Making Graf

A few weeks ago was my first attempt at making Graf. I’ve just been too lazy to sit down and write a post about it. Today I realized it’s been two weeks and I need to transfer this stuff to the keg. Graf is not necessarily classified as a style of beer. It’s more like a hard cider that has become popular with the homebrewing community ever since a recipe was posted by Brandon O. The name “Graf” derives from a Stephen King novel, “The Gunslinger”, which is book one of “The Dark Tower” series. Brandon’s recipe is pretty straight forward. You make a gallon of wort and add it to four gallons of apple cider or juice and ferment it with beer yeast. I’m not going to post Brandon’s recipe word for word because you can find it all over the internet, but here’s a link to where it all started.

I decided to follow his instructions step by step and I plan to transfer directly from the primary fermentor to the keg after a two-week fermentation. I used White House apple juice as my base; 6 ounces of caramel 60L with 1 ounce of torrified wheat for my steeping grains; 1 pound of light and 1 pound of amber dry malt extract; 0.5 ounces of crystal hops for the bittering. I also decided to use 2 packs of Safale US-05 dry yeast versus my normal single pack.

Fermentation was pretty steady for a solid week, then it slowed down significantly. I really wanted to put this in a secondary fermentor, but I also wanted to brew it exactly to Brandon O’s specs. The graf is currently sitting under CO2 at 25 psi for the next 48 hours. After that time, I’m going to take the pressure back down to around 7 psi and give it a few weeks to age in the keg (and you can bet I’ll be sampling in the meantime). I took a reading on the hydrometer and the final gravity was the lowest I’ve ever seen at 1.002! With an original gravity or 1.054, it finished up with a 6.8% ABV. After the reading, my wife Meg and I took a tasting and it was pretty tasty at room temperature without any carbonation; a little tart, but that was expected. We’ll see how it is after it’s aged for a bit.

How you ever made Graf? I’m curious as to how it’s been modified by the huge community that shows an interest. This recipe is fun and quick and leaves a lot of open doors for creativity and modification. I also want to thank Brandon O for the great recipe! Cheers.

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