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Not your Granddaddy’s glory hole.

Edison failed a thousand times before he stuck the landing on the light bulb.  WD-40 got its name after perfection took the inventor 39 failed attempts at a parts lubrication recipe.  None of the beer I make is anywhere near perfection, not even close, but I’d like to think that with enough of it down the gullet, you’d end up lit/lubed.  After having pseudo-success with my Failed Berliner Weisse (No boil attempt #1), I felt like producing a beer without a proper boil deserved more attention.  The process of no-boil simply means that wort is never brought up to the perfunctory 212f/100c.

It all started when I fell in love with Berliner Weisse this summer.  As luck would have it, Berliners are a prime candidate for making a beer sans boil and I’m always looking to roll the dice in the name of experimentation.  If a select few are brave enough to insert their phalluses through crusty, bored out holes in bathroom stalls, then sacrificing an hour’s time and some grain suddenly doesn’t seem so risky.  Here was my rough procedure on my five  no-boil attempts thus far:


5 gallon / 19 liter batch

Baseline:  Heat 16L of water to 71c.  Add crushed malt.  Mash hop.  Mash at 65c, w/ 2.5 cc of lactic acid, 2.5 of CaCl.  Mash out (170f/76c) by adding 6L of boiling water.  Hold temperature for 15 minutes.  Pull BIAB bag.  Transfer to keg.  Set keg lid with 30 psi of pressure ….

Berliners: Wait until wort comes down to 36c.  Add 500g of uncrushed grain to kettle.  Wait 30 mins.  Add premade lacto starter.  Add Fermcap-S.  Purge w/ CO2.  Set spunding.  Put in 36c water bath.  Wait 2-3 days.  Increase bath temp to 76c for 15 minutes.  Chill down to ale fermentation temperatures and ferment with ale yeast (if necessary).  

Non-Berliners (regular ale fermented beers): Wait until wort comes down to 18c.  Add Fermcap-S.  Purge w/ CO2.  Setup spunding valve.  Pitch yeast.  Ferment at proper ale fermentation temperatures.   Chill down to ale fermenting temperature.  Add Fermcap-S, purge w/ CO2, attach spunding.  * (in the case of the Hop Session beer, grains/lacto starter were not added to the keg nor was the temperature raised to 76c.)  


 

Failed Berliner Weiss (No boil attempt #1)
Total base grain per 5 gallons/19 liters: 2kg (1.25kg pale / 1.25 kg wheat)

Hops: Mash hopped w/ a handful of cones from the garden

Fermentation: Failed: Raw grain inoculation -> WLP 644.  It didn’t work out that way, however.  I pitched 644 in a panic after a lack of sourness after two days.

Conclusion: Solid wheat beer on it’s own.  Would have been better with a hefeweizen yeast.  Rich flavor.

Lesson learned along the way: Prepare a lacto starter then use instead of just throwing caution to the wind.

Hop De-Lite (No boil attempt #2)
Total base grain per 5 gallons/19 liters: 2.5kg (1.25kg pale + 1.25kg wheat + 200g of Honey Malt)

Hops: 7oz/196g of Chinook pellets steeped for 30 minutes at 70c~ish.

Fermentation: WLP 644

Conclusion: Rich, full, juicy hop forward beer.  Still plenty of bitterness.

Lesson learned along the way: 644 is a super attenuator (90+ percent = 4.5% beer), hop particulate jammed up my poppet valve on this particular keg ferment.

Adjustments for next time: Ferment with less attenuative yeast, more cautious transfer to keg to minimize particulate or shorten liquid dip tube.

Kefir Weise (No boil attempt #3)

Total base grain per 5 gallons/19 liters: 2.5kg (1.25kg pale / 1.25kg wheat)

Hops: Mash hopped w/ a handful of cones from the garden.

Fermentation: A starter made from milk kefir grains @ 36c.  Full batch ferment was about 3 days.  Tasted along the way and brought it up to 73c to kill the bacteria after what I felt like was a sour enough result.

Conclusion:  Delightfully tangy.  Kefir grain starter was responsible for 100% ferment.  1.022 starting gravity -> 1.004 final gravity (not sure how accurate the FG is because of lactic acid presence).  Given that kefir is a mixture of bacteria and yeast, I can only assume yeast is responsible for a bulk of the fermentation.

Adjustments for next time: None.  Just make 10 gallons instead of 5, Idiot.

* 73c @ 15 minutes is enough to kill bacteria.  Keg has been sitting at room temperature for 2 weeks now without additional CO2 generated.

Hop De-Lite (No boil attempt #4)
Total base grain per 5 gallons/19 liters: 2.5kg (1.25kg pale + 1.25kg wheat + 200g of Honey Malt)

Hops: 7oz/196g of Chinook pellets steeped for 30 minutes at 70c~ish.

Fermentation: WLP 644

Conclusion: Rich, full, juicy hop forward beer.  Still plenty of bitterness.

Lesson learned along the way: Mashed at 72.5c /162.5f.  This seems to have tamed the beast as I finished at 1.007 w/ WLP 644.  3.1% ABV from starting at 1.031

Adjustments for next time: Still need a better kettle -> keg transfer system.  Super happy with the way the light beers are turning out.

Oatmeal Stout (No-boil attempt #5) – Mash hop + no boil + keg ferment = easiest brew ever!  

Total base grain per 5 gallons/19 liters: 3kg base, .5 oatmeal, misc dark malts.

Hops: 35g of Chinook in the mash.

Fermentation: Nottingham

Conclusion: TBD

Lesson learned along the way:

 

 


 

According to naysayers, the process of no-boil brewing, much like a frequenter of a glory hole, is susceptible to a host of issues: namely infection and a cream-corn taste in the mouth.  From what I can gleen, in order to mitigate the chance of infection whilst no-boiling, wort needs to be brought up to 170f/76c (again, depending on the source, I’ve read different strains of lacto can survive at a variety of temperatures – 140-160f being the most oft cited).  There is also conflicting information on at what temperatures SMM -> DMS is produced.  The only thing I can say for sure is that using 2 row and wheat as a base malt, with the aforementioned temperatures and procedures, I have experienced absolutely no DMS issues in three separate tries.

Currently there is a thread going on about ‘raw ale / no boil’ brewing.  It’s not very long, but then again, neither is a no-boil brewing session/glory hole visit.

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