Beer Update: Gondwana Pale Ale 1.1, Vaalbara Session IPA

Last night (August 29), I bottled up the Gondwana Pale Ale 1.1 and transferred the Vaalbara Session IPA over to the secondary. Details are below.

Gondwana Pale Ale 1.1

  • This beer had been dry hopping for 12 days. It had a final gravity of 1.011, which works out to 4.7% abv.
  • I filled two mini-kegs, which were each primed with 1.5 tbs. of corn sugar. The remaining beer, totaling 1.9 gallons, was bottled and carbonated with 1.65 oz. of corn sugar to reach a target carbonation  of 2.5 volumes.
  • Total yield was 2 5-L kegs, 4 22-oz. bottles, 2 18-oz. bottles, and 8 12-oz. bottles.
  • This beer promises to be really nice — a pretty clean flavor and just the Citra hops aroma I was aiming for.
Vaalbara Session IPA
  • After six days in the primary fermenter, I transferred the beer over to a secondary fermenter.
  • I racked the beer directly onto ~1.75 oz. of Cascade hops pellets, with approximately 3.75 gallons transferred. The carboy went into my temp-controlled fermenting freezer, set to 66°.
  • At the moment, the beer is fairly clear and perhaps a little green in flavor, but there is nothing “off” for flavors relative to what a beer should have at this point in fermentation. Gravity is 1.015, down from 1.045, which calculates to 3.9% abv. I will not be surprised if the gravity drops another point or two in the next two weeks before bottling.

Summer Blonde Ale Bottled

Success! My experiment with summer brewing (using a temperature-controlled freezer) has gone well, so last night I bottled my summer blonde ale. Here are the stats:

  • I fermented it from June 28 to July 7 at 62°. I didn’t see quite as much krausen as I’m used to, but I suspect that is because of the lower temperatures and thus a less vigorous fermentation.
  • On July 7, I raised the temperature to 64°, so that the yeast could clean up any stray diacetyl.
  • I bottled on July 12. Final gravity was 1.008, down from a starting gravity of 1.046. This works out to 5.0% abv, and an apparent attenuation of 82% (right in line with the expectations for the yeast, Safale-05).
  •  I kegged 5 L in a mini-keg, with 1.5 tbs. of corn sugar.
  • The remainder (3.75 gallons) was bottled. I wanted a target carbonation of 2.5 volumes, which worked out to 3.1 oz. of corn sugar boiled in 2 cups of water.
  • Bottling yield was 22 12-oz, 6 18-oz Grolsch, and 4 22-oz. bottles.
The flavor was somewhat malty with a touch of hops bitterness (but not overly bitter). No off flavors were detected, thankfully. The beer is hazy in appearance, but not overly so. I expect this will settle out during conditioning and refrigeration.

Beer Updates: El Dorado Amber Ale, Rodinia IPA

Mopping up some loose ends from the brewing season…

El Dorado Amber Ale

  • After 20 days of dry-hopping, I bottled this on April 27.
  • Final gravity was 1.010 at 60 degrees; down from 1.053 original gravity, this works out to 5.6% abv.
  • Total yield was 2 mini-kegs (5 L), 15 12-oz. bottles, and 2 22-oz. bottles. The former was carbonated with 1.5 tbs. of corn sugar each; the latter with carbonation drops.

Rodinia IPA

  • It took almost 2 days before I saw activity in the primary fermenter. I suspect this was a combination of high gravity and a slow start typical for the BRY-97 yeast strain.
  • After 15 days in the primary fermenter, I transferred this to the secondary fermenter on 27 April 2014. Gravity at this point was 1.022, down from 1.076.
  • I let the beer sit in the primary for around 3 weeks, and added 1 oz. of Nelson Sauvin hops on Sunday, May 18, for dry-hopping.
  • Bottling day was June 5, so I had a total of 18 days dry-hopping. Gravity at this point was 1.013 at 60 degrees, working out to a final abv of 8.3%.
  • I ended up with 3.5 gallons of beer. This was primed with 3 oz. of corn sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water, to reach a target of 2.5 volumes CO2.
  • I sampled a bottle after a week; it is shaping up quite nicely. The aroma is sweet and quite reminiscent of the white wine aroma I expected for Nelson Sauvin hops. Taste so far is pleasantly bitter with just a touch of sweetness (the hops again, I think).

Beer Updates: El Dorado Amber Ale, California Vanilla Porter, Gondwana IPA

Over the past two weeks, there has been some action on various batches. This is all summarized below.

  • On April 7, one week after brewing, I transferred the El Dorado Amber Ale over to the secondary fermenter. Gravity at this point was 1.014, down from 1.053; this equals 6.5% abv and 72.6% apparent attenuation.
  • I added 0.5 oz. of El Dorado hops pellets, aiming for two weeks of dry hopping prior to bottling
  • After seven days of vanilla beans in the secondary fermenter, this beer was ready to bottle. I recently got a second-hand set of “PhilTap” minikegs (thanks, Dad!), and this was the first batch to get the PhilTap treatment, along with the Gondwana IPA.
  • At bottling, gravity was 1.014, down from 1.064. This indicates 6.6% abv and 77.0% apparent attenuation.
  • The kegs were each carbonated with 1.5 tbs of corn sugar. The remaining 1.9 gallons were carbonated with 1.65 oz. of corn sugar boiled in 0.5 cup of water (target carbonation=2.6 volumes).
  • The total yield for this batch was: 2 5-L mini-kegs, 11 12-oz bottles, 3 22-oz. bottles, and 1 16-oz. grolsch bottle.
  • After 17 days of dry hopping with 2 oz. of Citra hops pellets, this beer was ready to package. As I was transferring it out, I was hit with a fantastic hops aroma – a fantastic bouquet of passionfruit with a little citrus. These also held up in the tasting.
  • At bottling, gravity was 1.008, down from 1.047. This equals 5.1% abv, and an apparent attenuation of 82.3%.
  • The kegs were carbonated with 1.5 tbs of corn sugar. The remaining 1.5 gallons was primed with 1.45 oz. of corn sugar boiled in 0.5 cup water.
  • The total yield for this batch was 2 5-L mini-kegs, 8 12-oz bottles, 2 22-oz. bottles, and 1 16-oz. Grolsch bottle.
  • After a week, I tapped one of the mini-kegs. The result is beautiful! The hops aroma is still fantastic, although the beer doesn’t have a lot of body (not surprising given the high fermentability). Even so, the flavor is quite clean, which is nice after my early worries.
Gondwana IPA, first pour from the mini-keg

Beer Updates: California Vanilla Porter, Gondwana IPA, Fake Tire 3.0

I haven’t done a brewing session in two weeks (life has been busy!), but I have been dabbling in a few other beer-related activities. These are outlined below.

Fake Tire Amber Ale
The Fake Tire 3.0 Amber Ale was bottled on March 23. Final gravity was 1.008; with a starting gravity of 1.045, this means I have 4.8% abv. I added 3.5 oz. of corn sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water. The total yield was 11 12-oz bottles, 7 22-oz bottles, and 8 16-oz bottles (grolsch).

Gondwana IPA
As noted before, this beer has had a bit of a roller coaster of flavors that has finally evened out on the positive side. On March 19, I added 2 oz. of Citra pellet hops for dry hopping. After these have had a full two weeks in the fermenter, I will bottle.

California Vanilla Porter
In order to achieve the eponymous vanilla flavor for this porter, I cut up and scraped 4 Madagascar vanilla beans and then soaked all of them in 2 oz. of vodka. They soaked for 10 days, and generated a really tasty and nice-smelling extract. Today, I finally got to transferring the porter from the primary fermenter into the secondary (after 15 days–the beer was brewed on March 15, and transferred on March 30). The beer is quite tasty, and weighs in at 1.014. Down from 1.064, that means the beer weighs in at 6.4% abv. Right before I sealed up the secondary, I tossed in the vanilla extract (plus pods). I figure I will bottle this in about a week.