Friday, February 8, 2013

Murphy's Law

Thinking back Murphy was with me from the beginning of this brew day. 

I was planing on using the yeast from a recently brewed Munich Helles to brew a dark and malty Dunkel.  When I went to my homebrew store they were our of Munich malt. 

No problem I'm nothing if not adaptable.  I'll just brew a Vienna lager.  I picked up 9.5# Vienna malt and was on my way.  

This morning I woke up and started my brew day.  Heated strike water milled my grain and mashed in.  While I heated my strike water I dropped the cooler I use for a hot liquor tank. BROKEN...

That sucks but not the end of the world.  I'll use my kettle to hold my sparge water and just collect my runoff in a couple of buckets. 

I started to recirculate and my pump clogs.  I look at the hose and I realize that it is just sucking a much of grain through. My manifold must have broken some how.   

This is where I threw in the towel.  I know I could have probably made it work, but sometimes the value of my time and peace of mind is worth more than 10ish Lbs of grain. 

Oh well, I'll just plan my next beer (Flanders Red) while drinking one of my latest ones (Munich Helles, well at this point its a Zwickel Helles.) 

Cheers, Ben 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I have the day off so I'm brewing up version 2.0 of my american bitter recipe. 

6# of Golden Promise 
.5# Victory 
.5# Munich 
.5# Wheat 

Mash @ 156 

14g Magnum @ 60
14g Falconers Flight @ 10 
17g Cascade @ 10 
14g Falconers Flight @ 0
17g Cascade @ 0 

Dry hop with 
56 g Falconers Flight 
14 g Magnum


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Brewing Beer For My Wedding

I'm getting married in 6 days. It was maybe a week after I proposed, and that might be a stretch, before the thought popped into my head that I could make the beer for my wedding. Once I had the epiphany there was no turning back.

As soon as I had decided to brew for the wedding I started brewing a lot of "pilot" batches...... "Yes honey, Its for the wedding".  I also purchased a keg system and four Cornie Kegs and upgraded my brew pot so that I can accommodate 10 gallon batches ("Yeah, I know, its for the wedding" ~My Fiance) 

I decided that I would brew 10 gallons of 2 different beers.  What am I going to brew? I had brewed a bunch of different styles (Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Porter, Oktoberfest etc.) My future wife really liked my Oktoberfest, so that was an easy choice. ("Oh and honey, I'm going to need to get a chest freezer to ferment your Oktoberfest in")  The other beer was up for debate. A lot of people I spoke with thought that I should brew something more approachable, like a blonde or cream ale.  Others thought that the Oktoberfest should be the approachable beer and I should brew an IPA.  After a lot of deliberation I decided  to brew a pale ale.


10lbs Pilsner Malt 
8lbs Munich Malt
6lbs Vienna Malt 
2lbs Caramunich Malt

85g Hallertauer [4%AA] 60 Min
28g Hallertauer [4%AA] 20 Min

Wyeast 2124 Boheian Lager Yeast 
Mash at 151

Ferment at 50F(10C) for 2 weeks, Lager at 30.2(-1C) for 8 weeks.
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.016
ABV: 5.8
IBU: 27.2 
*This recipe is straight out of Brewing Classic Styles. 

Pale Ale:

18lbs 2-Row 
2lbs White Wheat
1.5lbs Munich 
1.5lbs Victory 

20g CTZ [15.2AA] 60min
28g Amarillo [9.2AA]5min
28g Cascade [6.2AA]5min
14g Citra [11.4AA]5min
28g Amarillo [9.2AA]0min
28g Cascade [6.2AA]0min
14g Citra [11.4AA]0min
28g Amarillo Dry Hop for 6 Days 
28g Citra Dry Hop for 6 Days
28g Cascade Dry Hop for 6 Days.

White Labs 001 
Mash at 150 

I went pretty light on the bitterness in this beer.  I realize that most people that are going to be at my wedding are not beer fanatics as I am. I also took a fairly light approach with the dry hop for this beer, again to make it more approachable.  Its on the low side for IBU's at 29. It has an OG of 1.059 and a FG of 1.009.  6.6% abv. 


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA Clone

As a home brewer on the southern east coast I believe it is my right and responsibility to patronize Dog Fish Head brewery.  I recently took up a challenge from my future brother in-law to try and clone the 60 Minute IPA. I did a little (and I mean a very little) research and found a recipe on Google books for this beer.  The recipe in the book was an extract recipe.  I converted it to all grain. 

The recipe: 5 Gallon Batch 
12 Lbs 2-Row 
6 Oz Amber Malt. 

14 g Amarillo (boil)
14 g Simcoe (boil)
14 g Warrior (boil)
14g Amarillo (0 min) 
28 g (Dry Hop)
14g (Simcoe) 

Mash @ 151 
*The boil hops were all split into 12 small cups that were added to the boil in 5 min increments. 

Ferment @ 66 F (19C) My clone vs the real 60 minute.  My clone is lighter in color and slightly more clear.  The hop character is similar but the clone has a softer bitterness.  The real 60 minute has a much more aggressive and bright hop character than my clone.  I think if I had made some water adjustments I could have come much closer.  All in all its tasty and darn close. 

60 minute vs Clone
60 Minute left : Clone Right 

American Bitter

I have written about my belief that the next big thing in american craft beer should be low alcohol beers.  I have finally decided to try and brew a sub 4% ABV beer.  My plan for this beer is to emulate an English Bitter recipe. but to Americanize it.  The way every other style is "Americanized" is for it to be higher in ABV and more hoppy.  I have designed a small APA (american pale ale) that I call a American Bitter.  It clocks in at 3.3 ABV 25 IBU's. 

The Recipe: 5 Gallons 

6 lbs Golden Promise 
1/2 lbs Munich Malt 
1/2 lbs White Wheat Malt 
1/2 lbs Amber Malt 

9.5g CTZ @ 60 Min 
14 g Cascade @10 Min
14 g Zythos @ 10 Min 
14 g Cascade @ 0 Min
14 g g Zythos @ 0 Min 
28 g Cascade dry hop 6 days 
28 g "Centennial type" dry hop 6 days 

OG 1.040 
FG 1.015 

I brewed this two weeks ago. I unfortunately am at capacity with my kegs.  I will dry hop and report back when I have some tasting notes on this beer.  I have tried it out of the fermentor and it is really good.  It in no way tasted like it is 3.3% beer. It has a really nice cirtus and pine hop character with out being overly hoppy.  

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Clone (Glass Acrobat)

It is currently hot and humid outside.  I am tired of this weather and I can not wait until it is fall.  I live in Virginia, where it is most beautiful in autumn.  In an effort to bring the changing on the season about a bit quicker than mother nature will allow I am brewing a Brown Ale.  

This beer is based on Sierra Nevada Tumber. A beer I love.  I'm calling it "Glass Acrobat". According to Sierra Nevada's web site they use two-row pale malt, a crystal malt, chocolate malt and smoked malt.  According to a Brewing Network interview with Ken Grossman they use a small amount of very fresh (smoked on site) smoked malt in the recipe. The hops sierra uses are Challenger for bittering, and Challanger and Yakima Goldings for finishing. Tumbler OG is 13.6 Plato (1.054 SG) FG is 3.4 Plato (1.014 sg).  I use significantly more smoked malt than Sierra Nevada dose because the smoked malt I can get is significantly less fresh.  Also I had to make some hop substitutes based on availability. The recipe I came up with to attempt to clone this beer is as follows.  

10 gallon Batch. (76% efficiency) 

18 lbs Maris Otter 

2 lbs Crystal 80 Lov
2 Lbs Smoked Malt
1 Lb Chocolate Malt. 

23.5 g CTZ (13.9 AA) 60 min

42 g UK Kent Goldings (5.8 AA) 15 Min 
28 g Challenger (7.5 AA) 15 Min.

Yeast: White Labs 001 (California Ale)
Mash @ 155

I ended up being much more efficient (87%).  My OG is 1.062.

I am looking forward to this beer.  I plan on fermenting all 10 gallons with a reptiched slurry of 001 from a pale ale that I brewed a few weeks ago and then adding a sour mix to 5 gallons and let it sour for 9 to 12 moths.

I will report back with tasting notes.

Tumber, My Clone and a control. 
  This batch turned out great.  Its very similar to Tumbler.  My version is much bolder.  The smoke is just slightly more noticeable and the body is slightly fuller.  

Next time I would do a better job adjusting the recipe to my system (OG too high). I will also probably reduce the smoke malt to 1.5 lbs (maybe 1 lb).