Saturday, July 13, 2013

Two Beers For The Price Of One

In January I had this great idea to brew a strong beer to release as an anniversary special for Cerveceria Dos Aves during the Xmas season at the end of the year. I created a recipe for a barley wine. Using 60% R.O. water, a ton of grain, sugar and molasses I brewed for optimum fermentation and pitched my new favorite English ale yeast Whitelabs WLP013. Two weeks later I racked to two kegs and let settle for a couple more weeks before bottling. After several months of conditioning in the bottles I tried a sample, it was delicious and would be a great beer to celebrate with when the breweries anniversary came around.
However, last week I tried another sample from a different case to confirm that the beer was aging nicely only to discover that this particular beer had the flavor of what can only be described as Flemish'ish. The flavor represents the addition of acetobactor, a bacteria that provides the distinctive taste of vinegar that you typically find in Flemish reds/browns. There may be a little brettanomyces in there too. Actually quite delicious but not what I planned.

Acetobacter cells are pretty
 

I went through the four cases of beer inspecting the bottles one at a time looking for signs of spoilage. What I soon discovered was that two cases were spoiled while two cases were still the excellent beer that I initially tasted. This led me to conclude the the contamination occurred in the keg. Evidently, one of the kegs was sanitary and one keg not so sanitary, hence the spoilage leading to two cases of what I'm now labeling 'Ned Flanders oud bruin' and two cases of English barley wine.












This is what 41 lbs. of grain look like in a 15 gallon keggle.






What is this all leading to you ask? Well, to make up for the loss of two cases of beer I decided to brew that same beer over again. I figured I still had six months left in the year which should be plenty of time for this second batch to mature before the celebration. But that's not all. I also decided to try a little technique that I've never done before which is to run a second sparge and collect a smaller beer from the grain.




Second runnings
collected for a
brown
ale.












Because of the large quantity of malt used in making my 1.100sg barley wine my efficiency is pretty low. The first time around it ran at 75% and this time it was only 72%. A normal gravity beer for me comes in at about 90%. Well, I wanted to try and salvage some of that sugar and so ran some more hot water through the grain and pulled another 6 gallons of 1.035sg. for what I think will be a very nice English brown. I checked the gravity of the runnings as I went confirming that the sugar reading never dropped below 1.010 which assured me that I wasn't extracting any husk tannins. The grain bill is right for a brown ale and I had some English S-04 yeast laying around.
After boiling for 60 minutes my English brown went into the fermentor at 1.042 and I bittered to 22 ibu's. I'll keep you posted on the outcome of this beer.

I also brew a pretty big Russian imperial stout that I believe I can use this same technique on but wonder what style beer these second runnings would be best for? Any suggestions? Cheers!

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