Initially wasn’t too impressed with this beer, likely a result of my poor recipe calculation. I stupidly forgot to update the alpha acid content of the First Gold hops in the recipe software (it was assumed to 7%, mine were really 3%), so my IBUs were probably about cut in half. It wound up being a fairly malty beer, but the toasted malt flavors were actually quite pleasant. Happy accident considering I was hoping this would be a hop forward beer. That being said, I always seem to under do the hops when using English Yeast. The yeast tends to mute the hops and I always forget to compensate.
The clarity on this batch was phenomenal, and the shade of red was perfect in my opinion (the photo appears more brown). It’s been tough to hit the color red (too dark and it’s brown, too light and it’s copper/orange) but this SRM level (10, I believe) was just right.
Looking back at the recipe again, the hop additions didn’t really make sense for what I was going for; the whole thing would have probably been better just without the 30 minute Cascade addition. Mid-boil additions haven’t sat well with me recently. They seem to work well in IPAs that have a lot of hops surrounding the mid-boil addition, but not so much in isolation. Although my favorite saison recipe just has 60 and 30 minute additions and that’s it – it seems to give it a nice zippy dry finish. As with everything in brewing, it’s all about how you use it to make it appropriate.
Lately I’ve been making other people’s recipes rather than designing my own from scratch. My intuition has been a little off with recent beers. I’m still learning, of course, but I’ve not been impressed with some of my recent recipes. Every once in a while I’ll make a beer and afterwards go “what the hell was I thinking?” once it’s done fermenting. So I started looking to other brewers for inspiration, filtering their recipes through my brewing intuition. The past few recipes I’ve brewed from Brulosopher have been great, so I think I’ll continue on this path for a little while this year.
It’s been a while since I brewed something with Brett, so I did some searching online for some Brett recipes. This one came from Meek Brewing Co’s blog, for a Brett IPA. I scaled it down to 4 gallons, and adjusted the acid malt to get my pH right around 5.3.
- 5 lb US 2-row pale
- 1 lb Red Wheat
- 0.4 oz Carafoam
- 0.1 oz Acid malt
- 0.3 oz Amarillo @ 60 min
- 3 oz Amarillo @ 5 min
- WLP650 Brett Brux (1L starter)
// Mash-in w/ 3.5 gal at 152F for 50 minutes, mash-out, sparge to collect 4.8 gallons. Boil 75 minutes, collect around 3.5 gallons 1046 wort. Brewed 1/15/17. //
The expiration date on the Brett vial was pretty close (Jan 27 ’17), so I made a starter; it took a good week for it to fully attenuate. Tasted good in the end though – plenty of funk with some fruit too.
1/19/17: Airlock slowing down, gravity down to 1013. Incredible peach/mango aroma. Flavor is slightly tangy, but good fruity/hop flavors. Not much funk at all. Added 0.75 oz citra and 0.5 oz amarillo to carboy.
1/25/17: A little funk coming through! Crash cooled for 2 days then kegged. Tasting notes soon.
4/2/17 Keg kicked before I could get around to some real tasting notes. Overall the level of funk was was low and would’ve liked more. My old vial of Brett may have had something to do with this. The citrus hop character was pleasant but had a slight attack to it, would’ve preferred if it were somewhat cleaner – maybe not using Amarillo as the bittering hop and using something like Magnum instead would help with this. I would up blending this with another Belgian Pale Ale I had on tap to create a more balanced, hoppy, not-funky beer.
This is another one from Brulosopher’s website, titled “Tiny bottom pale ale”. The combination of American malts and European hops intrigued me, so I decided to give it a shot.
- 8.6 lb 2 row
- 11 oz Vienna
- 0.5 lb Crystal 15
- 0.5 lb Victory
- 0.3 lb Crystal 60
- 0.5 oz Magnum (60 min)
- 0.4 oz Perle (25 min)
- 0.5 oz Fuggles (10 min)
- 0.5 oz Fuggles (2 min)
- WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast (1L starter)
// Mash-in w/ 4.5 gal at 154 for 60 minutes, mash-out at 168F for 5 minutes. Sparge w/ 3 gallons to collect around 6.5 gal 1044 pre boil wort. Boil 60 minutes, collect 5 gallons 1052 wort. Chill to 60F, pitch whole starter. Let to ferment around 69F. Brewed 12/11/16. //
2 tsp Gypsum to mash.
12/12/16: Good airlock activity by next morning.
12/14/16: Gravity down to 1016. Still slightly sweet and yeasty. The hop flavor does not appeal to me right now- kinda earthy, dirty. Gave the carboy a good shake to help it finish.
12/16/16: Gravity down to 1013. Flavor improved, thinned out more, yeast dropped out a bit, less dirty hop flavor but it’s still there. Gave the carboy another good shake.
12/18/16: Moved carboy to fridge to crash cool.
12/19/16: Added gelatin to carboy.
12/27/16: Finished carbonating. Great crisp flavor, very “old school” craft pale ale vibe going on. Tasting notes soon.
1/2/17: I brewed this for my in-laws to put in their kegerator, so I didn’t get to experience a ton of it, but boy was it tasty. It was hoppy, but only in a crisp/bitter sort of way – not much discernible hop flavor, but its presence was felt. That quality allowed the malts to be more in play, and it was a beautiful graham cracker-y breaded experience. The clarity was stellar and attenuation was high making it super clean and refreshing without seeming thin. I really enjoyed this beer but also thought that the Fuggles could be replaced by something a little more modern, i.e. Amarillo or Simcoe or Cascade, to add a nice spritzy burst of citrus. Otherwise, this recipe was on point!
After my Galaxy/Cascade APA placed in competition, I was awarded 1 oz of Australian Topaz hops (schwingggg). Having never used this variety, I considered making a SMaSH beer to get a feel for it, but couldn’t find any more of it at my LHBS so I decided to mix it in with a quick 3 gallon APA recipe.
- 6.3 lb US Pale 2 row
- 0.4 lb Crystal 40
- 0.1 lb Crystal 80
- 0.12 oz each Topaz, Centennial (20 min)
- 0.25 oz each Topaz, Centennial (10 min)
- 0.12 oz each Topaz, Centennial (8 min)
- 0.5 oz each Topaz, Centennial (5 min)
- WLP008 East Coast Ale
// Mash-in 1.5 qt/lb at 152F for 1 hr, sparge to collect around 3.5 gallons wort. Boil 60 minutes, add ice to collect around 3 gal wort at 120F. Chill in fridge overnight to 62F. Collected around 2.5 gal (lost a bit to trub) 1062 OG. No starter, no oxygenation. Brewed 11/25/16. //
1.5 tsp Gypsum to mash.
11/30/16: Airlock activity slowed, beer started drop clear. Gravity at 1017. Rounded hop flavor, fair malt component too but slightly sweet. Gave the carboy a good shake to help it finish out. Likely having trouble finishing since I didn’t oxygenate.
1/1/16: Decided it needed more hop flavor, so I added 0.25 oz each Citra and Cascade dry hop (pellets).
1/3/16: Move to fridge to crash cool.
1/4/16: decided to try gelatin fining: added 1/2 tsp in 1/4 cup water, heated in 7 second bursts to 145 then right into primary.
1/6/16: started to clarify but only got about halfway and stopped. Kegged anyway.
Filed under Hoppy, Pale Ale
I made a yeast starter from pineapple juice and ambient yeast/bacteria in my backyard/house. It smells and tastes okay, so I put together a small batch.
- 6.5 lb Maris Otter
- 0.15 lb Amber malt
- 0.25 oz Columbus 70 min
- 0.3 oz Cascade 20 min
- 0.3 oz Cascade 10 min
- 0.3 oz Columbus 10 min
- 0.3 oz Cascade 5 min
- 0.3 oz Columbus 5 min
- Wild yeast starter
// Mash-in at 154 for 50 minutes, mash out and sparge to collect around 3.5 gallons. Boil 70 min. Add ice and 32 oz of water to get around 3 gallons of 1.056 wort. Let sit in the fridge for 2 hours to get down to 82F, pitch wild yeast starter. Brewed 7/14/16. //
7/17/16: Airlock activity was off the charts initially, slowed quickly. Gravity at 1016, still super cloudy but no krausen left (never really got up there anyway). Very fruity and yeasty, hefeweizen-ish – banana, sharp citrusy and earthy hop flavors with some green apple. Not very pleasant, but I’m hoping it’ll attenuate a little more over the next week and smooth out.
8/20/16: I kind of forgot about this batch, but kept tabs on the airlock activity here and there – it really never seemed to slow down. The hop flavor is a little sharp, but the beer has dried out to 1009 and is much less fruity. Still not overly blown away by the flavor, but we’ll see how it does in the keg. Moved to a 3 gallon keg, tasting notes soon.
Testing the limits of first wort hopping in a low gravity IPA. 3oz at first wort, 3oz at whirlpool, and 3oz dry hop. Second batch on the new Grainfather system.
- 7.5 Golden Promise
- 0.3 Carapils
- 0.3 Amber malt
- 3oz each Amarillo Simcoe and Citra (FWH)
- 3oz each Amarillo Simcoe and Citra (whirlpool)
- 3oz each Amarillo Simcoe and Citra (dry hop)
- WLP001 (no starter).
Mash-in 1.75qt/lb At 154 for 40 minutes. Mash out at 168 for 5 min. Spargw to collect 6 gallons wort.’boil 60, collect 5.75 gal 1040 wort 86F. Chill overnight in fridge. Got down to 56F overnight, took out of the fridge, oxygenated and pitched yeast. Brewed 8/31/16.
9/5/16: Fermentation was quick, finished within a few days. Sharp hop taste, gravity at 1013. Added dry hops, shook once a day for the next few days to mix it up. Tons of airlock activity after each shake.
9/8/16: Moved to the fridge after 3 days dry hopping. Gravity at 1012.
9/10/16: Interesting flavors. The fermentation character seems peachy, and the hops still have a piney kind of impression. Good amount of body. Kegged, tasting notes soon.
Filed under Hoppy, IPA, Pale Ale
My nitro tap has be vacant for a while, partly due to a leak in my gas line that depleted the tank on my last batch and my unwillingness to go get the damn thing refilled. This should be a nice pick-me-up for the tap; a fairly standard English Bitter with a full bill of English ingredients.
- 9 lb Muntons Maris Otter
- 0.8 lb Muntons Medium Crystal 60L
- 0.1 lb Muntons Extra Dark Crystal malt
- 3 oz UK First Gold (60 min) (3.5%aa)
- 1 oz UK First Gold (10 min) (3.5%aa)
- 1 oz UK First Gold (0 min) (3.5%aa)
- Wyeast London ESB
// Mash-in 2 qt/lb at 154 for 40 minutes. Sparge w/ 3.7 gal 170F water. Collect 7 gallons 1040 wort. Boil 40 minutes. Collect around 4.5 gallons 1.048 wort. Pitch 1L starter. Could only get the temp down to 85F with the hot weather and water temp. Moved to basement to ferment at 65F. Brewed 8/26/16. //
The yeast was dated April, so I made a 1L starter to get it going again. It had no problem fermenting out the starter, and tasted fine before pitching.
Water: 2 tsp gypsum, 1/2 tsp CaCl2 to mash. Nothing to sparge.
8/27/16: Lots of activity, slight blow-off into the airlock.
8/29/16: gravity at 1020. Nice esters and malt flavor, but the hops are sharp and, well, bitter. Hoping this mellows.
9/1/16: Gravity still at 1020, but much better flavor. Hops are less sharp and just tastes like a great English ale. Slightly sweet. Much clearer, too. Kegged and put on the nitro tap at 30 psi. Tasting notes!