Friday, August 29, 2014

The Barista Batch #2 (Imperial Breakfast Stout) -- Brew Day

Third brew in one week.  Solid.

As the weather will slowly be turning cooler (winter is coming...), my brew calendar has started planning for some darker beers.  I attempted a medium strength coffee stout last year, and while it scored pretty well, it just wasn't what I was really envisioned.  For this year's attempt, I wanted to style something more along the lines of a Founders Breakfast Stout or Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout.  Both of these beers to me embody strong, chocolate notes with a nice, round, subtle coffee/espresso character.

The recipe for this batch is going largely along the lines of the Mikkeller brew with some grain adjustment and a change in yeast.  Beer Geek is brewed using a higher attenuating American ale yeast, but I'm imaging something that has a little bit a fuller body than the Mikkeller beer.  As such, and since I've been enjoying these yeast lately, I'm using the new(ish) White Labs WLP200 American/English ale blend.  This should finish slightly higher than the straight American Ale, by probably 3-4 points, but will lend a rounder character to the finished brew.

I've always been a fan of the brew days for two types of beers: 1) IPAs, just because the sheer amount of hops is always a pleasure, and 2) stouts/porters.  The mash on a dark stout or porter is one of the most glorious smells, in my opinion.  I wish that I could avoid some of the fermentation compounds and harness that raw roastiness right there.

I've been battling efficiency issues lately that I think are a combination of pre-crushed grains, water chemistry and my own laziness when it comes to the BIAB process.  For the grains issue, although I'd love my own mill, I don't see this as a realistic purchase within the next 2-3 months.  The water issue should be solved soon enough.  My tap water sample that I send off to Ward Labs came back tainted somehow with a pH of 3.7, so they offered to retest it for free.  Nice guys.  The laziness aspect with regards to stirring and whatnot has no known cure.

The Barista Batch #2 (Imperial Breakfast Stout)
5.5 gallon batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.082
Est FG: 1.025
Est ABV:  8%
IBU: 74
SRM: 60

9.12lb Pilsner
2.50lb Flaked Oats
2.50lb Malted Oats
2.37lb Chocolate Malt
1.37lb Brown Malt
1.37lb Caramunich Malt
1.37lb Roasted Malt
0.75lb Smoked Malt

1.30oz Centennial @ FWH (38 IBU)
0.70oz Chinook @ FWH (27 IBU)
0.50oz Cascade @ FWH (8 IBU)
1.00oz Cascade @ 1 min (1 IBU)

1000ml starter WLP200 American/English Blend

1oz cold-pressed coffee in 12oz water added 2 days before bottling

Mash @ 153f for 60 minutes

Fermentarium coming along nicely
8/27/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Mash smelled incredible and almost filled my 10gal mash tun.  Efficiency sucked at 65%, but that sometimes happens with big, dark beers.  Gathered 5.5 gal of 1.078 wort, a little short of target.  I didn't have a chance to make a starter for the WLP200, so after it hadn't started up in 24 hours, I added some S-04.  Kicked off quickly from there.  Dense, dark krausen.

9/22/2014 -- Added 1oz of cold pressed coffee in 12oz of water.  Used Starbucks Verona for its high body and low acidity.

9/23/2014 -- Bottled with 3.2oz of corn sugar for 2.1 vol.  Finished a tad on the high side at 1.029.  Tasted fantastic, very much on par with Mikkeller.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Scout (Modern Times Blazing World Clone) -- Brew Day

Given my lack of brewing over the past few weeks as we'd been preparing to move across the city and our hope to have a housewarming party in the next couple of months, I'll be accelerating my brew schedule for the time being.  As for right now, I plan to have a cache of homebrew consisting of my Quad (straight and oak-aged), French Cider, Belgian Single, two IPAs, a coffee stout and a Sorachi Ace clone (time permitting).  Last night, I brewed one of the two IPAs (The Scholar Batch #2) and tonight I will be brewing the other.  Both IPAs are quite heavy on their Nelson Sauvin presence, but NS is a beautiful hop so I'm happy to run this risk (is this a risk?).

Mike Tonsmeire, the blogger at The Mad Fermentationist and the author of the new book American Sour Beers, consulted for a time at Modern Times Beer before and during its relatively recent opening in San Diego.  Mike fully documented the planning phase for the brewery's flagship beers and posted about the recipe evolution over a period of several months.  While I have tried a couple of MT's beers, I haven't had the opportunity to sample Blazing World, their heavily-hopped amber/red ale.  The beer has been well received on Beer Advocate and seeing as I have a new pound of Nelson Sauvin to put to work, I figured this would be a very appropriate recipe.

The grain bill for this recipe is pretty standard for an IPA save the small amount of roasted malt added for color and a touch of taste.  I toyed with the idea of "capping the mash" with the roasted malts near the end of the mash schedule but in the end I just tossed everything in the mash together.  This recipe has probably one of the largest flameout/steeping additions, ringing in at a full 7 ounces.  After weighing them out on the scale, I gave the bowl a quick shake to distribute the hops and then I motorboated the shit out of it.  It was wonderous.

The Scout
5.5 gallon batch - 60 minute boil
Est OG: 1.065
Est FG: 1.013
Est ABV: 6.87%
IBU: 90
SRM: 14

13.75lb Floor-Malted Maris Otter
2lb Munich Malt
3.0oz Roasted Barley
2.0oz Debittered Black Malt

1.0oz Magnum @ FWH (40IBU)
1.0oz Simcoe @ 25 min (26 IBU)
3.0oz Mosaic @ Steep 5 min (11 IBU)
3.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ Steep 5 min (10 IBU)
1.0oz Simcoe @ Steep 5 min (4 IBU)
3.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.0oz Mosaic @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.0oz Simcoe @ Dry Hop 4 Days

1000ml starter WY1056 American Ale

Mash @ 149f for 75 minutes

8/20/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Mash went well.  Efficiency came out to 70% with some additional stirring and a longer dunk sparge.  Boil proceeded as normal.  Chilled down to 75f and gathered 5.5 gallons of 1.065 wort.  Was only able to pitch one packet of WY1056 as I didn't get an opportunity to make a starter.

9/4/2014 -- Dry hopped per recipe.

9/6/2014 -- Bottled with 4.1oz corn sugar for 2.4vol C02.  Finished at 1.012.  Seemed a little muddy colored, but I'm hoping that's mostly from the dry hops and will settle out a bit.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Scholar Batch #2 (Societe Brewing The Pupil Clone) -- Brew Day

My last batch of The Scholar turned out wonderfully, if not maybe a touch fuller-bodied than I had intended.  I believe that was most likely due to the use of WY1028 London Ale, which typically attenuates less than most American strains.  The beer was well received by friends and scored a 39, although it unfortunately did not place, in the New Jersey State Fair Homebrew Competition.  Overall, I'd venture to say it was probably
in the top 5 beers I've ever made.

For my second attempt at this, I really wanted to hit the body spot on.  Switching to WLP090 Super San Diego yeast will definitely help.  That thing is a hungry fucker.  Additionally, I'm going to spend more time monitoring the mash temperature to make sure that it is holding in the 147f range.

My wife and I have recently moved and this was my first brew in the new house.  Everything went well and I very much appreciated the greater space.  However, I still need to get some kinks worked out regarding kettle placement with the burners to cut down on strike time and to maintain a strong rolling boil.  I'm continuing to have issues with mash efficiency, which at this point I can't pinpoint to anything other than crush.

The Scholar Bach #2
5.5 gallon batch - 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.060
Est FG: 1.007
Est ABV: 7%
IBU: 67
SRM: 4

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

0.50oz Magnum @ FWH (24 IBU)
0.66oz Nelson Sauvin @ 20 min (14 IBU)
0.33oz Citra @ 20 min (7 IBU)
2.00oz Nelson Sauvin @ Steep 10 min (13 IBU)
1.00oz Citra @ Steep 10 min (6 IBU)
0.50oz Centennial @ Steep 10 min (3 IBU)
2.00oz Nelson Sauvin @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.00oz Citra @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.00oz Centennial @ Dry Hop 4 Days

1000ml starter of WLP090 Super San Diego

Mash @ 147 for 90 minutes

8/19/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Mash proceeded as normal, but got shitty efficiency (67%).  I probably should have stirred it up a bit more.  Added some DME to the boil and ended with 5.5 gallons of 1.060 wort.  For some reason this recipe always comes out darker than the software predicts, which is strange because its basically all light base malts.  The WLP090 was a tad old, and despite the starter, it hadn't really taken off yet in the morning.

8/20/2014 -- Fermentation activity has still not kicked off.  Added another vial of Super SD yeast that should have some more viability.

8/21/2014 -- Still no fermentation.  Another beer brewed after this that had been pitched with only a smack pack and no starter has actually started before this one.  I'm thinking I'm going to panic and add some S-04 tonight.

8/22/2014 -- The thing finally started.  Hopefully it turns out alright.  If I'm going to use that yeast again, I'm definitely going to do my starter a few more days in advance.

9/3/2014 -- Dry hops added.  Ended up tossing in 1.5oz of Centennial rather than 1.0oz as that was what was left in the bag and Centennial is fucking delicious.

9/5/2014 -- Bottled with 4.1oz corn sugar for 2.4vol CO2.  Finished at 1.009.  A little high, but given the fermentation issues starting off with this one, I'll take it.

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