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.

9.22.2016 – Tree House Green Clone Attempt

It’s been a while since I’ve had a can of Green.  Its one of my favorites!  I’d say, at least 5 months have gone by.  Even then, the can was nearly 2 months old.  Beers like that just don’t get around to Michigan as often as I’d like.  I had dabbled around with Galaxy hops with some of my earlier batches with good results.  Combining that with the knowledge I have now, it was a no-brainer to jump on the 2016 Galaxy hops from Yakima Valley.

The quality on these is second to none.   The package came quickly, was fairly priced, well packed, and vacuum sealed.  Upon opening the hop pouch I was greeted with a smack in the face that screamed Green.  There was only one thing left to do.

 Grains/Fermentables:

Two Row

Flaked Oats

Crystal 10

HOPS:

Columbus

Galaxy

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Yeast Nutrient

Calcium Chloride

Gypsum

YEAST:

Harvested from Tree House cans Julius and Green

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I mashed in a little bit hot, 154 as opposed to my normal of 152.  No harm though.  We’re here to have a good time.  After an hour vourlauf the runnings from my mash tun,  I then batch sparged at 168F for 20 minutes.  A vourlauf and then into my kettle for a 60 minute boil.  My pre boil gravity was a little low.  I have had zero luck with BeerSmith or brewers friend for volume calculations.

Learning from my last batches with reduced bittering additions, I threw caution to the wind and did a 3x bittering addition at 60 minutes of Columbus.  All of my other hops were added into the whirlpool.  Columbus and Galaxy were added at 180F and allowed to steep for 30 minutes before cooling, aerating, pitching a vulgar amount of dry hops, and adding my Tree House yeast.  This yeast is still going strong on its 7th generation.  It shows no signs of slowing down.    My OG came in at 1.072 (was shooting for 1.080).

The beer fermented for 10 days at ambient room temperature (68F) and then was cold crashed for 48 hours before being transferred to a purged keg.  It finished at 1.016.  This makes about 7.65%abv.  If I had lowered my mash temp, I could probably have hit 1.014 which is where I suspect Green to actually be.  The beer was burst carbonated for 48 hours at 25psi before being set to serving temperature.  No keg hops were added.

This time, I used the Clear Beer Draught System.  I want to take a second and say that the Clear Beer Draught System is awesome!  Essentially this eliminates the dip tube in your keg.  One end has a hose that connects to a steel bar that is suspended by a steel float.  While all your sediment settles to the bottom of the keg, this pulls from the top of the keg.  You get nice, bright beer instead of the fallout on the bottom.

This beer came out excellent.  Like I had stated, I have not had Green in months.  I have not had fresh Green in longer.  I remember Green tasting the way this beer does with a little less residual sweetness.  I don’t mind it though.  I kind of like it!  I wouldn’t call this a clone, but I would say that it’s closer than any of the other clone recipes that I’ve seen or created.

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Next time, I would add about another 10% flaked oats, reduce the amount of c10, and slightly increase my Galaxy contribution in the whirlpool.

I have acquired a can of King Julius from a swap and am going to get into it this Saturday and couldn’t be more excited.  I’ve heard great things!  I’ve gotten this clone recipe close enough for my satisfaction at this point in time.  I’ll shift gears and take a few more stabs at Julius.  With Fall around the corner, I intend to do some more Fall/Winter beers.  If there’s something you’d like me to try and put a wild spin on, drop a comment and we’ll see what I can do.

Happy brewing – Cheers!

9.13.16 – King Hippo & EXP 06277

Well I sure have taken some time away from brewing to handle some things around the house before summer got away.  As previously seen in my travels to Trader Joe’s I landed a few other items of interest that I intend to put into an IPA: Mango and Coconut.  I had purchased my grains and crushed them almost 2 weeks ago.. I know I’m going to experience some sort of decreased efficiency; just how much was the real question.  My original recipe called for Citra, but I was fresh out.  Rather than postpone brew day further, I went with the last of my “tropical” hops.. EXP 06277 aka Denali aka Nuggetzilla.

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Let me start off by saying that Brulosophy did a great write up using EXP 06277 from a fresh bale cut.  The results piqued my interest enough to order a 4oz bag of pellets.  These hops smell incredible.  Picture Citra meets everything good coming out of the southern hemisphere.   They play very nicely with Amarillo in a 1:1 ratio.

I typically use Brewer’s Friend software, but find it to be a bit lacking in determining water volume.  Since my volumes have been all over the place I decided to try Beersmith.  I downloaded the app to my phone.  I’ve noted some pros and cons to each.  The phone app of Beersmith is limiting when it comes to grains and hops information when compared to Brewer’s Friend.  Perhaps I’m using this wrong?  Any information would be appreciated.  I put together my recipe in each application and determined my appropriate water volumes in Beersmith.

I began by warming my mash tun and collecting the determined RO water volumes.  I made some slight adjustments using calcium chloride and gypsum as indicated by EZwater.  This would be my first time adjusting the mash.

Brew day was uneventful, which is always welcomed.  Columbus was added as FWH.  Amarillo / EXP 06277 blended in a 1:1 ratio was added at flameout, steeped for 20 minutes at 170F, and dry hopped immediately prior to pitching my yeast.  The aroma was unreal coming off that kettle.

I’ve gotten a few emails as to why I dry hop when pitching yeast.  When I do this, I’m not noticing any significant loss or gain in aroma.  I’m simply doing this so I don’t have to open the fermenter until it’s time to transfer to the keg.  The less oxygen contact, the better.  The difference is negligible, I’m sure but this is one less step for me to take.

 Grains/Fermentables:

Pale Two Row

Vienna

Flaked Wheat

Flaked Oats

Honey Malt

Carafoam

HOPS:

Columbus

Amarillo

EXP 06277

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Yeast Nutrient

Calcium Chloride

Gypsum

Biofine Clear

Sweetened Coconut

Mango Juice

YEAST:

Harvested from Tree House cans Julius and Green

Following my findings with time using yeast derived from Tree House (I believe it to be Conan), I picked up some Biofine Clear from the fine folks at Northern Brewer.   I’m finding that the Tree House yeast is changing for the better as I use it.  This would be its 3rd generation.  It starts faster, finishes faster, finishes cleaner, and drops better.  I need to rig up my new Inkbird temperature controller and fermenter heater wrap to see if I can pull some more fruit esters off of this yeast.  Perhaps in future batches I’ll explore this.

Following a 10 day fermentation with 2 days for the yeast to play cleanup, I added Biofine clear to the fermenter and cold crashed for 48 hours.  The beer was racked to a keg purged with C02.  Keg hops were added along with 32oz Mango juice.  3oz Coconut was added in a muslin sack.  The keg was purged of oxygen, burst carbonated, and allowed to sit for a week before taking my first pull.

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I’ll start by saying that this beer has the ideal appearance.  The nose on this one won’t come up and hit you.  As it warms the beer opens up a bit to reveal a bit of floral/tropical hop with a slight hint of coconut.  The mouth feel is light and slippery.  This is a very refreshing beer.  Perfect for the dog days of summer that it was brewed on.  The EXP 06277 hops really pair well in this.  I do wish that they were more prominent.  As with my previous batch, I believe I need to increase my whirlpool additions.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t bad at all.  As always, I’m looking for ways to improve.  I feel that increasing the hops in the Whirlpool and adding more coconut is the way to get there.  Not bad for a first run.  This will get another go next summer.

Cheers!

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9.6.16 – Fawcett Oat Malt in NEIPA

When doing my research on Tired Hands Milkshake IPA, I found an interesting podcast on STEAL THIS BEER.  Check it out if you haven’t before.  On this particular episode, the guest was Jean Broillet, brewer from Tired Hands.  In this episode Jean shared some inside tips on the Milkshake style as well as some juicy nuggets from the Tired Hands brewery.  One, being the use of Thomas Fawcett Oat Malt.

I’m fortunate to live near one of the best LHBS around, Adventures in Homebrewing.  AIH isn’t a sponsor, but I don’t know what I’d do without their continued assistance and advice.  The guys at AIH were able to score me a few pounds of Oat Malt.  From what I’ve read, Oat Malt can be difficult to crush resulting in reduced efficiency.  The guys ran the Oat Malt through twice on its own before combining it with the rest of my grains.  There is a serious husk on this stuff!

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To really see what the Oat Malt bring to the table, I decided to go with a very simple grain bill.  The hopping is inspired by Tired Hands Hop Hands.  We’ll see where this gets us!

Grains/Fermentables:

Pale Two Row

Oat Malt

HOPS:

Columbus

Amarillo

Simcoe

Centennial

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Yeast Nutrient

Calcium Chloride

Gypsum

Biofine Clear

Dextrose

YEAST:

Harvested from Tree House cans Julius and Green

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This beer mashed in at 152F with a batch sparge consisting of two infusions of 168F water.  4.5 gallons of wort were collected.  The boil was uneventful aside from some difficulties keeping the flame up on the burner.  Sometimes it fights me when you’re into the boil of your second batch.  Today was no different.  The wort was chilled to 180F prior to adding my whirlpool additions.  The wort was chilled to pitching temperature, aerated, and then the first round of dry hops were added with the yeast slurry.

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The OG turned out to be 1.052 when I was aiming for 1.058.  I’m still honing in on the correct water volumes using my equipment.  I cannot wait to use a new boil kettle.  This beer finished at 1.012 after 6 day.  2 days were allowed to clean up.  Biofine Clear was added and the beer was cold crashed for 48 hours.  The beer was transferred to a keg filled with c02.  The tubing revealed a hazy and pale liquid.  I then purged of oxygen, and carbonated at 25psi for 24 hours before being dialed back to serving temperature for the remainder of carbonation.

I then took a pull.  Normally I wait upwards of a week to drink this, but I was out of beer and needed some hoppy goodness for my 4 day weekend.  In this case, I was rewarded with an overall nice pale ale.  I should have added more hops because the aroma is quite faint.  This was my first time using the combined hop blend.  Perhaps my centennial was a bit old, as well.  Now that I think about it, I originally opened that package about 7 months ago and it’s been sitting in the freezer since.

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Lessons learned, crank up the whirlpool additions, go a little stronger on the bittering charge.

I’m going to bottle off the rest of this keg and see if I had similar results to my previous mosaic/amarillo batch.  The beer really turned for the best after bottling.  If I have favorable results, I’ll adjust my process to fermenter, keg to pressurize, dry hop, and cold crash, and then transfer to a serving keg after a week.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

8.26.16 – Experimenting with Carafoam

During my initial research on brewing this style, I was looking through the old Tree House blog and other photos.  In these photos, you find the occasional grain bag.  I wrote it down, but should have saved the picture.  Two Row + Carafoam.   I like Carafoam to add some body to my beers.  I’ve always used it!  I’ve never pushed the envelope with it (nor do I know anybody who has).  I decided to apply the grist of a beer that I’ve had clear before on me, but increase the Carafoam to 18%.  Why not, right?

I mashed in low at 150F using RO water for 60 minutes followed by a 60 minute boil.  All water additions were made with 15 minutes remaining in the boil.  Columbus was added as FWH, Citra / Kohatu blend was added in late additions, whirlpool, and dry hop.

Let me tell you about Kohatu, if you haven’t used this hop and are a fan of Citra / Galaxy / Mosaic, pick some up and give it a shot.  It’s some tasty, tropical, juicy, fruity goodness.

I’ll spare you the details as this is just about the same as Taking Flight with Crystal malt subbed for Honey Malt.

 Grains/Fermentables:

German Pilsner 77%

Carafoam 18%

Honey Malt 5%

HOPS:

Columbus

Citra

Kohatu

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Yeast Nutrient

Calcium Chloride

Gypsum

YEAST:

Harvested from Tree House cans Julius and Green

In the past, this grist has cleared on me using wy1056.  I have also had the Tree House yeast clear on me using a very similar grain bill that even had flaked adjuncts (wheat).  My logic suggests that this beer should clear as well.  If it does not, then that has a significance associated with high percentages of Carafoam to the haze.

The first pull of this beer filled the basement with an aroma unlike anything I’ve made to date.  Notes of melon, pine, tropical fruit, and lime stand out.  This is quite pungent.  The appearance is hazy, but not murky.  The mouthfeel is a little light.  I attribute that to be the pilsner malt used.  I expected a bigger mouthfeel with this much contribution from Carafoam.  It seems that there are diminishing returns as you increase the amount of Carafoam to the grain bill.  Next time I will use two row and white wheat or oats.  It makes me wonder what would happen if one would use 100% Carafoam, but that’s quite unorthodox and unnecessary.  It doesn’t hurt to think and certainly doesn’t hurt to experiment.  After all, that’s how all things begin.

All in all this is one of the better hop combos that I’ve thrown together on a whim.  I’m really enjoying this and I intend to take it to the upcoming barbecue with the brewing club and see what happens.  I don’t foresee this keg to last very long.  The real question is how long will the haze last?  If it sticks around, I’d attribute the Carafoam as a strong contributor.  Time will tell.

**Update – after 2 weeks in the keg, the beer is still hazy. Dry hop rates were increased 20% from my typical NEIPA rates; however, all other instances have cleared.  I’d have to experiment further, but I feel the haze could be indicative of high levels of dextrins in the beer.  In this example, that’s all that has changed.

After some conditioning the beer is pretty good still.  Going for this again, I would increase my bittering addition and include Columbus into the hop stand addition.  The after taste is excellent, but it needs some more bite.

As you read this, I’m unpacking a lb of Citra and Kohatu from farmhouse for future revisions.

-Cheers!

 

8.17.16 BBA Narthax Imperial Stout

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With cool weather around the corner, it was time to brew something other than an IPA.  In the past 9 months, I’ve only brewed IPA aside from 2 or 3 batches.  Months ago I received one of those airplane shooters full of Jim Beam from a friend and it has just sat in my fridge.  I sanitized a plastic container, dumped in the rest of my med toast French oak chips, and added the Jim Beam.  I’ve since kept this indoors, outdoors in the summer heat, in the freezer, and anywhere I can expose it to different climates.  This sat for about a month before brew day.  More on this later.

Andy joined Murray and I to take part in this double brew day.  It was HOT.  This was our first time using the propane burner as well.  We mashed in with the grains listed below.  Aiming for 4 gallons of 1.086 wort, this taxed the 5 gallon mash tun to peak of its potential.  We mashed for 90 minutes at 152F and batch sparged for 15 minutes at 168F.  We collected nearly 4 gallons of wort into our brew kettle.

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The boil was fairly straightforward despite some technical difficulties from a timer on the burner.  Every 15 minutes you must reset it or the flame goes out.  We boiled for 60 minutes with a 60 minute addition of Magnum and 5 minute addition of Glacier.  I was very impressed with these Glacier hops.  Dark fruit, sweet, and cedar aromas from the hops.  I’d like to use these in a SMASH recipe to see what they can bring to the table.

Grains/Fermentables:

Pale Two Row

Munich

Chocolate

C60

Roasted Barley

De-Bittered Black

HOPS:

Magnum

Glacier

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Whirlfloc

Yeast Nutrient

Gypsum

Calcium Chloride

YEAST:

Two Packets of Safale US-05

The wort was chilled to the coolest the July ground water would allow, extensively aerated, and then we sent the US-05 off to battle with a Yeast Nutrient addition.  Fermentation began less than 6 hours from pitch at ambient room temperature 68F.  After 3 days, a second charge of yeast nutrient was added to the primary.  1 week into fermentation, we introduced a half cup of the bourbon soaked French oak chips to the beer in a sanitized muslin sack.

After 2 more weeks, the beer was transferred to a secondary vessel.  Poly clar and fresh bourbon soaked chips were added. The carboy was placed for aging in my beer cellar at an ambient temperature (on floor) of 58F for two months.  We’ll get this boy kegged up for fall.

Cheers!

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**Update – It’s been about a month since brew day (I get a little backlogged before brewing so I have fancy pictures of the finished products).  Andy and I took a pull from the fermenter and this stuff is ALL BARREL.  Its like we took a bite out of a tree.  Not bad to start but this will be bottle conditioned and we can revisit in a month or two.  The mouthfeel was solid, it finished a little on the dry side, and had a bittery, roast taste.  I attribute a part of that to be from the yeast in suspension as we pulled from the spigot on the Spiedel.  Stay tuned.

8.9.16 Michigan Cherry Cyser

I live in your average blue collar suburb.  We don’t have any fancy restaurants.  We don’t have any whole foods.  We don’t have any Trader Joe’s.  I stumbled into a TJ by work because I’ve heard lots of great things about their products and lack of preservatives (which is music to a brewer’s ears).  I’ve been meaning to get another round of cider in prior to the season coming to as a final means to zero in a recipe.  Thanks to my trip to TJ, I was able to do so.  Most carts were full of food and other things.. mine was mainly things that would soon be booze.

This is round 2 on my Michigan cherry cyser.  The previous version was fermented with a dry cider yeast packet and then transferred to a secondary with honey and tart Michigan cherry juice.  It was then bottled and finished very dry.  Drinkable, but dry and not very enjoyable.  Heck, it was my 3rd or 4th creation ever.  Since then I’ve been wanting to revisit this.

My knowledge on cider making is minimal, but in regard to the brewing process, it’s improved greatly.  My equipment has taken a big step forward too.  My goals are to make this a bit sweeter, have all flavors play an equal role, and have it finish around 1.016-1.020.  If it comes out as desired, I’ll add some toasted oak chips to the next carboy and see what that adds.  I’m not much of a cider guy, but I do feel that some barrel characteristics would add wonders for most out there.

My shopping cart consisted of:

3 gallons of unfiltered Trader Joe’s apple juice (cider wasn’t available, but this should do fine)

32oz tart Michigan cherry juice

2lb of Michigan locally sourced wildflower honey

I don’t intend to use all of the honey and cherry juice, but it’s better to have too much on hand than not enough.  I also scored some mango juice and sweetened coconut for when I get silly for the Brew-B-Que IPA.  More to come on that..

All of the juice was poured into my sanitized fermenter and I pitched a half packet of US05 yeast that I had lingering around my fridge.  48 hours later, there was no activity in the fermenter.. I think the yeast was totaled.  Luckily, I had a half pack of US04 leftover that I pitched as a last resort as I was heading out of town in the morning and it needed to GET DONE.  This concerns me a bit, but worst case scenario; I’ll add Brett and make something weird.

Fermentation lasted for 2 weeks and then settled to 1.010.   This stuff was hazy.. I added a teaspoon of pectic enzyme to aid in clarity and let it sit for 72 hours.  I then slightly warmed 1lb of honey and dissolved it 16oz of the Michigan tart cherry juice.  The fermented must was transferred to the keg.  I then proceeded to add this honey/cherry solution in.   I added a little potassium sorbate / metabisulfate to assist in stopping further fermentation should I decide to bottle some down the line. I purged headspace with CO2, rocked the contents to mix, and into the fridge under 20psi pressure for 48 hours.

This has been on tap for almost a week now and the keg is nearly tapped.  All the girls I know and friend’s wives are crushing this stuff by the growler.  I can’t blame them!  It’s mighty tasty on a summer evening.

When I do this again, I may go back to using kolsch yeast as I typically do with my ciders.

Cheers!

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8.3.2016 WLP 564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend

Have you heard of the White Labs Vault?  It’s a cool little thing worth checking out.  Think of it as a kickstarter for yeast.  WLP puts up some of their one off, unique stuff that’s normally not in production and when enough pre-orders are accepted, they ship!  My first trip into the White Labs Vault was fun.  They’re loaded with fresh and unique things.  Maybe I’d find something rad?

WLP 564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend caught my eye.  The yeast was described as such.

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A blend developed for our in-house saisons. It was so popular; we decided to make it available to you. Slightly tart. Blend of two of our saison strains and a low phenolic Belgian strain. Approximately 85% attenuation which makes for a dryer saison.   Used in the White Labs Tasting Room! (For various Saisons, Dubbels, and Roggenbiers).  In beers made in the Tasting Room, the strain proved very versatile, creating spicy, dry and clean beers. 

 With only 4 more orders needed to release the blend, I decided to pull the trigger.  Who doesn’t enjoy a nice saison in the dog days of summer?  I’ve been looking for an excuse to brew one and try some new hops.

A few days later, I received an email stating that the yeast has gone into production.  A week or so later, I got an email saying the yeast had shipped.  The package arrived on the hottest to date day of the year with the ice pack melted into some sort of goo, in my mail box, in the direct sunlight.  I thought for sure this yeast was TOAST.  I cooled it off and then immediately into a low gravity starter, which was bumped up 4 days later.

Grains/Fermentables

2 Row

White Wheat

Aromatic

Carapils

HOPS

Warrior

Motueka

El Dorado

OTHER INGREDIENTS

Dextrose

Whirlfloc

YEAST

WLP564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend

Brew day was uneventful.  A nice, fruity hop aroma filled my home from the hops coming to temperature on the counter.  Not too dank, though, the Warrior isn’t the freshest.  I added hops at 60, 0, a 170F hopstand, and dual dry hopping.  The wort was cooled to 85F or so, the first half of the dry hops were added, the wort was aerated for 2 minutes using the drill method, and the yeast was pitched.

The Saison sat for two weeks in primary and was then transferred to a keg that had previously been purged of oxygen.  FG came in at 1.008 weighing this in at 6.5%abv with an apparent attenuation of 86%!  Impressive for the first time using this yeast and considering it’s condition upon arrival.  The beer had a smell of cider, which worried me.  Keg hops consisting of 2:1 ratio of Motueka:El Dorado were added in a sanitized muslin sack.  The keg was hooked up to 20psi, purged headspace several times, and rocked for about 3 minutes.  48 hours later, we’re almost fully carbonated and ready to pour a sample.

The Saison pours a glowing orange with a stark white head.  Not too much, but with a few more days under pressure will carbonate more appropriately for a Saison.  There is no cider on the nose anymore.  That has been replaced with a very light fruit, flower, candy nose with notes of cool berry, under ripe fruit, and a zip of lime.  Not too overpowering, but right what I deem desirable for this style.

wlp564saison

Given it’s an early pour, I’ll visit it again in a few days to see how this pulls together.  The initial taste reminds me of a big glass of dry orange rind.  Dry Carbonated orange juice.  No sign of booze here.  Excuse me while I go find a Tropicana carton and have a wild day at the office.  Not literally, but this could get the job done if you woke up in that mood. After a few more I may actually figure out how to properly say the name of this yeast strain.

Going forward, I’d like to work the recipe to work on the orange juice thing that it already has going.  What suggestions do you have for making an exceptional Saison?  Do you have any ideas how to bring out the orange juice thing?  If so, drop me a line.  I’d love to hear back.

Cheers!

7.28.16 Tree House Julius Clone

I’ve received a few requests since I began this blog with folks looking for a Julius Clone.  The truth is, I don’t have an exact clone.  I do have a recipe that will get you in the neighborhood.  Call me a fan boy, but I’m always willing to give credit where it’s due.  Nate Lanier is the man and makes his bread and butter with some of the best hoppy beers in the country.  I’ve reached out to Nate on twitter several times trying to get insight to crack the code.  So far, all I’ve been able to gather is…

Any bit of information is helpful.  I’d love an opportunity to have a beer with Nate.  He’s an inspiration and it’s admirable to see people follow their dreams and succeed.

Anyhow, here’s the recipe according to how I brewed it last in Spring 2016.  It wasn’t the best, but time was it’s friend.  It also probably didn’t help that I accidentally bought Nelson instead of Citra…  It was beer!  I’ve replaced the Nelson additions with Citra because these are some of the hops I believe to be in the beer.  I say some, because I believe there is more.  Currently, I feel there is Columbus – Amarillo – Citra – and SOMETHING else presumably American.

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Julius V3
Author: mike strasser

Brew Method: Hillbilly Kitchen – BIAB
Style Name: American IPA
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.058
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)
STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.067
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV (standard): 6.95%
IBU (tinseth): 58.82
SRM (morey): 6.37

FERMENTABLES:
4.5 lb – American – Pale 2-Row (60.3%)
1.4 lb – Flaked Oats (18.8%)
0.5 lb – American – Munich – Light 10L (6.7%)
2 oz – American – Caramel / Crystal 40L (1.7%)
2 oz – Canadian – Honey Malt (1.7%)
0.75 lb – Corn Sugar – Dextrose (10.1%)

HOPS:
0.5 oz – Columbus, Type: Pellet, AA: 15, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 44.29
0.25 oz – Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 8.6, Use: Aroma for 1 min, IBU: 2.53
0.5 oz – Citra, Type: Pellet, AA: 11, Use: Aroma for 1 min, IBU: 6.47
1 oz – Citra, Type: Pellet, AA: 11, Use: Whirlpool for 20 min at 180 °F
0.5 oz – Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 8.6, Use: Whirlpool for 20 min at 180 °F
0.25 oz – Columbus, Type: Pellet, AA: 15, Use: Whirlpool for 20 min at 180 °F
0.5 oz – Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 8.6, Use: Dry Hop at peak fermentation
0.5 oz – Citra, Type: Pellet, AA: 11, Use: Dry Hop at peak fermentation
0.5 oz – Citra, Type: Pellet, AA: 11, Use: Keg Hop
0.5 oz – Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 8.6, Use:Keg Hop

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 155 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 8 qt

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
1 tsp – gypsum, Time: 10 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Boil
1 tsp – calcium chloride, Time: 10 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Boil

YEAST:
OMEGA LABS – DIPA Yeast (CONAN)
Starter: Yes
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 80%
Flocculation: Med-Low
Optimum Temp: 62 – 75 F
Fermentation Temp: 62-65 F

TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Detroit Tap

I cannot stress the importance of minimizing exposure to oxygen (after initial aeration) enough.  After fermentation completes, give the yeast 48 hours extra or so to clean up.  Then, cold crash for 48 hours or so before transferring to your serving keg.  Usually I’m going from grain to glass in 14-17 days with these style beers. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Allow your kegged and carbonated beer to sit for about a week prior to drinking.  I find that 2 weeks is even better.

Knowing what I know now after brewing this, I would decrease the % of dextrose to 3-4% and increase the Munich to hit gravity.  I would also toss some mosaic or whatever other tropical hop you have into the dry hop in an equal ratio contribution.  This was my first time using Conan yeast.  I would ramp up fermentation temperature by about 5 degrees.

Do you have anything to add?  Did I miss something?  Hit up the comments below and share!

Cheers!

julius