Oct 22, 2010

Pigpen / Mordecai Brown

Pigpen - 1.051 - 1.007 - 5.8% ABV

Mordecai Brown - 1.059 -- 1.014 --5.9% ABV

Sour Brown Ale
Mordecai Brown

Target Gravities @ 75% efficiency:
Sour 1.059
Mordecai 1.066

Grain Bill:
16 lbs Marris Otter
7 lbs biscuit malt
2 lbs Flaked Maize

2.5 oz Styrian Goldings (5.4% AA) -- 60 minutes

Before boiling, 2.5 gallons of wort will be separated, brought to boil and then cooled. I will then add the lacto starter I have prepared
using this method. The lacto will be allowed to sour this portion of the beer for 2-3 days. Then it will be boiled to denature the lacto and then added to another 2.5 gallons from the boil that would have already received the dregs of two bottles of Orval as well as approximately one quart of White Labs 080 Cream Ale yeast starter.

Pellicle on lacto starter

After boiling a small portion of wort will be collected to steep the following and to make the following hop additions:

1 lb Caramber
.5 lb Cararoma

Additional Hops:

2.00 ozs38.10 %
Styrian Goldings20 mins5.40
1.00 ozs19.05 %
Simcoe15 mins12.00
1.00 ozs19.05 %
Amarillo Gold0 mins8.50
1.00 ozs0.00 %
Cascade21 days5.50

1.75 quarts per pound = 11 gallons strike water (target temperature = 154)
5.125 gallons sparge water

Reflections on brewday (10.29.10):
Things seemed to go very smoothly until I read the gravity, and I saw that I am still suffering from low efficiency (around 63%). This would not be a big deal if I could nail 63% all the time, but sometimes I hit the 70s and even the 80s. I also forgot the whirlfloc tablet, so I may need to look into fining with gelatin for this batch. I pitched all the yeast the morning after, and both batches saw activity within 18 hours.

The half of Pigpen that got the lacto starter has not shown any signs of activity after 24 hours. I suspect the aquarium heater in that tub is not working well enough, so I turned it all the way up. I used my second lacto starter for this one since I had to throw away the original because I was not able to brew the day on which I had planned since dad had to go to the hospital. The second time I used Malta for a starter rather than DME -- the Malta is hopped, so I think that may have accounted for the lack of a pellicle in the second starter (it still stunk pretty good, so I thought it would be fine). If I do not get any lacto activity in the next 24 hours (pellicle activity or smell), I will begin to worry a little more.

Pigpen Notes:
10.31 - moved the lacto wort to cooler with heating pad which kept it around ninety degrees. the aquarium heater in the tub i had it seems to be done.
11.3 -- boiled the lacto wort for thirty minutes, cooled and added to rest of the beer in th eother carboy. The lacto wort was sour and kind of musty. It is hard to tell what the sourness will eventually be in the finished beer since this wort is still so sweet. a pellicle never developed any further than a very rhino transparent skin on top -- nothing fluffy.
11.14.10 -- pigpen: 70 degrees 1.020. The sourness in the sample is not quite what I expected -- a tad garbage-y. I also know the oak I will later and the continuing Brett activity will change the flavors of the overall beer.

11.20.10 -- 70 degrees 1.017. sourness seems to smell better -- less sharp, less garbage. the taste seems better, more so from continued fermentation, but it still not what I expected. it has only been three weeks, and there seems to be more fermentation to go ( especiAlly sice there is Brett involved), there will be oak aging, carbonation, and serving cooler which will change things. this tasting has me less concerned that I will want to dump this batch some time in the future.

11.29.10 -- transferred pigpen to secondary along with one oz medium toast French oak chips and the dregs of another dose of orval. I do not think I got an accurate hydrometer reading since it showed that the gravity increased - I was being hasty and did not let it sit. I will read it again soon to see if the Brett activity continues. the sourness seemed a little more pleasing than last time even, so we will see. I do not plan to do much with this one until March at the earliest.

12.20.10 -- Since the gravity has hardly moved, I added about a pint of starter made from a pure Brett B culture. I made a 2qt starter, and will let the remainder ferment out to wash for future use. Gravity was around 1.019, and the ph was around 5.5.

12.23.10 -- Noticed activty in Pigpen. I am going to try to ignore this one for a couple months.

12.30.10 -- TEMP -- 73; Gravity -- 1.013 -- brett is working. still not quite sure of the taste on this one.

1.7.11 -- TEMP: 71; Gravity -- 1.011 -- This is beginning to taste much better. The sourness is getting much better as the Brett is drying out the beer. I am beginning to taste the wood a little too, which has me more encouraged than I have been to date about Pigpen.

3.5.11: 74 degrees 1.007. Sourness is even more pleasing without the garbage notes. Brett did a good job drying this out, and may have more to go. Wood flavor is starting to show as well. i may not bottle this next week like I planned.

4.9.11 -- Gravity at 1.007, which is a little lower than last month once temperature corrections are made. I think this is ready to bottle.

4.17.11 -- Bottled at 4 volumes CO2

Mordecai Brown Notes:
11.14.10 -- mordecai -- 70 degrees 1.019. I hope it is just this yeast blend that is slow. Hop flavor is very nice, but like pigpen, the beer seems a little thin tasting at this point.
11.26.10 -- Gravity reads 1.014 -- 76% attenuated. I am calling this terminal gravity. Washed and am sanitizing keg now. Will keg in the next day or two.

11.28.10 -- kegged Mordecai brown and am cold aging at 40 degrees until a space in the fridge is available. Also, this is the first time I am fi ing with gelatin.

12.24.10 -- Mordecai Brown is a hit. The cream ale blend from White Labs is excellent, and I cannot wait to use it in a golden / cream ale. The yeast profile is extremely clean, and if I did not know any different, I would think I was drinking a lager. I am also very happy with the hop additions, especially the Simcoe that stands out nicely. Dry hopping with Cascade was a good idea too -- I feel that something stronger may have been overwhelming. The beer is young and I am impatient, so it is still not quite as clear as I would like it to be (I carbonated using the shake-it method)

1.9.11 -- I picked Mordecai up, and he has gotten very light. I would be surprised if I get another glass or two out of Ol' Three Fanger.

1.10.11 -- Drinking the last glass of Mordecai Brown.