4.25.2017 – Eleven:Eleven – New England IPA Homebrewing

Even though I still have not been able to nail down an “All Whirlpool” New England IPA, I consistently see great looking examples on groups and Homebrewing sites that boast “0IBU” or “Whirlpool Only” and I’m motivated to try these to get the results.  I’ve come to the conclusion that either I’m doing something wrong in process, or some individuals haven’t really made a quality example of this style.  Now, that’s not a knock against anybody.  Everybody starts somewhere and no two people taste alike.  All that means is that I haven’t had it work for me yet.

On this brew day, I will take the lessons learned from my last 0IBU experiment which was an absolute failure.  Following that example, I vowed to never follow an unproven recipe again.  I’m going to pair this with something that I know works in terms of grist and kettle addition timing.  Don’t let anybody fool you, there is no such thing as a 0IBU addition.  In quantity, hops going into the kettle, whirlpool, or dry hop can add bitterness.  Whirlpool additions are a tool for the collection, not the only piece in the collection.  You don’t build a house with only a hammer.  If you do, you’re a better person than I.

Grains/Fermentables:

Two Row

Flaked Wheat

Flaked Oats
Dextrose

Golden Naked Oats

Hops:

Apollo (late/fo)

Amarillo (late/fo)

Summer (late/fo)

Kohatu (fo/wp)

Citra (wp/dry)

Azacca (wp/dry)

Other Ingredients:

Yeast Nutrient

Irish Moss

Calcium Chloride

Gypsum
Lactic Acid

Yeast:

Tree House Brewing Co Yeast Harvested From Julius / Green Cans – 6th Generation

I began by processing my grains and measuring out my hops according to my recipe.  I’ve put a tighter crush on the grain mill at my LHBS (Adventures In Homebrewing) hoping to step up my efficiency.  I preheated my strike water to the desired temperature and missed my mash temperature of 154F and came in at nearly 156F.   My mash PH came in at 5.3.  Added to my mash was a small amount of Amylase Enzyme to assist with my conversion and efficiency.  I mashed for 75 minutes.  I recirculated my first runnings through vorlauf and proceeded to sparge.

I was told that efficiency may be an issue because my sparge is not taking long enough.  This time, I steeped my sparge water in the grains bringing the temperature up to 168 and held for 10 minutes before recirculating through vorlauf and trickling the second runnings out to my brew kettle.  This process took nearly an hour.

According to the information provided by my brewing software, brewer’s friend, I collected 8.5 gallons of wort and proceeded to boil.  The boil was uneventful and contained hop additions at 20, 10, 5 and Flame Out.  I then chilled the wort to 160F and added the largest whirlpool addition that I ever have.  I allowed the wort to stand for 20 minutes before chilling to 100F, transferring to my fermenter through syphon, aerating, and pitching my yeast.  The yeast of choice was a multi generation, multi-step starter of my tree house culture collected from cans of Julius and Green.   My measured OG was 1.080.

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I immediately noticed that I had a problem on my hand.  The 8.5 gallon fermenter was about half full.  This was intended to be a 5.5 gallon yield with 5 gallons or so going into the keg.  I hadn’t even dry hopped yet.  It had become apparent that my brewing software does not factor in for hop absorption or I just don’t know how to set it properly.  I haven’t had this issue before.  Do you leave your kettle trub behind or do you transfer off of that to your fermenter?  Let me know in the comments below.

 The beer fermented off 70F, again hoping to coax out the fruit esters.  Fermentation began within hours and filled my cellar with aromas of peach, mango, fruit, and everything delicious.  I won’t say juice, however.  On day 4 as fermentation slowed, I added my first round of dry hops.  On day 8 I had reached terminal gravity of 1.018 and added my second round of dry hops.  There was a little off taste in the beer so I had decided to wait 48 hours for the yeast to clean up.

I then transferred off to my keg and noticed that the drain spout from the speidel fermenter was just spitting hop sediment and trub.  I had to syphon off the top into a keg that had been purged of oxygen.  I had collected just over 3.5 gallons of beer.  I could have gotten about a half-gallon more, but it was too murky and was plugging up the siphon.  It looks good!  The taste is quite muddled and more bitter than I would care to admit.  But the sediment on the bottom of my glass leads me to believe this is still conditioning out.  The Tree House yeast fights you for bright beers in a similar fashion to Conan.

I waited a week while cold conditioning and drew an initial pour.  While the beer isn’t fully carbonated, it’s much more mild and enjoyable.  This was my first time using Golden Naked Oats (GNO).  My lesson learned is not to treat them the same as flaked oats or oat malt.  I will scale these back about 50% in hopes of drying the final product out.  The malt backbone is complex like granola, but without being a cloying malt-bomb.  The level of hop saturation is ideal, yet too complex.  Perhaps 6 varieties of hops were too much.  The aroma is strong, but not overpowering.  Imagine a big sticky pine tree in the tropics that gives off fruit.  You pick this fruit and bite into it.  It is earthy, with a touch of citrus, and fruit.  It tastes the way it smells.  I believe that is the Kohatu at work.  I really enjoy Kohatu when paired with Citra.  Again, the sediment remains on the bottom of the glass which makes the final sip not very enjoyable.

Given my past results on racking beers made with Tree House yeast to a serving keg from a conditioning keg, I decided to give it another shot.  I transferred the bright, carbonated, beer to a serving keg that has been purged of oxygen via closed loop transfer.

Low and behold, the first few pours from the serving keg after waiting 24 hours were excellent.  Any off flavors were left behind in the conditioning keg and all that’s left is solid, bright beer.  I took this pic just before sundown which makes the beer look darker than it really is, but it’d say it’s a solid 4-5 SRM in color.  Much lighter and brighter than my previous NEIPA’s.  Contrary to popular belief, time does these beers well.  It’s been nearly 4 weeks since brew day and the beer has finally come together properly.  It is at this point where it would be ready for packaging.

For anybody local or interested, Big Brew Day is coming up 5/6/2017.  If you’re a homebrew or interested in Homebrewing, I highly advise you to get out there and experience this with some fellow brewers.  I will be brewing on behalf of the Downriver Brewer’s Guild at Adventures in Homebrewing in Taylor Michigan all day.  We will be doing an Olde Ale.  Come on down and say hi!

-Cheers!

4.5.2017 – Main Squeeze Alternate Grain Bill

Spring has sprung in Michigan and I’m back to brewing.  I received a request from a reader to brew a hoppy beer without flaked grains for a lighter, more quaffable spring treat.  I’ve had a taste for one of my mainstays, Main Squeeze IPA, and decided to experiment with the grain bill and remove any flaked grains from the bill.

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The original bill called for 2 row, flaked wheat, white wheat, dextrose, and carafoam with wy1056 yeast.  It originally has the appearance and body of a NEIPA.  My modified grain bill is seen here.  Less is often more when showcasing hops.  In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a big brown bitter malt bomb.  It might be your thing, but it’s just not for me.  I digress, but being a good brewer often involves brewing things that may not suit your palate.  You must educate yourself on styles and processes that aren’t in your wheelhouse.

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2.5 gallon batch

Grains/Fermentables:

Two Row

White Wheat

Dextrose

C10

Hops:

100% Falconer’s Flight

Other Ingredients:

Yeast Nutrient

Calcium Chloride

Gypsum
Lactic Acid

Yeast:

WY1968 ESB

After a thorough cleaning of my equipment which sat around all winter I was ready to brew.  The weather, unfortunately, had other plans.  I decided to scale down to 2.5 gallons and go old school on the stove top.  You do not need top quality equipment to make good beer.  I cannot stress that enough.  If your procedures and practices are consistent and thorough you can get by without any big investments into equipment.  I’ve made some of my best beer using my grandma’s old soup kettle and a brew demon cheapo small batch conical or a Mr. Beer fermenter.

I began by treating my tap strike water with Calcium Chloride and Gypsum.  I made ph adjustments using food grade lactic acid to the neighborhood of 5.6.  After my strike water reached necessary temperature to achieve a 150 degree Fahrenheit mash, I doughed in.  Stirring every 20 minutes, I mashed for 60 minutes, vorlauf until the runnings were clear, and then batch sparged at 168 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.  I collected approximately 3.5 gallons of 1.050 wort and prepared my boil.

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Falconer’s Flight hops were added at 60 minutes for a light bittering charge, 5 minutes, and flame out while chilling my wort to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  I then transferred the wort to my fermenter, aerated using my drill stir attachment for 60 seconds, and added my first round of dry hops.   In total, approximately 8 oz. of hops were added to the kettle.  I attached my fermenter heater, and programmed it to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  My OG came in at 1.058, 6 points below my intended goal.

I’ve heard great things of WY1968 and its ability to produce fruity esters.  This made it an obvious choice to experiment with.  I wanted to ferment on the hot side to encourage these esters to the forefront.

On day 3, fermentation began to slow.  I added 3oz of Falconer’s Flight to my fermenter before work and increased the temperature to 72 degrees to encourage a strong finish.  When I walked into my house that evening, I noticed a huge fruit aroma filling my house.  I went to check on the fermenter and noticed that the temperature probe had become dislodged and my heater was running amok.  The wort had reached 77 degrees!  I’ve never fermented this warm before, but at this point, I was committed.  I killed the heat and let the beer sit at ambient temperature for 5 days before kegging.  My final gravity came in at a SHOCKING 1.005 thanks to that temperature spike.  I’ve never heard of WY1968 getting that dry.  This beer weighs in at 6.9% ABV.

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The beer was transferred to a keg equipped with the clear beer draught system and was purged of oxygen.  I then put it on gas, purged, and burst carbonated at 30psi for 48 hours before reducing the gas to serving pressures.  After 4 days of cold conditioning, I took my first pull.

There’s a little bit of haze on this reminiscent of a 3 Floyds Zombie Dust.  I have a feeling it’ll flock out a little bit more over the next week or so.  The nose is of floral grapefruit and strawberry.  The beer is quite pungent, but not over the top like a NEIPA.  I wouldn’t consider this a NEIPA due to the light, refreshing body and transparency.  This was clear getting into the brew day given the grain bill.  It’s just a nice, normal IPA with low perceived bitterness and big aroma.

Due to the overall dryness, the hops take center stage.  The dryness isn’t out of place, however.  It’s drinkable as hell!  There is no offensive bitterness here, but you know it’s a hop bomb.  The beer hits your palate with grapefruit, pith, strawberry, and flowers with no detectable yeast esters.  This is some happy tasting shit!  Is happy a taste?  It is now.  At 6.9% it’ll get you feeling happy in no time.

Cheers!

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