I finally got around to fixing my nitro tap, so I brewed a low-gravity stout and plan to add some coffee for a rich breakfast-y delicious beer!
- 6.5 lb UK Pale malt
- 1 lb flaked oats
- 1 lb flaked barley
- 0.8 lb roasted barley (UK)
- 0.4 lb chocolate malt (UK)
- 1.5 oz Kent Goldings (60 min)
- 0.5 oz Kent Goldings (9 min)
- 1L Starter WLP Irish Ale
// Mash-in at 152F w/ 4 gal water. 1 tsp CaCl2 to mash. First stuck sparge on the new system! Wasn’t able to recirculate the wort, so the temp probably dropped way down. Sparged to get 6.6 gallons 1040 wort. Boil 60 minutes, collected around 5.5 gallons of 1042 wort. Chill, oxygenate 60s w/ regulator on low, pitch whole starter. Brewed 3/18/17. //
3/20/17 Airlock activity slowed, gravity at 1011. Somewhat thin, but decent roast flavor. Bitterness is a little aggressive. Added 1.25 oz course ground Columbian coffee (Giant brand) loose to carboy, set it fridge to crash cool.
3/21/17 Racked to keg. Coffee flavor is ok but somewhat burnt. Probably should have stuck with the Ethiopian. Bitterness has smoothed over. Still fairly watery, but I’m imagining this will feel great on nitro. Set pressure at 15psi, will leave there for one day before switch to beer gas.
4/2/17 Bitterness and body is appropriate (nitro always helps!), but tastes a little burnt in terms of malt flavors. Tasting notes soon.
Next up is a red ale, trying to emulate what I remember from Cooperstown Brewing Company’s Old Slugger. It had a delicious malt and hop balance that leaned a little into the toasted malt dimension. I dreamed up this recipe that has a toasty malt component but with moderate hopping. I wanted something that has a touch of a hop bite (not aggressive), with some soft herbal hop flavor and a bit of a floral nose.
- 10.75 lb English Pale
- 1.25 lb Victory malt
- 0.1 lb Carafa II
- 1 oz First Gold, 60 min (3% a.a.)
- 0.25 oz Cascade, 30 min (7% a.a.)
- 0.8 oz First Gold, 10 min (3% a.a.)
- 0.5 oz Cascade, 3 min (7% a.a.)
- WYeast British Ale II (1L starter)
// Mash-in w/ 4.8 gal at 152F for 50 minutes, raise to 168F. 2 tsp gypsum to mash. Sparge w/ 3 gal 168F water. Collect around 6.5 gal 1054 wort. Boil 75 minutes, collect 5 gallons 1062. Chill to 60F. Pitch half decanted starter. Left to ferment at 66F. Brewed 12/27/16. //
12/28/16: Good airlock activity.
1/2/17: Gravity down to 1020. Still slightly sweet but malt/hop flavors are getting there. Will let sit for a few more days then crash.
1/4/17: Moved to fridge to crash cool.
1/5/17: Added gelatin.
1/8/17: Kegged. Super clear. Flavor doesn’t impress me – harsh hop edge with malt flavors that don’t really jive. We’ll see how it turns out once conditioned. Tasting notes.
I’ve been in lager-mode recently, so I started looking around for a recipe of something that I’ve never brewed before: schwarzbier. I came across a good looking recipe on Brulosophy’s website, so I brewed it almost exactly as-is, except I used Perle instead of Saaz (just what I had laying around).
- 7.5 lb Pils
- 2 lb Dark Munich (10L)
- 0.5 lb Carafa II
- 0.38 lb Crystal 60
- 0.25 lb Chocolate (Briess)
- 0.4 oz Magnum hops (60 min)
- 0.5 oz Perle hops (15 min)
- WLP029 (Kolsch/German Ale) 1L starter
// Mash-in 1.6 qt/lb at 152 for 60 minutes, sparge to collect around 6.6 gallons 1044 wort. Boil 90 minutes, collect around 6 gallons of 1052 wort. Chill to 64F, oxygenate, pitch decanted starter. Let to ferment around 62F. Brewed 12/3/16 on grainfather. //
1.25 tsp CaCl2 to mash.
Having not brewed in a little while, I had a bunch of flubs during this batch. First, I didn’t remember to add the mash salts until I was about 40 minutes in. Hopefully late is better than never. Then, right at the end, as I’m almost done chilling the wort, I saw that my temp probe wasn’t fully inserted into the thermowell throughout the whole brew session. Awesome! Hopefully my mash temp wasn’t too far off from what it read.
12/6/16: Tons of blow off, but finally subsided and yeast seems to have dropped out. Gravity at 1018, slightly sweet but respectable flavor. More roast than I anticipated, and also fairly clean. Moved upstairs to around 68F.
12/10/16: Gravity at 1014. Really liking how this is tasting. Moved to fridge at 40F. Tasting notes.
When it comes to brewing Belgian beer, saisons are usually my go-to. In my experience saison yeast can usually work in a wide range of temperatures (low 70s to low 90s) and still generally produce pleasant, peppery esters that make for a really enjoyable beer. Other Belgian styles I’ve had more difficulty with – dubbles, blondes, etc., because I just can’t get the yeast do what I want. The final product usually come out overly ester-y, bubble-gum, banana, things that I wouldn’t mind in smaller quantities, but the “real-thing” from Belgium is much cleaner with a excellent biscuity malt component that shines through. This beer was one step closer to what I would call a “passable” homebrewed Belgian beer.
Appearance: Light brown to golden/amber. Excellent slight off-white head. Fairly hazy all the way to the end of the keg.
Aroma: Floral and banana esters with mild malt component, slight corn/off aroma occasionally.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a somewhat dry finish.
Flavor: Estery Belgian yeast is very evident followed by a fairly big malt body – crusty bread, slightly grainy. Hops provide bitterness to balance.
Overall: This recipe is a keeper – prominent biscuity malts are the front with moderate hopping to provide balance and bitterness. It’s getting closer, but I may have let the temperature raise up for too long. The first tasting of it before I raised the temp was much cleaner, and after I let it finish up at around 72F it had gotten overly ester-y. So next time I’ll just let it finish out at the lower temperature, however long that takes, with maybe only a day at the higher end. The corn-ish flavors/aroma may have been DMS from the pils malt and not having boiled long enough, although it was a very strong boil. Having it ferment out a little more would also be good, but I was in a hurry to get this carbed and ready for a party. It was well received, many people calling it a great summer beer.
It’s been a while since I did any kind of Belgian beer. Generally speaking I’m never totally satisfied with how they turn out. Yeast is the biggest factor in that – pitching enough isn’t a problem, but controlling fermentation temps is not my strong suit. Fortunately, this time of the year is good in my house for a 2-stage fermentation – my basement is a cool 62F and first floor is mild 72F. I’m going to try to do this one right – pitch a big starter, start things out cool and then let it finish warm.
- 11 lb Pils (Dingemans)
- 0.75 lb Aromatic (Dingemans)
- 0.75 lb caravienna (Dingemans)
- 0.25 lb special B (Dingemans)
- 1 oz Saaz @ 70 30 and 15 minutes.
- Omega Yeast Labs Belgian A
// Mash-in 2 qt/lb at 148 for 40 minutes, raise to 158 for 10 minutes, mash out at 168. Sparge w/ 3.5 gal to collect 8 gallons 1038 wort. Boil 70 minutes, collect 6 gallons 1048 wort. Chill to 75F, shake to aerate, pitch 1L starter. Brewed 5/27/16. //
5/29/16: Started fermentation at 62F, seemed to slow down, so brought it upstairs to 72F to finish out and gave it a good shake. Gravity at 1022.
5/31/16: Gravity at 1018. Slightly cloudy, but overall nice flavors. Soft esters with a nice rustic crusty bread flavor. Gave it another good shake.
6/1/16: Racked to keg. Gravity at 1016. No time to crash cool, since this will be for a party in 3 days.
6/6/16: Came out well! Tasting notes.
This beer was the pale half of my first 10 gallon batch where I split the boils, hops, yeast, and specialty malts. A good friend of mine would classify this as a “porch beer” – something that you can sip on late into the evening, taking in the cool spring air, listening to music, sharing stories, sittin’ on a porch. My kind of beer.
Aroma: Biscuity malts up front with a hint of floral hops and soft fruits.
Appearance: Gold-ish, light orange. Huge pillowy white head that lasts foreeeeeever.
Mouthfeel: Full, malty with medium carbonation and some subtle bitterness in the finish.
Flavor: Toasty malts and interesting hop flavor. The equinox hops are a weird mix of fruit and peppery spice – hard to describe, but it makes for a nice pale ale.
Overall: Very flavorful, sessionable porch beer. For as much hops are in this recipe, the malts seem to take the foreground. OG was a little high (1018 or so), so that may have something to do with it. The malts and hops form an interesting balance that gives an impression of a soft fruit – maybe apricot / pear, but not acidic. The toasty malt base would be a good bill for an English bitter, or you could easily ramp up the hops to make an interesting IPA with this recipe.
In an effort to experiment with some malts and hops that I’ve never used before, I threw together this SMASH recipe that showcases golden promise and Nelson Sauvin hops.
- 6.5 lb Golden Promise
- 0.2 lb Acidulated malt
- 0.25 oz Nelson Sauvin 60 min
- 0.25 oz Nelson Sauvin 30 min
- 0.50 oz Nelson Sauvin 10 min
- WYeast French Saison
// Mash-in 154 for 50 min. 1.25 tsp gypsum to mash. Sparge w/ 168 to collect 3.25 gallons 1.058 wort. Boil 60 minutes. Add ice to get down to 140, chill overnight to 64. Pitch yeast, no starter. Shake to aerate. Wort had big clouds of proteins suspended in it. Brewed 1/14/16. //
1/25/16 Fermentation was fairly active at first and stabilized to bubbling once every 15 seconds for about a week. Finally, after about two weeks, bubbling in the airlock slowed to about once a minute. Gravity at 1006. Very clean, crisp and dry saison flavors. I really like it. Not much noticeable in the way of hops, but we’ll see how it is once it’s kegged.
This ended up being just an OK saison. It came out weirdly acidic, which is probably a result of me stupidly adding acidulated malt based on my initial pH reading. Still trying to get the hang of it. An overall dry and clean beer, with some gentle hop character that blended well with the saison yeast. I didn’t really get a strong reading on the Nelson hop contribution since the yeast is so flavorful, so probably not a wise choice of recipe to try out the new hop with. Something just isn’t right about the beer, though. For a saison, it’s a little lacking in the ester department. This may be a trait of the French Saison strain, or, maybe it’s the golden promise getting in the way. I’d probably stick with a Belgian strain for the yeast.