Happy New Year everyone! It is currently snowing lightly, but my brew day is underway at 7:00 a.m. I mashed in at 157-158F. Smells tasty already! I'll be batch sparging in about 45 minutes. Original projected gravity is 1.060. My measured gravity ended up being 1.062.
This is the first time I've used Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat Malt. As you all know I am a lover of smoke beers, and thought this might be an interesting way to add some oakiness and light smoke flavor to an everyday oatmeal stout without having to age my beer. Nothing wrong with barrel aging, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I just like a little subtlety with aging as some barrel aged beers are a little overpowering from the spirits they once contained. (If I choose to drink a barrel aged beer, I still expect it to taste like a beer with some hints of what the beer was aged in. I expect oak flavor, and some of the spirit flavor, but not just the oak and spirit flavor only.)
On to the batch sparge. It takes me 45 minutes to an hour to batch sparge. The hardest part is the wait. I want to get on to the boil, but patience is a virtue I have learned.
I am old school when it comes to measuring gravity. I still use a hydrometer after my boil. I know that a brix refractometer can be used throughout the process, even with hot wort, pre-boil, but I enjoy taking the gravity the way I learned. (Plus the refractometer can be pricey for a good quality one.)
I will boil for 90 minutes, cool my wort with an immersion chiller, then pitch my dry yeast. (I think I am too lazy to make starters, and have never had any problems with dry yeast.)
Well, my brew day concluded around 12:30 and everything seems to be on track. I taught my friend Brian how I brew. Many thanks for his interest and desire to learn!
I'll post again on bottling day in about two weeks.