I have got another homebrew fermenting away. I’ve called this one “Winter Sail”; originally I was going to call it “Winter Sale” because, rather than following a carefully constructed recipe it is all about using up malt and hops that have been sitting in my store too long. That sounds rather prosaic though and, since I am clearing the decks, I’ll ride the waves with the more romantic “Winter Sail”.
For the grain bill I had 1425g of pale malt, 125g of crystal malt and 425g of chocolate malt. That is a very high amount of chocolate compared to what is normally featured in recipes but, since it was quite well past its best before date, I decided to throw it all in. My wort has a rich aroma, almost like burnt coffee but I am hoping this will result in a nice, chewy stout. I calculated the amount of water to use roughly based on Alexander’s A Guide to Craft Brewing (Crowood Press, Wiltshire, 2006, p75) although adjusted to not overwhelm the capacity of my vessels.
First I mixed the grains in my brewing bag, put them in the big stockpot, and added 3l of water at 60°C. This steeped for half an hour before I poured on a further 1.5l of water at 80°C, probably a bit too hot so I did lots of stirring until readings came out lower. I then kept the temperature (roughly) between 66-68°C for 40 minutes, raising it towards 75°C for another 10 minutes. I then used another 7.5l of water at 80°C to sparge the grains, using a plastic colander and another pot (and rubber gloves). My variable temperature kettle was a boon here as I could heat water in batches directly to temperature, pour it on and then give the bag a squeeze.