Earlier this week we talked a bit about the value of smaller brewing to the homebrewer. Today, let's talk a few different techniques to get more variety out of your brew day. Remember the idea is say you don't want to brew 10-15 gallons of the same beer? (or 5 if you're really addicted to lots of flavors) After all, different flavors are wonderful and sometimes you just gotta fill out those taps! These days this is how much of my brew day goes. Virtually every batch has a plan like this attached to it. Makes recording the recipes difficult!
Here's I go about it
- Parti-Gyle: Aka take first runnings and second runnings (maybe even third runnings if you're crazy) and make some new beer!
- Second Mashing: Run a second smaller mash and use that to affect a portion of your first mash runnings.
- Split the boil: Multiple pots, multiple beers
- Add Water: Brew high gravity, chill part of the high gravity beer, add water - instant smaller beer!
- Add things in different whirlpool steps (say - chill one half your beer and then):
- Add sugar, extract, additional runnings, Belgian Candi Syrup to the boil kettle and change the gravity
- Add spices, hops
- Split Yeasts: By far and away the easiest thing to do with such profound impacts
- More sugar: again change your gravity! change your character! Adding something like maple syrup as the primary dies down will help preserve the flavor/aroma.
- Fermenter differences: Ferment in carboys, buckets and kegs - the different fermenters will all yield different results
- Dry Hops: change up your beer's dry hops in the secondary or in the keg. I've had radically different beers from a simple switch of the hops added for dry hopping.
- Fruit: The most obvious thing to do with a wheat beer - add fruit to one portion. I usually do this with a Wit beer or Saison for my SO.
- Other flavor additions: Oak in one portion (or different types of oak soaked in different spirits), teas, herbal, booze, and regular, coffee. The list goes on and on.
- Eis the Beer: Take a portion of the beer and freeze concentrate part of it. Two beers! One mash!
- Add water to the package: Taking a cue from the big brewers and from Mike "Tasty" McDole, add de-oxygenated water to your beer to make a light weight session version.
- Don't forget to blend! Mixing together multiple beers can yield really interesting results. This is how Mike Mraz won the 2012 Mayfaire with his sour beer that was a crazy blend of multiple things!
So what have we missed, amigos?