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Mosaic Nirvana

Mosaic Nirvana

My last brew, Rye Cooter Pale Ale, was a great success; spicy with a great nose and excellent flavor. I’ve been wanting to make it again, but with Nelson Sauvin hops getting harder to find, I decided to go with another varietal.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Mosaic hops, and I managed to locate a supplier that had dried whole cone hops from the 2015 harvest, so I ordered two pounds. The hops arrived promptly, smelled great and was quickly placed into my freezer until brew day.

I was going to be making quite a few changes to my brew setup with this session. First, I had purchased a brand-new keg to use as my fermentor, along with a sanke fermentor kit. I also bought a kegerator to use as my fermentation chamber, since lifting the keg with 10+ gallons of wort into my chest freezer / fermentation chamber was not going to happen.

Next I ordered two Brew Bags to use in my insulated bottom-drain mash tun, since my last couple of brew days were complicated by problems with my current false bottom. More on this later.

I also finally decided to take the leap into kegging, so I picked up two new cornelius kegs, a 10 lb co2 tank, and the assorted tubing and connections required. My plan is to convert my chest freezer into a keezer.

Come brew day, I put 15 gallons of tap water into my HLT. This is the first time I’ve used tap water, having used RO water from my local WalMart in all of my previous brews. I figured that since my tap water is very “hard” anyway, I won’t need to add any “conditioning” minerals that help give an IPA its taste. I did add potassium metabisulfite to remove any chlorine/chloramines, and 5.2 stabilizer to help buffer the ph.

Here’s the grain / hops / miscellaneous bill for my 10 gallon batch:

 1.50 tbsp Potassium Metabisulfite powder (Added to HLT)
 2.00 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer (Added to HLT)
20 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
 8.0 oz Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)
 1 lb Honey Malt (25.0 SRM)
 3 lbs Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)
 6 lbs Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM)
 1.0 oz Mosaic [11.8%] – (Boil 60 min)
 0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10 min)
 2 Yeast Energizer (Boil 10 min)
 2lb 12oz (1 Qt) Pahrump Honey Co. Raw Wildflower Honey (Flameout)
8.00 oz Mosaic [11.8%] – Steep 45 min
 2 vials San Diego Super Yeast (White Labs #WLP090 for Starter)

I milled my grains with my Monster Mill, and mixed the milled grains thoroughly with the rice hulls to help keep the sticky flaked rye from causing a stuck sparge.

I placed my Brew Bag into my Mash Tun, put about 10 gallons of 160° water from my HLT into my Mash Tun, and fired up the RIMS, pre-heating the Mash Tun. I then added the grain bill, stirred thoroughly, and set my RIMS to recirculate the wort at 148° for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I set the RIMS to 152° and continued to recirculate for another 30 minutes.

I tested the wort for full conversion with some tincture of iodine, and satisfied that the grain was fully converted, I bumped the temp on the RIMS to 168°, transferred about 7 gallons of the sweet wort to my boil keggle, and started the boil. I then added another 7 gallons of 169° water from my HLT to the Mash Tun, gave it a good stir, and recirculated for another 15 minutes. At the end of recirculation, I collected another 6.5 gallons of wort to the boil keggle for a total of about 13.5 gallons. The pre-boil SG was about 1.047, a little low, but acceptable.

I finally added another 2 gallons of water from my HLT to the Mash Tun, stirred, and drew out about 2.5 liters of wort at about 1.040 into a 5 liter erlenmeyer flask, boiled the wort for about 10 minutes, cooled it to 68° in an ice bath, added two packs of San Diego Super Yeast, inserted a sanitized stir bar, covered the top with sanitized aluminum foil, and placed it on my home-made stir plate.

I was going for a 90 minute boil. Once the boil got started, I set my timer for 30 minutes, and at the end of 30 minutes added 1 oz. of whole cone Mosaic for the bittering. With 10 minutes left to the boil, I added the Irish Moss and Yeast energizer. At flameout I added the 2lbs 12oz of honey and stirred vigorously. After 10 minutes, I added 8oz of whole cone Mosaic hops, stirred, and let the wort sit for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the 45 minute hop-bursting was completed, I transferred the wort directly into the stainless steel keg fermentor, capped it with a 4inch gauze pad soaked in starsan, and allowed the wort to cool naturally, using the “no-chill” method originated in Australia. Taking the temperature of the keg using an infra-red thermometer, I moved the keg to the fermentation chamber when the temp was about 80° for final cooling to pitching temperature. Once the temperature was at pitching temperature, I oxygenated the wort, and pitched the yeast. Twelve hours later the wort was happily fermenting.

Well, today I decided to get a SG reading using my eDrometer, so I used a disposable pipette to transfer enough fermented wort for a reading. I santized the pipette inside and out and transferred some fermented wort into a small glass. Just as I was finishing up, I managed to drop the pipette into the fermentor!! Well, nothing left to do but start cold crashing and hope for the best.

BYW, the FG was 1.018, for an ABV of about 5.6%

Transferred the finished beer into two cornelius kegs using CO2 to push the beer into a the purged kegs. Moved the kegs to my chest freezer, set the temp to 39° and attached the CO2 lines. Set the pressure to about 16 PSI, and waited for the beer to carbonate.

Gave the beer a couple of weeks to carbonate and condition. Attached the liquid out lines and poured my first sample. Delicious!!

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