Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Berliner Weisse die Zweite

Enjoying an 1809 Berliner Weisse on brewday
I brewed a nice Rhubarb Berliner Weisse backin 2010 that came out really nice.  Going to brew another, and will try a sour mash this time around.  This is a total experiment really.  There are a few ways to go about doing it... but I'm planning on doing a full sour mash.  Basically, I'm going to mash the entire grist as usual, then I'll let it cool (or assist it to cool) to 120F or below.  Then I'll throw in a handful of raw grain and let it sit at 110-120F for a day or more.  I'll keep checking the pH and let it go down to maybe like 4.2 or something.     

5# Pils
5# Wheat malt
1 oz Hallertau
Sour mash + 1809 dregs + year old Wyeast Berliner Weisse Blend

6/20 MASH (after Brownie):
Single infusion, 12.5 qts @ 165, doughed in, temp @ 149F
30 minutes in, temp @ 147F
60 minutes in, temp @
After XX minutes, temp is now at 120F.  Added handful of grain and put in garage covered in blankets.

10:30AM - 105F, no lactic aromas yet, nothing visual either.

6/24 pH CHECK:
The sour mash
pH meter is a little funky, but it said 3.1.... then I put it in my water (7.8) and it registered a 7.0... so my guess is that the pH was probably about 4.0 maybe more.  If it was that low it would have tasted like vinegar.  And this actually tasted a little tart, but also nice and sweet.  It was nice.  I collected 6.5 gallons, and boiled for about 20 minutes.  Added .5 oz Hallertau for the boil.  Collected about 6 gallons, and added my old packet of Wyeast Berliner Blend, and the dregs from two bottles of 1809.  If they don't work, then I'll add a fresh packet of Kolsch yeast that I have on hand.

6/25 - As of 8AM, there was no activity, and the temp was about 68.  Pulled my Kolsch yeast and smacked it... pitched Kolsch around 8PM
6/26 - 8AM, very thin layer of foam and bubbles on top... almost thought it was a pellicle at first, but they were definitely clean.  
6/26 - 8PM - definitely active now.  Temp steady at 64 (on outside of carboy)
6/28 - 8AM - looks like its krausened already, but still bubbling in the airlock.  Temp around 66 on outside of carboy.  Fermentation chamber working like a frickin charm.  

Lewis Creek Brownie 2.0

Watch your fingers
Funny thing about this beer is that it was no where on my to-brew list.  Eventually, yes, but not right now, today.  I did have big plans to brew another Imperial Stout, like I did at last year's Summer Solstice... but I decided that brewing a smaller beer will provide an ample amount of yeast for the gimundo 1.120 SG of the Imperial Stout.  So... I happened to have just about everything I needed to make my Lewis Creek Brownie, like I did last fall.  Perfect.  The only thing I did not have on hand was Aromatic malt... so, I'm opting to use Gambrinus Honey Malt in place of it... mostly based off of color and it will provide some additional aromatics.  I also will be switching up some of the hops since I really didn't like the Columbus I used last time.  So here it goes...

8# 2 Row Pale Malt
1# Weyerman Smoked Malt
1# Best Malz Smoked Malt
1# Crystal 60L
1# Golden Naked Oats
1# Honey Malt
.25# Choc Malt

BREWNIGHT 6/20 (Summer Soltice):
Hot as hell today - 95F
Single infusion mash - 154F for 60 minutes.
16qts water @ 167F, doughed in - temp @ 153F.  pH around 5.3 (my pH meter sucks and likes to jump around).
After 30 minutes, stirred and temp still at 153F
After 60 minutes, mash out with 10qts boiling water, brought temp up to 164F... not perfect but fine.
Started sparging @ 170F, added .75oz Willamette first wort hops
Fired up burner when I had 3-4 gallons collected
Pre-boil gravity - 11.4 BRIX/1.046
Boil started... 2 hours and ten minutes after dough in... yesssss.  Added another .75 oz Willamette
One hour into boil, added whirlfloc and wort chiller.
One hour 15 mintues, flame out, added 1 oz Willamette and started chilling.
An hour after that and my temp was down to 72F.  Pitched a bag of ice in the bucket with the pump to get it to drop the remaining 5 degrees or so.  Aiming for about 64/65.  Temps in teh basement right now are 70, and 75 upstairs, so I need to start it low and probably submerge in a cooler with ice in it to keep it low.

6/24 GRAVITY CHECK:  68F, 1.014, turbid, smokey, might have gotten a little warm during fermentation.  Thinking about splitting it into two 3 gallon carboys and dry hopping one of them.  Or maybe I should just dry hop the whole thing.  Can't decide.  Still planning on using the base of this with the upcoming Imperial Stout.  Really still hoping to brew this before the baby comes... which means, tonight (6/25)!

6/28 - Still waiting on the baby, so haven't brewed the Impy Stout yet... more later...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Solstice IIPA

I've really been behind with brewing this year.  Last year I brewed 18 batches, roughly twice a month.  This year I've only brewed twice, once in February, once in March.  With our baby arriving at the end of June or earlier (more than likely), I need to get a few batches cranked out so I have some in the pipeline while we take care of the infant.  My friend and bandmate Nick was really interested in helping brew again.  He helped me brew one of my smoked brown ales last fall.  I was thinking about doing another double IPA for the summer solstice, and he had been bringing a few dank DIPA's to practice lately so I suggested that's what we brew.  He was down, so we went with it.  This was also the second batch I'd be doing a water adjustment.  Feeling much more comfortable with this now.

BATCH #45:
16# 2 Row pale malt
12 oz crystal 40 (wanted to use a pound but that was all I had left)
1# honey malt (originally used honey, but had this on hand... not exactly the same, but whatever)
1 oz Centennial (60 - wanted 2.5 oz but again, this is what I had on hand)
1.5 oz Citra (60)
1 oz Amarillo (15 - was going with 1/2 oz but these were reaching a year old so I just used a whole oz)
1 oz Citra (0)
White Labs WLP 250 - Rebel Brewer, propogated and donated by my friend Brendan

5/31/12 - BREWNIGHT:
First time using my new Barley Crusher - fucking awesome... until my drill battery died.  But even the hand cranking was way easier than the old phil mill.
Was able to get this thing cranked out in 5 hours tonight.
Single infusion, 152F for 60 minutes.
Boil for 60, turned into 90 after an early boil over and added a little more runnnings.
Chilling took fooooorrrevvvveeerr... 2 effing hours.  That was using a pump and a giant bucket of ice.  Only was able to get it down to 70F, which I was fine with.  I dropped the whole thing in a cooler with chilled water in it and it dropped to 68F.

This took forever to get going.  Even today, one week after brewing, its still chugging along.  I decided to remove the carboy from the water/cooler because I really could not get an accurate temperature reading.  Makes me want a thermowell.  I drew a sample to check the gravity, temp was surprisingly low at 63.5F.  No fucking wonder it wouldn't ferment at first, shite.  Gravity was 1.026, so right around where I expected it judging by the activity going on in the carboy.  First taste - holy niceness... nice and bitter, flavorful, citrusy, piney, very very nice.  This will definitely be a good batch.  Probably won't need to dry hop this much either, the flavor alone is worth it.  Maybe I should dry hop half of it or something.  This will certainly be a delectable addition to our solstice feast.  I also wonder if drinking a small sample of this right now, with the yeast being so active, has any health benefits... kind of like a living food like yogurt or kim chi.  Hmmm.  Might be worth investigating what beers would be good at this stage... kellerbiers are a good example... being served "turbid".

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Irish Red #2

Another attempt at an Irish Red in hopes of winning our club's style competition and winning the chance to brew at Fiddlehead brewery.  This one I'm altering my former recipe just a tiny bit, and I'm also doing a water adjustment.  This isn't the first water adjustment I've done, but it's the first one I feel comfortable with.

BATCH #44:
10.5# Maris Otter
4 oz crystal 40
2 oz crystal 90
2 oz special B
4 oz roasted barley
1 oz EKG
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

3/11/12 - BREWDAY:
Nice to be brewing again, nice day too.

Out of 22 entries, I took 2nd.  My other red took 3rd.  I'm happy with that.

A little frustrated... this scored a 42, the highest scoring one in the category, but did not place.  My other red scored a 38 and took 1st.  I may have dug my own ditch by only submitting 2 bottles instead of 3.  But I only had 3 left and I wasn't going to waste them all on the competition, I was not done enjoying them :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Erik the Red

Our homebrew was having a style competition for style 9D - Irish Red Ale.  I wanted to participate, and I had a homebrew friend who wanted to learn more about all grain brewing, so I invited him over and we brewed this guy up.  He, Ed, came up with the great name and he did the label artwork.  Good times, and a great beer.

BATCH #43:
12# Maris Otter
6 oz Crystal 40
3 oz Crystal 90
3 oz Special B
6 oz Roasted barley
1.25 oz EKG (60)
Wyeast 1084 - Irish Ale

2/11/12 - BREWDAY:
Did a single infusion @ 153F for 60 minutes
Halfway through our boil, we noticed that it was a very weak boil so we shut it off and quickly moved it into the garage and continued.  The boil picked up so we let it go for about 15-20 minutes longer.
Fermenting at 66F, short diacetyl rest, and then I'll be kegging it.

3/19/12 - BOTTLING:
Bottled this guy today with Ed using my beer gun, and his real beer gun.

3/22/12 - SAMPLING:
Had 1 bottled in the fridge, poured crystal clear into a glass, yumm, delicious.
It's a little dark for the style, and the roast comes through probably a little more than it should, but still a fantastic beer.  Never really appreciated this style before.  Thanks to Brett for picking it!

Out of 22 entries, we placed 3rd.  Not bad.

These amuse me.  I think I should have shipped to Pittsburgh instead.

To my disbelief, we won the Scottish and Irish Ales category at the homebrew comp.  Scoring a 38.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Burly Fire

The Vermont Pub & Brewery has been having these small batch/experimental beers every Monday, and with all of my BJCP exam studying, I have been getting really sick of looking and analyzing styles, so I came up with a few really bizarre beers.  I had met one of the guys from VPB this summer at the VT Brewers Festival, so I threw the idea out to him about collaborating for one of these small batches, and they seemed to like an idea I had about a hot wing beer, which is basically a smoked beer with an ancho pepper in 2nd, along with a healthy dose of fruity american hops.  We met recently and hashed out a recipe, I decided to push to make it more of a fire beer than hot wing since no smoke will taste like chicken.  They also had smoked chipotle peppers that were really nice so we're going with those.  When discussing a base beer, I thought their Burly, an Irish Red, would be good.  It has a nice malty backbone that smoke and heat could pair well with, and Irish Reds sometimes have a diacetyl which could aid in a buttery character that is a major component in wing sauce.  Planning on brewing in December with a January release, should be interesting!

I think we're shooting for a 10 gallon batch (12 brewed, 10 into kegs), and this is what we have so far:
Batch #42
60% Pale Malt
30% Beechwood smoked malt
8% Crystal (not sure what L yet)
2% Roasted Barley
3 oz Citra pellets (60)
4 oz Amarillo (0)
X oz Citra/Amarillo (dry hop)
2 Yeasts: 1) Wyeast Denny's Fav & 2) VPB House yeast
Smoked/dried chipotle peppers in 2nd (not sure how much yet)

12/10 - BREWDAY
Brewday set for Sat. 12/10.
More later!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lewis Creek Brownie

I've been bitten by the smoked malt bug.  Over the last couple of months I've sampled a few really really nice beers that were lightly smoked.  Too much smoke is a terrible thing in my opinion.  I hate smoked beers that taste like smoked salmon, which is ironic because I named this beer after a brown trout, go figure.  Anyways, beers that are lightly smoked can have a pleasant campfire aroma and flavor to them that is really nice.  So, I've had this idea to make a lightly smoked brown ale for the fall.  Getting a little bit of a late start, but whateva.

Batch #41
8# pale malt
1# Weyerman Beechwood smoked malt (mild smoke character)
1# Best Malts Smoked malt (strong smoke character)
1# Aromatic
1# Crystal 60L
1# Golden Naked Oats
1/4# Chocolate Malt
1/2 oz Willamette (first wort hops)
1/2 oz Columbus (60)
1 oz Willamette (0)
Safale s-04

Single infusion mash @ 153F, batch sparge.
60 minute boil
This was supposed to end up at 6 gallons, but got boiled down a little too far, so I ended up with 5.75 gallons, SG 1.060

11/1 - gravity @ 1.020, some sweet smoke in the aroma as well as some fruity esters; opaque, light brown; flavor consists of sweet malt & mild smoke, a little bitter as well. Going to stir it up, and move it upstairs to finish off. 

11/9 - 1.018, gonna rack to a keg.  Carbed a 1L bottled for sampling.  

11/14 - took the 1L bottle to the November Mashers meeting.  I. Am. In. Love.  Wow, I'm so happy with this one.  Back the fuck up if you don't like it.  It surely won't be to everyone's taste, but I nailed what I was shooting for.  Booya.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mystery Rye PA 2011

Two years ago I brewed a partial mash version of this recipe for the AHA teach a friend to brew day, and it turned out nice.  Won a 3rd place in the specialty beer category for the 2010 VT homebrew comp.  A friend of mine, Bill Mares, dropped off a good bit of hops from a friends yard but didn't know what kind they were.  To me they smelled pretty mild.  I figured it would be perfect for another mystery hopped beer.

Batch #39
10# Pale Malt
3# Rye Malt
1/2# Crystal 60L
1 oz. Chinook (60)
1 oz. Mystery hop (60)
1/2 oz. Chinook (30)
1 oz. Mystery (0)
1 oz Mystery (dry)
Wyeast 1056 (used 2 tubes of my 1056 that I collected and stored.  Made a 750mL starter and added two tubes to it. )

Yippee, let's brew.
9/17 BREWDAY (night)
Brewing time has been really hard to find this year with Barrett getting older and Jen working more weekends. Didn't end up starting this until 8PM.

Mashed in with 18qts water @ 166F, doughed in, temps leveled off around 154/155.  Target was 154.
Stirred at 30 minutes, temps down to 152ish.
At the next 30 minutes mark, temps were at 151/152, and after an addition 15 minutes of waiting, added 10 qts of mash out water @ boiling.  Seemed to be a little too much, temps were like 175.  Added some ice cubes, got it down to 168/169 and let it set for about 15 minutes.
First runnings: 5.5 gallons (whoa), @ 13 brix/1.052.
Added 1.5 gallons sparge water, collected a total of 7 gallons.
Pre-boil: 7 gallons @ 12 Brix/1.048, target was 1.049 @ 70% efficiency
It was 11PM by the time I collected it all, so I covered it all up with blankets and will boil in the AM.

9/18 BREWDAY pt.2
60 minute boil, added 1 oz Chinook & 1 oz Mystery hops

10/2 - transfer to 2nd, added 1 oz Mystery hops, and a 1/2 oz of Chinook for dry hopping.
Smells fruity, and like a hef. Gravity - 1.015

10/16 - Kegged - 1.014 - Not a huge hop aroma, but definitely sweet and bitter. Could be a little drier.

11/5 - This is going fast, probably only a couple pours left.  Had a glass while watching the Penn State vs. Nebraska game.  I'm enjoying this one quite a bit - nice blend of fruity hop flavors and aromas, good bit of bitterness, and a decent malt backbone.  Still think it finished a little sweet, but, still a good one in my book.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pumpkin Roggenbier

Pseudo decoction, w/ roasted pumpkin
I've made a pumpkin ale the last two years, as well as a pumpkin stout (2009), and a pumpkin wheat (2010).  This year, I'm not really feelin a pumpkin ale.  I have a keg of Oktoberfest, and I will have a keg of rye ipa soon... and a keg of cider... so really, I didn't want two more pumpkin beer kegs.  Anyways, long story short, I did decide on doing a pumpkin roggenbier.  I had a roggenbier on my sights to have ready for the fall, and the more I thought about it, the more I saw that they could fit together (the pumpkin and the beer).  Roggenbier is a German concoction that is like a dunkelweizen but instead of wheat, you primarily use rye.  The big difference is that rye gives off a slightly spicey character.  I felt like this could potentially pair well with the pumpkin/spices.  Additionally, the traditional yeast for Weizens/dunkelweizens and roggenbiers, is the german wheat yeast which, when fermented at lower temps (62ish), can highlight a clove note rather than the banana esters that are present when fermented in the upper 60's low 70's.  I love the banana flavors in these styles, but I figured the clove might pair better.  For the pumpkin, I'll stick with what I'm familiar with - I typically use 8#'s of pie pumpkins, 2#'s of butternut, and 1# acorn.  I dice them up, top them with brown sugar, and bake them for 45 minutes.  When that is ready, I throw it all in the boil along with some spices.  At the very least, this should be interesting.

Batch #40
5# Rye malt
5# Pale malt
1# Flaked rye
1# Munich
1# Caramunich
1 oz Carafa I
1 oz Tettnang (60)
1 oz Saaz (0)
Wyeast 3068

And so it begins.  Was really trying to do this the same day as the rye ipa, but I just got started way too late. (will add brewday notes later)

10/2 - transferred to 2nd, added 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice. 

10/16 - kegged. 1.014. Smells like a German wheat beer. Definite clove/banana yeast esters are present. Body seems thick, but the FG is right. Definitely get a litle spice, both is up front flavor as well as finish.

10/26 - Still unsure about this one.  I think the pseudo decoction I did created the thickness that I'm not liking in this.  I think a little bit of a decoction would be great, I just think this was overdone.  Also, I probably should not have added any spices.  There is definitely enough spice with the rye and the low fermented yeast notes of clove to pair well with the pumpkin side of it.  I think this would be a great beer if I took those thing into account for next time.  


Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 Hop Harvest

2011 Fuggles
Not a great year for my hops.

Fuggles:  18 oz wet,  5.25 oz dry.
Tettnang:  6.25 oz wet, 2.625 dry.
Saaz:  4 oz wet, 1.75 dry.

One positive note on this is that my Fuggles came out pretty good this year.  Highest numbers so far for them and they were very green.  The others kind of tanked.

Here's a little graph of what I've kept track of over the last couple of years, apparently I don't have any data for the first few years.  Kind of strange.

The chart is a little difficult to read, I'll need to improve on my excel skills... but there are two numbers for each year, one for wet and one for dry.  The three different lines are the hop types. 

Tettnang took a huge hit this year.  I know one reason was that I accidentally clipped one of the vines, and the top of another one broke off early on.  Not sure those two could account for that much of a loss, but I'm sure it was a significant loss.