Butterfinger Beer

Michael Kraemer and I brewed Tyrannicide American Stout this past Saturday night while we drank a few Iowa IPA’s and some Revenge Amber Ale. This is a two-gallon batch I placed in my Mr. Beer fermenter. Here’s some things that went a little different than usual with this batch.

  • I mashed and sparged on the stovetop. One would think it would be easier to hold that 150-155 temperature for an hour on the stovetop versus a plastic cooler, but it is MUCH more difficult. My mash tun keeps temperature really well. The metal pot does NOT! Even on a burner, the temperature kept dropping below 150 and I had to continuously turn the burner back on, then I overshot 155 and had to remove it from the burner. This happened 3 times.
  • I did a batch sparge instead of a continuous sparge. With continuous or “fly sparging”, I use my sparge arm as a slow sprinkler to slowly sprinkle hot water over the mash as I drain it at the same rate. With batch sparging, I just simply poured hot water over the grain from a pot. This was weird because there was more mash water than sparge water since it was such a small batch. This was far faster than fly sparging.
  • The large amount of malt I had didn’t fit in my strainer. So, we put all the malt into two of those cloth hops sacks and set it on top of the strainer, sitting on top of the pot. That worked really well with only a few spills. I recirculated the wort through the grain 2 times. Then, I sparged with a about a gallon of hot water by pouring iot over the grain bags. Kind of like making coffee. Anyhoo… It worked! I got a 1.068 OG. That’s about mid-range for a stout, high for a normal beer. There is plenty of fermentable sugar in this batch. And, it’s dark as tar! So the mashing and sparging on the stovetop really worked well. And it was pretty fun!
  • Here’s the real kicker: I spilled about 3/4 of the re-hydrated yeast on the counter before I pitched. So I ended up only pitching about 1/8 cup. I have no idea if this will work or not. I suspect, yes, because the batch is so much smaller. 11.8grams of yeast is suited for 5 gallons. Still, I hope it’s enough! I’ll take a gravity reading at the one week mark to see how it is doing.

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