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July 24, 2006

return of the jay

since jayc relocated to PA earlier this year we haven't had him around for any brew days, so when he said he was going to be in town for the weekend it seemed like a great excuse to brew something. we tossed around some recipe ideas and since i had a big bag of wheat and we've got a truckload of hops we decided to try brewing up a wheatwine with lots of amarillo. we put together an initial recipe, aiming for a gravity of 1.121 and over 50% wheat.

on brew day we got setup and weighed everything out. as always, the barley crusher tore through the malt without breaking a sweat. however, when it came time to grind the wheat that wasn't the case. the first problem was that the extremely hard wheat was a little too much for the motor, so we threw the hand crank back on and got to work. that worked for a little while, but then something odd started happening. the hand crank and shaft were turning, but the wheat wasn't moving. we scooped most of the wheat out of the hopper and could see that even though the crank was turning, the roller inside the mill was not. if i turned the crank backwards a little and then went forward it'd grind a little, then stick again. at this point i was panicing that the precious barleycrusher was broken and that we didn't have anywhere near the amount of wheat we wanted. we decided to test whether it'd still crush barley, and it seemed to work fine, which was a relief. so we adjusted the recipe and replaced the unground wheat with maris otter. still a big, badass wheat beer, even if it wasn't quite what we were aiming for. the final recipe for the wheatwine still looks damn good.

when Jenn saw that we had less wheat than we wanted (27% instead of about 55%) she dubbed the beer "mini-wheat" (something i often eat for breakfast). it seemed appropriate, but we kind of laughed it off...

the expected grain bill for the day. on the left about 45% barley, and on the right about 55% malted wheat.

i think this was during mash out...something that involved the mash sitting on the burner.

the hop bill for the day. simcoe and chinook for bittering and lots of amarillo.

mmmm, skum.

just one of the beers jay supplied for the brew day, the liquer de malt. the finest malt liquor i've ever had....but that still doesn't mean it's really all that good. of course, dogfish head knows that all malt liquor should be in 40oz portions and be served from a paper bag. the only problem with this is that it's bottle conditioned and chunky as hell. even carefully pouring into pint glasses, the last glass was pretty chunky. i swear there was whole kernels of corn in there.

jay and i admiring some beer. i can't remember if it was the LdM or not. we drank alot of beer that day.

there's me skimming some skum.

jay loves his malt liquor.

first half of the bittering addition.

admiring the aroma of the hops.

and the second half of the bittering addition.

jay and i spilling some malt liquor "for our homies".

right about now the beer got really angry with us. about 7 gallons in a 15.5 gallon keg and it was ready to boil over.

a long boil that was mostly uneventful, but we didn't have quite as much boil off as we expected so we ended with just over 6gal at 1.088 instead of the 5gal at 1.110 we were expecting...another way this beer taunted us. at this point i accepted the title of "mini-wheat".

the photo above shows the beer less than 4 hours after pitching and already blowing off like mad.

the beers we sampled on the brew day and the previous night. Jan dropped by and brought some authentic czech pilsiners and a bottle of speedway stout. i'll never say no to some alesmith. lots of fine beers, including a bunch of homebrew that wasn't pictured.

sly fox 113 ipa
marin brewing co ipa
lagunitas old gnarleywine
hair of the dog fred from the wood
brooklyn black chocolate stout 03/04
brooklyn black chocolate stout 05/06
dogfish head liquor de malt
alesmith speedway stout
stone 9th anniversary
rye barleywine
original flag porter

after a week this one had dropped from 1.088 to 1.021, which is
74.76% attenuation and 8.92% ABV. tasted fantastic. if i didn't know better i'd swear it had apricots in it. looking forward to drinking this one!

one final note on the barely crusher. even after the trouble i had with the wheat (and the same issue with the rye in our fred clone) i still love this thing. i emailed the manufacturer to tell them about my problems. Randy immediately replied and was very apologetic. he told me that since i had already figured out what the issue was there was no need to return my barley crusher to them for inspection. he said that if i felt OK with taking my mill apart and installing a new roller he'd ship me one out right away, otherwise i could return the mill to them and they'd happily install and return it to me. i gave him my info and less than a week after i emailed them i had the new roller in my hand. not only does the barley crusher kick ass, the lifetime warantee and customer service are also awesome. as their website says, homebrewers can be sure that "this will be the only grain mill they will ever purchase!". i still can't recommend them highly enough. buy a barley crusher. you will be very happy you did.

Posted by grub at July 24, 2006 8:38 AM

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