Saturday, December 20, 2008

Smoked Helles and Brewday Slideshow

It occurred to me that maybe one of the 2 or 3 people who check out this blog might be interested to see my brewing setup in action, and for me to explain my typical brewing process. There are many sites, including How To Brew, that go much deeper into a textbook brew day, but I think my setup and techniques may help certain brewers, especially those new to all-grain brewing, or those who want to brew all-grain, but don't have the luxury of outdoor space to do so. I've really tried to concentrate on simple, low-tech equipment that does not sacrifice beer quality or consistency.

So I'll take you through a slide show of my smoked helles brewday.
To see the commentary, click "show info" in the upper right-hand corner.

The inspiration for the smoked helles recipe was a commercial beer. If you have never had the Schlenkerla smoked helles, you should seek it out, because it's amazing. I have only seen it on draft in NYC and Philly. This beer is so wonderfully, subtly smokey, that even people like me who usually don't like smoked beers should try it. This is a true session beer with just enough smoke to make you think of food, and go back for another pint. I wanted to try a beer like this, and maybe even give it a little more smoke than Schlenkerla's version (although not near the level of smoke found in their darker beers).

I had never done a beer with smoked malt, so I wanted to get a little input from the pope - Jamil Zainacheff. He recommended that I shoot for 7-10% Rauchmalt for a very subtle flavor. I was going to try 10%, but when I was tasting this grain, it was just so good to eat, I decided to take it up to 17% of the total grain. I figured if it was too smokey for a helles, I could blend in a small amount of my upcoming Schwarzbier and just call it a rauchbier. And it is definitely smokier than the Schlenkerla version, I tried it when I transferred it from the primary to a keg. But it tastes great, and I can't wait to try it in a month when it's fully lagered and carbonatated.

Smoked Munich Helles
Recipe is for 6.2 gallons post-boil, all-grain
O.G. 1.049 F.G. 1.012 IBU's 20

8 lb, 6 oz. Durst Pils malt
1 lb. 12 oz. Rauchmalt
2 oz. aromatic malt

25 gr. German Tradition pellets 5.7% 60 min.

Mash: 3.75 gallons water, no mineral additions.
Mash in to 151. Checked pH at 15 minutes: about 5.3
One hour at 151, followed by a mash out to 170 over 15 minutes.

Sparged with 5 gallons at 170. Collected 7.1 gallons at 1.044 = 79% efficiency.

Boil 90 minutes, hops at 60, whirlfloc at 15, 1/2 tsp. Wyeast nutrient at 10 min.

Chilled (see slide show) to 54 and racked to carboy, aerated by hand for 10 min.

Pitched the yeast: A decanted, 3 liter starter of Whitelabs 830 made on a stirplate.

Fermented for 2 weeks at 52, racked to keg on 1/4/09.


cm said...

I am also making a smoked helles. I'd like to hear your thoughts on how yours turned out. how was the ibu?

Seanywonton said...

This turned out great. Less bitter than Schlenkerla's helles. I wouldn't change it though.