13 March 2016

Brooklyn Black IPA Recipe

I have, at length, decided what to do with the Brooklyn hops I purchased a while back.

I'm going to use them for a Black IPA, which is a style I've not tried brewing before. I'm also going to use this brew to test drive my new yeast.

I'm hoping to brew later this week, but in the interim, here's the recipe I'm planning to use.

Grain bill:
3kg Gladfield Ale
1.5kg Vienna Malt
500g Munich Malt
300g Carafa III Special
250g Carapils
200g Black Patent (added during sparge)

40g Pacific Jade (13% A.A.) First Wort Addition 57.4 IBU
100g Brooklyn (Whirlpool)
100g Brooklyn (Dry hop)

White Labs WLP#090

.5 tbs gypsum in mash
1 tbs 5.2 Stablizer in mash
1 tsp Irish moss 10 minutes before flameout

Target OG: 1.062
Target FG: 1.011
ABV: 6.72%

60 minute mash at 66 degrees Celsius
Mash out at 75C 10 minutes
90 minute boil
30 minute hop stand at 75C
5-day dry hop after one week's fermentation

I normally mash at 69C, but I read an article* by the brewer behind both Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger suggesting that hoppy beers benefit from a lighter body, so I'm going to try that out.

I'm going to grind the Black Patent very fine then add it to the top of the grain basket before sparging, so as to add colour without flavour. That's the plan anyway.

*Someone posted this article on Facebook and I cannot now find it. This is a shame as it was a good read.

New (Super) Yeast!

I hear good things about WLP#090 San Diego Super Yeast. No-one locally sells it, but a bit of googling allowed me to get it a vial of it via mail order.

I'm going to try brewing some of my previous recipes and see if it's as good as I've heard. Assuming positive results, I'll use Brulosophy's method for harvesting from starters and keep this going as my go-to strain.

With a view to test driving this yeast on a black IPA, I made a starter today. Using Brewdad's calculator, I built this starter using 1.5l of water, 151g of dried malt extract and a half teaspoon of yeast nutrient. After cooling the wort in the laundry tub, I pitched the yeast. Unfortunately, I hadn't noticed that WLP#090 likes to ferment between 18 and 20C, rather than the 18 to 22C I'm more used to with ale yeasts. This combined with my underestimating the temperature in the house meant that I've had to make use of the aircon to keep the lounge cool enough. This narrow range may force me to get my other freezer fixed and do all my fermenting at more tightly controlled temperatures in future.

In three days, I'll divide this between two containers, one 1 litre and one 500ml theoretically containing 200 billion and 100 billion cells respectively. I'll cold crash them both in the fridge and use the larger of the two for my next brew and keep the smaller as the basis for the next starter.

Boiling starter wort
Highly sophisticated cooling method
And now I just need to keep the lounge below 20C for a few days

05 March 2016

Vienna Mosaic SMaSH recipe

In response to a couple of queries, I thought I'd post the recipe for the Vienna-Mosaic SMaSH I referred to in a previous post.

The recipe is:
4.5kg Vienna Malt
15g Mosaic (first wort addition)
1tsp Irish Moss (10 minutes)
20g Mosaic whirlpool 
1 pkt of Safale US-05
20g Mosaic dry hop

60-minute mash at 69 degrees
90-minute boil
20-minute whirlpool at 75 degrees 
3-day dry hop after about 7 days' fermentation

This assumes a brew house efficiency of around 85%, so the target OG is 1.050.

If anyone tries this I'd love to hear how it goes for you.
The current batch, of which there's not a lot left :(

Update on last weekend's brews

Both brews started showing active fermentation quickly. The Tripel yeast used in the Munich-El Dorado SMaSH kicked off by late evening on brew day, and the US-05 in the Goldings pale* was bubbling cheerfully when I checked it the following morning. I was pleased to see this as I've found US-05 a bit of a slow starter in the past.

Last night I dry-hopped both beers. 50g of El Dorado in the SMaSH and 20g of East Kent Goldings and 10g of Motueka in the Goldings pale.

I checked the gravity this morning and took the opportunity to sample both beers. The SMaSH brew has dropped from an OG of 1.068 to 1.014, suggesting it's pretty well done and has hit 6.99% abv. The Goldings pale has gone from 1.051 to 1.013, so probably also about done, and coming in at a more modest 4.75%.

Flavour wise, at this stage I'm more excited about the Munich-El Dorado SMaSH, but that I suspect is at least in part due to the fact that its stronger malt and hop flavours are more successfully masking the yeast. The SMaSH looks like it should finish up very full-flavoured with big hop notes, especially once the dry-hop takes effect. The Goldings pale, meanwhile, promises to be an easy-drinking, pleasant, fairly-sessionable drop, but without the punch of its (fraternal) twin.

Munich-El Dorado SMaSH
Goldings pale
*Goldings golden no longer seems like a strictly accurate appellation.

28 February 2016

Double brew day

Turns out I have trouble keeping it up. Four months is a long time between drinks, but here we are again.

I've been brewing and drinking, but just not blogging about it. Today is brew day again. Yesterday I swung by Baylands to grab some supplies. I had a vague idea I wanted to try using Munich as a base malt, but no plans beyond that. When  I arrived I noted that they'd taken delivery of El Dorado hops, so I decided a Munich-El Dorado SMaSH was in order. I also thought, since I was doing something completely different, I'd try Mangrove Jack's Belgian Tripel yeast. I have no idea how this'll turn out.

They also had Brooklyn, which is a new New Zealand strain with 17% alpha, so I picked up a pack of those, although I've not decided what to do with them.

The other beer I've decided to try today is a golden ale late hopped with East Kent Goldings. I've only used Goldings to date in Scotch Ales, so I thought it'd be jolly to give them a whirl as flavouring hops. I thought they might go well with a bit of Motueka. Because reasons.

I thumb sucked on the grain bills, then worked up the recipes this morning as I was heating mash water.

Munich El Dorado SMaSH

1 tbsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
1 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer
6kg Gladfield Munich Malt
25g El Dorado (First Wort)
1 tsp Irish Moss
50g El Dorado (Steep)
1 pkg Belgian Tripel (Mangrove Jack's #M31)
50g El Dorado Dry Hop 4.0 Days
Estimated OG 1.068

So, pretty strait forward recipe. 60 minute mash at 69c. 90-minute boil. All the bittering hops go in as first wort, as is my wont and I'm adding all the late hops in a hop stand. I'll cool the wort to 75c, then let the hops sit for 45 minutes using the counter-flow chiller to circulate the wort. I want this to be fairly hop-forward so I'm giving it a reasonable dose of calcium sulphate. This will sit for two weeks at about 20c, before being cold crashed and cleared with gelatin. I'll dry hop once initial fermentation has calmed down. Or when I get round to it. Next weekend seems likely.
Mashing in the Munich
Sparging the Munich
Munich El Dorado SMaSH finished wort
Goldings Golden

1 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
1 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer
2.5kg Gladfield Ale Malt
1.5kg Gladfield Vienna Malt
250g Gladfield Gladiator Malt
250g Gladfield Toffee Malt
250g Gladfield Wheat Malt
18g Pacific Gem (First Wort)
1 tsp Irish Moss
15g East Kent Goldings (Flameout)
20g East Kent Goldings (Steep)
10g Motueka (Steep)
1 pkg Safale American
Estimated OG 1.055

In this case I'm after a maltier, or at least less hoppy, beer, so I won't harden the water so much. Once again, 60-minute mash at 69c and a 90-minute boil. Bittering hops added as first wort hops and most of the flavouring hops in a 30-minute steep, though I will add some at flameout. Now that I've put the malts together on Beersmith, it looks as though this will turn out a bit paler than intended. The fermentation schedule will be as above.

Sparging the golden
Golden: finished wort (paler than intended)
Brew day notes

The Munich malt bestows a lovely rich colour all on its own. Pre-sparge gravity was, 1.080, which dropped to 1.060 after the sparge. After the boil and steeping, gravity was 1.068, which I'll take as the OG. So pretty well bang on.

As a steep temperature, 75c works well as that's also the mash out temperature and so doesn't require resetting the control unit.

I ended up using a slightly different set of hops to bitter the Goldings Golden, as I had an open, half used packet of Pacific Jade, which I substituted for some of the Pacific Gem. I also failed to get a pre-sparge gravity on the Goldings Golden, as it ended up finishing its mash at about the same time the Munich SMaSH finished its boil, so I was a bit busy. However, 15 minutes into the boil, when I eventually remembered, the gravity was 1.044. Post boil gravity was 1.051, so something of an undershoot. Had I not been distracted, I'd have added a bit of DME to lift the gravity a touch.

Although I am a big fan of the Grainfather, its efficiency seems to vary quite a bit depending on the grain bill. It seems to have a sweet spot somewhere around 5kg or 5.5kg and efficiency suffers above or below that. The overall efficiency of the Munich SMaSH was 85% versus 80% for the golden. Also, the Grainfather design is sub-optimal for both first wort hopping and whirlpooling. In the case of first wort hopping one has to try to sneak the hops in the side with the grain basket in the way, and with the whirlpool one must work around the lid and the counter-flow chiller. I've not bought the hop spider yet, but again I can't see how that will work well with first wort hops.

Brew Day Drinking

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man in possession of a chance to brew beer must be in want of drinking beer while doing it. Plus you have to make room in the kegs.

I started out with a low-alcohol weizen I made a while back. It's about 3% alcohol and a pleasant enough drop. I made it because most of my beers are closer to 5% or 6% and I needed something less intoxicating for social events and brew days. On reflection, I think it could use more alcohol.
I then moved on to the second batch of my Mosaic Vienna SMaSH. I actually kind of resent how good this beer is. It's pretty much the simplest beer I brew and if it's not my favourite it's close. As much as I enjoy it, it makes me feel a bit daft putting as much effort as I do into more complicated recipes. In particular, my efforts to expand on this recipe and make a bigger, fancier IPA have not born fruit. It's not that it's not good, it's just that it's less good than the SMaSH. This beer impertinently highlights the extent to which the malters, hop growers and yeast, umm, breeders are the real MVPs of the beer-making process. But aside from that I like it.

Vienna-Mosaic SMaSH

06 October 2015

Maris Otter Golden Ale: Results

I cold crashed and added gelatin to the Maris Otter golden ale after three weeks in the fermenter.  I then kegged it only a couple of days after adding gelatin.  This was a lot less time than I'd normally wait, but I needed freezer space. 

This is the beer as it left the fermenter. 
I carbonated it reasonably slowly over about a week at 2 degrees Celsius and 12 PSI. 

This is the beer after about a week of carbonation.  I was quite concerned at this point, as it was the least clear beer I'd produced in some time.

Happily, after another week or so in the keg at 2 degrees, the cold crashing did the job and the beer cleared nicely.

Flavour-wise, I'm pretty happy with it.  I'm not sure that the Maris Otter adds a lot relative to the Gladfield Ale malt. But if I squint and stand on one leg I'm pretty sure that I can detect improved mouthfeel.

It's malty, mildly hopped  and easy to drink a lot of, but not particularly sessionable at 5.5%ABV.  As with many beers I brew that aren't heavily hopped, I tend to think that it could probably use more hops. But for non-hop heads, it's very approachable and can be offered to guests without worrying that it might be too bitter or aromatic.

11 September 2015

Maris Otter Golden Ale

My second brew on the Grainfather was an attempt to create a simple, easy drinking golden ale and at the same time learn something about basic malt flavours.  It used nothing but pilsner malt and was late hopped with Motueka. Mainly because that's what we had lying about.

It was perfectly drinkable, but nothing to write home about. But obviously you can write about any old crap in a blog, so here we are.

Nevertheless, there is strong domestic demand for easy drinking, malty, lightly-hopped beer so I have continued to experiment, adding more variety in the malt and changing the hops.  The most recent iterations have been quite successful.  Generally, I still usually prefer hoppier brews, these golden ales have been an enjoyable vehicle for showcasing malt flavour. They've also been favourites among those of my friends who are less enamoured of darker or very hoppy beers than I am.

At Beervana, as mentioned in my last post, Renaissance Brewing had two England vs New Zealand Special Bitters, brewed to identical recipes but one with New Zealand ingredients and the other with English ingredients. As one would expect, the two beers were very similar, but the version brewed with English ingredients (to my mind) had superior maltiness and mouthfeel. According to the chap manning the Renaissance stand, this difference was largely down to the use of Maris Otter as a base malt.

To test this myself, I decided to brew a version of my golden ale to the same recipe as I've used previously, but using Maris Otter instead of Gladfield Ale malt.

Here's the recipe:

4.5kg Maris Otter
300g Vienna
100g Gladfield Gladiator
10g Gladfield Dark Chocolate
10g Gladfield Roasted

14g Pacific Jade as a first wort addition
5g Pacifica at 10 minutes
5g Riwaka at 10 minutes
5g Pacifica at flameout
5g Riwaka at flameout

1 pkt Mangrove Jack's Burton Union

1 tsp of Irish Moss
1 tsp of calcium sulphate
1 tbs of 5.2 Stabilizer

The calcium sulphate was mixed into the malt before mash in, and the 5.2 Stabilizer just after mash in. The Irish Moss was added with the 10 minute hop addition.

Single infusion mash at 68 degrees Celsius (154F) for 60 minutes. Mash out at 75C (167F), and boil for 90 minutes.

The target original gravity is 1.057, which I hit pretty well bang on on brew day, which was the Saturday before last. 

I ended up brewing this recipe twice that day, as the husband of a colleague of my mother* wanted to try brewing.  He didn't like very hoppy or dark beers and I couldn't be bothered coming up with another recipe. 

Both brews went well. I used my new twirly thing to aerate the wort after cooling, which I've only recently started doing. The yeast appeared to get started quite quickly which was good to see.

Airlock activity seems to have stopped, so I'll look to add gelatin and cold crash this weekend (assuming that it has actually stopped fermenting).

Incidentally, this was also the first brew I did using the Grainfather upgrade kit, with improved connections and filters.  Quite a big improvement. 

*You might say that he was just somebody that I brews to know.  But probably only if you'd had your sense of humour surgically removed and replaced with a poorly coded dad-joke generator.