Batch 12: Mad Elf Clone

In an ode to one of our favorite winter seasonals, and in acknowledgement of the fact that Tröegs hasn’t made it to the west coast yet, I’m attempting a clone of the infamous Mad Elf. It has Tröegenator (doppelbock) as it’s base, using belgian ale yeast instead of lager, and with cherries in the secondary. Source material:

I do not mean to suggest that I can best the great minds at Tröegs, rather I mean to pay homage to an incredible brew by attempting to come anywhere close in my first full-boil all-grain 5 gallon batch. And we begin ..

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP530
Yeast Starter: Cake from Batch 11
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.071
Final Gravity: 1.012
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): at least 14 @ 68-70*
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 days

13# pilsner
2# munich
0.25# chocolate
2# Clover Honey (at flameout)

1.50z Tettnang (4.8%, sub for Hallertau) – 90min
0.5oz Saaz (8.1%) – 15 min

1 Whirlfloc (15 min)

2# sweet cherries (secondary)
2# tart cherries (secondary)

1 step mash at 1.3 qt/lb, 2-step batch sparge

started with 5 gallons of strike water at ~167•, that brought the mash to a paltry 145•. It was cold last night so the mash tun (and likely the grain) were colder to start than I’m used to, and I wasn’t as careful to calculate a proper strike temp. So I added 1 gallons of 200* water, and that brought the mash to 148*. I was using my digital TEMPer1, and when I checked with my analog meat thermometer, it read 152*, so I’ll go with that. Mashed from 9:11 to 10:15, then drew the first runnings, added 3 gallons at 170* for the second sparge.

SG: 1.022 at 120* (not great at all)

OG: 1.071 at 70* (still not great)

it boiled down to definitely less than 5 gallons (probably closer to 4).

UPDATE 10/22/12 – began fermenting at 64*, slowly risen to 68* over the past day, with a fermentation evident late in the evening.

UPDATE 11/18/12 – the beer has been fermenting at a pretty steady 68*. racked to secondary onto ~1 gallon of water in which 2.5 lb of cherries (1 lb sweet, 1.5 lb tart) were boiled for 10 minutes. gravity read 1.012.

UPDATE 1/1/13 – tasted a few weeks ago, was quite heavy on the cherry. Tasted last night, and as the cherry was mellowing, it was starting to taste a bit more like the original. Still too sweet and too dark to be a good clone, but tasty none the less.