Bierstadt Pils Clone 1.1

I brewed this recipe nearly a year ago, and found the result to be super enjoyable. Why not give it another try? I made a few modifications for hopping rate, and ditched the whirlpool hops, which were apparently a mistake in the originally published recipe (now corrected at the link).

Bierstadt Pils Clone 1.1

  • 9.75 lbs. Barke Pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.5 lb. Acidulated malt (Bestmalz)
  • 1.25 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hop pellets (3.0% alpha), first wort hopping, 90 minute boil
  • 1.5 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hop pellets (3.0% alpha), 70 minute boil
  • 1.25 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hop pellets (3.0% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. Saflager lager yeast (W34/70)

Target Parameters

  • 1.048 s.g, 1.007 f.g., 5.4% abv, 34 IBU, 3.4 SRM
  • Infusion step mash with decoction
  • Water built from 8.75 gallons of RO water, with 4.3 g CaCl, 3.4 g gypsum, 2.7 g epsom salts, to achieve -47 RA, 59 ppm Ca, 8 ppm Mg, 89 ppm SO4, 63 ppm Cl

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 12 quarts of water at 140°, to hit 132°. After 10 minutes, I added 3.5 quarts of water just below boiling, to hit 145°. I let it rest here for 30 minutes. Finally, I added 5.5 quarts just below boiling, to hit 158°. After 40 minutes, I pulled 1.66 gallons of thin decoction and boiled it for 10 minutes. I added it back to the mash, which raised the temperature to 164°.
  • Next, I let the mash sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. I added the first hop charge to the kettle at this time.
  • Next, I added the remaining sparge water (3.5 gallons) at ~170°, to hit a 164° mash temperature. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 7 gallons at a gravity of 1.041, for 77% mash efficiency. I added 0.25 gallons of RO water to raise the volume to 7.25 gallons.
  • I brought everything to a boil, adding hops and other ingredients per the schedule.
  • After a 90 minute boil, I chilled and transferred. Gravity at this point was 1.052, a bit above my target. So, I added 7 cups of water heated to near boiling to top up and hit a gravity of 1.049.
  • I chilled in the fermenter down to 48°, before oxygenating and pitching the yeast.
  • I brewed this beer on 14 September 2019, fermenting at 50°.
  • I raised the beer to 60° on 30 September 2019. I cooled down to 50° on 4 October 2019, and down to 35° on 5 October 2019.
  • I kegged the beer on 11 October 2019, with a partially closed transfer. Gravity at this point was 1.010, for 5.2% abv.

Tasting

  • The Basics
    • 1.049 o.g., 1.010 f.g., 5.2% abv
  • Appearance
    • Clear, nearly brilliantly so, light yellow beer, with a fine, white, and persistent head.
  • Aroma
    • Clean, lightly malty aroma, with slight floral hop presence.
  • Flavor
    • Light, slightly sweet, and grainy malt character, with a crisp bitterness against that. The balance tilts slightly towards bitter, but not overly so.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Crisp and light-bodied, with moderate carbonation and a smooth finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This is a great recipe. It’s a really smooth and drinkable beer, and was worth repeating from last time. I enjoy the grainy malt character, and the pleasant German hops alongside that. The head isn’t quite as firm and frothy as I might like (that honor belongs to the last German pils I did), but I’m not sure if that is a recipe flaw or something else. I think it will be worth playing with malts some more to see what happens when I switch those up. This recipe lacks some of what makes my other recent pils great, but in all it’s pretty decent.
  • Overall
    • 8/10

Posted in German pils, lager, pilsner, tastings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stygimoloch Bock

I have a Thanksgiving tradition of crafting a new “fancy” beer for our holiday get-together. After consulting with my friend Justin, we settled on a dunkles bock. It’s rich, malty, and eminently drinkable–a perfect beer for a late fall celebration. I don’t think I’ve ever brewed this style before, either, although I certainly have enjoyed drinking it!

The recipe is a modified version of Gordon Strong’s traditional bock, from Modern Homebrew Recipes. The base grist of dark and light Munich malts is basically the same, although I had to substitute in Briess’s Caramel Munich and some melanoidin malts instead of Caramunich III. Also, I used Magnum hop pellets instead of whole Hallertauer cones. In terms of techniques, I used a straight infusion mash rather than a double decoction.

As an extra special treat, I wanted custom glassware with a unique logo for the beer. So, I commissioned the wonderfully talented Charon Henning to create a design. Bock labels often feature goats as part of a linguistic pun, but hey, I’m a paleontologist. Why not go with a prehistoric goat analog? The bone-headed dinosaur Stygimoloch*, with its goat-like spikes and potential butting behavior, seemed like a perfect fit. Charon did a superb rendering that pays homage to many old bock labels. Even better, she worked some leaves of prehistoric hops into the background!

StygiLoRes

Stygimoloch Bock

  • 9 lbs. Munich II malt (Weyermann)IMG_20191019_150917
  • 5 lbs. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 8 oz. Caramel Munich 60L (Briess)
  • 4 oz. melanoidin malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 oz. Carfa Special III malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.65 oz. Magnum hop pellets (13.2% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 4 pkg. Bavarian lager dry yeast (Mangrove Jack’s M76)

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 154°, batch sparge
  • 1.070 o.g., 1.017 f.g., 7.0% abv, 25 IBU, 15 SRM
  • Blend of Claremont tap water and RO water, with 3 g CaCl, to produce target water of 4 ppm Ca, 5 ppm Mg, 13 ppm Na, 22 ppm SO4, 53 ppm Cl, 119 ppm HCO3, RA=56 ppm.

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 5 gallons of Claremont tap water and 1/4 of a Campden tablet at 164°, to hit a 154.4° mash temperature.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 0.5 gallons of RO water blend (3 g of CaCl added to 4.5 gallons of water) at 185°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected first runnings.
  • I next added 4 gallons of the RO water blend at 185°, let sit for another 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 7.25 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.055, for 72% mash efficiency.
  • To up the gravity a touch, I boiled the wort for 15 minutes before adding the hops (a total of 75 minute boil). I figured this longer boil time would work well to add additional character.
  • After boiling for a total of 75 minutes, I turned off the heat, and chilled down to 80° before transferring into the fermenter and cooling overnight in the fermentation chamber. I oxygenated for 60 seconds, and added 4 packages of yeast. I used four packages because they were around 9 months past “best by” date. Nonetheless, they took off pretty well.
  • Starting gravity was 1.066, on 30 August 2019.
  • I fermented at 52°, until raising the temperature to 60° on 30 September 2019. I cooled back to 50° on 4 October 2019, and then down to 35° on 5 October 2019.
  • I kegged the beer on 9 October 2019. Final gravity was 1.020, for 6.1% abv.

IMG_20191021_185030Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Color is a gorgeous deep copper, and the beer has become brilliantly clear in the keg. The tan head is quite persistent.
  • Aroma
    • Amazing malty, bready aroma, with a touch of caramel.
  • Flavor
    • Rich, bready flavor, with some toastiness–it is very reminiscent of a hearty bread crust. The beer is a touch more bitter than appropriate for the style. (note: the bitterness had mellowed a bit when I tasted it again on November 24)
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-full body, nice rounded finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! This is a really nice beer, with a phenomenal maltiness and drinkability that approaches slightly dangerous. Color and clarity are exceptional, and it’s only going to get better as it matures towards a Thanksgiving official launch date (I did the tasting in mid-October). It is maybe a touch more bitter than I would like for the style, so if I brew it again I’ll dial back the hops slightly.
  • Overall
    • 8/10

*Yes, I mostly agree with the hypothesis that Stygimoloch is probably a younger form of something like Pachycephalosaurus, so the name itself may or may not be valid. Even so, let’s just agree that we shouldn’t let nomenclatural pedantry overrule the fact that “Stygimoloch Bock” rolls off the tongue more easily than Pachycephalosaurus Bock”.

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Baryonyx Brown Ale

For our November meeting, my homebrew club chose “British Brown Ales” (BJCP 2015 Style 13B) as our in-club competition. This is a style that I like (Newcastle and Sam Smith’s come to mind as good examples), but not one I brew very often.

My recipe research often begins on the American Homebrewers Association website, which has an extensive recipe library (some freely available, some available only to members). Many of the recipes are from National Homebrew Competition winners, so I figure they’re probably a decent representation of the style. Nick’s Northern English Brown Ale took gold in 2012, and I used that as my jumping-off point. My only real modification to the original recipe was in the yeast; I used Nottingham dry yeast, instead of West Yorkshire Ale yeast. A second minor modification was use of crystal 80 instead of the English crystal 77°, based on availability.

Baryonyx Brown Ale

  • 5.5 lb. Maris Otter malt (Crisp)
  • 3 lb. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.75 special roast malt
  • 0.5 lb. brown malt
  • 0.5 lb. caramel 80° malt (Briess)
  • 0.5 lb. Victory (biscuit) malt (Briess)
  • 6 oz. pale chocolate malt (Crisp)
  • 1.25 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets (6.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets (6.0% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. Nottingham ale yeast (Lallemand)

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash, batch sparge
  • Claremont tap water, treated with Campden tablet
  • 1.049 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.0% abv, 28 IBU, 19 SRM

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 3.75 gallons of water at 163°, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. After 60 minutes, I batch sparged in two steps with 1.25 gallons and 3.5 gallons of water (with 10 minute wait and vorlauf between each).
  • In total, I collected 6.8 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.046, for 78% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the flame and chilled the wort.
  • I pitched the yeast, and fermented at 68°.
  • I brewed this beer on 19 October 2019. Starting gravity was 1.052, just a hair above target.
  • I kegged the beer on 11 November 2019. Final gravity was 1.011, for 5.3% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Deep amber beer, fairly hazy still. Thin, tan head.
  • Aroma
    • Lightly malty, slightly earthy
  • Flavor
    • Malt-forward beer, with a chocolate note at the back end; hop bitterness hides behind the malt. Caramel notes are fairly minimal. The flavor deepens as the beer warms up in the glass.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, smooth and extended bitterness on the finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Maybe? This isn’t a completely amazing beer, but it ain’t bad either. It’s smooth and pretty darned drinkable, which is not a bad target to hit. The main deficit is that it needs more caramel character, perhaps with an extra helping of crystal 80. The chocolate note is nice in this one. Clarity is also a disappointment when I did the tasting today; maybe it will drop clear with another week or two in the keg?
  • Overall
    • 6/10

The beer was reasonably well received in our club competition; it scored in the mid-30s, earning third place after two other great entries. As I have mentioned before, I really like that club contests help push me to try out new things!

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Comet Pale Ale

IMG_20191109_145744For our October meeting, my homebrew club decided to do a hop comparison test, with members brewing the same grain bill and different hops. At a recent homebrew festival, I had sampled an IPA with Comet hops, and rather liked it. My choice of hop was decided!

Comet Pale Ale

  • 10.5 lb. 2-row premium malt (Great Western)
  • 0.5 oz. Caravienne malt
  • 0.25 oz. crystal 20 malt (Briess)
  • 1 oz. Comet hop pellets (8.2% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Comet hop pellets (8.2% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)
  • 3 oz. Comet hop pellets (8.2% alpha), 5 day dry-hop

Target Parameters

  • 1.052 s.g, 1.012 f.g., 5.3% abv, 41 IBU, 6 SRM
  • Infusion mash, full volume
  • Claremont tap water

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 7.5 gallons of Claremont tap water at 159°, to hit a 152.8° mash temperature. This was a full-volume mash.
  • After 45 minutes, I vorlaufed and collected 6.3 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.041, for 63.4% mash efficiency. This was a bit lower than I had expected even for a no-sparge recipe.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and kettle finings at the indicated times.
  • After flame-out, I added the whirlpool hops and let them ride for 10 minutes.
  • Starting gravity was 1.048; this is definitely below my target, but not terribly unsurprising given the low efficiency. I did an adjustment of my grain mill after this, and found that the gap had wandered a bit wide since I last set it.
  • I brewed this beer on 5 October 2019, and pitched the yeast immediately. Fermentation temperature is set at 68°.
  • After five days of fermentation, I added the dry hops on 10 October 2019, and cold crashed the beer on 13 October 2019. I kegged the beer on 15 October 2019, using a modified closed transfer. I purged the keg with CO2, and siphoned the beer in via the out port of the keg.
  • This is one of the fastest turnarounds I’ve ever done for a beer, with 12 days between brewing and the tasting at our club meeting. The beer cleared up surprisingly well, and was well received by my fellow homebrewers. I normally like to have a bit more time in my brewing process (it’s a hobby after all), but the challenge of producing a beer in limited time was a fun one.
  • Final gravity was 1.008, for 5.0% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Light gold, clear but not brilliant; persistent white and fine head
  • Aroma
    • Strong citrus aroma, sometimes with a whiff of resiney goodness.
  • Flavor
    • Grapefruity/orangey citrus and grapefruit pith at the forefront, with a touch of pine behind that, for the hops. Bitterness is fairly prominent, perhaps just a bit too much so. There’s not much in the way of malt flavor for this one. It’s pretty clean, inoffensive, and squarely in the background.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Fairly light-bodied, moderately high carbonation. The finish is pretty dry, and there is a touch of astringency that detracts a little from the beer.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • I don’t think I would brew with the particular grain bill again (it’s just a little too lacking in malt character, which is fine for this experiment but not ), but I’m definitely going to be giving Comet more attention in the future. It doesn’t taste like a hop from 1974 (when it was released by the USDA)–it just as plausibly could be from 2014! It works pretty well in a single hop situation, and I bet would be really nice if paired up with Simcoe or Cascade. Some places I read referred to Comet as “Citra’s Little Sibling,” and I definitely can see that. Comet has a very prominent citrus character in the same vein as that of Citra; the main difference is that Comet has a bit of resiney harshness, where Citra is pretty smooth (to my palate). In the future, I might cut back the dry-hopping amount, or perhaps let it sit for 2 days instead of 3. I would also swap out the bittering addition of Comet for Magnum or another high alpha hop.
  • Overall
    • 6.5/10. The main deductions are for the relatively “boring” malt character, and the slight harshness on the hopping backend.
Posted in experimental recipe, hops, pale ale, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cascade-o Classico Pale Ale

IMG_20191005_144434Lately, I’ve had a soft spot for “classic” American pale ales, from the era before Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe were a thing. I love the more subtle flavors of Cascade and Centennial…and the cheaper price point for those hops doesn’t hurt, either. I recently got a shipment of the new Cascade crop from my dad in South Dakota (he raises them for his own brewing), and decided to do another iteration of my Classico Pale Ale. Aside from the hops (Cascade instead of Falconer’s Flight), the only other change is upping the percentage of Maris Otter versus 2-row, from around 50/50 to 66/33 in the current recipe.

I know that you’re not supposed to put crystal malts in pale ales and IPAs, but I’ve decided that piece of advice is bunk in a well-brewed recipe with modest amounts of crystal malts. For this formulation, I think they add a subtle but important character, and I ain’t likely to remove them for future brews!

Cascade-o Classico Pale Ale

  • 7 lb. 0.5 oz. Maris Otter malt (Bairds)
  • 3 lb. 9 oz. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 8 oz. caramel 40 (Briess)
  • 4 oz. caramel 60 (Briess)
  • 0.70 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (~5.5% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (~5.5% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 152°, batch sparge
  • 1.058 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 46 IBU, 8 SRM, 6.0% abv
  • Claremont water with 1 tsp. of gypsum added during boil

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 3.2 gallons of water at 162°, to hit a 152.5° mash temperature.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 0.8 gallons of water at ~185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • Next, I sparged with 3.4 gallons of water, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.2 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.048, for 71% efficiency.
  • As I heated the runnings to a boil, I added 1 tsp. gypsum. Once the boil started, I added the various hops and Whirlfloc per the recipe.
  • After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort. I transferred to the fermenter while aerating, and pitched the yeast. I am fermenting at 68°.
  • The beer was brewed on 24 August 2019, and fermentation signs were quite visible by the next morning.
  • I kegged the beer on 6 September 2019. Final gravity was 1.011, down from 1.058, for 6.2% abv. The dry hops were added to the keg in a mesh bag.

IMG_20191005_144934

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Pours with persistent ivory-colored head; brilliantly clear and copper-colored beer
  • Aroma
    • Lightly caramel, citrus/piney aroma
  • Flavor
    • Slightly grainy, caramel flavor, with firm bitterness. Bitterness is slightly piney
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! This is a nice base recipe, and a good way to highlight classic American hops. I feel like it could use just a touch more body, so might mash at 154° next time. It might be interesting to try this with 100% Maris Otter or even Vienna malt, too, to give a bit more malt character I love how clear this beer has turned out–it clarified really quickly and nicely, to make an incredibly pretty brew.
  • Overall
    • 9.5/10
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