Friday, October 15, 2010

Death By Dunkel - Partial Mash Brew Day

It took a while to get everything together, but I am finally ready to brew a true partial mash recipe. I already assembled the mash tun, but also needed a larger brew pot and immersion wort chiller to accommodate a larger boil quantity. The world of mashing means more attention must be given to the brewing process, but the trade offs are well worth it. Among them are more control over the flavor characteristics, the ability to brew with more grains and hopefully a better tasting beer.

I randomly stumbled across a partial mash recipe for a dunkel converted from all grain. This was perfect because I've been wanting to brew with munich malt and also was looking for a dunkel recipe. This isn't a true dunkel since I'm not lagering. The recipe calls for Wyeast's Kolsch strain, which is an ale yeast that is pretty darn close to a lager strain without being one. Per Wyeast's webiste: Used to produce quick-conditioning pseudo-lager beers. Special thanks to chainsawbrewing and janitorjerm of for providing the recipe and conversion. The following is my partial mash process:

Grains! While I prepared everything the MLT was filled with 1 gallon of 170F water with the lid on. This was drained before the grains were added and used to heat up the LME. I did this so the temperature in the mash tun was already elevated to minimize any huge temperature fluctuations.

Let's mash! My strike water was right at 165F as the recipe suggests. I used a ratio of 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain. Since I had 3.6lbs I ended up with close to 1.5 gallons as my volume for the mash.

I mashed for 60 minutes which gave me enough time to have a homebrew and go over some notes from my last brews. This night I enjoyed a 4C IPA and think it's getting better with age. YUM!

I checked the temperature about every twenty minutes. I was able to stay above 150F for the whole mash. I did add a bit of 165F water for good measures around the thirty minute mark.

A couple of vorlauf pours to allow the grain to separate a bit and get some grind out of the way.

Although it's hard to tell, but the wort is a much lighter and less grainy in this picture compared to the last. It confirms my steel/copper braid is holding up.

Spent grains for the compost.

My mash yielded 3.5 gallons with a gravity reading of 1.030. I still need to calculate my efficiency. I added another 3/4 gallons to bring my boil volume around 4.5 gallons

Boiling the wort chiller to sanitize it prior to use.

Overall I think the first true partial mash was a success. I still have some kinks to work out, but I think everything will be a little easier as I become more familiar with the process. If I subscribe to any philosophy it's that in brewing you just have to do what you feel is right at that time. With experience you'll begin to make the right decisions, yielding better beer.

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