Last week our buddy Stan from Funkytown Brewyard took a trip up to Atlanta for some drinking and brewing and smoking cigars. We spent a couple of days checking out some of the great breweries and beer bars around town and spent Friday brewing. We originally intended to rebrew Brian’s Rainy Day IPA but since Brian was running around the Pacific Northwest instead of hanging here and planning the brewday, he was outvoted and we decided on a chocolate porter. We used a recipe Stan has brewed before with great results and tweaked it a bit to what I was looking for and to add chocolate to our Tornado Warning Triple Chocolate Porter.
Stan is either helping with the mash or making a huge mug of hot cocoa.
That is definitely hot cocoa.
The beer was originally going to be called Boom Chocolata but thanks to Mother Nature it got a name change mid-brewday. The weather was actually quite nice for most of the day but right as we started to chill the wort the sky went dark and sirens starting blaring. Unfortunately this isn’t an uncommon occurrence in my neighborhood so I don’t immediately run for a closet when a warning us issued, instead I start staring into the sky looking for a tornado, which I believe is the recommended way to handle it. Usually I see some grey clouds and a bit of rain and wind but this time there were dark clouds swirling into even darker clouds followed by extreme wind and very heavy rain. We almost took cover this time but the storm broke and moved on, it was pretty intense.
For real, there were tornadoes on brewday.
The recipe used Maris Otter as the base malt along with a touch of black malt, chocolate malt, pale chocolate malt and Crystal 60. For hops we used Magnum and Willamette to bring it up to 30 IBU’s and pitched White Labs 007 for our yeast. The ‘triple chocolate’ portion of the recipe comes from the use of chocolate malts, cocoa powder in the mash and the addition of cocoa nibs in secondary. We’re using both cocoa powder and cocoa nibs as cocoa powder will give a great chocolate flavor where cocoa nibs contribute more chocolate aroma. Our OG on this one was 1.053 and we’re targeting 1.013 FG to get an ABV of 5.2% which should give us a very drinkable but flavorful beer.
We’re also trying out a new piece of gear today, a plastic Big Mouth Bubbler from Midwest Supplies. I had some questions on a few of their products and after trading some emails with them to clarify a few things they offered to send me one to try out and review. Anyone that’s fought with cleaning a standard carboy can see why the Big Mouth Bubbler would be appealing. I’ll wait until the brew is done for a full write up but can say it was pretty handy pouring my yeast starter into the carboy without the need to use a funnel. I took a really crappy picture of it to share here, enjoy.
Crappy pic of the plastic Big Mouth Bubbler
With Germany recently winning the World Cup and us having never brewed a German beer style we decided this would be a great time to do just that. We decided to start with something quick and simple, and appropriate for summer temps in the Dirty South, so we chose a hefeweizen. In keeping with tradition we sat down one Saturday and drank through a handful of the most highly rated examples and made notes on what we liked and didn’t like about each one. To be honest they were all pretty close in terms of flavor and body, with some clove and banana on both the nose and palate. I discovered that hefes aren’t my favorite style, but still thought it would be fun to brew one. Plus a lot of my friends love them so it will be a great one to share. Since Brian is both extremely witty and hilarious he came up with the name Gooooolden Pint to tie in with the World Cup but I’ve dubbed it Hefe Five-O, because I am also witty and hilarious.
After all our diligent research we built a recipe of 53% wheat and 42% German Pilsen with 5% Munich thrown in for a touch more flavor and body. We used a small amount of Perle hops to bring us in at 14 IBU’s at fermented with Wyeast 3068, the Weihenstephan strain. The brewday itself ran quite smoothly with the only hiccup being that it took a long time to get the wort chilled as we didn’t have any ice for the recirculator and relied on ground water temps to get us cooled down. We should have gone to the store and grabbed a bag, but we didn’t, and there’s nothing we can do about that now.
OG was within 3 points of target so we sealed it up and put it in the fermentation chamber at 58% to work its magic. We kicked it up to 60°F after 24 hours and then to 62°F after another 24 hours, this method was chosen after I read some notes from Gordon Strong on starting them a bit cool and moving the temps up but staying in the low 60’s. It’s said the lower temps produce a very clean fermentation with nice clove and banana notes without being overpowering. Good, that’s exactly what we want.
Fermentation started slower than we usually see but after 24 hours it started to kick up and by the 2nd day the blow-off tube was playing us quite a song. I checked it after 10 days in and gravity is at 1.008 with an original target of 1.009. That puts ABV at Five-O… it was meant to be. Initial samples indicate this is going to be a great beer. As I said I’m not wowed by hefes in general, but the sample was really tasty. This will go into the keg soon and should be ready to go as soon as it’s carbed up.
We also did a little work on our Domain of The King Stout. After aging it on cocoa nibs for a couple weeks we transferred it onto some dark toasted oak chips soaked in Four Roses Small Batch bourbon and added some cold brewed coffee. For the coffee we went with a blend of locally roasted beans from Batdorf & Bronson that were incdredibly smooth with some dark fruit and chocolate notes. We’re aging it in the carboy at 55°F and we’ll check it weekly to see how it’s coming along, we expect this one to take a few months to be ready.
Bourboning and Oaking It – OK, that was lame, but I felt the need to keep with the theme. Sorry.