A write-up in English to share my experiences on brewing a “Keptinis”. First of all I must give a lot of credits to Lars Marius Garshol. He wrote this blog on “How to brew Keptinis”. I read it a few weeks ago and since then brewing my own version of this “Lithuanian bread beer” was on my mind.
“It was a deeply impressive beer, and although this was a year ago, I still remember that massive earthy, toasty caramel flavour quite vividly.” – Lars Marius Garshol
My plan was to make a small experimental batch of approx. 4 liter in my smallest brewery setup. It consists of a 4.5l pan to mash and boil and a lautertun to filter in between these steps. Since the mash is baked in this style of beer, I had to find some extra brewing equipment. A few years ago I made a Tandoori oven out of some flower pots. I never measured the oven temperature, but it will probably reach 350-400°C. In a second had store I found 2 saucepans that (once I removed the handles) fit perfectly in the oven.
On the brew day I firedup the oven with wood and brickettes…milled 1.6kg PaleAle malts and added 3 liters of preheated water (approx. 67°C). This resulted in a relatively thick mash at 65°C. My plan was to mash for 60 minutes…however after an hour I tested the mash for starch with iodine and decided to extend the mash time with another 30 minutes. After 90min. the mash still tested possitive for starch. Something I`ve experienced before with a water to grain ratio under 3 l/kg. I took some losses and decided to move on.
At this point I measured 21.2°Brix.
Now it was time to put the mash into the oven. I removed the glowing embers from the oven and lowered 2 saucepan-baking-tins full of mash into the really hot oven. Then I closed the oven with a metal plate. I filled a casserole with the rest of the mash and put this one in a hot air oven at 250°C.
After 30min. I decided to lower the temperature in the hot air oven to 160°C. I thought the mash turned black too fast.
The Tandoori oven went very well, the top mash bread showed a brown crust and it smelled like caramel all over…at least it went very well for one hour or so. Then the temperature dropped way to fast.
Time for plan B: Hot air oven to 250°C and bake for another 30min.. Then I took out the casserole and the saucepan-baking-tins went in, also 30min. at 250°C.
All the baked mash went into the lautertun. To my surprise the top layers were baked/dark brown, but right underneath the mash was stil wet and only slightly coloured. I filled up the lautertun with hot (60°C) water and left it for about 20min. to settle down a filterbed. Then I recirculated for about 10min. and started to sparge with 3.6 liters water (85°C).
At this point I had almost 5liters of 14°Brix.
I know a traditional Keptinis is a raw ale. But I did not want some unexpected bugs to ruin this experiment. Therefor I decided to boil for 30min. and also add the hops at the start of this boil. I aimed for 35IBU with 8grams of Columbus (11% α). Again I know…not a primary choice for a traditional Keptinis, but it`s a good bittering hop and I had a big batch in my freezer.
After boil I cooled down the wort to approx. 25°C, filtered it through a cheescloth and put it in a glass carboy. The yeast I used (also not traditional, but available in my fridge) was the MangroveJacks M29 saison. I really love this yeast it atenuates really good. I`m really curious how much sugars are left for this yeast to eat.
The carboy was filled with 4 liters measuring 15.2°Brix (SG1.062). An estimation of my overall brewhouse efficiency: roughly 50%. That`s quite low, probably due to the low water/grain ratio during mash (1.9 l/kg).
I was a little disappointed about the colour….much lighter then expected. Maybe next time I need to bake longer at 250°C?
After 12 hours the fermentation was already realy good on run. After 24 hours a nice thick layer of krausen had formed.
And now, 7 days later, the primary fermentation is done. Bubbles are slowing down. So I`m going to wait untill the yeast settles down and then bottle it with 7 g sugar/l.
30 aug 2018 update: Still some secondary fermentation activity at 21°C; a lot of yeast floating arround.
To be continued…
Malt: [pale ale]