July 18, 2010

Cereal Brewers

Well, I see it's been awhile since I recorded any 2JB activity. I have only one excuse: My wife an I adopted a newborn baby boy 6 months ago, and that turns out to take up a bit of one's time. So there.

But that doesn't mean there's been a cessation in 2JB activity. Soon after bringing my son home, Nahum and I bottled up the Parlor City Porter; actually, it was long enough ago that the whole batch has been drunk up. And it was delicious.

 Flash-forward to: One of the reliable tropes that comes up every time we brew is that, at one point or another, the wort smells like Grape Nuts cereal. It makes sense, since Grape Nuts is primarily malted barley and such, much the same as what goes into the grain bag at the beginning of each brew. Which got me to thinking...and to searching, specifically on Hopville, for beer recipes that used Grape Nuts in the brew. Sure enough, the similarity between early-stage brewing and morning-stage breakfast had occurred to other folks as well, and there was a variety of Grape Nuts recipes from which to choose.

I chose a cereal-based wheat ale (perfect for the summer season that was imminent during our early-may 2JB session) and bought 2 boxes of cereal to complement our regular haul of hops, extract and yeast.

Two pounds of Grape Nuts went into the grain bag, which was lowered into 2 gallons of water. Oddly enough, once we got the water boiling, this batch was smelling less like Grape Nuts than pretty much any we'd attempted before. Go figure.

At the boil, we put in 6.6 lbs. of light LME, returned the wort to a boil and added 2 oz. of Willamette hops. And while I don't know the science behind it, for some reason we got a very cool hot break once the hops dropped in.

At the 35 minute mark, in went 1 oz. of Crystal hops and a tsp. of Irish moss;with 10 minutes to go, we added another 1.75 oz. of Willamette. (The recipe had called for nearly all of the hops to go in at the beginning; Nahum and I agreed that this didn't sound like it would lead to maximum deliciousness, so we spread the hopping out a bit.)

Since it was not yet The Hottest Summer Ever (though it was getting there), we used an ice bath to get it down to 80 degrees, strained it into a bucket and added refrigerator-cooled water.

The OG was 1.050, more or less what we'd been told by the recipe to expect. It still took awhile to drop down enough for pitching the yeast, but pitch we did with German Wheat Activator.

Now...at this point, I would usually sign off and come back for bottling and then tasting. But please recall the aforementioned new baby and accept the following facts:
  • It fermented in the bucket for a couple of weeks.
  • We racked it into the carboy, along with some dried orange peel, and let it sit for another couple of weeks.
  • Bottling was quick & efficient, producing about 40 bottles.
  • Grape Nuts ale was perfectly fermented, as delicious as anything we'd ever brewed, and unbelievably perfect for a hot summer day(s).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So awesome. I can almost taste the essence of dried orange peel. Can't wait for my first bottle of icey cold 2JB. An super-congrats on the little one. I also can't wait to meet the young whipper snapper.