Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Southron Batch #2 (APA) -- Brew Day

Most home brewers, when modifying an existing recipe to experiment with flavors, will only change one or two parts of the recipe at most to try to decipher small changes in the finished product.  I say fuck that.  Although I brew a decent amount, I'm more interested in at least attempting to create a great beer every time I brew.  I've started to embrace almost full recipe revamps if I believe it is warranted.

This time, although I don't feel its entirely warranted, I'm drastically changing around my recipe for my NZ hop-showcasing APA, The Southron.  The first batch was a much more full-bodied, almost amber colored beer that had a solid malt backbone to balance out the hop profile.  Sounds decent enough already, right?

The change that I've decided to make is to further showcase some of the NZ hops by toning down the body and malt profile a touch.  I'm borrowing some grain bill ideas from my recent clone of Tired Hands HopHands, mainly by adding a decent amount of flaked outs -- actually more flaked oats than I did in that beer.  I'm also incorporating some wheat malt for texture and head retention, along with 12 ounces of honey malt because honey malt is fucking delicious.

The actual brew day went fairly leisurely.  My pH came in as estimated at 5.3 and my efficiency clocked in around 70%.  I've really struggled with my efficiency consistency lately, but I'm chalking that up to the crush from my online HBS.  We are moving shortly, so I think a grain mill and 50lb sack of either 2-Row or MO is in order.

The Southron Batch #2 (APA)
5.5 gal batch - 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.060
Est FG: 1.015
Est ABV: 6%
IBU:  53
SRM:  6

10lb 2-Row Pale Malt
2lb White Wheat Malt
2lb Flaked Oats
12oz Honey Malt

0.3oz Magnum @ FWH (15 IBU)
1.0oz Amarillo @ 5 min (5 IBU)
1.0oz Galaxy @ 5 min (8 IBU)
1.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ 5 min (7 IBU)
1.0oz Amarillo @ Steep 10 min (5 IBU)
1.0oz Galaxy @ Steep 10 min (8 IBU)
1.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ Steep 10 min (6 IBU)
2.0oz Amarillo @ Dry Hop 3 Days
1.0oz Galaxy @ Dry Hop 3 Days
1.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ Dry Hop 3 Days

1200ml starter of WY1968 London ESB Ale

Mash @ 148f for 75 minutes

6/22/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Mash pH came in at 5.3.  Mash efficiency came in around 70%.  Boil proceeded as normal.  One packet of Aussie Galaxy hops seemed a little old/cheesy but threw them in anyways.  I might regret that.  Gathered 5.5 gallons of 1.061 wort.  Pitched yeast and one vial of Clarity Ferm.

7/6/2014 -- Added dry hops.  This packet of Galaxy seemed a little off as well.  Tsk tsk Label Peelers.

7/9/2014 -- Bottled.  Finished at 1.014.  Just a point lower than target.  Primed with 4.2oz corn sugar for 2.4 vol CO2.  Smelled and tasted great.  Nice citrus flavor with an assertive bitterness.

11/7/2014 -- And here are some tasting notes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Squatch Batch #2 (Appalachian Amber) -- Brew Day

I've really been wanting to perfect a "house" amber to have around as I'm a big fan of the style. As much as I enjoy super hoppy IPAs, sometimes a guy just needs a nice, caramel-noted, sufficiently hopped beer.

My last amber came out decent, although the chocolate malt that I used for color bled into the flavor a bit. Additionally, I think some of the more exotic hops were lost in that beer.  The darker flavors totally overwhelmed most of the zest that the Nelson brought to the table. This time around I changed the base beer to be more centered around three layers of caramel malts, both for flavoring and for color.  I'm hoping that the color derived from caramel malts will also create a great caramel/toffee flavor. I also dropped all of the exotic hops and just went with straight Centennial largely because I would rather save my rarer hops for beers that feature their qualities.

And as if two major changes aren't enough, I also went ahead and changed yeasts. I've been using WY1028 London Ale as my house yeast for a while now, but after reading around on some forums it seems people are very pleased with WY1968 ESB. Allegedly this is the yeast that Firestone Walker uses, so I can't complain too much about it.  It seems to be a whole hell of a lot more flocculent than 1028, as the starter had huge chunks of yeast flying around on the stirplate after the initial fermentation subsided.

The brew day went pretty normal save for a slight over acidification of the mash, but it wasn't so much that I tried to raise the pH at all. 

The Squatch Batch #2 (Appalachian
5.5 Gallon Batch -- 75 minute Boil
Est OG: 1.052
Est FG: 1.014
Est ABV: 5.03%
IBU: 33
SRM: 14

9.0lb Maris Otter
1.5lb Munich Malt
0.75lb Carastan Malt
0.50lb British Crystal 75L
0.50lb Caramel 120L

0.3oz Magnum @ FWH (13 IBU)
1.0oz Centennial @ 5 min (6 IBU)
1.0oz Centennial @ 2 min (3 IBU)
2.0oz Centennial @ Steep 10 min (11 IBU)
2.0oz Cita @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.0oz Centennial @ Dry Hop 4 Days

1000ml starter of WY1968 London ESB Ale

Mash @ 152f for 60 minutes

6/4/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Hit mash temp perfectly.  pH came in a little low at 5.1 after acid addition, but I just left it.  Gathered 7.75gal of wort for a 71% efficiency.  Boil went as normal.  Added steeping hops during cooling at around 180f.  Collected 5.5 gallons of wort at 1.052 gravity.  Fermentation began within 5 hours.

6/19/2014 -- Dry hopped as indicated.

6/24/2014 -- Bottled.  Final gravity clocked in at around 1.015-1.016 range, just a tad high.  Used 4.3oz of corn sugar to bottle prime to 2.4 vol.  Fantastic centennial aroma.  Slightly weird taste that I can't quite put my finger on...we'll see how that evolves.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Tiller Batch #2 (Bavarian Hefeweizen) -- Brew Day

My most recent hefeweizen was one of the fastest that I've finished a 5 gallon batch since I've been brewing.  I think that within two weeks almost all of the two cases were gone and I've always considered myself as only a minor fan of the style.  It was really just a great beer.  And, to boot, it took third place in the Philly Beer Week Mash Bash.

Now that it's gone, I've really been missing it.  Also, seeing as its still summer, I can argue that a re-brew is totally appropriate.  For this batch, I'm adjusting my efficiency a bit to account for the decoction mashing.  Additionally, I'm taking away the protein rest as I'm not sure it really accomplished anything and at a minimum it may have hurt the head retention.  To help with head retention, I'm also upping the Carafoam to a full pound from a half pound previously.

This mash does take some time to complete and the rest times are somewhat approximate.  Occasionally, it would take longer to heat a volume to strike temp that the proceeding rest time, but for the most part everything went pretty successfully.

Since I ferment in my basement and temperatures have started to increase here a bit over the past month, I'm interested in seeing the flavor profile that this batch develops in comparison to the last.  The last was clearly more balanced towards the clove characteristics; I imagine this will be more banana heavy.

Decoction portion coming to a boil.

The Tiller Batch #2 (Bavarian Hefeweizen)
Size: 5.5gal batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.050
Est FG: 1.012
Est ABV: 4.9%
IBU: 12
SRM: 4

6lb German Wheat Malt
4lb German Pilsner Malt
1lb Light Munich Malt
1lb Carafoam Malt

0.6oz Hallertauer @ FWH (9 IBU)
0.4oz Hallertauer @ 15min (3 IBU)

1000ml Weihenstephaner Weizen (WY3068)

Mash Schedule
1. Acid Rest @ 114f for 10 min (Infuse 2.75gal @ 122f)
2. Saccharification Rest I @ 144f for 40 minutes (Infuse 1.5gal @ 203f)
3. Decoct (pull) 2gal and bring to boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly
4. Saccharification Rest II at 161f for 10 minutes (add decocted portion to achieve rest temp)
5. Batch sparge as usual

5/31/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Mash efficiency came to 73%.  Boil/chill proceeded as normal.  Gathered 5.5 gallons of 1.048 gravity wort.  Extremely vigorous fermentation began within 6 hours.  Amazing how much krausen this yeast throws off at such low gravities.

6/21/2014 -- Bottled 5 gallons of 1.013 beer.  Carbed with 6oz of corn sugar to get to 3.1vol.  I'm slowly upping the carb each time I do this to get the right level without hopefully risking exploding bottles.  Smelled great, a bit more balanced toward the banana esters than the last batch as expected.

The Scholar (Societe Brewing's The Pupil) -- Brew Day

I've recently spent a good deal of time brewing up recipes from other bloggers in an attempt to gain some insight of different malt bills I haven't used before or new hops that I've been neglecting.  This has been a delicious way for me to learn about other homebrewer's methods and the quality recipes that they've developed.

This is another such recipe.  The blogger over at Meek Brewing Company visited the Societe Brewing and straight up asked them for the recipe -- to which they surprisingly spilled the beans.  I've largely taken his recipe, adjusted some of the hopping for my personal tastes and switched out the yeast.  I had purchased a vial of Super San Diego a while back, but it was getting fairly old at this point and I didn't have the time to start it up.  Thus, I went with my house yeast, WY1028 London Ale.  Of course, the mason jar of yeast I used didn't start up in my starter for whatever reason, so I had to pitch an additional vial the next day.

The brewer indicated that getting this beer as dry as possible really brings out some of the flavors.  I'm not a huge fan of overly dry IPAs and given that my house yeast doesn't attenuate as much as Super San Diego, I am going to have to settle for more of a 1.010 FG rather than a 1.006.  I'm excited to see how this grain bill accentuates the hops but still provides that nice fluffy head from all of the wheat malt.

The Scholar (Societe Brewing's The Pupil Clone)
5.5 gal batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.060
Est FG: 1.010
Est ABV: 6.58%
IBU: 67
SRM: 4

10.5lb 2-Row Malt
3.5lb White Wheat Malt
0.75lb Carapils

0.5oz Magnum @ FWH (24 IBU)
0.7oz Nelson Sauvin @ 20 min (14 IBU)
0.3oz Cita @ 20 min (7 IBU)
2.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ Whirlpool 10 min (13 IBU)
1.0oz Cita @ Whirlpool 10 min (6 IBU)
0.5oz Centennial @ Whirlpool 10 min (3 IBU)
2.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ Dry Hop 3 Days
1.0oz Citra @ Dry Hop 3 Days
1.0oz Centennial @ Dry Hop 3 Days

1250ml starter WY1028 London Ale

Mash @ 147f for 90 minutes

5/27/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Mash went fine, gathered 8gal of wort with a 74% efficiency.  Boil/chill proceeded as normal.  It was hard to tell if the starter actually took off, but I pitched it anyways.

5/28/2014 -- Still no fermentation activity.  This never happens with my washed yeast (until now).  Got scared and pitched another mason jar of WY1028 slurry.  Fermentation took off in a few hours, probably just had a dead batch of yeast?

6/8/2014 -- Added dry hops.

6/11/2014 -- Bottled 4.75 gallons carbed to 2.4 vol. Final gravity was 1.010.

7/6/2014 -- Tasting notes.  This is an awesome beer.