Demi-Quad 23.09.15

In Quebec, the only way to access imported beer from Europe, save for a few macrobrews which make it to deps (corner stores), is through the SAQ, the provincial retailer. This means that the list of great European beers I can get is extremely limited. Saison Dupont for example, which I would name as my ‘desert island’ beer, is not available in Quebec. However, the list of beers that the SAQ chooses to stock does include a few truly spectacular ones, and these sell for a fraction of the price you would pay in the states. One of these is Rochefort 10,  which is a real gem.

The fact that I can find such a great quad at such a reasonable price begs the question: why make one yourself? Well, it gives me an excuse to experiment with a new process. In this case, brew in a bag. With my standard mash / transfer / fly sparge procedure, I can only use about 2.5 kilos of grain at most, resulting in an OG of around 1.060. This batch used a brew in a bag / batch sparge hybrid procedure with almost double that amount of grain to see what kind of extraction numbers I could get.

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The idea was to mash as much grain as I could get into my kettle, brew in a bag style, and then remove the grain bag and place it into another vessel filled with sparge water, leave it there for ten minutes, pour the runnings back into the kettle and begin boiling. A ‘double dip’, if you will.

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The mash, which used 4.4 kg of grain at 2.4 L/kg, filled my kettle right to capacity as you can see above. The double dip idea was a bit of a disaster, as the vessel with the sparge water in it had a smaller diameter than the kettle, so the grain bag wasn’t so much placed into it as onto it. After making a mess and losing a bunch of runnings it was eventually squished in. Oh well, lesson learned.

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The rest of the brew day went smoothly, and I made some date syrup (actually more like date broth) to add to the boil along with some simple sugar in the last ten minutes. Just a pile of thinly sliced dates boiled in a bit of water for half an hour. OG ended up at about 1070, dismal efficiency. I knew I would lose a lot with this process, but I expect the ‘double dipping’ fiasco had a huge additional efficiency cost since a good deal of the runnings went onto the stove top or into the sink. The upside of the low OG is that I only needed one and a half vials of yeast, so I was able to save a half vial to use for something unusual.

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size: 9L
Boil Time: 80 min
Measured OG: 1.072
Measured FG: 1.007
Estimated IBU (brewtoad): 30
Estimated SRM (brewtoad): ?
Estimated Extract Efficiency: ?

Grain Bill
3000g Belgian Pilsner Malt
500g Munich 20L
300g Wheat Malt
300g Cane/Table Sugar Mix
200g Aromatic
200g Special B
200g Melanoidin
250mL Date Broth

Mash Schedule
Rest for 70 min at 66.5C, 2.4L/kg, transfer grain bag into 3L of 75C sparge water.

Hops
20g Mandarina 7.5% AA @ 80 min

Yeast
WLP545 Belgian Strong Ale @ ~13 Million Cells/mL

Fermentation Notes:
23.09.15: Yeast pitched, temperature at 19.5C.
27.09.15: Temperature to 22.5C gradually over past three days.
30.09.15: Temperature at 22.5C, krausen subsided, slowly ramping down.
08.10.15: Temperature at 21C. Tiny yeast rafts all over the surface.
14.10.15: Bottled 7.5L with 60g of table sugar (3.0 Volumes).

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