Rule #1: Never brew in socks.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cascadian Triple (2/3/13)

This beer grew from a pair of divergent desires. I recently moved into a new place, and have found in the past that the best way to get people out to your new place is to offer them homebrew. However, when offering them homebrew, it is best to offer something they'll like; usually this means Belgians. But, I have also been craving hops! Now, in a contentious position like this, I'd usually brew a Belgian IPA, but I like to think of myself as an empiricist, and the data's pointing to Belgian IPAs as a failed style. Still, all hope was not lost, and I truly believe there is a good beer to be made blending belgian yeast with hops. In point of fact, many a Belgian brewer, from Dupont to Orval, has been known to dry-hop their beers, but living on the other side of the pond, and having to deal with that pesky US customs office, I am yet to enjoy a taste while the hop character lingers. So I decided to brew my own.

I'd planned on going with the Wyeast 1388, a stalwart ally in the struggle to brew belgian beer, but it was out of stock at Bob's Homebrew, and I settled on the 3787 Trappist High Gravity, which I've used with some success. I decided to dry hop with Chinook, since it gave the best results during my previous forays into hoppy belgians.

Calculated O.G: 1.072
Calculated F.G: 1.011
Expected Attenuation: 85%
Calculated ABV: 8.0%
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth):26
Pitching Temperature: 70 F
Starter: None
Fermentation Vessel: Bucket

Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts.
DME 3.25 52% 42.00
Cane Sugar 1 8% 46.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Spalt 1 60 3.9%

2/10 - Added 3oz of Chinook

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cider, Cyser, and Graff (11/11/12)

Every year, Bob's Homebrew gets a sweet shipment of apple juice from an orchard that produces cider apples up north. Cider apples differ from eating apples in that they are cultivated for their unique flavors, not their sugar content. Juice made from supermarket apples ferments away to nothingness, but this juice is packed with residual flavors that ought to survive that fermentation. That said, it also tastes pretty delicious unfermented, not unlike a good apple juice.

Last year's cider batch split between cider yeast and hefeweizen yeast turned out pretty well, but I've always found cider to be a little bit boring. This year I decided to split up my three gallons into three different beverages. Prompted by Lee, one is a cyser (cider + mead), another will be dry hopped, and the third is a beer/cider hybrid called graff.

The cyser is made with a gallon of juice combined with 22oz of Wessel's Local Raw Honey. It's really about the easiest thing you could possibly do, and only requires mixing honey into apple juice. The mixing process proved harder than anticipated, but fortunately Andrew "The Fish" Haddock was on hand to help me out. The juice came pre-sulfited, so no heating was necessary. You typically need to add yeast nutrient to mead, but considering that cider likes to be fermented slowly, and already contains a health amount of yeast nutrient, I neglected to add any. I've never made cyser before (or even tasted it, for that matter), but considering that mead takes between three months and a year to mature, and cider needs about the same, I'm expecting this one to be a summer drinker.

The only thing easier than cyser is straight cider. It required nothing but yeast and an airlock, and that's all it got. Lee had mentioned not aerating it, which I assume is to prevent excessive yeast growth, but Bob let me know it had been heavily aerated between the pressing, the transport, and the dispensing, so that boat's sailed. Dry-hopped cider needs to be dry-hopped, but the dry-hopping will come later, and though I haven't decided on what hops to use, I'm leaning towards Citra or Amarillo, or hell, maybe even Palisade. We'll see how it all ferments. The OG was a high 1.063, and I pitched in half a packet of Wyeast Cider yeast into both the cyser and the cider.

The graff, which against my better judgement I have started calling Zach Graff, is 1.5 gallons of beer to 1 gallon of apple juice. The beer is a fairly simple reduction of our typical Belgian recipes: no specialty grains, lightly hopped with Saaz, and fermented with Wyeast 1388. The recipe is as follows:

Batch size: 1.5 gallons
Boil Volume: 2.5 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.066
Estimated FG:??
Estimated ABV:??
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth):27
Pitching Temperature: 65
Yeast: Wyeast 1388
Fermentation vessel: Bucket
Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts.
DME 2.5 38% 42.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Saaz 1 60 3.0%
The gallon of juice was pitched after the wort was chilled, bringing the final concoction to 2.5 gallons. I really have no idea how well the juice will ferment, so I'm at a loss right now for estimated final gravity and ABV. My best guess leaves it around 7%. I thought about adding grains of paradise, but forgot. Ah, maybe next time!
Thanks to Solly for getting up early to help me get supplies, and Andrew for helping with the brew.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Olde Tubby (10/14/12)

I've been playing ultimate saturday mornings lately, and found Bob's Homebrew on the way home several times now. I've been going on Bob's advice for recipes, and so I've brewed this stout with an English ESB yeast. Prized for its flocculation, the 1968 is designed to keep your English beers malty. I'l add that three of my four last stouts were underattentuated.

I made the starter yesterday afternoon. Its pretty flocculant. I think I'm gonna need this beer on a shaker plate. Having already mastered the stout (See: Surly Sunday 11-06-12, and Mocha 4-15-12), I took the previous recipe and shrunk the base malt bill. I didn't budge on the specialty grains. Things are different now that Lee's no longer here, and I don't have a problem with a 1/6 of my grain bill dedicated to roasted barley. I also upped the IBUs from 44 to 65 to balance the maltiness.

Calculated O.G: 1.075
Measured F.G: 1.031
Expected Attenuation: 59%
Calculated ABV: 5.8%
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 65
Pitching Temperature: 68 F
Starter: 2.6 L
Fermentation Vessel: Bucket

Malts Mashed Amount % Max Pts.
Chocolate 1.5 7% 28.00
Roast Barley 2.2 10% 25.00
Crystal 120 1.25 6% 33.00
Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts.
DME 6.5 30% 42.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Horizon 2 60 11.9%

Large, in frequent bubbles began four hours after pitching. Temperature rose to 76F, and I placed the fermenter in a bucket of water. 12 hours later the bucket was warm too, and I removed the beer, now at 74F. Bubbling mostly stopped by Tuesday, 10/16.

Update 10/19/12 - Gravity at 1.031, and it tastes pretty great.

Update 10/29/12 - Bottled. Gravity still at 1.031. Even with the large starter, attenuation is down at 59%. When they said this yeast don't eat much, they weren't kidding. Attenuation aside, its actually pretty delicious. Its a bit sweet, but that sweetness is well balanced by the dark malts and hops. Presuming the carbonation comes out right, it could have really excellent mouthfeel. Should be about 2.4 volumes of CO2 in it. I was aiming for 2.3, but there was a little less beer than I expected.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Citra Grapefruit IPA (9/12/12)

I'm hesitant to say this beer was inspired by Lagunitas's DayTime IPA. In fact, I went out and bought the beer with the express intention of making something in the same style, a low ABV daytime brew. The beer itself, however, didn't hold up. Its lack of body and hollow malt character left it tasting more like hoppy water than beer, so when I made up the recipe for this beer I wanted to be confident it was different. At 6.5 ABV and a starting gravity of 1.064, the beer would definitely have some body. Not an imperial stout, but something. Alas, the gods frowned. When I checked my dry malt extract today I found a sad bag with less than half the DME I needed. The 5 gallon batch became a 2.5 gallon batch, and 1.064 became 1.045. I'm hoping the attenuation stays low, but for now it looks like I'm gonna have mid-day gulper.

On the bright side, its gonna be packed with Citra and grapefruit, a combination I have a lot of hope for.

Calculated O.G: 1.045
Measured F.G: 1.012
Expected Attenuation: 73%
Estimated ABV: 4.3%
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 86
Pitching Temperature: 70 F
Starter: 3 liter (for a batch that was never brewed)
Fermentation Vessel: Bucket

Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts.
DME 2.65 100% 42.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Citra 0.3 60 15.3%
Citra 0.5 20 15.3%
Citra 0.5 10 15.3%
Citra 2 0 15.3%

The batch is fermenting in the same bucket as Peche Mortal did, in which it left a distinctly peach odor. I cleaned it as well as I could, but it remains to be seen whether the peach will have any effect. I plan to dry hopping with 2.7oz of Citra, and the rind of two grapefruits, and maybe a lemon. And I forgot the camden tablets again.

9/14/12 - Added 1.7 oz Citra, 1 grapefruit rind, and two lime rinds. I opted to lower the Citra so as not to overwhelm the other citrus. I went with lime on a whim, and I think it will round out the hops really well.

9/30/12 - Bottled. 2.5oz of priming sugar in about 2gal means the carbonation could be up to ~3.1 volumes. Tastes excellent, completely citrus.

Monday, September 3, 2012

La Mure (The Blackberry) 9/2/2012

August means blackberries here in Seattle, and of all the good ways to use a freezer full of free blackberries, I decided to toss them in a beer. Big surpise, huh? So La Mure was born. Its a Belgian Golden Strong Ale with a healthy helping of blackberries. This is the second time I've used De Dolle's house yeast, and the first time it came out a little sweet and a bit underattenuated. I'm hoping that sweetness helps to balance out the potent tartness of the blackberries.

Of note: I forgot to add camden tablets to neutralize the chlorine. It should fall out of solution naturally, but we'll see how this turns out.

Calculated O.G: 1.065
Expected F.G: 1.012
Expected Attenuation: 82%
Estimated ABV: 7.0%
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 26
Pitching Temperature: 70 F
Starter: None
Fermentation Vessel: Bucket

Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts.
DME 2.8 74% 42.00
Cane Sugar 1 26% 46.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Saaz 1.25 60 3.0%

Fermentation started slow and steady, bubbling began at 8 hours.

9/5/12 - Fermentation slowed significantly, added 1lb of cane sugar. Bubbling restarted that evening.

9/8/12 - Added 3.5lbs of blackberries.

9/14/12 - Gravity at 1.010


Friday, August 3, 2012

Golden Bear #3: The Golden Bear Rises (7/26/12)

This marks round three of our most beloved beer, the Golden Bear. This time around I decided to go with all Styrian Goldings, Duvel-style, and also added 1 gram of Grains of Paradise at flame out. Other than that its pretty much just like the first two.

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil volume: 6 gallons

Calculated OG: 1.073

Measured FG: 1.011
Attenutation: 85%

Estimated ABV: 8.13
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 32
Pitching Temperature: 70
Yeast: Wyeast 1388 Belgian Golden Strong
Starter: 2 Liter
Fermentation vessel: Bucket

Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts.
DME 6.5 35% 42.00
Cane Sugar 2 11% 46.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Styrian Goldings 3 60 3.2%

Fermented hard and steady for 36 hours, then started to fall off.

8/2/12 - 2lbs of sugar added, bubbling quickly

8/11/12 - Bubbling has nearly stopped. Gravity of 1.011. Bottled.

9/6/12 - The aroma of the beer is very sulfurous. That could mean the yeast produced extra dimethal sulfide (DMS), which should fade with time, or there was a bacterial infection. The result remains to be seen.

10/2/12 - The sulfur flavor has left the beer, must have been DMS. Flavor is sublime. More tasting notes to come.

Peche Mortel 7/15/12

Randy Mosher says peach beers are better with apricots, thus Peche Mortel was born. A Belgian golden strong ale with apricots, this is our first experiment with fresh fruit. The recipe was adapted from our highly successful Golden Bear, with some of the sugar replaced with fresh apricots.

5.5 lbs of apricots were added 7/22, a week after brewing, when bubbling through the airlock had slowed significantly. Before tossing them into primary, I soaked them in diluted starsan, a meager effort to combat infection. They were then split in two and slowly dropped into the fermenter, core and all.

7/28/12 - Gravity is down to 1.013, and the apricots appear to have mold on them, though it could just be yeast scum. If its mold, it will grow, otherwise it should be fine.

8/2/12 - No change to the apricots, now appears they just yeasty when dropped into primary.

9/2/12 - Gravity of 1.010. The peaches still look funky, but the beer is clear and delectable. The flavor is very peachy, with lots of tartness and just a bit of sweetness. Almost no hop flavor to detect. Will bottle tomorrow.

9/3/12 - Bottled with 2.6 volumes of CO2 entirely in thicker belgian and german bottles.

Batch Size: 2.5 gal
Boil Volume: 3.5 gal
Estimated OG: 1.073
Estimated FG: 1.010
Estimated ABV: 8.13
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 22
Pitching Temperature: 68F
Yeast: Wyeast 1388 Belgian Golden Strong
Starter: None

Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts.
DME 3 34% 42.00
Cane Sugar 1 11% 46.00

Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Styrian Goldings 1 60 3.2%