Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wild Brown

The motivation for this brew is simple: there is a friendly, Best of Show-style, homebrew competition at work.  I intend to win.  So rather than play it safe and make plain stout, or a pale ale, I'm going to risk it all and attempt to make a funky brown using brettanomyces claussenii in 4 months.  I based my recipe off of the Mad Fermentationist's Bourbon Barrel Oud Bruin.  I couldn't find Crystal 90, so I improvised, which should serve to add complexity to the flavor.  And I'm an idiot, and ordered Caramunich, instead of Dark Munich.

Oaked Wild Brown

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G):           5.0
Total Grain (lb):         9.625
Total Hops (oz):          1.00
Original Gravity (OG):    1.076
Final Gravity (FG):       1.005
Alcohol by Volume (ABV):  9.3%
Colour (SRM):             20.3
Bitterness (IBU):         26.5   (Rager)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 95?
Boil Time (Minutes):      40

Grain Bill
4.000 lb Maris Otter Malt (43.82%)
3.500 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Amber (32.87%)
1 lb 5 oz Caramunich III (14.38%)
5 oz Melanoidin (3.43%)
3 oz Chocolate (2.06%)
3 oz Caramel 80 (2.06%)
1 oz Crystal 120 (0.69%)
Note the nice, rich brown krausen.
1 oz Crystal 77 (0.69%)

Hop Bill
1.00 oz Amarillo Leaf (8.2% Alpha) @ 40 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)

Multi-Step Mash (in a bag)
108°F for 15 minutes.
130°F for 30 minutes.
148°F for 30 minutes.

Primary fermentation with Wyeast 3789PC - Trappist Blend
Pitched 1.8L starter of White Labs WLP645 Brettanomyces claussenii after 17 days.

Made 1.5L starter with ~1/3 cup LME and vial of White Labs WLP645 Brettanomyces claussenii.  Set on counter at ~60°F room temp.  Shook flask to aerate every time I walked by/thought about it.

Brew day.  Everything went really smoothly.  Hit pretty close to my temps.  Planned for 134/150°F.  Got the wort cooled down in an ice bath with intermittent stirring and transferred to carboy.  This was my first time using whole leaf hops; I have to say, I like them a lot better than pellets.  They are way easier to control.

Around midnight pitched Wyeast 3789PC - Trappist Blend at 64°F and placed in tupperware bin of water controlled at 75°F.  Covered mouth of carboy with sanitized aluminum foil.  Moved Brett. c. starter to water bath.

Gravity sample reads...1.077?!?!  Planned OG was 1.055.  Mash regime plus batch sparging clearly blew my efficiency way up.  Oh well.  The more I brew, the better things go.  Sample tasted amazing.  Nice subtle chocolate behind a full, thick biscuit/toasty backbone.  I am really excited for this one.

Added packet of foam control to carboy, for obvious reasons.  Fermentation not started.

0430 hrs: Left for vacation.  Noticed one finger of rich, thick brownish krausen on the surface of the wort.

1530 hrs: Returned from vacation.  Fermentation has slowed.  Success!  No explosions or foam-overs!  B. claussenii starter has a nice pellicle on the surface.

Added 2/3 cup of DME in 300mL water to starter to feed B. claussenii.  Replaced foil cover on carboy with 3 piece airlock (still has positive pressure).

Put starter in fridge to settle yeast out of solution in anticipation of pitching into carboy.

Removed starter from fridge and poured off liquid.  Swirled yeast into suspension and poured directly into carboy with beer.  Used sanitized wine thief to stir beer so that the B. claussenii would be thoroughly distributed, and withdrew a sample for gravity/taste testing.  Sample weighed in at 1.010, which is a little low for B. claussenii, as this is a lesser-attenuating strain.  Added ~1 cup of DME boiled in water to provide a little sustenance for these guys to have something to eat.

Starter sample tasted awesome!  (Surprisingly)  It was really light with fruity aromas and a very pleasant tartness that reminded me of fresh citrus fruits (kind of a combination of pineapple and lemon).  The sample of the brown that I pulled was pretty good.  It had a nice subdued ester profile from the Trappist yeast, with a light biscuit and chocolate flavor from the malts.  Unfortunately, there was a presence of something that wasn't quite right.  I believe it was probably due to the high efficiency of the mash.  I tasted just the slightest bitterness.  There was also a tartness present with the bitterness, but it's possible this was due to the various Brettanomyces spp. present in the yeast pitch.

Took gravity reading: 1.005. Sample tasted really nice.  What I may have been picking up as a slight tannic bitterness before seems to have subsided for the most part, and now I'm getting a nice clean flavor with a little bit of lactic tang.  I have to assume this is from the B. claussenii that I added, because there is also a hint of pineapple.  I'm also picking up on a nice barnyardy/earthy aroma from the other brettanomyces spp. in the Trappist blend.  However, the flavor is missing just a little bit of something to be amazing.  I'm thinking I want to add a bit of oak, and maybe a tiny bit of fruit, probably cherry.  Since I don't have much time before the contest, I think it's going to have to be a flavoring from a bottle, rather than real fruit, but I'll pull a sample to taste it and make sure that's the right way to go.

Added some heavy toast American Oak chips to the carboy.  I'm not quite sure how much it was, but if I had to guess, I'd say somewhere close to1.5 oz inside a nylon mesh hopping bag.  Checked gravity; stable at 1.005.

Pulled a sample to check the flavor addition from the oak.  Oh man, this was what it needed.  This is looking like the best beer I have ever made, seriously.  I picked up the cherry flavoring from the LHBS and as soon as I got it home, I knew that this wasn't going to work.  Ick.  It smells like fake cherry syrup for your snow cone.  Definitely not the way to go.  I think I am not going to add anything else.  I have a brand new keg coming today, and I am going to fill it up and have it ready to serve for next Friday's competition.  Results to follow.

Kegged using "closed" transfer under CO2 pressure in the carboy.  Hooked racking cane to tubing which connected to liquid out port of keg, while venting the gas in.  Set aside and put under 12 psi to carbonate, which should give me ~2.5 volumes of CO2 at 38°F.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Ale


Pumpkin Ale

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G):           5.3
Total Grain (lb):         8.5
Total Hops (oz):          1.00
Original Gravity (OG):    1.058
Final Gravity (FG):       1.009
Alcohol by Volume (ABV):  5.70 %
Colour (SRM):             10.1
Bitterness (IBU):         28.2  (Rager)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 73
Boil Time (Minutes):      60

Grain Bill
3.000 lb Maris Otter Malt (35.29%)
2.000 lb Dry Malt Extract - Light (23.53%)
2.000 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Munich (23.53%)
1.000 lb Munich II (11.76%)
0.250 lb Crystal 120 (2.94%)
0.250 lb Crystal 20 (2.94%)

Hop Bill
0.50 oz Northern Brewer Pellet (9.6% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.1 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Northern Brewer Pellet (9.6% Alpha) @ 20 Minutes (Boil) (0.1 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill
112.00 oz Pumpkin @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
1/8+ tsp Allspice @ 5 Days (Primary)
5/8 tsp Cinnamon @ 5 Days (Primary)
1/8 tsp Ginger @ 5 Days (Primary)

Multi-Step Mash (in a bag)
115°F for 20 minutes.
135°F for 30 minutes.
148°F for 45 minutes.

Recipe Generated with BrewMate.

Brew day.  Roasted 7 lbs fresh pie pumpkins for 60 minutes at 350°F.

Again, having trouble hitting mash temps.  Maybe I actually need to spring for some brewing software, not just recipe formulation/tracking.  I wanted to do a 104/140/154° schedule, but maybe it will work out better this way and I'll have higher fermentability.  I was a little worried, because after 30 minutes of my final mash temp, the wort was still tasting pretty starchy and not very sweet.  So I let it go for another 15 minutes, which helped.  Added pumpkin pulp in a mesh bag at start of boil.

Cooled wort after the boil by placing in ice bath in the sink and stirring intermittently.  Topped up to 5.3 gallons with 40°F water, which probably put the wort at about 55°F.  For fermentation temperature control, I use a Rubbermaid bin filled with a couple gallons of water and ice packs.  Filled with water and ice packs to ~60°F.  Pitched 11.5 grams of rehydrated Safale US-05 at a cool mid-50s.

Held temperature of water bath fairly steady  in the low-60s until fermentation began to slow on 10/19.  Let free rise in water bath to room temperature of 66-68°F.

Removed beer from water bath and set in the corner to finish.  Bought 50 mL of Zyr vodka.  Took a nip off the top, just to see what sort of quality I was going to be adding into my beer: wow.  This stuff is really good.  I added the spices to the bottle of vodka to let it steep for a few days before adding to the finished beer.

Checked the specific gravity (1.009) and added spice tonic.  Flavor was nice and clean.  Very promising.

Bottling day.  Checked gravity (1.008) and added 5 g dextrose to bottling bucket with ~1 cup water.  Had broken autosiphon tip during bottling of Funky Saison, and had trouble maintaining siphon for last 2 quarts or so.  May have induced significant aeration attempting to get the last half gallon in the bottling bucket.  Yield was 2 bombers (22 oz.) and 40 bottles (12 oz.).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Funky Saison

So I have decided to play around with a couple of things this time. First, I am trying my hand at reusing yeast, as I saved the French Saison yeast from my last batch. I am doing my very first partial mash. IN ADDITION, I am pitching bottle dregs for the first time. This should be an exciting brew.

To start things off, I tasted my batch of Saison Première from a couple weeks ago. It was a little early, but I had a bottle that was only partially filled, and I wanted to make sure it wouldn't explode on me. Since the Saison yeast took off so quickly, I imagined that the priming sugars were probably mostly consumed by this point, and it could be properly carbonated. I put the bottle in the fridge to chill after 3 days of bottle conditioning, so that it could have overnight to dissolve the CO2 and let the yeast drop out of suspension.

On tasting this bottle, it was immediately apparent that it wasn't ready, because there was a huge hit of yeastiness on the aroma, followed by the same in the flavor. This is fine, because my primary reason for drinking this bottle was to not waste the beer and to not let the bottle explode. I didn't judge this batch on the flavor and aroma I got from this particular bottle, however, it was decent, allowing for the fact that it wasn't ready. At 6.5% ABV, this was a nice, smooth drinking beer. I'm pretty excited for the finished results.

Funky Saison

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G):           2.75
Total Grain (lb):         4.250
Total Hops (oz):          1.00
Original Gravity (OG):    1.054
Final Gravity (FG):       0.998
Alcohol by Volume (ABV)*:  8.0 %
Colour (SRM):             11.4   (EBC): 22.5
Bitterness (IBU):         35.2   (Tinseth)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes):      40

Grain Bill
2.000 lb American 2-Row (47.06%)
2.000 lb Dry Malt Extract - Light (47.06%)
0.250 lb Crystal 120 (5.88%)

Hop Bill
0.50 oz Challenger Pellet (7% Alpha) @ 40 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Challenger Pellet (7% Alpha) @ 20 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)

Multi-Step Mash (in a bag)
115°F for 15 minutes.
150°F for 30 minutes.
154°F for 10 minutes.

Recipe Generated with BrewMate.

Ferment Plan
Brew day.  Pitched 50mL slurry of second generation Wyeast 3711 - French Saison.

I mashed in a bag, using a warm oven to maintain temp.  For a sparge, I took a gallon of water at 180°F and dipped the bag of grains in, swirling it around to rinse the grains of all their sugary goodness.  I then added the hops and boiled for 40 minutes.  

This didn't go exactly as planned.  I was hoping to mash high at 158°F.  Oh well.  Everything else went really well.

Checked gravity - 1.003.  Not much left for the Brett. to eat, will have to add some complex sugars tomorrow.  Transferred to secondary and pitched Orval dregs (Brettanomyces).

During autosiphoning, created a little too much turbulence and ended up racking more French Saison yeast than I wanted to the secondary container.

*Finally got around to adding maltodextrine.  Boiled 4-5 oz in 3-4 cups water to sanitize, cooled and added to secondary.  At 40 ppg, this should add about 5 gravity points.  I'll add some more to taste, if this doesn't give me enough funk.

Gravity down to 1.000.  Maybe a slight tartness.  Not much funk to speak of; we'll wait another couple weeks and add some more maltodextrine if it doesn't taste much different.

Gravity down to 0.998.  Smells wonderful and complex.  A lot of fruit and tartness in the aroma, but I can't tell if it's made it to the flavor, yet.  Certainly not much of a change if it has, mostly a nice, peppery saison; this has a really nice flavor.  Bottled with ~1/3 cup of table sugar because I need the fermenter for a quick sour brown I'm making for a small contest with some friends in February.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


So I wanted something great and refreshing to drink while it was hot out, and since I don't have a way of cooling my fermentation, that means that I need something that ferments hot. Like a saison. So I decided to pull bits and pieces of a few different recipes together and make my own.  

The corn comes from here, to add head retention and mild residual sweetness while retaining a nice, light body (that's what she said), the Special B is for a little bit of maltiness to the grist bill, and the candi sugar is to help it dry out a little and providing some sweet aroma. I chose to use Wyeast 3711 French Saison because of its notoriety for being extremely attenuative and producing bone dry beers. I would have chosen to use 3724, their Belgian Saison that I think is a DuPont strain, except for the fact that it needs like 6 weeks at 90°F to finish...and I have run out of homebrew to drink.

Saison Premiè

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G): 5.0
Total Grain (lb): 7.750
Total Hops (oz): 2.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.050 (°P): 12.4
Final Gravity (FG): 1.000 (°P): 0
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 6.55 %
Colour (SRM): 8.1 (EBC): 16.0
Bitterness (IBU): 32.0 (Tinseth)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes): 60

Grain Bill
5.000 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Pilsen (64.52%)
1.000 lb Candi Sugar, Clear (12.9%)
1.000 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Wheat (12.9%)
0.500 lb Flaked Corn (6.45%)
0.250 lb Special-B (3.23%)

Hop Bill
1.00 oz East Kent Golding Pellet (7.2% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Saaz Pellet (3.6% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.1 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Saaz Pellet (3.6% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma) (0.1 oz/Gal)

Wyeast 3711 - French Saison

Boil Details

Boil Volume: 3 gallons
Boil Time: 60 minutes
Whirlpool: 10 minutes

Ferment Details
O.G. : 1.050
Pitch WY3711 at 74°F.
07/17: Fermented at 74°F for 48 hours
07/19: Raise temp to 76°F for 48 hours
07/21: Raise temp to 80°F to let fermentation complete.
07/28: Cool to ~50°F and hold.
07/30: Bottle with ~3.5 oz dextrose.
F.G. : 1.000
Primary length: 11 days

Recipe Generated with BrewMate.

I was really surprised by how vigorous this yeast was. Just like everything I read, it took off really quickly and looked like it was done with fermentation within 48 hours. I pitched a smack pack of this yeast around 18:00 Sunday evening. The next morning when I got up, there was already a ring of krausen around the carboy and a light white foam on the top of the beer. Since there didn't seem to be any violent activity imminent, I went ahead and replaced the foil covering with a 3 piece airlock, which has been bubbling steadily ever since, accompanied by small bubbles on the surface of the beer.

After 11 days, I was pretty sure that this yeast was finished with its business.  I went ahead and cooled as much as I could with my ghetto temperature control (a tupperware bin full of water and ice packs) and held for two days to help settle things out.  This complete, I bottled into cleaned and sanitized bombers using about 3.5 oz dextrose for priming, which should give me around 2.3 volumes of CO2.  The hydrometer sample I took tasted really nice.  It was lightly sweet, very dry, and slightly lemony.  I am very excited to see how this turns out once it's carbonated...which shouldn't be too long, knowing how those Saison yeast eat.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...