Thursday, December 22, 2011

Brew Day: Anniversary Ale

I started homebrewing a couple years ago. My first batch was a Big Ben Pale Ale kit from But for my second batch I came up with my own Pale Ale recipe. I managed to squeeze in 6 different grains into a mini-mash. The crazy thing is that the beer came out pretty darn good. It had the body and malt character of a Sierra Nevada Pale ale with a floral, piney, resinous hop character. Maybe its an inflated memory, or I was just so happy about creating my own beer. Either way, I saw my hand scribbled recipe acting as a bookmark in my copy of Charlie P's, The Hombrewer's Companion, I just had to make this again. This time All-Grain with a long hop stand after the boil.

Anniversary Pale Ale

Batch size: 6.0 gallons
Boil size: 7.0 gallons
Boil time: 60 minutes
Grain weight: 10.5 pounds
Efficiency: 75%

Original gravity: 1.049
Bitterness (IBU): 36
Color (SRM): 5.2°L

Yeast: White Labs WLP001 California Ale

Malt Bill
10.5 pounds

4 lbs Maris Otter 4°L - 38.1%
4 lbs American 2 Row 1.5°L - 38.1%
1 lb Munich (Light) 8°L - 9.5%
1 lbs Wheat Malt 2°L - 9.5%
.5 lbs Carahell 11°L - 4.8%

Strike Target 155°F
5.0 gallons165°F 90 minutes (+0)

60 minutes, 7.0 gallons

0.35 ounces Chinook hops 11.8%, Pellet 60 minutes
0.50 ounces Goldings (Kent) hops 5%, Pellet 30 minutes

Whirlpool / Hop Stand Hops

40 Minute hot whirlpool/rest(wort chiller gets in the way of the whirlpool) after the boil. Estimated hop utilization the same as a 10 minute hop addition in the boil. Maintaned over 180 F for whole rest.

0.5 ounces Goldings (Kent) hops 5%, Pellet 5 IBU
1.0 ounces Crystal hops 3.1%, Pellet 3 IBU
1.0 ounces Chinook hops 11.8%, Pellet 10 IBU

The goal for this recipe was a nice bready, biscuity, crackery malt flavor. The original recipe used Optic, Halcyon, and Marris Otter malts. But I kept it simple. I also used bolander munich from Briess in the original. But the new homebrew shop I went to only had weyerman light. Thats an upgrade anyways IMO.

I've heard Jamil Z uses no hops in the boil when making Heretic Evil Twin. So obviously you are getting isomerization during hot whirlpools. Figured this was the perfect beer to try it with. I want a big hop character without overwhelming the malt with a bitting bitterness. The crystal and chinook are the perfect floral and piney pairing. If you want a single hopped example of crystal try Rogue's Brutal IPA FKA Brutal Bitter.

Can't wait to taste this bugger.

Brewers Note: I love the new hop union packaging. Easy to open, and the aroma of the chinook was insane. Makes me think all the hops I've used in the past were stale.

Monday, November 28, 2011

1934 Kidd XXX Tasting

The carbonation in the Kidd XXX has settled in to the perfect level so I figured I'd write some notes while this beer is in its prime. Should go quick because its just what I want to drink this time of year.

1934 Kidd XXX

Appearance - Dark golden with an orange hue. Small one finger head dissapates quickly but leaves a nice foamy ring and lacing. Impressed by the clarity, I did use some gelatin finings after fermentation. Its nearly briliant but I wouldn't go that far.

Aroma - Honey, grapes, not too familiar with brambling cross hops but the beer definitely smells like the hops as they went into the boil. The malt is in the backround, with a toasty lady finger smell. When the beer warms the corn aroma is slightly evident. Also smells sweet, not sure how thats possible. But I guess all the aroma's are associated with foods that are sweet.

Taste - Sweet upfront, the honey, grape and berry flavors fill out the middle. Then the hops come in and wash the sweetness away with a nice bitterness thats slightly earthy and haylike. Slightly reminiscent of noble hops. Finishes pretty dry with the corn and six-row husky flavors. The same lady finger/cookie taste stays on the palate with the hop resins. Begs you to have another sip to figure out what the hell you just tasted. I'm loving this beer. Complex yet drinkable. Everything is subtle yet noticeable.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is low, but just how I like it. However, a little bit more could dry the beer out just a tad and make a bigger head. Nice medium bodied beer for 6%. Not too chewy or watery. Right in the sweet spot. I've had a couple super dry highly carbonated comercial beers lately and I'm not into those. This one is like liquid velvet. The tannins from the hops are nice and prickly on the finish.

Drinkability & Notes - I'm impressed by this beer. Everything came together rather nicely. I wish it would have attenuated a slight bit more. Since my invert sugar was a little lighter than planned, the sweetness upfront is a little too much. I definitely enjoy this one, and always want a second. I'd be curious to see how the Bramblnig Cross hops work with american hops, and other english varieties. I definitely need to start thinking about oxygenating with pure O2 and keeping fermentation temps more steady with a fridge. I think a better overall fermentation could help make the beer a bit more crisp and polished.

O.G. 1.060 F.G. 1.014 ABV 5.9% IBU's 42 Wyeast London Ale 1028

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Brew Day: 1934 Kidd XXX

Kidd XXX

Batch size6 gallons
Boil size7.5 gallons
Boil time90 minutes
Grain weight12.37 pounds
Original gravity1.060
Final gravity????
Alcohol (by volume)~6%
Bitterness (IBU)42
Color (SRM)8.5°L
1200 mL Starter - Intermittent Shaking
London Ale

12.37 pounds
Maris Otter
38ppg, 4°L
8 pounds
6 Row Base
35ppg, 1.5°L
2 pounds
No. 2 Brewer's Invert
32ppg, 25°L
1.62 pounds
Corn (Flaked)
39ppg, 0.5°L
0.75 pounds

100 minutes, 9.8 gallons
Target 152°F
3.4 gallons
100 minutes (+0)
Target 170°F
6.4 gallons

90 minutes, 7.5 gallons
Brambling Cross hops
6.3%, Pellet
1.2 ounces
85 minutes (+5)
Goldings (Kent) hops
5.8%, Pellet
1 ounce
30 minutes (+60)
Brambling Cross hops
6.3%, Pellet
0.25 ounces
15 minutes (+75)

Pitched at 64F. Free rise to 68F for 4 days. Free rise to 72+ for 3-4 days.

4 grams gypsum and CaCl

A couple weeks ago I brewed a recipe from Ron Pattinson's Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. It is a strong mild or old burton type ale. Kristen England's tasting notes were so convincing I had to brew this up. You can read their post here.

The ingredients for this recipe were pretty easy to come by, except for the brewer's invert no. 2. I had to make that myself. Turned out to be more like a no. 1.5. Oh well.

I adjusted the recipe a bit so I wouldn't have to use partial pounds of grains that I ordered from Northern Brewer. Other than that, its pretty true to the original. I ended up getting a little bit more efficiency than expected. This could be do to using Candi Sugar in place of the no. 2 invert in my brewing software. I'm kind of happy for it to be a little bit stronger. It'll be perfect for thanksgiving and Christmas.

Another slight change is the color. The original recipe called for some caramel colorant to adjust the SRM to about 39. I don't care about the color and the caramel shouldn't have added too much flavor. I should still get the dark fruit flavors from the invert and the color will be pretty pale. I've never had a beer like that. Sweeeeet.

Brew day went really smooth. The only slight problem was loosing heat in the mash tun too fast. After 20 mins the outer edge of the mash was down to 144 or so. I think next time I will either put the mash tun in a sleeping bag or make a Charlie Papazian style insulated box. My $250 stainless steel pot isn't cutting it, damn. The wort running into the kettle was nice and clear. Maybe it was the 90 minute boil or the 20 min post chilling rest. These will definitely become the standard for me.

I decanted a pint (that tasted great, I like the esters from 1028) and pitched my starter of Wyeast 1028 at about 64 F. After a day or so the top half of the fermenter was active and fermenting. But the second half was much darker and had no yeast in suspension. I was afraid the invert had dropped out of suspension and settled on the bottom of my carboy. Even shaking the thing up wouldn't combine the two distinct layers. I could even see the flocculating yeast on the bottom of the top layer. I've never had this happen before. I think I may have let my yeast starter get too warm before pitching it into such a cold wort. I'll try to keep an eye on that next time better.

After another day or so and letting the ferment climb up to 68, the whole fermenter was going strong and there was no more stratification. There was a decent amount of blowoff. After 10 days or so I added a half pack of Knox gelatin in about a cup of water and chilled down to 32. I haven't read much about specific methods of fining with gelatin. I need to do some more research, because now it seems like I'm just totally guessing at amounts. This yeast is definitely a stubborn flocculator. It took a good while for it to drop out.

I'm going to bottle this up over the weekend. I can't wait to see how it is tasting. Yes, I still bottle. I just haven't had the time or space to get another fridge to hold corny kegs. But I have to do this soon, because I hate dealing with bottles.

Sorry for the scattered brain post. I'll post some tasting notes at bottling and through this beer's short life..

Friday, November 4, 2011

Making Brewer's Invert

One of the reasons I got into homebrewing was to make authentic British beers. The selection and freshness of these types of beers in FL is disappointing. So, why not make them myself.

One of the best sources on the web about brittish brewing is Shut Up About Barclay Perkins!; On his site Ron Pattinson features a Let's Brew! post every Wednesday. One ingredient that comes up quite often is invert sugar. It is impossible to buy this stuff unless you want to buy a metric ton. So again, you gotta do it yourself.

I followed the instructions here to make my invert number 2 and brew up a batch of Kidd XXX from 1934.

I took a couple pounds of demerara sugar mixed with some water, lactic acid, and a glob or two of corn syrup and boiled it for 4+ hours. I didn't quite get as dark as I wanted because I was
afraid of scorching the stuff. The directions I was following said to keep the sugar around 240 and wait for it to darken, but at 240 I didn't even see any bubbling on the surface. After the first couple of hours there was no real color development. Next time I'll let it get up to 250 or 255 F
and make sure there is some surface disturbance to make sure I'm getting the reactions I need
to darken my sugar.

Having to work the next day, I gave up on the color at around 3 a.m. when my syrup looked
liked this. 3 a.m. isn't that bad. I've stayed up all night brewing before. When you have a passion for brewing you do some pretty stupid stuff.

I decided to buy some canning jars to store my sugar. Even though I was going to use the sugar in a couple days, I figured storing it in a sanitized airtight container was a good idea. Botulism is odorless and flavorless after all. With such little moisture content, I doubt anything can live in this invert sugar though.

A couple days later I brewed up the 1934 Kidd XXX recipe from Ron & Kristen. That will be
described in my next post.

The demerara is from sugar cane grown a few miles from my house in south florida. I love that I get to use a local ingredient for making an old world brewing tool. Best of both worlds.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brewing Log Commence

Fall brewing season is upon us. I figure its much easier to keep an organized brewing log by doing it online. Plus, somebody might stumble upon something useful here every now and again. I've been reading everything I can on Ron Pattinson's Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, and finally have enough motivation to make some invert no. 2, and brew up the Kidd 1934 XXX. Tonight, yeast starter. Saturday traditional english brewing, then praying my beloved Florida Gators can at least compete with Auburn. Until next time.