This past fall I taught a personal enrichment class that focused on beer and food pairings. I brewed a hefe for this class and I also brined my Thanksgiving turkey in this beer as well (which turned out phenomenal by the way). I also baked bread using this beer. Yes, this is a basic hefe recipe, well pretty much a basic hefe recipe. I thought I had more wheat malt on hand that I actually did, so I supplemented the wheat malt with some flaked wheat. I thin it added a little more body to the beer and I don’t believe it really hurt the beer. I also used Hallertau Blanc to bitter as I didn’t want to buy an ounce of Hallertau since I had this variety around.
This beer was just a solid beer and might have a presence in my kegerator on the regular. Mainly because this is one of the top 5 styles that the wife likes, it’s good to have beer on tap that she can appreciate as well.
After you see the pictures below of the turkeys and bread, I am sure you might want to know where I got the recipes. Well you’re in luck because I want to share those with you because you deserve it.
At least for me, and my brewing as of late, I’ve been brewing lagers. Yes I’ve been following the Brulosophy way of “warm-fermented” lagers. I probably will get some haters, it’s all good. But being able to pump out some delicious lagers in approximately three weeks has been what this summer has needed. It’s mid-October and I still break out in a sweat when I walk outside. This has been a ridiculously hot summer. What is better than drinking a cold and crispy Pilsner with a little bit of hop flavor in there to refresh the palate? Not too much.
Now will these lagers win awards if I submitted them into a homebrew competition. I don’t think so. Take this with a grain of salt here, These are pleasing to me, but they might not be award winners, I’m not entering that many competitions lately. Hell, I received the BJCP rank of National and I haven’t even judged a competition lately.
Onto the beers. The first recipe I used the yellow bitter water profile. I did enjoy the beer, but I felt the beer was just a touch too bitter. When I brewed the second pilsner, I went with the yellow dry profile and I believe I enjoyed this one the best. I did use a different yeast for the wedding pilsner. But apparently both of the these yeasts are the Weihenstephaner strain. They both produce a lot of sulfur during fermentation, and they both left the beer pretty dry. The bitterness profile is the difference between the two. But if you were to give them to me blindly, I know I couldn’t tell the difference.
Now you may ask, why the second recipe is called the wedding pilsner. It is because I brewed this beer to be served at two wedding showers. I could have called it the Mandarina Bavaria Pilsner, but Wedding Pilsner is easier to say.
Now if you were like me I never knew what the term T-90 pellet hops stood for. After a quick Google, I found it is the way the hop was processed and pelletized. If you want more details about this, you came to the wrong place.
Now, I’ve wanted to pull the trigger on the cryo hops. I’ve had them in my shopping cart multiple times and just never could go ahead and take the plunge. When I saw this experiment come down the pipe, I quickly jumped on it. This way I can try both versions and see if the cryo hops are worth my while. I will say this, I only have 1 hop spider. To make things as similar as they both can be, I didn’t use the hop spider. The clean up on the T-90 hops took almost 4 times the effort because of all of the vegetal matter that was left behind. Will this alone be worth it? Well the hop spider makes this much easier for me, so this isn’t too much of a big deal.
I’m beating myself up because I didn’t take pictures of my dual chilling setup. I split the wort into two pots. I must say that I was quite proud of what I did. Luckily I have two immersion chillers, two pumps, therefore I was able to rig a way to whirlpool the extra pot so I could treat each beer the same.
I ended up doing two tasting sessions with each participant taking a triangle test. One session had 13 participants, the other had 14. I was super surprised at the results. I only had 4 total tasters out of the 27 correctly guess the correct cup. This was very interesting, during the first session I thought it was it was a no brainer. The second session which was 9 days later, I don’t think I could tell the difference.
After I told the participants what the odd cup out was, a good majority said it was down to the odd cup out and the one they actually selected. Another interesting not is that I setup a jockey box at an event (where I had the 2nd session) and a couple of them tried the beers before hand without my knowledge and asked me if those beers were different. I gave some non committal answer to them and proceeded went on my way onto something else. When I gave the triangle test, they could not distinguish the odd beer out.
I really thought the cryo hops would give the beer a brighter and more hop flavor/aroma, but I believe the beers are very similar. Not much difference. Even with me knowing the variable, I don’t think I could pick out the odd sample.
This was a very cool experiment and I am glad I participated in it. Will I buy cryo hops from now on when doing my hoppier style beers? Probably not unless I find them on sale. It’s an awesome idea and yay technology, but in my opinion, I don’t see a huge benefit to it.
Moved half of the wort into the Anvil Kettle. Chilled both worts to ~160 degress. Turned off wort chillers and recirculated for 20 minutes, then started chilling again. Both worts were around 120-130 when I started chilling again. Then it took approximately 30 minutes to chill to 68 degrees. Each carboy was pitched with US-05.
I just brewed this triple hopped, hazy Double IPA, y’all! I’m just taking a silly jab there. I really don’t know what to call this beer. It’s hazy, it’s hoppy, it’s got a slight warming to it. Hey it’s beer! Brewed this beer with Henry and Brian. Henry found a recipe he liked and he tweaked it to his liking (mainly because we couldn’t find Galaxy hops that weren’t stupid expensive). Am I happy with it? It’s drinkable, and has become more drinkable everyday I pull some off the tap. When I first kegged it and pulled a sample a few days after kegging and dry hopping, but before it was carbonated, I was really concerned. I did some research on dry hopping in the keg and of course the Internet is right, am I right? You know since this post is on the Internet everything I write is true </sarcasm>. Ok, I’m done there, but anyways, I found that some people would get vegetal and grassy characters from dry hopping in the keg. By the way this is what I was perceiving I was not pleased at all. I pulled the keg out for about a week to hopefully extract some of those wonderful lupulin oils into the beer. Those qualities have seemed to have faded into the distance (whew!).
A few tasting notes on the beer. I think we have the malt profile down with this recipe. I want to put something other than 6 oz of Columbus into the whirlpool though. It is super earthy and dank, not the quality I was looking for in this beer. I wanted more fruit flavors in it. If I am to re-brew this I may use the same hop profile I used in the Wit Gone Indie recipe. Or another option is that I did buy a pound of Azaaca recently. It’s pretty bitter, as BeerSmith tells me it’s 110 IBUs. Woah! It’s not offensively bitter though and there isn’t too much malt sweetness to balance it out. The aroma of the beer is fantastic though. But how would you learn if you didn’t brew something you thought you couldn’t improve upon. Lesson learned. But this is not a bad lesson.
And another reason I’m having a bad relationship with this beer is oh my, what a brew day we had! Read my notes below on the massacre of a brew day it was. Not all brew days go well, do they? This one, well I was ready to break up once we were done.
What an eventful brew day. Mashed in and there was absolutely no flow coming out of the mash tun. I back flush it with water. I got some flow, and then all of the sudden the flow stops. I try to get going again, let the wort settle down, no dice. We move the mash into one of the old igloo cooler mash tuns. Well, it doesn’t fit in the 10 gallon mash tun. AND! No flow out of that mash tun either!! UGH! I take apart the keggle converted mash tun to find that there is a HUGE amount of grain in the dip tube. UGH!! I see that the false bottom is bent pretty badly. I took a hammer to that thing and attempted to flatten it out. We then move the mash back into the keggle mash tun. BOOM WE HAVE FLOW! Then it comes to a dragging halt. WTF! Ok, Well, I throw my hands up. We’re at roughly 1.065, WAY off the 1.080 we should have been. I start draining the mash tun, then I put in all of the DME I had on hand which is roughly 21 ounces. After the pump seems to have finally pooped out, we scooped out all of the grain for Troy to use to make crackers with. I notice there is STILL a bunch of wort left in the bottom. I use a paint strainer bag in a 5 gallon bucket and we dump all of the wort and left over grain into it. Boom, we got roughly 2 more gallons of wort ouf of the mash that I wouldn’t have thought I got because the pump quit flowing.
Beer finished at 18 brix with 11 gallons of total wort
Question: Does Dry Hopping a Beer During High Krausen Produce a Organoleptic Difference. Note: If you’re like me, you had the confused puppy look with Organoleptic. Let me help ya, being, affecting, or relating to qualities (as taste, color, odor, and feel) of a substance (as a food or drug) that stimulate the sense organs. That helped me, hopefully that’ll help you also.
This one was an interesting experiment. The difference in the two carboys was the dry hopping schedule. As you can see in my notes. A trip interfered with dry hopping my second carboy, which I think threw it off a touch. But all in all the beers turned out reasonably well and it was not easy to distinguish between the two beers. I am afraid I wasn’t able to have the taste panel I really wanted to have, but you know that happens. I still have plenty of beer left, maybe I can update this post if I can get some other tasters on board.
Here is the tasting panel I held. Nine total testers, three of them picked the odd sample. One of the testers was determined to get it correct so she asked for another triangle test. Well unfortunately, she could not pick the odd sample on her second go around. After the opaque cups were tested, I gave each one a sample in a clear plastic cups. It was interesting to see how the difference in preference was when the samples were given in clear glasses.
Notes on yellow cup (odd sample):
Slightly more hop forward
Very Bitter, hop flavor astringent
Notes on green cup:
hint of hops, very similar to purple
Strongest flavor of the three
lighter, smells off
Notes on purple cup:
hint of hops
smooth, mild flavor
Measuring the hops
May 15 Fermentation Check
Dry Hopping at High Krausen May 15
May 16 Fermentation Check
May 17 Fermentation Check
May 18 Fermentation Check
May 24 Fermentation Check
Samples from each batch at kegging the the 2nd carboy
Will dry hop carboy A when it reaches high krausen. Record length from dry hop until terminal gravity is reached. Note number of days until terminal gravity reached. Rack to a keg and keep cold. Dry hop carboy B when terminal gravity is reached for the same amount of days that carboy A was dry hopped.
Purchased 2 packes of Wyeast 1318, dated April 17, 2017. Each pack of yeast was put into 1000 mL of wort for a SNS starter.
Since the IBU experiment I particpated in, I have been timing my chilling. 10 minutes - 133F 20 minutes - 103F 30 minutes - 90F
Each carboy got 30 seconds of O2. Pitched yeast approximately 7 hours after brew sessions was finished.
Dry hopped Carboy A - 5/15/2017 Kegged Carboy A - 5/25/2017
Dry hopped Carboy B - 6/7/2017 Kegged Carboy B - 6/17/2017
I brewed a Northern English Brown ale, and as I was cleaning out my mash tun, a light bulb light popped on in my head. I went inside, grabbed a few cookie sheets, and turned on the ovens to 200 degrees. That light bulb had my brain processing what I can do with all of this spent grain. I had about 1/3 of my spent grains drying in the oven. Every so often I would stir the grains around and let the hot steam escape from underneath the almost dried top layer.
As the wheels were still turning in my head, I knew I wanted to make biscuits for breakfast in the morning. Boom! I told my wife that is what I was going to do. I got that response that I knew she was worried. Even with the skeptical wifey, I moved onward and adapted my normal buttermilk biscuit recipe.
Spent Grain Buttermilk Biscuits
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dried spent grain
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp very cold unsalted butter
Enough buttermilk to bring mixture to a dough
Heat your oven to 425 degrees.
I used my food processor for everything up until I added the buttermilk this go around. Feel free to do this by hand and do not be afraid to get your hands all in this. There is a feel to biscuits and this will help you achieve the best texture.
If you haven’t milled your dried spent grain yet, do so now. I just milled in the food processor. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix well.
Cut the butter into 1/4″ cubes and then cut the butter into flour mixture. If using food processor, pulse approximately 15 times. You should have a flaky powder right now.
Flaky powder as I was putting the buttermilk in
I’m sure you noticed I didn’t put an amount of buttermilk you need. Some days I need 3/4 cup some days I need 1 1/8 cups. I don’t measure. Just use enough buttermilk to form a dough. The dough should be soft and not too sticky. If you feel the dough is too sticky feel free to knead in some more flour.
Drop the dough like it’s hot onto a floured surface
After the dough has come together, drop it on a floured surface. I like my biscuits to have layers. Gently use the heel of your hands to flatten the dough- I don’t even use our rolling pin any more. Fold the dough into thirds and flip it over and turn it 180 degrees. Repeat this 2-3 more times. This is purely optional, but it creates great layers!
Now for a hard decision. How big do you want your biscuits? I think the biscuit cutter I use is two inches which yielded 12 biscuits. Ok ok as you see in the pic below, it is 11 biscuits and a baby one, this one is for testing purposes only.
Hurry up and cook! I’m hungry!
Throw them into your nicely heated 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes depends on your oven. If your oven heats unevenly like mine, halfway through, rotate the pan so they are evenly brown.
Here is when the skeptical wifey became unskeptical
Now it’s time to enjoy! The only thing wrong with my breakfast this morning was I didn’t cook enough bacon.
Breakfast time! Had to show off my coffee mug I got at Strange Brew
I attended my first HomebrewCon in 2016 in Baltimore. The number one thing is that I came away from at the conference was how awesome the expo was. I was like a kid in a candy store, no, I was a kid in a candy store. My money was literally burning a hole in my pocket, so I came away from this wondering what I wanted to spend my money on. One of the the most influential item that could be squeezed in my budget was the Blichmann QuickCarb. This was something that shot up to the top of my list on must haves in my home brewery. Why? Recently I have been brewing a lot for events and as most homebrewers will tell you, they are very huge procrastinators. Maybe I’m stereotyping all homebrewers, well that’s because I am. Because there is no way I procrastinate. </sarcasm>
Back onto the QuickCarb. This is something I have never seen before. My eyes widened as the Blichmann rep was explaining the product to me. The things I could do with this thing! Carbonate beers, transfer beer from one vessel to another, ok I don’t have anything else. I was pleased that the second option came up. Having this would only my feed of procrastination, I mean being a planner!
I have used it a handful of times and I wanted to share with you my pros and cons. This may end up being an every evolving list. Maybe this will show up on a Google search so if you are looking into purchasing this, I hope what I say will sway you.
I have enjoyed using this product. Looking back, is this something I would still purchase? I cannot answer that right now, but I will say that I do not regret buying this. I am glad it is in my inventory.
Like the the name says, QuickCarb. Your beer will be carbonated in just under an hour.
Will not over-carbonate your beer. If you follow the procedures that are laid out, your beer will be almost perfectly carbonated.
Self priming pump. Yes, you heard me right here, SELF PRIMING PUMP! I have had so many issues with my brewing pump, this is a joy to my ears and my fingers got really excited typing self priming pump. Oh it makes things much easier. Do a quick search for self priming pumps, you’ll find that most self priming pumps are about the same price point as I say is a con.
You can carbonate a beer under an hour. Yes, this deserves two pros. Just saying.
Price Point – $180 is a bit steep, but if you’re willing to pay for the convenience of carbonating your beer to a proper carbonation level, then jump onto the ship with me.
Storing – I haven’t really found the perfect way to store this thing just yet. Right now I let it air dry then put it back into the box that it came in, but the box is starting to fall apart now from getting wet. I need to find a case for it.
Bulky – All the lines coming from the keg to the pump from the CO2 tank to the pump, etc. It is just awkward.
Sour beers – Yes we all know you cannot contaminate your equipment with sour beers. I do brew a sour beer here and there, but I realize I would need to purchase another one to accommodate me wanting to quick carb a sour beer. Right now I just carbonate those like I did in 2015. Sigh.
Here is a very short video of the QuickCarb in action. This time I just had the QuickCarb laying on my kitchen counter.
My homebrew club does a a intra-club competition that we call the Makeshift Mashout. We have everyone put ingredients into 3 hats: a brewing ingredient, a hop, and a yeast. I believe I entered oats, mosaic hops, and Vermont Ale yeast because I’m kind of on a New England IPA kick, yes, I’m brewing with the trends these days, excuse me there. The three ingredients that were selected were oats (WOOT!), CTZ hops, and saison yeast. I started on my journey of formulating a recipe. Where do I go to none other than The Mad Fermentationist Blog. I found a recipe of his using Columbus hops and oats. I used his Softer, Juicier, and Uglier APA recipe as the basis for this beer. I didn’t have any Nelson Sauvin hops and me being me, I didn’t want to buy a pound of them. I ordered 8 ounces of El Dorado hops. The descriptors of these hops were pear, watermelon, and stone fruit. This is exactly what I’m looking for in this IPA. I had some Amarillo stashed away in the freezer and ordered some CTZ hops with the El Dorados and now I’m about ready to fire up the kettle.
My grain bill was missing malts that would drop the mash pH in the effective range, this is why the initial grain bill called for acidulated malt. If you’re wondering no, I don’t have a reliable pH meter, I’m going all on gut instinct, which, well probably isn’t the best method. A reliable pH meter is on my wish list which will happen sooner than later. The acidulated malt I had in stock was overrun with weevils. It was disconcerting the amount of bugsthat had taken over the malt. I ditched them out in the yard and went onto something else. Since it was just for lowering mash pH, I added phosphoric acid to my mash water. At least this was a quick fix. Have I mentioned I need to go ahead and buy a reliable pH meter?
Harvester of Aqua
Also to note, I harvested my water from a spring that is 20 miles south of where I live. The water is very pure tasting and it has made some fantastic beers. I would love to get my hands on the analysis report. I do have a Total Dissolved Solids meter and it read 13 PPM. Pretty pure if you were to ask me. I built up a small water profile by using a 2:1 ration sulfites to chloride. Why the small numbers in these? Well I only had 6.6 grams of gypsum, so there you go. I wanted to use 2 grams of gypsum per gallon of water used, that didn’t happen as you see. No problem though, at the end I’ll still have beer.
Now onto my fermentation, this thing was super active which made me a happy brewer. The saison yeast was a few months past the prime, but I did a yeast starter and both yeasts were happily fermenting.
I can’t wait to write up some tasting notes on this bad boy. When I open the chest freezer to check on my babies in there, it smells glorious. I hope that transpires into what I am about to enjoy.
This beer has had a lot of life so far. There is a local artisan bakery in town. I sent him a text the morning of my brew day and told him this was a little different grain bill than usual and he was interested in what I had. He came by a few hours later to pick up my spent grains and he made some lovely loafs of bread. If you ever want to know what a brew day smells like, this bread delivered those aromas to his customers. It smelled of sweet grains and wort to boot. It was mighty tasty bread. I believe it might have been my favorite bread to come out of his bakery.
Heated 8 gallons of water in the BK to mash. Doughed in with 170 degree water. Initial mash temperature was ~142 degrees. Boiled ~1 gallon of water to add to mash to raise the mash temperature. Added to the mash, the mash was inconsistent as far as temperature, but was averaging around 152 degrees. Added 1/2 tsp of phosporic acid to mash water to help lower pH. I do not have a pH meter, just blindly did this.
Heating 8.5 gallons of water in the HLT with my immersion circulating heater covered with foil to keep heat in.
Anvil FIAK ————— Wyeast 1318 London Ale III 12 hours after pitch - 1 ounce El Dorado Hops 1 ounce El Dorado - 14 Days 1 ounce Amarillo - 14 days .5 ounce Columbus - 14 Days 1 ounce El Dorado - 7 Days 1 ounce Amarillo - 7 Days .5 ounce Columbus - 7 Days
6 Gallon Glass Carboy ——————————— WLP564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend 1 ounce El Dorado - 14 Days 1 ounce Amarillo - 14 Days 1 ounce Columbus - 14 Days
First off, I know what most of you are thinking. He really used store bought apple juice? Yes I did. Why? In Mississippi I cannot run down to my local apple orchard and get fresh juice. I have made some pretty good ciders with store bought juice. I used to use a certain kind of apple juice in my ciders, but now I cannot find it anymore which is a bummer. I went with this Wal-Mart brand because it wasn’t from concentrate. Will this make a difference in flavor? Who knows. I know when I pulled a sample before I pitched the yeast, the flavor was really good. It was wifey approved. Also I looked up how to use apple juice in Beer Smith. From the few things I read, was calculate how much sugar is in the juice and just add it in Beer Smith as table sugar. That is what I did. I also made some notes as you’ll see.
Beer Smith said this thing would attenuate down to .988, if US-05 has 77% attenuation as it is listed in there, I would imagine it would get to around 1.010-1.013. That would be my target anyways, I do want some sweetness around. This will not be an 8.6% ABV beverage.
Yield 2.5 gallons in the keg
2 gallons Apple Juice
2 qts Just Tart Cherry Juice
1.5 lbs honey
1 qt water
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 pkg Safale US-05
2 tsp lactic acid (added at kegging)
Procedure: Weighed honey in an empty apple juice bottle then added apple juice to mix. Added yeast nutrient to apple juice bottle to shake up and mix. Pitched dry yeast directly onto the must.
I made this for an event I was pouring at and of course I did not let it finish. Added lactic acid and force carbonated. It was a tad sweet, but people like sweet beverages and it was a hit. After the event, I left the keg outside for a few days to let it ferment down a touch more and it did indeed dry out some. Probably about to where I like it. Eventually this will be a staple on tap at the house.
Going back to my Busty Porter recipe I brewed at the first of this year and my other robust porter recipes, the Busty Porter was just stuff I had sitting around at home because it was not my normal porter recipe. Well, this time I made sure I had everything. This is also going to be one of the quickest turn-around on a beer I’ve ever done. I brewed this beer exactly 2 weeks before the event. Racked to the keg after being in the fermenter for 11 days, thew it in the kegerator, and used the Blichman QuickCarb the next day to carb this puppy up. I pushed this beer through Strange Brew Coffeehouse House Blend beans to have a coffee porter at the event. It turned out pretty good for such a quick turnaround beer. Would I normally do this? No, not really, but I’ve had a lot going on lately at the house (ahem, bathroom reno). This is why I went back to the cooler mash tun instead of my direct fired mash tun. I have everything stored away right now. The direct fired isn’t very portable right now, which this is something I need to change.
But why did I brew 8 gallons? Well, before I started my boil, I pulled off some wort. A friend wanted to make pastrami and wanted to braise it in beer. I suggested braising it in sweet unhopped wort. I suggested this when braising the meat you wouldn’t make the wort more bitter while letting it break down the fats. I thought this was a really cool idea. The final product was really good and interesting. I think beer wort has some potential to do some really creative things in the kitchen.