Winter’s Revenge

Today I had my buddy Mike over to brew. He’s one of a couple of friends I’m slowly brainwashing convincing to take up homebrewing. The plan was to brew a sweet stout, Winter’s Sun. Mike came over yesterday to bottle the IPA that we brewed a few weeks ago – Cheeky Bastard – and since he was around, I took him for his first trip to my local homebrew store, South Shore Homebrew Emporium. So he got to see the process from purchasing up through brewing.

The brew day went fairly well. For the first time I started taking measurements of how much wort I was collecting and boiling off, so that I could have a better idea of my system’s efficiency. We came in under our target gravity (1.052 vs. 1.060) and I think that it was due in part to the fact that I estimated losing 2 gallons to evaporation and we only lost 1.75. That extra quart would have concentrated the beer a little closer to the target, but I’m unsure if it would’ve gotten us all the way to 1.060.

Regardless the missed target wasn’t the biggest snafu of the day. I like to chill my boiled wort outside to allow the ambient temperature to speed the cooling process and aid my immersion chiller. I thought we’d have a nice quick chill since it was below freezing outside. Unfortunately, because it was below freezing – and my house has a screwy water system – my hose was frozen solid with ice. We couldn’t get a steady flow of water through the immersion chiller. After trying to hook the chiller up through my showerhead (a failure), we opted to rack the still hot wort into the carboy, cover it with tinfoil and leave it outside in order to cool off.

It’s about 2-3 hours into the process now. The wort is noticeably cooler, but still nowhere near the 68*F target that I’m looking for to pitch the yeast. We’ll see how close it is by the time I head to bed. The recipe is below. It is an adapted version of the sweet/milk stout recipe that appears in Brewing Classic Styles

Winter Sun

Grain Bill

Fermentable Amount Use PPG Color
 Maris Otter Pale (UK) 7.5 lb 69% Mash 38 3 °L
 Caramel/Crystal 80L (US) 1.0 lb 9% Mash 33 80 °L
 Lactose (Milk Sugar) 1.0 lb 9% Boil 41 0 °L
 Pale Chocolate Malt 200L 0.75 lb 6% Mash 34 200 °L
 Black Patent (UK) 0.57 lb 5% Mash 27 525 °L


Hop Amount Time Use Form AA
Golding (US) 1.5 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 5.0%


Name Lab Average Attenuation
Wyeast Whitbread Ale Wyeast 1099 70.0%

Mash steps

Step Heat Source Target Temp Time
Saccharification Rest Infusion 152.0 °F 60 min


Alt. Yeasts: WLP006 Bedford; WY1084 Irish Ale.

Mill the grains and dough-in targeting a mash of around 1.5 quarts of water to 1 pound of grain (a liquor-to-grist ratio of about 3:1 by weight) and a temperature of 151 °F (66 °C).

Hold the mash at 151 °F (66 °C) until enzymatic conversion is complete. Infuse the mash with near-boiling water while stirring or with a recirculating mash system raise the temperature to mash out at 168 °F (76 °C). Sparge slowly with 170 °F (77 °C) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is around 5.9 gallons (22.3 L) and a gravity of 1.051 (12.6 °P).

The total wort boil time is 60 minutes. I prefer to mix in the lactose with the first runnings, which gives me lots of time to make sure it gets dissolved before firing up the kettle. Add the first hop addition as soon as the wort reaches a full boil and then start your timer. Add Irish moss or other kettle finings with 15 minutes left in the boil.

Chill the wort to 68 °F (20 °C) and aerate thoroughly. The proper pitch rate is 2 packages of liquid yeast or 1 package of liquid yeast in a 2-liter starter. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C). When finished, carbonate the beer to approximately 1.5 to 2 volumes.



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