Thursday, March 24, 2016

Brew Day: Suwannee!!! Pale Ale

Back to basics. I love pale ales. Its hard to find an IPA with any perceivable malt character. Those "Session IPA" things are to thin and watery to withstand all the bitterness. I love a nice toasty, crackery malt profile with some resinous, citrus, and fruitiness layered on top. Pale ale fits the bill.

Suwannee!!! Pale Ale

Batch Size: 6 Gallons (post boil in the kettle)
Pre-Boil:  11 Brix or 1.043 (7.25 gallons)
Post Boil: 13 Brix or 1.052
Final Grav: 1.009
App. Atten: 83%
Alc. By Vol: 5.6%
IBU's (rager): 40
SRM: 5.4 L

10 lbs Great Western 2-Row
  1 lbs Wheat Malt
  1 lbs Briess Bonlander Munich
 .5 lbs Breiss Victory Malt

2 tsp gyspsum
2 tsp CaCl

Mashed-in with 5 gal of 162 F RO water. Mixed well and rested at 148.5 for 1 hour. Added 2 gal of 212F water to reach 155F.  Sparged with 3 gallons.

Collected 7.25 gallons of 1.044 wort.  Added 1 tsp gypsum. Good hot-break and foaming.

14 g of Cascade for 60 mins
14 g of Cascade for 30 mins
28 g of Amarillo for 10 mins
56 g of Centennial for 10 mins
56 g of Chinook in the whirlpool
Whirlfloc at 10 Mins

Chilled using ice water through the immersion chiller down to 69F. Whirlpooled and settled for 20 mins. When racking to carboy, the cone collapsed and ended up with more trub and hop matter in the fermenter than usual.

Placed in chest freezer and cooled to 64F.

Measured 13 brix on the refractometer and confirmed 1.052 with the hydrometer.

White Labs WLP001 pure pitch in a 1.6 L starter to reach 182B cells (.75M / mL / deg. P). Chilled after 24 hours. Removed from refrigerator at pitching time. Decanted spent wort and pitched into 64 F wort.

Filled headspace with O2 and shook for 20 seconds. Two times.

Probe taped under paper towel and bubble wrap.

Temp dropped to 59 F overnight thanks to a cold front. Heated with a blow dryer to 63.

Chilled on day 9 (airlock still had some activity) slowly down to 32 over the course of 2 days.

Kegged, sent to NHC, and drank.

Troubleshooting: Yarmouth SDB

Whenever I venture away from brewing my typical favorites, I always seem to run into an unexpected issue. The most recent special dark bitter I brewed had a rather sluggish fermentation. I have never had a beer take so long to ferment out. My only guess as to why, is a poorly transported yeast pack. The yeast and ice pack were both warm to the touch upon arrival.  I didn't have time for a starter to reinvigorate the smack pack, so I boosted the cell count with some dry fermentis US-05. Even though I supplemented the WY1469 with US05, neither strain seemed to be very happy. Maybe these two don't play nice together. The result, a diacetyl and acetaldehyde laden, fusely mess of a beer. Honestly, its not undrinkable, but I've grown sensitive to diacetyl and can't stand even the suggestion of it. Lesson learned: vitality of yeast is more important than cell count.

Another factor to investigate; the ball valve on my boil kettle. I have had the kettle for around 6 years now and never attempted to remove the valve.  I remember accidentally stripping the threads in trying to prevent any leakage when I first got the kettle, so I've never taken it off.  I finally mustered enough courage, and wasn't pleased with what I found. Maybe the crud in between the washers and the ball were harboring some pedio or other bacteria which were contributing to the diacetyl and fusels. I soaked all the nuts and bolts in PBW for a few days, and was excited to brew knowing I had sparkling clean valve. Next up Suwannee!!! Pale Ale.