Brew Day with Waganupa

I recently had the pleasure of tagging along for a brew day at Waganupa Brewing in Chester, California.

Founder/Owner/Brewmaster Alex had an interesting brew planned, with a three barrel batch being split into seven different beers: his NorCal Common, a Strawberry Common, and five versions of an experimental kettle sour using yogurt.

All three barrels were brewed without boiling. The only hops were added at the start of the 1.5 hour long mash. I’d never heard of this technique before, but Alex has done it before with success. He says it hearkens back to when brewers couldn’t boil their beer, and the boil isn’t really needed if you aren’t looking for much bitterness from your hops.

DMS is driven off when boiling beer, and could be a concern, but apparently DMS is only produced at temperatures above 160°. The mash was kept below 160° to avoid DMS production.

Once the mash was complete and the wort had been transferred, the spent grains were scooped out and hauled off by a local cattle rancher for feed.

The wort was split evenly between two fermenters and a one barrel kettle. Lager yeast was pitched into each of the two fermenters. The kettle was left to cool down to 110° before pitching the yogurt. The pH of this third batch will then be monitored until it reaches 3.6. At that point it will be boiled, chilled, split among five fermenters with an ale yeast to finish fermentation. All of these batches will have a different fruit added. Assuming I wasn’t too big of a distraction for a successful brew, these should make for some really interesting special Wednesday releases this winter in the Chico taproom.

Waganupa utilizes open fermentation with a large sheet of cheese cloth to keep insects out.

Waganupa’s 1325 IPA was one of the many brews we sampled during the brew day. It’s a 6.4% ABV beer with lots of citrusy hop flavor.

Big thanks to Alex for letting me tag along on his brew day! I can’t wait to try the results!

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