Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sour Cashmere IPA

With the cashmere hops I have available, I wanted to try a side-by-side comparison of an IPA against a sour IPA.  So, same recipe, same everything, the only difference is this one was soured via my usual process.

Brew Day #1: 26 Sept 2018

Partial Mash:
12 oz Munich
2 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar

Brew Day #2: 29 Sept 2018

Boil (20 min):

Hops:
14 g Cashmere hops (FWH)
21 g Cashmere hops (@flameout, 20 min)
21 g Cashmere hops (10 min after @flameout, 10 min)
14 g Cashmere hops (dry hop)

Yeast: US-05

Addendum, 8 Oct: Dry hopped

Addendum, 11 Oct: Bottled on 1 oz of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 c boiling water.  Got 9 good bottles.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Cashmere IPA

I received an ad from an online home brew supply store, and it mentioned having  a blonde ale available made with Cashmere hops.  I did some research on this one, and found sites like DraftMag that had descriptions of what this hop has to offer, and immediately thought to myself that I would LOVE to try this in an IPA, as well as a sour IPA.  The description at BSG has some very interesting notes...I'd really like to see how 'secondary notes of coconut' smells and tastes.

I did a search on Amazon and found an 8oz bag of the hops that would set me back less than purchasing 4oz from the online store, and they showed up the other day.  I can't wait to try them out in a beer, and to get a good whiff of the hops themselves.

One description suggests that this hop would do really well alongside Mosaic, and based on my recent experience, I couldn't agree more.

Brew Day: 27 Sept 2018

Partial Mash:
12 oz Munich
2 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar

Hops:
14 g Cashmere hops (FWH)
21 g Cashmere hops (@flameout, 20 min)
21 g Cashmere hops (10 min after @flameout, 10 min)
14 g Cashmere hops (dry hop)

Yeast: US-05

Addendum, 7 Oct: Dry hopped on 14 g of Cashmere hops.

Addendum, 11 Oct: Bottled on 1 oz of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 c boiling water.  Got 8 good bottles and one partially filled re-purposed Dr Pepper bottle. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

YAB (Yet Another Belgian)

The last Belgian turned out pretty well, and it's a very good beer that I like to keep on-hand.  So, having some of the yeast that really makes this one turn out quite nice, I brewed up another batch on a rainy Sunday.

Brew Day: 16 Sept 2018

Partial Mash:
12 oz Munich
2 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
8 oz table sugar

Hops - 14 g German Hersbrucker (at the beginning of the boil)

Yeast - BE-134

*I followed all of my usual procedures.

Addendum, 23 Sept: Completely spontaneous dry hop onto 14 g of Cashmere hops today.

Addendum, 27 Sept: Racked the beer to secondary.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Sour Beer

With the fall coming and the stores all overwhelmed with pumpkin ales and fall beers for Oktoberfest, I felt that I needed to start preparing some sour beers for the fall season.  One of the great things about homebrewing is that I can have what I want, when I want it!

Brew Day #1: 4 Sept 2018

Partial Mash:
14 oz Munich
2 oz flaked wheat

Boil #1 (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar

After the boil, chill the wort to 80 - 90 deg F, and add to a sanitized fermenter, on (2) Good Belly Straight Shots.  Place an air lock in the fermenter cap, and place on a warming plate, wrapped in a towel.

Brew Day #2: 7 Sept

Boil #2 (20 min):

Hops:
FWH: 14 g Jarrylo (AA: 14.2%)
Flame out #1 (20 min): 6 g Jarrylo, 10 g Mosaic (10.8%), 10 g Citra (13.3%)
Flame out #2 (10 min): 6 g Jarrylo, 10 g Mosaic, 10 g Citra
Dry hop: 7 g Mosaic, 7 g Citra

Yeast: US-05

As soon as I took the wort off of the burner, I added the first flame out hop addition, and then added the second 10 min later.  At the 20 min mark, I put the wort in an ice bath to cool it to about 80 deg F, and pitched the yeast.  I then inserted a blow-off tube in the fermenter cap, and put the beer in the basement bathroom.

Addendum, 18 Sept: Dry-hopped the beer this evening.

Addendum, 21 Sept: Bottled; got 7 good bottles, one partial fill, and on repurposed Mountain Dew bottle.  This beer smelled very fruity during the bottling.

Addendum, 7 Oct: Opened the soda bottle tonight.  The beer poured with a hazy golden color, typical of the sours I've made.  There was mild carbonation and no head, also inline with sours.  The beer was mildly tart, and had a hint of fruitiness.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Wai-iti IPA

Not long ago, I was at my local home brew supply shop and found some Zythos hops for an IPA.  I was interested in some hops that would impart fruit, specifically pineapple, and had gone to the shop looking for Denali hops.  While I was there, Arthur latched on to my thoughts regarding a hop variety that would provide something akin to pineapple (or another sweet fruit), and came up another hop variety called Wai-iti. I liked the description enough to go ahead and get some on the spot, and I finally found the time to put together an IPA.

Wai-iti Hops:
Band of BrewTuber's review
MoreBeer description
Hopslist description

Brew Day: 28 Jul 2018

Partial Mash:
12 oz Munich
2 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar

Hops:
7 g Wai-iti hops (FWH)
14 g Wai-iti hops (20 min steep, @ flameout)
21 g Wai-iti hops (10 min steep, 10 min after flameout)
14 g Wai-iti hops (dry hop)

Yeast: US-05

I followed all of my usual procedures.

Addendum, 7 Aug: Dry-hopped the beer today; got some very fruity aromas during the transfer on to the hops, and the beer was hazy.

Addendum, 9 Aug: Bottled tonight, on 1 T of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 c boiling water.  Got 6 good bottles and two 22 oz flip top bottles.

Tasting Notes, 10 Sept: Opened a bottle tonight that I'd filled all the way up to the top; usually when filling bottles, there's some room left when I remove the racking crane, but with this bottle, I'd let some of the remaining beer trickle into the bottle, filling it up all the way.  As such, there was no head space in the bottle, and the beer was well carbonated.  The beer poured with a pillowy, white head, and the beer itself was a golden color.  There's a definite aroma of sweet fruits in the nose, as well as on the palette.  There was definitely a dearth of any bitterness at all, and no pine resin (as with the Zythos IPA).  This is a very juicy IPA, although I'm not getting a definite impression of any one particular fruit (pineapple, mango, guava, etc.).  Very good, very drinkable beer.

I had an opportunity to enjoy the Tangerine Technique Pale Ale at Kindred Spirit Brewing this past weekend, and the Wai-iti IPA has a bit more body, and a bit more flavor, as well.

As I was enjoying this beer, I noticed some definite lacing going on along the glass; not as much as, say, a Bell's Two Hearted, but very definite lacing.

Good gravy, but I do enjoy a juicy IPA!  Why go bitter if you don't have to?

Monday, July 9, 2018

"Barrel-aged" dark sour

I recently ran across an article that gave me some new insights into using oak chips in brewing a beer.  I really like DuClaw's Midnight Due, and I thought, why subject myself to a "limited release", when I can brew my own? My first attempt at using oak chips didn't turn out so well, and think that it was because I hadn't properly sanitized the chips, nor did I let the beer age long enough.

Brew Day #1: 9 July

Partial Mash:
6 oz Special B
6 oz Munich
2 oz flaked wheat

Bring 3 qt of water to ~ 160 deg F, pour into a 1 gal thermos container.  Add grain bag with grains, making sure all of the grain gets saturated.  Seal the thermos for at least an hour.

Boil #1 (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar

Raise 3+ qt water in the brew kettle to at least 170 deg F.  Remove grain bag from thermos, transfer to brew kettle, steep for ~ 10 min.  Remove grain bag, add wort, DME, sugar, and boil.

Cool the wort in an ice bath until it reaches ~ 80 deg F.  Rack on to (2) GoodBelly StraightShots that have been brought up to room temp.  You can fill the fermenter all the way up; place a sanitized air lock in the fermenter cap, wrap the fermenter in a towel, and place on the warming plate for 48 - 72 hrs.

There will likely be some wort left in the kettle, so save it off in a bottle, placing it in the fridge until the second boil.

Begin preparing the oak chips.  Add 1 oz of oak chips to boiling water for 5 min; drain, and place in a sanitized glass bottle, and just cover with whisky (Johnny Walker Black Label, 86.8 proof).  Let set for 7 days, the contribute the whisky to the sink, and just cover the chips with bourbon.  Let sit for at least 5 days, and then rack the beer on to the chips and bourbon for several days.

Boil #2  12 July (20 min):
Pour the contents of the fermenter into the brew kettle, and then add the contents of the bottle, and about half a bottle again of tap water.  Boil for 20 min to kill the "bugs" (i.e., souring bacteria). Cool hopped wort to ~ 80 deg F in an ice bath, then transfer to a sanitized fermenter, aerate, and pitch the yeast.

Hops: 14 g German Hersbrucker (AA: 2.3%, @ 20 min)

Yeast: BE-134

Okay, so this one turned out to be a real mish-mash of styles...it's going to be more red than brown, it's sour, uses a Belgian yeast, and I'm still going forward with the oak chips.  This one is going to be real interesting!

Addendum, 16 July: "Contributed" the Johnny Walker whisky that the oak chips had been soaking in to the sink this morning, and added a couple of ounces of Maker's Mark bourbon whisky (90 proof); not enough to cover the chips but over the next couple of days, I will be rotating the container.  The beer itself is still bubbling away quite nicely.

Addendum, 21 July: Racked the beer on to the oak chips; I did not include the bourbon (saving that for baked beans this weekend).

Addendum, 26 July: Racked the beer off of the oak chips and into a clean fermenter; now, to wait.

Addendum, 16 Sept: Bottled today, on 1 oz of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water.  Got 8 good bottles and 1 22 oz flip top bottle.  Also, I tried something a bit different...I added a very small amount of BE-134 yeast to the fermenter while racking the beer on to the bottling sugar.  I did this because historically, the sour beers have always been lightly carbonated, and this beer has been sitting for longer than any other beer I've made thus far.  As a precaution, I moved all of the other bottles out of the tub where I keep the carbonating beers; that way, if there is a bottle burst, I won't loose, or have to clean, so many bottles.  We'll see how this turns out; it may have been completely unnecessary.

Addendum, 30 Sept: Finally tried one of these last night...WOW!  I'd thought to try one on Friday, but when I went to uncap the bottle, the neck just below the cap split apart.  I did pour the beer into a glass through a strainer (in case there were small shards of glass) but the beer was clearly not carbonated.  I chilled another beer, and poured it last night.  The carbonation was subtle and the color was a reddish-brown.  There was nothing distinctive in the aroma, but the flavor was tart up front, with a woody vanilla on the back end.  Had it had a hint of acetic acid, I might have thought that it was a Flanders ale.  I really enjoyed this beer, and it's definitely one that I would enjoy by itself...just the beer, nothing else, and that would be it.  I'm definitely going to try the oak chips again, but this time, I think I'll put them in a hop bag so that they're a little easier to manage/handle. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Oak Chips

My first attempt at "barrel aging" on oak chips didn't turn out too well, likely for several reasons.  For one, the beer got infected...it was clearly soured, and that wasn't the intent.  Further, there were really harsh tannins in the flavor. 

However, a recent issue of Zymurgy had a Dragon's Milk clone recipe (by Amahl Turczyn) that had some really good advice on preparing the oak chips for use:

- boil the chips for 5 min
- soak the chips in cheap whiskey or bourbon for 7 days, then "donate" the booze to the sink or to a marinade recipe
- soak the chips on good bourbon for 4 - 7 days
- after the beer has fermented, rack on to the chips and monitor the beer until you have "noticeable vanilla notes"
- rack the beer into secondary (off of the chips) and let it mellow for a month or two

I see a good opportunity for a "barrel-aged" sour in the near future.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Another Belgian

The Belgian I made earlier this year turned out really well...the key seems to be letting the beer sit in secondary for a while.  I wanted to brew another batch to get it fermenting and ready for later this summer, because my wife really enjoys it.

Brew Day: 30 Jun 2018

Partial Mash:
10 oz Munich
4 oz Crystal rye
2 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
6 oz table sugar

Hops: 14 g German Perle @ 20 min

Yeast: BE-134

Addendum, 11 July: Racked to secondary.

Addendum, 9 Aug: Bottled tonight on 1 T of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 c boiling water.  Got 7 good bottles, a partial fill, and a 22 oz flip top bottle.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lallemand WildBrew

Source: lallemandbrewing.com
My copy of Zymergy showed up yesterday, and as I am want to do, I pay close attention to the ads.  Yes, I admit it...well, the recipes and the ads.  I've come across some interesting items, including but not limited to new yeast strains available, and this time was no different.  This time, I saw an ad that immediately caught my eye, for Lallemand Brewing's new dry WildBrew Sour Pitch sachet.

I've read the data sheet for the yeast blend, and it will be interesting to see how my process for making a sour beer would change/need to be modified to use this product.

Also, I'm a fan of NE-style IPAs, and there's apparently a LalBrew New England yeast available now specifically for this style of beer.

Hhhmmm...so what happens if I want a sour NE IPA?  ;-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Watermelon Sour

I picked up a watermelon in May, and saved some of the juice left over after cutting it up, chilling it, and sharing some of it with the horses and donkey (some love it, others not so much).  I made a sour saison last year with an addition of watermelon that turned out really nice, so I thought I'd do it again, with different hops, etc.

Brew Day: 26 Jun 2018

Partial Mash:
12 oz Munich
2 oz flaked wheat

Boil #1 (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar

After the boil has completed, cool the wort in an ice bath to 80 deg F, and add it to a fermenter with 2 GoodBelly Straight Shots.  Wrap in a towel and place on a warming plate for at least 48 hrs.

Boil #2 (20 min): 29 Jun 2018

Something of note; I had been downstairs yesterday, around the time the wort had been souring for 48 hrs or so, and everything looked fine.  I have the fermenter wrapped in a towel and I usually just slip the palm of my hand under the towel and press it against the fermenter to check the temperature.  When I went to retrieve the fermenter today, there seemed be indications of fermentation...the airlock had bubbles in it, and there seemed to be some of the same material I usually see during fermentation pushed up into the tube of the airlock.

The wort smelled fine as I poured it into the kettle, and whatever was apparently growing is going to be killed off by the boil.

Hops:
Azacca (AA: 9.8%) and Citra (AA: 13.2%) are both from BSGHops
7 g Azacca, 7 g Citra (FWH)
7 g Azacca, 7 g Citra (whirlpool, 20 min)
7 g Azacca, 7 g Citra (whirlpool, 10 min)
7 g Azacca, 7 g Citra (dry hop)

Yeast: US-05

Chill wort to 80 deg F in an ice bath, aerate and pitch yeast.

Addendum, 30 Jun: Checked on the fermentation early this afternoon; apparently, some of the hops and trube had collected in the blow-off tube and backed up the gas which then built up and rather explosively pushed the end of the tube out of the fermenter cap.  The force of the explosion was enough to send material not just all over the walls of the shower, but also on the ceiling.  I put a fresh blow-ff tube in place, and the fermentation continued, so I think maybe I got to it in time.

Following the first boil, I cooled the wort and racked it on to the Straight Shots.  I was able to fill the fermenter almost to the top, as there's no fermentation activity that takes place.  After placing the fermenter on the warming plate, I was able to collect another whole Gatorade bottle of wort, which I placed in the fridge, to await the second boil.  Even with the full fermenter and the additional bottle, the effect of the boil (evaporation) and the amount of liquid absorbed by the two post-flame-out hop additions left just enough of the hopped wort in the kettle such that a good amount of the first addition of hops was deposited in the fermenter.

For future brews, when following this process, the ideal method would be to add not just the additional collected wort to the second boil, but also some additional water.  This would allow me to rack the hopped wort into the fermenter and minimize the additional materials added.  This isn't necessarily something I face with other brews.

Addendum, 11 July: Dry hopped today.

Addendum, 16 July: Racked beer on to 12 oz of watermelon juice.  Prepared the juice by squeezing it out of watermelon chunks, placing it in a sealed container and freezing it.  This morning, I placed the sealed container in a warm water bath, until the juice got to room temperature.  I then measured out 12 oz into a sanitized fluid measuring cup, and then added that to a sanitized fermenter.  I then racked the beer on to it.

Addendum, 21 July: Bottled, on less than an ounce of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 c. boiling water.  I figured the fruit juice contributed some sugar, and after sitting for a bit, there was likely some left for the yeast to dine on while in the bottle.  Got 9 good bottles, and one re-purposed soda bottle that was almost completely full.  That one will be sample bottle in a bit more than 2 weeks.