Sunday, March 30, 2008

IPA #1 2008

I was going to brew an IPA today, and after a nice Sunday brunch, walked into the house and cranked up the stove. The water was already in the mash tun and ready to go. The second thing I did was check out the Wyeast 1056 starter I made on Thursday. It was sitting on top of the fridge in a 1 gallon Carlo Rossi jug. Luckily, I noticed the unhealthy looking slimy film on top of the wort. (This was the same jug I made the starter for the Berlinner Weisse in so even though I thought I had cleaned and sanitized it really well, I guess I wasn't quite thorough enough.)

"Shit," I thought, "no brewing for me today."

But then I called in a favor. Ray had a mason jar of Cali yeast in his fridge from the last IPA he brewed. He was spending the afternoon in his backyard doing his first full-wort boil on his new propane stove.

I mashed in, stuck my brewpot in my pre-warmed oven to keep it warm, and hopped on my bike to buzz on down to Ray's. He hooked me up with the yeast, which was sanitary and fresh, but had a ton of hop junk in it. Ray is still brewing partial mash , so he just dumps everything into the primary including the hops. So when it came time to pitch the yeast for this batch, it was really just guesswork as to how much I pitched. I ended up going with a 1 1/2 cup slurry, hops and all. This seems to have been the right amount, as there was an occasional bubble four hours after pitching, and it was chugging along well by 7:00 a.m. on Monday.

This recipe uses Golden Promise malt, because that's what I got from the Sixpoint brewery last time I was down there, but I suspect any British pale malt would do just fine. I also got about 6 ounces of Centennial, my favorite American hop. Before anyone cries bloody murder for me not supporting my local NYC homebrew store, THERE ISN'T ONE! The bittering hop, Millenium, is a high-alpha American bittering hop which I won a bunch of at a homebrew comp. It's pretty decent for delivering a ton of AAU's if that's what you are looking for.

Here we go:
American IPA: 6 gallons post boil, all grain.
O.G. 1.062 F.G. 1.016 IBU's 68

11.5 lb. Golden Promise malt
1 lb. crystal 35
.5 lb. DME (to make up for my low efficiency)

19 gr. Millenium pellets 16.3% AA 60 min
28 gr. Centennial pellets, 9.5% AA at 15, 10, 5 and 0 minutes (4 ounces total)

Mash in 3.75 gallons to 151 (a little high, so I added some ice cubes to take it down to 149.)
Rest 60 minutes at 149, then add bottom to reach 170 over 15 minutes.
Sparge: 4.8 gallons at 170
Collect 6.5 gallons at 1.053 = 75% efficiency (This is really low for me. It may be something to do with the Golden Promise, as the only other batch I did with it was also 75%)

Added .5 lb. DME and 1 qt. water to reach my target pre-boil numbers
Boil 60 minutes, hop additions as noted
1 Whirlfloc tab at 15 min
1/2 tsp. Wyeast nutrient at 10 min

Chilled to 62, whirlpooled, and collected 5+ gallons at 1.062
Aerated for 30 minutes with my normal setup: aquarium pump and diffusion stone
Pitched 1 1/2 cups of hoppy slurry when the beer was at 66.

I fermented this beer in the mid-low sixties for 8 days. I didn't have a fermometer on the carboy so I had to guess, a bit. I tried to err on the low side of the optimal fermentation temp, as it's better to ferment a few degrees too cool than a few degrees too hot. It must have been low because it still had a rich thick krausen after 7 days. I removed it from the water bath to warm up to room temp, and the krausen fell within a day or 2.

One problem I notice with this beer is that after fermentation it really is still very murky looking in the fermentor. I noticed this on the last IPA I brewed, and I've never noticed this until I switched from Marris Otter to Golden Promise. When I think of this in relation to the much lower yield I got from this grain, I think it may not have been fully converted in the mash. Last time though, I just kegged the IPA and it came out very clear after a few weeks of conditioning. I may need to extend the mash time to alleviate this. The other thing that makes me think that it is a conversion problem is that I used Golden Promise as the base for the Kentucky sour too,which was mashed for 15 minutes longer than this beer, and had a slightly better efficiency, even though I used rye.

5/13/08 I kegged this beer about 3 weeks ago, and it's pretty good, but the residual sweetness detracts from the hop flavor and aroma. I need to dry this out more. Reduce crystal by half and possibly a slightly longer mash time.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Current State of Things

This photo shows the Berliner Weisse in the left two carboys, then the apricotty Belgian in front, and the regular Belgian in back. The canning jar is a starter of brett brux that is taking it's sweet-ass time to ferment.

Last night I got together with 3 of my homebrewer friends to sample some commercial beers: Worth mentioning were Deschutes "Abyss" imperial stout, bourbon barrel aged of course. Also 2 De Struise beers: I didn't know too much about these guys until I listened to last week's Sunday show on, which featured the De Struise brewers. It's a great podcast; I'd highly recommend listening to it.

According to Beer Advocate users, De Struise Pannepot is the best beer in the world. Although I certainly don't believe in the concept of a single "best beer", it certainly says a lot that these guys bumped out Westvleteren 12, which is nearly impossible to get your hands on outside of the monastery itself. Pannepot was a delicious beer, and so was their Witte: extremely attenuated, delicately fruity, and slightly sour. (4/2/08 Edit: that was according to the show, but I looked on BA and Westy 12 is still at #1. Pannepot is #25.)

Right now here's what's going down:
  • IPA
  • Dortmunder that's just now starting to taste really good (currently serving as a hair of the dog while I write this)
  • JZ's Munich Dunkel Lagering in keg
  • Also: Doppebock at room temp, hopefully attenuating a bit more as it is a bit too sweet...

  • 2 carboys of Belgian Beer, waiting for some brett to go in this week
  • 2 carboys of Berliner Weisse, 6 days old. Fermented at 68, now I'm letting it raise to room temp to speed the souring/aging process a bit.

Today I ground the grains for another American IPA I will brew tomorrow, using almost exclusively Centennial hops, and a lot of them. Then next week I'm planning on the "Deliverance Kentucky Common", a sour American pseudo-historical beer, but really just my own invention. Then hopefully a porter on the same yeast as the IPA.

Clarissa and I will then be in Costa Rica for a week, so if I can get all that done in the next few weekends, I'll be pretty happy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Berliner Weisse: 10 gallon recipe

(Somebody needs to tell the Nazis to stop inbreeding for a while.)

It's a nice spring day here in NY and the birds are chirping. Pretty soon it will be hot out: Time to start thinking about summer beers! With the new Wyeast Berliner weisse seasonal strain out, this brew was a no-brainer.

The recipe is largely based off Jamil's Berliner weisse recipe. But at 1.032 OG, it is possible to brew 10 gallons all-grain on a 6 gallon system. So that's what I did. The only snafu was as usual, I didn't check my grain supply thoroughly enough beforehand, and didn't have quite enough wheat. So this recipe is about 30% wheat.

Recipe is for 10 gallons in the fermentor, all grain, with a 6.75 gallon boil, diluted after cooling
OG 1.032 F.G. 1.005 IBU's 4.5

8.75 Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner malt
4.25 lb. wheat malt
.5 lb. rice hulls

50 gr. Hallertauer pellets, 4.6%AA at 15 minutes

Mash: 4 gallons of water + .5 ml lactic acid to 161
Mash in to 149, hold for 75 minutes.
Add heat and mash out to 168 over 15 minutes.
Total mash time 90 minutes.

Sparge with 5.75 gallons + .25 ml lactic acid at 172
Collect 6.75 gallons at 1.055 = 75% efficiency

Boil time = 15 minutes
Hops and 1 whirlfoc tab at 15
3/4 tsp wyeast nutrient at 10 min

Chilled to 68, whirlpooled, and collected 6 gallons (3 per carboy) at 1.057
Diluted to 1.032 with 2 gallons of water per carboy.
Aerated and pitched yeast at 66 degrees
Will ferment at 68 degrees.

Pitched a 2 qt. starter of Wyeast 3191, made 2 days beforehand and shaken periodically.

Fermented at 68 degrees for 6 days, then I let it warm to room temp (72).
I kegged 1 batch after about 2 weeks in the primary. I secondaried the other batch with the intention of bottling it.

5/8/08 The keg and the batch in secondary are both hanging out at room temp, which is about 77 degrees right now. Sampled a taste from the secondary. Quite nice but still lacking in lactic sourness. I hop it gets more sour or I'm gonna be pissed at Wyeast!

5/26/08 Bottled the other 5 gallons with 6.5 oz of priming sugar. It is starting to taste nice, and actually fairly bretty.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

American Porter with 100% homegrown hops

This beer was originally brewed on 12/1/07. It took 1st place in porters at Homebrew Alley 2.

The basic idea was to brew a nice, drinkable porter with a bigger than average American hop profile. I used some homegrown Chinook hops for bittering, which were generously sent to me by my friend "Chillindamos", a homebrewer from California. The finishing hops were Cascade and Kent Goldings, which I planted when I lived in Ohio. My mom continues to tend them for me, dry them in a food dehydrator, and send them to me every autumn (Thanks mom!).

The beers I turned to for inspiration while formulating the recipe were Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter, Avery New World Porter, and Jamil's robust porter.

Damn, I wish so much that I had a bottle of this to drink right now to make notes as to the flavor. I just sent the last 2 off to the AHA club-only competition for porters. But that left me high and dry. I am going to brew this again with smaller flavor and aroma hop additions.

Recipe is for 5.7 gallons,post boil, all grain.
O.G 1.064 F.G. 1.019 IBU's about 50+ ABV 5.9%

9.5 lb. Glenn Eagle Marris Otter malt
.5 lb. Chocolate malt
.5 lb. Munich malt
.5 lb. Breiss special roast malt
.5 lb. Crystal 40
.5 lb. black patent malt
.25 lb. Special B malt

34 gr. Chinook, homegrown, guestimated at 10% AA, 60 min
28 gr. Cascade/Kent Goldings mix (75/25%) guestimated at 5% AA, 15 min
28 gr. Cascade/Kent Goldings mix " ", 0 min

Mash in 3.75 gallons water to 151, hold for 1 hour
Raise heat to 170 over 20 min
Sparge w/ 4.8 gallons at 170
Collect 6.5+ gallons at 1.056 = 81% efficiency

Boil 60 min, hop additions as noted.
Irish moss at 15 min
1/2 tsp. Wyeast nutrient at 10 min
Chilled to 68 and strained
Aerated for 30 min. with air pump and stone
Pitched a 1 qt. starter made from an activator pack of Wyeast 1056
Fermented at 68 for 1 week, secondary for 3 weeks.
Racked to keg and bottled from keg.

4/11/08: I got my scoresheets back today from the perfect porter competition. The scores were good, averaging 38.3 I got good feedback but not much critique. One judge said it needed some more malty complexity, while another judge said it needed better head.