Another beer which sounded good to have on hand as the weather starts to warm this spring and to drink on the deck on the still cool-spring evenings in May is a Maibock. It had been just over five years since I last made this style, and 10 years since I first made it at the local homebrew store’s Brew Day. It was long overdue to be made again!
This recipe, again with ingredients from Atlantic Brew Supply, consists of the following:
- 6.0 pounds of Best Malz Pilsner Malt
- 6.0 pounds of Best Malz Vienna Malt
- 1.0 pounds of Weyermann Light Munich Malt
- 8.0 ounces of Briess Cara-Pils Malt
- 0.75 ounces (22 grams) Magnum Hops (12.8% alpha acid)
- 1.0 ounce of Hallertauer Hersbrucker Hops (2.2%)
- 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss
- 1 packs White Labs German Bock Lager Yeast (WLP833)
Because I started the brewday late (almost 3 PM), I forgot to take my customary ingredient picture. So I improvised after I had dumped all the grain into a bucket prior to mashing in.
The predicted specs for this beer from BeerSmith were as follows:
- Original Gravity: 1.071
- Final Gravity: 1.021
- 6.5% ABV
- 41.5 IBU
- 6.8º SRM (5.6ºL)
My strike water was running a little hot, so I had to stir the mash for a few minutes so I could get to my target temperature of 156°.
I was also surprised by how murky the wort was during vorlauf. I pulled and recirculated a gallon of wort during vorlauf, but it remained extremely cloudy.
Other than that, the brew day was uneventful, and I cooled the wort, put it into the fermenting bucket and pitched the yeast. My starting gravity was again a little low (1.066) and I’m wondering if it is because I’m using the grain bag to keep my mash tun drain nozzle from clogging, and perhaps not getting as good a distribution of mash water to the grain as I used to without the grain bag.
After 18 days, I transferred the beer to secondary fermentation. I was surprised by how murky the beer was after primary fermentation.
The chest freezer was starting to get a little full at this point.
The plan was to get some friends to come over on March 20 and assist me in clearing out the Scottish Ale, the Tmavý Ležák, and the Doppelbock. The Dortmunder was on hand to premiere if we ran out of the darker beers. Unfortunately, this was about the time when places were shutting down and people were discouraged from gathering – even with friends.
Secondary fermentation lasted about five weeks before I pulled the carboy out to fine the beer with gelatin. By then, it had improved somewhat, and was a bit clearer and there was a bi of sediment on the bottom of the carboy.
The fining didn’t seem to work much though. The beer was not noticeable clearer a week later when I went to keg it on May 1.
The final gravity came out to be 1.020, just below my target. The Maibock finished at a little over 6.3% A.B.V.
I was not happy with how hazy the beer was on the second day after tapping the keg. But it tasted great, which I guess is all that matters.
I’m not sure where I’m going wrong with the gelatin fining. Maybe I’m pulling too much into the keg when I do the final transfer. I don’t know – but it is discouraging after the initial success I had with gelatin fining on the first batches I tried that clarifying technique on.
The change of using the chest freezer for storing and serving beer to freezing food led to a move of this and the Dortmunder keg into the spare refrigerator in the garage. While I can fit two kegs in that fridge comfortably, remaining bottles and cans of beer require leaving one shelf in at the highest level. This is not high enough to leave either and ‘in’ disconnect for gas or an ‘out’ disconnect for serving attached to the keg.
The kegs have to be shifted to be tapped to pour a glass or to occasionally push some gas to improve serving. There isn’t enough space in the fridge to place the CO2 bottle (not that the disconnects would fit under the shelf above it) which isn’t really a problem since I don’t leave the gas on and attached to the kegs (too many experiences with losing a whole tank of gas due to keg and disconnect leaks). In any case, the kegs need to be moved to do either of these, disturbing the remaining yeast and/or gelatin sediment on the bottom, resulting in cloudy beer with each pour. It also tends to darken the color, making these nice golden beers a bit murky and gray.
The goal is to move these kegs into the keg fridge and server from there – once the next batch (a Czech Saaz Pilsener) is ready to transferred to secondary. Then the kegs in the spare fridge in the garage will be moved into the keg fridge, and the carboy with the Pilsener will be lagering in the garage fridge.
I can’t wait for things to get back to normal and I get my chest freezer back!! Hopefully the meat and produce supply chains will not breakdown and we won’t need to stockpile even more food for the coming months.