Friday, April 25, 2008

7-10 split brewing

Some homebrewers have, for whatever reason, a lot of time available to devote to their hobby, while others, like myself, have to carve into the 4th dimension in order to extract enough of the highly prized space-time material needed to construct a fully functional (yet still entirely abstract) mechanism known in these parts as a "free afternoon." But oh, the fun we have when February 30th rolls around! One of the amusing experiments I've concocted in the quest for maximizing the efficient use of such a precious resource is a little thing I call 7-10 split brewing, whereby we save some time by trying to brew separate, distinct batches simultaneously out of the same brewpot, a name derived from the perceived impossibility of hitting two discrete targets with a single trajectory. Anyone who's brewed in batches 10 gallons or larger who still ferments in 5-gallon carboys can relate to the allure of tinkering with the wort a little when it's broken into several smaller containers, especially considering that even if you tried your hardest, two identically fermented but separate batches of homebrew are likely going to taste a little different from each other, anyway.

In some ways, it's sort of a sister concept to partigyle brewing, a historically-minded technique where a brewer breaks a large mash into different runnings, each weaker than the next, in order to make strong ales and small beers from the same tun of grains. But the way we do it is a little more Dr. Moreau than Dr. Villa in the unorthodoxy of its approach.

The victims of this month's experiment: a singly mashed wheat beer which will be cruelly divorced into a Bavarian hefeweizen and a Belgian witbier. Here's the plan:

We're gonna stuff our Rubbermaid bucket with 8 lbs of wheat malt, 4 lbs of pale malt, 4 lbs of pilsner malt, 1 lb of Carapils, and some rice hulls, do a dough-in and strike the mash at 148° F. Meanwhile! I'll be conducting a little mini-mash on the side consisting of 1 lb wheat malt, 1 lb pale malt, 1 lb pilsner malt, 1 lb flaked wheat, and 1 lb flaked oats. When we mash out, I'll do some fancypants arithmetic to ensure that the gravity of wort A (mostly the early runnings from the lauter tun) will be similar to the gravity of wort B (later runnings blended with the mini-mash). Then I can do two side-by-side boils with separate hop and spice additions.

Or! I'll give in to my slothful nature because it's in the 80's out and I've had a hard week, and I'll just toss all the grains together, boil the whole stinkin' lot in one batch and let the fates sort it out in the carboys (and try to make amends later with dry hop and spice tincture additions) while I work on my tan and soak my feet in the kiddie pool.

Regardless of how we do it, it'll be fun, right? After the (explosive!) dust has settled, I'll try to post some details in a more recipe-friendly presentation. Enjoy your weekends, all!

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Blogger Dave said...

Love that pic of Tricky Dick. He's committing a foot foul there - how appropriate for him.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Your world frightens and confuses me, Rob ...

6:31 AM  
Blogger JJ said...

Can't wait to see how it turns out! Did you brew this past weekend or is it upcoming? Despite also often being confused by your links (though not frightened...yet), I'd be happy to chip in a hand as a brewing assistant. The Presidio Brewing Club seems to be a relatively slow moving group and I'm still looking for other homebrewers to collaborate with.

3:19 PM  

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