Centennial IPA

I’ve gotten bored with tropical fruity, citrusy, guava bomb IPAs; they’re fairly easy to nail at least half-way well, but come across as a bit one-note after awhile. I don’t have a huge interest in the hazy IPA trend, either–they’re nice to try from time to time, but I don’t really want or need a 5 gallon keg of IPA orange juice. So, it’s back to the basics for me!

Two years ago, I did a Centennial hop-centered IPA based on one of Gordon Strong’s recipes. The result was quite good, so I figured I would revisit the recipe. 

The new batch is fairly close recipe-wise to the old one, with the main change being in the yeast. I decided to give the Mangrove Jack Liberty Bell Ale (M36) a try; it’s supposed to be a strain good for English or American pale ales.

Centennial IPA

  • 9.5 lbs. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 2 lbs. Vienna malt (Great Western)
  • 0.5 lb. Caravienne malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.25 lb. Carahell malt (Weyermann)
  • 3.4 oz. acidulated malt (BESTMALZ)
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), 15 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet
  • 2 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 3 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 2 pkg. Liberty Bell Ale dry yeast (Mangrove Jack’s #M36)

Target Parameters

  • 1.063 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 6.7% abv, 59 IBU, 6 SRM
  • Infusion mash to hit target of 150°, 60 minutes, batch sparge
  • Water built from 3 gallons of Claremont tap water, 3.5 gallons of RO water treated with 4.5 g gypsum, 1.5 g epsom salt, 1 g calcium chloride, to hit target of 74 Ca, 10 Mg, 14 Na, 120 SO4, 27 Cl, 129 HCO3, 47 RA.

Procedure

  • I mashed in with ~4.1 gallons of the RO water with minerals and the balance in tap water, at 161°, to hit a mash temperature of 150°.
  • After a 60 minute mash, I added 0.8 gallons of tap water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. Then, I added 3.5 gallons of tap water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.051, for 72% efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, boiling for 60 minutes and adding hops per the schedule. After a full hour boil, I added the whirlpool hops and let them sit for 10 minutes before chilling, transferring to the fermenter, and pitching the yeast.
  • I brewed this batch on 18 September 2018, and fermented it at around 67°. Starting gravity was 1.058.
  • On 30 October 2018, I kegged the beer. Final gravity was 1.005, working out to 7.1% abv. The beer had a somewhat estery aroma and flavor on first taste (see below).

Tasting

  • The Basics
    • Original gravity = 1.058; final gravity = 1.005; abv = 7.1%; esimated IBU = 59
  • Aroma
    • Slight phenolic, citrusy aroma
  • Appearance
    • Fine white head that sticks around for awhile; the beer itself is light gold with a slight haze.
  • Flavor
    • This is a very hop-forward beer, with a firm but even bitterness that persists on the tongue. There’s not a ton of malt character, but that’s OK for what this is. The hops have a slightly floral and citrusy character, which is unfortunately swamped out by a bit of a “hot” phenol note.
  • Mouthfeel
    • This is a fairly dry beer. Carbonation is appropriate to style.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • The description for Liberty Bell Ale yeast mentions pear esters in the aroma, which will get out of the way of prominent hop and malt aromas. Sadly, I couldn’t disagree more. The aroma was an estery mess on this one early on–it smelled somewhat like my early homebrew batches fermented without temperature control. I checked my records on power losses at home, and couldn’t find any record of a power outage during the height of fermentation, so I suspect it’s just a flaw in the yeast strain relative to this recipe. It doesn’t really seem like an infection, either, although I suppose that’s not completely outside the realm of possibility (especially given the low finishing gravity). The off flavor has moderated a fair bit as the beer sits in the keg, but in any case, I won’t be trying this yeast strain again.
  • Overall
    • 5/10 — the off flavor overwhelms the positive features of this beer.
Posted in IPA, tastings | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Summer Haze Brown Ale

A friend of mine who lives out east experimented with smoking his own malt–in this case, he scrounged up some sassafras root, and used it to smoke a two-row malt. It took me a bit to think about what kind of beer I wanted to make with it, because I’ve already done smoked porters, and a stout wasn’t really appealing either. Why not try a brown ale? It’s not so heavy as to be undrinkable in the summer heat, and the other malt flavors would hopefully meld well with the smoked malt. This recipe is also intended to use up many of my specialty malts, so I freshen up my stockpile with newer malts. Although they seem to keep pretty well, it probably doesn’t hurt to rotate from time to time.

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Summer Haze Brown Ale

  • 4.1 lbs. California select 2-row malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 2.5 lbs. Vienna malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 2 lbs. sassafrass smoked 2-row malt
  • 14 oz. 40° crystal malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 8 oz. pale chocolate malt (Crisp Malting Co.), 225° SRM
  • 4.3 oz. chocolate malt (Briess), 350° SRM
  • 1.9 oz. Carafa III malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.6 oz. Carafa Special II malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Safale US-05 dry yeast

Target Parameters

  • 1.052 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.4% abv, 26 IBU, 25 SRM
  • Infusion mash to hit target of 152°, 60 minutes, batch sparge.
  • Claremont tap water, treated with Campden tablet

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 3.5 gallons of tap water at 163°, to hit a mash temperature of 151°. After 60 minutes, I added 1.5 gallons of sparge water at 170°. This rested for 15 minutes, before the vorlauf and then collection of the first runnings.
  • Next, I added 3.5 gallons of water at 170°, before resting for 10 minutes, vorlaufing, and collecting the rest of the runnings.
  • I collected 6.5 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.041, for 71% efficiency.
  • Next, I brought the kettle to a boil, adding hops and Whirlfloc per the schedule.
  • After a 60 minute boil, I chilled around 80° before transferring to the fermenter. I then chilled it the rest of the way in the fermentation chamber, down to 68°.
  • I sprinkled the yeast directly into the wort, fermenting at 68°.
  • Starting gravity was 1.046–I notched back the boil intensity a bit on this one (per recent recommendations from various corners of the internet), so I’ll need to start compensating for a change in evaporation rate.
  • I brewed this batch on Wednesday, August 22, and kept it at 68° until Friday, August 31. Then, I pulled it out of the keezer (to make room), finishing up at 75° ambient temperature.
Posted in brown ale, experimental recipe, smoked beer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

MSGC Pale Ale

I’ve been doing a bunch of brewing for my club’s participation at an upcoming homebrew festival, and so have neglected my own taps! In order to avoid the desperate turn of a vacant tap on the keezer, I cranked out another brew in July, just before I left for a two week stint in the field.

It took a bit of thought to settle on a style. I was first leaning towards a lager of some sort, but also wanted something with a slightly quicker turnaround. Then an IPA popped into my head, but after looking through a few recipes I didn’t find anything that terrible inspirational. Finally, I thumbed through Gordon Strong’s Modern Homebrew Recipes, and ran across his Galaxy Pale Ale. I made a few adjustments for ingredients, and brewed the batch!

Strong’s original recipe was Galaxy hops only, and didn’t have any dry hop addition. I didn’t have enough hops on hand to do both a generous addition of Galaxy as well as a generous dry hop, so I modified the hop bill accordingly. For the hot days of late August, I wanted something tropical and fruity on the palate and the nose. I have a good combo of hops in that realm in the freezer, so put together a combination of Mosaic, Simcoe, Galaxy, and Citra (the MSGC combo of the recipe name). These are four of my favorite hops, and I’m hoping will combine nicely.

As I added up the hops, I realized I didn’t need a bittering addition. Everything will get added at flame-out, with a whirlpool to extract bittering, aroma, and flavor. This is an experiment for me–I’ve never done a beer before with all hop additions after flame-out.

The grain bill is 45% pilsner, 45% 2-row, and 10% Vienna malt. The original recipe called for light Munich instead of Vienna–I don’t have any Munich on-hand, so made this substitution. The flavor will be a bit lighter as a consequence, but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.

MSGC Pale Ale

  • 4.5 lbs. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 4.5 lbs. 2-row brewer’s malt, California select (Great Western)
  • 1 lb. Vienna malt (Great Western)
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 minute boil)
  • 1 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Galaxy hop pellets (18.1% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (10.9% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (13.6% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. US West Coast Yeast (Mangrove Jack’s M44)
  • 1 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Galaxy hop pellets (18.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (10.9% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (13.6% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 142°, 60 minutes, batch sparge.
  • 1.051 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 5.0% abv, 38 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Water built from RO and Claremont tap water to hit final water balance of 80 Ca, 3 Mg, 6 Na, 83 SO4, 68 Cl, 60 HCO3, -9 RA, with 4 mL of 88% lactic acid added to mash to adjust pH.

Procedure

  • I prepared the mash water with 4 g gypsum and 4 g CaCl added to 3.5 gallons of RO water. I heated it to 161°, and mashed into hit a temperature of 151°. I also added 4 mL of 88% lactic acid to the mash, for pH adjustment. The mash temperature was down to 148° after 30 minutes.
  • I created my sparge water from a blend of 2.25 gallons of tap water (with Campden tablet) and 2.5 gallons of RO water. No further adjustments were made. I started the sparge by adding 1.5 gallons of water to the mash, letting sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufing, and collecting the first runnings. I then added 3.25 gallons of sparge water to the mash tun, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the rest of the runnings.
  • In total, I collected 7 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.041, for 78% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil. The only thing to add during the boil was the Whirlfloc tablet!
  • After flame-out, I added a big mesh bag with the hops, and stirred for 10 minutes. Then, I chilled to 85°, transferred with aeration, and chilled the wort overnight. Once I had hit my fermentation temperature of 68°, I pitched yeast.
  • I brewed this batch on 16 July 2018, and left it in the primary until kegging. Starting gravity was 1.049.
  • Final gravity was 1.007. I kegged the beer on 9 August 2018, added the dry hops, chilled to 50°, carbonated (with shaking), and put the beer on tap.

 

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Tasting

I did a tasting for this beer on 19 August, after 10 days on tap. It’s pretty excellent–one of the best beers I have done in awhile!

  • The Basics
    • 1.049 s.g., 1.007 f.g., 5.5% abv, 38 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Aroma
    • A nice forward tropical fruit aroma, with a bit of mango, peach, and citrus all melded together. Delicious on the nose!
  • Appearance
    • Light gold color with slight haze. Thin white head that is reasonably persistent.
  • Flavor
    • It’s a fruit explosion! The beer has a gentle but firm bitterness, with flavors of pineapple, passion fruit, mango, and citrus (and just a little bit of “dank” character). The malt character is slightly grainy, with a nice bit of complexity behind that.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light bodied, with an off-dry finish. Carbonation is moderate.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Absolutely! This is one of the best pale ales I’ve made in a long time. The hop aroma and flavor are amazing, and I love the complexity that the four-hop blend brings to this. Although the beer is paler in color than acceptable for the BJCP style, I dig it in this particular recipe. It really is a nice beer!
  • Overall
    • 10/10
Posted in pale ale | Tagged , , ,

Beer Tasting: Cerveza de Jamaica

IMG_20180706_162520I kegged this batch on 12 May 2018. It has been on tap for awhile now, and I’ve really been enjoying it. Better do a tasting before it’s all gone.

Cerveza de Jamaica

  • The Basics
    • 1.048 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.8% abv, 11 IBU, 3 SRM
  • Appearance
    • Pours with a tall and dense pink head, which persists wonderfully as the beer is consumed. The beer itself is a purplish pink color and slightly hazy. The beer has cleared up considerably since it first went on tap.
  • Aroma
    • Hibiscus, with a bit of tartness and spice behind that.
  • Flavor
    • Tart, with a slight hibiscus note next to a smooth and subtle maltiness.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Fairly light-bodied and highly carbonated, with a medium dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! This is a wonderful beer, and perfectly refreshing for the current warm weather. In tasting opinions from other folks, it was suggested to up the hibiscus just a touch (to help it come through more distinctly in the taste) and also to add a bit more citrus character. To this end, I’m going to increase the amount of hibiscus in my next batch, and also up the citrus peel.
  • Overall
    • 9/10
Posted in tastings, witbier | Tagged , , , ,

Thumbspike Saison 2.2

The Lake Arrowhead Brew Festival is around the corner, and I’ve promised to bring some beers for my club’s booth. A nice saison seems in order–it’s the same recipe I brought last year, with only a minor change for the pilsner malt variety (Barke instead of Château Pilsen). I really liked this beer, and it went over well at the festival, too. I guesstimated on the hop alpha acid, following that from last year’s laboratory-verified measurements.

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Thumbspike Saison 2.2

  • 9.25 lbs. Barke Pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.75 lbs. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.75 lbs. white wheat malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 0.8 oz. Carafa Special II (Weyerman)
  • 1 oz. whole wild hops (est. 5.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. whole wild hops (est. 5.8% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1.5 oz. whole wild hops (est. 5.8% alpha), 2 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. French Saison Ale dry yeast (Mangrove Jack’s M29)

Target Parameters

  • 1.056 o.g., 1.003 f.g., 6.9% abv, 25 IBU, 6 SRM, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter
  • 60 minute mash at 150°, batch sparge, 60 minute boil

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 1.5 gallons of RO water and 2.2 gallons of Claremont tap water (3.7 gallons total) to hit a mash temperature of 150°. I added 1 tbs. of 5.2 pH stabilizer. The mash was down to 147° after 60 minutes. At this point, I batch sparged with 1.2 gallons of water (10 minute rest after addition, vorlauf, collect runnings) and 3.5 gallons of water (10 minute rest after addition, vorlauf, collect runnings).
  • In total, I collected 6.75 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.044, for 74% efficiency.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops per the schedule.
  • After cooling, I transferred to the fermenter and pitched the yeast.
  • Starting gravity was 1.055, pretty much right on target.
  • I brewed this beer on 7 July 2018, and am fermenting it at 75°.
Posted in saison | Tagged , ,