Thursday, October 1, 2015

Brewing a White India Session Ale

It's been over two years since I updated this blog. I've brewed plenty in that time, but I haven't felt like I had enough free time to justify blogging about it. I can't honestly say how often this blog will get updated this year or in the future, but I would like to further educate enjoy this hobby online.

My wife and I just moved into our new (109 year-old) house and we're having a housewarming party real soon. So, I figured I would brew up a couple beers for the event. Since I don't have much time (the party is in 8 days), I decided to brew a beer that would ferment quickly and would be acceptable cloudy. I decided to go with a wheat beer base and late hop it like an IPA while bittering it like an American pale ale, to keep it reasonably balanced.

Rather than using primarily unmalted wheat, as in a witbier, or entirely using wheat malt, as in a hefeweizen; I decided to use mostly wheat malt, supplemented with some unmalted (torrified) wheat and some flaked oats. And since I had some American (Great Western) Pale Ale malt leftover from my last 50lb sack purchase, I opted for that rather than the more traditional pilsner malt of a witbier or hefeweizen base. I shot for a 1.040 base, but somehow ended up with about 1.032, which is fine for a session ale, but surprisingly low efficiency and a great deal smaller than I was shooting for. In this way, my malt bill is a hybrid between a bitter, American pale ale, witbier, and hefeweizen. In addition to a strange malt bill, I used a strange (for me) mash schedule, called a Hochkurz Mash. I mashed for 60 min at 144 and then for 30 min at 165. I assumed this would give me a dextrinous and highly fermentable wort (ideal for a session wheat beer), but my efficiency was stupid low, which makes me think I might have been better off with a single 152F infusion (of course the smallish percentage of pale ale malt compared to the massive amount of wheat malt and unmalted oats and wheat could have something to do with the low efficiency). The good news is a smaller beer ferments faster, so I may well be able to turn this around in the 8 days I have before the party.

As far as hopping this beer, I originally wanted to feature Ahtanum hops, with small amounts of Amarillo and Citra to give a bold, fruity aroma. But then my wife's coworker (and our new neighbor) brought over some freshly-picked wet hops - a mix of American varieties (mostly cascade, I believe). This is just the right amount of fresh hops for a nice flameout addition of a hoppy beer like the one I'm brewing today, so I altered the whole recipe, simplifying and using mostly Amarillo and cascade in the kettle, with the plan to dry hop, ever so briefly, with Amarillo and a touch of Columbus and Citra. Aside from the wet hops, all these hops are 2014 harvest stored in ziploc bags in freezers.

So here's the recipe (~11 gallons):

8 lbs Great Western White Wheat Malt
7 lbs 12 oz Great Western Pale Ale Malt
1 lb Great Western Torrified Wheat
1 lb Flaked Oats
4 oz Weyermann Sauermaltz (Acidulated Malt)

60g Cascade (8.8% AA) 90 min
50g Cascade (8.8% AA) 10 min
70g Amarillo (7.3% AA) 10 min
680g Wet Cascade (?% AA) 0 min (whirlpooled at 180F for 45 min)
90g Amarillo (7.3% AA) dry
30g Citra (12.3% AA) dry

Split - half fermented with Imperial A15 Independence at 64-66F and half with Imperial B45 Gnome 68-70F.

I am going to reuse these yeasties soon. I think a straightforward Mosaic/Ahtanum IPA is in order, followed by a Belgian Blond or maybe a singel.