Friday, December 25, 2009

Plate Chiller and Hop Taquito Tested, and a Strong Saision with Brett

Because I'm a poor, unemployed bastard, I spent Christmas Eve out here on my own instead of traveling to see my family, which may not be the best way to spend the holidays, but it does make for some great brew sessions (wait til you see what I have lined up for tomorrow). Mainly this brew session was all about testing the new "Hop Taquito" as I am calling it since it's a smaller version of the "Hop Taco" I based it off of, and testing out the Shirron plate chiller that I am borrowing from Alex. He also gave me a couple bottles of Seven to take home recently, which made a nice accompaniment to the brewday.

I took some pretty detailed notes on the plate chiller's performance, and I'll post them here. I had not used it or even hooked it up to test it before the brew session, so I was expecting something to go awfully wrong, but wort cooling and straining went off without a hitch. In the winter, at least, when the tap water is cold, the plate chiller works like a charm. In the summer, I imagine you might need an pre-chiller of some sort (like running the line through a bucket of ice water to get it below 50 if possible).

I'll go ahead and set out the beer recipe and then go into the pictures and detail of the chilling process. A strong Brett-ified saison is not original in the sense that it's probably been done unintentionally for over a century, as well as currently being brewed intentionally by many breweries both foreign and domestic, but it's exactly what I wanted to brew. The commercial example I was really inspired by was Russian River Publication. If this beer turns out anything close to that or Ommegang Ommegeddon (a good bottle, not a too young or overly funky one), I'll be very happy! This should be ready in time for late spring/summer drinking.

Currently un-named Saison
Recipe is for 7 gallons pre-boil, 5.9 gallons post-boil
O.G. 1.066 (effectively 1.070) F.G. 1.006 (at bottling) ABV 8.5% IBU's 40

8.5 lb. Great Western Pils malt
1 lb. wheat malt
.5 lb. torrified wheat (just something I got for free and wanted to use up)
1.5 lb. Munich malt 8-10L
.5 lb. Munton's crystal 50-60 L
.5 lb. turbinado sugar (fairly dark)
(.5 lb. Malto-Dextrin powder added after transfer to secondary)

26 gr. Magnum whole hops 12% AA 60 minutes
56 gr. Willamette whole hops 4.7% AA 0 min

Water: Going for a hoppy profile, added 3 gr. gypsum/ 1 gr. calcium chloride to the mash. Same amount to boil kettle.

Mash in 4 gallons of water, 149 for 30 minutes, then 152 for 30 minutes.
Sparge with 5 gallons at 168
Collect 7 gallons at 1.053 = 81% efficiency

Boil 90 minutes, hops as noted.
Wyeast nutrient & Whirlfloc at 10 min

(See below for chilling details)

Pitched yeast from a 2 liter stirplate starter of WLP 566, 4 month old tube. (This shit took off like gangbusters despite the age, so once again I think Jamil's yeast viability calculator is a bit on the pessimistic side. It said the tube would be at 10% viability.)

Oxygen for 90 seconds
Start ferment at 66, warmed to 83 degrees over 2 weeks.

Racked to secondary on 1/12/10. 1.008. Tastes really nice, bitter and hoppy but balanced. Removed about 1 qt. to force carbonate, just to get a sample of the clean beer with 566 only.
Added. .5 lb. malto-dextrin powder dissolved in boiling water to the secondary to give the brett some food, upping the O.G. to 1.070. Added 1 pack of Wyeast B. Brux.

2/24/10 Pulled a flavor/gravity sample. 1.006, 8.5% ABV. Brett fermentation has been active and the brett character is very pronounced. Estery, light acidity, and light alcohol notes. Flavor is bitter and hoppy with brett barnyard, but a fairly sweet malt presence at the same time. No signs of fermentation stopping yet...

3/24/10 Racked to keg, which I will use as a bottling bucket. Damn, this is a brett bomb! In a good way, but not a beginner brett beer. Definitely for the afficionado. A brassy, perfumey aroma with a sour baby diaper funk.


OK, now here's the data I collected of the cooling and straining process. I had the bright idea of attaching a "fermometer" to the bottom of the carboy to get an early reading on what temp I was running off the wort at, and that seemed to do a great job. I actually started in a little cold at 64, so I increased the wort flow out of the pot to warm it up a bit.

Final Boil Volume: 6.1 gallons (accounting for shrinkage that would be 5.9 gal after chilling)
Whirlpool stirred for: 1 minute
Whirlpool settled for: 10 minutes
Cold water temp: 44 degrees
Cold water flow rate: 1.25 gallons per minute
Hot wort flow rate: .5 gallons per minute (10 minutes to fill carboy to 5.5 gal)
Wort temp in Carboy: 65-66
Wort left over in Kettle: less than .5 gallons


Towards the end of runnoff, I tilted the kettle to help drain out most of the wort. That's what was left, and I can probably get even more if I rotate the pickup tube down a bit more. I still need to try the Taquito with pellet hops, but using whole hops, it was a tremendous success!


Oh, and one last note on cleaning an sanitization of the plate chiller: I'm sure there are numerous viable ways to do this. Since I don't have a pump, recirculating hot wort is out, but I wanted to do a "Hot Kill" phase. That could either be done with boiling water or I've heard of some people doing it in the oven. Before brewing, I took all the tubes off and did an overnight Oxiclean soak and then sanitized it. On brewday, I got a little pot of water boiling and poured it into the wort and water sides of the plate chiller and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. It really got hot, and stayed hot, which was a relief to me. No way I am trusting this thing to get sanitized with chemicals when I can't even see inside it! The tubes were soaked in the sparge water pot for 15 minutes or so, and then everything stayed in sanitizer until I was ready to hook it up. Cleaning is as simple as an Oxiclean soak and sanitizer dip.

Merry Christmas Brewers and Beer Geeks! Here's hoping you get that special bottle, or brewing equipment you've been wanting under the tree.

Senior Wonton

1 comment:

Keith said...

Sean - that tacquito looks like it will really shine with the whole hops, but my guess is that it will be a bust with pellets. I did a few batches on my system with a copper scrubbie over the dip tube with whole hops and it was great.... then I did a beer that had a combo of whole and pellets.... and my dip tube stuck. It really sucks to siphon (no pun intended) all your wort out of your kettle as a result. Good luck.