We continue to stock BigBeers here at the Hotel. This autumn is going to be interesting… Today we approach a style that is a cousin not far from the well-known Barleywine. The Wheatwine style, which was accidentally developed in American craft, shares similarities with its cousin, but obviously includes a generous percentage of wheat in the recipe. But, as usual in this Hotel, this is not your average Wheatwine…
The idea of making a beer with breakfast cereals has been floating around for a long time. We thought Chocapic, Cheerios, Estrelitas and then … Golden Grahams, that wheat cereal with honey. Childhood memories of spending afternoons eating Golden Grahams directly from the box, dictated the choice. Given that we had already chosen Wheatwine as a style, a project also in the drawer for a long time, what better pair could be found? On top of that, when you start reading the style descriptor in the BJCP one notices that it could easily come in the cereal box, to describe them. Perfect match.
Making “big beers” on a homebrew setup becomes a challenge in small “brew-in-a-bag” systems. This is a beer with a lot of malt, more than what could actually fit in the kettle basket and placing the water to malt ratio, dangerously below 2.5 liters / kg, which reduces efficiency. To get around this we bet on a technique of “reiteread mashing” or “poly gyle” as they also call it, which consists of making two mashes, where the second mash is made with the wort resulting from the first one. To do this in the brew-in-a-bag system is even easier, we made a normal mash, pulled the basket up, sparge as usual and we took out the cereal from the first mash. We put the basket back in the kettle, with the wort still there and made a new mash-in with the rest of the cereal and started a new mash. The method is optimal, the efficiency of the mash improves and the density of each mash can practically be added to get the final result.
Theoretically, this was how it was done… but yeah you know, this only happens in our homebrewing dreams. And homebrewers cry too. In reality, the mash was already giving the appearance of being stuck, because the Golden Grahams broke up in such a way that they formed a “carpet” over the cereal, not allowing the water to recirculate. Same thing for the sparge, where the water just didn’t go down. It was necessary to break the top layer of the cereal (I mean Golden Grahams) bed in order to recirculate the beer. We don’t really have love for our time, this beer already includes two mashes and yet, we still found a way to make this last longer… Next time don’t put the Golden Grahams all at once ok. Or just condition the beer on top of them. Don’t try this at home kids! Or try it, but learn from our mistakes. You can pay us a beer later to thank us…
We have long idealized a beer that would be boiled for long hours and this was a good option, but in a 20-30 liter homebrew system you have to choose other strategies. For this boil we followed an old school trick and removed 2 liters of wort from the main kettle and put that volume on a side pan to reduce and caramelize. Leaving the two boils running in parallel. The final volume of the reduction, half a liter already thick and condensed, was later returned to the main pot in the last minutes of the boil.
For fermentation, we used the same yeast already used in our Old Ale, which is already becoming a house classic. English yeast forms a good krausen. In order for this to be not all too simple – yeah right – we decided to ferment this one open, in good old-fashioned English tradition, favoring the production of esters that fit well in this beer.
Now we could talk about the yeast’s metabolic cycle but we are by far, not the best people to do so. Fortunately, there are many qualified people there without any problems in sharing their knowledge. For instance, you can start whit the excellent Escarpment Labs webinars.
Here everything is simple, inoculation done, after the lag phase and yeast growth phase the krausen begins to form. During alcoholic fermentation, oxygenation is extremely important, it promotes the production of esters and reduces the formation of alcohols. With a “bomb” of 11%, one has to keep that in mind.
When the activity starts to decrease it’s time to limit the exchange of gases and contact with oxygen, the alcoholic fermentation lasts about 72 hours, depending on a set of variables. With the active fermentation almost complete, we close the fermenter and wait for the yeast to clean some of its by-products and decant slowly.
Truth be told, prolonged maturation in a beer with these characteristics is a good thing.
As the amount of refrigerators, ahem, temperature-controlled chambers in the kitchen, already exceeds the “legally” allowed number, we did the rest at room temperature, a healthy 22ºC.
Done. We are the idiots who put breakfast cereals in a beer.
Only the future will tell, but someone will certainly do an Imperial Stout with Chocapic. Wait, actually someone has already done this 🙂 But it’s not like we are keeping track of your productions.
Neither yours nor the important data about our own productions, but we are getting better at that, thanks to you. Thank you all and see you next week.
Golden Grahams Wheatwine Open Fermentation
Total Cereal: 7,42 kg. malted cereal + 1,5 golden grahams
Original Gravity: 1.094
Boil Time: 90 minutos
50% – 3.71 kg. Wheat
38% – 2.82 kg. Maris Otter
5% – 0.37 kg. Melanoidin
4% – 0.30 kg. Caramunich I
3% – 0.22 kg. Caramalt
1.5 kg. Golden Grahams
25 gr. Warrior (pellet, ~15,6% AA) @ 60 min.
What Golden Grahams is not enough extra for you? Geez…
White Labs WLP006 Bedford British Ale – Repitch
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 0.9
Hochkurz Mash modified:
Saccharification- 20 min @ 55ºC
Saccharification- 30 min @ 62ºC
Saccharification- 45 min @ 71ºC
Mash Out – 10 min @ 76ºC
pH@30 min 5.7
added 3 ml. lactic acid
pH pre boil 5.6
From the weird supermarket cart saga: “young adult goes to supermarket and buys 1.5kg of Golden Graham’s. Only.” – that’s called individual freedom.