Had a great turnout at November’s Brewers’ group where James Campbell gave us some excellent tips and wisdom on brewing high-gravity beers. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are just a few of the things we discussed:
First of all, for high gravity brewing, make a highly fermentable wort so mash at a low temperature (around 64 degrees) for a VERY long time (3-4 hours) and make sure you’re getting the right Ph in the mash (around 5.3). Fermentability can also be enhanced with enzymes such as amyloglucosidase, although this will impact on flavour and mouthfeel.
The other key point is to pitch healthy yeast so you get good attenuation. Pitch slightly more yeast than you would normally (1 million per ml per degree Plato is the general rule), add yeast nutrient to get a vigorous fermentation and oxygenate well to promote yeast growth. After fermentation the yeast are done for so throw them away rather than storing for re-pitching. Conditioning should be for a long time and maybe even shake the bottle every now and then to re-suspend the yeast; the story goes that Marble’s Decadence gets ‘taken for a walk’ periodically during its maturation!
…and after all that talk of beer we cracked open some really good quality homebrew, followed up by a fair bit of tasting downstairs at the bar. Great night! Thanks to everyone who came and a special thanks to everyone who brought along some homebrew.
We’re taking a break for Christmas now so next Brewer’s group will be on Tuesday 29th January 2013 at 7pm, when we plan to get a yeast expert to give us some tips on yeast management. Hope to see you there.