Monday, November 26, 2012

Midwest Homebrewing Supply - Trappist Ale

I'm in the process of making some mental adjustments since relocating to Mexico, and I was glad to finally get a chance to brew my first batch of homebrew as a way of grounding myself in my new environment. Because it's difficult to get good homebrewing ingredients here, I highly anticipated the shipment of an All-grain kit from Midwest Homebrewing Supply.

Midwest is a huge homebrewing retailer located in Minnesota and they had already shipped my kit even before I arrived in San Miguel. Shortly after getting my equipment set up I received Midwest's Noble Trappist Ale kit in my local post box. The box contained all I needed including a nice mix of pre-crushed grain, Belgian candi sugar, hops and yeast. The grains and hops were already measured out, and because I don't have a scale yet, made it easy for me to jump right in and brew.

A box of goodness from Midwest Supply

The grain tasted good and the noble hops had a clean fresh aroma. The kit also included Whitelabs WLP500 Trappist ale yeast (one of my favorites for it's large phenolic character) and I hope it's still viable having spend some warm lag time in customs at the Mexican border. We'll see in a day or so. The brew session turned out to be an enjoyable day. The equipment performed without a hitch and brewing with the kit was a no-brainer. I glanced over the instructions that came in the box and they were in-line with the way I brew, although they didn't specify when to add the candi sugar to the boil. I chose to wait until the last 15 minutes in an attempt to keep the beer light in color.

Brew tree set up for first batch
Using the large Duda Diesel plate chiller and a post chiller coil in ice water I was able to quickly get the wort down to pitching temperatures. I want a cool ferment so I decided on 64f. to begin with. I may ramp up the temperature to 72f. a few days into the ferment if the yeast doesn't do it on it own. I took some samples for a refractometer reading to confirm I got the gravity I wanted and that it matched what Midwest Supply said I should expect as an original gravity. It was spot on. I also did a quick calculation to determine the 20 IBU hop bitterness as you can see from my notes below.

By the way, here is a quick formula to figure ibu's. (Qty of hops in grams x AA% x Util.%  x .1 / Qty in liters) In this case: 56grams x 2.4aa x 27util. x .1 / 20ltrs = 18ibu's

Sweet wort ready for the pitch

Midwest's Noble Trappist Ale (all-grain) Kit

Batch size 5gal.
Eff. 80%
o.g. 1.054
Ibu's 20

Grain Bill:
Mash at 152f. for 60 min. add candi sugar 15min. prior to end of boil
9lbs. domestic 2-row
8oz. carapils
8oz. light crystal malt
1 lb. light Belgian candi sugar

Boil for 60 mins. with:
2 oz. hallertau (pellet)at for 60 min.
1 oz. styrian.goldings (pellet) for 3 min.

chill to 65f. and pitch 1 tube wlp500 trappist ale yeast.

After spending a few hours in the brewery, I felt rejuvenated and inspired to get busy brewing and filling some kegs and the experience was made all the more enjoyable by the ease of brewing a kit.
I would highly recommend Midwest Homebrewing Supply for their quality brewing kits and the friendly service I received from their sales staff and an easy to navigate website. You can contact Midwest by clicking the link above. If you get a Midwest kit to brew please leave a comment here letting us know how it went for you. Cheers!

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