Monday, April 27, 2009

Wedding Brew Weekend

As I've mentioned in previous posts (see Witbier and Two Brew Weekend) I was asked to brew some beer for my friends wedding. With the final beer being chosen in early April, I set out this weekend to brew it up for the big day......twice. Early in the week I decided to make two batches. I thought that for an entire wedding reception, 2.5 cases just wasn't going to cut it (now that I said that, I bet there will be a ton left over).

The first batch went off without a hitch. The mash settled perfectly at 152 and stayed there for the entire 60 minutes. I had a small boil over at the beginning mostly because I was paying more attention to drinking some of the last batch and watching the Red Sox. Post boil, I ended up with 6 gallons, which is what I planned. Chilled, racked and pitched. Batch one down!

The second batch went off.....but not so much without a hitch. To set the stage, it was close to 90f in Natick on Saturday, I had gone for a 7 mile run about 2 hours prior to starting the first batch, had one bowl of oatmeal to eat all day, and about 6 homebrews by the time I started batch two. Needless to say, it had it's effects on me. I didn't realize my mistake until the boil, but it turns out I used an extra gallon of water in the mash. DOH!!!! (sorry Chappy, the beer will be fine, I promise)

Sunday, after I had sobered up, I went through my notes and realized where I went wrong. In an attempt to be more efficient, I started batch 2 while batch 1 was still chilling prior to pitching the yeast, so I didn't have the availability of my Blichman boilermaker with the volume sight gauge on the side. Instead, I went back in time to my "pre-boilermaker" days and used a wooden spoon I had notched out at the gallon marks. Apparently I mistook the 5g mark for the 4g mark. Other than that slight mix up, the batch come out well. It's a little lighter in color but it's fermenting away.

Both batches have a very nice krausen on them and are vigorously fermenting away right now. I'm a little concerned that because of the ambient temp in the room, that I might get some bad esters in the beer, so I might move them to the basement. But then basement is on the cooler side of the temp spectrum. Probably in the high 50's. I did give myself a few extra weeks, so if the fermentation slows, I think I'll be ok. Recipe is below.

So here's my you think I should blend the two batches prior to bottling to essentially make them one large batch? If you could let me know your thoughts and experiences with blending, that would be great!



OG - 1.050
Batch Size - 6 g

8 lbs Two-Row
1.5 lbs Crystal 15L
1.5 lbs Crystal 40L
1 lbs Munich .25 lbs Brown Malt
.5 lbs Flaked Barley

.5 oz Columbus (13% AA, 6.5 AAU, FWH)
.5 oz Magnum (14.5% AA, 7.3 AAU, 30 min)
.25 oz Columbus (13% AA, 3.3 AAU, 30 min)
.5 oz Glacier (5.5% AA, 2.8 AAU, 15 min)
.25 Columbus (13% AA, 3.3 AAU, 10 min)
.5 oz Glacier (5.5% AA, 2.8 AAU, DH)

Yeast: Wyeast 1056 American Ale


Damon said...

If it were me, I'd put out the good batch first.

By the time everyone is on the second batch, most people will be too happy to notice. If anyone does notice, compliment them on their fine sense of taste and explain what went wrong.

Jason said...

I like the way you think, Damon! My other thought was just keep the second batch for the after party!! Hmmm, decisions, decisions!

Beer Making Equipment said...

Wedding beer = pressure's on. I would agree with Jason's comment... give the guests the good stuff and save batch #2 for the afterparty! What did you do?