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TGMBA's musings and observations about everything beer!
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01/29/14
Oktoberfest!
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 1:52 pm

So its a Sunday in late January, and brutally cold outside. Snow is on the ground, the wind is whipping by, and an outdoor hockey game is on the tube. What an atmosphere for making an Oktoberfest brew!

Specifics:
6 lbs Avangard Pils malt
5 lbs Avangard Munich Malt

1.5 oz Perle hops (8 Alpha) Mash
1/4 oz Saaz hops (3 Alpha) Mash
1 oz Perle hops (8 Alpha) totalling 30 IBU’s (Boil)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet

Active German Bock yeast pitched from an already fermenting Maibock

Crushed grains and added Mash hops to Mash tun. Did a dough in and let stand at 120F for 10 minutes. Added hot water to raise temperature to 145 and let stand 10 minutes. Added more hot water to raise temp to 155F. Let stand 20 minutes. Pulled out 25% of mash-the thicker part-and boiled (decocted) for 30 minutes. Remaining mash did fall in temperature to the 140’s. Added decocted portion of mash back to mash tun and temp was raised to upper 150’s. Let stand 10 minutes, began boiling sparge water. After the 10 minutes, pulled out a thinner portion of the mash (30 %) and boiled (decocted) for 30 minutes. Added back to mash tun, and adjusted temperature to 170F.

Transferred to lauter tun. Recirculated 2 gallons then collected approximately 6.5 gallons of wort. Once on burner, began the pre boil. Had a large volume, so extended pre-boil to 25 minutes. Added bittering hops and boiled another 90 minutes. Whirfloc tablet was added with 15 minutes to go in boil. Cooling coil added to boiling pot with 10 minutes left in boil. Rapidly chilled wort. transferred to primary fermenter (6.5 gallon carboy), aerated, and pitched yeast. Initial temperature was low 60’s. Slowly lowered temperature to allow yeast to start.

OG: 15.8 Plato

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01/21/14
Avangard Pilsen in retrospect
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:00 am

OK, so now I have a pils ready and after consuming a few bottles, it is time to weigh in.

The sack of grain costed $70 at the local shop, which is $15-20 less than the Floor Malted Weyerman Bohemian.

I would say that the malt character, though good, is not above and beyond like the Floor Malted. Rather, it fits the bill as a decent middle of the road German Pils malt.

In other words, no complaints, but if you are looking for something to make your beer (lager, pils etc) stand out over the ordinary, this doesn’t achieve that. It is priced right, and has the desired German character.

As a disclaimer, the Pils we made had an OG of only 12 plato (which is where we wanted to be). We have another batch soon to be ready that chimed in at 14 plato and will have a more pronounced malt character, and also a Maibock in fermentation.

The crush makes a difference in maximizing yield. Silly me! This malt will save money, as less malt is required to hit gravity targets.

More to follow
TGMBA

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01/06/14
Avangard Pilsen (again)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 2:05 pm

We adjusted the malt mill. Thankfully it still had a bit of room to allow the rollers to close (I thought they were closed as far as they would go). I got a nice crush from the new setting and gained a bit too much gravity on the last brew (pils)….achieving a 14 plato from 9 lbs of grain.

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Of Maibock…..Great Maibock!
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 2:02 pm

I put up a Maibock recipe page for the main site….but here it is on the blog for all to see.

This style is almost extinct in the US these days.
This style I discovered back in 1994. Back then, Ayinger was still
sending one to the USA in their signature German half litre bottle with a
green lable. Back then, Mountain Valley Brewpub was in its heyday with
Jay Misson at the helm, who got his start at the old German brewery in
Vernon Valley, on which I sadley missed out. I was able to have Jay’s
Spring Bock beer at the Brewpub, which grew some notoriety as a rather
potent and tasty brew. Fortunately, breweries such as High Point Wheat
Beer, and even brewer Neill Acer now of Defiant fame, have kept this
style alive with their own versions of the classic brew. Germans release
this beer at the end of March, and it is usually available into May.
There
are a few different takes on Maibock, ranging in gravity and varying in
grain bill. My basic recipe is below, but Munich malt at varying levels
can be added if so desired.
Grain Bill:    13 lbs Pilsner Malt of German Origin (Weyerman or equal)
Hops:           35 IBU’s worth of a German Origin hops
                     1/2-1oz pelletized Hallertau, Tettnanger, Spalt, or other German hop(flavor)
                    
Irish Moss or other clarifier : 15 minutes left in boil
White
Labs German Bock Yeast, with active and robust starter, works very well
for making a clean beer, though I have had success with other German
yeast strains.
Mash in at 120F and hold for 10-15 minutes (dough-in, use just enough water to wet the grains)
Raise
temperature slowly up to 155 F using remaining water and hold until
conversion is complete. I do this in steps, where there is a rest in
between where I take a temperature measurement, and hold for 5-10
minutes before adding more water to get the temperature up to 155. Let
sit for 20 minutes, then pull of 1/4 of the mash and put it in another
pot. Boil for 30 minutes, then add back to main mash tun. There will be a
little temperature loss during this time, but the boiling mash will
bring it back up. Let sit, preferably between 155 and 160 for 10
minutes, then repeat while getting the sparge water ready. After the
second 30 minute decoction has been added back, finish raising the
temperature to around 170F. Sparge and collect around 6 gallons of wort.
Boil
for 15 minutes, then add bittering hops. Boil for 75 minutes and add
irish moss or clarifying pellet. Boil another 5 minutes and add the
cooling coil to the pot for sanitization, along with the flavor hops.
Cool and transfer to carboy. Aerate (we use a stone). Pitch the starter.
Fermentation
usually takes about 2-3 weeks, give or take depending on temperature.
The colder the longer, but the less lagering time that will be required
later. When the fermentation is winding down, let stand at 60F for 2
days (Diacetyl rest). Transfer to secondary at this time and let sit
another week, cold, where the fermentation took place.  My method is to
bottle at this time with one and a quarter cups of malt extract (DME).
Bottle a couple smaller test bottles, and when the carbonation is full,
place all bottles in a refrigerator as close to 32F as possible, or if
there is another very cold space available, that works as well. 6 weeks
of conditioning cold is recommended.
OG
usually ends up in the 16.5 Plato range (1.067. I don’ measure the
final gravity, as I find it to be a waste of beer, but ABV will be in
the 6.5-7.0% range.
Notes:
1) Hops should all be German here for best results.
2) I am using water in the 70-100 ppm solids range.
3)
I have used several different malts over the years, Durst, Weyerman
(Regular and FM Bohemian Pils), Czech Undermodified, Canada Malting,
Castle, and now Avangard (there will be a blog on this). With proper
care and technique, they will all produce an excellent beer. I have
heard that Best pilsner malt is also very good and hope to get some to
try soon.
4) Again, this beer can be jacked up to 8% ABV if one desires.
5)
Hoffbrau Maibock, as well as a few others from Germany such as Kloster
Weltenburg (if you can find it), to me have a quantity of Munich malt
added for a richer color and flavor. My thought on that is that it turns
a Maibock into more of a regular bock, then perhaps that is what it is
supposed to be. I have also had Spaten as well as a couple of others
that are only slightly darker than a pilsener.

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