Homebrewing blogs

Porters and Stouts with Sean Johnson – BeerSmith Podcast #157

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 7:46am

Sean Johnson joins me from the Brewing Science Lab at the University of Northern Colorado to discuss brewing the perfect Porter or Stout.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (38:38)
  • Today my guest is Sean Johnson. Sean is Assistant Brewer at the University of Northern Colorado Brewing Science Lab where he works with Dr Mosher teaching a 6 month brewing certificate program. He has a Master’s degree in Hop Chemistry and worked at Annheuser-Busch’s Barley Research team before joining UNC.
  • We briefly discuss Porters and Stouts as well as their history which has some shared roots.
  • Sean explains how Porter and Stouts evolved to become distinct styles.
  • We talk about the popularity of Porters as well as their decline in the 1800’s as lighter beers became popular.
  • He discusses some of the different styles of Porters and Stouts that have become popular today.
  • We talk about brewing a complex English Porter and where the flavors come from- starting with the grain bill.
  • He shares thoughts on good hop varieties to use in a Porter.
  • We discuss hop/malt balance and how to achieve the right balance.
  • Sean shares his recommendations for brewing yeasts to use with Porters and Stouts.
  • We talk about which water profiles are most appropriate to these styles.
  • Sean shares some tips for adding flavor complexity to a stout or porter.
  • We spend a few minutes discussing the UNC brewing certificate program.
Sponsors

Thanks to Sean Johnson for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Amber Special Bitter Recipe

The Mad Fermentationist - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 4:23pm
Audrey invited her coworkers over for a mini-Oktoberfest in our backyard. In preperation, she brewed a batch that most of them would enjoy, a low-ABV ESB-ish malty ale that looks a bit like an Oktoberfest. As you can tell from the drop in post-frequency, more of my time is being sucked up by Sapwood Cellars (we're reviewing the lease now). Someone is going to have to keep the taps filled at home!

Her plan was to ferment with White Labs 002 English Ale. The Fuller's strain is a quick fermenting and flocculating yeast perfect in low-gravity ales given its low attenuation (for example). Mild enough yeastiness that it shouldn't be off-putting to casual craft beer drinkers. When we stopped by the local homebrew store they were down to a single tube, enough of an excuse for a split-batch. The description of WLP013 (London Ale) with an "oakey ester character" appealed to Audrey, and I had never used it before. I have used the Wyeast equivalent in name and origin (WY1028) in batches of Courage Russian Imperial Stout, but not for anything similar to this.

The shop was also out of East Kent Goldings, so we swapped to Challenger for the aroma addition. Challenger isn't as orangey as EKG, but they have a wonderfully mellow herbaceous quality. Out of flaked wheat too, so we opted for torrified "puffed" wheat (something Dan Paquette of Pretty Things suggested to Nathan and I for bitters years ago). Torrified grains requires milling, but are gelatinized like flaked wheat and thus can be added directly to the mash without pre-cooking. It contributes a slightly toasty flavor too. Given substitutions for yeast, malt, and hops it likely isn't a surprise that I usually do my homebrew shopping online!

Fall Special Bitter: WLP002

Smell – Caramel maltiness leads. Clean, lightly estery, classic English without being minerally. Faint tea-like hop aroma.

Appearance – Mild haze in the copper/amber body. Terrific retention, thanks to the torrefied wheat. Wonderfully sticky, high- relief lacing.

Taste – Toastiness increases to support the caramel, and is joined by a stronger herbal hop-note. Well rounded malt flavor. Mild bitterness in the tail. No alcohol presence. Bare hint of diacetyl-butterscotch as it reaches room-temperature.

Mouthfeel – Medium body, medium carbonation. Just a hair of astringency in the finish.

Drinkability & Notes – Fits the Special Bitter metrics, but tastes maltier, more like a small ESB.

Changes for Next Time – It would be difficult to change it a little and improve it. A local maximum. Not my favorite English session ale, I tend to prefer brighter and hoppier, but I don’t think this would improve without fundamentally changing what it is.

Fall Special Bitter: WLP013

Smell – Hoppier, surprisingly. Might just be associating the slight citrusy (orange) ester profile of WLP013 with English hops. Caramel takes a backseat comparatively.

Appearance – Similar, although the head isn’t quite as long-lasting or sticky.

Taste – Not as direct as the other half. The malt isn’t as clear and fresh. The hops are more saturated and full tasting. Similar mellow bitterness.

Mouthfeel – A hair fuller, without the mild astringency. Carbonation is a bit higher as I poured this one second.

Drinkability & Notes – I’d be less-certain of what this one is. The esters feel more distracting in this malt-focused beer. I’d actually been enjoying this one more than the other, but side-by-side it doesn’t work as well as I’d though.

Changes for Next Time – I’d go even hoppier on this one to play-off the yeast. Double the Challenger!

October Special Bitter

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 12.0
IBU: 32.3
OG: 1.044
FG: 1.010
ABV: 4.4%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
80.0% - 15 lbs Crisp Floor-Malted Maris Otter
10.7% - 2 lbs Torrified Wheat
8.0% - 1.5 lbs Briess Caramel 40
1.3% - 0.25 lbs Briess Midnight Wheat

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 152F

Hops
-------
1.25 oz Nugget (Pellets, 13.6% AA) @ 60 min
1.00 oz Challenger (Pellet, 6.8% AA) @ 20 min Whirlpool

Yeast
-------
White Labs WLP002 English Ale
or
White Labs WLP013 London Ale

Water
-------
Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 50 30 50 15 10 90
Notes
-------
Brewed 9/3/17

Chilled to 80F, left at 63F overnight to cool. In the morning, pitched WLP002 into FV2, WLP013 into FV1. Both fresh packs (May and June production). Shook to aerate, left at 63F to ferment. The WLP013 half was fermenting well by the next day, but the WLP002 half wasn't really rocking until day three.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Kettle Souring Beer – Brewing Techniques

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sun, 10/08/2017 - 1:34pm

This week I take a look at “Kettle Souring” beer which is a technique for making sour beer that offers faster fermentation times and better control over the souring levels.

The Kettle Souring Method

The traditional method for making sour beer is to brew some wort and then pitch both traditional brewing yeast along with some form of live bacteria to slowly sour the beer. The bacteria will produce lactic acid which gives the beer its distinctive sour flavor. This method typically takes several months or more to ferment and age properly as the infected beer often develops some off flavors that take time to settle out and fade before drinking.

As I mentioned in an earlier article on Berliner Weisse, kettle souring offers an attractive alternative. You prepare your wort just as you would for a traditional fermentation, and then pitch only bacteria (typically Lactobacillus or Pediococcus) to begin the souring process. Once you reach the desired level of sourness and pH, you then boil the soured wort to kill off any remaining bacteria.

At this point you can either continue fermenting by pitching fresh yeast or alternately blend the soured wort with fresh wort from another batch to ferment a blended beer. The beer will typically ferment and finish quite quickly if the pH is not too low, giving you a nice clean sour beer in a matter of weeks instead of taking many months. If you are making a very sour beer, I do recommend monitoring the pH as it can drop during fermentation. I like to keep the pH above 3.0 at a minimum, as fermentation can be slowed or even halted below that level.

Advantages of Kettle Souring over Other Souring Techniques

I mentioned that kettle souring is much quicker to complete fermentation than a traditional sour fermentation method, and also results in a cleaner overall sour flavor profile. It also has a substantial advantage as you can manage both the pH levels and level of sourness during the souring stage and cut it off by boiling when you reach the desired level of sourness. Also if you use the option to blend sour wort with fresh wort you can even more precisely control sourness.

Another technique known as mash souring involves actually leaving the mash out in open air (or innoculating with bacteria) for one or more days to sour the mash before proceeding with lautering, boiling and fermentation. Unfortunately this technique also results in more funky off flavors than kettle souring, so again kettle souring wins as far as souring techniques.

I will mention that since kettle souring gives you a cleaner sour finish, it might not be ideal for beers where you are truly looking for funky sour complexity such as a traditional lambic. So if you want a lot of funk you might want go proceed with a more traditional sour fermentation and give it the months or years needed to reach maturity.

I hope you enjoyed this article on kettle souring. If you have your own thoughts on sour beer techniques please leave a comment below. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brewing Topics with Gordon Strong – BeerSmith Podcast #156

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 7:42am

Gordon Strong, Grandmaster beer judge, joins me this week to discuss brewing in New Zealand Pilsner, Brazil and his new Blichmann home brewing equipment setup.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (55:18)
  • Today my guest is Gordon Strong, who is a Grandmaster BJCP beer judge and author of the books Brewing Better Beer and Modern Homebrew Recipes (Amazon affiliate links).
  • We discuss some of Gordon’s recent travels as he’s sampled home brewing around the world.
  • Gordon tells us about his trip to New Zealand including exploring some of the hop growing and processing areas there.
  • He tells us about New Zealand Pilsner which is a unique local style of beer he enjoyed.
  • We talk about his new brewing system from Blichmann and his experiences brewing on it.
  • Gordon shares some of the things he learned on a recent trip to Brazil and some of the interesting brewing ingredients there.
  • He tells a story of a brewer in Brazil using some of Gordon’s recipes.
  • Gordon shares some of his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Gordon Strong for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

PH Meters for Beer Brewing – Selection, Calibration and Use

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 8:13am

The pH meter has become a critical piece of equipment for all grain beer brewers as well as for cider, wine and mead making. This week I take a look at selecting, calibrating, and using a pH meter to brew beer.

Uses for a pH Meter

In the last 10 years or so, our understanding of the important role mash pH plays in brewing beer has driven commercial and home brewers to increasingly work to monitor and adjust their mash pH. I’ve previously covered the importance of mash pH, as well as incorporated tools for estimating and adjusting mash pH into BeerSmith. Unfortunately mash pH predictions only go so far, so most serious all grain brewers choose to purchase a pH meter to monitor their pH during the mash and sparge and make real-time adjustments if needed.

In addition, pH meters can be used in cider, wine and mead making. For example if the pH of mead or wine drops too low during active fermentation it can inhibit fermentation and result in off flavors. So I use my meter to monitor pH levels daily during active fermentation for my meads and wines.

Selecting a pH Meter for Brewing

Meters come with a wide array of features and also across a large price range. Cheap meters start at $13 online, but may have poor accuracy and quality. A good quality pH meter will generally run you from $50-150 (or more). Lab quality meters are generally over $100. Also you need to be aware that the probes on pH meters will degrade over time (they become non-linear) and you generally need to replace the probes every 2-3 years. That’s why high end lab pH meters come with probes that you can disconnect and replace. Some features to consider:

  • Accuracy – The best meters will be accurate to +/- 0.01 pH accuracy. Units with only +/- 0.1 accuracy are not as desirable for brewing as even a 0.1 point change can be significant when measuring mash pH.
  • Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) – This system measures the temperature of the sample and applies a correction factor to it to adjust the pH measurement for temperature. While useful, it is not always accurate as the solution itself may chemically change pH with temperature (not matching the ATC adjustment). If possible, it is best to draw a mash pH sample, cool it first, and then measure the pH.
  • Calibration – All pH meters need to be calibrated using known solutions. Generally two systems are used. A manual calibration forces you to adjust some knobs for high/low calibration values, while the automatic calibration system simply asks you to put the meter in various pH solutions and adjusts an internal table to digitally calibrate your meter. The digital system is certainly easier to use.
  • Probe Connection – As I mentioned above, the probes should be replaced every 2-3 years. Higher priced pH meters have removable probes (usually a BNC connection) so you can purchase and install new probes without having to replace the entire meter.
Calibrating and Storing Your pH Meter

All pH meters require calibration using known pH solutions – usually three solutions at pH 4, 7 and 10. In addition, your probes should be stored in a pH storage solution to preserve their lifespan. So to even use your pH meter you need to purchase a pH buffer/calibration kit which has the three solutions with pH 4,7, and 10 and I recommend also getting the pH meter storage solution as well. For example I’ve been using this calibration/storage kit from Amazon (affiliate link) for my pH meter.

For an automatic (digital) pH meter, you generally push a button to calibrate the meter and will be prompted to put the meter into the pH 4, 7, and 10 solutions. A manual meter may require some additional steps – read your pH meter manual to determine how to calibrate it. I generally calibrate my meter every time before brewing as it only takes a few minutes.

For storage, I immerse my probes in a small amount of storage solution. This can help extend the lifespan of the probes and also helps maintain calibration if I am doing something like measuring the daily fermentation pH of a mead.

Using the pH Meter

Using a pH meter is a simple affair. I generally draw a small sample of the wort or beverage I’m measuring and then dip the probes into it to get a pH reading.

As I mentioned previously there is one issue to consider when measuring hot wort in the mash, which is temperature. While the ATC system on many modern probes will measure the pH at temperature, this number may still not be 100% accurate because the solution itself will chemically change when cooled.

By convention pH should be measured near room temperature (i.e. under standard conditions). So from an accuracy perspective, the best thing to do is to draw a small sample of mash and quickly cool and de-aerate it with some rapid stirring before measuring the pH as shown in the picture above.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s article on pH meters. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Citra-Galaxy NEIPA: Bioconversion

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 5:01pm
There has been passionate discussion about hop bioconversion, especially in relation to NEIPA. Studies have shown geraniol in hops like Citra is converted during fermentation into citronellol when there is excess linalool present. But what does this mean for your beer? I talked to Stan Hieronymus when planning an experiment based on his suggestion to use other linalool and geraniol rich hops to mimic Citra. He directed me to a more recent study from the same team that suggested the thiol 4-MSP (aka 4-MMP) has a synergistic effect with these terpenes. Some hops (e.g., Citra, Centennial) contain linalool, geraniol, and 4-MSP and thus can be used as a single hop to create a fantastic IPA.

The question I set out to answer was whether the same flavors can be achieved piecemeal by adding individual hops to fill in the background flavors and then dry hop with fancy hops to lend varietal character. It is a practical consideration because hops like Citra and Galaxy are in short supply, and often cost four times the price of less-sexy varieties. If we can only get our hands on a couple boxes of Citra for Sapwood Cellars' first year, how do we maximize the amount of Citra-forward IPA brewed?

The problem with blindly relying on the science regarding individual compounds is that you can miss the IPA through the hops. I selected Chinook (geraniol), Nugget (linalool), and Eureka (4-MSP). However, each contributes a variety of other aromatics, how would these come through?

Most of the bioconversion happens to terpenes extracted on the hot side, so how important is a mid-fermentation dose of dry hops? At the end of the combined boil I added Chinook, Nugget, and Eureka for the whirlpool. On day two, I dry hopped one fermentor with more Chinook and Nugget and the other with Citra and Galaxy. I then keg-hopped both with Citra/Galaxy in stainless steel hop filters (rather than the nylon knee-highs I'd been using).

I hooked the two kegs up in the kegerator without paying attention to which beer was on which tap. I was able to identify them almost immediately with my first carbonated sample a week later. I thought that was enough to skip the triangle test and go straight to preference. I brought a growler of each to the DC Homebrewer’s August meeting. There were lots of strong opinions (I didn't tell the homebrewers what I was testing, but asked them to focus on the hop character). With 11 votes to 8, the beer with Citra and Galaxy as the first dry hop addition won, but not by as much as I would have guessed. Here are select comments that each elicited:

Cheaper Hops - Nugget/Chinook: West Coast, spicy, subtle, vegetal, fruitier, aromatic (several), "Galaxy/Mosaic," more bitter (several), minerally, crisper.

Cheater Hops - Citra/Galaxy: Piney, fruity, juicy, berry, fresh orange, hoppier, sweeter, restrained, rounder, more dry hop, more aromatic.

These results were of the beers after less than two weeks in the keg. While freshness is essential for NEIPA given their sensitivity to oxygen, a little extra time post-fermentation can be beneficial. I’ve gotten a few emails from brewers disappointed with the “juiciness” of their beer a few days after kegging. It often takes time for the yeast (which is coated in hop compounds) and lupulin to settle out and clear the way for those juicy flavors. In this case I also found the extraction of the keg hops took a couple weeks, with the Cheaper Hop half tasting more like Citra and Galaxy now a month after kegging.

I think this experiment contradicts the old adage that dry hopping only effects aroma. Flavor and aroma are inextricably linked. Dry hopping can even decrease IBUs, or it can add bitterness depending on how much iso-alpha is in the beer already. There are few simple rules in brewing!

For my tastes too much maltiness distracts from the hops in NEIPAs. I don’t care for the full Maris Otter crackery flavor that some examples have. For this batch I started with a similar malt bill to my previous NEIPA, but subbed in Golden Promise for about 2/3 of the base malt. Golden Promise is softer than some of the other British base malts, and I thought it worked well here to increase the perception of maltiness without distracting.

Cheaper Hops

Smell – Nice mix of bright citrus juice (orange) and more classic Pacific-Northwest hop-bag resin. Has some of that bold Citra/Galaxy tropical, but it is a component rather than a feature. Toasty notes, nice depth addition from the Golden Promise.

Appearance – Maximum haze without muddiness. Slightly darker than some of my previous batches, which likely increases the appearance of haze. Nice head, but retention isn't remarkable.

Taste – Falls a little short of full-on NEIPA, lacking that wonderful saturated juicy hop flavor. Although the fullness of the hop character has increased while sitting on the keg hops. Pineapple, orange candy, and dank. Slightly sharp bitterness, a bit lupulin bite in the throat.

Mouthfeel – Smooth, but a little chalky in the finish.

Drinkability & Notes – A nice solid NEIPA with some character that might appeal to the cross-over West Coast drinker. Certainly nice to be able to get that good an IPA from 2/3 inexpensive hops, but it isn’t fooling anyone.


Cheater Hops

Smell – Similar notes of pineapple and orange, but without an undercurrent of resin. Not an especially amped nose compared recent batches with London III, lacking the oomph of my favorite NEIPAs. Perhaps the malt getting in the way?

Appearance – Identical.

Taste – It has that saturated fancy hop (4-MSP) flavor. Bright, fruity, really juicy. Nice toasty-malty note in the finish, lingering with just a touch of resin. Firm bitterness. The aftertaste is where I really get the Citra-Galaxy rounded tropical fruit compared to the Cheaper hops.

Mouthfeel – Seems slightly crisper, less chalky.

Drinkability & Notes – I’m a sucker for that full fruity flavor with a slight weirdness from the hops. Drinkable and wonderfully hoppy. The hot-side additions of less expensive hops really worked in this batch!

Changes for Next Time – Clearly that early dry hop addition isn’t all about bio-conversion. I’ll be focusing my linalool and geraniol additions at the end of the boil and 4-SMP hops at that early dry hop.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 3.8
IBU: 78.1
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.016
ABV: 5.8%
Final pH: 4.52
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
37.6% - 5 lbs Simpsons Golden Promise
22.5% - 3 lbs Rahr 2-row Brewer's Malt
21.1% - 2.8 lbs Quaker Quick Oats
18.8% - 2.5 lbs Weyermann Carafoam

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 154F

Hops
-------
1.00 oz Nugget (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ 15 min
2.00 oz Chinook (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ Whirlpool 30 min
2.00 oz Nugget (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ Whirlpool 30 min
1.00 oz Eureka (Pellets, 18.00% AA) @ Whirlpool 30 min

Cheaper Hops Option:
3.00 oz Chinook (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2
3.00 oz Nugget (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2

Cheater Hops Option:
3.00 oz Galaxy (Pellets, 14.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2
3.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2

Both
1.50 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ Keg Hop
1.50 oz Galaxy (Pellets, 14.00% AA) @ Keg Hop

Water
-------
5 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
4 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
.5 tsp Lactic Acid @ Mash
Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 90 90 90 10 5 45
Yeast
-------
SafAle S-04 English Ale

Notes
-------
Scaled to be brewed as either half of the batch.

Brewed 8/6/17 with Collin

Mash pH initially 5.55 pre-acid. Acid brought it down to 5.26. Around 5.4 if it had been cooled.

Whirlpool hops added right at flame-out.

Used ice to get it down to 70F. 5 gallons into each fermentor. Shook to aerate and pitched S-04 directly. Left at 64F to ferment.

Up to ~68F internal by 24 hours.

After two days down to 1.024 (60% AA) added 3 oz Nugget/Chinook to FV1, and 3 oz each Galaxy/Citra to FV2. Fermentation slowing down. Increased ambient temperature to 68F.

8/16/17 Kegged both. ~4 gallons of FV1, 4.5 of FV2. Quad-flushed. 1.5 oz each of Citra and Galaxy in the new screens, weighted with marbles.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing!
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Session Beers with Jennifer Talley – BeerSmith Podcast #155

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:53pm

Jennifer Talley joins me to discuss her new book “Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance”. Jennifer is a professional brewer with over 20 GABF and World Beer Cup awards.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (36:23)
  • Today my guest is Jennifer Talley, author of the new book Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance (Amazon affiliate link) from Brewers Publications. Jennifer is a professional brewer who worked at Squatters Pub, Red Hook, Russian River and now Auburn Alehouse. She has more than 20 awards from the GABF and World Beer Cup.
  • We start with a bit about Jennifer’s new book on Session Beers.
  • Jennifer explains what a session beer really is and how it is defined.
  • We talk about the history of session beers, which are many hundreds of years old and certainly predate the use of the term “Session Beers” which only started in about 1980.
  • She explains the important role Europe played in the development of many session styles including the UK, Germany, and Belgium.
  • We talk about some of the challenges in trying to develop a light refreshing session beer that is also balanced and flavorful.
  • Jennifer shares a few tips from the book on formulating and brewing session beers.
  • We talk about modern interpretations of the session beer.
  • Jennifer shares some thoughts on sensory analysis of session beers.
  • We talk about the second half of her book which includes recipes from a significant number of commercial breweries.
  • She also shares how she scaled down commercial recipes to homebrew size for the book.
  • We talk about how she decided which recipes to include and also her experience as a commercial brewer.
  • Jennifer provides some closing thoughts on brewing session beers.
Sponsors

Thanks to Jennifer Talley for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Backyard Gruit: Alehoof and Yarrow

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 4:25pm
Why brew a light, refreshing “lawnmower” ale to be enjoyed after yard work when you can brew a batch flavored with lawnmower clippings? Well not literally, but this is a batch of sour beer flavored with ingredients foraged from what would otherwise be clipped. A beer that captures the aroma of summertime in my backyard!

In April, when I posted a photo of my North-Eastern Australian IPA sitting on my lawn, Caleb Levar (I tried to send him bottle dregs to culture in 2011) pointed out that the ground cover with vibrant purples flowers was a brewing herb:
use the Creeping Charlie in that picture!— Caleb Levar (@celevar1) April 3, 2017I met Carlos, my brewing partner for the day, back in February when Blane invited us to brew (with juniper, smoke, and kveik). Carlos is an enthusiastic forager, and talked about a variety of exciting projects like malting his own quinoa for a 100% quinoa beer! We’d been looking for an excuse to brew together again since, so this was perfect!

I hadn’t heard of ground ivy beer previously, but in addition to being an invasive species, it is a historic English/saxon brewing herb (often called alehoof). Brewing herbs growing wild is a great argument for lawn as a meadow in addition to avoiding the use of fertilizer and herbicide! Crushed, alehoof smells a bit like parsley crossed with arugula, green but not grassy, a little peppery. That flavor is rich in terpenes, phenols, and vitamin C. I couldn't find information on the specific terpenes, but hop terpenes and their derivatives include the most important aroma molecules: myrcene, caryophyllene, humulene, linalool, and geraniol.

When I visited my parents a couple months later, my father showed off the yarrow in his garden on Cape Cod (a few feet from where my mead is buried). Another classic brewing herb! I had read that yarrow loses its most interesting aromatics during drying, so this was a rare opportunity to try it fresh. β-pinene, linalool, and β-caryophyllene are found in yarrow and hops, so another chance of a beer with flavors reminiscent of a wet hopped ale? I actually have a keg on wine-barrel solera still sitting in my basement with fresh yarrow from Spruce on Tap that I purchased when I brewed my India Pale Gruit... I should probably pull a sample.

For the alehoof  usage-rate I referenced Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers (3 oz dried/12 quarts per roughly three gallons), and Growler Magazine (6–8 quarts per 5 gallons). Both sounded like a lot of an herb I'd never tasted in a beer, so I went easy with two quarts in 11 gallons at the start of the boil. We split the yarrow adding the leaves with the alehoof, and the flower heads and stems in the whirlpool treating it like aroma hops. Again though, 2 oz in 11 gallons is less than most recipes I could find.

Carlos brought a bag of pink salt from Maras, an Incan salt production facility still in use today. A stream of subterranean brine in diverted into shallow pools and allowed to evaporate. The light reddish color comes from traces of iron. Iron isn't a positive beer additive, but using ancient salt is romantic with traditional herbs. Salt is a classic part of gose, and can help meld bitterness and acidity (as in a salad).

We planned to split the batch, but Carlos had a flight to Peru a week after brewing to cover between head brewers at a small brewery. I revived Right Proper's House Lacto culture (which did good work in my lone qunioa beer) and pitched the other half with GigaYeast's Sour Cherry Funk. I didn't have a plan for that pack, so this seemed like a good test. It is still in the fermentor, this tasting is of the Right Proper half.

Backyard Gruit-Gose

Smell – Slight spicy and herbaceous aroma. There are some green notes that with the knowledge of what is in there reminds me of mowing. Luckily it doesn’t remind me of boiled greens. Not an overpowering or aggressive gruit/herbal character, allowing room for grainy maltiness to come through.

Appearance – Glowing yellow, cloudy. Dense white head. Better head retention than my previous efforts with this culture. Still not fantastic, but enough to snap a few pictures in the backyard. Good lacing.

Taste – Big lactic acidity, tangy. Minimal sweetness and bitterness. There are herbal notes, but also a citrusy (orange and lemon) character I usually associate with lightly dry-hopped sours.

Mouthfeel – Light and bright. This is the second sour in a row on tap that doesn’t seem to be getting as carbonated as the other taps despite the same pressure. Could be a little bubblier.

Drinkability & Notes – The sourness is at the high end of what I’m looking for. The pH reading was 3.03, but it doesn't taste quite that sour. Otherwise refreshing, just not the sort of beer I naturally gravitate to for a second pour.

Changes for Next Time – I’m satisfied with the experiment. The fresh herbs do lend a fresher flavor than dried herbs, less concentrated and distinct. Doubling the herbs would create a more “obvious” flavor, but as a beer on tap subtlety is a virtue. I’ll wait for the other half to see how it compares with age before making final proclamations on the process.

Recipe

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 3.2
IBU: 0.0
OG: 1.047
FG: 1.009
ABV: 4.9%
Final pH: 3.03
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

Fermentables
-----------------
90.0% - 18 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
10.0% - 2 lbs Briess Red Wheat Malt


Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 153F

Hops
-------
None

Other
-------
3.50 oz Ground Ivy @ 60 mins
1.00 oz Yarrow Leaves @ 60 mins
0.50 oz Peruvian Salt (Mines of Maras) @ 15 min
1.00 oz Yarrow Flowers/Stems @ Whirlpool

Water
------- Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 50 30 50 15 10 90
Yeast
-------
Right Proper House Lacto Blend

Notes
-------
Brewed 7/8/17 with Carlos

Made a 3.5L starter with the Right Proper House Lacto culture that had been sitting in my fridge for... six months. Seemed to start up well.

Ground ivy harvested from the backyard that morning. Yarrow harvested three days prior on Cape Cod.

Chilled to 80F and pitched RP Lacto (left at 80F). Other half left at 65F for 6 hours to drop a bit cooler before pitching Cherry Funk (left at 65F).

7/22/17 Racked the Giga half to secondary (1.012, mildly tart).

7/26/17 Kegged the Right Proper half with 3 oz of table sugar to carbonate (1.009, firm acidity). Seal was not good, didn't hold pressure.

8/6/17 Moved the Right Proper half to the keggerator, fixed the lid, and attached to gas. Final pH 3.03... not confident in that reading.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Harsh Zone Crystal and Colored Malts in Beer Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 1:22pm

This week I take a look at “harsh zone” malts in the roughly 70-200L color range and how they can upset the balance of an otherwise perfect beer.

A while back I did a review of Randy Mosher’s Mastering Homebrew book. The book, which I highly recommend, introduces a number of new concepts in balance and flavor of beer recipes. One of the most important concepts he talks about is the observation that relatively few malts are produced in the 70-200 L range.

The reason for this is very simple: many of the malts in that color range can produce “off flavors” or harsh notes in the finished beer. So let’s take a look at the “Harsh zone” malts and how to properly use them in your beer.

Malt Colors – credit Randy Mosher

The Harsh Zone Malts

As illustrated in the graphic to the right (click to make it larger), the harsh zone is defined as malts having colors between roughly 70-200L. The most commonly used malts in this range are dark Crystal/Caramel malts including Crystal 80L, Crystal 100L and Crystal 120L. In addition, “Special B” is a very dark Crystal malt roasted to about 140-150L.

Some dark Brown malts from the “Colored malt” group also fall into this group, as does the roasted malt “Pale Chocolate”. If used in large amounts these harsh zone malts lead to acrid, bitter, burnt-toast, burnt marshmallow and other undesirable flavors.

A common beginner mistake, for example, is to add some Crystal 80L (or darker) malts to something like an English brown ale to darken the color. The result is often a harsh finish to the beer that can make it quite unpleasant. This is particularly common for extract brewers who tend to use dark crystal malts and light roasted malts interchangeably.

If we look at these malts critically:

  • Brown Malt – A kilned malt that was once the primary ingredient in Porter, but is now rarely used. While not as harsh as dark crystal malts it does take on a mocha-coffee, deep toast or chocolate overtones and can also have some campfire character.
  • Caramel/Crystal 70-80L – These have an intense toasted character similar to burnt sugar or toasted marshmallow, as well as some caramel character. Used in appropriate amounts they can also bring forward a dried fruit (raisin, fig or prune) character, but unfortunately they are often overused leading to harsher toasted flavors.
  • Caramel/Crystal 100-120L – These have an intense roast sugar flavor, and can be bitter with a Turkish coffee finish. In small amounts you can get a toasted raisin finish, but overuse will lead to acrid bitterness and burnt flavors.
  • Special B – Technically a very dark Belgian crystal malt of around 120-140L, it can have character and flavors similar to both very dark caramel/crystal malts or alternately the light chocolate malt. Like dark crystal you will get strong burnt sugar flavors, and acrid bitterness from overuse. Used sparingly you can get toasted raisin, or even a cherry or plum note from it.
  • Light Chocolate Malt – Many brewers are surprised to find out that chocolate malt gives a piercing coffee like roast flavor to beer that is actually sharper than black patent malt. Light chocolate malt, with its position on the edge of the harsh zone, is even sharper and more piercing that normal chocolate malt.
Using Harsh Zone Malts

While harsh zone malts can easily overwhelm a beer recipe, used in the right quantities for the right style of beer, they can actually add depth and complexity to an otherwise boring beer. For example, I’ve often used combinations of small amounts of harsh zone malts for a Robust Porter to add depth.

So how much is enough? Unless you are going for something really over the top in terms of flavor, I would suggest limiting most harsh malt additions to 2-5% of the total grist bill, and probably no more than 10-12% of total harsh malts. My personal preference is to use only one harsh zone malt and combine it with other malts from outside the harsh zone to get flavor complexity. Too many harsh zone malts in a single beer can have a multiplicative effect, resulting in an unbalanced beer. By limiting the harsh malts used you can add plums, mocha, cherry, dark fruit and raisin notes without the bitter burnt coffee/toast/marshmallow flavors coming through.

The style you are brewing is also critical. While harsh zone malts might be appropriate in a robust porter, stout or dark Belgian beer, they would certainly be out of place in many other beer styles. Consider the flavors you hope to add with the harsh malts and select other roast or colored malts that will complement that flavor.

Hopefully you enjoyed this week’s article on harsh malts and can use them to add depth to your beer. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Tropical Stout with Muscovado

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 3:35pm
When I tell people I brewed a Tropical Stout, most of them assume that means I added tropical fruit and/or hops to a standard stout. On the contrary, this is a style originating in the tropics (specifically the Caribbean and Southeast Asia). The most widely available examples are Lion Stout, Dragon Stout, and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout from Jamaica. Prior to the release of the 2015 BJCP Guidelines the style was rolled into Foreign Export Stout with the drier/bitterer stouts brewed in England and Ireland.

When my friend Scott (this Scott, not that Scott) noticed Topical Stout wasn’t on my list of styles brewed he suggested that we split a batch. Like daiquiris, sweetness and rummy flavors can go with warm weather, so it seemed like a version on the lower-gravity-end might be a good beer for the end of summer!

We started with Gordon Strong’s recipe from his BYO Style Profile (referencing the similar recipe in his Modern Homebrew Recipes). We used Irish Ale yeast because I had a slurry on hand harvested from my Guinness Anachronism Draught. Warm-fermented lager is classic for authentic Tropical Stouts because most of the breweries primarily brew lagers. We replaced the rather subtle turbinado sugar the recipe called for with more characterful dark muscovado. Increased proportion of simple sugars causes yeast to produce more esters so that may add to some of the traditional fruitiness of the style.

I’ve found that I get the best pours from the stout tap when carbonating and serving with ~20 PSI of beer gas. However, it can take a few weeks to really get that great creamy head given the low partial-pressure of carbon dioxide. To speed this up I attached a .5 micron carbonation stone with a foot of tubing to the gas side of this keg. A carb stone releases tiny gas bubbles which rise up through the beer, increasing surface area and boosting absorption. The key is to start the pressure low, increasing it by a few PSI a couple times a day. That ensures that the bubbles keep coming slowly, speeding up carbonation. There are other methods for using a stone, but this is easy and doesn’t waste gas. The only drawback is that you can’t purge the head space easily, so I just pushed in through the stone and vented a few times. To get around this you can also make (or buy) a carbonating keg lid that doesn't occupy the gas post. The result was a creamy head in about 10 days rather than three weeks!


Caribbean Stout

Smell – The classic problem with beer gas, the nose is closed without much CO2 in solution to rise up carrying aromatics. What is there is nice, freshly milled roasted barley and coffee ice cream with Hershey’s syrup. No big fruitiness or rum/molasses notes.

Appearance – Head is stupendous! Creamy, off-white, and super-long-lasting. Black body, with a red underline at the bottom of the glass.

Taste – Flavor is similar but bigger than the aroma. Fresh roasted malt, mocha with a finish of date-sugar. Even a little vanilla or brownie batter. Sweet without being too cloying. Just enough bitterness to reset the palate in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Coating, rounded, smooth. Perfect!

Drinkability & Notes – Despite the provenance, this one hasn’t been drinking quickly this summer. The sweetness and richness just don’t call out for a second pour when the weather is this hot.

Changes for Next Time – I’m glad the gravity ended up a little low, but for a version closer to the guidelines it’d require better efficiency and a lower mash temperature for higher attenuation.

Recipe

Batch Size: 12.00 gal
SRM: 43.7
IBU: 33.8
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.023
ABV: 5.4%
Final pH: 4.53
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74%
Boil Time: 90 Mins

Fermentables
----------------
75.5% - 20 lbs Crisp Floor-Malted Maris Otter
3.8% - 1.0 lbs Weyermann Carafa Special III
3.8% - 1.0 lbs Muntons Roasted Barley
1.9% - 0.5 lbs Crisp Black
1.9% - 0.5 lbs Briess Crystal 120L
1.9% - 0.5 lbs Chateau Special B
1.9% - 0.5 lbs Bairds Chocolate Malt
9.4% - 2.5 lbs India Tree Dark Muscavado

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 158F

Hops
------
4.00 oz East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 6.00% AA) @ 60 min

Water
-------
6.00 g Calcium Chloride
5.00 g Chalk
Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 100 75 50 16 10 140
Other
-------
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins

Yeast
-------
WY1084 Wyeast Irish Ale

Notes
-------
Brewed 5/28/17 with Scott.

CaCl added to the mash tun before the malt. 1 cup of super-saturated chalk water (~5 g of chalk) added to the mash tun to try to raise the mash pH, didn't get much higher than it started, 5.25.

2.5 lbs of India Tree Dark Muscovado Sugar added at the start of the boil. ~14% by extract (Gordon's recipe is ~18% turbinado).

Undershot gravity a bit, was aiming for 1.070.

Hop pellets in 400 micron screen.

Chilled to 70, placed in fridge set to 64F for a couple hours before pitching a cup of thick slurry from low OG Guinness.

Maintained 64F beer temperature for 3 days, then up to 66F.

6/2/17 Moved out of fridge and allowed to warm to 70F to ensure fermentation finishes up. Currently: 1.028 (56% AA, 4.7% ABV)

6/7/17 Still 1.028... pitched a rehydrated pack of US-05.

6/10/17 Down to 1.023 (64% AA, 5.4% ABV), hopefully still dropping.

6/16/17 Nope, finished. Kegged.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Liquor, Barrel, and Wood-Aged Brown Ale

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 4:42pm
Most of the events I do are 30-60 minutes, perfect for talking (ideally including questions from the audience). A few years ago I taught intro-to-homebrewing classes for LivingSocial, I quickly learned that 150 minutes was too long for a lecture alone. I added an extract brewing pantomime to demonstrate the key steps in wort production, brought ingredients to taste and smell, and loaded up with slides with photos to hold the audience's attention.

When Brew Your Own asked me to present on sour beers and barrels for their Boot Camp series, I knew I had to come up with ways to make it interactive to fill six hours! Obviously some of the time is me talking and flipping through slides and answering questions, but I wanted to mix in drinking and action. I've honed the sessions in Burlington and Santa Rosa, and I'm looking forward to the next two November in Indianapolis and February in San Diego!

Sour Beer Techniques
   Overview of wort production for sour beers
   Microbe selection, propagation, harvesting
   Capturing wild microbes
   Tasting and blending teas, tinctures, juices, wines, meads etc. into sours
   Tasting and blending three of my homebrewed sours
   Working with me on a custom sour beer recipe

Barrel and Wood Aging
   Discussion of barrel-aging and wood-aging techniques
   Tasting and blending wood teas with commercial beer
   Evaluating and inspecting a barrel from a local brewery (thanks FOAM and Rare Barrel)
   Hands-on leak repair tools and techniques
   Installing a stainless steel sample nail
   Removing and reseating the barrel's head
   Tasting a batch split between barrel – liquor – wood

Speaking of which, I thought I'd post a mini-tasting of that split batch for those of you who can't make it to the Boot Camps. This batch is a somewhat extra-hefty 15 gallon batch of English brown: infused with malt whiskey from Balcones Distilling, aged in a 5 gallon Balcones malt whiskey barrel, and aged on a medium toast American oak honeycomb from Black Swan Cooperage!

Big Brown Barrel-Off

Appearance, all three look nearly identical. Deep dark brown with a three finger tan head. Beautiful lacing, although it appears too quickly as the head drops in just five minutes.

Balcones Malt Whiskey Barrel (pH 4.38)

Integrated slightly spicy oak and spirit. Brighter than the liquor, less dark fruit and sugar. Notes of toast and light roast coffee come through from the malt much better. Fresh plums. Drier than the liquor infused thanks to the oak tannins. A more balanced beer that I could consider drinking more than 6 ounces of in a sitting. Likely could have sat in the barrel longer if I knew I was going to sit on it for a year.

Balcones Malt Whiskey Infused (pH 4.32)

When this beer was young it was really raw and boozy. Both classes had sizable contingents that guessed this was from the whiskey barrel. It is still potent with a mild ethanol warming, but it has rounded out with dark sugar and caramelized plum joining the rich malt. Still a little dry, but age has really brought the flavors together. Nice vanilla as it warms, almost bourbon-soaked chocolate brownies.


Black Swan Honeycomb Oak Aged (pH 4.42)

Had and continues to have an off-putting phenolic character that reminds me of cheap wood. On the edge of plastic. The flavor is bland and the oak again dominates. I’ve had some wonderful results from oak aging beer with cubes, staves, and spheres… I’m not adding honeycomb to that list. It didn’t appear to be well toasted (in fact none of the sample from their mixed pack appeared well toasted).

An interesting comparison to see what stays the same and what is different. I've had good luck with barrel-alternatives, but I've gone back to cubes after the results from the honeycomb.

Recipe

Batch Size: 15.00 gal
SRM: 22.1
IBU: 38.3
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.010
ABV: 7.2%
Final pH:
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Boil Time: 65 min

Fermentables
-----------------
65.2% - 23 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
22.7% - 8 lbs Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Dark
3.5% - 1.25 lbs - Briess Flaked Soft Red Wheat
2.8% - 1 lbs Simpsons Dark Crystal
2.1% - .75 lbs Weyermann Caramunich II
2.1% - .75 lbs Weyermann Chocolate Wheat
1.4% - .50 lbs Dingemans Mroost 1400 MD (De-Bittered Black)

Mash
-------
Mash In - 30 min @ 156F

Hops
-------
2.75 oz Columbus (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ 60 min

Water
-------
14 g Calcium Chloride

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 110 140 50 15 10 90 Other
------
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 5 mins

Yeast
-------
WLP023 White Labs Burton Ale

Notes
-------
Yeast harvested from 2 gallon batch Audrey brewed three weeks prior.

9/10/16 Brewed

All filtered DC tap water with 14 g of CaCl. Minimal sparge with about 4 gallons of cold water.

Chilled to 80F with ground water, left at 65F for 12 hours to chill the rest of the way before pitching.

9/27/16 Kegged 4 gallons plain with 4 oz of Balcones Malt Whiskey, 4 gallons with one medium toast Black Swan White Oak Honeycomb (brief boil, decanted), and into a fresh Balcones Malt Whisky barrel (stopper had come off during shipping - smelled great still).

10/21/16 Kegged the barrel-aged version, nice strong spirit character.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Tasting Cider with Erin James – BeerSmith Podcast #154

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 3:05pm

Erin James joins me this week to discuss her new book “Tasting Cider”, the recent surge in craft cider making, styles of cider as well as cider cocktails and food pairings.

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Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (39:31)
  • Today my guest is Erin James, author of the new book Tasting Cider (Amazon affiliate link). Erin is also an editor at CiderCraft Magazine and Sip Northwest Magazine.
  • We start with a short overview of Erin’s new book called “Tasting Cider”
  • She gives her perspective on the explosion in craft cider making that has happened over the past few years.
  • We discuss a bit about the history of cider, including the fact that apples are not native to America (except crab-apples) and discuss how apples were brought over on the Mayflower by the Pilgrims.
  • Erin tells us a bit about how prohibition and also the expanding availability of lagers almost made commercial ciders extinct for some 80-90 years.
  • We talk about basic definitions for ciders including dry to sweet ciders.
  • Erin shares a bit about the cider making process.
  • We discuss how the apples themselves drive the flavor of the finished cider including the use of fairly rare “cider apple” varieties that are high in tannins and acidity.
  • Erin talks about various cider styles including hopped, spiced, single variety, and barrel aged ciders.
  • We briefly discuss Perry which is an alcoholic beverage made from pears.
  • She describes the section in her book on cider cocktails, how cider goes very well with whisky and provides some examples.
  • We discuss food pairing and which food flavors go best with cider.
  • Erin shares her thoughts on what an average beer brewer can learn from sampling or making cider.
  • We discuss where the cider industry is headed as well as briefly talk about the Cider Craft magazine which she is an editor for.
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Thanks to Erin James for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Azacca Brett Saison - Keg Transfers

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 3:20pm
As I continue to work on opening Sapwood Cellars (lease negotiation ongoing!!), Audrey has started to pick up the homebrewing slack. After her Dark Belgian Wheat she brewed Wit Lightning inspired by Belgian wit, but with citrusy hops (Azacca) replacing the spices. I took half of the batch and pitched Omega Labs C2C American Farmhouse and dry hopped with more Azacca to make a lightly funky saison... Saison Lightning.

Despite some fancier primary fermentors with spigots (Ss Brew Bucket and Speidel), my post-fermentation-transfer game is basic. I do most of my racking via gravity and auto-siphon. It gives me control, and I haven’t had issues with oxidation on NEIPAs and other oxygen-sensitive styles as long as I purge the keg. Open transfers aren't really an option for carbonated beer though.

I wanted to combine Brett fermentation under-pressure and dry hopping. I did the first dose in primary to allow time for bioflavoring, but I wanted the Brett to have time to work before the final dose of hops to create developed Brett and fresh hops aromatics. My solution was to naturally keg-condition for six weeks and then jump the carbonated beer to a purged serving keg containing bagged and weighted hops.

When transfering carbonated beer between kegs, the goal is to have slightly more pressure on the filled keg than the receiving keg so that the beer is gently pushed from one keg to the other without the beer foaming. This is essentially the same method as counter-pressure filling a growler or bottle only on a larger scale.


Process:
Step 1: Purge and then pressurize the receiving keg to the same pressure as the filled and chilled keg (15 PSI in this case).

Step 2: Connect the filled keg to a tap and dump the first pint to remove most of the sediment.

Step 3: Connect the two kegs from out-to-out post via a jumper line (a short length of tubing connecting two liquid quick disconnects).

Step 4: Connect the gas line to the filled keg to and increase the pressure slightly (17 PSI in this case).

Step 5: Connect a spunding valve to the receiving keg and set it to the same pressure as you pressurized the keg earlier (15 PSI).

Step 6: Wait for the transfer to complete (approximately five minutes).

Step 7: Disconnect the jumper line, gas line, and spunding valve.

Step 8: Connect the serving keg to the gas and serving line and enjoy reduced sediment beer!

This is also a great technique if you travel with kegs and want sediment free beer so yeast isn’t knocked into suspension during transit.

Saison Lightning

Smell – Varied aromatics of herbal lemongrass, apples, and pepper. Brett is subtle, behind the hops. Hops aren’t grassy or vegetal despite extended contact with the pellets in the keg.

Appearance – Slight haze, but overall it is a bright beer. Yellow gold. The white head is thick, but drops after a few minutes.

Taste – Similar to the nose with bright-integrated citrus notes on a peppery saison backdrop. The finish has a hint of earthy Brettiness. Deceptively complex because it is easy to drink. Mellow hop bitterness. Slight perceived sweetness thanks to the citrus character and slightly higher than expected final gravity.

Mouthfeel – Thin and crisp without harshness and tannic bite. Carbonation is a little low for a saison.

Drinkability & Notes – Crushable hoppy saison, has been a perfect beer to have on tap for summer. The hops cut through the Brett and everything works together.
Held up well in the keg so far (kicked the next day), which I assume means I didn’t introduce much oxygen when I jumped it over.

Changes for Next Time – Not much to change for this, although I'd lower the mash temperature if I was planning on the same timeline again. Could have given it another couple of months in the keg to condition before going onto the keg hops for a little more Brett character.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.75 gal
SRM: 3.4
IBU: 16.1
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.007
ABV: 5.5%
Final pH: 4.35
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78%
Boil Time: 90 Mins

Fermentables
----------------
65.0% - 6.5 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
25.0 % - 2.5 lbs Flaked Wheat
7.5 % - .75 lbs Dingemans Cara 8
2.5 % - .25 lbs Weyermann Acidulated

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 154F

Hops
-------
1.00 oz Saaz (Pellet, 2.75% AA) @ 10 min
1.50 oz Azacca (Pellet, 15.00% AA) @ Whirlpool 15 min
2.00 oz Azacca (Pellet, 15.00% AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
3.00 oz Azacca (Pellet, 15.00% AA) @ Keg Hop

Water
-------
5.50 g Calcium Chloride
Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 90 110 50 15 10 90
Yeast
-------
OYL-217 Omega C2C American Farmhouse

Notes
-------
4/22/17 Brewed by Audrey

No sparge. Mash pH measured at 5.24. Collected 7 gallons of 1.039 runnings. A bit lower gravity than expected, extended boil to 90 minutes.

Chilled to 69F. No starter, pack less than a month old. 2 oz of brew day Azacca.

Left at 70F to ferment. Warmed up to nearly 80 for days 4-7. Then the weather cooled off.

5/6/17 Kegged with 3.75 oz of table sugar and was left to condition (no extra dry hops yet). A bit less attenuation than expected.

6/13/17 Moved the keg to the fridge.

6/16/17 Jumped to a freshly purged keg with more Azacca weighted with marbles and bagged in a knee high.
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Strategies for Beer Recipe Design – Part 2

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 3:11pm

This week I take a look at the “building block” approach for designing beer recipes. This method, introduced by Gordon Strong, is a great design strategy for more experienced brewers.

Last week in Part 1, I covered the decidedly technical (vs artistic) bent in beer brewing as well as the traditional approach many brewers use for beer recipe design. This week I’m going to cover the building block approach, which I’ve found to be a useful model as my brewing has evolved.

The Building Block Approach to Recipe Design

Gordon Strong (BJCP President and author) introduced me to the concept of using “building blocks” as a basis for beer recipe design. He made the observation that you rarely start a new recipe with a blank sheet of paper, but instead base a new recipe on groups of ingredients that you already know work together.

As Steve Jobs once said:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

I like to explain the approach using a simple example I came up with at breakfast one morning. I was making some pancakes using “Bisquick” and observed that I could easily make a lot of cool things using just a few ingredients and the recipes on the box. Dumplings, shortcakes, pancakes, waffles, and even bread are all made from a combination of flour, sugar, butter, milk and a few other ingredients.

The building block approach is similar – you may know that a certain combination of dark grains makes a great Porter with some great flavor depth to it. With just a few modifications you can make a killer stout or brown ale by making minor adjustments to the same set of ingredients.

For example, I recently made a robust porter with a combination of equal parts Crystal-60L, Special B and Chocolate Malt (1/2 lb of each in a 5 gal batch) with a touch (4.5 oz) of Black Patent and the rest Pale Malt. I really liked the combination as using some of the “harsh zone malts” gave the Porter some depth of flavor missing in many Porters. With just a bit more of this combo I could make a very nice robust stout, or conversely ease off on this building block to make a deep brown.

Ingredient Knowledge

The key to using the building block approach is, of course, having a good solid base of ingredient knowledge as well as a solid base of experience and library of recipes that worked for you in the past. That is why this building block approach is more popular with experienced brewers.

You can build your base of recipes by brewing of course, but just as important is growing your expert knowledge in brewing ingredients. Cooks are able to create new food combinations because they already have an innate knowledge of what various base ingredients like butter, milk and flour taste like as well as expert knowledge in spices and how flavors combine to create certain effects in food. An expert brewer needs similar expertise.

So how do you gain the ingredient knowledge to become a better brewer? There are several options including:

  • SMASH Brewing – By brewing single malt, single hop beers you gain a real understanding of what base malts and single varieties of hops bring to a beer.
  • Sampling Hops – Most professional brewers use a dry rub to evaluate hops, but getting several different varieties together to sample can be a very powerful experience.
  • Sensory Evaluation of Malts – The new ASBC method takes some effort, but can be a great project for your brewing club or with a few other brewers to get a feel for what various malts bring to the table.
  • Brew, Judge and Iterate – The best brewers don’t brew a recipe just once – they meticulously judge, take notes and make improvements to a recipe and then brew it again until the recipe is perfect.

The building block approach is a great method for experienced brewers to create new, unique recipes based on their existing knowledge base. I hope you enjoyed this short series on recipe design strategies. If you have your own suggestions please leave a comment below.

Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

BlackMan Yeast vs. Bottle Dregs

The Mad Fermentationist - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 4:42pm
It feels like every other blog post or BYO Advanced Brewing article starts with me in some exotic location meeting an interesting person or drinking a mind-blowing beer that sparks an idea for a batch... this one starts October 2014 when I spoke at the Dixie Cup in Houston, Texas. It is the final competition in the Lone Star Circuit, and the banquet marks the end of the local homebrewing competition season. Among the highlights were a visit to St. Arnold's Brewing, listening to a fantastic presentation about hops, the rowdiest awards banquets of my life, judging a specialty category of "Best Beer to Chase a Hurricane," and a "barleywine breakfast" that was heavy on the vintage barleywine, light on the breakfast.

One of the people I chatted with was Barrett Tillman, who was just getting Blackman Yeast running. Apparently I made a good impression because a few weeks later a box of samples showed up: both his first-and-still-only dried souring cultures, and a couple of homebrews (not to mention a note on what appeared to be on a surplus thank-you card from his wedding). Barrett's cultures are just brewer's yeast and bacteria (Lactobacillus and/or Pediococcus), bring your own Brettanomyces. It is a unique and interesting approach because Brett can come from so many sources and  provide such a range of flavors. As a power-user it is nice to have acid-production and funk as two separate dials (the same way I like my spice-rubs to be salt-free so I can add more without over-salting). To be as fair as possible, not wanting to judge his B4 Belgian Sour Mix on someone else's Brett, I added the bottle dregs from Barrett's delicious homebrewed Lambic for funk and to clean-up after the Pedio.

My friend Matt had been considering starting to homebrew, to entice him I invited him over to split a batch of pale sour beer. A few weeks earlier I'd been over to his house for a tasting and he'd selected a few choice bottles of De Garde, Cantillon, and Modern Times for dregs for the other half of the batch. I must have left the culture in the pressure-canned mason jar of wort with a loose lid for a few days too long before transferring to a bottle with an airlock, because by the time we gave it a smell it was pure malt vinegar. Since then I received a free sample of reCap mason-jar lids and water-less airlocks that are have hold up for two weeks without issue.

Luckily I'd also grabbed some dregs from more than a couple bottles of Hill Farmstead Anna that my friend Mike had stockpiled (including an especially good batch dubbed "magic" Anna). Hill Farmstead bottles their saisons with wine yeast, but the other microbes are likely doing most of the heavy lifting after long aging to this point.

When the two batches were ready Matt and I tasted them and made a few sample blends. It made sense, the BlackMan was more acidic, while the saison culture had better depth of funk and fruit flavors. However, when we blended them they each lost what was special. The combination didn't have the snappy acidity or the depth of funk-character. They were better left to stand on their own!

 M&M var. Black Man (Left)

Smell – Lemon and pineapple, has gotten much more interesting since bottling. Even a little farmyard.

Appearance – Similar appearance, clear gold on the initial pour, a little haze on the top-up. White head with poor retention.

Taste – Firm lip-smacking lactic acidity. Slight grain-cereal-yeastiness in the finish. Horse blanket as it warms, distant smoky phenolic.

Mouthfeel – Crisp without being watery. The acid is a bit grippy. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – A more assertive beer in terms of acidity and aroma.

Changes for Next Time – Not much.

M&M var. Anna (Right)

Smell – Bright and restrained. Hay, old citrus. Slight honeyed malt oxidation.

Appearance – Similar, although with slightly better retention.

Taste – Soft lemon, lots of hay. Really mellow, like my favorite gueuzes. Lactic acid is tame in comparison, more tart-saison than American sour side-by-side, but it was quite acidic on the first sip. A little Orval in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Feels a little softer thanks to the lower acidity. Similar medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – This is about it for me when it comes to an unblended mixed-fermentation sour beer. A range of fruity and funk, some bright acidity,

Changes for Next Time – Not a wow beer that would show well at a tasting or festival, but the sort of beer I’d get a second pour of… if this wasn’t my second to last bottle.

Matt and Mike Sour

Batch Size: 12.50 gal
SRM: 4.0
IBU: 4.0
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.012/1.011
ABV: 5.5%/5.6%
pH: 3.04/3.30
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
------------------
77.1% - 18.50 lbs. Weyermann Pilsner
8.3% - 2.00 lbs. Weyermann Munich Malt
6.3% - 1.50 lbs. Rahr 2-row Brewer's Malt
4.2% - 1.00 lbs. Weyermann Carafoam
2.1% - 0.50 lbs. Weyermann Acidulated
2.1% - 0.50 lbs. Gold Medal AP Flour

Hops
-------
0.63 oz. Crystal (Pellet, 3.25% AA) @ 60 min.

Yeast
-------
1: Black Man Belgian B4
2: Starter of Hill Farmstead Anna dregs

Water Profile
-----------------
6 g Calcium Chloride

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 70 70 50 20 10 90
Other
--------
1.00 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 15 Mins
1 Whirlfloc @ 5 Mins

Mash Schedule
--------------------
Sacch Rest - 30 mins @ 158F

Notes
--------
Brewed 8/2/15 with Matt and Chris.

Collected 15 gallons of 1.045 wort with 3 gallon cold sparge.

Bagged hops. Chilled to 85 F with ground water, then 75F with ice.

Pitched 1 L of HF Anna starter. The other half got Black Man Belgian B4, and dregs from a bottle of Barret's 2013 Lambic. Left at 64 F to ferment.

Racked at some point.

1/2/16 BM is sharply acidic, a bit sulfury. HF is mellower, tart, fruity, sweet.

7/17/16 Bottled both. HF had a bit more than 5 gallons with 130 g of table sugar. BM had a bit less than 5 gallons with 125 g. Both got a splash of Right Proper's house Lacto/Sacch culture for carbonation.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Ancient Brews with Dr Patrick McGovern – BeerSmith Podcast #153

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 6:57pm

Dr Patrick McGovern, Director of Biomolecular Archeology at the University of Pennsylvania Museum joins me this week to discuss research into ancient fermented beverages.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (48:58)
  • Today my guest is Dr Patrick McGovern. Dr McGovern is Director of Biomolecular Archeology at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and also an adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the new book Ancient Brews: Re-discovered and Re-created (Amazon affiliate link) and an expert in ancient fermented beverages. His web site is here.
  • We start with a short overview of Dr McGovern’s new book ‘Ancient Brews’.
  • Dr McGovern argues that fermented beverages may be as old as the human species as we are “wired” to enjoy consuming fermented beverages.
  • We discuss “The Midas Site” found at Gordian in Turkey where an ancient tomb was found with traces of ancient beverages.
  • Patrick introduces the concept of an “Extreme Fermented Beverage” which was a combination of honey, grains, fruits and likely spices – similar perhaps to a combination of beer, mead, fruits and spices.
  • We next move to China where he was able to examine shards containing some of the oldest fermented beverages which again turned out to be “extreme fermented beverages”.
  • Dr McGovern shares some details on his book including how it incorporates many recipes meant to simulate the ancient beverages as well as recommendations for foods to enjoy with the drink.
  • We next move to Africa as well as Egypt where there is a very long history of fermented beverages though of a slightly different type. Egypt in particular had well developed brewing methods.
  • We discuss European beverages which were split between a variety of Northern “grogs” (and Nordic grogs) and wines which became more popular in the Mediterranean region and Southern Europe.
  • He shares his findings on native American beverages which were often made by chewing corn to break down the starches instead of mashing.
  • We discuss some of the lessons a modern brewer can take away from the study of ancient fermented beverages.
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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Strategies for Beer Recipe Design – Part 1

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 3:44pm

This week I take a look at different approaches to designing your own beer recipes. Though beer recipe design is an artistic and very personal journey, few of us really consider that there are different strategies that one can use to create new and unique beers.

A Few Strategies for Beer Recipe Design

Beer recipe design is a creative exercise that reflects the personality and preferences of the designer/brewer. As such there is no “right” or “wrong” way to approach creating a new beer. In this article I’m going to suggest a few different approaches, and also spend a minute talking about the overall approach.

Artistic versus Technical Beer Design

To begin the discussion, I need to provide a bit of history about how home brewing has evolved in the almost 40 years since it was legalized here in the United States. First, you need to know that in the 1970’s and 1980’s the state of brewing knowledge for the average home brewer was quite primitive. Ingredient quality was low, and basic techniques for estimating bitterness levels or original gravity were not widely known or used.

This changed dramatically in the early 1990’s as mail groups and the early internet enabled collaboration. The quality of ingredients also improved significantly. However these early discussions were dominated by the people that had access to the early internet – mainly engineers and scientists. As a result, home brewing took on a decidedly technical bent that carries forward to this day.

Unfortunately this meant that the artistic, creative side of brewing was short changed until more artistic authors like Randy Mosher (a graphic artist) lauched his book “Radical Brewing”. While there has been some progress recently, beer brewing literature and recipe design techniques still tend to be technical in their approach, which can be limiting as recipe design is ultimately a creative and artistic process.

A Traditional Approach to Recipe Design

The traditional approach is a great way to start a recipe if you don’t have a lot of expert knowledge for a style or beer you want to brew. Here’s the basic process:

  • Start with a Clear Objective – Perhaps the most important step is to clearly define what you are trying to brew. It could be a clone of a commercial brew, beer targeted for a single beer style, beer built around a unique ingredient or flavor or competition brew. Its critically important that you actually write a few words describing the beer you are brewing so you have a clear goal.
  • Research the Beer or Style – This could include sampling commercial beers, looking at the BJCP style guide, reading books on the beer or style, looking up related recipes, or searching a recipe book or beer recipe site like BeerSmithRecipes.com. I’ll often use the style guide to set general guidelines for bitterness, original gravity and color and then look in depth at other beer recipes to get an idea of the ingredients that will work best and rough proportions before proceeding.
  • Develop the Basic Ingredient List – At this stage the concept of simplicity is critically important. You want to include only grains, hops and other ingredients that have a specific well defined flavor and purpose in your beer. Don’t throw everything but the kitchen sink in – focus on the ingredients that are important to your brew. I usually focus on the grain bill first, and then select hops, yeast and other ingredients to fit my overall goal. I’ll often list a few alternatives also in case I need to make substitutions in the final recipe.
  • Determine Proportions – Once you know which ingredients, you next need to assign how much of each one to use. Again I prefer to work with the grain bill and try to keep my base grains at 85%-90% of my grain bill in most cases. Specialty grains are used sparingly and with a specific purpose to accent specific flavors. For hops I prefer a single boil addition and then whirlpool or dry hop additions to capture aroma oils depending on the style.
  • Apply Techniques – The last step for me is to determine whether any special techniques might apply to this beer. This could include things like first wort hopping, whirlpool hops, a special fermentation schedule, mash schedule, etc…
  • Brew, Judge, and Iterate – Brewing the beer is usually the simple part if your recipe has been well planned out ahead of time. However it is much harder to critically judge your beer and determine if it has any flaws or room for improvement. Many of the best beer brewers are also judges, and this is no accident. Here’s a quick guide to judging beer. Finally after you brew and judge your beer it is very important to make adjustments and brew it again. Only by brewing a recipe several times will you be able to perfect it.

The traditional approach outlined above is a great way to approach a new beer style or technique you have never used before because it lets you leverage other people’s experience and recipes as well as the broad body of brewing knowledge available to home brewers today.

Next week in Part 2, I’ll take a look at an additional approach to beer design based on building blocks. It is useful for a more experienced brewer who has some knowledge of ingredient flavors and beer styles.

Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

 

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Ruby Red Grapefruit NEIPA

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 2:56pm

I’m a pretty unenthusiastic BJCP judge. I passed the test in 2008 with a "national" score and over the last nine years I’ve managed to earn a paltry nine judging points; 3.5 of which came at Hoppy Halloween Challenge 2015 - where I got to judge Best of Show with BJCP's top-ranked judge, Grand Master VIII, Steve Piatz. That was a treat, but usually I don’t love waking up early in the morning to drive somewhere to drink a variety too often oxidized IPAs, fusel Belgians, and over-carbonated stouts. Sometimes though it works out and I get lucky and taste an inspiring entry.

That happened in 2012, while judging the DC Homebrewer’s Cherry Blossom competition, when I judged a fantastic hoppy-hibiscus beer. I’ve been thinking about brewing one since. It tasted and looked like ruby red grapefruit juice, bitter and aromatic, citrus and floral, finishing with a hint of tart brightness. Delicious and unique.

I took the other half of the Citra-Mosaic NEIPA I posted about last week and finally made it happen! It was the same wort through pitching the yeast. I used different dry hops, Ekuanot and Eureka, selected out of convenience rather than intention. Northern Brewer describes Ekuanot (formerly Equinox) as "In the midst of the bright citrus and melon there is a ribbon of green pepper. Or something like green pepper. It’s not green pepper in the eat-it-with-hummus-use-it-on-a-fajita sense of green pepper." Not exactly appealing. I was hoping that the mid-fermentation addition paired with the fruitiness of grapefruit zest 48 hours before kegging and a dose of hibiscus tea in the keg would lead to a fruity impression. Those are ingredient techniques I had used separately in a Grapefruit APA and a Hibiscus Wit (among others).

After brewing the batch I decided I should track down the brewers of the original "Pink Hoppy Bunny." I reached out to former DC Homebrewers President Josh Hubner and he revealed the brewers to be Pete Jones (of Lost Lagers) and Cody Gabbard. They responded that the base was a wit hopped with loads of Citra, with hibiscus and rose petals added directly to the fermentor. Turned out that batch won the category!

Ruby Red NEIPA

Smell – Mostly hops, dank, resiny, borderline green onion. Occasional tropical mango notes. Like Simcoe and Summit had a baby, and they pumped it full of steroids. Blocks out the citrus and hibiscus, but they help to temper it... a little.

Appearance – Red NEIPA! Oddly clearer than the other half of the batch, especially considering the beers looked similar before infusion/kegging. Maybe an effect of the lower pH? Nice slightly pink head, sticky lacing.

Taste – Really dank, Pacific-Northwest, resiny, fresh nose-in-the-hop-bag hoppiness. Firm bitterness, considerably higher than the NEIPA half. Likely a result of the lower final pH (4.05 compared to 4.57). Finally, in the finish a touch of grapefruit and cranberry-hibiscus comes through. Luckily what I don’t get is the green pepper that is a common descriptor for Ekuanot, a flavor I tasted in several beers brewed with the lupulin powder.

Mouthfeel – Thinner, crisper than the straight NEIPA. Not as rounded. The higher acidity again. Similar medium carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – I'd hoped hibiscus and grapefruit would balance the dank hops, but they get trampled. I may try dumping in a bottle of grapefruit juice into the keg before it kicks. It isn’t a bad beer, just discordant with what I was trying to brew and how it looks.

Changes for Next Time – Fruitier, more grapefruity hops. Cascade, Chinook... Citra. Surprised that the early dry hop addition didn't "soften" the aromatics more. The vague memory of that two ounces of beer from the competition will continue to haunt me until I try this one again… luckily now I have the recipe! A 50/50 blend with the New Englandier half of the batch gets pretty close to what I wanted.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 67.7
OG: 1.059
FG: 1.013
ABV: 6.0%
Final pH: 4.05
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Fermentables
-----------------
58.8 % - 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
20.6% - 2.625 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
20.6% - 2.625 lbs 365 Old Fashion Rolled Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 155F

Hops
-------
1.25 oz Columbus (Whole, 15.5% AA) @ 15 min
2.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ 30 min Whirlpool
4.00 oz Eureka (Pellet, 18.00% AA) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
4.00 oz Ekuanot (Pellet, 15.00%) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
0.50 oz Ekuanot Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg
2.00 oz Eureka (Pellets, 18.00% AA) @ Keg

Other
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
1.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
.50 tsp Lactic Acid @ Mash

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 150 150 150 10 5 40
Yeast
-------
Omega British Ale V (OYL-011)

Notes
-------
Recipe was originally 11 gallons, split with a standard NEIPA. Values represent the batch tasted here.

Brewed 6/18/17

24 hours before pitching fed a cup of harvested slurry (~1 month old) from, 2.3% IPA ~2.5L of starter wort.

Mashed in with 4.5 gallons filtered DC diluted with 3 gallons of distilled.

pH of mash originally read 5.51 at Mash temperature (~5.7 at room temperature) with salts and phosphoric. Rest of phosphoric down to 5.36. Lactic (ran put of phosphoric) got down to 5.26/5.46.

Sparged with 1.75 gallons of distilled, cold. Collected 7.00 gallons @ 1.053.

Chilled to 75F left at 65F to cool for a few hours to 70F before pitching.

Fermenting well after 12 hours. 67F internal.

6/20/17 Down to 1.026, dry hopped FV2 with 4 oz each of Eureka and Ekuanot.

6/28/17 Kegged with bagged hops, purged. .5 oz of Ekuanot Lupulin powder, plus 1 cup of hibiscus concentrate (5 min soak with 1.5 cups off-boiling water and 1 oz of hibiscus from TPSS Coop). Attached to gas and left in the kegerator.

6/30/17 Added an additional 2 cups of hibiscus tea made with 2 oz of hibiscus, color and flavor weren't there.



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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Cryo Lupulin NEIPA: Citra-Mosaic

The Mad Fermentationist - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 3:51pm

A few weeks ago someone asked on my Facebook how I’d stack NEIPAs against commercial versions, I prefer my best to all comers, save Tree House Julius and Trillium Double-Dry-Hopped Fort Point. For my palate, across their lineup Trillium is close to perfect. The lack of a line to buy cans is a bonus. I also have a bias for the brewery that is open with their process, not to mention that JC is a former homebrew blogger and someone I've shared a few beers with. What is remarkable is that he has increased quality and scale, despite having to adjust process (including yeast).

I’ve learned that putting my one-off attempts head-to-head with my favorite commercial examples of a style are often an exercise in humility. As a homebrewer I don’t have the reps to dial in a recipe the way a brewery does, I don’t have the equipment, or the resources. So, when I grabbed a four-pack of Trillium Stillings Street IPA (their Nelson Sauvin showcase) at the Boston brewery on my way to Logan last week, I was already looking for excuses for why the carbonating IPA I was returning home to wouldn’t be as good.

This recipe is the culmination of three years of attempts at cloudy-juicy IPAs. Most of it will be familiar from previous batches, but as always a few tweaks. Water treatment was pretty much my standard, just a little more heavy handed up to 150 PPM for calcium, chloride, and sulfate. The grist was heavy on both flaked oats and Carafoam. I added a small dose of Columbus at 15 minutes to slightly elevate the bitterness over my NE Australian IPA, Columbus is rich in thiols which make it a good (inexpensive) choice for hot-side additions. Fermented with Omega British V, their answer to London III, harvested from my 2.3% NEIPA. A big dose of Mosaic and Citra pellets for a hop-stand, and another massive charge (8 oz in 5 gallons) 48 hours into fermentation once the yeast passed 50% apparent attenuation.

When I was ready to keg I brought in a ringer, Yakima Chief Cryo Hops "LupuLN2" lupulin powder. I picked up samples at CBC, and ordered extra now that it is available to homebrewers. This is the alpha acids and oils roughly double-concentrated with much of the green plant material removed. The big advantage is that the plant material absorbs iso-alpha and other compounds from the wort (not to mention wort itself). While this may sound similar to T45 pellets, the improvement here is using nitrogen to reduce oxidation and temperature. The more concentrated the oils become, the more aromatic-volatilizing heat that is generated. See Scott’s fantastic post and Stan's summary for more details.

NEIPA: Lupulin Edition


Smell – Mix of big tropical fruit (mango especially), melon, pineapple, with that certain dank-fruitiness I get from Mosaic (even more from Nelson, and a bit less from Hallertau Blanc likely 3S4MP). While it has fruit flavor, it still has the telltale notes of hops. I enjoyed the aroma of the Mosaic Cryo, the Citra was so concentrated it was almost offensively dank, luckily upon dilution the contribution is delicious! The hop nose jumps out of the glass, even more so than the Stillings Street.

Appearance – Glowing yellow body, a shade and a half lighter than the Stillings Street thanks to lots of oats and no C10. A couple flecks of particulate. Nice white head, great structure, but I wouldn’t mind if it lasted a little longer.

Taste – Totally saturated juicy hops with just enough bitterness. Citra and Mosaic are punchy and can carry an IPA along, but together they have a wonderful synergy. Pineapple, orange, Sauvignion blanc, and mango. A little drier than Stillings Street, the sweetness enhances the “juice” character. Bitterness is perfect, just there without lingering.

Mouthfeel – Smooth, coating hop oiliness, soft. Medium carbonation, or almost, perfect.

Drinkability & Notes – A beer that is difficult not to have a second pour. Some IPAs grate on the palate, this one soothes the bitterness without being sugary. The combination of huge hop aroma, saturated hop flavor, restrained bitterness, and fluffy body is what I want to drink.

Changes for Next Time – This is my dream IPA, the best NEIPA I have brewed. In comparison, the Trillium I bought four days before the tasting isn't as fresh and vibrant. Not their fault, how can you compete against beer that was in contact with dry hops 30 seconds ago? Might as well take advantage of every trick I have to make up for the lack for hop contracts, a centrifuge, and some of the best brewers in the country!

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 67.7
OG: 1.059
FG: 1.012
ABV: 6.2%
Final pH: 4.57
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

Fermentables
-----------------
58.8 % - 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
20.6% - 2.625 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
20.6% - 2.625 lbs 365 Old Fashion Rolled Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 155F

Hops
-------
1.25 oz Columbus (Whole, 15.5% AA) @ 15 min
2.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ 30 min Whirlpool
4.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
4.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
1.00 oz Citra Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg
1.00 oz Mosaic Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg

Other
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
1.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
.50 tsp Lactic Acid @ Mash

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 150 150 150 10 5 40
Yeast
-------
Omega British Ale V (OYL-011)

Notes
-------

Recipe was originally 11 gallons, split with a Hibiscus-Grapefruit IPA. Values represent the batch tasted here.

Brewed 6/18/17

24 hours before pitching fed a cup of harvested slurry (~1 month old) from, 2.3% IPA ~2.5L of starter wort.

Mashed in with 4.5 gallons filtered DC diluted with 3 gallons of distilled.

pH of mash originally read 5.51 at Mash temperature (~5.7 at room temperature) with salts and phosphoric. Rest of phosphoric down to 5.36. Lactic (ran put of phosphoric) got down to 5.26/5.46.

Sparged with 1.75 gallons of distilled, cold. Collected 7.00 gallons @ 1.053.

Chilled to 75F left at 65F to cool for a few hours to 70F before pitching.

Fermenting well after 12 hours. 67F internal.

6/20/17 Down to 1.026, dry hopped FV1 with 4 oz each of Citra/Mosaic.

6/28/17 Kegged with bagged hops, purged, in each (1 oz each Citra and Mosaic Lupulin Pellets from Farmhouse Brewing).

NEIPAs are fantastically sensitive to oxygen, even compared to standard IPAs, here's what my gravity sample looked like after 24 hours exposed to the air compared to a fresh pour. The best guess at why this happens is the transformation of phenols into quinones via oxidation and perhaps polyphenol oxidase (a similar process is responsible for browning in avocados, tea, and cocoa). I suspect the color change looks more dramatic than clear IPAs given the low starting SRM and haze.


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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Hop Oils in Beer Brewing with Stan Hieronymus – BeerSmith Podcast #152

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 11:27am

Stan Hieronymus joins me this week to discuss cutting edge research in the use of certain hop oils in beer brewing. Stan has some interesting results regarding which oils provide key flavors in IPAs and pale ales.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (43:20)
  • Today my guest is Stan Hieronymus. Stan is the author of several books including For The Love of Hops, Brewing Local, Brew Like a Monk and Brewing with Wheat (Amazon affiliate links). Stan also runs a blog and newsletter at AppellationBeer.com
  • We discuss Stan’s upcoming trip to South Africa as well as some of the interesting hop growing going on now in South Africa.
  • We begin a discussion on hop oils including the three major groups: hydrocarbons, oxygenated hydrocarbons and sulfur compounds that together make up only 1-4% of the hop cone.
  • He starts with hydrocarbons such as myrcene which are both volatile and not very soluble in wort, so these are best used in dry hopping
  • We discuss oxygenated compounds like linalool and geraniol which are more soluble and also aromatic. These also have the interesting characteristic of often being transformed during fermentation, and are therefore well utilized in whirlpool or steeped hopping at the end of the boil.
  • Stan explains some of the biotransformations that take place during fermentation.
  • We talk about sulfur compounds which make up less than 1% of the weight but play an important role in tropical flavors that have become popular in many recent IPAs.
  • Stan also shares some recent research in hop blending where blending oils from several different hops can duplicate certain other hop combinations and even create new unique flavor compounds.
  • He shares his thoughts on upcoming hop research as well as aromatic hop oil extracts which have become popular.
  • Stan shares his closing thoughts, and we briefly discuss his books, website and newsletter on hops.
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Thanks to Stan Hieronymus for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

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