Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Schaby Rhubarb Saison

Brew date: May 14, 2016
#50 - 6.5 gal

A fun, but cool (weather-wise) brew day with my good friend Schappe. He brought over a few pounds of home-grown rhubarb that we decided to add in secondary.

I split the finished beer into two 3-gallon batches, one as a control and one with the rhubarb.

9.5 lb Pilsner malt (Dingemans)
4 lb 2-row (Briess)
14 oz White wheat malt (Briess)
8 oz Vienna malt (Avangard)
3 oz Caravienne (Dingemans)
*4 oz Acidulated malt (Meussdoerffer)

0.75 oz Styrian Goldings (3.7% YCH pellet) (60)
0.75 oz Crystal (4.8 % YCH pellet) (60)
0.5 oz East Kent Goldings (5.7% YCH pellet) (60)
1.5 t Irish moss (15)
0.5 t Nutrient (10)
**0.5 oz Styrian Goldings (5)
**0.25 oz Crystal (5)

1.5 L Door County Brewing Saison yeast from slurry

2 lb Rhubarb added to 3 gal split batch

*Forgot to add to the mash. Decided to make a mini-mash with 4 cups filtered water, mashed at 151F for 15 min, strained, then boiled for 20 min. Added to roughly 1.5 gal leftover wort. Pitched with Gigayeast 007 Belgian mix slurry.

**Spilled crystal hops at 5 minute addition. Only 0.18 oz remaining. Decided to make up the difference with styrian goldings. Also, forgot to start the pump to whirlpool until end of boil. Decided to add approx. 7-10 min to boil to whirlpool. Account for additional IBUs. Likely around 31 total IBUs.

5 gal RO, 5.5 gal filtered tap
10 g Gypsum
2 g Calcium chloride

Mash in 6.5 gal @ 129F
Protein rest @ 122F (20)
Sac rest @ 148F (60)
Heat to 166-168 (10)
Boil (60)
Chill to 66F

OG: 1.062
FG: 1.015
ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 28
SRM: 4.78
Efficiency: 75%

1st running: 4.5 gal @ 1.072
Pre-boil: 8 gal @ 1.054
OG: 7 gal @ 1.061

5/23 - Add 1 lb frozen rhubarb to 3 cups filtered water. Heat to simmer, ~180F, then cool and add to ~3.25 gal beer. FG: 1.010

5/28 - Add 1 lb frozen rhubarb to 1 cup filtered water. Heat to simmer, ~180F. Poor off most water. Cool and add to carboy. Only able to add 2/3 of rhubarb to carboy (ran out of room).

6/5 - Keg rhubarb saison. FG: 1.005

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lil Pout American Stout

Brew date: March 13, 2016
#49 - 6.25 gal

Without a doubt my best beer to date. Tasting notes to follow, but suffice it to say I nailed this American-style stout. This brew also had the honor of being my first on the new draft system. More on that later too.

I made a last minute decision to switch out the London ale yeast and instead use the American ale. A hugely good call, since the 2 gallons or so of London ale tasted awful. I mean really bad. I believe the yeast was stressed from the batch prior, an imperial stout. But it's an important lesson: Don't reuse a yeast from any big beer. Not worth the risk.

I fermented this at room temperature, roughly 64F.

7 lb Maris Otter (Muntons) 
5 lb 2-row (Briess) 
12 oz Flaked barley (Briess)
8 oz Caramel 60L (Briess) 
9 oz Debittered black malt (Dingemans) 
3 oz Acidulated malt (Meussdoerffer) 

10 oz Roasted barley (Briess) (cold steep) 
6 oz Chocolate malt (Briess) (cold steep) 
3 oz Black malt (Briess) (cold steep) 

1.25 oz Cascade (6% homegrown leaf) (60) 
0.5 oz Columbus (13.4% p) (60) 
1.5 t Irish moss (15)
Yeast nutrient (10) 

1 pk + slurry American Ale 1056 
1.5 L London ale 1028 

10 gal (50/50 filtered tap and RO) 
7 g Gypsum 
3 g Calcium chloride 
1 g Epsom 

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

OG 1.063
FG 1.016
ABV 6.2%
IBU 42
Efficiency 75%

Heated mash to 165F, stirring continuously for an abbreviated mash out.
Cold steep 2 qt @ 1.056
1st running 4 gal @ 1.071 
2nd running 3 gal @ 1.036
Preboil 7 gal @ 1.054
OG 1.068

Friday, April 1, 2016

Belgian Tripel Tasting Notes

Finally sitting down, nearly three months after first brewing this Belgian Tripel, to capture my impressions. On the whole, I like this beer. It is quaffable, verging on refreshing. While the tartness from the acidulated malt is too prominent for a traditional tripel, it's light fruity character is spot on.

If I brew this recipe again, I'd cut the acid malt by half and consider using a different strain of yeast. Perhaps the more traditional Wyeast 3787 or subtle White Labs 510 Bastogne Belgian Ale.

Appearance: Nice frothy white foam head, pale straw color, slightly opaque, good thick lacing, beautiful carbonation bubbles give it the appearance of champagne.

Aroma: Tart with a slight fruitiness but not much, perhaps granny smith apple. Reminds me of the aromas of some pinot grigio, a subtle grapefruit or tangerine. A bit of bready graininess sneaks through after repeated inhalation.

Taste: Bready that quickly turns lightly fruity and then to a dry tartness. Finishes fairly clean with a lingering tartness on the tongue. Very quaffable. The gentle carbonation really lends itself nicely to picking up the tart fruitiness. Some white wine characteristics reminiscent of a sauvignon blanc.

Final thoughts: I like this beer, but it's very unlike what I planned. Not nearly enough of the soft fruity or floral character of a traditional tripel. Cut back on the acidulated malt and use a different Belgian or Trappist strain of yeast to brew something more traditional. Try the White Labs 510 next time.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Homegrown Hop Pale Ale

Brew date: Feb. 6, 2016
#48 - 6.25 gal

A mid-winter pale ale made with all homegrown hops -- cascade and chinook. Woo! Been waiting to take my hops for a real test drive since planting the rhizomes two summers ago. I was also able to pick up a pack of Wyeast 1217 West Coast IPA to ferment this batch out. Really excited to taste the results. The wort had a nice even bitterness by the end of the boil -- the dried hops, especially the chinook, smelled absolutely great.

At the last minute, I decided to switch from a flame out addition of cascade hops to a post-boil hop stand. In doing so, I'm hoping to preserve a slightly lower IBU while increasing the flavor and aroma of the finished beer.

At flame out, I continued whirlpooling using my pump, but allowed the wort to cool on its own to 180F, at which point I added the cascade leaf for the hop stand. I then let stand for 20 minutes, by which time the wort had cooled to approx. 160F. I then chilled as normal.

Thanks again to my friends the Foleys for the great housewarming gift! Hop rhizomes rock!

8 lb 2-row (Briess)
5.75 lb Pale ale malt (Briess)
12 oz Light munich malt (Avangard)
4 oz Caramel 60L
3 oz Acidulated malt (Meussdoerffer)

1 oz Cascade (6% leaf) (FWH)
1 oz Chinook (13%, leaf) (FWH)
Fermcap-S (60)
1.5 t Irish moss (15)
2 oz Cascade (Hop stand - 180F-160F) (+20)
2 oz Cascade (Dry hop)
2 oz Chinook (Dry hop)
1.5 L Wyeast 1217 West Coast IPA (66F)

10 gal (50/50 filtered tap and RO)
8 g Gypsum
2 g Calcium chloride
1 g Epsom salt

Mash in 6 gal @ 162F
Sac rest @ 152F (60)
Mash out (10)
Batch sparge (15)
Boil (~75)
Hop stand (20)
Chill to 66F
Ferment 69F

OG 1.062
FG 1.016
SRM 9.21
ABV 6.15%
IBU 57
Efficiency 75%

1st running 4 gal @ 1.072
2nd running 3.5 gal @ 1.023
Preboil 7.5 gal @ 1.053
OG 6.25 gal @ 1.068

Chill to 66F and pitch
Continued cooling to ~62F
Warmed to 68F
Fermentation peaked to 73F within the first 48 hours
Chilled to 68F and maintain

Tripel split-batch

Brew date: Jan. 2, 2016
#46 & 47 - 6 gal

I wanted to brew a more monastic-style tripel. One that finishes dry and emphasizes the bready character of the malt, with only a subtle fruity yeastiness that often predominates this style. I'm not sure I succeeded here...

My first attempt working with acidulated malt in an attempt to lower my mash pH. I may have only succeeded in adding a light tang finish. Not unpleasant, but not what I was striving for. Will have to wait and see if this dissipates or recedes to the background when the bottles fully carbonate.

If I were to brew this again, I would also forgo the late hop additions entirely. Just let the yeast do it's thing and get out of the way.

As of today, this beer tastes more like a blonde or belgian golden strong, than a nuanced tripel. Using the Wyeast 3787 or White Labs 510 Bastogne Belgian ale would be a better choice.

The Gigayeast started very slow, but ultimately I think it hits closer to the mark of what a tripel should taste like. It also shows better flocculation than the Wyeast 1388, which is still cloudy to the point of being opaque.

I added gelatin in attempt to help clarify the finished batch of Wyeast 1388. But haven't seen much of an improvement. May just need more time in the bottle and chilling in the fridge.

12 lb Pilsner malt (Dingemans)
2 lb 2-row malt (Briess)
0.5 lb Flaked wheat
0.5 lb Acidulated malt (Meussdoerffer)

0.5 oz Hallertau (2.7% pellet) (60)
0.5 oz Styrian goldings (3.7% pellet) (60)
2 oz Saaz (2.6% pellet) (60)
1.5 t Irish moss (15)
0.5 t Nutrient (10)
1.5 lb Candi sugar rocks, light (5)
0.5 oz East kent goldings (5.7% pellet) (5)
1 oz Hallertau (5)
1.5 L Wyeast 1388 Belgian strong (ferment 3.5 gal wort)
2 pk Gigayeast GY007 Belgian mix (ferment 2 gal wort)

9 gal (44/56 filtered tap and RO)
8 g Gypsum
4 g Calcium chloride

Mash in 6 gal @ 158F
Sac rest @148F (60)
Mash out (10)
Batch sparge 3 gal
Boil (60)
Chill to 60F

OG 1.079
FG 1.017
SRM 3.05
ABV 29.7
Efficiency 75%

1st running: 4 gal @ 1.075
2nd running: 3 gal @ 1.035
Preboil: 7 gal @ 1.063
Pre-candi sugar: 6 gal @ 1.071
OG: 1.083 (added 0.5 gal filtered water)

Chill to 60F
Air temp 64F

Russian Imperial Stout & Belgian-Brett version

Brew date: Dec. 21, 2015
#44 & 45 - 5.5 gal

Lord save me, I love this style.

Brewed over the Christmas holiday. Hoping for a richer, more velvety RIS than the one I brewed last April, also one that ups the roastiness of the finished product without becoming too bitter -- hence the kiln coffee malt. In a perfect world, it would taste like De Molen's Cease and Desist RIS, though I know it's the barrel aging that truly gives that beer it's amazing character.

Pitched the 1028 London ale into 4 gal wort.

16.5 lb Maris Otter (Muntons)
18 oz Roasted barley (Briess)
18 oz Chocolate malt (Briess)
16 oz Caramel 120L
12 oz Caramel 40L
8 oz Special B (Dingemans)
8 oz Flaked oats
8 oz Kiln coffee malt (Franco-Belg)
5 oz Black malt (Briess)

1 oz Columbus (15.6% pellet) (60)
0.25 oz Cluster (6.8% pellet) (60)
1 oz Brambling cross (5.1% pellet) (15)
1 t Irish moss (15)
0.5 t Nutrient (10)
2L Wyeast 1028 London ale

10 gal (50/50 filtered tap and RO)
7 g Gypsum
7 g Calcium chloride

Mash in 6 gal @ 169F
Add 1 gal water to thin mash
Sac rest @ 154F (60)
Heat to 160F stirring continuously (10)
Batch sparge 3 gal (10)
Boil (60)
Chill to 64F

OG 1.101
FG 1.025
SRM 38
ABV 10%
IBU 67
Efficiency 72%

1st running: 4 gal @ 1.100
2nd running: 3 gal @ 1.060
Preboil: 7 gal @ 1.086
OG: 6 gal @ 1.104

Pitch @ 60F
Warm overnight to 66F
Begin chilling at 68/70F
Maintain at 66F

Belgian-Brett RIS

Pulled 1.5 gal wort for White Labs 645 Brettanomyces Claussenii slurry. Added 0.5 gal filtered water to reduce gravity to OG 1.080.

Pitch 16 oz slurry of White Labs 500 Monastery ale and Wyeast 3787 Trappist high gravity.

Ferment at 64F.

Brewing Day Checklist

Set-by-step timeline for a typical brew day.

3-5 Days Before Brewing
  • Yeast starter (pitch ratio of 1 g DME for every 10 ml water)
    • Erlenmeyer flask
    • DME
    • Filtered water
    • Fermcap-S (1-2 drops)
    • Nutrient (1/8 t)
    • Stir bar
    • Funnel
    • Sanitizer for spray bottle (1/4 t in 16 oz water)
  • Check leftover hops
  • Purchase malt, hops, yeast, etc
  • Purchase RO water
  • Purchase ice for chilling
  • Set efficiency to 80% if ABV is <8%. Set to 70% if ABV is 8+%.
  • Update recipe based on hops AA%
  • Water chemistry adjustments,
Day Before Brewing
  • Prep filtered water
  • Water adjustments?
  • Bring supplies upstairs
  • Get scale, measuring spoons, plastic bowl (hops), small bowl (starch conversion test)
  • Winter: Set out ~15 gal water in coolers in garage to super-cool overnight
Brewing Day
  1. Set up stand, connect propane, and immediately begin heating strike water
  2. Bring rest of supplies outside while water is heating up
  3. Water adjustments?
  4. Have breakfast
  5. Mash in
  6. At 35 min into mash, begin heating sparge water
  7. At 60 min perform iodine conversion test
  8. Mash out, stir continuously until 168F
  9. Vorlauf 3-5 times
  10. Lauter
  11. First wort hop?
  12. Begin heating first runnings in boil kettle
  13. Batch sparge, stir, let sit for 10 min
  14. Connect pump and lauter second runnings into boil kettle
  15. Boil: Add bittering hops
  16. Clean mash tun, tubing
  17. 35 min: Prep chilling water
  18. 45 min: Add Irish moss, hops?
  19. 45 min: Connect pump and tubing
  20. 50 min: Add immersion chiller, thermometer, mash paddle
  21. 50 min: Whirlpool
  22. 50 min: Add nutrient
  23. 55-60 min: Add aroma hops
  24. Cut heat, begin chilling
  25. Runoff hot water to cleaning tub
  26. Recirculate cool water
  27. Get yeast starter
  28. Add ice to chill
  29. Cut pump, close valves, remove tubing
  30. Use magnet on yeast starter stir bar
  31. Pitch yeast
  32. Runoff wort
  33. Bring fermenter downstairs
  34. General cleaning