Brew Day: Avangard Classic American Pilsner (split batch)

First, a new toy that makes brew day in Colorado much nicer:

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That’s a new burner.  What makes it nice is on today’s snowy, windy day, it has a wind shield to keep the flame constrained and from blowing about, solving one of my problems, controlling the boil.  Previously with my unshielded burner, I had to keep the flame too high to compensate for wind, causing either the boil to stop because the wind blew the flame too much or boilovers when the wind dies down.  The shielded flame lets me boil more consistently and at a lower overall level.  We’ll see if it has any effect on my beers.  I’m guessing more malt flavor.

Now to the beer.  A while back the Brew Hut management gave me 10 pounds of Avangard Pilsner malt to test brew.  I decided to incorporate it into a multivariable experiment involving 1) the new burner, 2) the new malt and 3) splitting the batch, fermenting with both American Lager and Urquell yeasts.  A fourth factor, use of Magnum hops for bittering –  I like the idea of clean bitterness.  Of course, the finishing hops are pure Saaz….

Aside from the late start, the brew day went without a hitch.  I got great conversion from my step mash (145/156/170 degrees F).  As mentioned, the boil was uneventful, a great change of pace!  In the end, I had to add a bit of water back to the wort to get to near my target gravity of 1.057 – I got 1.060 after the water addition.  The wort came out beautiful!

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See the break falling out of the pale-blonde wort?  And the refractometer in the foreground – best tool I ever bought for the brew day (aside from my wort chiller, and pH meter, and new burner, and kettle….).

In the end, I’m still waiting for the wort to get down to pitch temperature, the low 50s.  And I’ll have to change the boil rate in my calculation software.  All in all, a pleasant brew.  Looking forward to tasting it!

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