Friday, September 13, 2013

Split Batch 2: CAP 'n Crunch

Earlier this year I did a split batch experiment with wheat beers.  For that session I made a 10 gallon batch, aiming for a malt bill and starting gravity somewhere in between a German Hefe and a Belgian Wit.  I used different yeasts for each of the 5 gallons and then added some coriander and orange peel tinctures to the Wit at bottling time.  This was a great way of doing the same amount of work for two different beers, since I am bored easily and often get tired of even 5 gallons of a particular beer.  The German side turned out great and has won be a couple of medals, but the Wit was less attractive to judges and friends. 

This summer has been very busy and my brewing has suffered for it.  It was finally time to get rolling on some more batches to fill my taps, and I figured I'd do another split batch.  Looking at the grains in my basement, I discovered some Rahr 2-row and pilsner malt as well as some flaked corn that had been donated by my friend Rick (who sadly has moved on to other hobbies.)  What could I make with this assortment of ingredients?  When I won a pound of Czech Saaz hops at Tim Roets' post-Byggvir party, I had the final items needed!

This batch runs right down the line between Classic American Pilsner and Cream Ale.  Interestingly enough the grain bill is very similar for both, including corn or rice adjunct, pilsner and 2 or 6 row malt.  Saaz? Check!  (See what I just did there?)  The main difference between the two styles is fermentation, with the cream ale using an American Ale yeast and the pilsner using a lager yeast.  For this batch I'll be fermenting the lager in my handy lager fridge at about 54 degrees at first, then ramping up for a diacetyl rest as fermentation slows, finishing with a cold crash down to the 30's and some more lagering time.   I did end up with hopping rates somewhat in between the two styles.  The hopping will be on the higher side for cream ale and on the mid to low side for the pilsner. 

Recipe for a 10 gallon batch on my Morebeer 1550 system

11.5# Rahr 2-Row malt
4.5# Rahr Pilsner malt (Thanks Brewer's Supply Group!)
4# Flaked Corn
3.25 oz Saaz Hops (18.9 IBU) at 60 minutes
1.5 oz Saaz Hops (5.3 IBU) at 20 minutes
Whirlfloc tab at 15 minutes
1.75 oz Saaz Hops (4.6 IBU) at 10 minutes
Yeast 1: Wyeast 1056 with 1 liter starter
Yeast 2: Wyeast Urquell Lager with 2 liter starter
Mash in for a protein rest at 122 degrees for 30 minutes
Raise mash temp to 150 for 80 minutes (long mash to make sure all the pilsner and corn starches convert properly)
Mash Out temp to 168 (about 15 minutes.)
35-40 minute fly sparge
90 minute boil to cut down on DMS (I know the corn is going to give corny flavors, but why accentuate it?)
OG is 1.058
Total calculated IBU is 28.7

So much corn....

Everything went well with the brew day, but I ended up with a higher efficiency than expected (I had cut this down to 75% due to pilsner malt and corn in the mix) resulting in nearly 2 gallons of extra wort.  Not one to be wasteful, I threw a rehydrated pack of dry English Ale yeast in there and we'll see how things come out.

My only concern with this particular experiment is that I really don't love drinking either of these styles!  I've been working on brewing every style in the guidelines, as well as some obscure ones, and these are on the list of thing's I've never brewed.  So why not!  Also my friend Marty is having a blacksmithing event at his farm this fall and I figure this beer would be a hit with non-craft beer drinkers.  And don't worry--he doesn't allow drinking until all the forging and power tool use is done for the day!  Depending on results I might also play with doctoring some of the beer with chili peppers like my friend Mike B., or possibly fruit.  We'll see just how many beers I can get out of this one batch! 

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