Category Archives: Almost SMASH

American Pils Tasting Notes

This was a really enjoyable beer that got a lot of compliments. It was very much a simple, crowd-pleasing lager but I’ll be the first to admit that brewing clean beers like this is not my forte and frankly isn’t all that easy, for me at least. The malt flavor was a little big and sticky in the end and it may have under-attenuated just a bit (I still need to get a refractometer to get a fair reading of final gravity). Using 2-row likely gave a little more flavor and body than using pilsner malt, so adding the melanoidin malt was probably unnecessary, too. The hops were appropriate – they jump out and prep the palatte before letting the malts shine with a crisp finish. My taste for beer pH is still a work in progress, but I think a touch more acidity would have brightened the beer a little. Some acidulated malt would do the trick.

I’ll definitely be using the Saflager 189 dry yeast again. I’m not a frequent lager-brewer but the results with this yeast make me want to make more lagers. Super easy to use (no starter!) and it performed fairly clean in the 55-60F range. There was a slight green apple note in the aroma but it was not off-putting. I didn’t do a diacetyl rest, so the beer did have a slight buttery flavor/aroma, but I prefer a little of that in lagers and think it compliments the malty-ness.

In my quest to brew a Steam Whistle clone beer, this came pretty close and I have a good idea of what the change for next time. Basically just skip the melanoid malt (or decrease just slightly) and maybe try adding a diacetyl rest. This is a good prototype for a German pilsner, too; just increase the bitterness and sub in pilsner malt for 2-row. Maybe even a 2-row/pils mix would be appropriate.

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Filed under Almost SMASH, Lager, Malty, Pilsner, Tasting

American Pils

One of my favorite beer tasting experiences was going to the tasting room at Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto. The beer was so fresh, crisp, and delicious that I still have dreams about that pilsner. I’ve been wanting to make something that comes close, and, given that it’s tough to find Steam Whistle in bottles near me, I did some research online to see if people know what was in it. This recipe is a representation of those findings.

  • 11 lb US 2-row Pale malt
  • 0.17 lb Melanoidin malt
  • 1 oz Perle 60 min
  • 0.4 oz Saaz @ 5 min
  • 0.4 oz Spalt @ 4 min
  • 0.5 oz Spalt @ 2 min
  • 1 pkg Saflager-189

// Mash-in w/ 4.5 gal at 150 for 60 minutes. 2.5 tsp CaCl2 to mash. Mash-out,  sparge to collect around 6.6 gal 1046 wort. Boil 75 minutes. Chill to 55F, collect 5 gallons 1053 wort. Oxygenate 60s, sprinkle yeast on top. Brewed 1/13/17. Left to ferment between 55F and 60F in the basement. //

1/20/17:  Gravity at 1020, great malt flavor and subtle hop profile. Letting it finish out.

1/27/17:  Gravity at 1012. Moved to fridge.

1/30/17: Doesn’t taste nearly as “fresh” as the first tasting, wondering if i let it sit a little too long. Added gelatin finings.

2/1/17: Kegged. Fairly clear, still some hazy beer left near the bottom of the carboy. Tasting notes.

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Filed under All-grain, Almost SMASH, Blonde, German, Lager, Malty, Pilsner

Belgian Single

I recently visited Cooperstown, NY and checked out Ommegang. I’ve always considered their beer as one of the best Belgian “US” breweries (yeah, they’re owned by Duvel, so what?). So I decided to make a fairly standard Belgian Blonde Ale after something I tasted up there.

  • 9.75 lb Pils (Dingemans)
  • 0.25 lb CaraRuby (Dingemans, 20L)
  • 1.5 lb Styrian (60 min)
  • 0.5 oz Styrian (5 min)
  • WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale (1L starter)

// Mash-in 4.25 gal at 152 for 60 minutes, 168 for 5 minutes. Sparge w/ 3.5 gallons to collect around 6.5 gallons of 1042 wort. Boil 90 minutes, collect just under 6 gallons of 1052 wort.  Chill overnight to 56, pitch decanted starter. Basement at 64F. Brewed on Grainfather 9/15/16. //

9/17/16:  Lots of blow-off. Great aroma from the airlock, though.

9/22/16:  Airlock starting to slow, took a sample at 1018. Very yeasty and still very cloudy, but great breaded flavor following. Moved upstairs to 71F.

9/23/16:  Definite increase in airlock activity after 24 hours, thin white foam layer on top.

9/29/16: Still bubbling once every 20s, but I’m happy with the flavor. Moved to the fridge to crash cool. Gravity at 1011.

10/27/16:  Came out well, a little ester-y, but very drinkable. Tasting notes soon.

12/5/16:  Keg kicked and I never got around to doing a proper review! However this beer was stellar. Crisp, refreshing, great balance of biscuity malts and floral expressive hops. The yeast esters went down and hops seemed to come out more with age as the beer clarified. Probably kegged a little too soon, but those “young” flavors could’ve been evaded had i filtered at kegging. Will definitely make again!

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Filed under All-grain, Almost SMASH, Belgian, Blonde, Malty