Sunday, January 25, 2009

Extract Wheat Experiment

I'm stuck brewing indoors for the winter so I'm trying different ways to make good extract beers. I made an Alt beer that was all extract with steeping grains for my last batch. I just used the cheap and easy Papazian method of putting the grains in a bag and putting the bag in the water as it heats up. I wasn't really happy with the results. It had good flavor, but no body. So for this batch I'm doing a stove top mini-mash.

I'm mashing 1lb of German Wheat with 1lb of German Cara-Aroma, at 150º for 60min. I used about 2.6 quarts of water in the mash and I'll use about the same for the sparge. I plan to boil about 5gal in my old turkey cooker pot. I'll still have to top off to make up for the boil off, but at least most of the wort volume will be in the boil. I have my CFC chiller so I don't need to add cold water to cool the wort down. This allows me to boil more of the wort than I could using some of the traditional stove top methods (i.e. boil 2 to 3 gal on the stove and afterwords top off with enough cold water to bring it up to about 5 - 5.5 gal)

I'm also going to use the partial extract method, adding about 20% of the extract (Wheat DME 6lbs total) at the beginning of the boil and adding the rest in the last 15min. (Doing a partial mash, I could add even less of the extract at the beginning, allowing the mash running's to dominate the character of the wort.)

I've completed the mash and used a strainer to separate the wort from the grains. Then I added about the same 2.6 quarts of hot water (170º~)to the grains and let it rest for 5min.

I put 3gal of water in my brewpot and started to heat at about 10min before the end of the mash. Once I sparge and find out how much volume I've gotten from my mash I'll add that to the 3gal and then top off with water to make 5gal for the boil.

I ended up getting about 1 gallon from the mash with a 12ºBrix (1.047GU). I topped off with one more gallon to give me 5gal to start the boil with. I should have started the initial 3gal of water earlier. I forgot how long it takes to get large amounts of water to boil on my electric stove. I'll have to check to be sure, but I think that I get about 38GU pppg of extract and I'm using 6lbs of Wheat DME. So that with the 47GU from the mash should give me (38 * 6) + 47 = 275 / 5gal = 1.055 SG.

All done. I ended up with about 4.5gal and topped the fermenter off to about 5.5gal.