Thursday, February 4, 2016

Vanilla Cream Soda Ale

I made nearly the same beer almost 7 years ago to the day and absolutely loved it as something a bit different in my line up.  I'm also a big time sucker for a vanilla creme soda, although I must admit with the commercial examples out there, I absolutely must cut with some soda water otherwise I cant handle the sugar level.  Once its cut with some soda water (~30-40%) you can taste soooo much more vanilla flavor in it.

For this beer I was going to brewing something nearly identical to the last one, with the exception of cutting the lactose in half, but when I went to buy ingredients I learned that my LHBS doesn't actually carry LME. Who knew?  So I changed it up a bit and decided to use more caramel malts and to do a first runnings boil.

I took the first gallon of runnings and put as much heat into it as my burner would allow.  While watching the wort boil, I just wasn't happy with the level of darkening I was getting, luckily the wheels started turning in my head and I realized that lactose is a reducing sugar, lucky for me!  So, I grabbed a bowl, added the lactose and mixed in a bit of wort so it wouldn't clump up when added to the kettle, voila! lots more darkening!!  I ended up letting the first gallon reduce enough that the remaining wort began to bubble and foam up much like I was making caramel. I tried to get a pic or two, but with the cold weather the steam was impossible to see through the steam.

The rest of this beer is fairly mundane. I did use a few more base malts that I normally do, but that was really just to use up the odds and ends of 50 lb sacks that I put into buckets for storage.  I wouldn't recommend doing this otherwise (no real flavor purpose).

I did one other thing before this beer. Lately my efficiency has been terrible, lower than even my first AG batch was.  So I thought I would re-gap my mill.  I hadn't done this in longer than I could remember, but it was obvious from looking at the mill that at least one side was more open than the other.  I ended up taking the gap down to 0.032" which did look a bit more fine than my crush normally (at least recently), the recirc and sparge went fine, a touch slower than normal, but I think that was not getting the mash out temp high enough initially (cold weather).

A Squiffy Virgil
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
1.0NW Pale
3.5Belgian Pils
3.5Belgian Pale
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.25Magnum (7.2%)60
Amt (oz)ItemWhen
0.6gCaSO4 - GypsumMash
1.5gNaCl - SaltMash
TBD Vanilla@ Kegging
Mash Schedule
170F2qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastUS05 - Rehydrated
85% effIBU14
7gal BoilFG1016


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