10.28.2016 – Tri Power Belgian Tripel

I promise, I haven’t forgotten about you!  I haven’t been brewing as often simply because my equipment has been tied up aging bigger beers.  I brewed this beer back on September 21 and have let it condition.   With IPA, I’m typically grain to glass in about 2 weeks.  This beer was pushing 5 weeks, which is still quick comparatively speaking.

Here in Michigan, we have a great brewery known as Dragonmead.  They produce an amazing Tripel known as Final Absolution.  I believe it to be their flagship.  I had one of these (first time in a long time) and totally forgot how awesome this is.  I’ve never done a Belgian beer.  Truthfully, I’m not overly fond of the style.  A good brewer has to open their horizons.  Perhaps I can make something that I would enjoy more than the normal offerings.  In that, perhaps others can enjoy it too.  I’m a big fan of taking something and making it your own.  I try to do that with a majority of my beers.  I want somebody to sip something and, without a doubt, know that it’s something that I produced.

After much research, parsing through homebrewtalk (my username is RuckusZ28), and asking brewers in my club I landed on a recipe.  For me, the esters in the Belgian beers make it for me.  I’m going to try to maximize the esters through underpitching and cranking the temperature during fermentation.

 Grains/Fermentables:

Belgian Pils

Belgian Munich

Carafoam

Belgian Candi Syrup (clear)

Michigan Maple Syrup (added at FO)

HOPS:

Hallertau Hersbrucker

THER INGREDIENTS:

Yeast Nutrient

Calcium Chloride

Gypsum

YEAST:

WLP500 Trappist Ale

Using RO water for my mash I did a protein rest at 140F for 15 minutes in my brew kettle before transferring the mash my tun for a rest at 150F for 60 minutes.  I mashed out at 168F and then completed a batch sparge for 20 minutes at 168F.  The brew day was uneventful.  Following the boil I added the Candi Syrup and some freshly tapped local Michigan maple syrup to my kettle.  I hit my target gravity of 1.091.

I allowed the beer to sit in primary for 3 weeks and would agitate the carboy every week.  On the third day of fermentation, I turned the temperature up to 70F.  On the sixth day, I raised the temperature to 72F.  On day eight, I ceased temperature control and allowed the beer to rest at ambient room temperature of 64F.  At week 4, I racked the beer to secondary and cold crashed.  We finished at 1.017 weighing in at just over 10%abv.  The beer was then racked to the 2.5 gallon serving keg and allowed to carbonate for 3 days at 25psi / 40F before taking a pull.

The maple really did darken this one up more than expected.  Though no maple flavors come off, you can definitely tell that this has some serious adjuncts in it!  The nose is of candy and fig with a twitch of alcohol.  The head dissipates quickly though the beer is sufficiently carbonated.  Upon tasting, you are greeted with a burst of fig, plum, prune, with a slight burn finish.  This is mighty tasty and also quite dangerous.   I wouldn’t mess around with more than 1 of these at a time.

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The plan here will be to enjoy this for a week and then bottle the remains of the keg for cellaring.  I’ll periodically check in with these as they age.

Cheers!

10.8.2016 – Kitchen Sink NE IPA

Given the failure of the 0IBU beer, I need something to drink!  It’s also becoming tiring digging through little bags of hops in my freezer when I dip in looking for the good stuff.  Why not make a big old mish-mash and see where it goes.

Let’s first talk about these new Ariana hops from Hopmeister.  I picked these up from Farmhouse brew supply about a month ago.  Farmhouse had the following to say about Ariana.  AA__10.2%.  Depending upon the style of beer brewed and timing of the addition of the hops, brewers have noticed grapefruit, gooseberry, citrus and vanilla flavors.  Ariana is said to be ideal for dry hopping, when it imparts its most intense fruity flavors.  Use in: Big American Ales, IPA, Pale ales, Ambers.

Wow, this sounds remarkably like Nelson, but with some vanilla in the mix.  I’m not a big fan of Nelson, but it sure is complex.  Having Nelson in this beer, plus this, should make for some outstanding tasting notes.  This time around, I’m going to focus on that dry, cool grape, green fruit, gooseberry thing.  Maybe a dry wine inspiration?  Why not.  Let’s keep it simple and focus on the hops the best way I know how.

Taking what I’ve learned from my Green clone attempt, I feel that the hop timing and amounts are pretty solid and I’d like to stick to it.  We will bitter with warrior.  Nelson and Simcoe will be the big proponent of the whirlpool with a little bit of Ariana and Warrior for complexity.  The dry hop will be the inverse; primarily Ariana and El Dorado with a touch of Simcoe and Nelson.

An uneventful brew day carries on.  I adjusted some equipment in BeerSmith to see if it helps with my awful efficiency.  Perhaps the water levels are wonky?  (This has been since resolved.  It was because of my 5 gallon mash tun.  I upgraded to a 10 gal and can gather the majority of my wort in first runnings as opposed to before where half of my wort would be first runnings and half would be my sparge runnings)

Grains/Fermentables:

Pale Two Row

Fawcett Oat Malt

Flaked Oats

Dextrose

HOPS:

Warrior

Simcoe

Ariana

Nelson

El Dorado

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Yeast Nutrient

Calcium Chloride

YEAST:

WLP 007 – Dry English Ale

I mashed at 152F for 60 minutes followed by my usual 20 minute batch sparge at 168F.  The sparge came in a little low this time.  I missed by 4 degrees.  In effort to avoid messing with my water amounts, I left it as it.

The whirlpool went on for 30 minutes at 180F allowing the temperature to fall gradually.  The aroma coming off the kettle is DANK VANILLA.  How interesting is this!

The beer fermented with WLP 007 using a starter for 14 days before being kegged and cold crashed.  I carbonated at 25 PSI for a few days and then dropped down to serving temperature before taking my first pour.

The head did not stick around long.  Perhaps that’s from the gratuitous amounts of hops?  After all, we’re talking about 3.75oz/gallon here.  I did not keg hop this beer.  The only hop addition was on day 3 of fermentation.  It doesn’t have a very big nose but it’s all gooseberry.  The body is medium.  The color is quite darker than the software had predicted.

This beer hits the palate hard.  It’s much bitterer than I had anticipated.  It’s a sharp bitter unlike a resinous bitter.  The taste is very dry.  I don’t get juicy on this at all, but there is some fruit.  I’m thinking under ripe berries with maybe a splash of green pepper.  The finish is reminiscent of chardonnay – dry white wine in cool weather.  I’ve read that El Dorado imparts a bit of a candy taste on the back end.  It plays well with the Nelson and Ariana on a wine like level.  The Simcoe doesn’t come through.   I’ve made it through half the glass and can’t really put my finger on it.  It’s VERY unique and complex.

This beer isn’t for me, but it may be for some that are into the Nelson thing.  I have a feeling lots of this one will be given away.  As I said earlier, I’m not a big fan of Nelson and this beer imparts lots of the Nelson flavors.  The funny thing is that there’s 1oz of Nelson in this beer and 4oz of Ariana.  I’d challenge somebody with a solid recipe that uses Nelson to replace the Nelson with Ariana and evaluate.  Since Nelson is so scarce, Ariana may have found its place.

I may do a cuvee using this and some white wine just cuz.

Cheers!

10.2.2016 -0ibu experiment

First and foremost, I lost all photos associated with this brewday.  New technology is in my grasp!

With my last two batches (brewed on the same day) coming up a little light in bitterness and aroma, I’ve decided to increase my whirlpool hop additions.  Typically, I calculate 5% utilization for anything over 180F over a 30 minute time period.   It’s my personal belief (and experience) that when whirlpool hops are added at flameout temperatures, there IS a bitterness extracted.  I think back to my first attempt at brewing a NEIPA.  Being at this time there was no information available about this style, I decided to go crazy and add all of my hops at flameout and let them steep for an hour before transferring to the fermenter.  So there it is!  One pound of belma went into the kettle at flameout.  This beer was so bitter it was undrinkable.  It did work great at cleaning stainless steel though.

As time passed, I found that less is more in the whirlpool considering all other hop additions.  I continue to find a happy spot with a FWH addition, 5 minute addition, a relatively mild whirlpool addition, and massive dry hopping during fermentation.  This is my method for saison and clean, pale ales.

I ran into a can from The Veil Brewing Co. named IdontwanttoBU.  Essentially this is a 0 IBU beer from what I gather.  This inspired me to go back to revisit my failed experiment from 10 months ago.  I scored a gnarly deal on a 1lb bag of citra hops and was on my way, ready to rock again.

Grains/Fermentables:

Pale Two Row

Fawcett Oat Malt

White Wheat Malt

Carafoam

 

HOPS:

Citra at FO

Citra WP at 180F for 45 minutes

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Yeast Nutrient

Dextrose

Calcium Chloride

Biofine Clear

WhirlFloc

YEAST:

WY1318 London Ale III

As I prepped my equipment late in the day, I noticed that I had forgotten to pick up RO water for my mash.  I proceeded using tap water against my intuition.  I mashed in at 156F for a full body.  After a 60 minute infusion, I batch sparged at 168F for 20 minutes and then ran off into my kettle.  To my extreme disappointment, I had only achieved a corrected pre boil gravity of 1.048.  Beersmith calculated my pre boil gravity to be 1.070.  Whatever is in this Detroit water is destructive to my mash.  I will stick to using RO water.  To combat this, I added 3/4lb dextrose and then started my boil.

After 70 minutes boiling, I reached my target volume and added my first dose of citra hops.  I then steeped for 20 minutes allowing the temperature to naturally drop to 175F.  At this time, I added another massive dose of Citra. This time, 30% more than at FO.   I allowed this to stand for 20 more minutes before syphoning off to my fermenter, aerating with my drill and stirring attachment, and pitching my 1L starter of Wy1318.  I then added my final dose of citra hops.  At this point there was 12oz of Citra in my 3 gallon fermenter.  I attached my temperature controller to my heater wrap, set for 68F and let it rip.  As fermentation slowed, I slowly bumped the temperature up to hit 70F where I held for 48 hours prior to transferring to my “BRIGHT KEG”.  I essentially used Keg A as a Bright tank.  Follow a week’s dry hopping and cold crashing; I transferred off to Keg B, the Serving Keg.

Lately I have been using my Tree House yeast almost exclusively.  I have not used 1318 in quite some time and want to revisit it.  I’ve grown accustomed to the esters that I’ve been getting from my Tree House/Conan culture and wanted to mix it up to give 1318 a fresh take.

I had a little backup on my kegging equipment waiting for my oaked stout to condition so this one sat in primary for about 2.5 weeks before crashing and kegging.  No keg hops were added.  Not sure what happened here, but this one is gross.  This one is not reminiscent of a NE IPA.   As a matter of fact, it’s going down the drain.  Perhaps the Citra was old?

There are lessons to be learned in failures (unless you’re the Detroit  Lions).  In this case, is the importance of boil, and aroma additions.  Flame out, whirlpool, and dry hop additions are just one tool in the box.  On their own, they are not very effective.  The craft of making a world class beer is using all of these tools in harmony to craft something greater than the sum of their individual contributions.  Looks like we’ll have to wait another few days for the other keg to carb up!  I sense a cellar raid coming soon.   PS – not a fan of WY1318 in NEIPA.  I’m sticking with Conan from here out.