Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ginger Saison

It's been a while since I did a ginger saison, so I thought I'd make another batch.  This is one I enjoy, but I don't think I enjoy it as much as my wife.

If you don't get the reference to the image to the right, it's from a Strongbow Hard Cider commercial where Sir Patrick says, "ginger!"

Brew Day: 12 Jan 2017

Partial Mash:
1 lb Vienna malt
4 oz CaraRed
1.5 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
3 oz turbinado sugar
7 g Saaz hops (@ 20 min)
7 g Saaz hos (@ flameout)

Steep 1/2 oz of freshly cut ginger (thin sliced) for 10 min

Yeast: DanStar Belle Saison

As I was racking the wort into the fermenter, I got a nice sharp fragrance of ginger, and I'm hoping that translates into a really good ginger flavor in the beer.

Addendum, 4 Feb: Bottled today, with 1 oz of sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water; got 9 good bottles.  Didn't note any "ginger heat" when bottling.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Another Medusa IPA

I know, I know...I just made a Medusa IPA, but I have to tell you, the first one turned out really well, and the second one is very likely going to be a bit more malty that I prefer - I'll find out Fri (or afterward), but the second Summer IPA I made, using the same malt base, was that way.

For the Medusa and Summer IPAs, I think that the hop schedule is pretty good, but these beers really need a lighter malt, so that the flavor of the hops comes through; even a little maltiness, even using just 8 oz of Gambrinus Honey malt in the partial mash, can run roughshod over the flavor of the hops.

Brew Day: 10 Jan 2017

Partial Mash:
1 lb Vienna malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

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

14 g Medusa hops (FWH)
1.5 oz Medusa hops (flameout)

Yeast: Safale US-05

Dry hop: 14 g Medusa hops

Addendum, 23 Jan: Dry hopped today with 1 oz of Medusa hops; I upped the amount because that's what I had left.  

Addendum, 25 Jan: Bottled today, with just under an ounce of turbinado sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water.  Got 9 good bottles out of it.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sah'Tea, Again

I've tried a couple of different sah'tea recipes, and so far, the second one turned out the best.  I thought I'd make another sah'tea, because it's been a while, and because these are actually quite good.

Brew Day: 7 Jan 2017

Partial Mash:
15 oz Munich malt
5 oz rye malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
3 oz table sugar
7 g Glacier hops

@ 10 min, steep 15 g crushed juniper berries and 3 black tea bags.

Yeast: K-97

I used my usual processes for partial mashing, and for pitching the yeast.

Addendum, 25 Jan: Bottled today, with just under an ounce of turbinado sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water.  Got 9 good bottles out of it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What comes around, gose round

Not long ago, I was in the car listening to the HairNation channel on SiriusXM.  Having grown up (gone to high school and college) in the '80s, I have a musical preference for hair bands; Van Halen (NOT "Van Hagar"...well, maybe some...), that sort of thing.  Well, Ratt came on, and out of nowhere I got a great idea for the name of a sour beer..."What comes around, gose 'round".

Besides the reference to an iconic hair band, as well as to the sour beer, the name of the beer has a third meaning...after all, it was the very generous guys (well, Jake, specifically...) up at Crooked Run Brewing who provided the input and insight as to how to make a sour beer at the scale at which I'm brewing.

Initial Brew Day: 14 Dec 2016

Partial Mash:
1 lb white wheat malt
4 oz rye malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

Boil #1 (20 min): 14 Dec 2016
1 lb Pilsen DME

Early in the day, I started the heating mat warming, and took the remaining 2 GoodBelly Straight Shots out of the refrigerator.  I followed all of my usual processes (partial mashing, cooling the wort), and once the wort had cooled to approx. 90 deg F, I transferred it to a glass fermentor and added the Straight Shots.  Once this step was complete, I placed a blow-off tube in the top of the fermentor (not really necessary, no krausen forms...I just don't a solid cap for the fermentor) and placed it on the heating mat, wrapped in a towel (to keep light out).

Boil #2 (20 min): 16 Dec 2016
0.75 oz sea salt (0 min)
0.50 oz ground roasted Coriander (0 min)

Yeast: Safale US-05

Addendum, 31 Dec: Bottled this morning (usual method); got 9 full bottles and 1 partial (about 80%) fill.

More Medusa IPA

The Medusa IPA was so good, I wanted to go with another one!  This one uses the same hop schedule, although the malt is a little different in this case, as I was using up what was left over from the Summer IPA.

Brew Day: 14 Dec 2016

Partial Mash:
8 oz Franco-Belge Vienna malt
8 oz Gambrinus Honey malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar
14 g Medusa hops (FWH)

1 oz Medusa hops (10 min hop stand)

Yeast: Safale US-05

Addendum, 26 Dec: Dry hopped today with 14 g Medusa hops.

Addendum, 31 Dec: Bottled today, got 9 full bottles.

Addendum, 14 Jan: First pour; caramel color with an off-white, medium head.  Definite fruitiness in the nose.  Malt balances the hops, rather than overpowering it the way it did with the Summer IPA, but does persist a little bit into the aftertaste.  Head doesn't persist, mild lacing on the glass.  Overall, a very drinkable beer, but I prefer a much lighter malt to let the hops really shine through.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another Summer IPA

My first summer IPA turned out really well, so well, in fact that I wanted to enjoy another round.  This one went over really well with my daughter, some friends, and my lovely wife, who does NOT have a palate for IPAs.  However, these IPAs are not like commercial West Coast IPAs, with respect to bitterness...these are very fruit-forward IPAs, relying only on the hops for the fruitiness.

Brew Day: 26 Nov 2016

Partial Mash:
8 oz Franco-Belges Vienna malt
8 oz Gambrinus Honey malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 oz table sugar
14 g Summer Hops (FWH)

1 oz Summer Hops (10 min hop stand)

Yeast: US-05

Addendum, 6 Dec: Dry hopped with 14 g Summer hops.

Addendum, 9 Dec: Bottled with 3/4 oz of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water.  Got 10 bottles.

Addendum, 2 Jan: I've had a couple of these beers by now, and I wanted to add some tasting notes.  My goal in using the Gambrinus Honey malt was to add some malty sweetness to the beer, but that didn't quite work out the way I had hoped; the maltiness overwhelmed the flavor of the hops.  Also, the carbonation was a bit low...the head was almost non-existent unless I up-ended the bottle into the glass.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Yet Another Big Belgian

My previous Belgian Beauty was a hit, and still is; we had one last night.  My wife and some of our friends really like it...a lot.  Since we're just about out, no time like the present to make some more...

Brew Day: 19 Nov 2016

Partial Mash:
1 lb Franco-Belge Vienna Malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

Boil (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
8 oz corn sugar
7 g Saaz (AA: 6.5%) hops @ 20 min

Yeast: T-58

Addendum, 6 Dec: Transferred to secondary tonight.  I'll probably let it sit for another week to 10 days before bottling.

Addendum, 17 Dec: Bottled today, with 0.6 oz table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water.  This one will be ready for New Year's Eve.

Addendum, 2 Jan 2017:  My wife tried the beer last night; she really liked it.  She tried the partial fill and said that it tasted different; not that it was more or less carbonated, but it tasted different.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sour Saison

Source: GoodBelly.com
Not long ago, I had a really good sour saison (with guava and Thai chilies) called "Something for the pain" at Crooked Run Brewing.  I thought that idea of brewing a sour beer and fermenting with a different yeast was intriguing, and I also thought it would be a good time to try hopping with some Summer hops.  Also, I'm not entirely sure of the shelf-life for the GoodBelly Straight Shots, so I want to make sure I use them up.

Brew Day: 11 Nov 2016

*Early in the day, set out (2) GoodBelly Straight Shots, and start warming the heating pad.

Partial Mash:
1 lb white wheat malt (crushed)

*Used my usual partial mash process.

Boil #1 (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME

*NOTE: No hops or yeast at this point!

Chill the wort to approx. 100 deg F (it will cool further during the transfer), and transfer to a glass fermenter.  It is okay to fill above the 1 gal line on the container.  Shake the Straight Shots and add each one directly to the fermenter.  Cap the fermenter, insert a blow-off tube (the bacteria does not form a krausen, this is just to isolate it...), wrap the fermenter in a towel and place on the heating pad.  Allow to remain there for approx. 48 hrs.

Boil #2 (20 min): 13 Nov
Allow the soured wort to a boil for 20 min (to kill the bugs). At flameout, do a 10 min hop stand with 14 g of Summer  hops.

Yeast: DanStar Belle Saison

Addendum, 14 Nov: Checked on the fermenter this morning while preparing other beers for dry hopping tonight; fermentation is going very well.  I am definitely looking forward to trying this one when it's done.

Addendum, 23 Nov: Dry hop with 14 g of  Summer hops.

Addendum, 25 Nov: Bottled this evening, with 0.6 oz of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water.  My beers have been over-carbonated lately, and this one seemed to still be pretty active...the airlock cap was still floating pretty high when I bottled the beer.  I know that's not supposed to be an indicator of active fermentation, but I thought I'd just be safe.  After all, these beers are not heavily carbonated.

I got 8 good 12 oz bottles and one partial fill out of this batch.

Addendum, 9 Dec: Tried the partial fill...interesting flavor.  I'll definitely try this one again.  Mild carbonation, as is expected from these beers.  Good sour flavor, but something a little different from the last one.  I'll have to do a side-by-side comparison.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Medusa IPA

Source: BSGCraftBrewing.com
Not long after I first started brewing small batches, I received 1 oz of Medusa hops and tried my hand at an IPA.  Unfortunately, the fermenter cap cracked pretty badly, and it was several days before I found it, so I lost that batch. I've recently been able to get access to some more of these hops, and I'm going to give it another shot, using the same hop schedule that I've been using for my more recent IPAs.

My daughter recently tried my Summer IPA, and based on her feedback (as well as my own empirical testing), the hop schedule seems to work pretty well; I thought I'd stick with it for this one, as well.

Brew Day: 2 Nov

Partial Mash:
11.5 oz 2-row malt, crushed
1.5 oz flaked wheat

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

Hops:
14 g Medusa hops (FWH)
10 min hop stand with 1 oz Medusa hops

*Cool wort, pitch yeast via normal process

Yeast: Safale US-05 + 1/2 vial Clarity Firm

Addendum, 14 NovDry hop: 14 g Medusa hops

Addendum, 17 Nov: Bottled today; got 9 good 12 oz bottles and 1 partial fill that's like 90%

Addendum, 2 Dec: Tried the first Medusa IPA tonight.  From the picture to the right, you can see it has a straw yellow color, and is a bit more carbonated than it needs to be...I'm going to be backing down on the priming sugar, to about 0.6 oz, rather than a full ounce.  After a few minutes of sitting it settle down pretty nicely.

Started off with a bit of sweet fruit in the nose, as well as on the palate.  My wife tried it and when I said that to me, it had a hint of pineapple, she agreed.  Not bitter at all, with a flavor reminiscent of melon.

As I progressed drinking the beer, the head continued to settle down and there was some light lacing on the glass.  Looking through the glass, the head had large bubbles, but in the middle of the glass, the head resembled more of a latte foam.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Another Sour Beer

My first sour beer (not a gose, just a sour) turned out really well, thanks to the support provided by Jake of Crooked Run Brewing.  Having had some initial success, I wanted to try out hopping a sour beer, going for a sour IPA, using some of the Medusa hops I've got.

So, I took a look at the recipe that Jake posted to his blog, and using a conversion of 31 gal (US) to a barrel, I came up with total hop additions of 14 g @ whirlpool, and about 20 g @ dry hop.  This being the first time, I'm going to be a bit conservative, but it's a good start.

Brew Day: 1 Nov 2016

*Early in the day, begin warming the heating pad, and set out (2) Goodbelly Straight Shots.

Partial Mash:
1 lb white wheat malt, crushed

*Partial mash using my regular process

Boil #1 (20 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME

*NOTE: No hops or yeast at this point!

Chill the wort to approx. 100 deg F (it will cool further during the transfer), and transfer to a glass fermenter.  It is okay to fill above the 1 gal line on the container.  Shake the Straight Shots and add each one directly to the fermenter.  Cap the fermenter, insert a blow-off tube (the bacteria does not form a krausen, this is just to isolate it...), wrap the fermenter in a towel and place on the heating pad.  Allow to remain there for approx. 48 hrs.

Boil #2 (20 min): 4 Nov 2016
Starting the boil this morning (very early), I caught a whiff of the wort...as before, it sort of smells like apple juice.  This one is definitely going to be interesting, as the only real thing I'm changing about this is that I'm hopping it.

Hops: 10 min hop stand with 14 g of Medusa  hops (AA: 3%)
Yeast: Safale US-05

As a bit of a side note, some thoughts on brewing these beers...

First, the bacteria doesn't create a krausen; as such, when I get the fermenter ready to sit on the warming plate, I tend to fill the fermenter all the way up to the neck, leaving about an inch or two at the top.

Second, even though the second boil is not intended for volume reduction (it's meant to kill the bacteria), this will happen.  As such, adding some water to boil to make up for any loss in volume is fine.  This is particularly true if it's accounted for during the first boil, with the addition of a bit more fermentables.

Addendum, 14 NovDry hop with 14 g of  Medusa hops (AA: 3%)

Addendum, 17 Nov: Bottled today; got 8 good 12 oz bottles.

Addendum, 4 Dec: First taste of the sour IPA.  Straw yellow color with light carbonation.  Excellent flavor, definitely sour with an ever-so-slight sense of sweet fruit that comes through the nose at first.