Tuesday, 20 May 2014

BIAB #6 - Vienna Amarillo

Whilst visiting one of Macclesfield’s fine pubs, aptly named The Macc, I had the opportunity to enjoy a half of Magic Rock’s Villainous, an IPA brewed with 100% Vienna malt and loaded with experimental hop 366 and good old Citra. As with any of Magic Rock’s output, it was of course absolutely delicious, but the pure Vienna malt base really stood out to me - not only was a beautiful beer to look at, intensely bronze and crystal clear, but the malty biscuit backbone was something I had been seeking with previous brews. The next day, whilst nursing a slightly tender cranium, I did some Googling on the old Vienna malt. I had seen it mentioned in many a recipe as a malt adjunct, not top billing, but sure enough there were plenty of homebrewers out there having great results with it as a single malt base. As an exercise about learning the different flavour profiles of brewing ingredients, I thought I would give it a whirl. 

For the hops, I didn't want to mirror Magic Rock’s superb beer and go down the Citra route, so instead I decided I would use my remaining Amarillo stash. This was suddenly starting to sound like a SMaSH brew! With the recipe nailed and grain ordered the brew was a-go! There was still time to throw in some extras, but this time I was determined to stay simple for my own education.

When brewday arrived everything was going according to plan until my brand new probe thermometer went haywire and reported that the room temperature was now 68°C. I know I had the central heating on, but c’mon! Some how I managed to get it working so it was reporting the correct temperature long enough to get the liquor and mash temps nailed, only for it to go again when I began cooling the wort...damn the brew gods! In the end I took a best guess it was 20 degrees and transferred the wort to the FV where I could at least use the probe for taking the temperature. Unfortunately, I was around 8-9 degrees out, so I had to leave the FV un-insulated for a further hour until I could pitch my yeast. By having no means to check the temperature I couldn't rehydrate the yeast, so instead I opted for the tried and tested dry pitch method. A few days in and fermentation was ticking along nicely. Before I tackle any future brews I will invest in a good old mercury thermometer as a back up. The original gravity came out at 1.054.

 Name Type EBC Percentage  Amount
ViennaGrain5.996.77 %3 Kg

 Name AA %  Amount Use Time
Amarillo8.6 %30 gBoil60 mins
Amarillo8.6 %25 gBoil10 mins
Amarillo8.6 %10 gDry hop0 mins

 Name Amount Use Time
Irish Moss0.5 gBoil10 mins

Normally, I would post these brewday write-ups before I’ve even got around to bottling, but life has gotten in the way so this time around I also get to write about the finished product. Fermentation did it’s thing without any issues, the temperature controller doing a sterling job of keeping it around the 20 degree mark. The only problem I did have was the foam camping mat I had used to insulate the FV actually fused to the brew belt! This was always a temporary solution until I got around to buying a proper heating mat so I’m not overly fussed.

Sweet nectar...
The final gravity of the beer ended up at 1.012, equating to a respectable 5.5% ABV, which I was pleased with. I gave it a quick sample whilst bottling and despite being very malty, it was tasting great. After a few weeks of conditioning, the malt had settled down and the Amarillo really started to shine through. The citrus tones from the Amarillo, along with the sweet Vienna malt, gave the beer a slight marmalade flavour which I was happy with. I had debuted the finished article at the last Macc Homebrew meet up and everyone seemed to enjoy it, so all-in-all I think it was quite a successful brew. I will definitely be exploring a 100% Vienna malt base again. In fact I have a brew in mind that will make use of the 100 grams of Sorachi Ace I recently acquired courtesy of Al (@hopsinjoor) of the Manchester Homebrew Club. Roll on the next brewday!