This photo was probably the best part of the brewday: i.e. before I had even started!
So I had been planning a Dubbel for quite some time - about a month ago, Mike Neilson was kind enough to send me up some WyEast 3787 from one of his smack packs. Unfortunately, it leaked in transit and I only had about 5mls of smack pack juice to crank this beer. I started the propogation process by pitching the small amount of yeast into 500mls of 1.020 wort on the stirplate... then I went up to Auckland for a fortnight. While I was down there, my lovely assisstant brewer scaled the process up by pitching that small starter into 2 litres of 1.040 wort on the stirplate. When I got back down from Auckland, I was lucky enough to have 140mls of pure yeast in the bottom of my flask... perfect!
I pulled the ingredients from my hotwater cupboard and got started on this beast:
5KG Global Pisner Malt
400gm Global Munich
250gm Melanoidin Malt
250gm CaraAroma Malt
250gm White Sugar
18g Nugget 11.6% boiled for 60mins
I had some pretty good efficiency, and ended up with 1.064 with the above recipe, but there were a few problems in calculating it...
I knew my hopper was too small, but I have devised a cunning method for making up for the shrtfall in volume. Everything was still running well to this point.
So I mashed in - 65 degrees on the dot. An hour later, I aded 7.2 Litres of boiling water to bring it up to 72 degrees - and I started recirculating. This was the problem, I think.
I didn't allow enough time for the grain bed to re establish itself before I applied vaccuum to the bottom of the mash tun. I thought that the flow was slow enough so I didn't think it would matter. Anyway - I recirculated for 15mins, and the wort ran very clear... gotta love that Global Malt! I collected 4 Litres and gave it to the assistant brewer to work her majic...
You see, I am not a big fan of the Candi sugar taste in dubbels - but I know it has to be in there for style, so my thinking on this was that I could caramelise some of my 1st running with cirtrc acid and I'll have a similar flavour from this process. It tasted great when reduced to 1 litre - and I was thinking that I wasn't gonna put it in, as this would be a great source of nutrition for my pregnant wife... oh well - I added it back to the boil anyway. And Christina was lucky enough to clean the pot for me !
So when I had 4 litres in the kettle - the runoff was noticably slow. I had a feel of the grain bed with my spatula, and it was as hard as concrete... 2 hours later, I had my volume in the kettle. I dont know what I was thinking, but I collected 3 Litres too many - so I decided to boil for 2 hours.
In the end I had too much volume in the kettle I tried to pitch my yeast, but I had been pumping for too long - the head of foam on the top didn't allow the liquid yeast into my fermenter. I was concerned - but it started fermenting with a total of 12hrs lag at 22 degrees. There is only about a litre of headspace in the carboy - so I'm expecting a serious mess within the next few days.
And I managed all of this under the influence of 3 of Mike Neilsons beers... I am starting to think that next time I trade beer with people that I need to know the ABV of the beer. Mate - I was pissed after his Dubbel and his IPA... then I decided to drink his IIPA at 11% abv for shits and giggles... no wonder I couldn't see the sight glass on the kettle when I was collecting my wort!
It was all good stuff though... well fermented and very clean. Keep up the good work Mike.