Monday, March 10, 2008

Under the Brewers Kilt:Triple Decoction Epic Brew Day

A few months ago, Tim and Rodney started a series of Scottish Ales using the triple decoction method of brewing.

The first couple of brews, a 60 Shilling (Mac 60) and an 80 Shilling) Mac 80 turned out excellent and have one them a couple of awards. These beers pack a lot of flavor into a malty, earthy, low alcohol beer. A long cool fermentation with a traditional strain of Scottish yeast lends a subtle smokiness and a smooth drinkability.

Yesterday marked Tim's 100th brew, and we all went down to hang out and help he and Rodney with the epic end to the series: The Wee Heavy. These beer have huge malt flavors, caramel, dark fruits, and will usually knock your kilt off with the alcohol strength.

Lots of brewers and friends showed up to support Tim and Rodney (there was also free food and 6-7 beers on tap, so that might have helped too!) and a good time was had by all. Here's a few pictures.

Decoctions are a very long process that takes patience and elbow grease. A few guys who showed up who were interested in trying it on their own brewing systems, were thoroughly convinced it was not for them after seeing what was involved. The amount of grain used surpassed the amount one mash tun would hold, so we hauled our brewing system down and simply mashed and decocted on two separate systems, lautered and sparged into one boil pot to get the volume (10 gallons) that was desired. Everything worked out great with a final gravity of 1.098, Tim is hoping this beer will be in the 10 percent range if all goes well with fermentation.

Like they say,"If it's not Scottish, it's Crap!". I strongly agree.


ibrew2 said...

Great time yesterday! Yendor & I really enjoyed all the help. It was a lot of fun to finally get to brewing this beer after planning it for several months and going through all the steps and research to get us here. Lot's of people came and helped stir and mix and otherwise brew. This is the first time that I ever split a mash like we did and it worked perfectly. I'm anxiously looking forward to this beer in the next several months. It's all in the yeast's hands now though.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out, especially Big Al & Colin.

ibrew2 said...

Things are blurping along at a steady and purposeful pace at 62 degrees.

Blurp-onethousand-blurp-twothousand-blurp(you get the idea)

ibrew2 said...

After 1 week, the gravity is down to 1.035. Still about 8 to 10 points too sweet for this style, but it is getting close.

This says that we did our job well! Had we done a single infusion at 155 degrees, the yeast would have fermented this beer down to about 1.018 or lower by now. This is what the triple decoction does for you, lots of body and long chain unfermentable residual sugars.

ibrew2 said...

We'll after 11 days, this bad boy is down to a 1.025. Getting dangerously close to being done with primary fermentation. Someting on the order of 9.5% ABV right now. Very sweet and yeasty. Lot's of cold conditioning will clean this beer up a bunch.

ibrew2 said...

After a week sitting at 40 degrees, I kegged the wee heavy today. It's in the lagering fridge for the next several months. We'll check back in a few weeks.