Saison #4 (Summer Spiced Saison) Recipe & Tasting

I’ve brewed quite a few saisons over the last eight months or so, but I had yet to try brewing a saison with spices as the predominant flavor and aroma. Being close to the end of summer, I wanted to have something light, dry, and slightly acidic. Inspired by Sam Adams’ Lemon Pepper Saison, I decided to use lemon zest as the primary spice, combined with the more traditional combo of coriander and grains of paradise. I also added 5% Acid malt for a dash of tartness. I think this is a solid recipe, but a bit of adjustment needs to be made to the spicing regimen.

 

2011-030 Saison #4 (Summer Spiced Saison)

 

Brewed: 08/11/11

Racked to secondary: n/a

Kegged/Bottled: 08/17/11

Ready: 08/20/11

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: ~65%

OG: 1.042

FG: 1.006

IBU: 28

SRM: 4.7

Boil Length: 90 minutes

Grain Bill

————

German Pilsner: 3lb 8oz (70%)

US White Wheat Malt: 1lb (20%)

German Acid Malt: 4oz (5%)

Belgian Cara-Wheat: 4oz (5%)

Hop Bill

———–

German Perle (6.5%AA): 10g @ 90 min

US Willamette (4.5%AA): 7g @ 30 min

US Willamette (4.5%AA): 7g @ 15 min

Other

——–

Whirlfloc: 1 tablet @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes

Seeds of Paradise: 2g @ 0 min

Coriander: 5g @ 0 min

Fresh Lemon Zest: 14g @ 0 min

Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

Yeast

———

White Labs WLP566 Saison II

Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 152F for 60 minutes

Fly Sparge

Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 76F, freerise for 10 days

Carbonation

—————

Hi-pressure Slow Carb: 30psi for ~60 hours.

Notes

——–

1. First time fly sparging with my 2.5 gallon system.

Tasting

———-

Appearance: Very pale. Thick white 3-finger head. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Lemon peel right up front. The pepper notes and coriander follow closely behind. Lots of fruity esters. A bit plastic-y.

Taste: Lemon and coriander dominate. Some spicy pepper, but more phenolic than from the seeds of paradise. Some stone fruity esters.

Mouthfeel: Very dry. The lemon peel  and acid malt add a nice light tartness that adds to the drying effect. Bitterness is soft, but present.

Thoughts: I think the spices are in the right balance, but are a bit too much as a whole, which reduces drinkability. I also want to try this with 3711 French Saison yeast to see if I like it as much. All in all, though, I’d call it a success.

Categories: Belgian, recipe, saison, tasting

Saison #11 (#fml Saison) Recipe and Tasting

The #fml Saison was originally designed to be my entry in New Brew Thursday’s homebrew contest. My brewday ended up being a trainwreck, but to my great pleasure and surprise, the guys from NBT asked me to be on the show! I naturally had to drop out of the contest, but being a part of NBT is a pretty fair trade-off, I’d say.

One reason I’m glad I had to drop out of the competition was the horror of the brewday I had. Well, maybe horror is a strong word, but it was one of the worst brewdays I’ve had in a long time, at least. The day was going fine (I even had the audacity to say “wow, this brewday is going so smoothly!”), until all of a sudden, one of the anti-siphon valves on our sprinkler system decided to burst. Naturally, because we don’t have a way to shut off the water to the sprinkler system without shutting off the water to the house, this happened right as it was time to start chilling my wort. This was intended to be a hop-forward saison, so with the big charge of hops at the end of the boil sitting hot for as long as it did (It was about an hour and a half before I could get my water back on), my IBUs ended up being closer to 70-80 instead of the desired 50. Also, the hop aromatics were likely seriously hampered.

Twitter users now know why this batch was titled #fml.

I think this is a solid recipe, and the beer was drinkable in the end. I think a little tweaking and a better brewday could produce something really tasty.

2011-023 Saison #11 (#fml Saison)

Brewed: 06/09/11

Racked to secondary: n/a

Kegged/Bottled: 06/16/11

Ready: 06/20/11

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: 78%

OG: 1.067

FG: 1.006

IBU: ~70-80

SRM: 5.5

Boil Length: 90 minutes (~90 minute hot whirlpool

Grain Bill

————

Organic German Pilsner: 9lb (75%)

Organic German Munich Malt: 1lb         8oz (12.5%)

Organic German Carahell: 8oz (4.2%)

Organic Turbinado Sugar: 1lb (8.3%)

Hop Bill

———–

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 14g @ 90 minutes

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 14g @ 30 minutes

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 14g @ 15 minutes

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 56g @ 0 minutes

Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes

Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

Yeast

———

Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 152F for 60 minutes

Fly Sparge

Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 75F, freerise for 7 days

Carbonation

—————

Slow Carb: 30psi for ~3 days

Notes

——–

1. Water to the house being off changed the 15 minute whirlpool to a 90 minute whirlpool.

2. First time using the hi-pressure slow carb method.

Tasting

———-

Appearance: Orange. Fluffy white head leaves some nice sticky lacing.

Aroma: Spicy and floral. Some malt breadyness. Some wine-like fruitiness in the back, if you look for it. A dash of citrus peel.

Taste: Much fruitier than the nose, almost tropical. Citrus peel, herbs (basil?) spice and a touch of heat.

Mouthfeel: Bone dry, well carbonated. Too bitter, for sure. The bitterness bites hard and lingers. Not too much to make it undrinkable, but much more than desired.

Thoughts: The bitterness is an obvious flaw, as is the lack of hop nose I was after. All in all, a solid recipe diminished by a train wreck brewday.

Categories: Belgian, recipe, saison, tasting

>10 Ways to Improve your Homebrew (Part 2 of 2)

>

Here are a few more ways to improve your homebrew:



6. Join a homebrew club



Talking to other brewers on forums or other internet sources is a great way to learn. I pored through HomeBrewTalk.com extensively when I first started brewing, and it remains a great resource if I have any off-the-wall questions that need answering. Same goes for your local homebrew shop – a great resource that you can learn a ton from.



But nothing beats a homebrew club.



A homebrew club allows you to be face-to-face with other brewers from all levels of experience, giving you (hopefully) unbiased opinions about your beer, and (again, hopefully) constructive criticism that will aid in your growth as a brewer. Larger clubs will also often have educational portions of meetings (like styles-of-the-month, or presentations on various aspects of brewing), organize brewery tours, have special guest speakers, and a multitude of other educational opportunities. A homebrew club is also a great way to make friends, build relationships, and become a part of your greater local brewing community. Check out the AHA’s website for a list of clubs – there will most likely be one near you. If not, you can always start one.



7. Use a Priming Sugar Calculator.



Over or under carbonation is a very common flaw in the beers of many brewers, but especially new brewers. Every style of beer has an appropriate level of carbonation, be it low (English-style beers), medium (most American beers) or high (some Belgians, especially Saison and Strong Golden Ales.) Most beginning brewers will stick to the good ol’ ¾ cup per 5 gallons, and while this can work for many styles, there are other factors to consider when priming.



First, how much carbonation do I actually want?

If you’re brewing a Belgian Strong Golden, ¾ cup may not get you to that level of effervescence indicative of the style, just like of you’re brewing an English Mild or similar style that should be carbonated on the low side, ¾ cup may produce far too much CO2.



Second, how much CO2 is in my beer before I prime?

Everyone knows that the fermentation process produces CO2. What many brewers don’t know is that the beer will retain a fair amount of gas after fermentation is all said and done. Those air bubbles you see in your racking cane when transferring? There isn’t any leak in your tubing or anything like that; that air is CO2 escaping from solution due to the motion of the beer. CO2 becomes more soluble the cooler you get, so usually the temperature of the beer is a fair indicator of how much residual CO2 you have left in solution.



Third, EXACTLY how much beer am I bottling?

One reason racking into a bottling bucket is a good idea, as opposed to bottling straight from your fermenter, is that moving your final bottling volume into a graduated container will tell you exactly what your final volume is, and therefore allows you to adjust your priming solution accordingly. Your final volume can vary based on a number of factors, like the amount of hot break and cold break you have, how much hop matter you have, and so on. If you use ¾ cup of priming sugar in 5 gallons, you will get far less carbonation than in 4 gallons.



The simplest way to alleviate these problems is to use a priming sugar calculator. A quick Google search will pull up a number of calculators, but my favorite is found on TastyBrew.com. Just punch in the style of beer you’ve brewed, the current temperature of your beer, and your final volume, and you get an exact measurement, in weight (not volume, this is very important) for the level of carbonation you need.

I’m a huge advocate of using calculators and software to ease my brewday, which leads us to…



8. Use Brewing Software



Have you ever brewed a recipe you found online, and had your numbers be radically different from the estimated numbers on the recipe? This is a mistake often made by beginning brewers who don’t realize how much variation there is in ingredients and techniques, and how big of an impact these differences can have on the final product. Color, bitterness, extraction efficiency, and attenuation are all variables that require applying specific formulas to get accurate numbers. Of course, you could do all the calculations by hand, but personally, I’m lazy. This is where the magic of brewing software comes in.



The most basic brewing software is just a series of calculators, making it easier to calculate things like original gravity, bitterness, color, extraction efficiency, IBUs, mash temperatures and carbonation. This alone is invaluable to any homebrewer, but when you move to the top end applications, they become practically the center of your brewing world. Apps like Beersmith, Beer Tools and BeerAlchemy allow you to create, store and catalog recipes, build custom equipment profiles, create an infinite number of mashing schedules, catalog a personal ingredient inventory and apply that to your recipe database, and more. Some apps (like my favorite, BeerAlchemy) even have a mobile version that allows you to sync your recipe database and ingredient inventory so you can have both on-the go.



Fortunately, almost all of these apps have free trial versions, so you can find the one that suits your needs the best.



9. Plan Ahead



Too often I see guys come in to my store and buy an ingredient kit intending to brew that day. While I can admire the enthusiasm, this is usually a less-than-optimum way to do things. Brewing requires planning. Before they fire up the kettle, a brewer should ask themselves a few essential questions: What exactly do I want to brew? Do I have all the necessary equipment and space? How long will it take from grain to glass? Will I need a yeast starter? If you dive in without these questions being answered, your beer may come out just fine, but knowing all these things beforehand will help immensely.



Another planning issue that drives me crazy is the “let’s just go to the homebrew store, buy a bunch of random things and throw them together” style of brewing. I’ve had more terrible beer from this than I’d like to remember. While throwing random ingredients together may yield something drinkable (if you’re EXTREMELY lucky), you’ll probably end up with too much of something (no matter what kind of beer it is, four pounds of chocolate malt is too much), not enough of something (you need more than two pounds of 2-row), or too much of everything. Doing wacky things with beer is fine. Breweries like Dogfish Head and The Bruery do it all the time, often with stellar results. But these breweries are also very careful to make sure that these beers are balanced and drinkable, which takes an enormous amount of planning and conceptualization – something every brewer should aspire to.



And finally….



10. Keep Learning!



No brewer knows everything about brewing. Go to any seminar at the Craft Brewers Conference each year and you’ll find plenty of highly respected brewers there, looking to improve their craft. These brewers realize that if they don’t continue to learn more and more about their craft, their creativity will begin to stagnate. This is something that I see in experienced brewers far too often.



If you want your beer to keep getting better, stay excited about brewing! Challenge yourself to brew something outside your wheelhouse! Do you only brew super clean German lagers? Brew a Belgian Saison! Only brew high-abv IPAs and Imperial beers? Brew an English Mild! Been brewing the same Pale Ale recipe for 10 years? Change your yeast! Exploring areas of brewing that you’ve never explored can only increase your knowledge of brewing, and make every part of your brewing better.



And in the end, we all just want to drink tasty beer



Cheers!

Matt

Categories: Uncategorized

>10 Ways to Improve Your Homebrew (Part 1 of 2)

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Working at a homebrew store (O’Shea Brewing Company in Laguna Niguel, CA) has allowed me the unique opportunity to interact with homebrewers at every level. From beginners to the most advanced brewers, the thing that has always amazed me the most is the seemingly infinite variety of techniques, methods and subtleties of process that make each individual brewer unique; for every part of the brewing process, there are a dozen brewers with two dozen methods. This is what makes homebrewing fun, and what makes geeking out with other brewers fun too.


While there is an infinite amount of variation in brewing techniques, one big thing working at a homebrew store has taught me is that there are still certain things that every brewer can do to improve their beer. Whether you’re a brand new brewer, or an all-grain brewed with 20 years of experience, this list is one that I think any brewer can look at and get something out of.


1. Learn Your Proper Pitching Rates


The one thing I try to hammer into the brains of every homebrewer I meet is this simple fact: in brewing, fermentation is EVERYTHING. You can have a coopers hopped kit-in-a-can, or the best, most fine-tuned all-grain recipe, but if you have poor fermentation practices, either can end up tasting like butter, sour apples, or worse. Of all cardinal sins, underpitching is probably the most prominent, and making a yeast starter is probably the easiest way to drastically improve the flavor of tour beer.


Every wort has an optimum number of yeast cells it needs for the healthiest, fastest fermentation. A big, healthy pitch will start faster (often within 4-6 hours, reducing the risk of infection,) ferment stronger and faster, and finish out cleaner. That last part is key to clean tasting homebrew. During the growth phase of fermentation (the first 4-12 hours,) the yeast throw off all kinds of compounds that, if healthy and happy, they reabsorb at the end of fermentation – they essentially scrub the beer clean once they’ve eaten all the sugar they can. Many of the off-flavors associated with a “homebrew-y tasting beer” such as acetaldehyde (a green apple flavor) or the dreaded diacetyl (the butter flavor) remain because the yeast haven’t scrubbed them out due to a lack of health, or vitality. This is why pitching the right amount of yeast is so essential: it produces a far cleaner beer.


According to the late, great George Fix in his book An Analysis of brewing techniques, the optimum pitching rate is .75 million cells per milliliter per degree Plato for ales, 1.5 million cells/ml/*P for lagers. While you could sit down and calculate this by hand, the ubiquitous Jamil Zainasheff has created one of the handiest brewing tools out there, the Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator. Just plug in the gravity of your wort, your volume in your fermenter, and the production date of your yeast, and voila – your pitching rate and the proper starter size are right there for you.


While you can pitch multiple vials/smack packs to hit your proper pitch size, a yeast starter is generally a better option, both because it’s cheaper, and because it guarantees you are pitching healthy, active yeast. I’ll do a more detailed post on making starters in the future, but in the mean time, you can find great instructions here, here and here.


I’ll say it again: fermentation is EVERYTHING, and it’s often the most frequently ignored part of the process. And while pitching rates are very, very important, it’s only part of getting the healthiest fermentation you can, which brings me to……


2. Ferment at the Right Temperature


I can’t count the number of times that a homebrewer has brought a beer to the store, wondering why it tastes off. Invariably I’ll ask about their fermentation practices, only to find that first, they just dumped the dry yeast in the kit into their wort without rehydrating (for the love of god, if you’re going to use dry yeast, rehydrate it first.) Second when I ask what temperature they fermented at, I’ll get an answer something along the lines of “uhhh… Room temperature? 80 maybe?”


This is the other main mistake new brewers make, and is the other best way a homebrewer can improve their beer. Every yeast has a temperature they perform the best at; generally speaking for ales it’s between 65-68*F, and 45-50*F for lagers. There are yeasts that bend or break these rules (steam beer yeasts are lager yeasts that ferment in the low 60s, and certain Belgian yeasts can ferment anywhere from the mid 70s to the low 90s), but if you have an ale yeast in your hands, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be fermenting around 68*F. Fermentation temperatures are so important because the flavors the yeast produce can vary wildly depending on the temperature they’re at at any given point in the fermentation process. One big byproduct of fermentation (specifically the growth phase) is esters. Yeast esters are perceived as fruity flavors and aromas that vary from yeast strain to yeast strain (my personal favorite is the White Labs WLP002 English Ale from Fullers, which produces an ester profile often described as orange marmalade). Ester production can be easily controlled by controlling fermentation temperature: ferment cooler and you reduce esters, ferment warmer and you increase them. This is why lagers and lager yeasts are so “clean” (cool fermentation), and why Belgian beers and Belgian yeasts are so distinctively fruity (warm fermentation.)


If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Make a hefeweizen. Use the exact same recipe, with the exact same yeast and the exact same pitching rate (splitting a 5 gallon batch into two 2.5 gallon Small Batches is a great way to go.) Ferment one hefe at 65*F, and the other at 70*F. What you’ll get is one hefe that is a massive banana/clove bomb (fermented warmer) and another that has some ester, but is more restrained and balanced (fermented cooler.)


This WILL make an enormous difference in your beer.


Say it with me now: fermentation is EVERYTHING!


Now that I have fermentation hammered into your skull, we can move on to my other favorite things that -any- brewer can do to improve their beer.


3. Review your Sanitation Practices


I know what you’re thinking: “pssssh…. I can skip this one. My sanitation is fine! I haven’t had a contaminated beer in years!”


……oh really?


Sanitation is so widely known to be so important, many brewers will get into a sanitation regimen and stick with it. Often, brewers will be so confident in their sanitation, if they get some sort of off flavor, they will pick over their entire process, not realizing that they haven’t disassembled and cleaned their fermenters in two years (I’m looking at you, Mr. Smug I Started Brewing Before Papazian asshole.)


Before your next brew, pick over your sanitation with a fine tooth comb. Think to yourself: is it ok to just spray down this racking cane, or should I be soaking it? Am I good just filling up my bucket with sanitizer, or should I pull the spigot off and sanitize it separately? In fact, how long has this sanitizer been in this spray bottle? Any one of these questions could be the difference between a tasty pint of porter and one that has notes of plastic and band-aid.


4. Calibrate your Equipment


Ever wonder why your beers end up being so sweet/dry? Or over/under your target gravity? The culprit often is equipment that isn’t calibrated properly. Floating thermometers and hydrometers are usually good about not drifting one direction or another very quickly (if at all,) but dial thermometers, and especially digital thermometers, should be calibrated once every few months at the very least. Refractometers are a whole different level – I calibrate mine before every use to maximize accuracy.

Just as important as calibrating your measuring equipment is having an accurate way to measure volume. A sight glass is, of course, the best way to track and measure volume, but a notched spoon or mash paddle can do pretty well.

In general, being as accurate as possible with your measurements will help fine-tune your system and help keep consistency from batch to batch.


Speaking of consistency and accuracy….


5. Take copious notes.


Knowing as much detail about your brewday as possible is the best way to keep repeating any mistakes one might make. And don’t just record your numbers and be done with it! Jot down anything you might think would be useful any time in the future, especially when it comes to anything out of the ordinary during your brewday. Keeping these notes organized and somewhat structured for future reference is also essential; some kind of standardized sheet or brew log is an investment in time and/or money that every brewer should make.


After writing out these five items, I realized that having all 10 items in one post might make for an excessively long read, so check back in a few days for part 2!


Cheers,


Matt

>Double IPA #2 (Item 9 IPA) Recipe & Tasting

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Item 9 is my base Double (or Imperial, or whatever) IPA recipe that I’ve been refining for a while now. The grist is similar to my other pale ale/IPA recipes, but with the crystal brought down to help reduce excess sweetness, and the rye boosted to provide some extra complexity (I’m not sure if 6% of the grist is enough to accurately call it a “rye IPA”.) Citra has always been one of my favorite IPA hops, and I thought its big stone fruit/tropical fruit profile would be great in an IPA of this size. This recipe is very close to being exactly how I want it, but I still need to toy with the hop bill a bit to get it just right.

2011-021 Double IPA #2 (Item 9 IPA)


Brewed: 04/28/11

Racked to secondary: 05/07/11

Kegged/Bottled: 05/12/11

Ready: 05/15/11


Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: ~65%

OG: 1.068

FG: 1.012

IBU: 83

SRM: 7.6

Boil Length: 90 minutes


Grain Bill

————

US Rahr 2-Row: 6lb 8oz (81%)

US Carapils: 8oz (8%)

US Rye Malt: 8oz (8%)

US Caramel 40: 4oz (3%)

Belgian Cara-Vienna: 4oz (3%)


Hop Bill

———–

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 14g @ 90 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Citra (11.1%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Citra (11.1%AA): 7g @ 15 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Citra (11.1%AA): 14g @ 0 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 14g @ Dry Hop

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 14g @ Dry Hop

US Citra (11.1%AA): 14g @ Dry Hop


Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes


Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water


Yeast

———

White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale


Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 150F for 60 minutes

Batch Sparge


Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 68F, freerise for 10 days


Carbonation

—————

Quick Carb: 35psi, shake for 60 seconds


Notes

——–


Tasting

———-

Appearance: Dark copper. Thick eggshell head leaves some pretty mean lacing. Some dry-hop haze.


Aroma: Huge tropical fruit and citrus. White flowers. Caramel. Grapefruit zest. Mango. A dash of pine and dank.


Taste: Grapefruit, orange, pineapple and mango. Piney resin. A nice caramel malt balance, with the rye spiciness poking out a touch in the back. Firm bitterness.


Mouthfeel: Medium body. Carbonation is spot on. Dry, but leaves a good sticky coat on the tongue.


Thoughts: Just as hoppy as I wanted it to be. The base recipe is solid, but I’m still unsure about what other hops I want to go with the Citras. The Amarillos work, but the pine resin and dankness of the Columbus doesn’t quite go with the bright stone fruit and citrus flavors coming from the other two.

>Sour #3 (Cheater Berliner Weisse) Recipe & Tasting

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As there are more and more commercial examples of Berliner Weisse becoming available in recent years (with one of the best – The Bruery’s Hottenroth Berliner Weisse – available very close to me), a homebrewer’s natural inclination is to try their hand at the style. With White Labs’ WLP630 Berliner Weisse Blend made available on the last round of Platinum Series releases, so doing a Small Batch was a no-brainer.


Coincidentally, my personal favorite homebrewing podcast, Basic Brewing Radio, did an episode on brewing Berliner Weisse about two months after I brewed mine. Naturally The Mad Fermentationist was on hand to go over his production method, a no-boil double decocted mash-hopped take on the style. I took a decidedly different route with mine, using a simple single infusion mash and 15 minute boil. Awesomely, I sent James Spencer an email about my take on it, and I got a mention on the 04-14-11 episode! Sweet! I definitely credit Mr. Spencer and BBR for a nice bump in my readership, so thanks so much!


2011-007 Sour #3 (Cheater Berliner Weisse)


Brewed: 01/26/11

Racked to secondary: 04/03/11

Kegged/Bottled: 04/27/11

Ready: 04/27/11


Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: 77%

OG: 1.035

FG: 1.004

IBU: 4

SRM: 2.4

Boil Length: 15 minutes


Grain Bill

————

German Pilsner Malt: 1lb 12oz (54%)

US White Wheat Malt: 1lb 8oz (46%)


Hop Bill

———–

German Hallertau Hersbrucker (3.8%AA): 14g @ 15 minutes


Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes


Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water


Yeast

———

White Labs WLP630 Berliner Weisse Blend


Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 156F for 90 minutes

Batch Sparge


Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 68F, freerise for 10 days


Carbonation

—————

Quick Carb: 35psi, shake for 45 seconds


Notes

——–

A quickie beer to test WLP630. Not too bad!


Tasting

———-

Appearance: Pale straw. About as light as you can get. One-finger soda-like head, with little staying power.


Aroma: Lemons and stone fruit. Perfumy. Pretty simple.


Taste: Lemons and fruit. Some grassy herbal character. A nice, mild tartness.


Mouthfeel: as dry as you would expect, bolstered by spritzy carbonation.


Thoughts: for being as simple as it was, not too dang bad! One of the few times I’m sad I didn’t make a full 5 gallons. Although I do have another vial….

Categories: German, recipe, sour, tasting, wheat

>Pale Ale #1 (House Pale Ale) Recipe & Tasting

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This is another recipe I’ve been trying to refine over time. To me, a good pale ale is a way to really measure the skill of a brewer; if a brewer can make a pale ale that really stands out, you know he/she has talent. I’ve had a lot of success with variations on this recipe in the past, and I’ve been edging ever closer to my ideal pale. This rendition of the recipe is closer to what I want, but a flawed fermentation with a new yeast strain made this an overall unsuccessful batch. Drinkable, but unsuccessful.

This was the last in my series of batches made with strains from East Coast Yeast, and as with the others, pitching the entire vial (cube?) of yeast resulted in an overpitch. With previous batches, the only harm that came from overpitching was an underwhelming ester profile. This batch was hampered by the fact that ECY10 is an English-style yeast, which produces considerably more diacetyl (perceived as a buttery or butterscotch flavor) than American or Belgian yeasts. Normally, when an appropriate pitching rate is used, diacetyl is reabsorbed by the yeast at the end of the fermentation cycle. When overpitched, according to Chris White of White Labs,

“yeast do not grow though a complete growth cycle. This results in few new yeast cells, which makes for unhealthy yeast and low viability by the end of fermentation”


This batch Is the perfect example of this. Another reason to make SURE you use proper pitching rates!

My other issue is the hopping. I wanted this to be in between an american (fruity, resiny hops) and English (biscuity, caramelly malt, more body) pale ale, but it ended up leaning much more English than I would’ve liked. I also designed this recipe for maximum turnaround speed, so I opted for a big charge of hops at flameout to avoid dry-hopping. I still think that’s a good plan, but I still need more if I’m going to get that nice hop aroma I’m after.


2011-015 Pale Ale #1 (House Pale Ale)

Brewed: 03/25/11

Racked to secondary: n/a

Kegged/Bottled: 03/21/11

Ready: 03/26/11

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: 82%

OG: 1.052

FG: 1.013

IBU: 25

SRM: 7.3

Boil Length: 90 minutes

Grain Bill

————

UK Maris Otter: 4lb (82%)

US Caramel 40: 4oz (5%)

Belgian Cara-Vienna: 4oz (5%)

US Carapils: 4oz (5%)

US Rye Malt: 2oz (2.5%)

Hop Bill

———–

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 2g @ 90 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 3g @ 15 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Centennial (8.7%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes

Water

———

75% Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

25% RO Water

Yeast

———

East Coast Yeast ECY10 Old Newark Ale

Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 154F for 90 minutes

Batch Sparge

Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 66F, freerise for 10 days

Carbonation

—————

Quick Carb: 35psi, shake for 60 seconds

Notes

——–

Pitched an entire vial (cube?) of ECY10 Old Newark, therefore overpitching.

Tasting

———-

Appearance: Copper, bordering on amber. A nice one-finger white head has solid staying power. Good clarity after just over two weeks in the keg.

Aroma: Biscuity malt and caramel. Butterscotch (uh oh….). Some floral hop, but not a lot. Very malt-forward.

Taste: More toasty and caramel malt. Some resiny/piney hop in the middle. More diacetyl. Some tart green

apple. Firm bitterness, but well balanced.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body. Proper carbonation. Medium-dry finish.

Thoughts: Unfortunately, it’s obvious the yeast didn’t finish the job at the end of fermentation. A proper pitching rate would definitely solve this. A bigger charge of hops at flameout is also necessary if I’m gonna avoid dry hopping.

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