Monday, October 4, 2010

October Bitter and Citrus Wit

So, Corrine asked that I make some beers for her sister's baby shower. This keeps costs down and is also likely to mean evereyone gets to drink high-quality fresh beer than they otherwise would. So, I decided to make a girl-friendly witbier and a universally-drinkable red autumn English Bitter (something along the lines of Shepherd Neame's Late Red, which is actually brewed with Kent-grown Cascade hops).

The witbier was brewed with raw soft white wheat berries, domestic 2-row, instant oats, cascade hops, lime peel, coriander, and a little bit of cardamom. I will serve this one with orange or lemon slices. The yeast I used was 3711 French Saison - and I used a pretty big starter for such a low-gravity beer.

October Bitter Recipe

Recipe: October Bitter
Style: 8B-English Pale Ale-Special/Best/Premium Bitter

Recipe Overview

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.75 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 5.50 US gals
Volume Transferred: 5.28 US gals
Water Added: 0.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 5.28 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.02 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.032 SG
Expected OG: 1.045 SG
Expected FG: 1.011 SG
Expected ABV: 4.5 %
Expected ABW: 3.6 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 37.9
Expected Color: 13.1 SRM
Apparent Attenuation: 75.6 %
Mash Efficiency: 78.0 %
Boil Duration: 90.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 64 degF

UK Pale Ale Malt (Maris Otter) 7lb 12oz (89.5 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Medium Crystal (120EBC) 12.00 oz (8.7 %) In Mash/Steeped
German Carafa Special II 2.58 oz (1.9 %) In Mash/Steeped

US Nugget (9.8 % alpha) 20 g Loose Whole Hops used 60 Min From End
US Citra  (9.0 % alpha) 14 g Loose Whole Hops used 20 Min From End
US Crystal (3.0 % alpha) 32 g Loose Whole Hops used 5 Min From End
US Nugget (9.8 % alpha) 8 g Loose Whole Hops used At turn off
US Cascade (5.7 % alpha) 20 g Loose Whole Hops used Dry-Hopped

Yeast: White Labs WLP006-Bedford British Ale

Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name:Single Step Infusion (66C/151F) w/Mash Out
Step: Rest at 151 degF for 60 mins
Step: Raise to and Mash out at 168 degF for 10 mins

Both of these will get 2 weeks in primary, followed by a kegging. The difference will be that the bitter will get dry-hopped in the keg, and the witbier will not.

Ooh, and I accidentally put thrice the recommended amount of brewing salts in the mash - so the beer may come out overly minerally and somewhat harsh - time will tell, I suppose.

Monday, August 16, 2010

West Coast Pale Ale

What's the difference between a west coast pale ale and an ordinary American Pale Ale? About 5-10 IBU. West Coast pale ales tend to be a little hoppier (though not always). In the same way, a Californian Red Ale will almost always be hoppier than a pacific northwestern Amber Ale (though they are both technically American Amber Ales).

This was an "on the fly" brew, so there was no time to make a starter, and I used a single packet of US-05 yeast to ferment this badboy. This was made with recently-arrived Cascades, and an unopened 2 oz pack of Zeus. I hit my temps fine, and everything has gone smoothly with this beer, though my efficiency is still at just 75%, which leads me to believe that the new LHBS crushes a bit less fine than F. H. Steinbart's up in Portland (where there is an adjustable grain mill).

So this recipe is pretty standard, though it has a couple classic, "homebrew" recipe quirks, namely that I used 1 lb of Belgian Aromatic malt, rather than 2 lbs of American Munich malt (which would likely lead to a similar resulting melanoid-driven maltiness), and I used significantly more late-kettle hops than most professional breweries would put into a medium-gravity beer like this one. The final product should be great, if a little "ordinary" (nothing remotely experimental about this recipe). All together, this beer cost me under $20 to brew up 5 gallons, which brings the six-pack price to $2.50, and the pint price to 50¢ - that's less than a candy bar.

Since it is a little amber in color, I am following the norcal tradition of naming the beer, "Red" followed by the name of an animal. In this case, I decided to go for the Red Panda, because they are cute.

Red Panda Beer (American Pale Ale)

9 lbs Great Western 2-row
1 lb Dingemans Aromatic Malt
1 lb Hugh Baird Crystal 75L

.5 oz CTZ (15% AA) 90 min
1 oz Cascade (5.7 % AA) 15 min
1 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) 5 min
1.5 oz CTZ (15% AA) 0 min
1.5 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) 0 min
1 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) Dry-hop
.5 oz CTZ (13.2% AA) Dry-hop

Mash at 151F for 60 min

US-05 yeast

OG 1.055
Expected FG (I will change this if it comes out different) 1.011
IBU ~44
SRM ~12
ABV ~5.9%

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brewing Black Beers

Ok, so it has been way too long since I updated this. I have brewed 2 or 3 witbiers, a hopbursted American Pale Ale, 2 Black IPA's, and I am currently brewing a Chocolate Stout.

The witbiers all came out ok (not great), and the hopbursted APA came out pretty good, but the Black IPA that I tapped was amazing (the other one is currently fermenting, so I won't know how it tastes for a few weeks.

Anyway, I will list the IPA recipes here, in order of then they were brewed (oldest first):

Rose City Black IPA:

This is one of the last beers I brewed in Portland, and one of the best. The flavor was outstanding - with a smooth roastiness beneath a rich hoppy aroma and flavor and a silky-smooth mouthfeel. I was eminently proud of this beer, and hope my future Black IPA's live up to the quality of this one.

10 lb  Great Western 2-row
1 lb    Briess Munich 10L
1 lb    Briess Crystal 60L
1.5 lb Weyermann Carafa Special II (dehusked)

US Summit 18.5 % 0.50 oz Loose Pellet Hops 60 Min
US Simcoe 12.7 % 1.00 oz Loose Whole Hops 10 Min
US Cascade 5.7 % 1.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops 10 Min
US Summit 18.5 % 1.00 oz Loose Whole Hops 5 Min
US Simcoe 12.7 % 1.00 oz Loose Whole Hops 5 Min
US Simcoe 12.7 % 1.00 oz Loose Whole Hops At turn off
US Summit 18.5 % 0.50 oz Loose Whole Hops At turn off
US Cascade 5.7 % 0.50 oz Loose Whole Hops At turn off
US Simcoe 12.7 % 1.00 oz Loose Whole Hops Dry-Hopped

Mashed at 150 for 60 min, then the carafa was added just before the sparge water went in, and I sparged with cooler-than-usual sparge water (150F).

Pacman Yeast

OG 1.061, FG 1.012, 68 IBU, 39.5 SRM (midnight black)

Bar Exam Black IPA

This one was brewed a few weeks ago, and just got racked into a secondary fermenter. I will dry hop this in a couple weeks, and tap it shortly after that.

10  lbs Great Western 2-row
2    lbs Briess Munich 10L
1    lb  Carastan Malt (Crystal 35L)
1.5 lbs Weyermann Carafa Special II (dehusked)

US Sorachi Ace   11.0 %    0.50 oz    Loose Whole Hops    45 Min From End
US Cascade         4.0 %    2.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops    20 Min From End
US Simcoe         12.0 %    1.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops    10 Min From End
US Sorachi Ace   11.0 %    1.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops    10 Min From End
US Simcoe         12.0 %    1.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops    5 Min From End
US Citra             10.8 %    1.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops    5 Min From End
US Simcoe         12.0 %    1.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops    At turn off
US Citra             10.8 %    1.00 oz    Loose Whole Hops    At turn off
US Sorachi Ace   11.0 %    0.50 oz    Loose Whole Hops    At turn off

US Simcoe         12.0 %    1.00 oz    Loose Pellet Hops    Dry Hop
US Cascade         6.0 %    1.00 oz    Loose Pellet Hops    Dry Hop

Wyeast 1028 London Ale

Mash 100 min @ 150F

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Monsignor d'Houblon Hoppy Belgian & Morningstar Golden Ale

Monsignor d'Houblon was inspired directly by Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor. The idea was to make a hoppy (but not bracingly so) Belgian Blonde Ale on the lighter end of the style. I basically attempted to make an American Pale Ale with European and European-style hops (Tettnanger, Mt. Hood, and Willamette). The beer is in the IBU and gravity territory of a strong APA or a milder IPA.... in keeping with what Hopsinjoor and a whole new generation of Belgian beers are all about - balanced hoppiness and restrained bitterness along with the unique character imparted by a Trappist yeast strain.

12 lbs Best Malz Pilsner
.5 lbs Briess Crystal 20L

1 oz Willmamette (5.6% AA) 60 min

1 oz Willmamette (5.6% AA) 10 min
1 oz Mt. Hood (4.6% AA) 10 min
1 oz Tettnanger (3.2% AA) 10 min
1 oz Willmamette (5.6% AA) 0 min
1 oz Mt. Hood (4.6% AA) 0 min
1 oz Tettnanger (3.2% AA) 0 min

1 oz Willmamette (5.6% AA) Dry Hop

WLP830 Abbey (Westmalle Strain)

Ferment at 150 for 60 min, followed by fermentation temp 72F

Now a pic of it (super delicious)

Morningstar was meant to be a Duvel-style Belgian Golden Strong Ale, but my efficiency was shockingly low, for some reason, so it ended up a Belgian Blonde Ale, instead. It is currently in secondary, and I plan on kegging it soon, and priming for a higher amount of carbonation than is typical for me (along with adding some polyclar so the sediment produced by the priming doesn't end up making for a cloundy blonde).

The recipe is as follows:

Morningstar Golden Ale

10 lbs German Pilsner Malt
1 lb German Vienna Malt
2 lb Cane Sugar

1.5 oz Mt. Hood (4.6% AA) 60 min
.5 oz Willamette (5.6% AA) 30 min
.75 oz Tettnanger (3.2% AA) 10 min

I pitched a weak starter of White Labs WLP530 (Westmalle Strain) into Msgr. d'Houblon, but it hadn't started after one day, so I went to the LHBS and picked up a smack pack of Wyeast 1762 Abbey II (Rochefort Strain). When I got ready to pitch the 1762, I could see that fermentation had already begun, but I pitched it, anyway. The resulting yeast cake was used to produce the golden ale. I suspect the Westmalle yeast dominated the flavor profile, but can't say for sure.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Unspeakable Pale Ale

This one was inspired by SPeakeasy Brewery's Untouchable Pale Ale - though I am sure it will be somewhat hoppier.

7 lbs 12 oz Halcyon
1 lb German Munich Malt
1 lb German Wheat Malt
4 oz German Caramunich II

.4 oz Summit 18.5% AA 60 min
1 oz Cascade 5.7% AA 10 min
1 oz Willamette 5.6% AA 10 min

1 oz Cascade 5.7% AA 10 min
1 oz Cascade 5.7% AA 5 min
1 oz Mt. Hood 4.6% AA 5 min
2 oz Cascade 5.7% AA 0 min
1 oz Mt. Hood 4.6% AA 0 min
.75 oz Zeus 16% AA 0 min


Mash at 150 for 75 min

OG 1.051, SRM 6.2, ~42 IBU, ~5.3% abv

Now a pic (it's delicious)

Grey Skies Porter (again)

Made the porter again, albeit with a tweaked recipe and a bit of a bigger gravity/hop situation.

8 lb Optic
12 oz Chocolate Malt (UK)
8 oz Belgian Aromatic
8 oz caramalt
8 oz Kiln Coffee Malt
4 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (UK)
4 oz Crystal 160L (UK)

40 IBU worth Northern Brewer HopShot at 60 min
the remaining fifth of a syringe at 10 min
.5 oz Willamette (5.6% AA) 10 min

Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale

Here's what it looks like poured from a bottle-conditioned bottle (Tastes better on tap, though)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hella Bitter

Hella Bitter was meant to be an English Best Bitter (4-4.6% abv) with west coast American hops.

My efficiency was way too high, so I ended up with something more approximating an ESB (still basically within the realm of what i was trying to do, as far as I'm concerned). I have heard that low-gravity beers tend to get higher efficiency, so maybe it isn't that surprising. My beer's OG was supposed to be 1.044 to 1.046, but I got 1.048.

Here's the recipe:

7lb 12 oz Halcyon
4 oz Caramalt
4 oz British Crystal 55L
2 oz British Extra Dark Crystal 160L

1 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) FWH
1 oz Willamette (5.6% AA) 60 min
.5 oz Willamette (5.6% AA) 5 min
.5 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) 5 min

WLP037 Yorkshire Squares Ale

1.048 OG, ~35 IBU, 8 SRM

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dodo Bird Deluxe California Red Ale

So I went for another beer in the vein of my "California Red Ale." This one is a bit paler, and has a dry English yeast (Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale). This beer was meant to be an American ESB, meaning an ESB in every way, but with American hops. I ended up late-hopping more aggressively than in a standard British ESB, but I think the idea of a "not quite hoppy enough to be an IPA" amber-colored beer around 1.055-1.065 is a great beer style. I call it a California Red Ale because of how many Californian beers are made like that, but for a brewer using brewing software, the idea is to get a beer that fits within (or near) the guidelines for ESB, American Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, English IPA, and American IPA.... focusing on balance and drinkability. The name is inspired by Mendocino Brewing Company in Ukiah, California, whose beers are named after birds. Dodos were about the silliest things man ever made extinct, so the name suits my silly sensibilities.

I hit my mash number perfectly on this one, and I expect it to be a great beer. However, my hydrometer has not been replaced, so I don't know for sure if I hit my expected efficiency of 80% (though I don't really care if it is a little weaker and hoppier or stronger and maltier than expected). Since balance was the chief consideration in constructing this recipe, I have a lot of leeway in the brewing process to still make a delicious beer.

The Dodo Recipe:

10lb Thomas Fawcett Optic Pale Malt
8 oz Hugh Baird Medium Crystal Malt (55L)
8 oz Franco-Belges Caravienne (21L)
4 oz Briess Extra Dark Crystal (120L)

.5 oz Simcoe (12.7% AA) 60 min
1 oz Simcoe (12.7% AA) 10 min
1 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) 10 min
1 oz Simcoe (12.7% AA) 0 min
1 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) 0 min

I may dry hop with an oz of Cascade.

Mash at 152F for 60 min

Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale (3L starter)

expected OG 1.060, 40-45 IBU, 10.6 SRM

Since my fermentation chamber is currently at work lagering my altbier and my dead week märzen, I had to ferment this at ambient - so it is fermenting a little warm, it was at 74F for a day, now it's down to 70F (after 3 days of fermenting). This is a little high for the yeast, but not so far out of the recommended level that the beer will be ruined. Hopefully this strain remains clean at the higher temperature.