First BIAB: Alternate Future Strawberry Kolsch

A few weeks ago I tried my hand at a form of All Grain Brewing. It’s a method called Brew In A Bag and it differs from regular All Grain brewing in that

  1. You don’t require as much equipment and therfore as much space
  2. It’s like a “no sparge” method, however I do I mirco sprarge just to help attenuation
  3. You use a giant bag that holds all your grains in the pot. When mashing is complete you simply remove the grain bag (after doing the mini sparge I mentioned above.
There are many other advantages and a few traditional all grain brewers would list some disadvantages. The main reason I’m using the BIAB method is to save space. We have a one bedroom apartment and I wish to keep my marriage happy.
As well as being my first AG BIAB attempt, the was also my first attempt at recipe creation. In a nut shell I wanted to take a fairly clean beer, ferment it with something weird and split the batch in to two fermenters: one with strawberries, one without. The advantage of splitting like this is that I am able to compare the two side by side to see what difference the strawberries make and also if I totally stuff it up, at least only half the beer is ruined.
I choose a Kolsch as the style, only because it is fairly clean without being a larger. I used Jamil Zainasheff’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles but instead of fermenting it with a Kolsch yeast like WLP029 – German Ale/Kolsch or Wyeast 2565 Kolsch, I decided to use a Belgian Golden Ale WLP570. I could pretend I’m super creative and technical for choosing this yeast strain, but the reality is my local home brew store didn’t have much in the way of yeast and this was a spur of the moment decision.

The Recipe

Target Wort Volume Before Boil: 24.00 l Actual Wort Volume Before Boil: 24.00 l
Target Wort Volume After Boil: 21.00 l Actual Wort Volume After Boil: 18.00 l
Target Volume Transferred: 20.00 l Actual Volume Transferred: 18.00 l
Target Volume At Pitching: 20.00 l Actual Volume At Pitching: 20.00 l
Target Volume Of Finished Beer: 19.00 l Actual Volume Of Finished Beer: 19.00 l
Target Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.043 SG Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.047 SG
Target OG: 1.049 SG Actual OG: 1.043 SG
Target FG: 1.012 SG Actual FG: 1.011 SG
Target Apparent Attenuation:: 75.4 % Actual Apparent Attenuation: 73.7 %
Target ABV: 4.9 % Actual ABV: 4.2 %
Target ABW: 3.8 % Actual ABW: 3.3 %
Target IBU (using Tinseth): 18.0 IBU Actual IBU: 18.1 IBU
Target Color (using Morey): 7.4 EBC Actual Color: 6.9 EBC
Target Mash Efficiency: 70.0 % Actual Mash Efficiency: 77.3 %
Target Fermentation Temp: 18 degC Actual Fermentation Temp: 18 degC

Fermentables

Ingredient Amount % MCU When
German Pilsner Malt 4.000 kg 86.0 % 2.5 In Mash/Steeped
German Munich Malt 0.350 kg 7.5 % 1.1 In Mash/Steeped
German Wheat Malt 0.300 kg 6.5 % 0.2 In Mash/Steeped

Hops

Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
German Hallertauer Hersbrucker 4.7 % 30 g 18.0 Loose Pellet Hops 60 Min From End

Other Ingredients

Ingredient Amount When
Strawberry 4500 g In Boil
Irish Moss 15 g 15 minutes before the end of the boil

Yeast: White Labs WLP570-Belgian Golden Ale

As you can see I didn’t exactly hit my targets and I’m fairly sure this is because I was a bit lax with the water to grist rations. As in, I guessed it. Not far off  but still a bit short.

Everything was as you would expect except I added the strawberries in to the wort at the end of the boil. I dropped the temp to 74C as suggested by Sam Calagione in Extreme Brewing. This helps keep a lot of the strawberry aroma and at the same time sterilises the fruit. It also pasteurises the fruit without boiling it, which would set the natural pectine and cast a haze in the finished beer.

The brewery! Pretty small set up because we live in a one bedroom apartmentGrain bag submerged in the wort.
Mash at 67C. I turn the stove off, put the lid on the pot and insulate it with these hot/cold bags I found ($2 each). I lose about 1C over 60 minutes and about 5c over the next 30 minutes. I turn the stove on a bit after an hour just to bump it up.

 

The boil. I think I'd just added the first hop additions.
2kg of strawberries, diced up to extract more flavour

The beer spent about 7 days in primary and then 2 weeks in secondary. For the first few weeks the ferment smelt strongly of sulfar and I was pretty certain I had stuffed it up. However a little bit of research and I discoverd that the strain of yeast I used does stink of sulfar for a little bit but that it naturally dissipates over time.

Steph and I have been drinking both the Regular Future and the Alternate Future for a few weeks and they are getting better and better by the day. Alternate future was a bit tangy at first, almost like fresh strawberries taste, but it’s mellowing out over time.

And the finished product:

Tastes good!

Head of Community at Blackbird Ventures, Festival Director of Sydney Craft Beer Week, ex-artist Manager at Umbrella. Family man, dedicated home brewer. Sydney sider. All 'round rad dude. I blog sometimes but it has never really become a habit, however I'm all over the Internet and you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook (only if you're a mate).

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Head of Community at Blackbird Ventures. Festival Director of Sydney Craft Beer Week. Homebrewer. Family man. Former Artist Manager / Founder at (The Rubens, Cloud Control, Urthboy, Winterbourne and more).

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