Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Azacca IPA #2 - YASF IPA

Source: NorthernBrewer.com
My first Azacca IPA (named "My So Fly IPA") turned out so well that I wanted to make it again, this time with a twist...in this case, using White Labs Clarity Firm.  A buddy of mine liked the Azzaca IPA so much that he wanted his wife to try it, and she needs gluten free products.

Interestingly, I received an order shipment from NorthernBrewer yesterday, and thumbing through the supply magazine, I came across an Azacca recipe.  The malt bill is different, as is the hop schedule; my hop schedule is a bit more aggressive than the one NB uses.

In this case, the "YASF" in the page title stands for "Yet Another So Fly".  My wife dubbed my first iteration "My So Fly IPA", and this one is simply a remake using the Clarity Firm.

All steps (partial mash, boil) followed the normal processes I've been using.

Brew Day: 27 Oct 2015

Partial Mash (usual method):
1 lb Belgian Munich malt
1 oz CaraPils

Boil (60 min)
1.25 lb Golden LME (@ 60 min)
3 oz corn sugar (@ 60 min)

7 g Azacca (@ 60 min)
14 g Azacca (@ 10 min)
11 g Azacca (@ flameout)

Yeast: Safale US-05
*Added ~1/2 vial of Clarity Firm

Addendum, 28 Oct: About 13+ hrs after pitching the yeast, I checked on the fermenter.  There's a good deal of activity, and I'm very happy about that.  What's different is there isn't much krausen in the blow-off tube (there is a very small amount), and none in the blow-off bottle.

Addendum, 6 Nov: Dry hopped with 19 g Azacca hops.  Within seconds of putting the new cap and airlock on the fermenter, the airlock cap was floating.  I'll bottle next week, and then this should be ready for it's first side-by-side comparison tasting with the original Azacca IPA on 27 Nov.

Addendum, 12 Nov: Bottled the beer tonight, with 1 oz table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water as the priming sugar.

Addendum, 20 Nov: I was doing some research tonight, and I ran across this Beersmith article that discusses gluten reduced beers and Clarity Firm...

Addendum, 25 Nov: Tasted one tonight after chilling; it's almost exactly the same as the first batch!  Definitely a keeper recipe.  The next step is to do a side-by-side comparison between this one and the original batch, for which I still have a few bottles left.

Addendum, 10 Aug: I still had one of these in my fridge, believe it or not, and I decided that tonight was the night to finish it off.  Man, it was still good.  I had originally made this one as an effort to let a friend try the Azacca IPA, with the caveat being that she can't have gluten.  The beer poured with a small-ish head which dissipated quickly, and after the first couple of sips, there wasn't much apparent lacing.  The beer was absolutely crystal clear, as expected, and was a nice golden color.  Even without a prominent head, the carbonation was still good.  The beer had a medium body, was drinkable without being really heavy.  As far as the flavor, I'm getting a little bit of pine, and only a very small amount of bitterness.  The best I can describe is that it's like having something just a bit less bitter than a Bell's Two-Hearted.  I'll have to look at revisiting this beer in the future.

Friday, October 16, 2015


I've wanted to try another tripel (for my wife...she likes tripels) since my first attempt didn't turn out quite the way I would've hoped.  I had a chance to stop by BrewLoCo today to pick up a few things, and since they were out of Jasper's excellent hefeweizen yeast, I thought I'd give an abbey liquid yeast a try.

Brew Day: 16 Oct 2015

Partial Mash:
1lb Belgian Munich malt

Boil (60 min):
1lb Golden Light DME
3.5 oz Belgian candy sugar
2.0 oz corn sugar

7 g German Perle (@ 60 min)
7 g Czech Saaz (@ 10 min)

Used the usual process for the boil, and cooling the wort.  This one cooled to just below 80 deg F, call it 78 deg F, when I started transferring it to the fermenter.  I know that wort cools a little more while I'm transferring it to the fermenter. I filled the fermenter about halfway and then removed the transfer tube, covered the fermenter, and vigorously shook it to oxygenate the wort.  Once that was done, I added the remaining wort.  I'd let the yeast sit out through the entire boil process, allowing it reach room temperature, and agitating it along the way so that all of the yeast wasn't settled when I pitched it.

Yeast: JasperYeast JY-027 Scourmont Abbey yeast (pitched ~ 1/2 bottle)

This one is going to sit in primary for about 4 weeks before I bottle it.

Addendum, 17 Oct: The manufacturer describes this yeast as, "Slow starting strain but one that finishes slowly but steady. A good yeast that does need time."  As I'm writing this, it's been less than 24 hrs since I pitched the yeast, and there is no activity.  I'm going to be patient, but I'll likely declare it a failure if I don't see anything by Sunday evening.  I'm still a little gunshy since I had to rescue the IPA I tried using a yeast that, when pitched, was 6 months and 2 days old.

Addendum, 19 Oct: Checked on the fermenter this morning, and there's a great deal of fermentation activity.  This yeast was, indeed, "slow to start".  I'm looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.

Addendum, 10 Nov: Bottled today.  I know, it was a few days early, but things were pretty much in stasis, and as it turns out, I had a couple of beers to bottle (per my calendar) on one day, so I thought it would be a good idea to get this one bottled now.  Besides, this will give me a chance to have a taste test.

Addendum, 24 Nov: Taste test.  The beer poured with a nice golden color.  Carbonation was good, with a nice white head and some moderate lacing.  The nose and flavor was floral, with a bit of citrus in the finish.

Addendum, 23 Dec: Poured one for my wife tonight.  Full, pillowy head, the beer poured crystal clear with a nice golden color.  Got a bit of floral spice in the nose, and some alcohol warmth on the back.  Very nice tripel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ginger Saison

I wanted to try creating another beer with ginger, after my first one didn't turn out quite the way I wanted, likely due to too much ginger.  So this time, I'm going to try something a little lighter in color, a bit less ginger, and with a different yeast.

Brew Day: 14 Oct

Partial Mash (usual method):
1 lb Belgian Munich malt

Boil (45 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME
4 g Czech Saaz (@ 45 min)
< 0.5 oz thinly sliced ginger root, in a muslin bag (@ 10 min)

Yeast: Danstar Belle Saison

All parts of the process (partial mash, boil, transfer to fermenter, aeration, pitching yeast) occurred as per usual.  I racked the beer to a fermenter, and put it away; I'll check in on it later tonight or tomorrow morning and see how it's doing.

As a side note, the wort was a bit darker than I'd expected, a light brown.  While I was sparging the mash, I noticed that the wort at that point was a little browner that I had hoped.  I'll keep that in mind in the future when using the Belgian Munich malt.  I am hoping that over time, the particulates will settle out a bit and the beer will both lighten and clear.  Otherwise, I won't have a "wit"; I may have to change this to "ginger saison".

Addendum, 15 Oct: Checked on the fermenter this morning; some nice, moderate activity and a bit of krausen-y material in the blow-off tube and bottle.  Fermentation seems to be progressing nicely.

Addendum, 19 Oct: Changed the title of the post (and accordingly, the description of the beer) to "ginger saison".  This one isn't going to end up being a "wit", but I hope that the ginger addition was suitable, and that it ends up working well with the yeast.  Also, swapped out the blow-off tube for an airlock today; within seconds, the cap on the airlock was floating...definitely a good sign.

Addendum, 29 Oct: Bottled today, using 1 oz table sugar dissolved into 1/2 cup boiling water.  Used two 22 oz flip top bottles and 6 regular 12 oz bottles (capped by hand).

Addendum, 12 Nov: Tasting tonight...turned out REALLY well, another one of Terri's favorites.  Pours with a nice head, and the carbonation is good.  Solid body, tastes like a tripel...that's what Terri said, and I agree.  Just a hint of ginger, which is a nice backdrop to the Belgian-style flavors imparted by the yeast.  Some mild lacing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

LCpl's Tears (was "VM-IPA #2")

After my first attempt at a "VM-IPA", I decided that I wanted more of a red color to the beer; after all, VMI's nickname is "Big Red".  I wanted to get a red color, as well as really pushing up the hops.

Note: I changed the name of this one on 2 Nov.  See below.

I looked to a couple of other recipes to see what it would take to make a red, or more reddish ale.  I found a couple that might work, such as this one, and this one.  I also figure that if I get close to the color I want, I can also tweak it just a bit more with some steeping grains, getting color without much in the way of modifying the flavor.

Brew Day: 13 Oct

Partial Mash (following usual method):
5 oz 2-row
2 oz Caramel 60L
1 oz CaraPils
4 oz GoldPils Vienna Malt
4 oz CaraRed
2 g English black malt

The wort from the partial mash came out a bit more brown than I wanted, and I'm hoping that the end product will have more red in it than brown.

Boil (60 min)
1.25 lb Golden LME (@ 60 min)
4 oz corn sugar (@ 60 min)

12 hrs after racking 
7 g FFC7 (@ 60 min)
4 g Mosaic (12.8%) + 4 g Amarillo + 2 g Simcoe (@ 15 min, muslin bag)
4 g Mosaic (12.8%) + 4 g Amarillo + 4 g Simcoe (@ 5 min, muslin bag)

Yeast: Safale US-05

Addendum, 14 Oct: You can't tell from the picture to the right, but the beer is bubbling away nicely, at about 12 hrs after being racked to the fermenter.  It's not all krausen-y, but there is some very good activity.

Addendum, 15 Oct: Checked on the fermenter this morning; still has some nice, moderate activity (could hear the bubbling from the door...), and some krausen-y material has moved in to the blow-off tube and bottle.  Things seem to be progressing nicely at this point.

Addendum, 19 Oct: Switched out the blow-off tube for an airlock today; after 20 min, the airlock cap wasn't floating.  I opted to pitch the remaining JY-027 yeast left over from the tripel I brewed on Friday.  As it took a bit for activity to start, I'll see how this one goes.  The JY-027 is described as a slow-starting, slow-going yeast, so if there was any viable yeast remaining in the pitch, I may have to let this one sit in the fermenter for a bit longer.  Still, if things do go well, it will be interesting...so, here's hoping!

Addendum, 20 Oct: Checked on the beer this morning, have proof of life!  The airlock cap is floating!  Incidentally, the tripel is still using a blow-off tube as the yeast is still pretty active.  Maybe that's something I can look forward to with this one.

Addendum, 2 Nov: I decided to rename this one, for a couple of reasons.  First, it doesn't have the red color I was hoping for, and second, I had to "rescue" the fermentation with the Belgian yeast I had left over from a tripel.  When I described what I'd done to the proprietor of Kettle and Grains, he remarked that it should be "interesting"...and I agreed.  So, between the brown color, the Belgian yeast, and the hops, I ended up with a "one-off" beer.  As to the name, one day I was joking around with one of my college roommates (he went Navy...) and had the idea to name a beer "LCpl's Tears".  We thought it was funny, and I later looked it up online and found this Terminal Lance cartoon.  The Belgian yeast has been doing it's thing for 2 weeks now, and I feel like I need to wait a bit longer...at least a week to 10 days...before dry hopping this one.

Addendum, 7 Nov: I was going to dry hop this beer on Monday, but it's going to be a pretty busy day for me, so I went ahead and dry hopped it today.

Dry hop 
4 g Mosaic + 4 g Cascade + 6 g Amarillo + 3 g Simcoe (muslin bag)

Addendum, 12 Nov: Bottled the beer tonight, with 1 oz table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water as the priming sugar.

Addendum, 24 Nov: Taste test.  Pours a golden red-brown color, with good carbonation and a nice white head.  The head doesn't persist, and there is some mild lacing.  Mild fruit aroma in the nose, finishes with a bit of grapefruit, and just a bit of alcohol warmth.  Light bodied, not heavy at all, and easy to drink.  This one kind of tastes like it has grapefruit or grapefruit zest in it, finishing with a citrus bitterness reminiscent of grapefruit.

Addendum, 2 Jun 2016: Finished off the bomber of this tonight with friends, got three nice glasses out of it.  The beer poured with a very thick head, which settled down pretty quickly, and left some nice lacing on the glass.  The beer itself was brown in color, and crystal clear, a bit malt-forward with a nice bite from the hops.  Overall, a very good brew; one of the folks trying it had never had one of my beers, and immediately liked it.