Thursday, February 21, 2013

Return to Brewing with a Scottish 60/-

After taking almost 8 months off from brewing (which was not by intent but by real life getting in the way), I was finally able to dust off the brew kettles this past weekend and get a brewing session completed. Sadly, I’ve been planning this brewing sessions for 2 months but one excuse after another delayed it until I finally had a free Sunday to brew. But let's rejoice as the beer is now in the fermentor bubbling away!

I’m not sure why, but I’ve had an itch to brew a Scottish 60/-.  Its easy drinking style and a good excuse for some of my non-craft beer friends to try some homebrew. Plus, it’s a style I have not yet attempted, so I would be able to cross it off my To-Do Style List. The recipe itself (modified for what I had on hand) was from a Pro/Am beer done by homebrewer Nathan Smith and Triple Rock brewpub in the San Francisco areas. The beer was talked and raved about during the September 9th, 2012 episode of the Brewing Network’s Sunday Session, which locked my sights on that particular recipe.

On the brew day, it did not take me long to get back into the groove as it seems like much of the activity of brewing is like riding a bike. I overshot my gravity by a few points, which is somewhat normal for small beers (I need to bump up my efficiency for anything under 1.040). However, the biggest issue that battled me was the weather. Over the last 1-2 weeks, we’ve been battered by blizzards and snow. On this particular brew day, the wind was howling through backyard and made a mockery of the burner's attempt to bring the wort to a boil. After an hour and a half of sitting on the burner without a boil and the light fading from the sky, I ended up moving the entire brew kettle (wort and all) onto my kitchen's cooktop electric burner. Steeling myself against the complaints from my wife, I was able to get the wort boiling in the kitchen (albeit a gentle boil) and the brew day could continue.

Based on the guidance given with the recipe, even though primary fermentation should be done within a few days, it was recommended to leave the beer for a full two weeks in the carboy to let it pull itself together. So while I’m anxious to get the beer on tap, its back to the waiting game for me.

Cold Loose Change
Style: Scottish Light 60/-
(recipe modified from Nathan Smith’s recipe described on 9/9/12 Sunday Session)

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size: 6.0 gal
Boil Size: 7.0 gal
Measured OG: 1.038 (Target: 1.034)
Measured FG: 1.008 (Target: 1.010)
Estimated SRM: 10.8
Estimated IBU: 16 (Rager)
ABV: 3.9% (Target: 3.3%)
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75% (should have been 80-85% to hit OG target)
Boil Time: 65 Min

Grain / Extract / Sugar
5.75 lbs Rahr US 2-Row Malt (this was supposed to be Maris Otter malt, but used 2-Row + 10% munich
as a substitute, which was a trick I heard during an interview with the brewer from Firestone Walker)
0.75 lbs GlobalMalt Munich Malt
6 oz Crystal 40 Malt
6 oz Crystal 120 Malt
2.5 oz Pale Chocolate Malt

0.5 oz Northern Brewer pellets (8.9% alpha) at 65 min.

30 drops of Foam Control in the boil

1 pack of US-05 dry yeast

Mash Schedule
Saccharification rest at 151-152 F for 60 minutes
Batch sparged twice with each sparge being 3 gallons of water (temp: 168-172 F)

Brewed on 2/17/ 2013 by JW

Mash Temps were intended to be in the 154 F range, but I left it at 151-152 F as I didn’t have any hot water ready to go at dough in.

OG was overshot because of my systems increased efficiency at low gravities – I was already over the target when I took the pre-boil measurement. Added 0.5 gallons of boiling water to the boil at 15 minutes to flameout to bring the volume back up to pre-boil volume.

Could not get the kettle to boil outside because of the cold and wind, so had to move it to kitchen’s burner. The boil was gentle as compared to what I normally get from the burner, so there is some concern that I did not drive everything off or that there was lower utilization.

The intent was a 60 minute boil, but I extended it by 5 minutes as the boil halted for 5 min when the water addition and immersion chiller were added with 15 minutes before flameout.

Oxygenation was accomplished with an O2 system and diffusion stone , run for 60 seconds.

Yeast was proofed in ~1 cup of boiled and chilled water (90 F).

Yeast was pitched at carboy was placed in chest freezer with setpoint set to 66 F. Signs of fermentation showed up ~18 hours after pitching.

Feb 27, 2012 - After 10 days of fermenting and the activity having been completed for several days, the beer was racked into a keg to be carbonated.  FG on the beer was 1.008, which was a few points than I would have liked.  The beer is light bodied, as would be expected, and there is a defined burnt sugar / chocolate malt character to the beer.  A little cold conditioning should do the beer well.



“I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer”
-Homer Simpson

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