Friday, November 21, 2014

Falmouth Flanders

Eric Mo'Bigs and I Have set out to make a Flanders Red based off of Jamil's straightforward recipe on BN, only difference is we are going to create multiple worts for blending and just plain old fashion homebrewing fun.  As we know, bugs multiple faster than Sach does, so our plan is to brew with the Rosaleare blend from Wyeast and and let her sit for 2 months (which we have now done).  The next step is to rack the beer and pitch a fresh, identical wort onto the remaining cake in its enirety.  Who knows where this rabbit hole will lead, but it'll be fun running it down!

39% - Vienna - 5.25 lbs.
39% - Pilsner - 5.25 lbs.
11%- Munich - 1.5 lbs
4% - Aromatic - .5 lbs.
4% - Special B - .5 lbs.
4% - Wheat Malt - .5 lbs.

Hops - .8oz - EKG

Yeast: Roselare - and complete repitch to cake.

OG - 1056
FG - low low low
SRM - 12

We both worked the same process and plan to take a look back in the Spring.

Brew Day

Falmouth Flanders One (FF1)
8/27/14 - Eric brews.  All is as stated above.  Into bucket fermenter.
11/21/14 - TTransferred FF1 to glass.  Initial tasting - Souring and dry. Goood mouthfeel but body low.  Not tart yet but on the away.  Stone fruit accents.  Medicinal taste on the sideline.  On track.

Plan is to oak around January with Medium - M+ oak cubes.

11/21/14 - FF2 Brewed, all is as above.  Harvested cake from FF1 and discarded most the mold that had accrued atop the pellicle.  We should have top cropped the whole pellicle before the transfer.

Next step - top up carboy into neck to reduce  exposure to air.  Need to keep that acetic acid character to a minimum. Was listening to The Sour Hour on BN and they say to not let sours in primary "too long."  I will make it a practice t rack off the primary cake at 3 months and do my initial tasting at that time.  I have been fearful of transferring the beer, but three things need to be considered:

1.  The beer should not age on the primary cake.
2.  3 months is a good time for an initial tasting.
3.  Utilizing good process of CO2 for purging new vessels, purging when doing a tasting and/or transferring and standard sanitation will allow for minimal O2 uptake.
4. I haven't been topping up my carboys after initial fermentation.

1/9/14 - FF1 - on a good trajectory - light funk, low acid.  Did not purge with CO2. Added Hungarian oak cubes
FF2 - same path as FF1 with slightly more funk to date. Purged with CO2.

3/11/15 - FF3 - added 6g baking soda, 5 CaCl and gypsum. - Mash 156.  Same grist as previous. Only adding 2g Warrior at FWH for 5ibu's to let the lacto run a little more.

Racked FF2 to new fermentor.

Better efficiencies these days and I realize I didnt adjust.  Looking for a 1048 preboil gravity to target a 1056 OG. 
 Hit the pre-boil gravity at 6.5G.  2g of Warrior in FWH targeting 5ibu.
Racked wort into FF1/FF2 slurry.  Slurry took up half gallon...also left a pint and change of the beer to grab some active bugs.  Purged both FF2 and FF3.

Tasting FF2 - slight acetic charcter starting to show through.  Malt is forward.  Body is medium-low and finish is bone dry.  Brett funk is lingering as is a tannic charcter. I think FF 2 should get the cherries.
FF1 - has oak
FF2 - cherries
FF3 -

4/1/15 - tasting
FF1 - thin body, acetic apparent, especially on nose, but not overbearing, slight funk, overripe fruit aroma, and in the flavor.  Smooth draw and big vanilla at the end.
FF2 - more ripe fruit than FF1, higher relative funk and a bread aroma, malt, taste is very malty, malty finish, medium-plus body, lingering funk and there is a residual sweetness.  Also smooth.  Funk is a littele more forward on then nose.  There is a medium-low perception of hot alcohol, but only the aroma...not necessarily fussel, but its there.
FF3 - appearance cloudy, but similar color will come with clarity.  aroma is sweet funk, sweet fruit, slight maltiness, no acetic. Not as malty as FF2, perceived bitterness coming from funk, medium body, veryb little sour, but you can tell it starting at a very young age, no lingering funk and perhaps a little percived lingering sourness, almost tannic.  The best start of the three.

7/1/15 - 10lbs thawed black cherries to FF2.

9/1/15 - blending session - 1:1:2, Oak:Yeast:Cherry

1. blend 3G Cherry versio,/n to 1.5G Yeast, and 1.5G oak in a wild bucket.
2. Take remaining cherry, add to bottling/blending bucket and do the same blend.  Probably 1G cherry, .5G oak, .5G yeast.  Bottle with sugar tabs.  Clean cherry fermenter.
3. Add big batch blend blend from wild bucket to cleaned cherry fermenter.
4. There will be equal amounts of yeast/oak at about 3G each.  Add all yeast version to oak fermenter.  Plan to add fruit and additional lacto to this version later.
5. Harvest yeast.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rye Saison

Inspired by a Rye Saison I had out in CA with Kellen GooTay, Ive decided to test my hand with the mix of flavors.  Until recently I have been somewhat linear in my thinking about recipe creation.  Style brewing definitely inspired, taught and moved my education, but with additional time on the tun, I feel as though my inderstadnign of various ingredients and their effects has gotten better.  Lets throw in a Stout fermented with Saison yeast and bunked with Brett and my world has officially gotten as shaken up a snowglobe by an angry 4 year old.

Enough said about that, this brew does not fall far fro the style tree, but it is a step in the right direction.

The idea is a Saison I can enjoy in the winter months.  Darker and with more of a spicy character than the your average Saison.

The How.  Well I am still on the extract brew kick, albeit Ive done one brew that way and don't know if I can muster many more, nonetheless with all the trial and tribulation (and research) on the math I have come full circle to the standard answer, simpler is better.  So, in engineering this brew I am just going to assume all of the specialty malts will impart zero fermentables and take a pre-boil OG to confirm or disavow.  Adjust hopping and keep on cruising.  Done.

Hopping will be done with Warrior to balance and then Willamette in the whirlpool per a snazzy new technique I recently picked p from a brew club member.  I'm going to chill the brew down to 180 then add the hops and stop cooling, allowing the temp to fall to 160 or let 30 minutes pass, whichever comes first.  The idea is to keep the brew above the bacterial "grab and go" range and allow for a maximized absorption of hop acids (aroma in this case), without blowing them off due to boiling temps.  I'll sample down the road and may add another ounce to the dry hop.

Grist (guided by themadfermentationist)
60 % - Pilsner Extract - 6.6 lbs.
27 % - Rye - 3 lbs.
9 % - Sugar - 1lbs.
4.5 % - White Wheat Malt - .5 lbs.

Warrior - .33oz (27 IBUs, to obtain .5 BUGU based on fermentables only)
Willamette - 1oz in whirlpool from 180-160 degrees.

Pitch warm -  70 then push up to 85

OG - Fermentables (Extract and Sugar ONLY) - 1.053
FG - 1.009 per beer alchemy, but this may end high with the addition of the unfermentable sugars.
ABV - 5.8%
SRM - 4.4

Brew day
11/21/14 - 
water add gypsum 2.5tsp, steeped rye and wheat 45 minutes at 160-170. 
Preboil - 1045 (target for Fermentables only). 90 min boil. Added .33oz warrior at 60 for BUGU - .5 of target OG.

This did not work out.  The Rye does not seem to have come out of the steep with much character whatsoever.  The color of the finished beer is nice, but I am not optimistic about getting much, if any Rye character.  This beer needs to be judged solely on the aroma of the hop.  If you like it then you have done well to choose the Willamette.  Do not judge the beer as a Rye Saison, only as a Saison with a WillAmette aroma hopping.

Starter - 2L - 1500 to wort and 500 to fridge.  Fermenter in chamber with aquarium heater - set to 79 hoping for 75.

D0 - A very quick start
D1 - 73 degrees.  
D2 - D6 - ramped up 2 degrees per day and let the brew at about 80 when I left on a trip.

12/1/14 - FG 1010.  Kegged (no carb, out of CO2 till day after tomorrow)

12/3/14 - Took 9 bombers - 20 drops of Brett C from dropper per MadFermentationist, filled and corked!  Will take 4 weeks to carb, but shouldn't really have first tasting for 3 months (if you can).

Initial tasting from keg.  Very straightforward Saison yeast characteristics.  Solid white head, holds thins near bottom of glass.  Beautiful light bed from the rye.  Can't perceive much on the rye. Not surprised due to hot steep.  Crisp and refreshing.  But if that pils bite, and little to hop character.  Overall it's nice, but not unlike rewvent iterations.  To set it apart:
Increase rye malt to 2lbs, add 1lb flaked rye and .5lb Crystal rye.  May as well go balls to the wall if I'm going to make a rye saison.  Barrel age for added complexity of barrel available.  

12/15/14 - This beer has truly come into its own.  The yeast character has livened up and there is a beautiful light clove character which is now coming through.  The rye spice seems to be more apparent, but is still subdued, nonetheless the beer has improved leading me to understand that this is not a drink ASAP brew, cold condition your Saisons for 2 weeks before judging them from now on. 
1/1/15 - bottled some with 1/8tsp acid blend and Brett C.  Some with just Brett C

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter Ale 2015

The Brew Farm Group has announced the style for the Winter 2015 Beer Comp, Winter Ale, apropos.

Accomplishing some quick research to BYO I found this article:

There was talk of English vs Belgian vs American "versions" of the brew, but in the style guide this is all up for interpretation, thank you very much!

The notes that caught my eye were the following;
- Strong (greater than 5.5%).  My translation, greater than 7%, which will bode well for the "warming" character defined there.

- Rich - aka, malt forward or malty and slightly sweet to sweet finish. (BUGU .35 or less)

- Spices added to compliment, not overwhelm (standard), yet a point that I feel is very process based.  It is here we will attempt to move away from the herd.

- Warming - In engineering a "warming" sensation, I will add Wild Turkey, cuz in makes me happy.
To target the low end of 70-75%, I'll just restrict the free rise by pitching below optimum which is 65-70, but not below 62, and restricting the free rise by leaving her in the cool basement of 62 degrees.

Moving on!

UK Pale Malt (Marris Otter) - 7.5 lbs. (81%)
C80 - .5lbs - (5%)
Special B - .5lbs (5%)
(light add of Wheat and Carapils for head retention)
Molasses - attenuation and complexity - .5lbs (5%)
Bourbon soaked oak with an add of 1oz of bourbon per gallon final volume.

OG - 1098
Fg (target) - 1026
FG Actual - 1028
ABV - 9.7%
IBU - 20
BUGU - .21
SRM - 27

Northern Brewer at 60, just enough to hit the .2ish BUGU.  I want that malt to really shine.

Edinborough 2nd gen from the Friendsgiving Milk Stout.  Slurry to starter.

Water - 2tsp gypsum, 2.5tsp baking powder for local "dark beer" profile

Mash - 158 - The molasses will help drive attenuation.  Considering that the beer is meant to be sipped, I'll go high on the mash temp to keep the body up and help bring that rich character to the beer.

Boil - 90 minutes and add molasses for complexity

Cool to 65

Pitch - Due to the high mash and the cool ferment I want to be sure I have a big (better too big than too small) pitch of healthy hardy yeast. gives the following.

1.7 on the slurry density is based on viability of a normal slurry with a harvest date of 11/20 off (Hindsight, I really overthought the pitch)

I am going to build up the whole slurry pitch half (165B cells...and as this all lip service without a proper microscope and count, Id rather over pitch than under pitch.)  The rest for a later date.  

Keep in basement (62) to restrain free rise and reduce overall attenuation.  Trying to balance the mash with the molasses to target the "rich" character of the style.  Keg, infuse, carb to 2.3L, bottle and cork.  This will do well to age with corks.

Lets winterize this puppy!  I looked at several "Christmas spice" recipes, and Christmas potpourri recipes.  Considering I've gone with the Stout"ish" style as my base recipe (more or less...basically more) we have a few conclusions we can draw.

1. The very malt forward, rich character of this beer will require relatively more spice to acquire a balanced spice character.
2. Fruit additions will probably not push through in the aroma.
3. Oak and bourbon - this will help with the warming character and add a nice softness to the mouthfeel along with the vanillian for additional flavor complexity.

The Infusion

Ingredients: nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, clove, oak, a few shots of Wild Turkey

Many folks write about putting the spices in the boil but I don't like that lack of control, especially never having brewed this base beer before.  Yet, "Jamil says," the "cooked" spices to come through in a more fashionable way.  That said I am going to do two things.  

1. I'll add just 1tsp of each spice at 5 minutes to get the party started.

2. I could put each spice in its own Muslin bag allowing me to take out any one spice that I feel has hit its mark. Secondary will be in a keg allowing me easy sampling as the spices take hold. Consider magnet and tie bags to it.  Ill be doing this for the oak at the very least.

12/4/14 - brew day.  All went as planned above, somehow.

Mash - 158
OG at 1098 per refractometer
Pitched the starter in mid 60s
Airlock rocked same day.  Went up to 68, took it upstairs and put it next to the vent which boosted it to 74, and moved it to warm water bath at 72 for 7 days.

12/11/14 - out of water bath to basement floor.  Cooled down to low 60s.

12/13/14 - 1 light toast spiral to Evan Williams (oh my goodness). And the beer is only at 1036.  Make a 1L starter of 007 slurry and toss in half and jar the rest for the next stuck fermentation....
Holiday Miracle - it finished - 1028
1/1/15 - racked to keg.  Carbed to 2.5L to assume a little loss when transferring to bottle plus carb lost when served cool and allowing to warm up.  Idea is to hit proper carb at temp.  Ideally it all comes out on carb and at temp but with bottling that isn't happening these days..  Did a force carb of 30psi, light rocking then pressed to 12 and into fridge.  Check in a week and add spices to taste.
1/6/15 - add spices?  Heck no!  Soooo much spice on the nose, too much in fact.  On the pallet it's ok, but it's not balanced.  I have an ESB I could blend with but I don't care enough to waste the perfectly good bitters.  Maybe 1tsp of 3 spices but not 4.  This is too much.  A subtle character is all we needed.  I'll try a quick blend with MoBigs for fun
1/9/14 - bottled 2 bottles.  Then added 1oz Oaked bourbon to keg.  Blending found just a few drops rounded out the spice beautifully.  I may have had some palette fatigue (is that a thing?) but I think the spice dropped slightly.  Maybe it's more pooled near the bottom????  If that's the case bottle variation will be pretty big. Food for thought.  Plan to bottle in 2 weeks.
1/19/15 - still has quite a bit of sediment.  Be sure to pull a fdw bottles off before the submitions.  Tastes are melding nicely.  Spice is forward, but not overbearing as the base beer is huge.  Warming from the booze and the beer is balanced I think. Just needs more time.  Carb is good, a year will be perfect, but for this comp just some time in the bottle and the loss of a little carb is fine.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

FriendsGiving pale Ale

2014 FriendsGiving Pale Ale

In the past year I have focused all of my hoppy beers to be more smooth than bitter.  The primary reason for this is because my beautiful bride does not enjoy the bitter side of the hop   Now my queen is carrying our first born child and cannot enjoy the fruits of my labors.  With that said, I figure now is a good time to dip my toe into the preverbal pool of the American Pale Ale. 

As Americans tend to do, I too, will go head first into this brew.  Needless to say, I have an alterior motive to this recipe and that is the recent collaboration between Lawsons ans Otter Creek, the Double Dose, IIPA.

Having scored one of only 100 bottles in all of MA (or so the very well intentioned barmen stated), I was blown away by the hop character of this beast of a beer.

The alcohol was masked with style and the hops were shining like the spotlight at the Luxor.  Amazing aroma of citrus and what I perceived as tropical fruit, dominated the beer and prepared your palette for the smooth and saisfying draw to come.  It was, in a word, GLORIOUS!

Being so new to the scene there is still no brave soul of whom has posted a potential clone to this mighty IIPA, but I will start the with this APA, and then be in touch with the brewers directly should no one else make the great leap to cloning this masterpiece.

So, what the heck are you going for?  Well, how about a beer that has a nice citrus/tropical fruit nose, a solid bitter hop, but not over the top and a malt bill to compliment, not detract.  On the malt bill I recalled a great comment in an IPA article I read stating that IPA's, if utilizing tropical character hops can accentuate those hops with the use of crystal grains. As you associate tropical smells with sweetness, the caramel character of the grain helps to draw out those tropical notes.  Brilliant!  Let's try that!

Onto the brew!

OG - 1055
FG - 1013
IBU - 50
BUGU - 1.0
SRM - 16

I have pulled from several resources in the creation of the grist.  Everyone has an idea of how to run with this, from Vinny at Russian River's "simpler is better," to Jamil's middle of the road version 2 row, English pale, 4.5% 20, 4.5% 40, 4.5% Munich, 2% victory, to your most complex of malt bills.  I'm going to side with the simpler side of things, but not quite as simple as Vinny recommends (I reserve that kind of simplicity for my full IPA's).

The carapils (2-3%) and wheat malt (2-3%) are a trick my new brew buddy Dennis 'Butch' uses to guarentee that precious, longstanding, credibility building head retention...and at 1.0 BUGU, I may need some help on that front, so lets roll with it!

3 tsp gypsum targeting ~ 115ppm calcium.

2-Row Extract (its officially winter brew process time) (75%)
8oz Victory (6%)
8oz C40 (6%)
8oz C80 (6%)
3oz carapils (2%)
3oz Wheat Malt (2%)
2oz roasted barley (color up) (1%) for last 10 minutes of steep.


Warrior (or Millenium)

(Too dry hop or not to dry hop, that is the question...on a big time crunch here as it is, but if this turns out right then I may have to go with the triple dry hop Chinook, Cascade and Citra)

Steep ~2lb grains. Heat 1G (2qts/lb) water to 170.  Turn off heat, drop in grains, cover and steep for 30 minutes.  Pull grains, drain and rinse with .5G warm-hot water. 
Residual wort = 1.25G

Bring 4.25G to a boil, mixing in extract slowly.  Begin hop schedule. Add in residual wort.  Final voilme after 60
Should be 4.5G.  Estimating .5G loss leaves 4 to fermenter.

Cool, put 1G distilled water ice in fermenter and transfer wort at 85 leaving 5G in fermenter plus starter gives about 5.25G.  

1G ice to 4G wort calculations 
100 goes to 86
90 goes to 78
85 goes to 62
80 goes to 57

Yeast - East Coast Ale - This choice came out of necessity as my beloved homebrew shop New Farm, had just gotten a new shipment in and this was an expiring yeast I was happy to take off their hands, as making a starter is no problem for me, but could be an issue for other, lets see what we get.

According to WLP, this yeast is much like 001, but attenuates at a lower rate and some say, "mutes hop character."  This considered lets tweek our recipe to accomodate these characteristics.  To get a more accentuated bite from the hops I'm going to up my normal 60ppm of calcium to 100+.  In this case it'll come in at about 115ppm.  This will help the hops to shine.  And to emulate an 001 attenuation rate , im going to add just .25lbs of sugar to get those last few points out of the yeast.  I'm not trying to totally dry out the beer as i would an IPA, just get to the high end of this yeasts attenuation. (75%).  This could be a mistake as the caramel sweetness is meant to balnce the tropical fruit character of the yeast.....and the beer showing an attenuation down to 1.012.  You know, this is why I write, to question myself, and in this instance Im going to let this yeast work without the sugar for just that reason, to allow just a llittle more residual caramel sweetness to balance thse tropical notes.  If your going to go with a concept, give it a chance to work.

With two brews going at the same time, I have reserved the stir plate for the bigger Stout, so I will make a 1000ml starter in a Ball Jar be doing the "intermittent shaking" method.  What I get for reproduction, I get, but I know I want them warm and ready to run.

Pitch at 65 and let her ride for 7-10 days, Keg and enjoy!  With the starter I'm hoping she finishes in 7 (I'll check FG at 5 and 7, if no motion, then I'll keg right then and perhaps get a dry hop in there) so there is some time in the keg to condition properly before the shindig.


Brew Day - 10/10/14

Preboil a little high so I added a little extra warrior to get that BUGU to 1.0

Gypsum - 3tsp

40 minutes and sparged with half a gallon.  

Additions all on time.
Cooling - using the frozen distilled water was a pain in the butt.

Starter was 24 hours. 1040. 800ml. Intermittent shake.  Was active at pitch.  66 degrees.
D2 - 5 - 73 (that's free rise as room is 72 and Edinborough in batch next to it, pitched at same time is at 68
D10 - 64 - 0 - 1012 - Im calling that good.  Keg it!

11/21/14 - It was a hit!  i am very happy with how this beer come around.  The color is a little dark for the style, but the malt bill held up the hops very nicely.  The head retention was appropriate.  No dry hop needed here.  

Next time, increase the BUGU to 1.25 by adding in the Chinook/Cascade at 45-30-15 and up the citra just a touch to accomodate the higher bittering.