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Time Machine

Posted 2012/05/12

Homebrew - Tsingtao Clone

Much to the distaste of some of my beer snob friends I like a good lager in the summer. One of my favorite imports in the USA is Tsingtao from China. I picked this beer to try my hand at a mini-mash as a step towards doing an all grain brew in bag beer. I got the recipe from Austin Homebrew who I think do a great job with this kind of thing.

Because I used liquid yeast and I knew I would not be using ideal fermenting temperatures for lager I made a 0.5 gallon starter 4 days before brewing the beer.

Ingredients

  • 0.5lb Crystal 10L Malt
  • 2.5lb German Pilsner Malt
  • 1lb Rice Syrup Solids
  • 3lb Extra Pale Liquid Malt Extract
  • 1lb Extra Light Dry Malt Extract
  • 0.75oz Tettnag Pellet Hops
  • 0.75oz Saaz Pellet Hops
  • White Labs American Pilsner Lager WLP840 Liquid Yeast

Method

  • Heat 2 gallons of tap water in a 5 gallon pot to 160 (strike water).
  • Remove pot from heat and line the pot with a large nylon grain bag.
  • Mash 0.5lb Crystal 10L Malt and 2.5lb German Pilsner Malt for 45 minutes in the nylon bag. Maintain 155 degrees.
  • Before the 45 is up heat 0.5 gallons of water in a second 5 gallon pot to 170 (for mash out).
  • After 45 minutes transfer the grain bag to the 170 water for 5 minutes. Let all of the liquid drain for the bag when removing it.
  • Combine the two pots of wort, add 1 gallon of tap water and bring wort to the boil.
    • Once boiling add 1lb Rice Syrup Solids, 3lb Extra Pale Liquid Malt Extract and 1lb Extra Light Dry Malt Extract.
    • Bring back to the boil.
    • Add 0.5oz Tettnag and 0.75oz Saaz Pellet Hops.
    • Boil for 45 minutes.
    • Add 0.25oz Saaz Pellet Hops.
    • Boil for 5 minutes.
    • Put the wort chiller in the pot.
    • Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Cool to 70 degrees and pour through a strainer into a fermenting bucket.
  • Top off the fermenter to 5 gallons using tap water.
  • Pitch your yeast starter into the fermenter, add the bung and airlock and ferment at 70 degrees for 2 weeks.
  • After 2 weeks rack into a secondary and lager at a temperature controlled 45 degrees for 60 days.
  • On bottling day dissolve 5oz of priming sugar into some boiling water and add it to the bottling bucket for carbonation.
  • Store at 55 degrees in the dark and drink after 21 days.

My plan for brew day was a hybrid of what Austin Homebrew suggested and some things I had read online. Sticking to the instructions is boring! The main deviation was using a second pot to mash out by 'teabagging' the grain bag after the mash. I read about this on a brew in the bag guide I found, since I want to do an all grain brew in bag for my next beer I thought I would play with some of the techniques. The target OG was 1.048 so we overshot a bit with 1.056. I'm guessing we got more sugar because of the mash out. Either that or Austin Homebrew deliberately underestimates what is going to happen to give people some padding.

My friend Eric who is getting into home brewing helped me on brew day and supplied the second boil pot. An extra hand is very useful when wrangling things so I appreciated his help.

After adding the grain I knew that I should use the stove to keep the correct temperature but I was scared of melting the grain bag. I thought we had a circular cooling rack (for cookies etc.) that I could put in the pot to keep the bag of of the bottom but we did not have any small enough. Something to sort out next time. I also had a lot of trouble taking the temperature of the mash out water because there was not a lot in the pot, sticking you hand into a pot of steaming water is no joke.

1 gallon of water is just about enough to cover 3lb of grain in my brew pot, something to remember.

Rather than try and separate the yeast in the starter I pitched the whole thing to get as many yeasties as possible. By the next morning the airlock was bubbling like crazy.

Starter:     08 May 2012
Brew:        12 May 2012, OG 1.056
Rack:        27 May 2012 (15)
Bottle:      05 Aug 2012 (77), FG 1.010, ABV 6.1%
Ready:       27 Aug 2012 (22)
Summary:     Primary 15 days, Secondary 77 days, Condition 22 days

Power Cut

Half way through lagering we had a multi day power cut while I was out of the country. The beer had to fend for itself. Rather than bottle it straight away when we got back I decided to to let it ride out the full time in the fridge.

When I bottled it there was clearly something funky growing on the top. However it did not smell or taste bad so I just racked it into the bottling bucket leaving an inch and a bit on the top. I figured we would just try our luck and hope that all was well. I did not adjust the bottling sugar amount given that I left some liquid behind which meant they might get over carbonated. I basically just said screw it.

Ready

I opened the first one over the sink since I had no idea what would happen. It foamed over pretty good but did not gush like a volcano. I am going to say that they are over-carbonated but given the taste, look and feel are not infected. The color was spot on for Tsingtao and the smell was too. It was a little sweet at the start with a bitter after taste. I think it is very close to the real thing. Given that I thought I had screwed them up I am very happy with the outcome. Since they are obviously well carbonated they are now all in the fridge and ready to go.

Starter

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Brew

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Rack

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Yeast Washing

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Bottle

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Ready

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