Good news everyone! We didn’t have a repeat of our last brew session! So this update will be much shorter.
We transferred the first wheat (currently being called Spacenana) into serving kegs and are currently carbonating it. Should be ready to try very soon. The imperial porter finished fermenting and is currently cold crashing with carbonating happening soon (Saint Patties is just around the corner). Lastly, we brewed another 13 gallons of wheat (currently being called Spacenono), and we put that right into the remaining yeast cakes from the first batch.
Spacenana is only different from Spacenono because of the different amounts of yeast used to ferment the wort. Since the first wheat was pitched with the suggested amount of yeast, it should have developed strong banana esters (get it? Spacenana?). While the second wheat was pitched with what should be way more than the suggested amount of yeast, and it should be lacking in the banana esters department. We will surely enjoy tasting these two near identical recipes side by side hopefully as soon as next month.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy … we had “fun” during the brewing of our wheat beer </sarcasm>
Seriously though, we screwed the pooch with a slight modification to our standard brewing practice. I’d like to give you fair warning that I’ll be dropping some terms on you that you might not be familiar with. If I don’t adequately explain it in the post, I urge you to post any questions in the comments section below.
We were really excited to try out a new technique to keep our mashing temperature steady (mashing is the process where you steep the grains, similar to brewing tea). The new technique was inspired by a system developed by Blichmann Engineering that makes brewing easy (rightly called BrewEasy). What we liked about that system’s setup was the fact that you could circulate the mash liquid into the boil kettle to heat it up and put it back in the mash, effectively keeping the temperature in the mash right where we wanted it.
This might not have been such a horrible idea, except that we put all the water into this circulation path (mash > boil > mash > boil …), and that had an unforeseen consequence. We were equilibrating the sugar concentration in our wort (the sugar water created during the mash), thus diluting the concentration that would ultimately be collected in the boil kettle. Normally we would put steep the grains in the minimum water required, pull off the highest concentration of sugars, and then rinse multiple times with fresh water to extract all the sugars we could from the mash. The new method left nearly 40% of the sugars behind, which would normally have been disastrous. However, we were prepared for not hitting our target gravity (how we measure how much sugar got into the wort) by having wheat dry malt extract (also called DME) to supplement our missing sugars.
Long story short, we made the beer we wanted, just not the way we intended. Lastly, we pitched three different yeasts into the three different kegs we have the wheat fermenting inside. Be on the look out for the German Wheat (clean, banana, and clove), Weihenstephan Weizen (cloudy, banana, and clove), Belgian Wheat (apple, bubblegum, and plum-like aromas) variants of this beer.
If you are reading this, you have either survived Cinco de Mayo or you are undead. Either way, good for you!
Let’s talk about where all the beer is at!
Wanted to keep everyone up to speed, so here we go.
Last time, I reported incorrectly that the Belgian didn’t finish fermenting. We later learned that it was because we concentrated the beer too much and we were getting a false gravity reading. The two variants got bottled on April 6th. Keep an eye out for red and orange caps.
The wheat beer fermented beautifully and got bottled along side the Belgian. Both beers will be ready for consumption after Easter. You’ll be on the lookout for gold (or perhaps organge w/ an ‘A’ written on them) and yellow caps.