Monks’ Fortitude Märzen

I’ve never made a märzen before, and was intrigued by a recipe in the September 2022 issue of BYO, for Monks’ Fortitude Märzen (paywall). My version is virtually identical, other than using a different dry lager yeast.

Monks’ Fortitude Märzen

  • 8.5 lb. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 3 lb. Munich II malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.5 lb. Carared (Weyermann)
  • 1 oz. Hersbrucker hop pellets (4.3% alpha), first wort hop and 75 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Hersbrucker hop pellets (4.3% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. BruTanB, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Hersbrucker hop pellets (4.3% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. Diamond Lager dry yeast (Lallemand)

Target Parameters

  • 1.055 o.g., 1.009 f.g., 6.1% abv, 24 IBU, 8 SRM
  • Full volume mash at 145° for 40 minutes, 156° for 40 minutes, and 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water, with Campden tablet

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 7.25 gallons of water at 145°, adding 7 mL of 88% lactic acid. I maintained temperature at 145° for 40 minutes, before stepping up to 156° for 40 minutes and then 168° for 10 minutes.
  • I collected 6.5 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.046, for 67% mash efficiency.
  • I forgot to add the CaraRed (argh! too many distractions during my brew day) in the initial mash, but was able to steep it in hot wort for 20 minutes at the start of the boil. I then filtered out the grains and added the steeped liquid to the boiling wort. This should probably kick my efficiency up to around the target.
  • I added hops and finings per the recipe, boiling for a total of 75 minutes.
  • I hit a target gravity of 1.055, exactly on the nose. I chilled the beer
  • I brewed the beer on 8 October 2022, and chilled it overnight to 48°. The next morning, on 8 October 2022, I pitched the yeast.
  • I started fermentation at 48°, and let it free rise to 50° on the first day.
  • I brought the beer out to ambient on 12 November 2022, and let it sit at this temperature until kegging on 19 November 2022.
  • Final gravity was 1.012, for 5.7% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Brilliantly clear and light amber hue, with a persistent off-white head.
  • Aroma
    • Malty! There is also a slight bit of spicy hop character. Yeast profile is very clean.
  • Flavor
    • The beer has a rich malty character, with an off-dry finish and a bread-crust quality. Very drinkable! Bitterness is moderate, well matched with the maltiness.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, med\ium carbonation, smooth and off-dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! This is wonderfully drinkable and well attenuated, and a very nice lager. It’s a good version of this style.
  • Overall
    • 10/10

Mahajanga Imperial IPA

It’s the cooler season here in SoCal, so I like a higher strength beer every once in awhile. To that end, I wanted to do an old-school double IPA–something with big malt and piney hop character. So, I returned to the Maharajah Imperial IPA recipe from Craft Beer for the Homebrewer, with my own paleontological spin on it. I made some malt and hop substitutions for what was on-hand, but overall it has the same feel as my previous version. I also added some dextrose to dry out the beer a touch; with the combo of darker malts, I didn’t want it to end up feeling syrupy. I aimed for a batch volume of around 3.5 gallons–firstly, because I don’t want 5 gallons of a beer with this high of alcohol, and secondly because I figured I would lose a bit of volume to the heavy hopping level.

Mahajanga Imperial IPA

  • 11 lb. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 6 oz. Special B malt (Dingemans)
  • 4 oz. Aromatic Munich Malt 20L (Briess)
  • 12 oz. dextrose
  • 1.5 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (10.5% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (9.5% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. BruTanB, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1.75 g yeast nutrient (WLN1000, White Labs), 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Talus hop pellets (6.2% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. American West Coast Ale yeast BRY-97 (Lallemand)
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. LUPMAX Chinook hop pellets (17.0% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Talus hop pellets (6.2% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.083 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 102 IBU, 12 SRM, 9.6% abv
  • Full volume mash at 149° for 60 minutes, 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water adjusted to hit target of 68 ppm Ca, 7 ppm Mg, 92 ppm Na, 108 ppm sulfate, 110 ppm chloride, 156 ppm bicarbonate

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 5.25 gallons of water at 158° and added 5.5 mL of 88% lactic acid, to hit a target rest temperature of 149°. I held it here for 60 minutes, before raising the temperature to 168°.
  • After the mash, I pulled the grains and sparged with about 0.75 gallons of hot water, to rinse the residual sugars out.
  • In total, I collected 5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.060, for 70% mash efficiency. This is good on the one hand, but it meant I had to boil a little harder and longer to get the volume down.
  • I added 2 g of gypsum to the boil, to hit my water target, and also added the corn sugar at this time.
  • I boiled for around 75 minutes, adding the hops and finings per the schedule. After the boil, I chilled a few degrees and then added the whirlpool hops, recirculating for 10 minutes during this process.
  • I chilled the beer the rest of the way, down to around 68°, before transferring to the fermenter and adding the yeast.
  • Starting gravitry was 1.074, a bit short of my goal; I should have boiled a bit longer, because I had plenty of volume. I brewed this beer on 20 November 2022, and fermented at 68°.
  • I kegged the beer on 10 December 2022, with a final gravity of 1.012 and 8.3% abv. I’m pretty happy with that! I bagged the hops and added them to the keg. It didn’t take long for the beer to drop clear at serving temperatures!

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Gorgeous! This is a beautifully clear beer–one of the quickest and best I’ve gotten for an IPA–that pours with a tall, persistent, fine, and off-white head.
  • Aroma
    • Pine and resiny hop aroma, with a hint of deep caramelly malt behind that. There is a very slight bit of alcohol apparent when warmed.
  • Flavor
    • High level of piney hop bitterness at the front, with a bit of citrus pith.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, medium carbonation. The beer has a very slightly dry finish, but not over the top dry.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • Yes! This beer is incredibly drinkable; a little too much so, in fact. It goes down smoother than its ABV allows, and there is no solventy alcohol character that sometimes happens in these kinds of homebrews. The end result was a classic “old school” IPA.
  • Overall
    • 10/10

Ill-Tempered Gnome Clone 2022

Another year, another brew of the excellent Ill-Tempered Gnome clone recipe! This version is identical, except I swapped in BRY-97 for US-05. Without any further introduction, all of the details are below.

Ill-Tempered Gnome Clone

  • 12 lb. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 11 oz. crystal 15° (Great Western)
  • 5 oz. coffee malt (Simpsons)
  • 5 oz. honey malt (Gambrinus)
  • 5 oz. special B malt (Dingemans)
  • 4.5 oz. special roast malt (Briess)
  • 3.5 oz. chocolate malt (Bairds)
  • 1 oz. Nugget hop pellets (13.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 20 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Crystal hop pellets (4.5% alpha), 20 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz Cascade whole hops (est. 5.5% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. American West Coast ale yeast (BRY-97)

Target Parameters

  • 1.063 o.g., 1.015 f.g., 6.3% abv, 58 IBU, 21 SRM
  • Full volume mash at 154° for 60 minutes, with 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water, adjusted to reach estimated profile of 75 ppm Ca, 11 ppm Mg, 93 ppm Na, 149 ppm sulfate, 105 ppm Cl, 156 ppm bicarbonate; RA 68, 128 ppm alkalinity; 60 ppm effective hardness.

Procedure

  • I heated 7.5 gallons of water to 162°, adding a Campden tablet to remove chloramines. Then, I mashed in with the grains to hit a temperature of 154°. I added 7 mL (1.5 tsp.) of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH of the mash, and recirculated at 154° for 60 minutes. Then, I raised the mash temperature to 168° and held it there for 10 minutes, before removing the grains.
  • In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.054, for 68% mash efficiency.
  • As I brought the runnings to a boil, I added 5 g of gypsum to adjust the water profile.
  • The Foundry had some issues with turning on and off, but I approximated a 60 minute boil, adding hops and kettle finings per the recipe.
  • After the 60 minute boil, I chilled to ~75°, transferred to the fermenter, and chilled down to 65° in the fermentation chamber. Then, I pitched the two packages of yeast.
  • I brewed the beer on 2 October 2022, and fermented at 65°. Starting gravity was 1.060.
  • On 8 October 2022, I removed the beer from the fermentation chamber and let it free rise to ambient to finish out fermentation.
  • I kegged the beer on 30 October 2022. At this point, its gravity was 1.015. This equates to 5.9% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Thick, creamy, persistent tan head. Brilliantly clear, reddish-brown beer. Very pretty!
  • Aroma
    • Dark caramel and coffee malt aroma.
  • Flavor
    • Resiny hop bitterness at a moderately high level is very prominent, with a coffee and dark chocolate malt character behind that. There is a very very faint fruity character in the yeast, barely detectable. The bitterness lingers on the finish, quite pleasantly.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body and moderate carbonation, with a smooth finish.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • Yep! This is a nice recipe; my memory of last year’s version is that it was a touch better, although I think that’s in part the keg. I split the beer into two 2.5 gallon kegs, and I suspect the one I’m sampling from (the less filled one) may have had a touch of oxidation due to the head space. Either way, it’s enjoyable!
  • Overall
    • 9/10

Black Bear Pils

I really like German pils, and make it pretty frequently…with 14 brews of this style under my belt, it’s time for number 15! For this iteraton, I returned to Dave Carpenter’s Lager book for inspiration via the Pfriem Pilsner recipe. My current version is modified for hop varieties on-hand; thanks to my HOPBOX I had a few different German hops in the freezer, which were a perfect match for this style. Notably, I’ve never brewed with Saphir before, and wanted to give it a try. I also had some S-189 in my stockpile (from a freebie give-away), and figured this would be a good batch to try it in.

The batch practically named itself. I was brewing in my garage on a hot summer day, with the Foundry right at the garage door entry. I ran across the driveway (our house is horseshoe shaped, with a parking space right in the middle of the U) to grab something from my fermenting area, leaving my brew rig unattended for a minute. Looking out the window and towards the garage, I suddenly noted a black bear wander into our yard. It ambled over to the open garage door, obviously intrigued by the malty aromas of a pilsner mash. As it started to poke its nose around the Foundry, two thoughts went through my head…first, “That’s so cool! I should get a picture!” The second thought was…”My beer! The bear! I don’t want the mash tun tipped over! The bear could get burned! My beer could get wasted! Action! Quick!” In an instant, I was at the door, yelling at the unexpected visitor to get out of my garage! With what I can only assume was surprise, the bear craned its neck to look at me, and then booked it out of the yard. Disaster averted! And beer recipe named.

Black Bear Pils

  • 10.25 lb. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 2 oz. acidulated malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 oz. Hallertau Tradition hop pellets (6.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Hallertau Tradition hop pellets (6.1% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Saphir hop pellets (3.7% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Spalt Spalter hop pellets (3.0% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. BruTanB, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1.5 oz. Saphir hop pellets (3.7% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. SafLager German lager yeast (Fermentis S-189)

Target Parameters

  • 1.047 s.g., 1.007 f.g., 35 IBU, 4 SRM, 5.2% abv
  • Full-volume mash, no sparge, at 142° for 40 minutes and 156° for 40 minutes, with 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water adjusted with RO and minerals to hit 47 ppm Ca, 2.5 ppm Mg, 33 ppm Na, 92 ppm SO4, 39 ppm Cl, and 11 ppm HCO3, with 9 ppm alkalinity and RA=-26 ppm

Procedure

  • To produce the water, I added 2 mL of 88% lactic acid to to 2.5 gallons of tap water to remove the bicarbonate, and then 1/4 of a Campden tablet to remove the chloramines. Then, I added 4.5 gallons of RO water and 3.5 g gypsum to achieve a final water with 47 ppm Ca, 2.5 ppm Mg, 33 ppm Na, 92 ppm SO4, 39 ppm Cl, and 11 ppm HCO3, with 9 ppm alkalinity and RA=-26 ppm.
  • I heated the mash water to 146°, and added the grains to hit a target mash temperature of 142°. I held it at this temperature for 40 minutes, chasing away bears when necessary. It wasn’t necessary to add lactic acid for this batch, because I already had acidulated malt. After the initial rest, I raised the mash temperature to 156°, and held it here for another 40 minutes. Finally, I heated to 168° and held it there for 10 minutes before removing the grains.
  • In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.041, for 70% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops, BrewTanB, and Whirlfloc as indicated in the recipe. In total, I had a 70 minute boil.
  • I brewed this beer on 20 August 2022. After chilling to ~75°, I transferred the beer to my fermenter and continued to chill overnight down to 48°.
  • Starting gravity was 1.047, right on target. I pitched the yeast on 21 August 2022, and started the fermentation at 48°.
  • I raised the fermentation temperature to 55° on 28 August, and then to 60° on 1 September 2022. I crashed the fermenter to 36° on 3 September 2022, and lagered at this temperature until kegging on 28 October 2022.
  • Final gravity was 1.010, for 4.9% abv. Although there was some yeast disturbance upon kegging and initial serving, I was pulling remarkably clear drafts within about 10 days. I’m quite pleased with that!

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Near brilliantly clear, straw-colored beer, which pours with a medium white head of modest persistence.
  • Aroma
    • Spicy hop aroma with a doughy and very slight honey quality to the malt. Clean fermentation profile in the aroma. Wonderful!
  • Flavor
    • Cracker-like malt profile, with a slight bit of malty sweetness. Moderately high and clean bitterness, with a modest spicy quality. Clean yeast character. The malt is at the front of the taste, and the bitterness sneaks in and then pops for an extended and prominent bitter finish. The mineral character of the water also comes through, against the hops.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • This is a super solid German pils! I wish the head retention was better, but everything else works super well. I’m also pleased with the yeast–it emphasizes the malt well, and also dropped clear pretty quickly.
  • Overall
    • 9/10

Belgian Wit

I’ve brewed lots of fruit-based witbier recipes, and plenty of things with Belgian wit yeast, but I’ve only done a “real” witbier recipe once! BYO magazine recently featured the witbier style, so I brewed a slightly modified version recently.

Belgian Wit

  • 5.5 lb. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 5 lb. soft red flaked wheat (Briess)
  • 0.5 lb. flaked oats
  • 0.25 lb. Munich II malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 oz. Edelweiss hop pellets (5.1% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 9 g chamomile flowers (dried), 5 minute boil
  • 1.5 oz. lemon zest (fresh), 5 minute boil
  • 0.4 oz. coriander seed, 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. wit Belgian wit-style ale yeast (Lallemand)

Target Parameters

  • 1.050 s.g., 1.009 f.g., 5.3% abv, 14 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Full-volume mash, no sparge, at 149° for 60 minutes
  • Claremont tap water, neutralized to remove carbonates.

Procedure

  • I heated 7.5 gallons of water to 155°, adding 6.25 mL of 88% lactic acid to remove the carbonates.
  • I mashed in to hit a mash temperature of 149°, adding 3.5 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH. I held the mash here for 60 minutes with recirculation, before raising to 168° for a 10 minute mash out.
  • After removing the grains, I had a total of 6.25 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.041, for 63% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, boiling for an extra 15 minutes before adding hops and spices per the recipe, in order to raise the gravity. After 75 minutes total of the boil, I turned off the heat and chilled to 80°. I transferred the wort to a fermenter and chilled it the rest of the way down to 62° before pitching the yeast.
  • I brewed the beer on 17 September 2022. Starting gravity was 1.045.
  • I pitched the yeast at 62°, let it free rise to 64° and held there for the first three days of fermentation. I did all of this with open fermentation, putting a piece of foil over the hole in the fermenter lid rather than using an airlock or blowoff tube.
  • On 20 September 2022 (three days into fermentation), I added a blowoff tube and let the fermentation free rise to 72°.
  • I kegged the beer on 30 September 2022. It had a final gravity of 1.012, for 4.4% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Straw colored, hazy beer with a fluffly and persistent white bead.
  • Aroma
    • Light chamomile and hay aroma; slightly tart character to it.
  • Flavor
    • Very refreshing! There is a bit of spice; the coriander is faintly present, and chamomile comes through on the back end of each taste, but is definitely more prominent. Coriander provides a pleasant sweetness. Medium-low bitterness; maybe even a bit too much? There is a hint of citrus flavor. The malt flavor is fairly low, with a doughy and slightly grainy character if anything.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Light body, highly carbonated, smooth finish, off-dry. It is almost a bit too dry.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • I like this recipe overall! It could use a bit more coriander, but the chamomile is delightful. It gives a fresh-mown hay quality that is quite interesting. The beer is a bit more dry than I like for this style; some more oats could help with that. The yeast character is okay, but not exceptional. I might like a bit more from the yeast, and suspect an increase in fermentation temperature could help. A little more haze would also be nice, and slightly less bitterness. The beer is quite refreshing, but not perfect. The beer clarified a bit after a few weeks from the initial tasting, and is still super interesting in flavor. The chamomile helps to make this a fall beer, rather than just something for a summer afternoon!
  • Overall
    • 6/10