Rule #1: Never brew in socks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dunkelweizen Brewday 7/29/11

A dunkelweizen, or dunkel weissbier, is a Bavarian dark wheat beer. Inspired by New Belgium's Dunkelweiss, which Jack drank in Nashville, we decided to try our hand at the style. We used a new malt for this beer—chocolate wheat. I'm curious to see if it tastes any different than regular chocolate malt. We used enough that the roasted grains should be fairly pronounced—more so than in a traditional dunkelweizen. For yeast, we used White Labs WLP300, which is reputed to be from the same source (Weihenstephaner brewery) as the yeast we used in previous hefeweizens, Wyeast 3068. Yeasts do, however, mutate over time, even in labs, so the White Labs strain will likely yield a slightly different flavor profile.

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil volume: 3.5 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.067
Measured FG: 1.021
Calculated ABV: 6.1
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 19
Pitching Temperature: 70F
Yeast: WLP300
Starter: 2 liters
Fermentation vessel: Bucket

Malts Mashed Amount % Max Pts. Color
Choc. Wheat 0.75 9% 33.00 400.00
Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts. Color
DME 5 57% 42.00 2.00
LME 3 34% 36.00 2.00
Total 8.75 100% 342.75 63.20
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA% IBU's
Hersbrucker 0.5 60 2.6% 6.81
Hersbrucker 0.5 30 2.6% 5.23
Hersbrucker 0.5 20 2.6% 4.12
Hersbrucker 0.5 10 2.6% 2.47

The brewday went smoothly.

8/3/11: Gravity 1.031

Bottled 8/25/11 with plain silver caps. Final gravity: 1.021.

The Mad Hopper Belgian IPA Brewday 7/22/11

The Belgian IPA is a new style, but one that is immediately appealing to those beer drinkers who wish to have as many intense flavors in their beer as possible. Jack and I have tried several commercial examples of the style. Jack is a big fan of Stone's Cali-Belgique, which I haven't tried, and we've had more mixed impressions of New Belgium's Belgo IPA and Terrapin's Monk's Revenge. Both of them, especially Monk's Revenge, I found to be overly sweet.

We therefore decided to include a small amount of adjunct to this beer, namely one pound of sucrose, in order to dry it out further. The hop and malt bill, then, ends up being quite similar to that of a dry double IPA like Pliny the Elder. An alternate strategy we might have taken would be to use the malt bill of a triple, which would mean adding more adjunct and cutting out the crystal malt. I expect that this is how Belgian brewers make Belgian IPAs, but I have never had a Belgian Belgian IPA. Another possible choice is the form of adjunct. American brewers generally use corn sugar (dextrose) Belgian brewers use beet sugar (sucrose), and we use cane sugar (also sucrose). British brewers, incidentally, use maltose. It's generally a "use whatever you have" kind of choice. It's not clear whether there's any real flavor difference between these refined sugars, though they might affect yeast metabolism.

For yeast, we used WLP500, a Belgian yeast we've never tried before. It's reputedly from Chimay, and is supposed to be very estery.

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil volume: 3 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.073
Measured FG: 1.015
Estimated ABV: 7.7
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 45 (another victim of the bug in our IBU calculator)
Pitching Temperature: 72F
Yeast: WLP500
Starter: 2.5 liters
Fermentation vessel: Better Bottle

Malts Mashed Amount % Max Pts. Color
Crystal 10 1 11% 35.00 10.00
Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts. Color
Cane Sugar 1 11% 46.00 0.00
DME 7 78% 42.00 2.00
Total 9 100% 375.00 4.80
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA% IBU's
Centennial 0.5 60 10.3% 26.60
Amarillo 0.5 60 8.2% 21.18
Centennial 0.5 20 10.3% 16.11
Amarillo 0.5 20 8.2% 12.83
Centennial 1 0 10.3% 0.00
Amarillo 1 0 8.2% 0.00

This beer took almost 48 hours to start fermenting, which is a bit troubling, but it fermented strongly once it started.

Forgot to add the cane sugar. Added 8/3 and the wort was swirled to get the sugar into solution. Gravity before adjunct was 1.019, a little high, and it tasted real hoppy. Since adding the adjunct, the airlock has been bubbling consistently. Adding adjunct helped to lower the final gravity of the Golden Bear, and hopefully it will do the same here. It has not been dry hopped, for better or worse.

Bottled 8/12/11 with plain red caps.

Lee: I initially considered this beer a failure, as the hops did not come through enough to justify it as a Belgian IPA, but it was too bitter and not dry enough to be a tripel. Over time, however, the beer has evolved into something I can stand behind. The Chimay yeast produced intense flavors of plum and pear, especially in the aroma, with some citrus fruit from the hops in the background. It does, however, continue to suffer from being not dry enough, with a slightly cloying sweetness that, admittedly, might be pleasant to some.

Jack: In the future, I'd like to continue to play with the hops. We went with hops all noted for their citrus, fruity character, and that didn't work out that well with the Belgian yeast. It has grown better as the hops have faded. Hops with a spicy or herbal character might be a better match.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Golden Bear 2: No Bear Left Behind (7/20/11)

The Golden Bear, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, was the most universally enjoyed of all the beers we brewed at Hampshire. So we decided to brew it again for our first Seattle brewday. This time we dropped the IBUs a bit and subbed in Styrian Goldings for some of the Saaz. We also used dry malt extract this time, rather than liquid.

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil volume: 3 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.073
Measured FG: 1.012
Estimated ABV: 8.5
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 28
Pitching Temperature: 72
Yeast: WLP570
Starter: None
Fermentation vessel: Bucket

Malts Amount % Max Pts. Color
Extra Pale LME 6.5 76% 56.00 1.25
Cane Sugar 2 24% 61.33 1.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA% IBU's
Saaz 2 60 3.0% 17.37
Styrian Goldings 1.5 60 2.6% 11.29

First mistake: we forgot to make a starter. The OG (not including the sugar added during fermentation) was 1.055, so we decided to just use the White Labs tube that we had. We also had our first Seattle boilover, which was fun. The bucket lids that we got from the local homebrew shop turned out to not seal well, so the airlock hasn't been bubbling, but there are other signs of fermentation—chiefly temperature.

Bottled 7/31/11 with silver 'B' caps.
Final Gravity: 1.012

The final gravity came out four points higher than the last batch, which translated into a sweeter beer with more mouthfeel. We don't know the reason it did not get down to the expected gravity, but so far all the beers brewed in Seattle are taking much longer to finish fermenting.