Monday, April 11, 2011

Brewday - The Beard of Zeus Imperial Stout II

She's a full!
Next up for another brew is The Beard of Zeus Imperial Stout, which scored top marks at the Homebrew Shindig, along with The Half Pounder. The Beard is one of the biggest beers I've brewed, clocking in well over 9% abv last time around. I only wanted to tweak the recipe, as overall it was a damn good beer. I wouldn't mind reducing its sweetness slightly, so I went for a slightly cooler, longer mash to try to squeeze a bit more fermentable sugar out of the grain. I also upped the bittering hops slightly to bring it into better balance. It was kind of a pain cooking up the oats last time, so when I saw organic rolled oats in the new, neighbourhood hippy shop, I bought a bag. These can be used straight in the mash, without precooking.

As before, this beer really tested the limits of my equipment. Nearly 20 pounds of grain, and enough water to mash it in had to fit into my mash tun. Even though the last brew had been okay, I still wasn't sure it would all fit, but fit it did, with a couple of centimetres to spare at the top. Once all was said and done, I was blown away with my mash efficiency, my pre-boil OG (Original Gravity - a measure of the amount of sugar, effectively the potential alcohol content) was almost at my target for after the boil. Not sure if this was just from the longer mash or if my improving brew-ninja skills were a factor too (hopefully both). I ended up adding 2.5 litres of purified water to the wort and still ended up higher than my target. More Beard of Zeus is always good. I considered not adding water but with my goal of a FG (Final Gravity - the measure of the amount of sugar remaining in the beer after fermentation, this figure combined with the OG can be used to calculate final alcohol content) that is lower than the last batch, I was worried about pushing the alcohol percentage into the stratosphere and throwing off the beer's balance (plus causing blackouts somewhere down the road).

Now that this beer is behind me I've replenished my stocks of all the beers I wanted to brew again from the Homebrew Shindig and I can move onto something new. I'm thinking its time for a brand new IPA, maybe something red...

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