Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dead Week Märzen: the story of my first lager

It's dead week. I should be studying pretty serious right now, but I will be gone for a long time during X-mas break, and want to use that time to lager. I already have an Altbier fermented with Wyeast 1007 German Ale (purportedly a genuine Düsseldorf altbier strain). But I wanted to finally make a true lager. My favorite style of lager is the Oktoberfest/Märzen, so I figured I would brew one. Also, I have heard that amber/dark lagers are less fuckupable, so it especially made sense. I'm using a dry yeast, Fermentis W-47/70 (purportedly a genuine Bavarian lager yeast used for Oktoberfests in Munich). Why the dry yeast? Because a 5L yeast starter is just too big to be worth making. I would rather just use two packs of dry yeast than have to figure out how to make a 5L starter.

Here's the recipe:

6lb German Vienna Malt
2lb German Light Munich Malt
1 lb Belgian Aromatic Malt
8 oz German Melanoidin Malt
8 oz German Caramunich II (55-60L)
1 oz Dehusked Carafa II (430L)

1 oz      German Tettnanger (3.2 AA) FWH
1.33 oz German Tettnanger (3.2 AA) 70 min

Mashed at 150 degrees for 70 min
Boiled for 110 min (due to excess amount of wort)

I broke my hydrometer, so I wasn't able to take any readings, but I am assuming I got about 80% efficiency, making this beer OG 1.054, SRM 12.7, IBU 23.

I actually made my water Munich-like for this one by adding 2.5 teaspoons of chalk to the mash (my water is extremely soft).

Also, I kegged my Grey Skies Porter and Denny's Rye IPA today (with sugar for natural carbonation). I hope all this works out, as I am planning on bringing one of these kegs down to the bay area with a picnic tap and a travel CO2 thingy to serve at New Year's.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oregon Altbier

8lb German Munich
1 lb Belgian Aromatic
8 oz Melanoidin Malt
8 oz German Caramunich III

1.5 oz German Tettnanger (3.2% AA) FWH
2.5 oz German Tettnanger (3.2% AA) 90 min

Wyeast 1007 German Ale

Mashed at 150 60 min

Fermented at 58F, raised to 62F after 10 days. Lagered at 32F for 6 weeks.

OG 1.054 (efficiency too high), ABV ~5.4% (too high), 38 IBU, SRM 12.5

I drank some Lost Coast Downtown Brown while this one was getting brewed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Denny's Rye IPA, Summit IPA, Amarillo IPA, Grey Skies Porter (Taddy Version)

So, I have brewed three beers since I last updated the blog, so here goes. I'm going to put down the recipes, in the order I brewed them, then explain any tribulations or interesting occurrences beside the recipe.

Denny's Rye IPA

This is probably the most famous homebrew recipe on the internet. It's easy to find this recipe all over the internet, but I will list my version of it (basically identical to the original) here:

11 lb Great Western 2-row
3 lbs Rye Malt
1 lb 4 oz Briess Crystal 60L
8 oz White Wheat Malt
8 oz Carapils

1 oz Mt. Hood (5.1 AA)      FWH
1 oz CTZ (16.4 AA)           60 min
1.5 oz Mt. Hood (5.1 AA)  30 min
2 oz Mt. Hood (4.3 AA)     Flame-out
1 oz CTZ (16.1 AA)          Dry-Hop

Mashed at 151 degrees F for 60 min, no mashout

Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favorite 50 (1L of yeast cake from California Amber Ale)
OG 1.075, 76 IBU

My next Brew was the Summit IPA

This one was actually meant to be an ESB, but my efficiency was higher than planned, so I adjusted the hopping schedule, and just made an IPA. There are American hops and an English yeast strain, so I guess I would call it an east coast IPA or a west coast English IPA (though that could be confusing).

Summit IPA is the first of my series of Single Hop beers. The plan is to do several single-hop IPA's, pale ales, and ESB's, to get a better feel for hops. Summit is a super-alpha breed, but it has a delicious tangerine-orange quality that has made Widmer's Drifter Pale ale such a fast favorite here in Portland.

Summit IPA

11 lb Briess Pale Ale Malt (2-row)
8 oz Briess Crystal 80L

.25 oz Summit (18.5 AA) 60 min
.5 oz   Summit (18.5 AA) 20 min
1 oz    Summit (18.5 AA) 5 min
1.5 oz Summit (18.5 AA) flameout
.75 oz Summit (18.5 AA) Dry-hop

Mash at 152 degrees F 60 min

OG 1.060, 48 IBU

Safale S-04 dry yeast (my first time using S-04)

Amarillo IPA was meant to be a Pale Ale, but once again, my efficiency was much higher than expected, so I adjusted the hopping and turned it into an IPA.

11 lbs Maris Otter (I think Thomas Fawcett)
8 oz English Medium Crystal 50-60L

1 oz Amarillo (9 AA) 60 min
1 oz Amarillo (9 AA) 20 min
1 oz Amarillo (9 AA) 10 min
2 oz Amarillo (9 AA) Flameout
1 oz Amarillo (9 AA) Dry-hop

Mash at 150 degrees F

OG 1.060, 52 IBU, Fermented at 62 degrees

Wyeast 1450 Denny's Rye IPA (From a 3L starter I made with .25L of the cake left over from the California Amber Ale

Grey Skies Porter

This is an all-grain remake of my best dark beer from my partial mash days. Efficiency was high and I forgot the whirlfloc, so this may well be more stout than porter. Also, I used WLP037, which is not the same yeast I used when I made this porter before.

8 lbs Maris Otter
12 oz British Chocolate Malt 450L
12 oz British Medium Crystal 50-60L
8 oz Belgian Aromatic
8 oz Belgian Kiln-Coffee

.5 oz CTZ (16.1 AA) FWH
25 IBU worth of Northern Brewer HopShot hop extract

Mash at 153

OG 1.058, 40 IBU

This one blew out of my fermenter, all over the lid of the bucket - a huge mess. I let it ferment at ambient (around 70 degrees F)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maple Brown Ale

So I had planned on doing 2 brown ales with my White Labs WLP037 Yorkshire Square Ale yeast: a Nut Brown Ale similar to Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, and a Maple Brown Ale. Well, I decided to make a nut brown ale with maple syrup - and it was more mapley than planned....

I did the math wrong and ended up with 2L more wort than could fit in my kettle. As such, I decided to dump some of it and let the very full kettle boil for 90 min or more until it got down to 5.5 gallons. Well, my GF and I were planning to go out to dinner (for my birthday) so I just did a 60 min boil and ended up with 6 gal or so of 1.048 wort - and I wanted a little more kick, so I added another 8 oz or so of maple syrup (I'm going to prime the keg with even more!). I ended up with a 1.052 wort of nice brown beer.

The Recipe:

8 lb Maris Otter
9 oz Special Roast
8 oz Carastan Malt
5 oz Chocolate Malt (UK)
4 oz Crystal 135L (UK)
14 fl oz Maple Syrup (Grade B)

.5 oz Mt. Hood (5.1 AA) FWH
1 oz Mt. Hood (5.1 AA) 60 min


1.052, 20 IBU, ~5.4% ABV

Boo Ya, the finished product (very delicious, I might add):

Saturday, October 3, 2009

California Amber Ale

So, there are a lot of crisp, hoppy American amber ales in California that are consumed as freely and broadly as pale ales and IPA's here in Portland. I'm thinking of Mendocino's Red Tail Ale, Speakeasy's Prohibition Ale, North Coast's Red Seal Ale, and plenty of other similar hoppy amber ales. Well, I miss those beers - particularly Red Tail Ale - so I decided to brew something in the same general style of hoppy California-style Amber Ale.

I didn't take any pictures of the brewing process, but it was a somewhat eventful brewday, nonetheless.


8lbs Great Western (US) 2-row
2lbs US Munich 20L
1lb British Medium Crystal (70-75L)
8 oz Victory Malt

1 oz Amarillo (9.0 AA) FWH
.5 oz Zeus CTZ (16.4 AA) 60 min
1 oz Amarillo (9.0 AA) Flameout
.75 oz Centennial (7.8 AA) Flameout
2 oz Zeus CTZ (16.4 AA) Dry-hop

Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favorite 50
Mash at 153 60 min w/mashout

1.052, 13 SRM, 37 IBU

So I wanted to try to get better efficiency this time, and I decided to crush the grains real fine (.225) and mash thin, plus mash-out.

I ended up with too much liquor for my kettle, so I dumped about half of the sparge runoff - but my efficiency was so high that I the gravity was already plenty high. I also planned on doing a 90min boil, but just did 60 (in part because of the super-high efficiency), leaving me with over 6.5 gallons of 1.052 wort - well within my ideal range for this beer. The CTZ have been in my freezer for months, so I figured I would only get about 15% AA from them. It's possible, though, that my IBUs could be as much as 5 points lower or higher than the recipe calls for, depending on how many alpha acids were lost in the 4-6 months of freezer storage.

Also, I may dry-hop this one with 2oz Cascade.

Oh, and i let it chill for about 4 hours, letting so much trub settle that it was already clear going into the fermenter - It will be nice to have such a beautiful, crystal-clear beer coming out of my keg in a month or so.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Neuken Noël

So this is my set-up. The cooler is the mash tun and the pot above is what I drain the sweet wort into. That sink is used for wort-chilling, too.

So the Neuken Noël is a big Belgian Dark Strong. I made it by using all my leftover grains. The recipe:
  • 9 lbs Gambrinus Pils
  • 2 lbs Gambrinus Pale
  • 2 lbs Belgian Aromatic
  • 1lb Flaked Triticale 
  • 10 oz Belgian Special B
  • 1 lb Belgian Dark Candi Syrup (at flameout)
  • 1 lb Raw Pumpkin Blossom Honey (at flameout)
  • FWH 1 oz Mt Hood (5.1 AA)
  • 60 min 1 oz Perle (8.0 AA)
  • 90 min mash at 149 degrees
  • 3L starter of Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity (Westmalle/Westvleteren Strain)
  • 32 IBU
  • 20 SRM
  • Expected FG ~1.013
  • Expected ABV ~8.8%

My hydrometer broke, so I didn't get an SG rating, but I assume it's around 1.090. The wort looked like this:

Yes, I brew on a standard gas stove. That stove gets CRAZY HOT, though, so it isn't much of a problem

It also looked like this.
I use fermencap, so the vigorous boil doesn't create any boilover situation... often.

Penelope didn't help.

This 7lbs of hop porn is why I am excited to start IPA season (hence using all my Belgian ingredients).

This is 1lb each of:
Mt. Hood

Along with a lot of Amarillo, Zeus, and Summit, and some leftover Centennial.
The Neuken Dark is going to be bottle conditioned and aged, but most of the beers I brew go in here:

This is my kegerator, just next to my fermentation fridge (which will someday be converted into a 4-tap kegerator).