Beer Tasting: Olde Persica Porter

Sometimes you make a beer that just nails it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does…wow! Olde Persica Porter is one of those beers.

  • 20161207_201748The Basics
    • Original gravity = 1.060, final gravity = 1.016, abv = 5.8%, estimated IBU = 37
  • Aroma
    • Smoky and rich, really nicely balanced. The smokiness has subsided a bit since first sampling a few weeks back, but is still quite pleasant. It’s hard to find the exact words for the smoke character, but it’s about spot-on for what I like in a beer.
  • Appearance
    • Brown head with decent retention; deep, chocolate brown beer, with decent clarity.
  • Flavor
    • The malts are wonderfully at the centerpiece of this beer. A moderate smokiness, roastiness, and slight hint of chocolate combine into something incredibly tasty.
  • Mouthfeel
    • This beer has a moderate body, and a smooth finish. Carbonation is right about perfect.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • In a heartbeat! This ranks up there as probably one of the best beers I have ever made. The smokiness and overall body combine beautifully in this one. A week or so back I was thinking I needed to up the smoked malt percentage (as the smoke character faded over time), but now I’m not so convinced of that. I’ll keep it as is (although might adjust my boil slightly to achieve a slightly greater final gravity). This is one of those beers made for a cold night in front of the fire, and I’ve done exactly that.
  • Overall
    • 10/10
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Update: Wild Times Pale Ale

Tonight I kegged my American pale ale brewed with wild hops! The final gravity was 1.011 (down from 1.046), for 4.7% abv. I ended up with about 2.25 gallons of beer. I added 1.3 oz. of wild hops for dry hopping, and will be carbonating it from this point forward.

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Take Two Vienna Lager

My previous attempt at a Vienna lager was pretty darned tasty, but a little short of the style in terms of coloration. For my next round, I elected to throw in a few additional dark malts, as a short-cut to something more on style. Additionally, I decided on a straight-forward infusion mash, rather than messing around with decoction. The decocted lager I did before was really tasty, but also a bit of work, and I wanted a quicker brew session for this batch.

The recipe was modified from one by Andy Weigal that medaled at NHC in 2015. I simplified the grist slightly (replacing the portion of pilsner malt with Vienna malt, and using regular Munich malt instead of Munich II). Additionally, I switched to Saaz alone for aroma and bittering.

Take Two Vienna Lager

  • 9.5 lbs. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.75 lbs. Munich malt
  • 0.25 lbs. melanoiden malt
  • 0.175 plbs. Carafa Special II malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.25 oz. Saaz hop pellets (5.6% alpha acid), 60 minute boil
  • 0.25 oz. Saaz hop pellents (5.6% alpha acid), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. German lager yeast (White Labs WLP830), prepared in starter to target ~390 billion cells
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. yeast nutrient, boiled in 1/2 cup water and added to chilled wort

Target Parameters

  • 152° mash, batch sparge, 60 minutes
  • 1.051 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.2% abv, 25 IBU, 12 SRM, 6 gallons into the fermenter

Procedure

  • Five days in advance of brew day, I prepared a 3.5L starter, using 2 packages of yeast and 353 g of extra light DME. After 2 days, I decanted 1L of the starter to set aside a 125 billion cell culture for later use. The remainder was cold-crashed for 3 days, with supernate decanted.
  • On this batch, I followed a water treatment popularized by Gordon Strong. I added 1/4 tsp. of phosphoric acid per five gallons of brewing water, and also added 1 tsp. of calcium chloride to the mash. I am a little surprised by his minimal treatments (especially on the acid additions, given their likely minimal effect on mash pH), but figured I would give it a try.
  • To start the mash, I added 3.6 gallons of water at 167°. This slightly overshot my mash target of 152° (hitting 156°), so I added a half gallon of cold water. This undershot my mash target, so I added a half gallon of boiling water to finally hit the mash target temperature about 25 minutes into. Close enough, I figure.
  • After collecting the first runnings, I added 4.25 gallons of water for the sparge (followed by vorlaufing) and collected the second runnings.
  • All told, I collected 7.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.045. This equates to an efficiency of 85%. Perhaps it was so high because my mash ended up relatively thing…I’m not certain.
  • 20161202_224854I boiled the wort and added hops and other ingredients per the recipe.
  • After 60 minutes, I removed the hops, chilled the wort, and transferred to the fermenter. Once the temperature had dropped to 56°, I pitched the yeast.
  • I will be fermenting this at 52° for ~10-14 days. I brewed this on 2 December 2016.
  • Starting gravity was 1.052, right about at my target. Not too bad! The wort is a deep amber color…a bit darker than I expected, but still looks to be within BJCP style.
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Beer Tasting: Hell Creek Amber Ale

20161119_134231My Hell Creek Amber Ale–a first attempt at incorporating wild hops into a recipe–just kicked. Thankfully, I got a tasting in before the keg was totally drained.

  • The Basics
    • Original gravity = 1.060; final gravity = 1.014; abv = 6.1%; estimated IBU = 33
  • Aroma
    • Malty, with a honey-sweet background.
  • Appearance
    • A deep amber color, with a thin ivory head that has decent persistance. The beer dropped fairly clear after a few weeks in the keg.
  • Flavor
    • Malt-forward, with a toasty and biscuity character. Hop flavor is pretty clean, with moderate bitterness.
  • Mouthfeel
    • The hop finish is a touch harsh, perhaps a little out of balance, so I might drop the bittering just a touch next time, or go with a “cleaner” bittering hop.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! This is a decent, middle of the road amber ale, and has been popular with guests to the house. I might up the biscuit malt a touch, and swap out the Special B with some crystal 120 (per the original recipe). I don’t pick up much in the way of hop character, so would probably add a bit more on the whirlpool if possible.
  • Overall: 
    • 6/10
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Kegging Update: Fade to Black IPA, Odell Isolation Ale Clone

I’ve gotten two of my batches kegged during the past couple of days.

First up was Fade to Black IPA. Final gravity was 1.016 (down from 1.065), for an abv of 6.5%. I added the dry hops at the time of kegging, on November 27. The beer just went on-line tonight (4 days later), and is pretty tasty even at this young state. The balance of roasty malts and earthy hops promises to shape up as something special!

The Odell Isolation Ale Clone was kegged on November 30. Starting gravity was 1.061, final gravity was 1.015, and thus the beer is 5.9% abv. I am currently carbonating this, and it will go into the rotation once a tap has freed up. At the time of kegging, the beer was gloriously clear and flavorful.

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