Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Brew Days - Short and Shoddy



Prior to leaving the U.S. I brewed two batches for our going away party. Given that fact that we were quite busy leading up to our move, I decided to take a page from Brulosophy's book and brew two "Short and Shoddy" batches. This brewing method employs quicker than normal processes to reduce the overall time it takes to brew. Therefore, I squeezed both of these batches in on a weekday to allow for more time to pack, clean, and say goodbye to family and friends on the weekends.

In order to reduce the amount of time it took to brew and ferment these beers, I employed a couple of techniques. First and foremost, I split brew days up by cleaning one evening and brewing the next. Secondly, I reduced the amount of time I mashed and boiled each batch by about half. Finally, I fermented the beers a little bit warmer to encourage a more rapid approach to finishing gravity.

The first batch is a Pale Ale that explores the amazing new concept of CRYO hops. YCH uses a cryogenic separation process to generate two types of products: LupuLN2 and Debittered Leaf. The former provides a concentrated resin laden mass of aromatic hop oils. The latter is a low alpha acid alternative to high alpha acid aroma hops. While attending Homebrew Con 2017 I picked up my complimentary ounce of LupuLN2 Ekuanot, and I decided to pair it with some LupuLN2 Citra. The ultimate goal was to produce a Northeast Pale Ale that was a bit softer and fuller than my last. To do this, I reduced the amount of bittering hops I used and added additional protein rich, flaked adjuncts. And of course to emphasize the delicious and delicate hop oils, I used a healthy quantity of LupuLN2 hops in the whirlpool, during active fermentation, and after fermentation was complete.

CRYO resin.

The second batch is a Pilsner that initially took inspiration from a post on The Mad Fermentationist about New Zealand Pilsner, which emphasizes the hop character garnered from New Zealand hops. I figured this exploration of New Zealand hop character would be both fun and educational. A couple months after I read that post my friend Mat at Wild Mind Artisan Ales was brewing a similar type of beer with Kohatu hops. I asked him what he thought of Kohatu and he spoke wonders of its ability to perform in a clean lager beer. With that I took my base Pilsner recipe I developed earlier this spring and let Kohatu do its thing.

1. CRYO Northeast Pale Ale

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.054
Estimated F.G.: 1.013
Estimated ABV: 5.5%
Estimated IBU: 22
Estimated SRM: 4

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
1.0 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.2 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.5

Malt:
64.7% Brewers 2-Row (Briess)
23.5% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
7.8% Flaked Oats (Briess)
3.9% Rice Hulls (Briess) (used as a filter aid)

Hops:
0.08 oz. / gal finished beer Apollo @ 30 min
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Citra @ 15 min Whirlpool (directly after flameout)
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Ekuanot @ 15 min Whirlpool (directly after flameout)

Dry Hops:
0.30 oz. / gal finished beer Columbus @ 2.5 days after pitching yeast
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Citra @ 2.5 days after pitching yeast
0.20 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Citra @ 2 days, after active fermentation was complete
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Ekuanot @ 2 days, after active fermentation was complete

Yeast:
~100 mL Yeast Slurry White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale in a 1 L Starter - 1 day stirred

Process:
Mash:
0.50 hr @ 152 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:
35 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins
15 min Whirlpool

Cooling:
Cooled to 68 F

Oxygenation:
0.50 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L White Lab WLP007 Dry English Ale Starter
Controlled temperature at 68 F for 3 days
Raised temperature to 70 F for 7 days

Sticky wort.
2. New Zealand Pilsner

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.050
Estimated F.G.: 1.012
Estimated ABV: 5.0%
Estimated IBU: 44
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.4 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.5

Malt:
88.9% Pilsen 2-Row (Briess)
8.9% Goldpils Vienna (Briess)
2.2% Flaked Wheat (Briess)

Hops:
0.16 oz. / gal finished beer Apollo @ 30 min
0.20 oz. / gal finished beer Kohatu @ 10 min
0.20 oz. / gal finished beer Kohatu @ 0 min

Dry Hops:
0.40 oz. / gal finished beer Kohatu @ 2 days, after active fermentation

Yeast:
~100 mL Yeast Slurry Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred

Process:
Mash:
0.50 hr @ 152 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:
35 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to 50 F

Oxygenation:
1.0 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 2 L Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager Starter
Controlled temperature at 50 F for 3 days
Increased temperature 5 F every 12 hours until 70 F
Held at 70 F for 3 days

Why isn't it called 'Queen Sue?'

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Benvenuti a Roma!


We made it! My wife and I put ourselves through a bit of a grueling travel schedule, but we're here. Other than a bit of jet lag, our experience has been fantastic. Great people, delicious food (shout out to Rome Sustainable Food Project), and gorgeous weather. I can't find the words to describe how amazing our stay has been thus far at the American Academy in Rome.

Moving from one country to another while continuing to homebrew is not exactly the easiest thing in the world. I brought one backpack, one carry on suitcase, and one large suitcase with me. I dedicated about half of the carry on bag to brewing. I packed away some of my smaller instruments and PPE such as my pH meter, refractometer, and brewing gloves knowing the bigger stuff wasn't worth the packing space.

As for the remaining equipment, I had to strategize the best way to continue brewing beer without sacrificing quality. The table below summarizes some of the differences I worked out:




I'm reducing my batch size to limit the amount of ingredients (and money) I need to brew each batch. Obtaining reverse osmosis water in a large city without a car seems a bit overwhelming, so I'm placing my bets on being able to work with the water in Rome. This is the thing I am the most concerned about. I'm buying larger quantities of grain to be shipped to me which means I'll have a bit less flexibility in malt choice. Additionally, I'll be hand milling my grain at home. I'll be trying out the Brew in a Bag technique for the first time to limit the number of hot side vessels I'll need. And finally, I'll be fermenting at ambient temperature. To temporarily circumvent the lack of fermentation temperature control, I'll be using mostly Belgian strains.

Five brewing books made their way with me too. Farmhouse Ales, Session Beers, American Sour Beers, Brew Like a Monk, and Wild Brews. After reading this list of books, you probably have some sort of idea of the beers I plan to brew in Rome. My primary focus will be on low-ish alcohol beers of Belgian origin, specifically saisons both of the single and mixed fermentation varieties. As mentioned in an earlier post, I will also be using solely European ingredients in these beers. I'm specifically interested in continuing to explore more of the Noble hop varieties in addition to some of the newer, fruitier German varieties.

For now, I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my equipment. Look for brew day posts in the next month or two!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Brew Days - Mixed Fermentation Saisons


Beers that contain saccharomyces, brettanomyces, pediococcus, and lactobacillus are easily my favorite type of beer to consume. The complexity that can be attained from using yeast and bacteria is truly amazing. Tart, funky, earthy, fruity, rustic, barnyard: these are just a few of the characteristics you can find in this style of beer. The intermingling of these aromas and flavors results in a truly unique, flavorful, and intricate liquid. It is because of this that my desert island beer is most certainly of the mixed fermentation variety ; every time you drink a mixed fermentation beer, you discover something new.

While I am in Rome for just short of a year I figured I have a unique opportunity to age mixed fermentation beer because they take on the order of 6 months to 3 years to fully mature. The primary goal of these beers is to emphasize the expression of the yeast and bacteria in the finished product. In order to do this, I have chosen to follow Michael Tonsmeire's advice from American Sour Beers to pitch both a fresh package of a sour yeast blend along with dregs from commercially available sour beer. This method improves the biodiversity in order to promote complexity. Also, per Mike's recommendation, the sour yeast blend and sour beer dregs were pitched in the primary at the same time as the saccharomyces to give them a head start.

Outside of microbe selection, I designed the beers to be in the ~ 5 to 6 % ABV range. This isn't exactly session strength but it's close. The lower alcohol also helps to reduce the stress on the younger microbes that are joining the party. I designed the grain bills to be somewhat similar to traditional lambic beer in the sense that they are around 65% malted barley and 35% of something that is not barley. This helps to provide varying types of food for the microbes to "chew" on. As for hops, I stuck with a simple bittering addition of around 10 IBU's with a lower alpha acid variety.

Glistening wort.

1. Traditional

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.046
Estimated F.G.: 1.005
Estimated ABV: 5.4%
Estimated IBU: 9
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.6 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
65.1% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
14.0% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
14.0% Malted White Wheat (Briess)
4.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.3% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 60 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg Wyeast Belgian Lambic Blend
Dregs Hill Farmstead Anna

Process:
Mash:
0.75 hrs @ 158 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~75 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched Wyeast Belgian Lambic Blend
Pitched Dregs Hill Farmstead Anna
Fermented at ambient temperature (~70 F)

Post-Primary Fermentation:
0.2 oz / gal finished beer Medium Toast French Oak Cubes (boiled for 5 minutes with water and drained prior to addition)
Pitched Flood Pants Brewing "One" Culture (my first mixed fermentation beer)
Pitched "Star Boy" Culture from Brouwerij-Chugach

Desert island beer.

2. A Little Spelt

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.046
Estimated F.G.: 1.005
Estimated ABV: 5.4%
Estimated IBU: 9
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.6 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.4

Malt:
63.6% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
13.6% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
13.6% Malted Red Wheat (Briess)
4.5% Spelt Malt (BestMalz)
4.5% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 60 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait in a 3 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Melange Sour Blend
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne
Dregs Crooked Stave Vieille Artisanal Saison

Process:
Mash:
0.75 hrs @ 158 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~75 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1.5 L Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait Starter
Pitched The Yeast Bay Melange Sour Blend
Pitched The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Pitched Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne
Pitched Dregs Crooked Stave Vieille Artisanal Saison
Controlling temperature at ambient temperature (~70 F)

Post-Primary Fermentation:
0.2 oz / gal finished beer Medium Toast French Oak Cubes (boiled for 5 minutes with water and drained prior to addition)
Pitched Flood Pants Brewing "One" Culture (my first mixed primary fermentation)
Pitched "Finch" Culture from Brouwerij-Chugach

Double brew day for 'A Little Spelt' and 'Oats.'

3. Oats

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.046
Estimated F.G.: 1.005
Estimated ABV: 5.4%
Estimated IBU: 9
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.6 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.4

Malt:
63.6% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
13.6% Flaked Oats (Briess)
13.6% Malted Red Wheat (Briess)
4.5% Oat Malt (Thomas Fawcett)
4.5% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 60 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait in a 3 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg White Labs Belgian Sour Mix 1
1 pkg Bootleg Biology MTF Funkapolis Mega Blend
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne

Process:
Mash:
0.75 hrs @ 158 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~75 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1.5 L Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait Starter
Pitched White Labs Belgian Sour Mix 1
Pitched Bootleg Biology MTF Funkapolis Mega Blend
Pitched The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Pitched Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne
Controlling temperature at ambient temperature (~70 F)

Post-Primary Fermentation:
0.2 oz / gal finished beer Medium Toast French Oak Cubes (boiled for 5 minutes with water and drained prior to addition)
Pitched Dregs from Mindful Ales "Winds and Turns"
Pitched Flood Pants Brewing "One" Culture (my first mixed primary fermentation)
Pitched Bootleg Biology The Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

Friday, August 18, 2017

Brew Days - Petite Brett Saisons


I've started down the session beer path, and I don't think I'm going back. My favorite way to consume beer is to drink many without feeling fuzzy afterwords. This allows for more smells and sips of that precious liquid we all know as beer. I wanted these Brett Saisons to be in the ~4 to 5% ABV range to make them both session-worthy and to allow for them to finish on the lower end of the gravity spectrum. The lower finishing gravity is to avoid bottle bombs as I plan to package these beers somewhat early for beers brewed with Brettanomyces (~2 to 4 weeks in the fermenter).

Erlenmeyer.
Additionally, I designed these beers such that they will develop and change over time. I chose this concept because I'm moving to Rome, Italy in September. I'm following my wife who obtained an amazing pre-doctoral fellowship called the 'Rome Prize.' The opportunity supports her in writing her dissertation while immersing herself in all that is Rome. I plan to continue homebrewing while overseas, and in particular I'm looking forward to trying some fresh European ingredients like British malt, German hops, and whatever I can find that is unique to Italy.

Burn baby burn.

To get some additional input on this concept, I asked my friends on the Saison, Biere de Garde, and Farmhouse Ale Facebook group for their favorite commercial, low ABV, funky beers. These were some of the responses I got: Allagash Little Brett, Green Bench Saison Vert, Green Bench Les Grisettes, Oxbow Sasuga, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere, 2nd Shift Katy, Crooked Stave Vieille Provision, and Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie-Vous Francais. Using these responses and evaluating my hop inventory, I came up with three beer concepts:

  1. Grisette - Soft, grassy, funky.
  2. Spice and Fruit - An investigation of the intersection between spice and fruit.
  3. Hops - New world, hop-forward.

1. Grisette

Last summer I made a clean, grisette-style beer with The Yeast Bay's Wallonian Farmhouse yeast. The beer was highly carbed, easy on the pallete, and great for the humid months. This year I decided to loosely follow a similar concept, but I decided to funk it up a bit. For the grist I focused on wheat and spelt for a softer grainy character. Classic, noble-type hops are present to emphasize herbal and grassy characteristics. Finally, I pitched Brussels Brettanomyces Blend from the Yeast Bay to milk the funk.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.036
Estimated F.G.: 1.001
Estimated ABV: 4.6%
Estimated IBU: 25
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
1.0 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
45.7% Pilsner Malt (Dingemans)
28.6% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
17.1% Malted Spelt (BestMalz)
5.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.9% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer EKG @ 60 min
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer EKG @ 2 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Brussels Brettanomyces Blend

Process:
Mash:
1.25 hrs @ 148 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~70 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched The Yeast Bay Brussels Brettanomyces Blend Package
Controlling temperature at ~70 F

Dry Hops:
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer EKG@ 5 days (intended this to be shorter, but I got busy)
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Saaz @ 5 days (intended this to be shorter, but I got busy)
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 1 day (added close to packaging for a "fresher" dry hop aroma)

EKG.

2. Spice and Fruit

After attending Homebrew Con 2017 in Minneapolis I returned home with some hops I had never used before: HBC 342 and Loral. I thought it would be fun to test them out in this recipe. To emphasize the "spice" aspect I chose flaked rye and Loral hops. I've always found that flaked rye provides a very strong earthy character to beer so I tried to soften it with flaked wheat. Loral purportedly provides a nice punch of floral and pepper character so I thought it would lend itself to the spicy element of the beer. Nelson, HBC 342, and Claussenii check the "fruity" box. I had a couple one ounce packages of Nelson hanging around so I decided to use them up. Nelson can provide an amazing complex fruitiness that is nearly impossible to replicate using other varieties. To further amplify the fruitiness I pitched White Lab's Brettanomyces Claussenii, one of the fruitier Brett's available to homebrewers.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.036
Estimated F.G.: 1.006 (I'm sure this will be lower)
Estimated ABV: 3.9% (I'm sure this will be higher)
Estimated IBU: 28
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
1.0 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
45.7% Pilsen 2-Row (Briess)
34.4% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
11.4% Flaked Rye (Briess)
5.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.9% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Nugget @ 60 min
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer HBC 342 @ 15 min Whirpool
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Nelson Sauvin @ 15 min Whirlpool

Yeast:
100 mL Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg White Labs Brettanomyces Clausenii

Process:
Mash:
1.25 hrs @ 148 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins
15 min Whirlpool

Cooling:
Cooled to ~70 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched White Labs Brettanomyces Clausenii Package
Controlling temperature at ~70 F

Dry Hops:
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Loral @ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Nelson Sauvin @ 3 days

This photo is your prize for making it this far in the post.

3. Hops

This beer was brewed with my neighbor in mind. We are both moving out of our current apartment in Madison that we've been at for 5 years. He is a lover of hops so I decided to brew this one with him in mind. I've always wanted to brew with Calypso and I chose to emphasize it in this recipe. My neighbor also enjoys Bell's Two Hearted and Lagunitas IPA, so I decided to use some Centennial and Columbus to emphasize the piney and woodsy side of the hop spectrum. The flaked oats are there to help out with the body, and I added some Vienna for complexity.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.037
Estimated F.G.: 1.002
Estimated ABV: 4.5%
Estimated IBU: 28
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
1.0 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
45.7% Pilsen 2-Row (Briess)
22.9% Flaked Oats (Briess)
22.9% Goldpils Vienna (Briess)
5.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.9% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.08 oz. / gal finished beer Nugget @ 60 min
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Calypso @ 15 min Whirpool
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Meridian @ 15 min Whirlpool

Yeast:
100 mL Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Beersel Brettanomyces Blend

Process:
Mash:
1.25 hrs @ 148 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins
15 min Whirlpool

Cooling:
Cooled to ~70 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched The Yeast Bay Beersel Brettanomyces Blend Package
Controlling temperature at ~70 F

Dry Hops:
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Calypso@ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Centennial @ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Columbus@ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Meridian @ 3 days

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Brew Day - American Strong Ale with Coffee

Beautiful brown wort.
Founders Breakfast Stout. Bent Paddle Cold Press Black. Perennial Sump. Some of my favorite beers incorporate coffee. The latter beer on that list is most certainly my favorite of the three. Sump is a big stout that has a sweet, malty base to showcase a single origin light roast from Sump Coffee Roasters. Taking cues from Sump, I decided to build a beer that is brimming with coffee.

I'm lucky enough to have some friends in the craft beer industry and was able to get in contact with the owner/brewmaster at Perennial Artisan Ales. I sent him a draft of my recipe and asked for suggestions on how to improve it. He indicated that I had too much roasted barley (~11 wt%) in the grain bill which can compete with the coffee. Therefore, I dropped the roasted barley altogether and per his suggestion replaced it with some dehusked roasted malt (in this case, Briess Blackprinz). I took this one step further and chose to only use the Blackprinz after the mash was complete during the vorlauf step. This technique is outlined in Gordon Strong's "Brewing Better Beer." The technique is used to obtain the color and flavor of roasted malt while limiting the harsher acidic characteristics (although Blackprinz is designed to not have these in the first place).


Capping off the mash.

As for the rest of the recipe, I designed it to be strong with a smooth mouthfeel and a sweet finish. To achieve this, I intentionally built the beer on a lot of malt and mashed on the higher end of the spectrum for saccharification. The oats are there for increased body and a slick mouthfeel while the crystal malts are there to help round out the coffee with a bit of sweetness.

As for the coffee, I chose Just Coffee Las Diosas. Just Coffee is by far my favorite roaster in town. The description for the coffee sounded like it would blend beautifully with my base beer: earthy, hazelnut, cacao. Per Perennial's suggestion, I chose to add the coffee as whole beans directly to the fermenter for one day. The smell during packaging was heavenly.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.086
Estimated F.G.: 1.028
Estimated ABV: 7.7%
Estimated IBU: 59
Estimated SRM: 71

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
1.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer

Malt:
70.2% Brewers 2-Row (Briess)
10.5% Flaked Oats (Briess)
10.5% Blackprinz (Briess) (Vorlauf only)
3.5% Caramel 40L (Briess)
3.5% Caramel 90L (Briess)
1.8% Rice Hulls (Briess) (used as a filter aide to prevent a stuck mash)

Hops:
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Nugget @ 60 min


You will not regret eating those ice cream sandwiches.

Yeast:
100 mL White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale in a 3 L Starter - 1 day stirred, crashed (used 2/3 of yeast cake for pitching)

Process:
Mash:
0.75 hr @ 156 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:
75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~65 F


Wort sample.

Oxygenation:
1.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 2/3 yeast cake from 3 L White Lab WLP007 Dry English Ale Starter
Controlling temperature at ~65 F

Coffee Addition:
0.80 oz./gal. finished beer Just Coffee Las Diosas Whole Beans @ 1 day

Cat nap.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Tasting Notes - Berliner, Brett Saison, and Pale Ales

Berliner Weissbier:


Date: Monday 07/03/17

Setting: On a porch overlooking a lake in the early evening with a breeze. Bottle got jostled on its way to the destination.

Appearance: Hazy yellow gold. Initial very foamy head that slightly fades with time.

Aroma: Brie cheese. Soft lemon. Yeasty.

Flavor: Shiitake mushroom. Tart lemons. Hibiscus. Wheaties.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy carbonation. The finish is very palate drying.

Overall: I’m not a huge fan of it on its own. My friends love it though. My good friend Jeff paired it with goat cheese and said it was delicious. I personally like it with a shot of Amoretti Blood Orange Craft Puree.


Changes: I may try harvesting lactobacillus from uncrushed grain for a more complex acidity. A fruit addition would be nice if I catch it at a high enough pH the next go around.



Brett Saison:


Date: Saturday 07/01/17

Setting: Relaxing on the couch during a high ABV coffee beer brew day.

Appearance: Hazy yellow gold. Fluffy white foam. Great lacing.

Aroma: Tart passion fruit, unripe peach.

Flavor: Passion fruit at the forefront. Subtle, pleasing lemony tartness. Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy. Moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: Bright. I achieved what I was going for. The tartness is right on and lends the right amount of acidity which when combined with the hops tricks you into thinking I added fruit.

Changes: Nothing I can come up with at the moment.



West Coast Pale Ale:


Date: Monday 07/03/17

Setting: Relaxing on the couch waiting for my petite Brett Saison to finish cooling.

Appearance: Hazy yellow. Light, fluffy head.

Aroma: Catty, naval orange, lemon.

Flavor: Lemon, bitter orange peel, slightly catty. Mildly sweet 2-Row. Subtle caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and very refreshing.

Overall: A thirst quenching hoppy beer. Great for a hot, sunny day.

Changes: I would like more pine to balance out the citrus. Maybe some Chinook? It still is a nice representation of a West Coast beer.




Northeast Pale Ale:


Date: Monday 07/03/17

Setting: On my porch in the sun on a warm day watching the boil of a petite Brett Saison.

Appearance: Slightly hazy yellow. Creamy, fluffy white head.

Aroma: Mosaic through and through. Wonderfully fruity. Lime, blueberry. Used to be a bit danker / pinier when it was younger.

Flavor: Bitterness is high. Wheaty. Soft fruitiness. Slight piney sweatiness underneath that only comes through as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Light and creamy, but finishes very dry.

Overall: Bitterness is too high. Finish is a bit dry. Dankess element is mostly missing. On the other hand, it is supremely drinkable and pleasant. It almost is like an 'American' Extra Pale Ale.

Changes: Up the Columbus. Switch the percentage of flaked wheat with the malted wheat. Reduce bittering by ~10 IBU’s.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Brew Day - Milk Stout

Residual matter after pitching the yeast.

When a beer is destined to be malt-forward and it has a large portion of characterful malts, tasting the wort is a little bit like looking into the future. It can give you an idea of how the malt character will be perceived in the finished product.

I'll start with another one of those crazy 'perfect beer' concepts I have in my head. In order for a milk stout to be enjoyable, I think it should balance lactose sweetness with roasty bitterness. One beer that accomplishes this while maybe leaning a little more on the lactose is Left Hand Milk Stout (Nitro). Another beer that I think accomplished this same balance was a homebrew I had from a fellow homebrewer, Daryl, at a local homebrew competition this past winter. He was kind enough to share his recipe with me and sure enough, our individually designed recipes had a lot of similarities between them.

Lautering.
For base malt, I'm using Brewers 2-Row from Briess. Again, this malt is great for clean, American-style beers. I could have tried to work in a more "characterful" base malt like Maris Otter or Pale Ale malt, but I tend to prefer a cleaner, sweeter finish as opposed to a bready/biscuity character. I'm shooting for a somewhat simple, but more complex roasted malt character by adding three types of roasted malts. I chose Chocolate Malt for notes of dark chocolate, Roasted Barley for notes of fresh roasted coffee, and Midnight Wheat for a smooth roastiness. To help balance out some of the roast and provide additional complexity I added some medium roast caramel malt for notes of caramel and subtle raisin. Finally, I added lactose at 0.2 lb / gal. finished beer to lend an assertive, but not overwhelming, creamy sweetness.

I goofed up when designing this recipe and found out after the fact that Beersmith defaulted lactose to being a fermentable sugar, which it is not. Therefore, my original intent of a 5.5% ABV beer turned out to be a 4.5% ABV beer. I don't mind this, given how much I've been enjoying sessionable beers as of late.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.054
Estimated F.G.: 1.020
Estimated ABV: 4.4%
Great 60's blues album.
Estimated IBU: 31
Estimated SRM: 37

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
1.0 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.2 g CaSO4/gal finished beer

Malt:
72.3% Brewers 2-Row (Briess)
6.4% Caramel Malt 60L (Briess)
6.4% Chocolate (Briess)
3.2% Midnight Wheat (Briess)
3.2% Roasted Barley (Briess)

Adjunct:
8.5% Lactose

Hops:
0.11 oz. / gal finished beer Apollo @ 60 min

Yeast:
50 mL White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)

Process:
The last bottle of homebrewed oatmeal stout.
Mash:
0.75 hr @ 156 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:
75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~65 F

Oxygenation:
1 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L White Lab WLP007 Dry English Ale Starter
Controlling temperature at ~66 F


That tail.