Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brewday: 'The Theme From Titanic Is Now In Your Head' American Rye Alt

Ok, strange name. But Celene Dion is now scorching your neurons. And mine. Ugh. Anyways, I was feeling a bit nostalgic for one of the places in Miami that made there life bearable. The place where everybody knows your name. Well that is if, like me, you happened to frequent it at least once a week. I speak of Miami's best brewpub, one of the only places in town to get a good beer, my former home away from home, The Titanic.

Probably the single beer I drank the most there was Captain Smith's Rye. And rightly so. It's a great beer. Under the Titanic's first brewer, Jamie Ray (now at Montgomery Brew Pub in Alabama) it took a GABF bronze in 1999 and a silver in 2000. The current brewer Steve hasn't changed it much, and I don't even want to know how much of it I drank during my time there. Twenty ounce mug, five years...

So I was missing it a bit. And I had four pounds of malted rye in the stores. It also turns out, and I'm not sure how or why, that Jamie Ray made a version of the recipe that comes included with BeerSmith. How convenient! So I tweaked it to my system, modified things a bit, and got brewing.

The basic idea behind this beer is that it's a hybrid of styles. It's too dark, strong and hoppy to be a 'traditional' American Rye, and it's fermented with Dusseldorf Alt yeast. Though it is hopped like an Alt, it's also a bit strong, and has rye and no caramel malts. So it's not quite an Alt either. All I know is its a spicy, dry but smooth, 6%, amber rye/alt delicious bastard.

A note on brewing with Rye. As you may have heard, Rye is a bitch to brew with. The reason has to do with it being huskless, and with a smaller diameter kernel than barley. It will turn to goo in the mash, and unless you keep the sparge hot, and use some rice hulls, your mash will get stuck. It's also hard to mill, you need to adjust the rollers closer together to crack the kernels. But it's also kind of gummy, and if you move the rollers too close it will jam (and if you're me, the drill's torque will flip the mill over, spraying rye everywhere. D'oh!). Setting the mash bed took a long time, and I vorlaufed a lot of wort. Little rye chunkies kept slipping through. So it's not a bad idea to use flaked rye. Unfortunately I had malted. Oh well, needs must.

This was also a chance to try out my shiny new magnetic stir plate; a prize for taking 3rd Best In Show with Captain Slow's SEB at the Cascade Brewers Cup. I made a 1L starter of White Labs Dusseldorf Alt the night before. There's a small magnet inside the flask that is being spun by a magnet in the base, creating the vortex which introduces oxygen and keeps the yeast in suspension.

What a fascinating modern age we live in.

Brewday was somewhat eventful. First mistake, I must not have had enough coffee because I missed my infusion temp by ten degrees! Mashed in at 140. My only guess is that I misread my water level and put in 2.75 gallons, not 3.75. So I got some water boiling and had it up to the correct 150 within 15 minutes. No biggie. Second problem was just more of my not checking my freezer first. I though I had some Northern Brewers in the freezer, but it turned out that I had a different 'N' hop, Nugget. So I made some last minute substitutions. If you've got Northern Brewer, I'd add an ounce of that instead of my half ounce of Nugget. O.G. was 1.063, so it will be closer to 6.4-6.5% when it's done.

Brewday: American Rye Alt

5.25 gallons, all grain
Est O.G. 1.061, Act. O.G. 1.063
Est F.G. 1.015, Act. probably 1.013-14
Est ABV 6.1%, Act. probably 6.4-6.5%
SRM: 7
IBU: 27
  • 9 lbs Weyermann Pilsner Malt
  • 3 lbs Rye Malt
  • 1 oz. Chocolate Malt
Mash in at 150. Water modifications were 2 gm chalk, 2 gm calcium chloride. Mash out at 168 with an infusion. Sometimes people skip the mash out. I would not skip it on a Rye beer if I were you. Also, add a few good handfulls of rice hulls at knock out.

90 minute boil.
  • 0.5 ounces Nugget pellets @ 12.5% AA @ 60 minutes left
  • 1 ounce Stirling pellets @ 5.3% AA @ 15 minutes
  • whirlfloc at 15
Cooled to 63 and pitched my Alt yeast, White Labs 036. Some say to ferment Alts at 60-62. White labs says 65-69, or you risk stressing the yeast causing sulfur or premature flocculation. My house is 65. I figured I'd pitch a bit cool and it will climb to where it wants to be, somewhere in the mid-60's.

So it will get about 2 weeks to ferment, then a week cold and bottling. It probably should lager for a month to mellow. Problem is I want to get an entry off to the Puget Sound Pro Am in a month. I may pull just four bottles and lager the rest. Of course, my lager fridge is also full of sake and pilsner right now...


Post a Comment