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.
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 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.
Right when I left Michael Tonsmiere’s talk on Hoppy Sour Beers at HomebrewCon I knew a hoppy sour was going to be on my to brew list in the near future. Well, here goes nothing. I based my recipe off of his that he shared with us at his talk. I brewed 11 gallons of wort and split the batches, 6 gallons in one carboy, 5 in another. The 6 gallons will become the Hoppy Sour Beer and the 5 gallons will be a Gose (by request of the wife).
Carboys sitting in my hot storeroom
85% 2 Row
15% Flaked Wheat
Mashed at 152
Boiled for 60 minutes, cooled to approximately 105 degrees, racked to each carboy.
Both carboys were soured for approximately 24 hours. My pH meter was a cheap one and it read 3.5 or so. Hey it tasted tart enough for my taste, I continued on. I’ll need to purchase a meter that I can rely on. This one is not very reliable at all.
Hoppy Sour (6 gallon carboy)
Soured with Omega Lacto Blend
I racked the 6 gallon carboy back into kettle, brought to 180, whirlpooled hops for 15 minutes with the following hops.
1 oz Citra
1 oz Simcoe
1 oz Mosaic
Omega Lacto Blend, yes I saved this cake, will sour with it again.
WLP644 Sacc Brux Trois for “primary fermentation.”
Dry hopped for 7 days with the same amount of hops as above.
Before I dry hopped the beer, I tasted them and the beer was just a touch bitter with a quenching tartness. The hop flavor was good, but not as quite as quenching as the sample I tasted at HomebrewCon. After I dry hopped the beers I got an overwhelming bitterness and the sourness clashed together. Very interesting that I got some bitterness from the dry hopping. I believe I am going to try to blend some of the Gose into this beer to see if it will round out that bitterness. I’m pretty upset with that, but hey you learn from these mistakes. I love the hop flavor and aroma though. Next time I will bring the wort up to 180 and start the whirlpool, once the beer is well below 180 from the whirlpooling I’ll add my hops so I don’t extract as much bitterness from the hops. I will also only dry hop with a half an ounce of the hops this time. I believe 3 ounces for this was a bit much. I’m not sure what I was thinking.
I carbonated this beer with my new Blichmann QuickCarb. I’m going to write a review on it soon. I served this beer at a local food event. I believe calling this a Hoppy Sour turned people off and it they really weren’t interested in it. That’s ok thought because it is not
Racked this beer back to a kettle and brought it up to 180, I then added 15 grams of kosher salt and 10 grams of ground coriander. Before anyone gets onto me about not using whole, I know, I know. None of my grocery stores in town have whole coriander (ooof, I forgot to check the Asian Market, I will check there). That is the reason I backed off the coriander some because I knew the ground would be overwhelming. When grinding whole coriander in a mortar and pestle, it is meant to go into a beer.
I used US05 for “primary fermentation.”
This beer is in my kegerator with 12 PSI attached to it and I’m waiting patiently for this one to carb. I didn’t need this one for an even like I had the hoppy sour beer slated for.
I’ve been itching to release this post for some time now. As I am writing and editing this post I am working on gathering some statistics to put in here so you will have some info to chew on. This brew was probably my most documented brew day I have ever done and I must say it is pretty nice to look back and read what all I did for it. I took lots of photos of the entire process. The reason I did this experiment is for the Experimental Brewing Podcast, it made me brew a beer I’ve been wanting to brew for some time, but really just didn’t know where to start. Where I sorta failed at this experiment is that I actually used a Conan Yeast strain, rather than Wyeast 1318 London Ale III that the recipe suggested. I hope it doesn’t throw them off with their data.
6/6/2016 – 7 AM – Still no sign of activity from the Omega Yeast
6/5/2016 Evening after pitching. Wyeast 1056 took off first.
6/6/2016 – 6 PM – Omega Yeast has taken off!
6/7/2016 – 7AM – Both beers happily fermenting away
6/7/2016 – 7 PM – This is smelling super good
The lapse of time in between these two pictures was Homebrew Con. Ok guys, it was my first one to attend, I apologize for not documenting them daily while I was off drinking a copious amount of beer.
6/12/2016 – Activity is slowing down quite a bit
6/17/2016 – Looks like it’s done with the super active fermentation now
Dry hopped each primary fermenter with:
56 g. Amarillo (7.2% AA)
56 g. Centennial (10.0% AA)
56 g. Citra (12.5% AA)
7/3/2016 – These samples are from the carboy. Can you tell which one is which?
7/3/2016 Keg conditioned each keg with 3.6 ounces of table sugar and 3/4 cups of water. Simmered for 5 minutes.
Wyeast 1056 FG – 1.010
Omega OLY-52 FG – 1.012
7/18/2016 The kegs went into the kegerator to chill
7/21/2016 – First Triangle Test
Omega DIPA on the left, Wyeast on the Right
A little stats here for ya. Out of 25 total testers 20 of them picked the correct sample. I must know some people with really good palettes. Of the people who commented, it seemed that the Wyeast 1056 sample was the favorite among the two samples. Personally I like the Omega DIPA because it has a softer mouthfeel and doesn’t come across as sharp as the 1056. Me personally I think I get a slight touch of diacetyl in the 1056 sample. No one else mentioned this, but I would have written that down on a BJCP score sheet. There was a BJCP judge that tasted the samples and he didn’t mention the diacetyl either, so maybe I’m really sensitive to it.
This was a really fun experiment. I plan on doing more of these for sure. I appreciate the Experimental Brewing Podcast for pushing me over the edge and doing something scientific like this. Lets me geek out even more on beer.