Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Country Eyes" Farmhouse | Tasting Notes

Appearance: Amber gold color, very slight haze, nice bright white fluffy foam head and lacing.

Aroma: Musty funk of grapes, much like white wine -- sort of like a mid-priced sauvignon blanc. Delicate, sweet floral note peers from behind, with citrus grapefruit and pear near by.

Taste: White grape sweetness, followed quickly by a funky tartness. Perhaps more of a perception of sweetness. Finishes dry like a sauvignon blanc. Good hop bitterness, but nothing discernible. Effervescent from a slightly elevated CO2 level, 12 PSI.

Final Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to think of this beer when I poured my first draught. It seemed too sweet, not nearly dry enough, and without much grape character. All of that changed with age. This is one of the few beers that I have brewed that has improved with age. The sweetness has receded, and become more tart and more wine-like. It's difficult to know if this is due to the yeast finishing fermentation, or falling out of suspension. The beer has definitely gotten cleaner over time, and the wine-like character really shines through.

If I were to brew this again, I'd simply give the Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison yeast more time to complete its work and possibly drop the mash temperature to 149-150F. I'd also add even more grape juice or must to condition.

Thanks again Webendorfers for the fun experiment!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Door Creek Apple Cider

Brew date: Oct. 23, 2016

2 one-gallon carboys each filled with ~0.75 gal cider
6 oz brown sugar in each
1/16 t metabisulphite each
1/2 t pectin enzyme each
1/8 t nutrient each
Wyeast 4766 cider yeast

Ferment at 64-66F.

11/20/2016 - Bottle
20 g corn sugar
1/2 c filtered water
2.3 CO2 vol @ 60F
1.5 gal cider

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"City Eyes" Red Table Grape Wine

Press date: Sept. 15, 2016
1.5 gal grape juice

My first attempt at wine making, and the second part to my fun experiment with grapes from Webendorfer farms.

The whole process was a cinch, at least compared to brewing. Just press it and forget it.

I covered the picking and pressing in my last post, "Country Eyes" Farmhouse Ale. Suffice it to say, once the grapes were pressed and in the fermenter, all it took was pushing the cap that formed back down below the surface every 12 hours for about a week.

It was fascinating to see the color of the wine change over time -- from an opaque green to a bright ruby red. Very similar to a blush or Zinfandel.

I'm looking forward to opening a bottle sometime in the spring, but the initial flavor was fairly dry, without much real flavor beyond a light peach fruitiness. Aroma was also pretty faint.

"City eyes" refers to my buddy Wes, and his apparent lack of ability to see most animals in nature. I can neither confirm or deny this accusation. You'll have to ask his "country eyes" wife.

9/15 - Press grapes
1 gal grape must at 1.050
Add 1/4 t Potassium metabisulphite
Add 1/4 t gal Filtered water
Add 1.43 oz sugar

9/16 - Add following:
1 lb sugar
1/2 t Pectic enzyme
1/8 t Yeast nutrient
1 pack Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast

9/24 - Rack
OG 0.998 - 1.000

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Country Eyes" Belgian Farmhouse with Red Table Grapes

Brew date: Aug. 27, 2016
#53 - 6.25 gal

This was a fun beer to make! After a summer of waiting for just the right time, my friends the Webendorfers invited several of us over for a cookout and to pick some of their beautiful backyard grapes. A great time, and we enjoyed the last of the rye IPA that we had made for our annual Brew 'n' Smoke event.

The plan for these grapes: Press them to make my first batch of wine, and then add a portion of the remaining grape must to a Belgian farmhouse ale that I had brewed a few weeks prior.

We gathered maybe 20-30 lbs and kept them refrigerated for a couple of weeks while the beer fermented out.

Loosely inspired by a New Glarus Brewing R&D beer, Champ du Blanc, that I was fortunate enough to try at the Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Fest earlier in the month, I knew that I wanted to brew something lighter in character but with enough malt backbone to balance out the likely tart finish of the grapes.

In this, I believe I succeeded, but the finished beer did not attenuate as much as I expected. The Wyeast 3724 saison, petered out at about 1.032 and stubbornly refused to dry out much past 1.020. I had hoped to get it down to 1.014-1.016. Perhaps this could be accomplished with an alternative strain.

Nevertheless, the 3724 saison provides a great farmhouse flavor and plenty of character.

Pressing the grapes was also a blast, with friend Stephanie coming over to help clean and separate the berries from their stems. I rented a small press for only $15 from the Wine and Hop Shop and crushed the grapes in a blender before pressing.

We ended up with about 1.5 gallons of grape juice and a few pounds of grape must. I'll write more about the wine in a separate post, but I dosed the grape must for the beer with some potassium metabisulfite to prevent wild yeast from spoiling my batch and let this sit for 24 hours before adding it to the beer.

With grape must added, I let sit for 8 days before racking to a keg to condition and serve.

11 lb Pilsner malt
3 lb 2-row malt
12 oz White wheat
8 oz Cara 8
4 oz Acidulated

1.6 oz Cascade (Kraemer Brew 6% leaf) (60)
0.5 oz Styrian goldings (3.7%) (60)
0.5 oz Styrian goldings (15)
1 t Irish moss (15)
1/2 t Yeast nutrient (10)
6 oz Clear candi sugar (10)

1.6 L Wyeast 3724 Belgian saison
3 lb Red table grape must - Webendorfer

10 gal - 50/50 Filtered & RO
9 g Gypsum
2 g Calcium chloride

Mash in 6 gal at 161F
Sac rest at 151F (60)
Batch sparge 4 gal
Boil (60)
Chill to 66F

OG 1.068
FG 1.017
IBU 39
ABV 6.74%

1st run 3.5 gal at 1.077
Preboil 7.5 gal at 1.058
Pre sugar 1.069
OG 1.070

Chill to 66/68F
Warm to 70F for first ~8 hrs
Warm to 72F for next ~ 12 hrs
Warm to 74F
9/11 - Gravity still at 1.040. Will pitch more yeast. Heat to 74F.
9/12 - Pitch additional yeast pack
9/16 - Add 3 lb Webendorfer skins, gravity ~1.030
9/24 - Rack, gravity 1.020, keg

Monday, November 14, 2016

Brew 'n' Smoke 2 Rye IPA

Brew date: Aug. 6, 2016
#52 - 6.75 gal

Our second annual Brew 'n' Smoke! A day filled with beers, meat, and more meat the gents. Brewed up a rye IPA this year. While it turned out to be a solid beer in the end, I'd cut the caramel rye in half and maybe drop the sac rest mash temperature 1-2F.

13.5 lb 2-row (Briess)
1.5 lb Rye malt
1 lb Flaked rye
12 oz Caramel rye
8 oz Caramel 20L
4 oz Acidulated

1 oz Chinook (Kraemer Brew 13% leaf) (FWH)
0.5 oz Simcoe (12.9%) (FWH)
0.25 oz Zythos (10.9%) (FWH)
0.5 oz Columbus (13%) (60)
0.5 oz Mandarina Bavaria (6.8%) (60)
1 t Irish moss (15)
1/2 t Yeast nutrient (10)

1.8L Wyeast West Coast IPA

Post boil:
0.25 oz Zythos
0.25 oz Chinook
0.25 oz Simcoe

Dry hop:
0.5 oz Zythos
0.25 oz Simcoe
0.5 oz Mandarina Bavaria

Mash in 6 gal at 129F
Protein rest at 122F (15)
Sac rest at 150F (60)
Mash out at 168F
Batch sparge 4 gal
Boil (60)
Chill to 68F

50/50 RO & Filtered
9 g Gypsum
1 g Calcium chloride
pH 5.55

OG 1.067
FG 1.017
SRM 12.2
ABV 6.59%
IBU 89
Efficiency 75%

1st run 1.089 at 3.5 gal
2nd run 1.048 at 4.25 gal
OG 1.076 at 7 gal

68F for 1 week
71F for 2-3 days
8/16 - Chill to 60F, FG 1.014
8/18 - Chill to 53F, dry hop
8/20 - Dry hop 0.25 oz Chinook pellet
8/23 - Keg FG 1.016

Raising Arizona Grapefruit IPA

Brew date: June 24, 2016
#51 - 6.5 gal

Father's Day brew day. Been wanting to brew a citrus-forward IPA for quite sometime, at least since first trying Ballast Point's Grapefruit Sculpin. Here's my crack at my own adaptation.

14.5 lb 2-row malt (Briess)
12 oz Carapils
12 oz Cara 20
8 oz Cara 45
4 oz Acidulated malt

0.75 oz Centennial (7.6% YHC pellet) (First Wort Hop)
0.5 oz Mosaic (11.3% YHC pellet) (FWH)
1 oz Chinook (13% Kraemer Brew leaf) (60)
0.5 oz Simcoe (12.9% YHC pellet) (Post boil 170-180F) (15)
0.5 oz Mosaic (PB) (15)

1.5 L 1056 Wyeast American Ale slurry

5.5 gal filtered water, 5 gal RO water
9 g Gypsum
1 g Calcium chloride
Mash pH 5.57

Mash in 6.5 gal @ 163F
Sac rest @ 152 (60)
Mash out (10)
Boil (60)
Chill to 66F

1st running: 4 gal @ 1.071
2nd running: 4 gal @ 1.038
Preboil: 8 gal @ 1.056
OG: 5.75 gal @ 1.069

6/25 - 68/70F while cooling (24 hr)
6/26 - 72/74F add ice jugs (12 hr)
6/27 - 64/66F

6/28 - Secondary:
~200 g peeled grapefruit zest

7/5 - Dry hop:
2 oz Mosaic (DH)
1.25 oz Centennial (DH)
0.5 oz Simcoe (DH)

Lil Pout American Stout | Tasting Notes

Appearance: Lovely light toffee-colored head that hangs around until the last sip. Foam lacing gently sweeps all the way down the glass. The beer itself is a deep brown-black color fading to sherry brown-red at edges. Looks clear.

Aroma: Sweet brownie with a medium Colombian coffee roast backbone. Maybe just a hint of that sweetness comes from the flaked barley which shows up at the very end. Smells just like an American stout should. Boom!

Taste: Really great dry roastiness comes through. Just a hint of toast. Nice mouthfeel, full but not heavy, not too thick not too thin. Just right.

Final Thoughts: What a great beer! Definitely the best stout I've done. Possibly the best beer I've brewed. Period. Also my first on draft.