Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Small Batches Of Beer

   For the most part, brewing commercially is a series of repetitive motions that mostly involve cleaning.
In the midst of it all I occasionally get to brew some special batches of beer to keep my spirits alive. The first picture below is a five gallon batch of Belgian Strong Ale fermenting away happily.
   We have been brewing multiple large batches of this beer for the Cerveceria Dos Aves anniversary beer to be released in late November so I took the occasion to pull off enough wort to re-pitch a different yeast that I salvaged from a beer that was brewed last year that I really liked. This is a very pleasant Belgian yeast Wyeast Belgian Ardennes but some of the bottles ended up with some acetobactor and these bottles I expecially liked. I want to try and duplicate the results and I'm making an assumption that the entire batch was infected and that the salvaged yeast includes some of the bacteria I want but that's a big assumption. Chances are it was a single keg or maybe just some bottles. With any luck, the bacterial infection that improved the beer is present and I'll have a nice stash of an awesome albeit personally enjoyable sour beer.

Special yeast for a Belgian strong

   The three other seen below are a trial batch that I brewed to see if it's possible to get a viable small beer from the second runnings off an imperial stout. The idea was to gain five gallons of mild (in this case an English brown ale) after pulling 10 gallons of R.I.S. from the mash.
The process I used was mashing in as normal for our R.I.S. but only collecting until the runnings were reading 15 brix. I was able to collect 9 gallons of wort. I then topped off the kettle with enough water to achieve 11 gallons total at the beginning of the boil. This would allow for a one gallon boil off in 60 minutes to achieve our normal starting gravity which will result in a 9% abv. stout.
In the mean time I continued to sparge and collect for the second (small) beer harvesting 6 gallons that I would boil down to 5 for a starting gravity of 9 brix.
   This technique worked for the most part but I will need to fine tune it in the future so that when we brew a large batch we can be precise in our collection quantities and gravities
After chilling and aerating I pitched an English yeast in the small beer and Whitelabs 001 in the imperial stout.

Two Imperial stouts and a mild

   The following day I had activity in each fermentor and am anxious to find out the results on the mild. I'm hoping that the English yeast doesn't ferment down too far as this lower gravity beer (o.g. 1.036sg) will need some body to be enjoyable. I'll keep you posted on the results of this one.

English yeast on far right

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Mark Taylor said...

A quick update. The English yeast performed perfectly and only attenuated 66% leaving the finished beer with some nice body. I just kegged and carbonated today and will taste tomorrow. This could be good :)

hotbartenders said...

I would like to taste this beer as soon as possible, thank you for sharing the post.
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