Monday, July 28, 2014

Keith Ciani on Staggered Fermentation

Keith, on behalf of all those brewers out there who are always on the look out for something new, creative, maybe even crazy to brew - thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. 

You know, I've been brewing for five years and when I saw the piece by about how you accomplished a staggered fermentation to make your 14% "Anglozilla," this thought popped into my brain, "that is flipping awesome!"

So, being that I'm a fan of awesome, and I know a lot of folks out there are also huge fans of awesome, I thought maybe you'd be down to chat on this avant-garde and little talked about technique. And you were, which is also awesome, so let's dive in.

First of all, what would you define as a Staggered Fermentation, disregarding (bottle reconditioning)?
I conceptualize staggered fermentation as multiple yeast additions --- in a sense, feeding the beer over time. Rather than feeding with honey and/or other sugars post initial yeast pitch (as is popular in many styles) – this requires yeast following yeast – sometimes over a number of days.

What beer, brewer, article or spark of divine inspiration drove you to plan and execute your first staggered fermentation?
This idea (at least for this particular beer) primarily came from Todd and Linda Haug of Surly Brewing, and their 6th anniversary beer, Syx. I was living in Downtown Denver and heard Surly (and the Haugs) would be at the Great American Beer Fest. I had previously chatted with them at Avery Brewing’s Strong Ale Fest a few months prior and so I invited them to my condo. I was having a party in which I was tapping a cask/pin and serving some pork shoulder. They were unable to make the party, but someone brought a bottle of Syx. 

Syx is a 14.5% abv American Strong ale (with wood character). The beer blew me away --- it was not overly sweet and was quite unique (I recall an orange character). Anyway, I ran into Todd and Linda on the floor at GABF and asked about the beer. Todd mentioned feeding the beer with yeast over time (and perhaps even more fermentables…but I can’t recall for sure). I believe they used white labs super high gravity, but again, I can’t be sure. That was really the first time I had heard of this, as least intentionally (e.g., new brewers adding more yeast due to pitching insufficient cell counts). 

Secondly, Don Osborn provided some peripheral impetus for staggering the fermentation. I mentioned the recipe to him and he brought up the issue of alcohol tolerance of English yeast. This is when I began thinking about using different yeast strains with varying levels of alcohol tolerance. To a lesser extent this was also inspired by brewing a number of sour beers and beers with Brettanomyces, in which staggered additions of wild yeast and other bugs is common. 

When you are planning a beer, are there certain characteristics you decide your looking for where you say, hmmm, ya know Keith, this is a good spot to do a Staggered Fermentation. What are some of these characteristics and how do you go about achieving them?
While this is the only beer I’ve done this with --- anyone brewing something above 12% - and/or with a potential abv in the range of 12-16% should seriously consider this method. When doing multiple pitches, what is your thought process behind pitching rates? I only have the one example to go from – that said, there are yeast counts and flavor profiles to consider when staggering a fermentation. As I discussed, I brewed an English (very) Strong – so I wanted/needed a bit of English yeast character. However, the strain of English yeast I used would not be able to ferment that beer to an acceptable gravity. I started the fermentation off with WLP 005 (British ale) to get that initial yeast character, and then followed it up with numerous starters of Cali Ale 001. The thinking behind adding starters of cali ale after fermentation had already started was primarily to pick up attenuation where the British ale would have likely stalled out – and secondly, to not interfere with the British ale yeast character. My yeast additions are available in the recipe provided.

As we know, the majority of the flavor compounds (esters, phenolics, fusels) are created in the first 24-36 hours of primary fermentation. Any thoughts on how a staggered fermentation is affected by this aspect of the big picture? 
Regarding the flavor profile, the beer I did was conceptualized as an English Strong, but it was also very much a Barleywine type ale. Thus, I wanted English yeast characteristics to be apparent. I started the fermentation off with multiple starters of While Labs 005 (British Ale). Knowing that yeast (005) does not have a high alcohol tolerance, I followed it up with multiple pitches of 001 Cali Ale. As we all know, that yeast has a much higher alcohol tolerance, and would not mask/overpower the profile from the 005. In order to avoid unwanted flavor compounds, that could be imparted during fermentation, I made sure to oxygenate the wort not only prior to the initial yeast pitch, but also on the 2nd and 3rd days after fermentation began.

What about oxygen? Generally speaking, what can you tell us about its role and use in this process?
This is the counter-intuitive aspect of staggered fermentation involving a big beer --- you WANT to re-oxygenate after fermentation has begun. Introducing oxygen after fermentation has already kicked in is usually ill-advised for a number of reasons; however, this process can be quite important for a beer of formidable abv (e.g., 12-16% or so). The yeast are already stressed given the environment, and they need new/more oxygen to keep working. This is also true of the new yeast that is staggered/introduced in stages. I cannot speak to specific oxygen schedules – or even the exact science behind it – but my process is listed in my recipe (below).

Can you share with us any general warnings, gotchas, or "Oh my lord, and for heaven sake dont do that!" pointers you may have?
Regarding staggered fermentation --- be ready to tweak your plan. You may or may not hit the original gravity needed for multiple yeast additions. When I brewed this particular beer, my system was less than efficient. I made up for that with a three hour boil. I ended up with a much higher OG than anticipated and had to immediately build up more yeast to follow the initial pitch. Also, be aware of the varying levels of alcohol tolerance of the yeast strains you choose. 

And conversely, can you share with us what you have found to give you the greatest success in this process?
Beyond the importance of having a lot of experience with the fundamentals of homebrewing (e.g., yeast count, ferm temps, etc), being near the beer during the first week is very important. I am a stay-at-home dad, and also work a bit from home. This allows me constant access to my fermenting beers. This might be tough for someone that is away from home during those first 1-3 days. 

Do you have any brews involving Staggered Fermentation on the brew plan in the near future? Maybe…that beer was a lot of work and extremely expensive – and many things can go wrong during the process. However, my wife just mentioned she’d like something similar this year. I also just upgraded to a 10 gallon brew system – which would make brewing five gallons of this (or a similar) beer much easier. Another pro is that they tend to last a long time. 

Can you share with us the recipe you are most proud of where im you used the process?

English Strong (very strong) - aka Skywalker OG - aka Anglozilla 

5 gallon batch (more like 3.75 gallons after boil) 

25 lbs maris otter
1 lb english chocolate malt
1 lb of EKG leaf hops (5.6%aa)
wlp 005 and wlp 001 

*I had a 54 qt mash tun cooler - so there was room

90 min mash 150 - 148 degrees 3 hour boil (can't find what my preboil vol was, but it was likely around 7 gallons...was down to 3.75 gal after 3 hr boil) 

*preboil gravity was boil was 1.148!

Hop schedule (ibu estimation 71):
4oz at 120 min
4oz at 45 min
4oz at 10 min
4oz at 1 min 
*each addition in a muslin bag or two, so they can be removed...whole leaf 

Yeast: two big starters of wlp005 - pitched after aeration (ferm started in 1 hr) - however, 005 does not have the alcohol tolerance to ferm a 1.148 beer down to an acceptable FG --- made two big starters of 001 to add later 

Aeration and yeast schedule: 
brewday: aerate and pitch shit-tons of 005 
Day 2: re-aerated
Day 3: morning - brief re-aerate and pitch starter of 001
Day 4: evening - pitched other starter of 001 ferm temp was around 67-72 entire way (let free rise to 72 towards end to help attenuation) 

*gravity sample after 2 weeks was at 1.038 (approx 74% attenuation, ~14% abv)

*racked after 25 days (still at 1.038)

*kegged 33 days after brewday (still at 1.038) 

I heard you just moved from condo brewing to garage brewing. That's a home run! What is the greatest asset you now have in your brew house, you didnt have in the big bad beer loving city of Denver? 

Well Amen to that! Keith, once again thanks so much for sharing what you've learned. I hope this gives people the inspiration to try something truly unique and the tools to make those beers not only good, but awesome!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hammock Rye

I dont know what inspired me, but I got a hankering to do a rye ale and I figured, lets go big on this one.  Rye has never really caught my eye and I wanted to not only go big with the rye, but I figured, let's make use of this new corker and see what happens when we age some as well.   Some, but not all, maybe all.

That said, i dont know if the oxidatitive process would benefit a beer that was meant to accentuate this malt's delicate spicy character, it just may muddle it.

Enough fluff, let's get to the beer.  Upon research of big Rye's I came across an article I have yet to "re-discover" and it was of the author's opinion that Chocolate and Rye made a very nice combo, so i went with that.  I also found a Terrapin recipe and having enjoyed it in the past I figured I could use this clone recipe as a backbone to my newest addition.  

Let's begin.


OG - 1096
FG - 1026
Mash efficiency - 76%
ABV - 9.5%
IBU - 35
BUGU - .36
SRM - 15

16 - UK Pale
2 - Rye Malt
1 - Flaked Rye
12oz - Flaked Oats
8oz - Crystal 60
8oz - Bisquit
4 oz - Pale Chocolate
2oz - Special B
1LB - sugar (in boil)
1LB - rice hulls

Millenium - .5oz (60) 27ibu
UKGoldings - .5 (30) 6ibu
UKGoldings - .75 (10) 3ibu

Yeast - Irish ale - 004 second gen


8.5 heated water to stove.  
Added Camden tablet

Full tun:
7.5G at 150

Began running then Added 1G boiling.

Pitch of second gen 004 from slurry.  Warmed up - no added wort or nutrient.  Going to over pitch just slightly to accommodate as clean a fermentation as possible.

Mr. Malty calls for 346 billion at 193ml.  
Pitching 375 (10% more) - 210ml

Lag - 18 - 66
D1 - high krausen - 66
D2 - 5 - 70
D3 - 70 - moved to upstairs ambient 6 degrees warmer
D8 - 76
D13 - 75 - gravity 1.028 ... Needs time 
7/24 - 75 - 1025 - swirled - tastes awesome! Ready for bottling - cork some, wax some
8/5 - 77 - moved to fridge. No final FG taken - it's tasty

8/12 - Bottle Conditioned with 4.5oz Corn Sugar targeting 2.5L

Tasting Notes: Not before 8/26

Tasting Notes: 8/27 - Next to no carb!  But why?

Well, upon further review of my noted I made a critical mistake in my process.  I did not take flocculation into account prior to cold crashing the beer.  Irish Ale yeast is a med-high floc yeast and therefore, especially when cold crashing, you will get the majority f the yeast to come out of suspension.  Thiss is an excellent tool for clarification, but does you little to no good if you plan to bottle condition after the fact.  Unless, you take this into consideration and adjust.

What adjustment you might ask?  Well, the answer is right there under your beer, yeast, brilliant!

If you are going to cold crash a beer for clarity prior to bottle conditioning, it safest to add back a portion of yeast and stir well.  This will put the yeast homogeneously back n suspension for the purpose of bottle conditioning.

Now that I have made my mistake and bottled, and corked, 20 beautiful bombers of double Rye Ale (which is on track to be amazing), I have two choices, wait, or force carb.  I am a patient brewer so I have a test bottle at the ready and I will poop her open no earlier than 9/26.  This will have given the beer 6 weeks to carb up.  If at this time the beer is still not carbed Im going to take the majority of the brew and keg, force carb and re-bottle.  Win some, loss some, but the beer will live to be drunk another day.
The rest of the brews I will leave in the bottle just to see how long it does in fact take for the bottles to condition, if they ever condition.

10/9/14 - Still nada!  I have put Brett in a couple bombers and labeled them to be drunk in a month.  I am very excited to see how these go and will probably Brett more of them if the experiment goes well. 

10/19/14 - well, seems I was just a couple weeks ahead of the yeast.  Forums said give it 1 took 2.  I harvested some 007 slurry to a eye dropper and started popping bottles to add yeast.  Popped 14 of 17 bottles and only 3 were still showing little carb (but they were carbonating).  The rest were perfect and one was explosive!  Recorded all and added yeast to the few that were still undercarbed.  Time is now on deck.  The beers are beautiful and will be reproduced, tasting notes to follow.

Initial tasting notes 
A - light brown. Well clarified.  White head holds through entire pour.  Beautiful 
S - aroma is moderate fruity enters and spice.  A gorgeous bouquet.  Malt is apparent, alcohol is present but restrained.
T - huge complexity if malty, spicey, hints if chocolate come more forward as the glass warms.  Spice is readily apparent.  Slight residual sweetness, not cloying.  Alcohol is masked but not completely.  Fusels restrained.  Beautiful balance of all aspects.  
M - perfect moderate mouthfeel.  Highly approachable.  Smooth.
O - winner!  Top 3 beers ever brewed!  Want to let this baby age at least 3 months between tastings.  

1/19/15 - not drinking but reviewing this post i just want to add that this beer has only gotten better.  To quote a fellow club member it was worth the wait.  This beer will become a local staple with iterations of brett to come.  A real bute clark!

Next - simplify grist then...
1. Proper process will lead to no issues with carbonation:)
2. Split batch -  Light oak with wild turkey.  Very subtle addition.  Be very restrained here. 
3. Split batch - Brett C to finish the beer balloon style and bottle at 1010 or less to carbonate.  Age at least 6 months.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Baby Step to a Great Sour - 3 Island Baby Tripel

BelgianPalooza is my yearly summer Belgain Series.  This year is especially special because it is the start of my sour brewing sessions, so, with that said, let's see where this summer takes us.  More respectfully and accurately, let's see where the beer takes us.

In my exploration of peoples' experiences, research and plain old opinions within the funky beer world, there is in fact one (and only one) uncontested point, your best chance of brewing a great sour is to start with a great base beer.  Additionally, I want to learn about the profile of the Belgian Sour Mix 1, so I have decided to adjust a nice Westmalle Clone recipe because the recipe could be considered very yeast'centric', whereas a IPA would be hop'cetric' and a Belgian Strong Dark would be malt'centric'.  

My adjustment in this brew is to bring the beer down on the ABV from the "required" 7% in the BJCP Style Guide.  This is done so when the recipe goes down the sour rabbit hole there is more room for the pedio and lacto to work than if it was a true Tripel.  

Conclusion: I'll brew the clone base beer first, just to get something on tap for the summer (priorities people!!!), and if I like the result, I'll tweak the recipe for souring (see below).  So let's get started.

Brew Plan:  Trappist 500 and Belgian Sour Mix 1
1. Westmalle"ish" clone, aka 3 Island Belgian Baby Tripel
2. If the brew turns out nicely then use the recipe and pitch Belgian Sour Mix
3. 3 Island's yeast is repitched to "The Prince David" - Belgian Dark Strong
4. The Prince David repitch to Belgian-Brett (perhaps named BB King) which will be a mixed culture of an earlier Brett Troix and Saison 568. - Looking at doing a staggered fermentation here.  Saison is initial pitch, under pitch.  Then BIG pitch of Brett at 48 hours. Hmmmmm:)
5. TBD

Goals for the base beer
A - Straw color, solid white head dissipating to the classic Belgian lace

S - fruity, spicy, peppery.  Thank you WLP 500!  Slight maltiness may be present, but not forward, low-moderate floral aroma from the Styrian (and from the sea roses:)

T - low fusels from a planned low fermentation temp (I like this as it makes the beer more approachable).  Restrained by the low pitch temp the esters from the yeast will still shine through this simple malt bill and dry finish.  

M - medium due to the relatively "higher" alcohol content (glycerol, which is produced in the fermentation process lends greatly to mouthfeel.  Bigger beer = more glycerol = more full-bodied beer)  Even though I plan to attenuate this beer down via a free rise fermentation profile (pitch low and end on the high end of optimum), the alcohol produced will make up for the lack in residual sugars.

O - highly approachable beer and simple. A smooth start with, medium mouthfeel and a dry finish makes the beer sessionable, and the fruity character of the yeast will be slightly forward but not overwhelming as it is restrained by the fermentation profile, balanced with the malt and complimented by the floral aroma of the light/late hopping.

E - Split batch.  A portion to be infused with local Sea Rose in bottles and corked.


OG - 1.057
FG - 1.011
ABV - 6.5%
IBU - 24
BUGU - .42 (to style is listed as .39)


Starter - WLP Trappist 500 -  1.5L, 1040, 48 hours
Belgian Pilsen - 12lb - 89%
Belgian Candi Sugar - Pale (homemade recipe) - 1.5lb - 11%

Mash 148

Boil - 90 min

Czech Saaz - 60 - .25oz
Czech Saaz - 30 - .75oz
Styrian Goldings - Flamout - 1oz

Fermentation Profile: pitch 65 and rise to 75 over 10 days (1 degree per day).  Crash for as long as you can before you must drink it:)  Keg and enjoy.

7/9/14: brewed with Danny H.  Pitched at 65.
7/12/14 - high krausen and 73
7/24 - 1012 - placed in fridge - turned dial to 8.
7/25 - 50 degrees - turned dial to horizontal - 
8/1 - came home from skytop to find her at 40 still!  Temp control on old fridge seems to be "on" or "defrost" - kegged via "CO2-push transfer" from carboy to keg, very clean.  Harvested yeast. Force carbed 20psi and shook 4 min.  Carb not settled in and a bit low for initial tasting.  Left on gas at 12psi.

Initial tasting: Very, very nice.  Hits all the points we were shooting for. Needs to remain on gas a week and condition properly.

8/12 -

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gilligan's Ginger (and Lemongrass) Saison

Ya, I know, zero points for stupid brew jokes.  This beer is the first Saison of the blog and the first Saison of the summer.  I am certainly a seasonal brewer and it is the season for Saison!  And why is it the summer, I mean season of Saison?  Well the brief overview is quite simple, you had Belgian farmers, some of whom enjoyed a refreshing beer after a hard day in the fields.  These gentlemen would create a wort, put it in a barrel and stick that barrel in a spacious locale, like a farmhouse (or barn if you will).

Now, it just so happens that yeast is carried on dust and such things, and not only one strain of yeast, many strains.  So the strains that worked best under the warm, and sometimes hot conditions of said barn or farmhouse tended to be the winners in the battle of the wort.  Fast forward to today, and the farmhouse yeasts available have been taken from the brewers of those farmhouses, and of which strive in warmer fermentations.  

If you want to drill down further I highly recommend doing your own research or just picking up a book on the subject.  there are some great ones out there including, but not limited to Farmhouse Ales, by Phil Markowski.  Here's an excellent review for your perusal by The Mad Fermentationist

With this history in mind I set out to create Gilligan's Ginger and Lemongrass Saison.  If you haven't used this yeast let me quote my wife, Kerry, after her first sip of a finished, simple Saison, "Now this is what I would have always expected beer to taste like."  Yahtzee I say!  Will you marry me because I dare say that is the most wonderful thing I have ever heard.  And I totally agree (marriages have been built on far less than this I assure you).  

Yes, this yeast is an individual to say the least.  It imparts unique citrus and spice (not hot spice, spicy spice) characters and tends to leave a beer relatively dry.  How?  Well simply put, it attenuates more efficiently/effectively than most Sach yeasts, and under the right conditions, it can leave a beer "BONE DRY," to lend a quote from Jamil Zanashef's podcast Saisons.  Citrusy, spicy, and dry...getting thirsty?  I am!  

So let's dive in. Oh I wish I could actually DIVE into a vat of this glorious nectar...Brew Club Project!

The first Saison of the season is always a simple one so I have plenty of room for repitching the yeast. Two points regarding this opening statement; First, when I say "leave plenty of room," we must keep in mind that when repitching yeast it is in the brewers best interest to pitch yeast from low to high in every category.  Low IBU to high IBU.  Low SRM to high SRM.  And low alcohol to high alcohol.  The reasons and perhaps arguments will vary on this point, but to paraphrase Ockham's Razor), all things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the right one.  Conclusion:  Keeping to this format will give you the closest to your desired result in each repitch.

Second, tribal knowledge will tell you that all yeasts (Both Sach and Brett) seems to find their rhythm around the third pitch; A good thing to keep in mind when it comes to your brew plan, competition brews, what you give to your father-in-law, etc.  My brew plan calls for a Saison-Brett beer later this summer so I'd like to warm up these little guys for the big show to come.

Back to the beer

The perception I want:

1.  I want this to be a sessionable beer, so no more than 6% (what can I say, I learned to brew in Colorado) - Watch the OG and predict a higher attenuation rate than predicted by brew calculators.

2.  I have brewed with this yeast before and so I'd like to spice it up a little.  

3.  I dont want a lot of fusel alcohols (hot alcohol flavor), but I do want it to dry out as much as possible.

4.  Don't overshadow the yeast and spice with the malt, keep it simple.

How to create that perception:

Starter - I don't need one because the OG is going to be low enough that a fresh vial of WLP 568 will be pretty close to the proper cell count to ferment properly.  It is not an uncommon practice to underpitch slightly which will create additional replication which is where a lot of the ester compounds form, and thereby really pushing the expression of those citrus/spicy esters.
Side note:  Doc from the BN once talked about tossing one vial of Hef yeast into a 10 Gallon batch to really push the yeast for this effect.  Talk about stress!!!

Grist - Simple and highly fermentable: Belgian Pilsen malt, sugar

Water - no adjustment  

Mash (Highly Fermentable) - 148 degrees.  I want this thing to end up bone dry and to get that character I need the beer to attenuate as much as possible.  

Boil - clean bittering, with a floral aroma to accompany the citrus on the nose.  Add Ginger (and I have some leftover lemongrass from dinner last night) at 5 minutes just to be sure they are sterile.

Fermentation Profile: I'll pitch at the low end of the yeast's WLP recommended temp and ramp up to as close to 90 s possible over 10 days.  Why 90?  Because it's the hottest I've ever heard of people pushing the yeast.

Recipe Central

OG - 1.047
FG - 1.005 !!!!!  Score! (90% attenuation:)
ABV - 5.6%
IBU - 25
BUGU - .54
Color 3.3

Starter - NA

Belgian Pilsen - 10lb - 85%
White Wheat - 1lb - 8.5%
Sugar - 12oz - 6.5%

Warrior - .3oz - 60
Styrian - .5oz - 15
Styrian - .5 - 1 min

Yeast - WLP 568 Saison Blend


Brew day - solo 
Ginger - 2oz, small cubes
Lemongrass - 1oz sliced
40 min chill down:(

Fermentation - reset red arrow indicator to 5 below "center" this seems to be actual.
Lag - 18ish 
D1 - 74
Added 2 degrees per day to D10, ended at 88. 

7/4/14 - FG at .005, no diacetyl detected (not that I can catch it anyway), so, fermenter in fridge: Crashing to high 30s.  Ginger aroma apparent, but not overwhelming -  glorious.

7/9/14 - on gas - 10psi
7/16 - initial tasting notes - 
A - pale straw, bright - tight bubbles dissipate half way but linger on to the end.
S - ginger is pleasant, lemon also pleasant, not overpowering, yeast character a bit masked by accompanying veggies. No hop aroma though, thought I'd get more flowery, but could just be my nose.  Kerry gets honey, subtle in the citrus, sweet spice.
T - dry start, dry finish.  Maybe slightly astringent, just a touch.  A little Munich maybe to balance.  Not bitter, nicely balanced there with the Citrus notes and ginger lingering lightly.  And of course the Saison spicy, peppery aspect is shining through.  Solid - perhaps just a tad astringent, but solid.  REFRESHING
M - low-high.  A little higher carb might round it down to low-medium.  I think it could use more carb.
O - beautiful.  I love the refreshing aspect as always and think, with a little more carb it'll be in it's wheel house.  Maybe two weeks on gas to settle out a bit, but clarity is surprisingly bright.  The ginger is not overpowering, but complimentary, perfect.  The lemongrass pushed the citrus notes of the yeast and the beer is well balanced and attenuated.  

Quick piece on attenuating beer up to and past 8% abv w/lacto/pedio

Sour Recipe Considerations

First off, pedio and lacto don't like working above 8%.  Some say they work more slowly, others say they just won't work.  Secondly, Brett will work upwards of 18%.  With those constants, let's assume the beer attentuates down and hits 8%, and as a result pedio/lacto will take a back seat to Brett for the duration of fermentation/conditioning/aging.

Conclusion #1 - The further the beer has to attenuate to 8%, the more souring we will get because it is the pedio and lacto that are the main souring agents in a beer. In other words, time below 8% is proportional to perceived souring.

Conclusion #2 - After 8%, Brett funk continues to increase with time and sour character stays relatively flat because Brett, as the primary souring agent, is less effective than lacto/pedio. 

With that in mind what recipe considerations might the learned homebrewer derive?

1. Starter - an underpitch will reduce attenuation thereby leaving more residual sugars (bug food).

2.  Specialty malts - the use of a higher percentage of specialty malts will leave additional residual sugars (bug food) available to the bugs later.  Keep in mind, the use of roasted malts must be restrained as these bugs, especially Brett, accentuate the astringent character in these malts and can often lead to an undesirable perception of astringency.

3. Simple sugars - consider that their use will only make the wort more fermentable leaving (less bug food) for later and a higher alcohol now, thereby closing the gap to our 8% transition from lacto/pedio character development to Brett character development

4. Mash temp:
A. In 100% Brett fermentation: Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave likes rolling with standard mashes around 152. (more bug food)

B. Vinny Cilurzo of Russian River likes to go high, 160 plus.  Of course we dont want to kill the enzymes, so be aware of calibration errors in your thermometers if your going to go for an all star mash temp of 168. (lots more bug food)

5.  Fermentation profile: Pitch below optimum fermentation range and allow free rise into the optimal range, then bring the ambient temp up to meet the yeast as fermentation settles (and the temperature begins coming back down) to complete the fermentation in the optimum range.  This cooler fermentation profile will reduce attenuation in primary. (Yes, more bug food)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Beer Definitions by


adjunct: any substitute unmalted grain or fermentable ingredient added to a mash. Reduces cost and produces lighter-bodied, paler, and less malty beers.
aeration: exposing a substance to air, performed at various stages of the brewing process.
airlock (or fermentation lock): a one-way valve that allows carbon dioxide gas to escape while preventing the entry of contaminants.
ale: a generic term for beers produced by top fermentation (i.e. using ale yeast strains) at temperatures higher than lager fermentation temperatures; wort usually made by infusion mashing.
alpha acid: the soft, bitter hop resin responsible for most of beer¹s bitterness. Alpha acids must be boiled to convert alpha acids to iso-alpha acids. Measured as a percentage of the total weight of the hop cone.
alpha acid units (AAU): percentage of alpha acids in a sample of hops multiplied by the weight in ounces of the entire sample. (One ounce of hops with an alpha-acid content of 5 percent contains 5 AAUs.) AAU values are used in the calculation of BUs and IBUs.
all-grain beer: a beer made entirely from malted grains, as opposed to beers made from malt extract.
amylase: generic name for enzymes that break the bonds holding starch molecules together.
attenuation: the drop in specific gravity that occurs as a wort goes through fermentation.


bacteria: one-celled organisms that reproduce rapidly under strict temperature, pH, and other conditions. (Bacteria can be killed with disinfectants.)
barm: liquid yeast that appears as froth on fermenting beer. (Can also be used as a verb meaning to pitch or add yeast.)
beerstone (or beer scale): a hard film created by the combination of calcium oxalate, protein and sugar that is formed when the same vessel is used repeatedly.
beta acid: a soft, bitter hop resin that is harsher in flavor than the alpha acid but almost insoluble at normal wort pH values.
bitterness units (BU): a system to express the bitterness in beer with a unit based on alpha acid content. The homebrewers' bittering unit estimates the bitterness of hopped malt extract by multiplying the amount of hops by the alpha acid unit of the hops used.
body (or mouthfeel): the consistency, thickness, and sensation of fullness created by beer in the mouth.
boil: the step in brewing when the sweet wort is transferred to a brew kettle and boiled with hops to produce a bitter wort.
bottle-conditioned: beer carbonated naturally in the bottle by priming or re-yeasting.
break: the clumping and separation of protein matter during the boiling stage (hot break) and cooling stage (cold break).
brilliance (or brightness): description of beer in terms of clarity and effervescence (also called purity).
buttery: having a taste like butter or butterscotch, signifying the presence of diacetyl.


caramel malt: a malt that is prepared by "stewing" (kilning in a moist environment) to produce sugars from starch (the sugars caramelize when the malt is dried to yield color and flavor compounds). Also called crystal malt.
carbonation: injecting or dissolving carbon dioxide gas in a liquid to create a bubbly taste and texture.
carboy: a large glass or plastic vessel with a narrow neck.
chalk: a term for calcium carbonate, used in brewing dark beers.
chill haze: a haziness in beer caused by the precipitate formed when a beer is refrigerated.
chillproofing: treating beer to make it more resistant to chill haze, usually by holding beer near freezing for several days of adding polycar and/or silica gel during the second stage of fermentation.
clarification: removing suspended particles from the wort or finished beer through mechanical or chemical means.
closed fermentation: anaerobic fermentation performed in closed vessels.
conditioning: the process of carbonating beer.
crystal malt: another name for caramel malt (see earlier).


decoction mashing: the method of removing some of the mash, boiling it, then returning it to the main kettle to boost the mash temperature (this process is used in all-grain brewing).
dextrose (or glucose): a monosaccharide used to prime bottle-conditions beers.
diacetyl: a powerful aroma compound derived from yeast that can impart a butterscotch or buttery flavor to beer.
doughing in (or mashing in): mixing ground malt with water, the first step in all-grain brewing.
draft (or draught): beer drawn from kegs or casks instead of being bottled.
dry hopping: the practice of adding hops to the primary or secondary fermenter (or to finished beer) to increase the aroma and hop flavor of the beer without increasing its bitterness.
dry kit: a homebrewing kit that contains dry malt extract, hops, and sometimes specialty malts.
dry malt: malt extract in a dried powder form (often called DME).


effervescence: the bubbling in beer primarily caused by dissolved carbon dioxide gas.
enzyme: a protein that acts as a biological catalyst for chemical reactions, such as alpha-amylase, which converts starch to maltotriose and dextrin sugars, or beta-amylase, which converts dextrins to simpler sugars: maltose, glucose and smaller dextrins.
esters: powerful flavor compounds formed by the combination of organic acids and alcohols during fermentation. They contribute fruity aroma to beer.
extract: the sugar left after mashing and lautering malted barley. By removing the liquid, sweet wort is reduced to a syrup or powder and packaged in cans for homebrewing.
extract brewing: making beer from malt extract syrup or powder as opposed to unprocessed malt (which is used in all-grain brewing).


fermentation: the process by which yeast releases energy in the absence of oxygen by breaking sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
filler: a machine that pours liquid into bottles or other containers.
filtration: the process of removing suspended solids, primarily yeast and proteins, to produce a brilliant beer (usually performed just before bottling).


gelatin: a colorless and tasteless protein used as a fining agent.
gelatinization: the transformation of starch from a solid, crystalline form to a liquid, soluble form. It occurs when starch is heated in water. Gelatinized starch can be attacked by mashing enzymes whereas ungelatinized starch cannot.
grist: crushed malt and adjuncts mixed with hot water for mashing.
growler: a container like a jug used to carry draft beer purchased at local brewpubs.
gypsum: hydrated calcium sulfate used to treat soft or neutral water making it hard.


head: the foam at the top of a poured beer.
heat exchanger: equipment used to heat or cool the wort rapidly.
high gravity: an original wort gravity of 1.060 or greater.
hops: the flowers or cones of the female hop plant used in brewing to impart flavor and bitterness. These can be used whole, or in form of pellets or plugs.
hop bitterness unit (HBU): This is a value assigned to a hop for the purpose of identifying bitterness. The formula, devised by Fred Eckhardt, gives the brewer the ability to calculate the amount of hops to use in order to achieve the desired bitterness.
hot break: the precipitation of protein and tannic matter when hops are added to boiling wort.
hop extract: resins and oils extracted from hops by using organic solvents or liquid carbon dioxide.
hydrometer: a glass instrument used to measure the specific gravity of beer by comparing it to that of water.


IBU (International Bitterness Unit): unit of measurement used to express a beer¹s bitterness as milligrams of iso-alpha-acid (a compound created when alpha acids are boiled) per liter of beer.
Immersion heater: a heating device used to maintain a constant temperature in the mash tun.
Infusion mashing: the traditional British method of mashing, primarily used in ale brewing. It occurs at a single temperature and is carried out in a combination mash-lauter vessel called an infusion mash tun.
Invert sugar: a mixture of fructose and glucose produced by chemically breaking down sucrose; used for priming.
Irish moss: a red seaweed added at the end of the boiling process as a fining agent.
Iron: an ion that causes haze and oxidation and hinders yeast.
Isinglass: a gelatinous substance derived from the swimming bladder of sturgeon fish, also used as a fining agent.


Jetting machine: an automatic machine used to wash bottles.
Jingle: a beverage consisting of ale that is sweetened and flavored with nutmeg and apples.
Jockey box: a beverage-dispensing system, often used to serve beer, consisting of a picnic cooler with an internal cooling coil and one or more externally mounted taps. The cooler is filled with ice, and the beverage is chilled as it passes through the coil to the tap.


kegging: drawing beer from the fermenter to the keg.
keggle: nickname for a commercial beer keg that has been converted into a homebrewing beer kettle.
kettle: a large vessel used to heat wort.
kraeusen: the fluffy head of foam that forms on the surface of wort during the first few days of fermentation. At its peak it is called "high kraeusen."
kraeusening: adding a small amount of wort at high kraeusen to fully fermented lager to create a secondary fermentation and natural carbonation.


lactic acid: an acid produced by bacteria during mashing or (more frequently) during fermentation and aging via contamination.
lager: (n.) any beer produced by bottom fermentation. (v.) Aging beer at cold-storage temperatures.
lambic: a Belgian wheat beer traditionally brewed in winter that uses wild airborne yeast and bacteria to ferment the wort.
lauter: to separate the wort produced during mashing from the spent grains (husks and coagulated protein).
lauter tun: a large, perforated, false-bottomed vessel used to strain the sweet wort from the spent grains after mashing. Sometimes the mash tun is used for both mashing and lautering.
Lovibond: the scale often used to evaluate malt, wort and beer color.
lupulones: the bitter resins found in the lupulin glands of hops, also knows as beta acids. There are three forms of lupulone: co-lupulone, lupulone and adlupulone.


malt: barley or other grain steeped in water and germinated to create enzymes to be used in mashing, then kilned to stop the growth of the grain and to reduce moisture.
maltase: the enzyme that catalyzes the reaction that coverts maltose into dextrose.
malt extract: wort concentrated into a syrup or powder by removing all or most of the water.
mash: (n.) a mixture of milled malted grains and hot water used to produce the sweet wort needed in brewing. (v.) mixing ground malt with hot water in the mash tun to extract the malt starch and convert it to grain starches and fermentable sugars.
mash kettle: the kettle used to boil part of the mash in decoction brewing.
mash tun: a vessel used to hold the mash in infusion brewing. May be fitted with a perforated false bottom to remove the sweet wort produced during mashing from spent grains.
mead: a beverage produced by fermenting honey.
melomel: mead flavored with fruit.
metheglin: mead flavored with spices.
milk of amnesia: a term for old ale, a strong, dark draft beer with a high original gravity served in Britain.
milling: grinding the malt into grist before extracting sugars during mashing.
modification: the net physical changes that occur within the barley kernel as it is converted from barley to malt.


natural conditioning: a secondary fermentation that occurs during ageing. During this maturation period there are still live yeast in the beer.
Ninkasi: the Sumerian goddess of beer.
noble hops: a variety of hops grown in Germany and Belgium. They are renowned for their flavor and aroma.
nonhopped: any style beer or malt extract that has not had contact with hops.
nonflocculating yeast: Bottom fermenting yeast that do not form clumps while fermenting.
Northern Brewer: a variety of hops grown in Kent, England, containing 8.511 percent alpha acids. It also grows in the northwestern United States, to even higher alpha acid levels.
nose: a term used in tastings to describe the overall fragrance, aroma and bouquet of a beer or wine.
Nugget: a variety of hops that grow in North America. This hop strain typically has about 913% alpha acid content.
nutrients: like any living creature, yeast require nutrients to remain healthy while performing their duty (i.e. fermentation). The essential nutrients are nitrogen and phosphorous, which are typically packaged and sold as "yeast nutrients" to add right after pitching your yeast.
Nuts and Bolts: A mix of a mild and bitter ale that is popular in England (most popular in the East Anglia region).


off-flavor: a term used to describe any taste in a brew that is inconsistent with the style or is just offensive. These flavors are often caused by poor sanitation, excessive aging and oxidation.
original gravity (OG): this is the specific gravity of a wort before it goes through any fermentation. The measurement tells you the amount of solids that are in a wort in reference to that of pure water at a certain temperature (which is given the value of 1.000 SG).
Oktoberfest: both a German festival and a German brew. The festival started nearly two hundred years ago in Munich and is now a 16-day event. The brew is typically lagered and cold-cellared for at least eight weeks and German beer laws demand a starting gravity of at least 1.052.
old ale: a dark English style ale that is meant to age at least one year. This ale has an acidic flavor that was originally caused by lactic acid. This acid was formed by the Lactobacilli contained in the wooden storage vessels where they were aged in the late nineteenth century.
over-priming: this is a flaw in bottling where too much sugar is added to the brew before bottling or kegging. The result is an over carbonated brew, or worse case scenario "bottle explosion."
oxidized: a brewing fault where a brew is exposed to excessive oxygen, causing flavor problems and spoilage. This can be caused by poor bottling procedure, or excessive headspace.


pale ale: an amber colored beer brewed with pale malt. This ale originated in England and is known for its light color, hoppiness and drinkability with its typical alcohol content of 3.5% by volume.
pasteurization: A stabilizing technique that uses high heat in packaged materials or brew to kill microorganisms. This process also prevents post packaging fermentation in brews and lengthens shelf life.
pH: the commonly used abbreviation for "potential hydrogen." This measurement is given a number between 1-14, representing the acidity or alkalinity in a solution. A solution below 7 pH is considered acidic and a solution above 7 is alkaline.
Pilsner: a style of beer that is light colored and hoppy. These brews originated in the city of Plzen, Czechoslovakia. Typically, this brew has a 5% abv.
porter: an extremely dark brew that is mild in alcohol. It originated in London as a richer alternative to ales. It gets its dark color and rich flavor from roasted, unmalted barley.
potential alcohol: the estimated amount of alcohol that a final brew will have. This measurement is based on the pre-fermentation sugar content.
primary fermentation: the first phase of fermentation where sugars are converted into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.
priming: the practice of adding sugar to fermented brew before bottling to reintroduce fermentation and carbonate the brew in bottle.


rack: to move beer from one container to another, typically from a primary to secondary fermenter in order to separate beer from the solids that fall out of solution during the initial fermentation period.
racking cane: a plastic tube with an arced end that is attached to a hose and used to siphon brew. The arced end stays above the solids when lowered to the bottom of a fermenter and helps to leave sediment behind.
rauchbier: An amber colored brew from Germany that is noted for its smoked flavor that derives from roasting and drying malts over an open fire.
real ale: an ale that hails from England and is cask-conditioned in the cellar. Real ales are often served from casks in the pub with a beer engine.
rest: during the mash, brewers hold the mash at a predetermined temperature in order to draw out certain enzymes from the grain.
RIMS: an acronym for Recirculating Infusion Mash System, a type of brewing system that many homebrewers use.
roasted barley: an unmalted barley that is roasted in a kiln to give it a dark color and a bit of a bitter flavor.
runoff: a synonym for wort, or the liquid that you separate from the spent grain husks during lautering.


saccharification: the process of converting starches contained in malt into fermentable sugars.
saison: a Belgian beer typically amber in color and top-fermented. At least 90 days of bottle conditioning is called for in this beer, that has a noticeable fruity flavor and alcohol percentage of about 5% by volume.
secondary fermentation: the second, slower stage of fermentation that takes place after primary fermentation has forced solids out of solution and the brew is racked to a closed bin (the "secondary fermenter").
sediment: the solid material that falls out of solution during fermentation (more so in the primary fermentation, but also in the secondary for certain brews.)
six-row barley: a variety of barley that grows six rows of grains and has more husk material by proportion than the more pristine two-row variety. The result is a less developed grain that yields less in the way of extract.
skimming: the process of removing the top layer of yeast that forms on the head of the brew during primary fermentation (with a tool known as a skimming oar). Brewers can utilize this process to save the yeast for later use.
smoked malt: a smoky flavored malt that gains its flavor through drying over open fire.
soft water: water that is free of calcium, magnesium, cholorine, iron and other elements that otherwise contribute to "hard water."
sparge: a process that brewers conduct during mashing in which spent grains are sprayed with hot water in order to extract the remaining sugars from the husks.
specific gravity (SG): a measurement that represents the density of a liquid at a specified temperature. Pure water is given a value of 1.000 SG at 39 ºC (4 ºC). This measurement is highly used in brewing in order to monitor various processes from boiling throughout fermentation.


tap: a device that is attached to a keg or cask in order to control the flow of the beer.
terminal gravity: a term used to define the specific gravity after a beer has fermented and aged appropriately. A synonym that is commonly used is final gravity.
tertiary fermentation: this is a fermentation that is carried out in bottles as a conditioning technique.
Tettnang: a German hop variety in the 35 percent alpha acid range.
thermometer: a tool for measuring temperature. Thermometers specifically made for brewing use alternative materials to mercury (such as alcohol) as a precautionary measure, so that if the thermometers break, no poisonous chemicals will infect the beer.
toasted malt: a pale malt that is kilned for varying amounts of time, at different temperatures in order to produce certain "toasty" flavor characteristics.
tonne: a wooden cask that is 2.2 barrels (68.2 gallons/259.1 L) in volume.
top fermentation: a fermentation method that utilizes yeast that hover on the surface as opposed to sinking to the bottom. Ales are "top fermented" beers while lagers are bottom fermented.
topping up: A term used to define the addition of water after boiling a concentrated wort or extract; or the practice of adding water after primary fermentation in order to decrease the head space and prevent air contamination.
Trappist beer: Beer brewed from any of the seven monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands. These beers are all top-fermented, bottle conditioned and range in alcohol content from 4 to 12% by volume. They are renowned for their fruity flavor and spritzy carbonation.
tripel: a strong Belgian ale that is pale in color and high in alcohol (upwards of 7% by volume).


U.K. gallon: A synonym for imperial gallon, the English measurement equal to ~1.2 U.S. Gallons. Similarly, the fractional volumes of U.K. pints and quarts are also the equivalent volume greater than the U.S. measurement.
ullage: A term that refers to calculating the headspace of a cask, keg or barrel.
uni-tanks: a type of fermenter that is used for both primary fermentation and conditioning.
unload: the process of emptying the steeped malts from the steeping vessel.
undermodified malt: Malt containing barley or other grains that have been kilned or dried out in a way that prevented all the enzymes from transforming into proteins.
underoxygenated: A term used to describe worts that have not been sufficiently aerated for fermentation. Yeast need an adequate amount of oxygen to effectively convert sugar to alcohol (and CO2).


VGA: an American hop variety providing medium bitterness.
Vienna lager: A style that derives from Austria that is amber in color. In modern day, Mexico has made this style popular through beers like Dos Equis Amber.
viscosity: As an adjective, this descriptor refers to body and mouthfeel, but it literally refers to the resistance of liquid (beer) to flow ‹ i.e. its thickness.
volatile acids: Acids in beer and other beverages that are decreased through evaporation, chemical treatment and fermentation.
vorlauf: German word referring to the process of recirculating wort through the grain bed.


wallop: a slang British term used for mild beers with low alcohol.
weissbier: the German term for wheat beer. Weiss literally means white and wheat beers are very pale in color.
weizenbier: the German term for top-fermented wheat beers.
wild yeast: yeast that is naturally airborne. Originally, all beers were fermented with wild yeast.
wort: the sweet solution created by boiling malt, hops and water. It is high in sugar and ferments when yeast is added.


yard of ale: a long neck glass that measures 3 feet (i.e. 1 yard) and holds about a quart of beer.
yeast: A single-celled organism of the genus Saccharomyces. During fermentation, yeast convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
yeast nutrients: These are elements that can be added to a fermentation to promote yeast health and vitality. Homebrew supply shops sell pre-measured packages of yeast nutrients for small batches.


zymase: enzymes in yeast that produce alcoholic fermentation by converting glucose to alcohols and carbon dioxide.
zymology (or zymurgy): the science of fermentation
zythos: Greek name for barleywine