Recipe:Dark beer

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This section is about developing a dark beer recipe, including the process and necessary equipment, it was updated on 16/1/2015.

Brewing LOG

Dark Beer Brewing 18/1/2015

Below are summarized aims, progress and results of this particular one can even say peculiar experiment.

Original aims
  • Basic conditions desired: alcohol per volume 6% (alc), original gravity of 1.05, bitterness of 30 IBU
  • Brew size (culture volume Vc) - Vc = 14 l
  • Malts composition:
    • 25% (w/v; 3500 g) of Pilsner malt
    • 5% (w/v; 700 g) of Munich malt
    • 1.5% (w/v; 210 g) of caramunich 3
    • 1.5% (w/v; 210 g) carafa2 (steep separate?)
    • 0.5% (w/v; 70 g) cara aroma
  • Hops composition:
    • 0.3% (w/v; 42 g) of Kent golding 4-5% of aa
  • Yeast type
    • Safbrew T-58
  • Fermentation temperature 20°C
Reality LOG data

As a preludium I can say that whatever could go wrong, well ...

Main issues during this experiment:

  • double amount of hops was added compared to the original recipe (42 g), 84 g in total, 56 g for the bittering part resulting in a very bitter wort. Somehow I have done fundamental mistake during calculations, still not sure how it could happened.
    • calculate hops properly and use given amount
  • the original gravity of the brew was 1.03 compared to the aimed 1.05 due to the both excessive usage of liquid during the sparging and consequently insufficient evaporation during the rolling boil of hops in the brew kettle
    • use maybe less liquid for sparging and definitely more intensive or longer rolling boil to evaporate more liquid
  • during the rolling boil the water condensation build up on the surface of the exhaust hood and dropped back to the brew kettle with some dissolved compounds build up during the usage of the exhaust hood
    • either boil the wort in a different location or protect the top of the brew kettle against the drops, complete cleaning of the exhaust hood is not really possible
  • final brew when aerated started to foam excessively escaping from the vessel into the incubator
    • aerate the wort on the table or bench being able to clean up the foam easily

Less important things to improve:

  • "boil" just such amount of water which is needed for mashing not too waste too much time with larger volumes which can be boiled later on
  • boil the wort originating from lautering directly so it reaches quickly the rolling boil, this time it took nearly extra hour after sparging was complete before the wort started to boil
  • make or buy wort chiller in advance, this time it took around 25 min to cool the wort to 26°C
  • get digital thermometer for more easy measuring of the temperature

What has been done

The original recipe and manual was fallowed if not stated otherwise (as partly in "the main issues section"):

  • nylon style brewing bag was used for the mash to avoid debris in the wort
  • mashing was done at 70-71°C
  • wort after hops addition and rolling boil was transferred by the measuring 1 l plastic beaker to fermentation vessel and filtered during this step from hops residues through straining bag
  • wort was cooled in the fermentation vessel by placing it into a bigger pot full of cold water with constant flow of cold water mixing the wort more or less constantly, dropping the temperature to 26°C within 25 minutes

Some of the new or refreshed vocabulary to remember: grain bill, infusion mashing, grist, lautering and brew kettle

Few questions: what should be the temperature of water added to the wort when starting to sparge and the sparging temperature

Summary: Next time I need to avoid the mistakes which I did during this experiment being extra careful about the amount of hops added, amount of water for sparging and sufficient rolling boil to evaporate it reaching proper volume and original gravity of 1.05 and about condensation of liquid on the exhaust hood during the rolling boil.

Original Recipe

Batch size = 10 l; 6% alcohol content (6% (w/v) alc.)


  • 25% (w/v; 2500 g) of Pilsner malt
  • 5% (w/v; 500 g) of Munich malt
  • 1.5% (w/v; 150 g) of caramunich 3
  • 1.5% (w/v; 150 g) carafa2 (steep separate?)
  • 0.5% (w/v; 50 g) cara aroma


0.3% (w/v; 30 g) Kent Golding 4-5% of aa (20 g added at time 0 of rolling boil; 10 g added 5 min before the end of the rolling boil)

Yeast Safbrew T-58 (15-23°C temperature range, aiming for temperature at 20°C)

Specific gravity of the wort

Specific gravity of the wort - 1.050 SG (or original gravity 1.050)


Bitterness of the wort - 30 IBU

Original Brewing procedure

  • 7 l of hot water --> 20-25°C higher than you aim for mashing (will cool down when added to the malt so around 95°C)
  • 2.5 kg of Pilsner malt, 1 kg of Munich malt, 150 g of caramunich 3, 150 g of carafa 2, 50 g cara aroma (all malt crashed/ground in advance) --> add slowly malt to the water mixing a lot avoiding a “dough balls”
  • prepare the insulated vessel (mash tun) with false bottom and transfer the mash gently to it avoiding compacting the mash - the liquid has to flow through in order to create the “filter bed”
  • let the mash react keeping the temperature below 69°C (157°F) for one hour
  • make sure that you have adequate amount of water heated up to the desired temperature (around 75°C (167°F)) of around 18 l volume to be sure
  • after one hour of mashing, begin to establish the filter bed adding water at 75°C starting therefore the process of lautering
  • the flux of liquid should be slow and the resulting liquid (wort) should be clean - first few litres will have probably debris in it before the filter bed establishes properly, flush it through the mash again (heat it up in a pan to the proper temperature)
  • add the hot water to the top of the mash (which is called sparging) slowly not to disturb the filter bed, keep the level of the liquid at least 5 cm above the mash at all times
  • when adding the hot water avoid temperatures above 75°C (167°F) otherwise tannins are going to leach into the wort. If you over sparge, which means adding hot water when the sugars are already mostly gone, tannins will be released too, efficiency of sugar leaching should be between 80-90%
  • continue collecting the the wort and transfer it to the brew kettle bringing as quickly as possible to the boil so it is ready for the hops to be added without additional waiting
  • when rolling boil of the wort is reached add 20 g of Kent Golding hop pellets (4-5% of aa) and keep at rolling boil for 90 min - bittering hops
  • 15 minutes before the heat switched off submerge clean wort chiller into the brew to sanitize it
  • add 10 g of Kent Golding hop pellets to the wort for the last 5 min of the rolling boil before switching the heat off
  • when you stop the rolling boil after 90 min you should have 9-10 l volume of wort at specific gravity of 1.050 SG (original gravity, needs to be cooled to 20-25°C
  • apply cold water to the wort chiller submerged in the wort cooling down the batch as quickly as possible
  • when the batch is at 18°C transfer the wort into the fermentation vessel first creating the vortex which accumulates the hops in the middle of the vessel (or use the sterilized/sanitized straining bag) siphoning the wort by tube or use sanitized pot to transfer it
  • use sanitized aeration stone to aerate the wort in the fermentation vessel for 40 minutes or so and
  • in the meanwhile dehydrate and activate the Safbrew T-58 yeast adding the yeast to the 100 ml of cold water
  • for the last time measure specific gravity of the wort and note it
  • add the yeast to the wort, install the airlock and let the brew ferment at temperature of 20°C

Shopping options available in South Korea

Below you can find the shopping list of ingredients and equipment which I'm after (Algoldor, please let me know if something is missing, so far I got all and more except the false bottom.

Beer ingredients and equipment shopping list