AG #10 – Coronal Mass Ejection: Kohatu, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin

After ten months off from brewing, it’s two brews in as many weeks. Mainly as this brew needs to be ready for a planned soirée next month.

I did consider brewing a dark beer as the second beer for my wife’s soirée, but figured that as I still have a mountain of hops to get though, I’d have another go at a hop burst. The last one wasn’t quite what I wanted, so a slight reduction in the amount of CARAMUNICH I and an all Kiwi hop bill and I was ready to brew.

This time I decided to actually do proper water treatment, so along with the CRS, gypsum and sodium chloride that I already had in stock, I bought some Epsom salts, as required by the calculations. I treated the water in the morning before work as per normal with Campden tablets, to rid the water of chlorine and chloramine and then added the rest of the water treatment in the evening just before turning the boilers on to heat the mash liquor.

Here’s the recipe details:

Fermentable Colour Grams Ratio
Wayermann Premiere Pilsner 3 EBC 5,001 grams 88%
Wayermann CARAMUNICH I 90 EBC 397 grams 7%
Wayermann Dark Wheat 17.5 EBC 284 grams 5%
  19 EBC 5,682 grams  
Kettle Hop Variety Type Alpha Time grams IBUs IBU Ratio
2012 Kohatu Whole 6.8% 10 32 9 15%
2013 Motueka Whole 5.8% 10 38 9 15%
2013 Nelson Sauvin Whole 12.4% 10 23 12 20%
2012 Kohatu Whole 6.8% 5 67 10 15%
2013 Motueka Whole 5.8% 5 60 8 13%
2013 Nelson Sauvin Whole 12.4% 5 43 12 20%
Other Hop Variety Type Alpha Time grams
2013 Nelson Sauvin Whole 12.4% days 5 to 10 34g
2013 Motueka Pellet 7.2% days 5 to 10 50g
  Expected Actual
Volume (in FV) 19 litres 18.5 litres
Mash 90 mins at 65°C 90 mins at 65°C
Original gravity 1.060 1.054 (13.2° Brix)
Terminal gravity 1.011 1.011 (6.9° Brix)
Attenuation 81% 80%
ABV 6.4% 5.6%
GU/BU ratio 1 1.11
Yeast: Safale US-05
Brew fridge: 18°C ±1°C, with 2°C ±1°C for final two days before bottling

While everyone I gave a bottle of the last brew to, thought it was the best I’d brewed, I wasn’t happy with it. I thought the prickle from the malt was just a touch too high and don’t get me started on my perceived lack of hop flavour. So I used a couple of percent less CARAMUNICH I, with more pilsner malt to make up the difference, we’ll see if that delivers just enough prickle, but not too much.

Just like AG #09, I used oak husks in the mash, so again, it flowed freely into the boiler. There really is no going back now, I’ll be using those in the mash every time. As it was running off so freely, I recirculated six litres of wort (three jugs), rather than my usual four litres (two jugs). This all meant that the wort clarity in the boiler was amazing, still not as clear as some I see in others blogs, but by far and away the clearest I’ve ever had.

I made the mistake of not taking a pre-boil gravity reading, again. I’m not sure why I forgot, I was remembering. This means I can’t work out mash efficiency, which is rather annoying, as it would have been interesting to see given the use of water treatment. It would also of highlighted the fact that I’d not got enough extraction from the mash, which resulted in a post boil gravity of 1.054, rather than 1.060. I have a couple of theories why this might have been the case, I’ll need to do some calculations to confirm or exclude them.

While we’re on about the boil, this one was very lively and if I’d not been standing over it for the first fifteen minutes or so, it could have been a bit of a disaster. Out of nowhere really, I had two mini-boil overs, both of which I managed to catch just as they hit the lip of the boiler, so I lost minimal wort. I didn’t feel like I was boiling this one as hard as the last brew, so I’m not sure why this one tried to escape.

The two hop additions made up for having to stand over the boiler watching though, they really made the shed smell fantastic. The only downside to adding 250g of hops to the boiler though, is the amount of wort they soak up, I miscalculated slightly, so lost half a litre more than I was expecting. At flame out, I let the hops steep for twenty minutes before putting the immersion chiller in.

For some reason the water seemed to be running extra slowly through the chiller, which mean that I didn’t get it run off into the fermenter and into the brew fridge until about ten past two. This meant that I was an hour faster than the last brew, but the boil was only sixty minutes, rather than ninety. I’m sure I can still slice a bit of time off if I work on it. I’m looking forward to tasting this one, as a sample of the wort was very nice.

Update: 28/04/14
The date of my wifes soirée has been set, invitation have been sent out, so this beer is on a schedule, which means it needs to be bottled on Friday night. This give it two weeks and a day to condition, which is borderline at best and lunacy at worst. To meet the bottling schedule, I had to dry hop it last night, even though the gravity reading I took in the morning, only had the wort down to 1.020 from 1.054. At least that’s what I calculated it to be, but upon looking at the figures again today, it would appear that 13.2 Brix starting gravity and 6.8 Brix current gravity, gives an specific gravity of ~1.010.

I think what was throwing me, was the fact that there was still quite a decent krausen on top of the wort and not a patchy one either. The glistening creamy tan coloured yeast was covering practically the whole surface area, I did think about cropping some of it to save for the next brew, but didn’t have anything handy to collect it in.

I whizzed up the remainder of the packet of Nelson Sauvin, so about 34g or thereabouts. To this, I added 50g of Motueka pellets that my parents brought me back from their trip to New Zealand at the end of last year. It’s the first time I’ve dry hopped with pellets, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare, especially as they’ve been carted half way round the world in a suitcase.

The wort has three days to hit terminal gravity, I’ll be checking it over the next couple of nights. The brew fridge will then be set to 2°C ±1°C on Wednesday evening and I’ll bottle it on Friday evening after work. I’m looking forward to tasting a sample on Friday night to see if I can get an early indication of what it’s going to be like, I have high hopes.

Update: 03/05/14
Everyone seems to moan about bottling their homebrew, but I don’t mind it, it’s just part of the process. It’s also a couple of hours of me time in the shed, where I can listen to some podcasts or music and chill out. I might think differently if I had a bunch of corney kegs and a Kegerator setup though.

Things didn’t start so well, as I managed to smash some bottles when filling the dishwasher, I can be a bit clumsy like that occasionally. The main issue wasn’t with me though, it was with the brew fridge. Even though it had been set to 2°C ±1°C two days previously, it hadn’t dropped below 6°C. I’ve no idea why it did this and it’s not done it before, I’ll just have to see if it does it on the next batch and then react accordingly, i.e. buy a newer fridge if this one is on the way out.

It didn’t take that long, a couple of hours maybe, as I really wasn’t rushing. Then a quick clean down of all the buckets and it was ready for bed. Looking forward to this one…

Update: 04/05/14
So while I don’t mind bottling homebrew, I do find sticking labels on to be absolutley tedious. I did two batches of homebrew and two batches of #projectcider and it took all afternoon. My thighs are wrecked from all the squatting up and down to make sure the labels were going on nice and level.

While it’s tedious, it does mean they look the part…

One Reply to “AG #10 – Coronal Mass Ejection: Kohatu, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin”

  1. I’ve been reading a bit around hop bursting and other mostly-late-boil hopping schedules, and the thing that seems a bit odd afterwards is that everyone still talks about “hoppiness” purely in terms of IBUs, when you can actually get masses of hop aroma with very little bitterness.

    The obvious question is then what “massive aroma but relatively low bitterness for the style” actually comes out like in the context of a pale ale – is it the fabled “juicy”? Or just “cloying”? Or something else? Brew it and find out, I suppose…

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