I managed to squeeze my second batch of the year in on the last day of January. Working through my calendar, I figured my Dortmunder was up next on the list. I had made it before (batches 94 and 107) as a partial grain and extract. This would be the first time out brewing it after converting my previous recipe to an all-grain recipe.
- 10.5 pounds of Pilsner Malt (2.0°L)
- 1.0 pound of Munich Malt (10ºL)
- 8.0 ounces of Carapils Malt
- 4.0 ounces of Aromatic Malt
- 2.0 ounces of Honey Malt
- 4.0 ounces Saaz Hops (3.0% alpha acid)
- 2 packs Saflager W-34/70 Yeast
The predicted specs for this beer (using BrewPal) were as follows:
- Original Gravity: 1.063
- Final Gravity: 1.014
- 6.4% ABV
- 23 IBU
I’m starting to get the hang of all-grain brewing, but I’m still getting hung up on a couple of things.
Plus, I’m never quite certain how fast I’m supposed to sparge. I usually heat more sparge water than the programs predict because I want to make sure I’m able to get at least 6.5 gallons of wort into my brew pot. This batch included four gallons of sparge water. Some references I have read talk about sparging at a rate of one gallon for every 10-12 minutes.
Standing and holding the spray-sparger for 40 minutes sucks. I definitely need to get something that allows me to set it and forget it, so all I have to worry about is the rate of flow and keeping the level of liquid above the grains somewhat constant.
I’m also getting a good boil going – so much so that I had a small boil over. I usually get a good hot break, too.
In fact, I may have a problem with doing too strong a boil because I’m boiling off enough wort to have less than five gallons left in my brewpot at the end of the boil. And I have taken to have the gas turned very low once the boil starts to prevent boil overs.
I even get good cold break when I chill the wort.
But that leads to another problem. I have about a gallon’s worth of dead space in my brew kettle. I don’t have a problem with hop particles since I use hop bags, but I’d like to keep the cold break out of my fermenter to help reduce haze. In this case, I tried to use a sieve to scoop out the cold break, which was coalescing into something that looked like big blobs of polenta. But since I don’t want to leave a gallon of wort that I worked so hard to get in the pot to be dumped, I have started using my racking can to transfer the chilled wort from the pot to the fermenter. After skimming what I could, I ended up with this in the bottom of the pot.
So how my original gravity reading for this batch, taken while I was transferring the wort to the fermenter prior to pitching the yeast, was a bit above my targets of around 1.065.
But then I looked at my fermenting bucket and realized I had to top off with about 1/2 gallon of water to get up to five gallons.
After I topped off with a half gallon of water to get five gallons in the fermenter, I was a bit closer to my target.
So I pitched the yeast and had a fairly unremarkable fermentation. After about two weeks in primary, I transferred the beer to secondary fermentation and let it lager until I was ready to filter, keg and carbonate it three months later.
Yeah, it was a bit of a long lagering period, but I already had three kegs running and decided to hold off on kegging this until some of those beers were finished.
It turned out very nice. Here’s one of the first drafts pulled from the keg over Memorial Day weekend.
I also decided to produce some artwork for the Dortmunder. I always have some ideas kicking around but lack the time to get the artwork done. But that is a tale for another time – though I’m probably going to rename the beer Bläserbrunnen, which will align nicely with the artwork.