnings and ended up with under 5 gallons pre-boil.  I topped off with water and added 1/2# of Coconut Sugar, hopped with Crystal and Willamette, and fermented with London ESB from Ninkasi for an English Dark Mild.  Everyone boiled and ended up having a massive boiloff rate, we all had to top off with water to get back to 5 gallons.  We all snaked our hoses together to chill at basically the same exact time.  We sampled home brews, and Claim 52 beers.  It was a fun time.  Of course, being the first time using my new kettle I had a substantial leak at my thermometer and had to empty my kettle and re-tighten the fittings before actually boiling, and then my pickup tube clogged shut again (going back to hop bags).

The set fermentability of the wort proved challenging as my beer started at 1.047, had 1/2# sugar, a brewery pitch of yeast, and still finished at 1.021.  The Dubbel finished at 1.020 as well with 1# sugar in it.  Another brewer didn't alter the beer at all, just did an IPA, and it finished at 1.022.

After 8 weeks we are all taking the beers back to Claim 52 for a tasting open to the public, People's Choice.  The 3 top beers get COC points, and the winning beer will be brewed full scale at Claim 52 as a collaboration for sale and distribution around town.  That day all beer sales at the brew house will go to benefit EWEB's Customer Care Program, which helps families to pay their electric and water bill while they are laid off from work.


5.25 gallons
1.047 OG
1.021 FG
3.4% ABV
25 IBUs
9 SRM (more like 14)

78.3% Gambrinus Pils
5.1%   White Wheat Malt
5.1%   Caramalt 15L
5.1%   Cara Pils
3.8%   Kiln Coffee
1.3%   CaraAmber

90 Minute Boil:
90 mins - 0.25oz Magnum (Homegrown 2013)
20 mins - 0.60oz Willamette (Homegrown 2011)
20 mins - 0.60 Crystal (Homegrown 2013)
10 mins - 1.00oz Willamette (Homegrown 2011)
10 mins - 0.60 Crystal (Homegrown 2013)
0 mins - 1.00oz Willamette (Homegrown 2011)
0 mins - 0.50 Crystal (Homegrown 2013)

Kettle Additions:
(Unknown mash additions)
1 tsp Calcium Chloride in boil
1 Whirfloc tablet
4 taps Yeast Nutrient

WY 1968 London ESB - Ninkasi brewery pitch
Shook to aerate
68*F 4 days
72*F 14 days
45*F 3 days
68-75*F 3 weeks in bottles - carbonated with .3oz Coconut Sugar
45*F 2 weeks prior to serving

Collected 4.5 gallons of wort.  Topped up with hot water to 7 gallons.  Emptied kettle as the thermometer fitting was leaking.  Tightened fitting.  Refilled kettle.  90 minute boil.  Whirlpooled for 20 minutes.  Pick-up tube clogged shut.  Cooled to 78*F.  Syphoned into Better Bottle, 4.25 gallons of wort @ 1.057 OG, way too much boil off for 90 minutes.  Put airlock on and packed up all my brew gear.  Drove home and topped off beer with cold water to 5.25 gallons @ 1.045 OG.  Shook to aerate.  Pitched 1/3 pint of slurry from Ninkasi.  Set temp control to 68*F.

16 hours, krausen formed, fermenting strong

48 hours, krausen is getting smaller

72 hours, upped temp to 72*F for Diacetyl Rest and to ensure complete fermentation.  Swirled carboy to try to re-suspend yeast as 1968 floccs hard.

2 weeks, checked gravity and sampled beer.  Hops are a little too pronounced at this point, but should round out by the 8 week mark.  Strong coffee finish, like watered down coffee.  Bitterness is low.  No Diacetyl.  Slightly nutty.  Better as it sits a few minutes.  FG @ 1.021, much higher than I wanted, but that was out of my hands.

3 weeks + 2 days, purged sanitized bottling bucket with CO2, force racked to bucket, primed with Coconut sugar, bottled 45 bottles and a 2L.  Maintained at 68-75*F for 3 more weeks to naturally carb.  Tastes nice, coffee finish is still there, subtle English hopping, flavor and aroma has rounded out well.  A little watery, even for the 1.021 FG.

6 weeks, put into fridge and cooled to 40*F

8 weeks, transported to Claim 52 for People's Choice competition.

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