Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brew Day April 1st, 2010 - Chocolate Stout

I was all packed and the kids were in bed, so I fired up the Brewpot and went to work. With the Brown Ale still one week away from tasting, was I jumping into a second batch too soon?

This recipe had plenty of grains and therefore had to be loaded into two grain socks for steeping. Before loading however, this time I blended all of the grains together.
460g Caramal Malt, 460g Pale Malt, 230g Chocolate Malt, 115g Roasted Barley

All of the grains blended

Two grain socks loaded up

The temperature was brought up to a steady 160F and the I added the grain socks for a 30 minute steep. Then I sparged each sock individually with 2L of cold water each to try and extract the most color and sugar as possible from the grains.

Steeping at 160F for 30 minutes

Sparging the socks

This recipe does not call for very much hops, in fact, the addition of finishing hops is replaced with cocoa. After the hot break, 28g of Northern Brewer were tossed in for bittering, 14g of Fuggles for flavoring with 10 minutes left, and to finish, 3/4 cup of Fry's Cocoa after the pot was removed from the heat.

The hops with a can of Fry's Cocoa

The brewpot was cooled and strained into the fermenter, cool water added to top it off and mixed well. I took the initial gravity reading and was disappointed that it only came in at 1043 when the recipe calls for a 1049. My concerns about the amount of Malt extract were validated as it turns out my sugar extraction through the process of steeping is very inefficient. I no doubt will be researching how to improve efficiency while steeping. If that cant be figured out, then I need to take a step backwards and rely on the extracts for sugars to be converted to alcohol and simply use grains only for color, flavor, and mouth feel until I become more experienced.

The yeast was activated and pitched in and the fermenter was closed. What did surprise me was that the fermentation started aggressively within half an hour. I had to remove the airlock twice before bed, and once again in the morning before flying out, to clean it. The yeast was so active that the krausen was pushing right through the airlock.

I am excited about this brew, however quite worried that the alcohol content is much too low.

*I realize some of the pictures are sideways, but I don't know how to fix it.