warmer temperatures and bright, sunny days, so I have had the opportunity to brew yet another excellent batch of beer! Saturday afternoon, I began by racking (siphoning) Der Winterweizen into a secondary fermenter. It will sit in that carboy for about another week, and by next weekend it should be ready for bottling. Thus, with my primary freed up I was able to get my second batch of 2011 going. If you remember correctly, this batch is an Irish dry stout of low gravity that should be ready to drink within about two or three weeks. Brew day went really well, and I was joined by a couple of extra friends this time who helped me in the brewing process. While Claire was a big help as usual, my good buddies Ben and Victor were good hands in the latter part of the brewing process as well.
A few things went even better yesterday than two weeks ago, not the least of which was my efficiency increasing. I think this was partially due to my doing a mashout (raising the wort to 168° at the end of the mash) and letting the batch sparge water actually sit for 10 minutes to absorb all of the sugars. Cleanup was well delegated and more efficient, too, and I think that we'll have the system down really soon. My one beef was still with the mash temperature. I realize now that I need to well overshoot the temp for my strike water and let it get down to the actual strike temp after I have poured it into my mash tun. This way, I won't end up with a lower mash temperature (and a lighter bodied beer) than what I want. I was able to raise the temp up with some boiling water, though, so the body of the beer shouldn't suffer. I also clearly got full conversion, because my starting gravity was even higher than projected. All is working well and I will have mastered my new system very soon.
Stay tuned for next week when we bottle Der Winterweizen, rack the stout into secondary for clearing, and brew a 2-gallon batch of English mild in honor of Hogsmeade Weekend!
Review and tasting notes, 3/13/11