Today is the inaugural batch for the new SS BrewTech InfuSsion Mash Tun and I am really quite excited to use it. I have read and watched all the reviews (not really many out at the time of writing this) I could find so I feel quite comfortable with how the day will go.
As part of my Brew Day Setup the night before I cleaned and setup the Mash Tun by inserting the false bottom and putting the batteries into the thermal probe. (It is not recommended to leave the batteries in the probe for long periods of storage.) I then gathered the burner, and made sure to check the gas and get all the other gear all grouped together for a easy setup today.
HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Chocolate Milk Stout with bourbon soaked cacao nibs and vanilla beans Author: Michael Newberg - HBN
Brew Method: All Grain Style Name: Sweet Stout Boil Time: 60 min Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume) Boil Size: 7.5 gallons Boil Gravity: 1.051 Efficiency: 75% (brew house)
STATS: Original Gravity: 1.069 Final Gravity: 1.025 ABV (standard): 5.81% IBU (tinseth): 27.61 SRM (morey): 49.06
FERMENTABLES: 8 oz - United Kingdom - Roasted Barley (3.7%) 10 lb - American - Pale 2-Row (74.1%) 4 oz - United Kingdom - Black Patent (1.9%) 1 lb - United Kingdom - Chocolate (7.4%) 12 oz - American - Caramel / Crystal 60L (5.6%) 1 lb - Lactose (Milk Sugar) (7.4%)
HOPS: 1 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 17.19 1 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 5, Use: Boil for 20 min, IBU: 10.41
OTHER INGREDIENTS: 4 oz - cacao nibs, Type: Other, Use: Other 3 each - vanilla bean, Type: Other, Use: Other 4 oz - Bourban, Type: Other, Use: Other 2.6 oz - Cocoa Powder, Time: 30 min, Type: Other, Use: Boil
YEAST: Danstar - Windsor Ale Yeast Starter: No Form: Dry Attenuation (avg): 72% Flocculation: Medium Optimum Temp: 64 - 70 F
TARGET WATER PROFILE: Profile Name: Ca2: 5 Mg2: 1 Na: 2 Cl: 3 SO4: 2 HCO3: 17 Water Notes:
NOTES: Michael Newberg - 1/3cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder added in middle of boil, that lactose near the end. 4oz TCHO brand cacao nibs and 3 vanilla beans split and scraped into a jar to be soaked in ~4oz Maker's Mark bourbon for a few weeks then added to secondary for a week or so. Been sitting in this keg waiting to be tapped for 2 weeks. Overall time almost 2 months.
OG turned out 1.078, plenty sugars left in the FG, with an ABV of ~7% (just how I like it)
This recipe has been published online at: http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/361330/chocolate-milk-stout-with-bourbon-soaked-cacao-nibs-and-vanilla-beans
Generated by Brewer's Friend - http://www.brewersfriend.com/ Date: 2016-06-26 03:47 UTC Recipe Last Updated: 2016-06-02 06:22 UTC
Step 1: Mashing:
I pre-heated the mash tun for about 15 minutes with some strike water and then topped it up with the full volume of strike water at 75°c and then I started to Dough in (Stir the grains into the mash tun) and with a 5 gallon recipe like this it's really nothing at all to mix in.
I mashed for about 70 minutes at 65.8°c once it had adjusted and held steady. Very steady. At the end of the mash the probe on the mash tun read 65.4°c and I confirmed this with my thermometer. The mash tun appears to have done it's job, extremely well!! The sparge is the same setup I ran with the Igloo cooler, I drop a SS Colander on top of the grain bed and put a piece of 3/8" silicone tube from the HLT into it and open the valves and vorlaugh and then fly sparge for about 40 minutes.
I really love the false bottom on the InfuSsion Mash Tun because with the rubber gasket around the outside edge, it not only protects the interior from getting scratched up but it also keeps all the grain out of the drain, with great success. There is a little fine grain dust that does get through but it will just drop out over the course of fermentation.
The conical bottom in the mash tun is a welcome addition also. I was able to achieve an 82% conversion of starches and a roughly 79% Sparge Efficiency as I filled the boil kettle. These numbers are definitely a great sign of things to come in my opinion.
Step 2: The Boil:
The boil was very straight forward and because this is a 5 gallon batch in a 15 gallon pot, there was no issue with boil over although I did keep the spray bottle handy just in case. There was two hop additions, one at 60 minutes and the other at 20 minutes and at the 30 minute mark I added in the cocoa powder and gave it a very good stir to make sure it dissolved and did not burn to the bottom of the kettle. One last addition shortly after the final hops was the lactose, I like to add it in the last 10 minutes and give it another really good stir before I drop the wort chiller in and finish the boil.
During the boil I was doing some clean up around the brew area and putting the mash tun away and even starting this post, and while i was doing that the wind had picked up a little bit and knocked my flame down quite a bit without me noticing causing the boil to be a little less strong then I wanted it. I tried to compensate by turning the gas up a bit more and boil a little longer but I did not go long enough and so I missed my SG by a few points.
Something I could do to have prevented this was obviously pay more attention to the burner while brewing, or I could wrap the base in aluminum foil and create a better windscreen.
Step 3: Chilling & Pitching:
Once the boil was complete I checked the gravity with my refractomoter which was 15 brix (1.061 SG) and then I stirred it for a few minutes to get a whirlpool in an effort to push all the hops and debris to the outer wall of the kettle so the center pick up would pull as little debris as possible into the fermenter and then I turned on the water and let it run until the temperature was down to 20°c and then I racked it into the fermenter.
The fermenter is a 7 gallon Fermonster with a wide mouth and I sanitized it with Star San minutes before filling. Remember "don't fear the foam". Once the fermenter was full I checked the kettle and the whirl pool had worked just as I had been told, all the hop debris and any other stuff had built up surrounding the false bottom in the kettle and the pick up in the center was basically clear and there was minimal wort left in the bottom of the kettle. A perfect transfer and then I sprayed the lid and screwed it on and then the same for the bung/air lock. I use Brew Hauler's for moving my fermenters because it helps to avoid dangerous lifts with fermenters and especially with glass it will prevent slips leading to potentially serious damage.
Once the lid and bung are in I moved the fermenter into the brew room where I pulled a sample for an official SG which was 1.061 as previously stated, and I pitched two packs of Windsor Ale Yeast and moved it into the fermentation closet.
Step 4: Dry Hopping/Secondary:
For this recipe there will be no dry hop addition, however I have 4oz of Organic Cacao Nibs and 3 Vanilla Beans soaking in about 6 ounces of a Kentucky Straight Bourbon which will be added to the secondary fermentation, and then I will let it go based on the taste. I don't want the vanilla to be weak but I also don't want it to over power the bourbon, when making soup in the kitchen we refer to this as "Marrying the flavors together".
Step 5: Racking Onto the The Cacao Nibs, and Vanilla Beans (9 Days Later)
I poured the Cacao Nibs and Vanilla Beans into a clean and sanitized fermenter and then rinsed the jar with about an oz of bourbon just to rinse any residue left behind. The beer is smelling very nice, and is looking outstanding. I am going to let this go for about 4 days and then I will pull a sample and see how it is coming along.