Friday, March 25, 2016

Fruit-forward IPA: Calypso + Jarrylo

A recent edition of Zymurgy had an interesting article on "Modern Day IPAs", with some fascinating tips, as well as some recipes.  One of the things that sort of bothers me about the commercial IPAs, and even some of the craft IPAs, is the overpowering bitterness that some have.  For example, I recently tried Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Tropical IPA, and maybe my palate isn't nearly sensitive enough, but I wasn't really getting much in the way of "tropical".

I liked how my Calypso IPA turned out, as I did get some dried apple in the flavor.  The Calypso hops have a pretty high alpha acid, so they'd definitely be good for bittering.  I also want to round out some of the flavor with some of the Jarrylo hops that I have left over from the 4 oz I received last summer from my AHA membership.

Brew Day: 25 Mar 2016, early morning brew, because I love the smell of hops in the morning...

Partial Mash:
5 oz Rahr 2-row malt
5 oz Vienna GoldPils malt
2 oz Gambrinus Honey malt
1.5 oz Carapils

Boil (60 min):
1lb Extra Light DME
4 oz table sugar (@ 60 min)

7 g Calypso, AA: 13.3 % (FWH)
7 g Calypso, AA: 13.3% +  7 g Jarrylo, AA: 14.2%  + 7 g Mosaic, AA: 12.8% (flameout, steep)
(projected) 14 g Calypso, AA: 13.3% (dry hop)

Yeast: Safale US-05

*I followed my usual processes for partial mashing and pitching the yeast.

Addendum, 4 Apr: Dry hopped tonight with 14 g Calypso, and 7 g Galaxy (AA: 14.5%), all while doing my best Tim "The ToolMan" Taylor grunt.  Why the additional hops?  Because it was there, and because I can.  I'll likely be bottling this one on Thu.

Addendum, 7 Apr: Bottled today, got two 22 oz flip-tops and 6 regular sized bottles.  The beer smelled really good while transferring it onto the priming sugar, a little bit like apple juice.

Addendum, 10 May: Chilled and enjoyed one of these tonight.  Very good.  I really like the hint of tart dried apple that results from the Calypso hops.  This one is definitely a keeper.

Addendum, 22 May: I chilled one of the 22 oz bottles of this tonight, and had some while I was making dinner.  The beer pours with a fine, pillowy head and the beer is a crystal clear straw color.  Excellent flavor, not bitter as one would expect in an IPA, but instead with hints of dried apple and pear.  Still enjoying this one, and it's going to be sad to see that last bottle of this be emptied.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hefeweizen, Again

If it appears that we like're right, we do.  I wanted to try a different yeast this time, and I found some WLP380 Pure Pitch at Jay's Brewing the other day that, based on the write-up, I wanted to give it a try.  I opted for a low AA hop in a first wort hopping that might do a little bit to emphasize the reported apricot from the yeast, or at least not overwhelm it.

Brew Day: 15 Mar 2016

Partial Mash:
10 oz Rahr Red Wheat
4 oz GoldPils Vienna
1.5 oz CaraPils

Boil (60 min):
1lb Bavarian Wheat DME
10 g Huell Melon hops (AA: 4.5%, FWH)

Yeast: WLP380 Pure Pitch (Jillian at Jay's Brewing recommended this one...)

*I followed my normal process for partial mashing, boiling, and pitching the yeast.

Addendum, 18 Mar: Checking on the beer this morning, I saw a bubble come up out of the blow-off tube (in the bottle).  I had replaced the blow-off bottle yesterday, so the contents were pretty clear.  However, closer inspection of the fermenter cap revealed two cracks, one large enough for me to slid my thumbnail into; so I sanitized another cap and an airlock, and placed those on the fermenter.  I'm pretty sure that the beer is fine; it has at least another 7 days before I even think about bottling.

Addendum, 26 Mar: Bottled today (1 oz table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water).  When I racked the beer on to the priming sugar, I picked up a strong aroma of banana, and some other sweet fruit.  I got 9 good bottles out of this one.  If this yeast works out pretty well, I think that the next thing I might try is dry hopping.

Addendum, 5 Apr: Chilled two bottles and poured one for Terri tonight, and she really liked it.  This one had more body that what you might associate with a hefe and definitely more than a wit...Terri mentioned that the body reminded her more of a Lefe Blonde.  I caught a whiff of banana as I poured the beer into the glass, but I'll have try another one to see if there were notes of apricot.

I think for the next hefe, I'll use the same yeast, but back off of the malt just a bit.  I might also give dry hopping a shot, using some melon hops.

Addendum, 10 May: Had another one of these hefes tonight; initial pour was with a mild head consisting of big bubbles.  I could smell banana from about 3 ft away; at first, I thought the aroma was from rinsing out the bottle.  When I did a big inhale over the glass, it was clear that the aroma was from the beer.  As I was drinking it, the head got thinner but really smooth, almost creamy.  Excellent flavor, I really enjoyed this one.


My previous attempt at a cider wasn't bad, but it could have been better.  This time around, rather than making small incremental changes and seeing how they turn out, I'm going to fall back on my military training...specifically from the rifle range...and make  BOLD "dope" changes ("dope" referring to settings on the iron sights of the rifle).

A recent issue of Zymurgy had an article on malted cider that was interesting, but more importantly, I wanted to try something a bit different, and make a cider with a bit more body for my daughter's college graduation.  She's the cider drinker in the family, and I wanted to make something special.  NorthernBrewer had a recipe for a dry-hopped cider, so I thought I'd combine a couple of different aspects of the various brown sugar, frozen juice concentrate, and dry-hopping.  See what I mean by "bold dope changes"?

Brew Day: 15 March 2016


I picked up an 11.5 oz bottle of pasteurized Simply Apple juice and 4 qts of HT brand Gravenstein apple juice.  I poured the small bottle of juice into a pot, topped it off to two cups, and heated it to 170 deg F.  Once it reached that temperature, I dissolved 3.5 oz of organic brown sugar in the heated juice, and then added that to a fermenter.  I then topped the fermenter off to about a gallon, and pitched the yeast.

Addendum, 18 Mar: The cider is still fermenting away; the blow-off bottle is pretty clear, and the bubbles coming out of the tube make a steady "thump, thump" that's exciting to hear.

Addendum, 25 Mar: Dry hopped with 10 g Jarrylo; very apple-y smell during the transfer.  Looking to bottle on Monday.

Addendum, 29 Mar: Bottled tonight with 1 oz of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water.  I got 9 good bottles and 1 partial fill, which I'll try around mid-April.

Addendum, 22 May: I had tried the partial fill of this cider a bit ago, and I didn't much care for it...but then, I'm not a cider drinker.  I'd decided to put a bottle in the fridge, and keep it for my daughter, and then empty out the rest of the bottles.  Well, she tried one tonight, and liked it!  Who knew?  In fact, she had a second one.

The juice I used this time included some apple material at the bottom of the bottle, and I went ahead and included that in the mix.  This, of course, settled out in the bottles, as well.

I do think that regardless of the yeast used, and in particular with this one, it might be a good idea to include some apple juice concentrate for extra sweetness.  I also tossed out the idea of soaking apple sticks (apples sliced up in sticks) in vodka for a day or two and then including several of them in the bottles.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Going for the berries (again)

Keeping with my trend of fruit-forward IPAs, I wanted to use up the Brewer's Gold hops that I had remaining from my second run of the "hop bomb" IPA.  The first one turned out really well, and with what I have left, I wanted to try a shot at a fruit-forward pale ale or IPA without the Mosaic and HBC-438 hops, and use just a single hop.  I'm hoping to get that black currant that are associated with the hops.

Brew Day: 1 Mar 2016

Partial Mash:
6 oz Vienna malt
4 oz Pilsen malt
1 oz CaraPils

Boil (60 min):
1 lb Munton's Extra Light DME (60 min)
3 oz cane sugar (5 min)

Hops (German Brewer's Gold, AA: 5.9%)
7g Brewer's Gold (FWH)
7g Brewer's Gold (5 min)
11g Brewer's Gold (dry hop)

Yeast: Safale US-05

*I followed my usual process for the partial mash, as well as for cooling the wort and pitching the yeast.

Addendum, 13 Mar: First thing this morning, I dry hopped the beer with the last 11 g of Brewer's Gold hops that I have left.

Addendum, 15 Mar: One of the things I love about home brewing is being able to take the bull by the horns and do whatever is I like with my beer.  This morning, I dry hopped this beer with 14 g of Mosaic (AA: 12.8%)!  While I was racking the beer into the clean fermenter on top of the hop pellets, I could smell a wonderful sweet berry aroma from the beer.  After I was done, I removed the racking crane from the old fermenter and inhaled deeply...WOW!  I'm really hoping that the tropical fruit aroma that Mosaic is known for imparts just a bit more aroma of sweetness to the beer.  I'm going to bottle early on Thu morning.

Addendum, 17 Mar: Bottled with 1 oz of table sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water.  I cannot wait to try this smelled so good during bottling!

Addendum, 31 Mar: Tried one of these tonight, got some definite notes of tropical fruit in the nose, as well as on the palate.  Very good.

Addendum, 4 Apr: I have to try another one of these soon, to see if the flavor from the previous tasting persists.  I have to admit that I'd chatted with a friend to whom I'd recommended the hops, and his taste of his test brew indicated notes of tropical fruits and passion fruit.  When I opened one of my beers 5 days ago, I really came away with a sense of similar flavors.  I find this pretty interesting because a lot of the beers that I've tried that are described as having notes of tropical fruit end up being too bitter to taste much else, but these controlled home brews allow for a recipe where the subtle notes from the hop oils (not acids) are allowed to blossom.