What was this?
At the beginning of August, the True Grist homebrew club was invited to brew a cask for Cask Days in Toronto… Naturally, we said yes! This was the beginning of a collaboration brew between Barncat Artisan Ales, Escarpment Labs and True Grist Homebrew club.
As homebrewers, we are often required to view circumstance as opportunity. The set up at Barncat meant that we would be fermenting our Cask Days contribution without any form of temperature control. Additionally, given the time of the year, the ambient temperatures of Barncat’s space would potentially be quite warm. With all of that in mind, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to experiment with some heat-loving Kveik that we’ve been hearing so much about. Locals Escarpment Labs, who have been at the forefront of experimentation with, and commercialization of Norwegian Farmhouse yeast blends in Canada suggested we brewed a beer that would work well with the flavours that Kveik are known to produce, which include pineapple, tropical, rum, caramel and citrus notes. After some brainstorming on our True Grist forums, we decided that these flavours would play very nicely in a traditional Belgian Dubbel recipe. This was the day that the Hot Pants “Dobbelt” was born…
The Brew Day
Escarpment Labs provided the club with a fresh 40L pitch of Årset Kveik Blend one week prior to our brewday. As we decided we wanted to increase the batch size, and since our beer was of somewhat high gravity (target OG of 1.063), we decided to roughly double the pitch through a single stage starter. Jeff prepared a starter that week, and brought along a 5L flask with a thick and eager cake of Kveik on the bottom to our brew day. The over 27 lbs of malts were milled the day before, and brought to the brewery by Justin. Various members of the group arrived for our 8am start time supplying pieces of equipment to assemble a Frankenstein brewery.
We used Justin’s mash tun situated on top of an old barrel so that we could use gravity to feed the wort into the boil kettle provided by Walter. We did a rough estimate of the acid addition necessary for a mash pH of 5.2, based on the experiences of Cambridge homebrewers. Around 1ml of 88% lactic acid per gallon of strike water was added, followed by the crushed malts. Immediately large dough balls were formed, which necessitated some attention from our mash paddle.
Once we were able to break the doughballs apart, our mash temperature stabilized at the target 152 F, and our pH at 5.1. As we waited for enzymes in the mash to do their thing, it was time for us to sample some delicious homebrew as well as some of Barncat’s fantastic beer. As the mash was completed, we began a vorlauf, and transferred the wort to the boil kettle, where it would receive a first wort hop addition. With our first runnings we estimated conversion efficiency of 86% (following instructions on the informative wiki entry at Braukaiser.com)
We transferred the cooled wort to a sanitized Sanke keg, where we oxygenated it to give the yeast in the Kviek blend all of the necessary components for a vigorous ferment. We pitched the yeast in the fermentor and left it to ferment at the ambient temperature of the Barncat Artisan Ales brewery. As traditional farmhouse yeasts, the blend should thrive in this environment.
We headed out behind the brewery where we had a small BBQ and reflected on the preceding brew day. Overall, it was a very fun event, with a mixture of good home-brewed beer and exciting mishaps. Our cobbled together brewery allowed the participating members a chance to see how we each perform the different stages brewing beer. Of course, we didn’t miss the chance to slip in some comments about Justin’s hot pants!
Once the beer has completed fermentation, we will return to the brewery to transfer it to the cask for Cask Days, as well as keg some of it for a future True Grist meeting.