Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Canning Wort for Starters

So I did a previous post about saving wort to use for starters and discovered a few important things.

First and foremost, it isn't truly safe to do so without pressure canning (15psi for ~20mins). Second that it's actually a fairly common thing for people that are into canning and beer brewing to do, which is awesome! I had no idea. So I learned a lot from my first post, although several people did reach out to let me know how stupid I was for even considering doing it the way I originally proposed.

I do appreciate the feedback I got on it though, because of all the vitriol thrown my way, two people actually had legitimate insight and helped me see the best way to do it.

I'll be taking mason jars, filling with wort runnings of 1.040ish (1.035-1.040 is good) and pressure canning them. This has two benefits. First of course is to make it safe for use later, no worries about spores surviving and whatnot. The second is it'll make them last quite a bit longer.

What I plan to do as a result of learning the correct way to go about this:
  • 20lbs 2row
  • Mash @ 152 for 1hr.
  • Fill 16oz mason jars with first runnings until I'm out of jars.
  • Add specialty/other grains to make an APA.
  • Mash @ 152 for another hour.
  • Continue on as normal for an APA.
Why first runnings, you ask? Simple. It allows me to use 16oz jars. I can simply dilute down to the proper starter gravity with water, so rather than having to store larger jars I store many smaller jars. Because these are being pressure canned, there is no need to tie up refrigerator space with them, which means storage is a non-issue.

If you wanted to do it with second runnings you could simply do the mash normally and use larger jars (or more smaller jars). But then you're going to end up wasting some of the tastiness from specialty grains in the original mash anyway. This was a big part of my decision, along with already having 16oz jars.

The APA choice is simply because I'd like to brew that style. I may change my mind, but ultimately it doesn't matter. Any style will work. I am choosing only to mash a base malt for the starter wort canning, because nothing else is needed for that simple purpose and it'd be a waste of other ingredients to do it any other way.

This is basically a partigyle brew, except that the first runnings go towards making many more batches down the road rather than one strong and one not so strong batch from the same grist. Works for me.

All that said, this is gonna have to wait a while before I can actually see it through. It will extend my brew day a couple hours (including doing the canning, the extra cleanup, etc) and I don't see being able to do this on a day when my daughter is home. Going to have to be a day when I've got the house to myself. I'll have to just be opportunistic about this particular brew, but I think I can probably pull this off in a month or two.