Grampus: the final piece of the double-mash puzzle

You know Our Finest Regards & Barbapapa, but do you recall the most wonderful double mash of all?  Of course you don’t – we hadn’t brewed it until now!

Well here it is, the final piece in our series of massively malty double-mash beers: GRAMPUS.  But before we tell you about our latest offering, allow us to refresh your memory about our “double mash” technique.  Historically there are other processes called “double mash”.  The one you see the most of is the type of mash used to make adjunct lagers: literally two partial mashes that are combined later to create one mash. That one is all because those adjunct grains need a little more attention than barley.  We’ve also read other breweries referring to a “triple mash”, meaning three sequential batches of wort going into one fermentation tank: that’s three brews, not a triple mash in our lingo.  Our double-mash technique is much more special than those.  If you bore easily then feel free skipping over the following paragraph…

OUR DOUBLE-MASH TECHNIQUE

First off, we mash in a full charge of the mash tun (in our case that means 4,000 pounds).  We need to take advantage of our full brewhouse capacity in order to reap the rewards of the double-mash.  Just as we normally would, wort is run off from the lauter tun to the mash kettle to the tune of fifty barrels.  Now this is where our technique gets weird.  We then mash another 4,000 pounds of malt into the mash kettle that still contains the fifty barrels of wort.  Basically we’re using wort as we would water in a second mash.  Considering that the wort is already very dense (18 plato to those of you who understand what that means), this is a difficult second mash in.  We’ve considered the possibility of a 4,000 pound dough ball, but it has yet to happen. Leave it with us though. Anyway, at the end of the second mash we have a very dense wort indeed (up near 40 plato in the past). The most incredible aspect of our double mash can’t be found in the numbers however – its tasted in the flavour.

GRAMPUS is the latest and potentially final beer we brew in this series of double mashes.  So far we have Our Finest Regards, a dark exceptionally malty Barley Wine.  Then we added Barbapapa, our Russian Stout. Another big dark malty beer.  So what’s missing? A pale hoppy double mash.  That’s our GRAMPUS!

GRAMPUS is 8,000 pounds of North American pale malt, pale German malts, and a wee bit of oats, rye and wheat.  All pale malts basically. But don’t go searching for those components.  In the brewer’s art the resulting maltiness should be greater than the sum of its parts. That’s what we strive for at Pretty Things anyway.  The visual result is a shockingly glowing orange beer with a tan or off-white head.  The flavour however cannot be described without talking for a second about hops.

GRAMPUS was hopped fairly liberally.  Frankly it needed to be quite hoppy to pull off its pale character and endemic sweetness.  Lots of Fuggle hops in the boil along with Bravo, then another big charge of hops near the end of fermentation containing El Dorado and Bravo.  To get as much as we could from these hops we made a sort of thick hop tea at high temperature and blasted it through the bottom of the tank of fermenting beer.

We used three yeast strains to get this down from its starting gravity near 30 Plato, but none of them are particularly important or noticeable in the flavor of the beer (as is true with our previous two double-mash beers).

The result as we taste it is quite like a strong glass of clementine juice with a bit of a 19th century strong ale personality lingering in the shadows, with a formidable yet forgivable sweetness lacing it all together. Perhaps that was a run-on sentence but if so that’s only because this is a run-on beer.  The citrus, berries and tropical fruit from the hops are almost like candied fruit or a purer fruit flavor than you normally get from hops. But those are hops!

Once again thank you for reading and drinking, equally noble pursuits. We hope you’ll enjoy our Grampus!