Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Grapefruit IPA and Juicy IPA v2

It seems like it’s been forever since I brewed, even though it’s only been a few weeks, but compared to the pace I was on it’s been a while. I wanted to brew a grapefruit IPA ever since I tried Ballast Point Sculpin and I wanted rebrew the IPA that I brewed over the winter break ever since I tried it and was disappointed I only had 3 gallons. Why not brew them together? 

I sent the head brewer at Ballast Point, Yuseff Cherney, an email asking for suggestions or tips for adding grapefruit flavor and aroma. I told him some of the ideas that I had, including using grapefruit juice to lower my mash pH, which would not have allowed me to brew both IPAs at the same time. Luckily for me he was nice enough to reply two hours after I emailed him with some suggestions. He recommended using a very aromatic fruit (buy different varieties and try them out), try to avoid using the white pith since it will provide unwanted bitterness, to add the peal as you would the dry hops in secondary for a few days (depending on the amount of grapefruit you want), and to use hops which simulate grapefruit, such as Cascade. 

My plan is to brew the two batches using the same wort and hoping schedule, but to use different hops during my hopback. For the grapefruit IPA I want to use more Cascade for more grapefruit aroma and to add some Simcoe for a little extra pine. The other beer will be the same as my Juicy IPA. I’m still trying to get better at rebrewing beers. Part of the skill of a great brewer is to be able to rebrew past beers and make them taste the same. I can say right now that the beer will taste different. I over shot my mash pH by 0.2 and over shot my target gravity. I hit my pre-boil target, but failed to realize until after I added the sugar that I calculated my target pre-boil gravity with sugar added. I could have added water to the boil to adjust the gravity, but I didn’t remember to add the sugar until the last 15 minutes of the boil and didn’t realize what I was doing (this is why good brewers can rebrew beers).

Beer Stats
Batch size: 10.25 Gallons
Boil time: 90 mins
Estimated OG: 1.061
Measured OG: 1.068 (updated)
Measured FG:
SRM: 7
IBU: 60.2

Grain Bill
18 lbs Pilsner malt
2 lbs Vienna Malt
2 lbs Sugar
2 lbs Acid Malt

Hop Schedule
20 min – Cascade – 1 oz
30 min - whirlpool – Citra – 2 oz
30 min - whirlpool – Mosaic - 1 oz
30 min - whirlpool – Cascade – 0.5 oz
(Juicy IPA)
30 min - hopback – Citra – 1 oz
30 min - hopback – Mosaic - 0.5 oz
30 min - hopback – Cascade – 0.25 oz
(Grapefruit IPA)
30 min - hopback – Simcoe – 1 oz
30 min - hopback – Mosaic - 0.5 oz
30 min - hopback – Cascade – 1.25 oz
(Juicy IPA)
Dry hop – 8 days – Citra – 2 oz
Dry hop – 8 days – Mosaic – 1 oz
(Juicy IPA)
Dry hop – 8 days – Cascade – 2 oz
Dry hop – 8 days – Simcoe – 1 oz
Dry hop – 8 days – Grapefruit peal – 2 oz

Mash Schedule
148oF – Single Infusion – 90 minutes
165oF – Mash out

Conan yeast slurry stepped up to 2.5L starter


5/14/15 – Brewed by myself. Added 4grams of CaCl and 12 grams of gypsum and 2ml of lactic acid to the mash along with 4 grams CaCl and 8 grams of gypsum to the sparge water. Collected 13.5 gallons of 1.049 wort. Mash pH was 5.05 (lower then I wanted). Boil pH was 5.15. Chilled to 62oF, oxygenated with pure O2 and placed in chest freezer set to 66oF.

5/15/15 – Fermentation started in the regular IPA about 8 hours after pitching and it was just beginning in the grapefruit IPA.

5/16/15 – Increased temperature to 68oF

5/18/15 – Fermentation slowing, increased temperature to 70oF

5/20/15 - Increased temperature to 75F

5/21/15 - Gravity down to 1.017. Hoping to knock off 4-5 more points.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5th Gen Barrel: Sour Machine

It’s been a busy few weeks with regards to home brewing activities. Luckily in between ACCF judging (I judged the third most beers, which basically means I’m really good at drinking), the two weeks out of the year that I’m really busy at work, I managed to squeeze in a brew day. I mean after all 40 gallons of sour beer is probably not enough. As much as I want to brew other things I have to brew to refill my barrel because it has turned into a sour beer making machine. I like to joke and say that the reason I started brewing sours is because I’m lazy. I’m able to brew one weekend and then not deal with them for about a year. That way I’m able to be lazy and put off beer related activities. With my barrel, however, I can’t leave beer in there too long because it will develop acetic acid or too much acidity if I leave it in there too long. 

When I tasted the last batch it was already tart and dry after only 3 weeks. I already knew that I wanted to add fruit to the current batch but I normally let the beer tell me what fruit would be best. I don’t see the point on deciding on a fruit to add to a sour beer prior to the beer being finished because the flavors produced could clash. Immediately after I checked the gravity I knew that I wanted to add raspberries to part of it. It had a clean lactic acidity that was bright and reminded me of raspberry.  To have extra options I also chose to use some fruit from the tree in my front yard. I’ve always wanted to use the loquats from the tree in my front yard, but the only time since it produced fruit (until recently) was when I just moved in and I didn’t have anything available to add fruit to. Luckily the timing was just right this year. I harvested the loquats and removed the pits from them while I was brewing the latest batch for the barrel and added them straight into the carboy without washing. I thought it would be fun to add some native wild yeast to the beer. 

For this iteration I decided to maybe do a dry-hopped sour. Of course this could change depending on how the beer works out, but to get it started my plan was to only add flame out hops. My thought process is that with a 30 flame out addition I will still get plenty of IBUs to keep the lacto in check, but not enough to prevent it from working. I will also be preserving the aromas that I’m looking for rather than adding bitterness, which will clash with the sourness. I thought Nelson Sauvin would be a nice complement for what I’m looking for in the finished product. 

Beer Stats
Batch Size: 5.25 Gallons
Boil time: 90 minutes
Estimated OG: 1.058
Measured OG: 1.075
Measured FG:
SRM: 6.6o
IBU: 60.55 (theoretical)

Grain Bill
10 lbs – Pilsner Malt
1.25 lbs – White Wheat
0.75 lbs – Golden naked oats
0.75 lbs – Acid Malt

Hop Bill
Flame out – 30 minutes -  2 oz – Nelson Sauvin

Mash Schedule
90 minutes - 146oF – Single infusion

Barrel microflora with Wyeast 3624 and Bernice dregs

4/3/15 – Brewed by myself. I got to use my pump for the first time during verlaufen and cooling. It made things easier once I figured out how to get it to pump. Collected 7.45 gallons of 1.049 wort. Added 1 gram of CaCl and 4 grams of Gypsum to the mash and 1.5 grams of CaCl and 5.9 grams of gypsum to the sparge. I need to adjust my boil off rate since I think I over condensed the wort. I plan on adding water to top up the barrel and lower the gravity.

4/11/15 – Fermentation maybe have started earlier, but I was gone.

5/3/15 - Added a pint of boiled water to the barrel to increase the volume and lower the gravity. 

5/14/15 - Decanted the starter for my IPA into the barrel to top it up. The gravity shouldn't be lowered much because the starter was already fermented. 

5/21/15 - Gravity down to 1.008. The Nelson hops really come through.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First Tasting: Club Brew

Way behind on getting this up, but with long work days and beer judging in the evening, I just haven’t had time. A quick recap: this IPA was brewed as an APA in a club brew on our big system and split into different carboys. Naturally I went with Conan yeast, first because I had some around that I needed to refresh, and second it is basically hop steroids. The beers were designed to be served at the Golden Age of Homebrewing for San Antonio Beer Week. I’m happy to report that my keg was the first in the club to blow that night (that was full to begin with) and the third overall at the event. 

All of the beers we were serving that night were very good and it was interesting to taste them next to each other. If you were not told it was the same base beer you wouldn’t have known. The power of yeast and fermentation. 

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange with a thin white head that lingers and fades to a thin lacing. I would prefer better clarity but it wasn’t in the keg that long and I think our Calcium addition was a little low. Conan is known as being a terrible flocculator, but I’ve brewed with it before and had my beer’s clear out. 

Aroma: Lots of grapefruit, some orange, a hint of peach and passion fruit with some underling spicy phenols. I think the fermentation was too high. Generally I ferment it at 64F, but I didn’t have room in my chest freezer and my beer room was at 68F. I’ve noticed that if the temperature is too high it becomes a little Belgian-y. The dry hoping really helped make my version have the biggest nose. 

Flavor: Grapefruit, peach, some spicy notes, and a touch of grass. I left the beer on the dry hops a little too long so I ended up with some grassy character. The bitterness is assertive and lingering. My version was definitely the most bitter. Thank you Conan. 

Mouthfeel: Medium high carbonation, creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish and lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel was very different from beer to beer. Even though my beer finished drier than other versions, it did not seem as dry. 

Overall: I really enjoyed the beer, even though I only got a few pours, but more importantly, everyone seemed to enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Saison Bernice "Clone"

I’m at the point now that with all of the sours I have going I don’t have any more space for fermentation. Well I guess space is not the issue, its lack of vessels to hold fermenting beer. Every time I have one free it gets filled up again. There is a bunch of stuff that I want to brew but I just done a place to put it. I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Santé Adairius Rustic Ales (SARA) Saison Bernice from a friend; however, I didn’t have space or time to brew a Saison to utilize the wonderful dregs in the bottle. I noticed that I had finally had an open weekend with nothing better to do other than brew, but I didn’t have a carboy open. So I went ahead and just bought an extra, it’s not like I won’t use it in the future. 

I wanted to brew a Bernice “clone” ever since I received the bottle. Bernice is one of my favorite beers and I knew there were plenty of hungry bugs in the bottle ready to be harvested. I like to think of Santé as the Hill Farmstead of the west coast, not in the way their brewery looks, but in the quality of their beers. So it came as no shock to me to find out that amongst the many dregs that Santé has used, Hill Farmstead dregs were used in their house culture. I quickly formulated a recipe based off of what I remember from when I had Bernice at What the Funk?!, pale, dry, tart, funky with minimal color and maltiness. Then I found that they were featured on The Brewing Network: Sour Hour and gave out their recipe for Bernice. To my surprise I really was not far off. They use oats and a higher percentage of Vienna malt then what I was planning on using, but other than that I was actually very close. 

About two days before I made a low gravity starter for my yeast (3724) to get it going and refresh it because it had been in my fridge for over a month. After a day I cold crashed then made a 1.040 starter to top up the original and added the dregs from a bottle of Bernice. My though process is that I wanted to refresh the dregs, but I wanted the Saison yeast to be proportionally the predominate yeast to do the bulk of the fermentation. Wyeast 3724 is notorious for stalling around 1.030, which should give the bugs plenty of food left to munch on until reaching terminal gravity. My experience in the past with 3724 is that it will continue to ferment; it just does it slowly, which is why I’m not concerned with the bacteria and Brett having too much food left over and souring too quickly. The only problem I experienced while brewing was just after I started the boil. I noticed the better bottle I bought a few days before was a ported version. So I added my hops in 15 minutes earlier than planned and ran to exchange it (no I didn’t leave the boil alone).

Beer Stats
Batch size: 5.25 Gallons
Boil time: 90 minutes
Est OG: 1.067
Measured OG: 1.067
Measured FG:
SRM: 6o
IBU: 16

Grain Bill
10lbs – Pilsner Malt
1.25lbs – White Wheat
0.75lbs – Vienna Malt
0.75lbs – Acid Malt
0.75lbs – Flake Oats Malt

Hop Bill
75min – East Kent Golding – 1 oz

Mash Schedule
Single infusion 146oF for 90 minutes

1.5L starter Wyeast 3724 with Bernice Dregs

3/1/15 – Brewed by myself. Mash came in a little low at 144F so I added a quart of boiling water to bring it up to 146F. Added 4 grams of Gypsum and 1 gram of CaCl to the mash along with 4.7mL lactic acid, 1.5 grams of CaCl and 5.8 grams of Gypsum to the sparge. I used fly sparging for the first time and noticed an increase in my efficiency so I added half a gallon to bring the gravity down to my target pre-boil. Chilled to 68F and aerated with pure O2 for 45 seconds. 

3/2/15 – Fermentation has started and is bubbling up through the air lock. 

3/5/15 – Fermentation has calmed down, I’m assuming 3724 is starting to go dormant.

4/3/15 - Gravity down to 1.008. Racked beer to purged secondary for conditioning and to get the yeast cake free for the barrel.

4/23/15 - Placed in the chest freezer at 35F to cold crash. 

4/25/15 - Bottled half as unblended Bernice with 85 grams of table sugar targeting 2.75 volumes of CO2. Racked the rest of the beer onto 3lbs 1 ounce of apricot puree to make it West Ashley-ish. 

5/21/15 - Gravity down to 1.011 for the West Ashley half. I'll check again later to see if its stable.