Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Belgian Honey Wit-The First of 3 Wedding Beers

The first wedding beer was brewed on Sunday, 18May2009. Right on schedule!

This style is among Esther's favorites, so she didn't even hesitate when I asked her opinion on which styles she'd like for me include in the selection for our day. I'll get around to uploading the recipe, but for now I'll leave you with some pictures from the day.

I went with the same yeast I used in the original brew, Wyeast Witbier 3944. Here's a pic of the DME+water heating up on the stove. I stepped it up twice to make sure I had an adequate healthy starter to brew the 10 gallons of wort, which is officially the largest single batch I've made at one time. I actually can't believe that I was able to do this on my electric stovetop!

Here's a quick pic of some of what will give this beer its subtley spicey character (aside from the yeast, of course). 4lbs of Boston area raw/unfiltered honey, coriander, grains of paradise, sweet orange zest, and mt. hood + organic hallertauer whole hops.

I used flaked wheat, and made sure it was well gelatinized before adding it to the mash. When it came time to lauter, I had a super slo-mo thing going on. my sparge water probably wasn't hot enough, and the mash was too viscous. I just kept adding more sparge water and stirring stirring stirring, until it finally started to flow. Probably added about an hour to my brew day. I think I really need to upgrade to a 10gallon cooler for my mash tun...the 7.5 gallon stainless didn't allow enough room, especially for such a viscous wort.

My sister Elise and her boyfriend Drew made an appearance on brew day. Drew brought a freshly baked loaf of fantastic flax and wheat bread...went perfectly with the scrambled eggs (goat cheese, parmesan, onion, garlic, tomato) and applewood smoked Niman Ranch bacon. I practiced portion control by only making 7 strips. I could have easily eated a 1/2 lb of the stuff on my own...

The breakfast got Elise feeling extra energetic, and got her wondering how well her new(ish) weight training routine has been pumping up her guns.

Well, darnit...they are getting seriously gunned up. See:?

The boil went pretty well, and the spice additions made this wort smell fantastic. I cooled it down with my wimpy 25ft copper immersion cooler, aerated and am using the 50liter reactor for primary. I had collected about 2 gallons of the last runnings in a seperate kettle which I cooled to ~170, then added the 4lbs of honey, held it for about 10 minutes to de-bug it. Such a huge difference from typical grocery store honey. Amazingly complex and fragrant.

I filled the big reactor in place in the spare bathroom tub. I don't think I would have carried it (safely) after it was filled up.

I was woken up the next AM at 5 by the sound of someone blowing their nose.


I thought Elise went home yesterday afternoon?


There it is again. Huh. weird.

Wait, Elise did go home. I brewed beer yesterday. Eyes popped open, went in to check on the beer. The krausen had reached the top of the reactor. The krausen started to clog the threads of the caps with yeast. The pressure would build, and was slowly releasing C02 once the pressure build up enough to clear the yeasty build up.

I unscrewed the top cap, and...

Almost had another beerxplosion, or possibly worse. jeeez, will a guy ever learn?

cleaned it up, put some foil over the top and went back to bed. The water in the tub has kept the strip thermometer reading at a good 66-68, which probably means something closer to 72ish for an internal temperature.

Goldilocks (just right)

She's still swirling away with a big foamy krausen now, 3+ days from pitching. Hopefully Esther will enjoy this beer just as much, if not more than the original.

Type: All Grain
Date: 5/17/2009
Batch Size: 10.00 gal
Brewer: JC

14 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 62.22 %
2 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 8.89 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 6.67 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 4.44 %
1.00 oz Hallertauer, New Zealand [7.00 %] (60 min) Hops 11.8 IBU
1.00 oz Mt. Hood [5.10 %] (10 min) Hops 3.5 IBU
1.00 oz Coriander Seed (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
2.00 gm Grains of Paradise (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
15.00 gm Orange Peel, Sweet (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
4 lbs Honey (1.0 SRM) Sugar 17.78 %
1 Pkgs Belgian Witbier (Wyeast Labs #3944) Yeast-Wheat

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.061 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.064 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.94 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 15.2 IBU
Calories: 282 cal/pint
Est Color: 5.5 SRM

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