It's pretty crappy out today, like it has been all week, and the rain just keeps coming. Well, what better activity to chase away the March blahs than beer brewing!
This evening, I'm making a partial mash-extract Blonde Abbey Ale, based on a Leffe Blonde clone recipe.
To start, I'm adding 3.5qt of 155 °F filtered water to: 2.5lb 2-row pilsner malt; 4.0oz each Belgian biscuit, Belgian aromatic, German Munich malts; and 2.0oz honey malt.
I let that sit at ~141 °F for 30 minutes. Now, I'm borrowing a simple picnic cooler and putting the grains into a grain sock, so adequately mixing the grains is difficult and I'm sure I'm going to have cold spots in there which will affect the efficiency. But it's my first partial mash (PM), so not everything is optimal. My next step will be to buy my own mini cooler (this is Dave's cooler) and add a screen at the bottom so that I don't have to keep using grain socks.
While this was going on, I brought 2 gallons of filtered water to a boil on the stove. By the time 30 minutes was up, the water was down to about 200 °F. I added roughly 1.5qts of this into the cooler to bring the temperature up to ~150 °F, and I let that sit for 60 minutes.
At this point Jon arrived, and we chatted for a bit over a Weihenstephaner Korbinian, a German Doppelbock. He stepped out for an errand, and I prepped the sparge water by bringing the temperature up to ~178 °F.
Sparged and drew off enough liquor, as best I could ... difficult without a true grain bed. Regardless, I got at least 1.5 gallons of wort. Brought this to a boil, then added 6lbs of Extra Light DME, then added enough water to make ~2.5 gallons for the boil.
After the hot break, I added about 5oz of clear candi sugar and 1oz of Brewers Gold (6.8%AA). Boiled for 45 minutes and added irish moss and about 0.7oz of Hallertau Hersbrucker (3.3%AA) for flavor. Meanwhile, Jon had returned with Autumn, and we watched some goofy crap on YouTube, like Star Wars kid and the Sarah Silverman/Jimmy Kimmel video war (with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck) ... all the while sipping a nice Nils Oscar Imperial Stout, which I'd had before during a hedonistic RateBeer Summer Gathering in Stockholm (Jul 04). Good to try it again.
Boiled another 15 minutes, killed the heat, and put the pot in the sink to chill. Brought the volume up to ~5.2 gallons and checked the O.G. (1.072!). I then added a slap pack of Wyeast 1214 Abbey Ale and a year+old pack of Wyeast 1762 Abbey Ale II. Temperature was about 65 °F, so I capped it off and set the bucket next to the radiator.
And that, for a rainy Wednesday, is that.