2022 Orange Summer Wheat Ale

This was a quick brew to serve at a homebrew festival…I roughly followed past recipes, and used zest from 5 Valencia oranges soaked in 4 oz. of vodka for the orange flavoring (added at kegging). It was my first brew back on my batch sparge system (while my Anvil Foundry was temporarily down). I had some major efficiency issues–I suspect maybe a poor crush for the grains–and thus had to improvise heavily with extract. The brew definitely didn’t go as planned, but at least it got done. My subsequent brews in the old mash tun went much better, thank goodness, and now I’m back on the Foundry!

2022 Orange Summer Wheat Ale

  • 6.5 lb. red wheat malt
  • 3.25 lb. 2-row pale malt
  • 6 oz. Viking dextrin malt
  • 8 oz. rice hulls
  • 0.8 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. WLN1000 yeast nutrient (White Labs)
  • 1 pkg. German Ale Yeast (SafAle K97)

Target Parameters

  • 1.043 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.3% abv, 21 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Full volume mash, no sparge, 152°
  • Claremont tap water, Campden tablet added to remove chloramines

Procedure

  • I added 8 gallons of water to the mash tun, letting it settle to 157° before adding the grains and 8 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH. The mash settled around 152° initially, and I let it sit for 75 minutes before vorlaufing and collecting the runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.3 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.027, for barely 45% mash efficiency. This is some of the worst efficiency I have ever had, and I’m not sure why. I suspect either I had a poor crush with the high volume of wheat malt, or perhaps the wheat malt didn’t have the enzyme potential expected (which doesn’t make complete sense to me), or some other factor. In any case, I had to improvise major-time and add 1.5 lb. of extra light Briess DME to bring the gravity into a tolerable range.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, boiling for 60 minutes and adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the flame and chilled down to ~70° before transferring to the fermenter.
  • I brewed this beer on 10 April 2022. Starting gravity was 1.044. Once I pitched the yeast, I fermented at ~65°.
  • Prior to brew day, I zested 5 fresh-picked Valencia oranges and put the rind into a 4 oz. bottle topped up with vodka. On kegging day, I strained out the zest.
  • I kegged the beer on 23 April 2022, and added the orange tincture at that point.
  • Final gravity was 1.010, for 4.5% abv.
  • I force carbonated, and it was served at a beer festival on April 30. I couldn’t attend, and got the keg back. Two weeks later, I transferred to a pinlock keg for serving. I didn’t have my usual ball lock quick disconnect handy, so I had to do the less-than-desirable task of transferring directly into the keg and then purging it with CO2 via the pressure relief valve.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • The beer is cloudy and a sort of muddy reddish orange color. The head is white and persistent.
  • Aroma
    • A fairly pleasant orange and orange blossom aroma is prominent, but not much else.
  • Flavor
    • Orange and doughy malt flavors, with a moderate level of bitterness.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Light body, moderate carbonation, dry finish. There is a somewhat unpleasant astringency on the finish.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • This was a very disappointing version of my normally likable orange wheat ale. The orange character is nice, and K97 is an awesome American wheat ale yeast, but the astringency and muddy coloration keep this from being a winner. So many things went sideways on this brew that I have no doubt my next iteration will be far superior. All blame goes to technique flaws, not the recipe itself. This batch is not a complete dumper, but it comes very close.
  • Overall
    • 3/10

Spring Classic IPA

I just love the “traditional” northwestern IPAs, as mentioned numerous times before on this blog. So many breweries focus on the tropical fruit profiles, which I also love, but sometimes I just want pine and citrus and dank flavors in my IPA.

This latest batch doesn’t follow any particular recipes; I’m just aiming for a bit of interesting base malt character with a touch of crystal malt. So, I leaned on the two-row for about three-quarters of the grist, along with a bit of Golden Promise for interest, some crystal 40, and a bit of biscuit. The latter two used up my supplies, so it was good housecleaning.

The hopping was traditional with a twist. A recent HOPBOX had some of their hop extract, enough to add about 47 IBU. According to their website, it’s mostly CTZ-type hops with some other semi-random aroma varieties. That sounded like a perfect bittering base for my beer, and I have also wanted to try out some of these hop extracts for awhile. I elected to put the rest of my hops all in the whirlpool and dry hop additions. In this case, Amarillo, Centennial, and Cascade were perfect choices.

This batch was brewed while my Foundry was down for repairs, so I used the “traditional” batch sparge technique. I’m glad to say I still have the skills here, and hit my numbers really closely.

Spring Classic IPA

  • 10 lb. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 3 lb. Golden Promise Finest Pale Ale malt (Simpsons)
  • 9 oz. 40L caramel malt (Briess)
  • 4 oz. biscuit malt (BlackSwaen)
  • 10 mL Yakima Valley Hops CO2 hop extract (48.91% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7.8% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Cascade hop pellets (8.7% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (12.5% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. American West Coast Ale dry yeast (Lallemand BRY-97)
  • 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets (7.8% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Cascade hop pellets (8.7% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (12.5% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.059 o.g., 1.010 f.g., 6.5% abv, 69 IBU, 7 SRM
  • Infusion mash to hit target of 148°, 60 minutes, batch sparge
  • Claremont tap water with gypsum added to to achieve 79 ppm Ca, 6 ppm Mg, 91 ppm Na, 172 ppm SO4, 85 ppm Cl, 144 ppm HCO3, 118 ppm alkalinity, 58 ppm RA

Procedure

  • I heated 4.6 gallons of water (with Campden tablet) to 159°, and mashed in with my grains to hit 149°. I added 6 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH. I mashed for 60 minutes before adding 0.75 gallons of 185° water. I let it rest, vorlaufed, and then collected the first runnings. Next I added 3.75 gallons of water at 185°, let it rest at around 170° for 10 minutes, and then collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 7.6 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.050, for 75% mash efficiency.
  • While the kettle was coming up to a boil, I soaked the hop extract in hot tap water, in order to make it easier to add. That certainly did the trick!
  • I added 6 g of gypsum to the boil, to hit my water target.
  • Once the kettle was boiling, I added the hop extract and then added other items per the recipe.
  • After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the flame, added the whirlpool hops, and let it rest (with occasional stirring) for 15 minutes before chilling.
  • I transferred the wort to my fermenter and chilled it down to 66° before pitching the yeast.
  • I brewed this beer on 15 April 2022, and fermented it at 66°. Starting gravity was 1.059, right on target.
  • I moved the beer to ambient on 24 April 2022, and kegged it on 4 May 2022. I added the drop hops at this point, with a mesh bag inside the keg.
  • The final gravity was 1.011, for 6.4% abv. I’m very pleased on how closely I hit my numbers overall!

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Pours as a golden, somewhat hazy beer, with a creamy white head that is very persistent. The head leaves gorgeous lacing down the sides of the glass.
  • Aroma
    • Orange and overall citrus notes, with a slight malty background. The yeast character is quite clean.
  • Flavor
    • A citrus, citrus pith, pine, and resiny hop bitterness at the front, with a clean malty presence and a light bit of candy behind that. The hop character has that “sticky” quality on the tongue that I really adore in a good traditional American IPA.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • I feel like I’ve gotten my “traditional” West Coast IPAs down pretty well now. I know the hops and hop combos I like, and have found that perfect balance of crystal malt and base malt. I also have a few variations on recipes that work well. It definitely has a “hop haze,” which I suppose dings it a little bit in terms of my overall score, but I also expect that should be cleared out by the end of the keg. BRY-97 is my favorite IPA yeast now, too! Another thing I love about this beer is that I perceive it just a little differently every time I sample it. Sometimes the pine hits me, sometimes the orange, sometimes the resin.
  • Overall
    • 9/10

Pre-Prohibition Lager

Continuing my journey through the world of lagers, I decided to try a new version of a Pre-Prohibition lager. I’ve made something from this style range before, during my first foray into lagers, and it turned out pretty well. For the current batch, I used a blend of pilsner and 2-row malt to achieve a bit of complexity, layering in some flaked corn to give the “American” component. I got some Triumph hops in a HOPBOX selection, and thought this would be well suited for my American lager. Triumph is an American hop with European parentage, including some noble hops, and it is supposed to bring some noble characteristics along with delicate fruit qualities.

Pre-Prohibition Lager

  • 6.5 lb. Pilsner Malt (Viking)
  • 4 lb. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 1 lb. flaked corn
  • 0.25 lb. rice hulls
  • 0.5 oz. Triumph hop pellets (7.9% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.75 oz. Triumph hop pellets (7.9% alpha), 15 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. BruTahB, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 0.75 oz. Triumph hop pellets (7.9% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. Diamond lager yeast (Lallemand)

Target Parameters

  • 1.051 s.g., 1.008 f.g., 28 IBU, 5.7% abv, 4 SRM
  • Full volume Hochhurz mash, 45 minutes at 144°, 45 minutes at 10 minutes at 160°, 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Water built from scratch to hit 59 ppm Ca, 8 ppm Mg, 89 pm SO4, 63 ppm Cl, -47 ppm RA

Procedure

  • I added 2.7 g gypsum, 2.2 g epsom salt, and 3.4 g calcium chloride to 7 gallons of RO water, to hit a target of 59 ppm Ca, 8 ppm Mg, 89 pm SO4, 63 ppm Cl, and -47 ppm RA.
  • I heated the water in the Foundry to 150°, and added the grains to hit a mash temperature of 144°. I added 1.5 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH slightly. I held the mash at 144° with recirculation for 45 minutes, and then raised the temperature to 160°, holding it here for 45 minutes also. Finally, I raised the mash to 168° and held it here for a 10 minute mash-out.
  • After the mash-out, I removed the grain basket and brought the runnings to a boil. I collected 6.3 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.048, for 71% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the beer to a boil, aiming for 60 minutes, adding hops and such per the recipe. My Foundry had an issue mid-boil (the power switch was starting to burn out),so it took a bit of work to limp the boil through to the end. I adjusted the length of the boil time slightly to compensate.
  • After approximately 60 minutes of total boil, I turned off the heat and chilled to ~68°, before transferring to the fermenter and chilling down to 48° in the fermentation chamber. I then pitched the yeast.
  • I brewed the beer on 14 February 2022, and fermented at 52°. Starting gravity was 1.053.
  • I kegged the beer on 8 April 2022. Final gravity was 1.013, for 5.3% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Brilliantly clear, light yellow beer with moderately persistent head. The head pours fairly thick, but thins out after awhile.
  • Aroma
    • Clean! Slight grainy/corn profile; not much hop character, although there is a bit of a spice hop note.
  • Flavor
    • Malty/grainy, with light corn flavor; moderately high bitterness, but not much for hop character otherwise.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Fairly crisp finish, with moderate carbonation. Medium body. Very smooth drinking!
  • Would I brew this again?
    • YES! This is a nice version of the style; I suppose it doesn’t hit all of the BJCP style notes, but it really is a pretty awesome American lager. A touch more hop aroma would be nice, but not mandatory.
  • Overall
    • 9/10

Stratigraphic Pale Ale

As mentioned previously, Yakima Valley’s HOPBOX is a good way to sample fresh and interesting hops. My first box included Strata and El Dorado; I’ve brewed with the latter previously, but not Strata. I was noodling about for a recipe that would have tropical-type notes, and these seemed to be a good way to achieve that goal.

The base recipe is a fairly standard American pale ale; I aimed for the lighter side of the style, with a very deft touch of caramel malts. To maximize the hop character, I dosed all of the aroma hops in the whirlpool and the dry hop additions. Otherwise, there’s not a ton of note in the recipe design.

Stratigraphic Pale Ale

  • 7.25 lb. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 4 lb. Maris Otter malt (Crisp)
  • 5 oz. crystal 15 (Great Western)
  • 4 oz. caramel 10L (Briess)
  • 0.25 oz. Bravo hop pellets (14.2% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. El Dorado hop pellets (16.2% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Strata hop pellets (13.7% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. Safale American Ale yeast (Fermentis US-05)
  • 1 oz. El Dorado hop pellets (16.2% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Strata hop pellets (13.7% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 1.053 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.5% abv, 5 SRM, 38 IBU
  • Full volume mash, 60 minute mash at 152°, 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water adjusted to hit target of 71 ppm Ca, 6 ppm Mg, 91 ppm Na, 154 ppm SO4, 85 ppm Cl, 144 ppm bicarbonate, RA=63.

Procedure

  • I heated 7.25 gallons of water to 159°, and mashed in with the grains to hit a target mash temperature of 152°. I added 7.5 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH. I held it here while recirculating for 60 minutes, before raising the temperature to 168° for a 10 minute mash-out.
  • I removed the grain basket and brought the kettle to a boil. In total, I collected 6.4 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.048, for 70% mash efficiency. I added 5 g of gypsum to the boil kettle, to adjust the mineral profile of the water.
  • I added hops and finings per the recipe, with a 60 minute boil. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat, added the whirlpool hops, and whirlpooled for 15 minutes.
  • After the whirlpool, I chilled and then transferred to the fermenter.
  • I chilled the wort down to 66° in my fermentation chamber, before pitching the yeast. I fermented at 66° also.
  • I brewed the beer on 29 January 2022. I kegged it on 8 March 2022, adding the dry hops to the keg.
  • Final gravity was 1.012, for 5.4% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Gold beer, slight haze; pours with a persistent fine white head.
  • Aroma
    • Citrus/orange prominent, with a bit of tropical fruit and strawberry also. Light malt aroma. Clean yeast character.
  • Flavor
    • Light malty flavor, against a moderate bitterness. The hop flavor is citrus, tropical fruit, and strawberry. Very nice!
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, medium carbonation, slightly dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! This is a nice hop combo. I ding the beer slightly for the haze, but otherwise this is a great recipe for tropical-type hops. I enjoyed Strata–the strawberry character really is something!
  • Overall
    • 8/10

Alstadt Alt 2.0

Altbiers are one of my favorite styles, so I have made a few versions over the years. I had great success with a recipe from the Altbier book by Horst Dornbusch. I first brewed it back in 2020, and it turned out really well. The 2021 edition was similarly great, so I made only minor tweaks for the 2022 brew. Instead of a mix of Briess Caramel Munich 60L and Caramunich I, I went with straight Caramunich I. Additionally, I switched the yeast from K97 to Lallemand’s Kolsch-style ale yeast. Everything else is pretty much the same.

Alstadt Alt 2.0

  • 6.5 lb. Viking Pilsner malt
  • 1.5 lb. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.5 lb. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 lb. Caramunich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 2 oz. Carafa Special I malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.2 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1.0 oz. Spalt Spalter hop pellets (5.6% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Köln Kölsch Style Ale Yeast (Lallemand)

Target Parameters

  • 1.050 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.1% abv, 36 IBU, 12 SRM
  • 90 minute infusion mash, full volume, 152°
  • Claremont tap water treated with Campden tablet

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 7.25 gallons of water at 158°, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. I added 3mL of 88% lactic acid and held the mash here (with recirculation) for 90 minutes, before raising to 168° for the 10 minute mash-out. I extended the mash a touch so as to aim for a slightly higher attenuation.
  • After removing the grain basket, I had 6.5 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.044, for an efficiency of 72%.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding malt and finings per the recipe. After the 60 minute boil, I chilled to 68° and transferred to the fermenter. I let it chill a bit more in the fermentation chamber, before pitching the yeast and setting the fermentation temperature to 64°.
  • I brewed the beer on 22 January 2022, and it had a starting gravity of 1.049. I kegged the beer on 14 February 2022, and it had a final gravity of 1.014. This works out to 4.6% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Brilliantly clear beer, of medium-dark amber color, with a fine and persistent ivory colored head.
  • Aroma
    • Rich and malty, with a bread crust character; a low level of spicy hop character is also present.
  • Flavor
    • Malty and bready, with a firm and assertive but not over the top bitterness. There is a very, very slight fruity yeast character.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium body, moderate carbonation, with a dry finish. Very pleasant.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This one of my favorite recipes! The hop presence isn’t quite as nice this time around, but otherwise it’s a really great beer. It’s very drinkable and very flavorful.
  • Overall
    • 9/10