I'm starting out with The Groundhog's Shadow, a winter warmer that I brewed last year. It was one of my last, and most tasty extract batches and I'm really excited to do it again this year, with some changes. I've converted it to all-grain and added some honey malt, bumped up the OG a bit. I can't find the buckwheat honey I used last year so I'm gonna sub some local dark honey available at the co-op and throw in a half cup or so of molasses. Other adjustments are being made to use up hops in my freezer and compensate for me being an idiot and not getting the hops I wanted while I was at the HBS yesterday. We bought a pound magnum a few months back and haven't used but an ounce or two. While I know bittering substitutions are fine for the most part, I have a certain phobia about it doing it. I haven't decided what I'll be using for spices yet, but I'm resting easy knowing that in such a heavily spiced brew, even my imagination won't be able to tell the difference in bittering hop used.
My efficiency has been all over the place recently and I can only attribute it to how I'm mashing. I'll be paying particular attention to the grain bed temperature today. I don't think I've been mashing out properly and getting my grain bed hot enough to extract all the sugars? I don't know but ya gotta start somewhere so today I'll pull a gallon or two of my first runnings and heat them up before adding it back to the grain bed to help get it up to 170.
|groundhog's shadow 2010|
|Christmas/Winter Specialty Spice Beer|
Type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
|Brewer: Raymond Wagner|
|Boil Size: 6.57 gal||Asst Brewer:|
|Boil Time: 60 min||Equipment: Brew Pot (6+gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (5 Gal)|
|Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0||Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00|
Est Original Gravity: 1.068 SG
|Measured Original Gravity: 1.067 SG|
|Est Final Gravity: 1.018 SG||Measured Final Gravity: TBD|
|Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.61 %||Actual Alcohol by Vol: TBD %|
|Bitterness: 55.0 IBU||Calories: 300 cal/pint|
|Est Color: 19.6 SRM||Color: |
6:20 AM Up way too early. Might as well get started. Stretch, Coffee, Smoke. Strike water is on. Mashed in @ 154. Time for more coffee.
8:00 AM and the mash is @ the halfway mark. Doing some dishes before I destroy the kitchen today. Decided it is still too early to HAHB, more coffee it is.
8:50 AM Mash out success. Brought ~2 gallons on the first runnings up to ~198 and added back to mash tun. Grain bed is reading 170. Damn I'm good.
9:45 AM Sparge is done. Brian, aka Johnny Walker, a homebrewer from work just showed up. I'm trying to convince him to go to all-grain. Running to the co-op to get honey.
10:30 AM Honey's in the kettle and the burner is ragin'. Looks like rain. It always rains when I brew...
1:30 PM Started drinking sometime in the last couple hours. Adam stopped by to give me a bung for a better bottle I bought yesterday. Batch one is done. 1.067 SG. Not bad, not bad at all. Only one point off of my target. I pitched about a cup and a half of slurry from the london 3 yeast cake of the oatmeal stout for novy and erica's wedding.
10/15/10 Racked to secondary. Left in primary too long because I could not figure out what I wanted to do with the spices and I've been being lazy lately. The base beer tastes really good as it is, very sweet and nutty, but bitter...I love it like it is but the aroma leaves a lot to be desired and its my holiday ale so I have to put some sort of spice in it. The bitterness is what left me questioning how to spice this thing as most winter beers are not so heavy on the hops. I decided to keep it simple, and just use one spice, cardamom. We'll just have to wait and see how it works out.
Dry hopped with 1 oz EKG and 7 split cardamom pods.
UPDATE ??? Fuck cardamom. Shits nasty. Adam's wife likes it. All I can taste is cardamom. It is overwhelming in the nose and taste. If you ever use cardamom in the future, add 1/4 the amount you come up with you moron.