14 days grain to glass

While at times I’ve been very driven to reduce the duration of my brew days, I’ve never been terribly concerned with the speed of everything that comes after. With building yeast starters, oxygenating my wort, fermenting in a conical fermentor, and carefully controlling the temperature of that fermentor, it stands to reason that I could turn around a beer fairly quickly… or my yeast could rather. I brewed an American Pale Ale September 5th, the first beer with my new conical, and I’d figured I’d give it a shot for a 14 day turn around, “from grain to glass” as they say. Turns out it wasn’t that difficult at all, and while I may end up tweaking the recipe of this APA a bit, the yeast certainly held up their end of the bargain.

Here’s a timeline:

  • September 5th: brewed the wort (recipe below), chilled to ~75F with counterflow chiller
  • September 6th: wort temperature of 66F reached in fermentation chamber; yeast pitched
  • September 6th: first visible signs of fermentation
  • September 7th: dump trub from conical fermentor
  • September 9th: raise fermentation temperature to 70F
  • September 13th: signs of fermentation considerably reduced, dump yeast from conical fermentor
  • September 13th: take gravity sample (1.011) and dry hop
  • September 14th: visible signs of fermentation stopped
  • September 15th: begin cold crash
  • September 16th: add finings (gelatin)
  • September 18th: take final gravity sample (1.010), transfer to serving kegs, and force carbonate
  • September 19th: serve and enjoy!

Could I have done this a bit quicker? I think could have. Had I bumped the fermentation temperature to 75F rather than 70F, and did so a day earlier, that could have easily cut it down by 1-2 days. If the style did not require a dry hop, that could have cut off another 2 days. And if I did not want to clear the beer, that would be another 2 days. It’s easy to see how somebody could turn around a Hefeweizen in about a week… maybe something for me to try next summer.

As for this beer… it’s a clear deep golden colour with a messy and persistent bright white head. It’s somewhat dry, and the yeast is quite neutral (San Diego Super Yeast), allowing the hops to really stand out. The flavour and aroma hops are cascade and simcoe, and the beer is bittered with columbus. The cascade hops are immediately obvious, there’s a huge grapefruit character to the beer. The piney-ness of the simcoe hops are there only after you get past that blast of grapefruit. The bitterness from the columbus is clean and spicy – really nice! In future versions of this beer I may aim for slightly more malt character and I will play around with the hop combination a bit. Maybe I’ll include mosaic in place of/in addition to some of the cascade. As it is though, a respectable APA!

 

IMG_0297

 

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 40.8 IBUs 6.5 SRM 1.051 1.009 5.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 14 lbs 73.68
Munich Malt 3 lbs 15.79
Carafoam 1 lbs 5.26
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 1 lbs 5.26

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Columbus (Tomahawk) 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 15.6
Cascade 1 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 7.1
Simcoe 1 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 13.8
Cascade 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 7.1
Simcoe 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 13.8
Cascade 1 oz 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 7.1
Simcoe 1 oz 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 13.8

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Whirlfloc Tablet 2.00 Items 15 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
San Diego Super Yeast (WLP090) White Labs 80% 65°F - 68°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 151°F 60 min

  4 comments for “14 days grain to glass

  1. digital
    September 22, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Here’s my typical schedule…
    Day 1: Brew, pitch yeast
    Day 2: Ferment
    Day 3: Fermentation is usually done by now, room temp diacetyl rest
    Day 4: Dry hop
    Day 5: Crash – add another day if using gelatin
    Day 6: Keg (24 hours @ 50 PSI)
    Day 7: Purge the keg, lower to serving pressure and try a pint

    Around day 10, my beers seem to stop showing signs that they are still mellowing and the flavor tends to be the same in the following days until the keg is gone.

    A couple things to note about my brewing… I very rarely brew anything above 1.050 OG. I use yeast nutrient and pure oxygen before I pitch my yeast. I usually make starters, but I’ve also had good results pitching a half pint of yeast slurry from the previous batch. I make every attempt to not stress out my yeast, and for that they don’t give me off flavors and they ferment quickly and cleanly.

    • September 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      That’s fast! Do you use a standard pitching rate of 0.75 million / ml / degree plato? Would love to pitch some slurries but there would just be too much time between beers that would utilize the same yeast for me… I’m planning on banking some yeast though.

      • digital
        September 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm

        Yes, standard ale pitching rate. I really like slurries because they’re extremely convenient compared to making a starter. Brulosophy recently compared a fresh vial starter to a 6 month old slurry pitch and if I remember right there was no noticeable difference.

        • Dave
          November 18, 2015 at 11:50 am

          I would second the comment above. If the yeast is stored refrigerated with some of the beer, and then decanted/rinsed/divided just before you brew, you’d be surprised how healthy the yeast are. This is my personal experience, and the experience of a friend who counts/evaluates yeast health. Probably wouldn’t hurt to add the yeast to a little wort just to wake them up before brewing if the storage time was long.

          You could also try dry-hopping before fermentation is complete. Lots of evidence and experiments point to benefits of hop-yeast interaction.

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