Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trappist High Gravity, Sour Mashes, Partigyles.........Beer is way to much fun!

Since the last post I've added the Trappist High Gravity (Wyeast 3787) to the stable.  My brewclub got this yeast to use for a Belgian partigyle that we did a couple of weeks ago.  The partigyle was an interesting affair that was a adaptation of a standard partigyle (many thanks to Scott for all his hard work on figuring this out).  We didn't want a big beer and a small beer, instead we wanted 3 beers of good or strong gravity.  We used two separate mash tuns each to produce a strong wort.  Then we sparged a second running out of each mash tun with about half the volume we would have for a normal beer.  We combined these two second runnings together to create the wort for the third beer.  The result was that we created a Quadrupel, Tripel, and Dubel all in one session.  For an added bonus we sourmashed our leftover grains for 24 hours and were able to produce two sour beers of reasonable gravity as well!  (I added sour cherry juice to mine in the fermenter and it is tasting fantastic so far)

The Trappist High Gravity has done a great job fermenting out the Quadrupel and has handled the multiple "Candi" syrup additions (Listen to the Homade Candi Syrup episode on Basic Brewing Radio to learn how to make this) very well.  The beer is a wonderfully malty, complex big beer.  It doesn't have as much of the "Belgian" character from the yeast as I was hoping for but I don't have temperature control for my carboys yet and it fermented around 66-68 F which is lower than what I would have liked to ferment it at.  Even so it is shaping up to be a great beer.

This evening I created a 50 ml starter and picked off a colony of the Trappist High Gravity to toss in.  This should be going into a friend's Patersbier next weekend.  Can't wait to see how that comes out.

I'm planning an American IPA next weekend which is a little bit different from what I usually brew so I'm looking forward to that.  Lots of Amarillo and Simcoe hops and lots of late additions!  I'm picking up a package of Wyeast 1056 which seems like a fitting yeast for this type of IPA.  I haven't brewed with this one in years but will be sure to snag a sample to go into the stable so it can work it's way into the rotation.

Pretty soon I'm going to need to make up some more plates and slants!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I could Cry Havoc all night long!

So that little Cry Havoc starter got built up into a 1 liter starter and went into a 1.084 Imperial Oatmeal Stout.  Boy it is nice when you have a good starter.  There was obvious fermentation going on within an hour or to of pitching that yeast.  Good thing I have a blow-off tube!  Too bad the bow-off bucket I used was too small!

Anyway, I've been really happy with the Cry Havoc yeast.  I fermented this beer in my basement where the temp has been around 65 or 66 F and it brought this beer down to 1.020 in 3 or 4 days!  I was hoping to get the gravity a little lower but my mash ended up being pretty warm and there are a lot of oats in this beer.  Regardless this little guy gave me an apparent attenuation of 74% which is pretty good considering it is only rated to 70%.

This coming weekend the SouthCoast Homebrewers Association is planning a Belgian Partigyle.  It's a bit of an experiment for the group.  This isn't really a traditional partigyle but a sort of hybrid where we are using to mash tuns.  One will produce a wort for a Quad, the second will produce a wort for a Tripell, and the second runnings from both systems will be combined to try and make a Dubell..  On paper it works, we'll see what happens once the yeast is pitched.

I'm breaking out my trusty culture of WLP 550 Belgian Ale for one beer and we have a new addition to the stable, Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity.  I'm really excited about this one too!  We will be using it in two of the beers.

Right now I only have one stir plate so the Trappist yeast is getting a stir and the Belgian Ale is building up old school.  Interestingly, I do have a second stirplate stashed away.  A couple of years ago I decided to build my own with a computer fan and rare earth magnets.  It was a fun project and everything looked great but I was never able to get the stir bar I had at the time to couple well with the magnets and actually stir.  Since I got my new stir plate and stir bar I finally figured out what the problem was....the original stir bar that I had was not magnetized!  It is just a plastic coated piece of metal.  It sticks to the stir plate but even on my new stir plate doesn't make a strong enough magnetic coupling to stir.

Well that stir bar is going straight into the trash (as soon as I fish it out of the bottom of the WLP 550 starter)!  I have a new magnetized stirbar on the way.  Now I just need to fish out the homemade stirplate, re-solder some of the connections that have become broken as I have fiddled with it, and I will be all set to have 2 starters stirring concurrently!  YeeeHaaawww!