Beer Tasting: Festivus Simplex

Tasting time! Tasting time! For this round, I’m evaluating my festbier.

  • 20171113_174304The Basics
    • 1.056 o.g., 1.014 f.g., 5.5% abv, 21 estimated IBU, 6 SRM
  •  Appearance
    • Burnished gold and quite clear, with a thick white head that is quite persistant. Very pretty!
  • Aroma
    • Modestly malty (characterized by bready and toasty note), with a slightly spicy hop aroma.
  • Flavor
    • Gorgeously malty character that is at the forefront, with bready aspects dominating, but still quite drinkable. The bitterness is clean, moderate, and well balanced against the malt; there’s not much in the way of hop flavor, other than a slight herbal and spicy character. I feel like I could up the malt character a bit (maybe even go completely with Munich and Vienna, cutting out the pilsner malt) and the beer would be even better.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Moderate body, with a moderately high (but not effervescent) carbonation. The finish is slightly dry, but not overly so, and doesn’t linger forever.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Absolutely! This is a really nice festbier, and falls squarely into everything I’m looking for in a drinkable fall lager. I might up the maltiness just a touch.
  • Overall
    • 9/10

20171113_174444

20171113_174253

Posted in festbier, lager, tastings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gravel Bottom Porter

Our upcoming club competition focuses on porters of all types. My own entry is a bit of a last-minute affair; this is coupled with a need/desire to use up some ingredients in the brewing stash.

For this batch, I wanted something more on the English end of porters. I’ve done a lot of American porters and robust porters, but it’s been a long time since I’ve deviated from those. This one isn’t a true English porter–the base malts are decidedly German–but the overall feel is on the west side of the Channel.

20171104_153434

Transferring the wort into the fermenter

Gravel Bottom Porter

  • 5.25 lbs. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.5 lbs. Vienna malt (Great Western)
  • 1 lb. crystal extra dark malt 120° (Crisp)
  • 1 lb. pale chocolate malt 225° (Crisp)
  • 6.4 oz. flaked barley
  • 4 oz. caramel 120° malt (Briess)
  • 3.2 oz. flaked wheat
  • 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.85 oz. Willamette hop pellets (4.9% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Empire Ale dry yeast (Mangrove Jack’s M15)

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 152° for 60 minutes, batch sparge
  • Claremont tap water
  • 1.049 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 4.6% abv, 27 IBU, 29 SRM, 5.5 gallons into fermenter

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 3.25 gallons of water at 165°, to hit a mash temperature of 153°. After 45 minutes, it was down to around 151°.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 1.37 gallons of water at 185°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. Then, I added 3.5 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected ~6.25 gallons of wort. This was below my target, so I added RO water to get to 6.8 gallons. This equates to around 79% efficiency.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, adding hops and Whirlfloc at the appropriate times.
  • After 60 minutes, I turned off the flame and began chilling. Once I was down to ~78°, I transferred to the primary fermenter and pitched the yeast.
  • Starting gravity was 1.049; right on the nose!
  • I brewed this beer on 4 November 2017, and will be fermenting at 68°.
Posted in English porter, porter | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Session Stout

The past few months have been exceedingly packed for a variety of reasons, and so I’ve had little time to brew and even less time to blog! Here is a quick report on an Irish-like stout I brewed up around a month ago.

The intention for this recipe was to create an Irish-like stout; note that I say “Irish-like” because I didn’t go completely authentic with all ingredients. I also wanted something that was fairly low in alcohol and quite drinkable. Thus, I aimed for something <4.5% abv and fairly dry.

The recipe is modified (slightly) from a recipe in Jennifer Talley’s Session Beers book.

Session Stout

  • 6.46 lb. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 1 lb. flaked barley
  • 0.75 oz. roasted barley (Bairds)
  • 4.2 oz. black malt (Bairds)
  • 3 oz. chocolate malt (Briess)
  • 1 oz. pale chocolate malt (Crisp)
  • 4 oz. rice hulls
  • 0.5 oz. Warrior hops (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Irish ale yeast, prepared in 0.75L starter

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 152°. Batch sparge.
  • Claremont tap water.
  • 1.043 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 4.2% abv, 31 IBU, 42 SRM, 5 gallons into fermenter

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 2.83 gallons of water at 162°, to hit a target temperature of 151°.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 1.65 gallons of water at 185° for the first batch sparge, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected first runnings. Then, I added 3.5 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.037. To this, I added 0.25 gallons of RO water to bring the volume up to 6.75 gallons.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and other ingredients at the times indicated in the recipes.
  • After flame-out and chilling, I aerated while transferring into the primary fermenter.
  • Starting gravity was 1.042, and I fermented at 67°. The beer was brewed on 9 October 2017.
  • I kegged this beer on 2 November 2017. The yeast had settled into a nice dense cake at the bottom of the fermenter.
  • Final gravity was 1.012, for 3.9% abv. This was pretty close to my target, so I’m happy. I force carbonated at high pressure with a little bit of shaking, and was drinking the beer within a day after kegging.
  • In my initial tasting, this beer pretty much hits all the notes I wanted. It’s a highly drinkable Irish-type stout with a good bit of flavor. I think this will be a good beer to kick off fall!
Posted in irish stout, stout | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Beer Tasting: Dark Helmet Schwarzbier

My schwarzbier has been kegged for over a month, and seems to be at its peak. Tasting time!

20170903_151314Dark Helmet Schwarzbier

  • The Basics
    • 1.046 o.g., 1.014 f.g., 4.2% abv, 26 estimated IBU, 28 SRM
  • Appearance
    • Clear brown beer with a slight ruby tinge. The head is a light tan color and persistant.
  • Aroma
    • Light chocolate aroma with a slight roastiness; very nice!
  • Flavor
    • Clean and smooth, with a nice bready maltiness backed up with a bit of roasty chocolate and slight coffee notes. There is a modest bitterness, which melds quite well with the malt.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Smooth, light, and crisp; moderate carbonation and a gentle bitterness to the moderately dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Indeed! This beer has matured into a delicious and very drinkable lager. I feel like I nailed the style pretty well. Although we are squarely in the heat of summer, this is one dark beer that I don’t mind having around. It’s surprisingly refreshing! Overall, there is very little I would change about this beer. It’s nice to have another reliable session beer in my portfolio, too.
  • Overall
    • 10/10
Posted in lager, Schwarzbier, tastings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Peach IPA

This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for quite awhile…fruit beers intrigue me, and a well executed fruit IPA can be exquisite. This particular recipe is modified from the Peach IPA recipe by Mitch Steele in the March/April 2016 Zymurgy magazine. I adjusted the base malt, hops, etc., to match some of what I had in stock. I also upped the dry hop quantities to provide the more intense hop aroma that I like.

Peach IPA

  • 11.25 lb. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 0.75 lb. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.5 lb. Carapils malt (Briess)
  • 1.10 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Galaxy hop pellets (14.0% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 2 oz. Helga (Southern Hallertau) hop pellets (5.6% alpha), 10 day dry hop
  • 1 oz. Galaxy hop pellets (14.0% alpha), 10 day dry hop
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (12.25% alpha), 10 day dry hop
  • 4 oz. peach puree, added on day 3 of fermentation
  • 1 pkg. California Ale yeast (White Labs WLP001)

Target Parameters

  • Single infusion mash to hit target of 152°, 60 minute rest, batch sparge
  • 1.063 s.g., 1.014 f.g., 6.5% abv, 64 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Water adjusted to 113 ppm Ca, 22 ppm Mg, 24 ppm Na, 194 ppm SO4, 42 ppm Cl, 170 ppm alkalinity, 76 ppm RA

Procedure

  • Two days before brewing, I prepared a 2L yeast starter, and let it go for 36 hours before cold crashing in the fridge. I’ll set aside ~0.6L for a later batch.
  • I prepared my mash water and sparge water in two equal batches of 4.25 gallons. To each, I added 3.1g gypsum, 1.7 g epsom salt, and 0.7 g calcium chloride. To adjust the mash pH, I added 2 tsp (10 mL) of 75% phosphoric acid.
  • I mashed in with 4.25 gallons of water at 160.5°, to hit my mash target of 152°. After 45 minutes, I was down to 150°.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 0.75 gallons of water at 185°, let rest for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • Next, I added 3.5 gallons of water at 185°, let rest for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of sweet wort with a gravity of 1.053, for 75% efficiency.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, and added the hops and other ingredients per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I added the final hop dose and then turned off the flame before chilling as far as I can.
  • I got the wort down to about 85°…that’s the best I could do in the midst of this heat wave! So, I transferred the wort into the fermenter and put it in the fermentation chamber overnight to chill down to 66°.
  • Starting gravity was 1.062. I brewed this beer on 1 September 2017, and pitched the yeast on 2 September 2017.
Posted in fruit beer, IPA | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment