Amerillo American Brown 16.10.13

Batch number two is a hoppy brown ale made with good old WLP001. The brewing system has been updated with a tap mounted carbon filter, which is a more convenient method of removing chlorine than leaving water out overnight or boiling it. According to the Montreal water report and what I’ve been led to believe about mash pH, no water adjustments should be necessary for this recipe, despite the significant amount of darker grain. To be sure, I was careful to monitor the mash pH for future reference.


Below, you can see the mash temperature as well as iodine starch conversion test results and pH strip readings with 60, 45, 30, 15, and 0 minutes of mash time remaining. The oven mash method does quite a good job of maintaining temperature. Note the two big black blotches in the initial iodine test, indicating the presence of starch. After only 15 minutes of mashing the would be black splotches are now barely darker than the wort sample, and already at 30 minutes the iodine drops are no longer visible, their yellow colour blending in completely with the wort. The small black dots in each of the mash samples are pieces of chocolate malt.


The pH strip readings seem to be within the ideal range (5.1-5.5). The sample taken with 15 minutes left looks like it could be borderline, but some of that colour might be due to dark wort sitting on the end of the pH strip.

After 60 minutes, I mashed out by raising the temperature up to 75 on the stovetop and holding it there for ten minutes. This step is totally unnecessary, but for this system it is probably useful, as I expect a lot of cooling happens when I transfer the mash from the mash tun (steel pot) to the lauter tun (tiny cooler), and keeping it hot should make the sugars easier to extract when sparging. The only change in the sparging process is the tin foil raft used to recirculate the first runnings, visible below on top of the lauter tun.


Unfortunately, something went wrong in the mashing and sparging process this time, so that extract efficiency was only 64%, down from 77% in the last batch. Mash efficiency was 88%, down from 93% in the first batch. This change is likely a consequence of the shorter mash time and higher temperature, or a coarser crush from the the mill at the LHBS, since the pH strips indicate that mash pH was not a problem. The real issue is the huge 24% loss from sparging. I have a guess as to where the problem lies, and have already taken steps to remedy it (details to follow in an upcoming post). To compensate for the efficiency problems, a little extra water and DME was added to adjust the preboil volume and gravity.

Simcoe and Amarillo hops smell particularly awesome, and this recipe has late Amarillo additions to try and keep a bunch of those aromatics in the finished beer. The boiling and cooling processes didn’t change at all, except for the additional pierogi boiling step visible below which was performed during the cooling process. Measurements from this batch and the last have given me an estimate of the boiloff rate in the system (3.2 liters/hour), which is very useful to know when planning future recipes, but I still don’t have confirmed figures for cooling loss yet.


Above, you can see the aerated wort safe in its home right after the yeast was pitched and the blowoff tube was attached (actually, the official wort/beer dividing line is apparently the moment yeast is pitched, so that is in fact aerated beer). I used a full tube of WLP001 at around 82% viability, which translates to a little over 9 million cells/mL, the recommended pitching rate from yeastcalc.

Amerillo American Brown

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size: 9L
Boil Time: 60 min
Estimated OG (brewtoad): 1.048
Measured OG: 1.048
Estimated FG: (brewtoad) 1.012
Measured FG: 1.013
Estimated IBU (brewtoad): 37
Estimated SRM (brewtoad): 22
Estimated Extract Efficiency: 77%
Measured Extract Efficiency: 64%

Grain Bill
1800g Domestic 2-Row
200g Victory Malt
100g Crystal 60L
100g Chocolate Malt

Mash Schedule
Saccharification rest for 60 min at 67C, 2.6L/kg
Mashout for 10 min at 75C, 2.6L/kg

8g Simcoe 13% AA @ 40 min
10g Amarillo 9% AA @ 10 min
10g Amarillo 9% AA @ 5 min
15g Amarillo 9% AA @ 1 min
15g Amarillo 9% AA @ 0 min

WLP001 California Ale @ ~9 Million Cells/mL

Fermentation Notes:
16.10.13: Yeast pitched, temperature at 18C.
17.10.13: Temperature steady around 18.5C with towel and fan.
18.10.13: Temperature steady around 18.5C, big krausen.
20.10.13: Fermentation slowing down, temperature raised to 20C over 24 hours.
23.10.13: Essentially no airlock activity, temperature down to 18C to condition.
02.11.13: Bottled 7.5L with 48g of table sugar (2.5 Volumes).


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