Batch 5: Pale Nugget SMaSH

So, this technically isn’t quite a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop), as I’m using both 2-row and crystal 60. However, it is my FIRST ALL GRAIN BATCH! Yes kids, daddy has taken his first step onto the field. After reading a ton on BIAB (brew in a bag, a method of no-sparge all grain brewing), and messing around with a number of online brewing calculators (including’s beer calculus, neat tool!), I decided to try my hand at it. I have a 3.5 gal brew kettle, within which I figure I can safely brew a 2 gallon batch. That will work on many levels, not least of which is the bill at the end of the day. If I mess up a small batch, it’s not as bad, right? I’m going to take this opportunity to experiment with recipes, and try an all-Nugget SMaSH(kinda).

Recipe Type: BIAB
Yeast: White Labs WLP 001 California Ale
Yeast Starter: No
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: N/A
Batch Size (Gallons): 2
Original Gravity: 1.0415 (brewhouse efficiency estimated at ~53%! yikes)
Boiling Time (Minutes): 45 mins

Steep the grain in 1.5 gallons of water at 155F (Strike 165) for 60 Minutes:

3# 8 oz Pale 2-row
8 oz Crystal 60L

This equates to a 1.5 qt/lb mash ratio. I preheated the oven to 150, and placed the mash tun in the oven to maintain temps while mashing. At 30minutes, I stirred the batch, and the temp was just about 151F, so I made sure to preheat the oven again as I was (carefully) stirring. After 1 hour in the pre-heated oven, the wort temp was 149, so I can guesstimate 152 average mash temp.

After initial mash, transfer the bag to 1 gal of water at 176F (given grain volume of 4lbs and temperature of 149, this will equalize to just under 170, good for “Mash Out”) and steep for 15 minutes (somewhat of a cheap batch sparge?). Add the “mash out” gallon to the boil pot, boil for 45 minutes.

Hops Schedule:

0.25 oz Nugget (13.3% – 45 min)
0.25 oz Nugget (13.3% – 10 min)

Primary for 2 weeks.

0.5 oz Nugget (13.3% – dry hop in secondary for half of the batch, 7 days)

I tested the OG of the first mash wort, and it read 1.054. I realize the yield from the 15 minute steep will be much lower than the original yield, and much less efficient than a regular lautering/sparging. Next time I’m going to increase the grain bill to see if I can increase my OG. Also, I want to try a multi-rest schedule.

UPDATE: 6/19/12 fermentation took off, and the krausen fell over the weekend. I decided to rack to the secondary just after 1 week. I racked to a 1-gallon jug, on top of 0.25 oz Nugget hops, and to another 0.5 gallon jug on top of 0.25 oz Zythos hops (Zythos at the suggestion of Jason from Black Dragon). I tried to ghetto-rig a bottling siphon from my racking cane/siphon and my bottling hose, but it led to aeration in the line and a few lost siphons. I am not sure how bad it is, but there’s potential for both aeration and infection here. I recovered enough wort after racking to those two containers that I was able to put un-dry-hopped, fermented ale into (2) 12-oz bottles. I poured the ale into the bottling bucket, didn’t bother to boil the sugar and just added it (1.5 tsp, the best I could figure from a variety of sources to add to what was really 30 oz of ale), swirled it all around, and bottled. On top of infection and aeration, I seriously have opened myself to either undercarb or bottle bomb scenarios here. I hope the beer gods have taken this blatant disregard for procedure in good light, and that they do not smite me. I washed 2/3 of the yeast, so let’s hope it wasn’t infected!! The other 1/3 I reserved in the carboy as a starter for the batch that was brewing as I conducted this racking/bottling crime spree: a 2-row/crystal-60/Zythos ale, same volume but 1.5 Xs the grain bill. See the next post for details!

UPDATE 6/29/12: FG after 9 days in the secondary : 1.012. 3 tbsp (1.5 oz) priming sugar btwn 1.5 gal brew, boiled in 2c water for 10 minutes then split accordingly between the 1gal (nugget dry hop) and 0.5 gal (zythos dry hop) secondaries when bottling. Impressions: tasty both ways. Nugget dry hop was definitely malty, but pleasant. The nugget dry-hopped ale was bitter and a bit of earthy flavor was present. Might dry-hop much more if I dry hop with nugget again. Zythos really balanced the malty ale flavor, very nice aroma with some ?citrus? and floral notes, difference from nugget might be due to dbl hop quantity by volume compared to nugget (0.25oz nugget / 1 gal wort, compared to 0.25oz zythos / 0.5 gal wort). Definitely trying Zythos dry hop again, and definitely looking forward to all-Zythos beer. Next time I do this, I might try significantly less crystal 60, or maybe some 40 or 20L instead.

UPDATE 7/3/12: after 2 weeks of bottle conditioning, I tried one of the two nugget brews that I bottled straight from the primary (so, no dry hop). It’s pretty damned tasty. Through a little bit of congestion (from a lingering cold), I can taste a crisp, session-like ale, balanced in bitterness and malt, with some noticeable, yet subtle earth and spice (characteristic of Nugget). The beer tasted a bit thin at first, which could be due to a number of things, but overall I think it’s a pleasant brew, and the wife (who is notably not a bitter-lover) enjoyed it 🙂 When the throat fully clears, I’ll try the other bottle, but this is getting my hopes up for the nugget dry-hops! ALSO : no signs of infection so far!! Horraaaay washed yeast! Also, also: no bottle bombs. The carb isn’t great in the bottle, but this is preferable to both no carb and bottle bombs. Horraaaay no bottle bombs.