When is one beer actually two beers?
At the Cambridge House Brew Pub of Granby we brew our beer 7 barrels at a time. That’s typically 7 barrels of one style. But sometimes, one brew can actually be two.
So how did we make two beers out of one brew?
First we push our mash tun to its limits, using as much grain as we can fit in it. For those that don’t know, a mash tun, pronounced (mash-ton), is a vessel used in the process of converting the starches found in crushed grains into sugars for fermentation. This is called mashing.
Then we use an ancient brewing technique that enables the brewer to make a “big beer” and a “small beer” from a single mash. To accomplish this, we only collected the first half of the runoff from the mashing process called wort, pronounced (wirt). The first runnings out of the mash tun are strong, but the later runnings get progressively weaker.
The first half is exceptionally high in gravity. High-gravity beers are typically “big beers” with higher alcohol content as a result of the concentration of sugar at the beginning of the brewing process. Instead of running this wort into the brew kettle as is customary, we place it into a fermenter for safe keeping until later.
The second half of the mash produces less concentrated runnings; wort with less fermentables which we send into the brew kettle and boil like we would any regular wort. From there we follow the standard practice of adding of hops during the boil and eventually chilling and transferring the brew into a fermenter with yeast to produce our “small beer,” a sessionable IPA.
But what about those first runnings?
At this point we transfer the wort that was in a holding vessel into the brew kettle and proceeded as usual through the rest of the brewing process to create a “big beer,” a Double IPA.
The results are the Big Dipper Double IPA, boasting 8.3% abv and 90 IBU’s, and the Lil’ Dipper SIPA (session IPA) with nice 4.7% abv and 55 IBU’s. Both are delicious, and on tap now at the Cambridge House Brew Pub of Granby. Cheers!