Friday, September 26, 2014

The Gentleman (American Pale Ale) -- Brew Day

Several week ago I brewed the Russian River Hill 2, Row 56 single hop simcoe clone.  I never posted about it because I was lazy, but it turned out to be a really nice beer.  For comparisons sake, it's identical the recipe below, except solely with Simcoe.  It came out as a really nice, clean APA that wonderfully showcased the hops.

The grain bill comes out basically 2/3 Pilsner to 1/3 Pale Malt with a touch of C10 and Carapils for sweetness and head retention.  If you're looking for a very well rounded grain bill for a house APA, then this is definitely it.

For the time around, I wanted to change up the hops based on what I had on hand.  A quick search on some forums led be to go with pairing Amarillo and Citra with the Mosaic hops that I knew I wanted to include in this brew.  I've been heavily trending towards Nelson in all of my hoppy beers lately, so I wanted to do something a little different this time.

No pictures for this brew day, but everything went pretty normally.  Just make sure to boil this for 90 minutes due to the heavy pilsner malt backbone.

The Gentleman (American Pale Ale)
5.5 gallon batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.057
Est FG: 1.013
Est ABV: 5.9%
IBU: 41
SRM: 4

8.50lb Pilsner Malt
4.50lb Pale Malt
10.0oz Caramel 10L
8.00oz Carapils

0.25oz Magnum @ FWH (13 IBU)
1.00oz Amarillo Gold @ 5 min (5 IBU)
1.00oz Citra @ 5 min (7 IBU)
1.00oz Mosaic @ 5 min (7 IBU)
1.00oz Amarillo Gold @ Steep 5 min (2 IBU)
1.00oz Citra @ Steep 5 min (4 IBU)
1.00oz Mosaic @ Steep 5 min (4 IBU)
1.00oz Amarillo Gold @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.00oz Citra @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.00oz Mosaic @ Dry Hop 4 Days

750ml starter of WLP200 Best of Both Worlds

Mash @ 151f for 60 minutes

9/24/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Got mash efficiency of 72% and ended with 5.5 gallons of 1.055 wort -- a little low due to some lack of boil off.

10/2/2014 -- Dry hops added.

10/6/2014 -- Bottled with 4.2oz of corn sugar for 2.4vol CO2.  Finished at 1.010, a little drier than the recipe called for but that's fine with me.  Taste and aroma were fantastic.

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Le Peste (Traditional Lambic) -- Brew Day

This is one that I've been waiting a long time to brew.  Lambic, and its more refined offspring gueuze, are two of my absolute favorite beer styles.  To this day, one of my favorite experiences has been having the opportunity to sample these beers at Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels.  The allure of these beers are complemented by the length and mystery of their mixed fermentations.

Lambics have been written about as nauseum by beer nerds the world over, so I won't pretend to replicate what they've written before.  Needless to say, given the quasi-rarity of these brews, and the cost once you can actually find them, homebrewing is almost a necessity for any devoted sour fan.

Historically, these have been brewed using unmalted wheat and a specialized mashing regime to arrest conversion of starches.  I had a hard time actually getting crushed unmalted wheat, so I went ahead and used flaked wheat instead.  Several other homebrewers had indicated that they've gone this route before with fantastic results, so I figured why the hell not?

The turbid mash on a lambic is very similar to a double decoction, except instead of pulling the thick part of the mash, you pull just the wort and heat to above sacc temps.  The mash took around 2 hours or so, but other than that it was fairly uneventful.

I acquired a full pound of 3 year old Williamette leaf hops from HopsDirect.  This comes in a package that looks IDENTICAL to a kilo of weed.  It luckily smells similar as well.  The two ounce of leaf hop additions is a decent amount of vegetal volume making me realize why we generally use pelletized hops.  It also makes for some interesting siphoning (it clogged the shit out of my auto-siphon, causing me to accidentally break it.

My plan for this one is to leave it for at least twelve months, adding oak cubes and dregs of various lambics and guezes as I see fit.  After it's developed character, half will be bottled straight and the other half will go on tart cherries for a few months to make a nice kriek.

Le Peste (Traditional Lambic)
5.5 gallon batch -- 120 minute boil
Est OG:  1.047
Est FG: 1.008
Est ABV: 5.0%
IBU: ~7
SRM: 4

7.50lb Belgian Pilsner Malt
4.00lb Flaked Wheat

2.0oz Aged Williamette Leaf @ FWH (7 IBU)

1pkg Wyeast Lambic Blend -- various lambic and gueuze dregs to be added later

Mash Schedule
Add 0.625 gallons of mash water for 20 minutes rest @ 113f
Add 1.000 gallons of mash wter for 5 minute rest @ 133f
Pull 0.250 gallons of wort and heat to 180f in side pot
Add 1.500 gallons of mast water for 30 minute rest @ 148f
Pull 1.000 gallons of wort and heat in 180f in side pot
Add 1.250 gallons of mash water for 20 minute rest @ 155f
Sparge as normal

9/14/2014 -- Brewed with Oscar.  Mash took a while and had some temp hitting issues.  Efficiency came in at 78%.  Gathered 5.5 gallons of 1.059 wort.  Fermenting away quicker than I would have thought at around 75f.

9/22/2014 -- Added dregs of Tilquin Gueuze.

10/11/2014 -- Added dregs of Brasserie Cantillon Classic Gueuze.  Pellicle has been starting.

12/3/2014 -- Added 1 ounce of medium toast oak cubes -- later than I had wanted but I kept forgetting to buy more oak cubes.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Gambler (Sorachi Saison) -- Brew Day

The nice part about moving to a new section of Philly is exploring all of the local bars in the immediate neighborhood that I never would have ventured to check out given I was previously living across the city.  There are a bunch of great beer bars in the area that see some good attention and cycle through draft lists quickly.  Plus they have fucking great burgers.

Burgers aside, one a recent dinner outing, I ordered a tulip of Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace.  I've known about this beer for a long time, and I could have sworn I'd had it, as it's one of the more popular saisons alongside DuPont and Hennepin as well as the signature showcase of the under-utilized Sorachi Ace hop.  The beer, on draft, was just fantastic.  It had a fantastic body to it and the bright, lemon character for which Sorachi is so famous.

There are numerous recipes floating around for this online, I believe as the result of a "clone" published in BYO a few years back.  The alcohol content was a little high for my tastes given that I've been brewing 7-8% beers recently, so I knocked out the 1lb sugar addition.  Given this mash schedule, the beer should be light-bodied enough without the boost from the sugar.  In addition, I added a pound of Carapils to ensure some head retention and used a vial of Westmalle yeast that I had laying around.

I've never been a fan of step infusion mashes as I don't brew with a direct-fired mash tun.  I've found it hard to rely on strike temps indicated by brewing software and other calculators but I would say this mash went along fine.  I tend to over heat my strike water and have some ice cubes handy to fine tune settled temperatures.

The Gambler (Sorachi Saison)
5.5 gallon batch - 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.060
Est FG: 1.012
Est ABV: 6.3%
IBU: 51
SRM: 4

14lb Pilsner
1lb Carapils

0.50oz Sorachi Ace @ FWH (21 IBU)
0.50oz Sorachi Ace @ 30 min (14 IBU)
5.00oz Sorachi Ace @ Whirlpool 5 min (18 IBU)
2.00oz Sorachi Ace @ Dry Hop 4 Days

1000ml starter WLP500 Trappist Ale

Mash Schedule
Infusion @ 122f for 10 minutes
Infusion @ 146f for 60 minutes
Infusion @ 152f for 15 minutes

9/10/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Efficiency came in decent at 72%.  Sorachi smells awesome.  Ended up with 5.5 gallons of 1.058 wort.  A tad low, but whatever.  Fermenting away at around 74f.

9/22/2014 -- Added dry hops.

9/25/2014 -- Bottled 4.75 gallons with 5.1oz corn sugar for 2.8vol CO2.  Had some trub get over into the bottling bucket because I forgot to affix my paint strainer bag at first.  Taste was okay, we'll see how it ages.