Posts Tagged ‘Brew Day’

The brew: American IPA part II.

The last IPA turned out well, or at least, it would have turned out well. Thanks to work and life (yet again!) I was not able to get the batch into the keg until almost 4 weeks into the primary! Fortunately, the yeast were healthy enough to not give way to autolysis and those wonderful flavors that come with. In fact, it was still a very drinkable batch. My only issue was that it seemed that a majority of the hops dropped out, leaving me with an overly bitter and unbalanced ale. Perhaps it was a process/fermentation issue. Or perhaps it was something else. I suppose the only way to get an answer is to try to brew it again. Oh darn!

Photo courtesy: bjcp.org

BJCP Guideline 21A – American IPA (2015):

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties. The balance is hopforward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.

Commercial Examples: Alpine Duet, Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

American IPA Recipe – 5.00 gal Batch (Based on Brewing Classic Styles Recipe)

– 12 lbs, 12 oz. US 2 Row
– 12 oz. Munich
– 1lbs. Crystal 20°L
– 4 oz. Crystal 40°L
– 1 oz. Magnum at 60 mins
– 1 oz. Centennial at 10 mins
– 1 oz. Simcoe at 5 mins
– 1 oz. Mosaic at 0 mins
– Fermentis SafAle US-05
– Single Infusion Mash at 152 F for 60 mins

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):

– OG: 1.069
– FG: 1.015
– ABV: 7.18%
– 62.8 IBUs

Here’s what really happened:

Imagine a beautiful, sunny, California morning. The was a very slight breeze. The sun was out just enough to keep the temperature under the shade to a perfect 68-70 F. Three friends gathered all their brewing equipment at one friend’s home brewery (his garage), and set up for the morning. Conditions were in place for a perfect brew day. So perfect, in fact, that if it wasn’t 0700 am at the start of our brew day, I would have started the day with a breakfast stout… I didn’t. But I seriously considered it.

So I heated up my water as usual. Time for dough in…DOH! I only got up the high 140s F (146-148 F). But I remembered my last batch only hit 144 F, and it still turned out okay. I think the low temperatures may be due to the very thick mash caused by some equipment limitations (see the above grain bill and insert into my 5 gal. cylindrical cooler). It’s okay though! Moving on…

I sparge approximately 1.34 million times to work my way up to 6.5 gal. pre-boil volume in the kettle, turn the fire on, and sit and wait. Since I’m going full boil on a turkey fryer, getting the wort to boil can take awhile. During these downtimes, the 3 of us usually help the other with their brew day where needed. After there’s nothing else to help with, I get my kettle additions laid out and ready to go (hops, whirlfloc, and the like).

I don’t really have the luxury of video or audio to allow for the awkward dead air, but that’s basically the feeling I had while I waited for the boil. And finally! I see some rolling wort action! First addition of Magnum here we…

Photo courtesy: Hopunion.com

Oh crap. I saw the M on the hops and threw them in there. But it wasn’t Magnum… it was Mosaic! Well, there goes my aroma addition, and really my whole hop schedule. I wasn’t then going to add Magnum and the rest of the hops. So instead, I slightly improvised and used the hop schedule below (based on what I had available):

– .8 oz. Mosaic at 60 mins
– 1 oz. Simcoe at 5 mins
– .5 oz. Amarillo at 0 mins
– 1 oz. Citra at 0 mins

As you can see, it’s a much different schedule than what I planned. But what’s that old saying? Oh yeah.. Don’t worry. Relax, and have a homebrew! (Or something like that..) Here’s to another 5 gal. of mystery beer! Cheers!
The brew: American Wheat part II. The last wheat I brewed was about 2 months ago, and the last beer I brewed was almost 1 1/2 months ago. Work and life have been so busy – I ended up having to squeeze in a brew day last minute.

 

Photo courtesy: Bellsbeer.com

 

The absence of Bells Oberon in California has me craving a crisp and clean wheat that I can have a few pints of in this triple digit heat, no water having, California summer. The last wheat brewed unfortunately fell to my friend, Acetaldehyde. It might’ve been high fermentation temperatures, bacterial infection, an underpitched amount of yeast, or any combination of a few other post boil factors. I’m sure there were at least a few other things going on in that batch, but the green apple and fruity esters overpowered just about everything else. So I decided to keep going with the same recipe.

 

 

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

 

 

American Wheat Recipe (Based on Jamil Z. Recipe)

 

  • 5 lbs. 8 oz. US 2 Row (50%)
  • 5 lbs. 8 oz. White Wheat (50%)
  • 1 oz. Williamette at 60 mins
  • .3 oz. Williamette at 0 mins
  • .3 oz. Centennial at 0 mins
  • American Hefe Strain (WLP 320 or Wyeast 1010)
  • Single Infusion Mash at 152 F for 60 mins

 

 

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):

 

  • OG: 1.054
  • FG: 1.014
  • ABV: 5.3%
  • 19.3 IBUs

 

Here’s what really happened: 

The brew day setup.

The brew day setup.

 

Everything went according to plan. I entered it into a few competitions, and it took gold in each one… Okay, not really. I actually haven’t even tasted it yet. I will be transferring from primary to keg tomorrow, so it should be ready in about a week.

 

But the brew day really did go as well as I hoped. I used a nylon mesh BIAB bag as my false bottom, which was used in combination with the bazooka screen. The 11 lbs. grain bill with 50% wheat in my 5 gal. mash tun worked out just fine – No stuck sparge  like last American Wheat brew day!

 

I did mash a little higher than I expected – 155 F. I was trying to make up previous experience with my mash tun losing several degrees over the duration of the saccharification rest. Fortunately or unfortunately, the 155 F was consistent throughout the entire mash. For my purposes (drinking at home), the 3 degree difference will not be a major issue. I did pitch warmer than I wanted. I was aiming for around 70 F, but pitched around 80 F due to time constraints on the brew day.

 

Other than that, the day was fairly uneventful. I put the glass carboy in the fermentation chamber set for about 65F (the temp controller probe was taped to the carboy surrounded by some cloth to try to get a closer read). Here’s to a successful batch of American Wheat!

This post roughly marks this blog’s 1 year anniversary! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to also find me at Sommbeer.com!
Today’s brew: Everyone’s favorite, THE American IPA. Like much of the world, my mainstay is the American IPA. I love most styles, but I tend to favor the Fresh Squeezed (Deschutes), Deep Ellum IPA (Deep Ellum Brewing), and million other IPAs on the market. I figured most of my non-American Lager fans do too, so why not get a decent and consistent recipe down.
My working layout (My morning IPA not pictured).

My working layout (My morning IPA not pictured). New school on the left (Beersmith.com), old school on the right (Notebook)

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

American IPA Recipe – 5.00 gal Batch (Based on Brewing Classic Styles Recipe)

  • 12 lbs, 12 oz. US 2 Row
  • 12 oz. Munich
  • 1lbs. Crystal 20°L
  • 4 oz.Crystal 40°L
  • 1 oz. Magnum at 60 mins
  • 1 oz. Centennial at 10 mins
  • 1 oz. Simcoe at 5 mins
  • 1 oz. Amarillo at 0 mins
  • Fermentis SafAle US-05
  • Single Infusion Mash at 152 F for 60 mins

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):

  • OG: 1.069
  • FG: 1.015
  • ABV: 7.18%
  • 62.8 IBUs
Here’s what really happened: 

The brew day actually went fairly smoothly. I stayed on course with my intended recipe. My issues with the brew day took place pre-boil. The grain bill of almost 15 lbs. made my poor little 5-gallon mash tun work far harder than it should’ve. The mash was extremely thick, but I used a BIAB mesh bag as a false bottom over my bazooka screen. Multiple sparges were needed, but no stuck mash here! Since I can’t measure the exact volume of my wort, I can’t determine an accurate efficiency %. But that is one thing to plan for as I nail down my processes.

Not only was my mash thick, but I also had issues with my mash temperature. The plan was to dough in around 165°F, but by the time the entire grain bill was stirred in, I was mashing at the low end of the Beta-Amylase range of around 140°F. I hope the beer doesn’t turn out as dry and light as the numbers make it out to be.

 

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Photo courtesy: BJCP.org
BJCP Guideline 21A – American IPA (2015):

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties. The balance is hopforward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.

Commercial Examples: Alpine Duet, Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA

On a separate note, you can now find me as a contributor on SommBeer.com. Check out my posts along with a variety of others written by an awesome SommBeer.com team!

Thanks to traveling, work, and having only one arm, I finally got to brew today. I have to admit, I’m a little rusty on my processes. I haven’t brewed since before the holidays! This year, though, I’m ramping up the grain mill to eventually start entering a few competitions.

Today’s brew: American Wheat. I didn’t want anything special (that’s later in the year) – just a cool, crisp, clean sessionable something or another that also allows my tastebuds to live another day. The original, original recipe was supposed to be an Ode to Oberon (Bell’s Oberon). I saw it everywhere as I was traveling, but of course, it’s not in California. As the brew day came closer, I decided to keep it simple and go with a classic American Wheat.

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

American Wheat Recipe (Jamil Z. Recipe):
6 lbs. US 2 Row (50%)
6 lbs. White Wheat (50%)
1 oz. Williamette at 60 mins
.3 oz. Williamette at 0 mins
.3 oz. Centennial at 0 mins
White Labs WLP 320 – American Hefe
Single Infusion Mash at 150 F for 60 mins

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):
OG: 1.066
FG: 1.017
ABV: 6.43%
17.6 IBUs

Here’s what really happened:

Brew Day 16 May 2015

Brew Day 16 May 2015

I stuck to the recipe intended, with the exception of the yeast used. I procrastinated and didn’t think that WLP320 would be as uncommon as it was. I made the last minute decision to use what was on hand – US-05. Dry yeast (when hydrated properly) is actually a lot better than people give it credit for!

And now for the downer of the day… My 60-minute mash then sparge turned into a 60-minute STUCK mash and another 60 minutes of “kind of sparge.” Turns out the mill made the grains a little too fine/pulverized, and the wheat decided to make my day twice as long. How was it solved you ask? With morning tasters of home-brewed IIPA, Pliny the Elder, and Monk’s Blood (21st Amendment Brewing). Yes it was 0900am, but we limited ourselves to tasters. I mean C’mon, we’re not lushes… Next time I will definitely use a 1/2 pound of rice hulls.

On a separate note, you can now find me as a contributor on SommBeer.com. Check out my posts along with a variety of others written by an awesome SommBeer.com team!

Well, the weekend is over, and for most of us, it’s back to reality. Other than the couple home-brews and the half a bottle of wine, I think I got a good amount of work done. More importantly, I was able to begin the first in a series of homebrewing experiments. I’ve included the recipe and some photos of the brew day below.

 

Since I am fairly new to homebrewing, I decided I would try variations of ideas that I’ve had or heard about in order to become much more familiar with the ingredients I would be using. Much of the first round of experiments will be  SMaSH-based recipes. If you have not heard of the concept, or are new to home brewing, SMaSH recipes use a Single Malt and a Single Hop. The purpose of using this strategy would be to isolate the differences in the different ingredients. For example, I may want to focus on malts one day, hops another day, and yeast on a different day. If I wanna get crazy, I may even play with the water or the mash and fermentation profiles. The possibilities are endless, but that is the beauty of homebrewing!

 

In the experiment that took place this weekend, I decided to play with the yeast (since that’s what was on hand). I made a SMaSH with American 2-row malts and Cascade hops in a 2 gallon mini batch. The yeasts used included a starter derived from White Labs WLP001 California Ale yeast and a starter made from White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison yeast. I am curious to see how the fermentation progresses, and what flavors come from the different yeasts.
The mini set up. A friend brewing an American Wheat in the background.

The mini set up. A friend brewing an American Wheat in the background.

The work area with BeerSmith mobile running on the tablet.

The work area with BeerSmith mobile running on the tablet.

60 Minute Boil
4 lbs – US 2 Row
4 oz – 20L Crystal
.25 oz – Cascade @ 60 mins
.6 oz – Cascade @ 15 mins
1 – Whirlfloc @ 15 mins
.5 oz – Cascade @ 5 mins
Cascade additions. From left to right, initially supposed to be at 60, 30, 15, and 5, but decided to combine the 30 min and 15 min additions.

Cascade additions. From left to right, initially supposed to be at 60, 30, 15, and 5, but decided to combine the 30 min and 15 min additions.

Yeasts
1 gal – WLP001
.5 gal – WLP565
.5 gal – WLP565
Both fermenting at approx. 68 – 72 F.

If I’ve missed or didn’t include anything, or if you have questions or feedback on the recipe, feel free to comment or email. Thanks for reading!

The final product. The WLP565 on the sides, and the WLP001 in the middle.

The final product. The WLP565 on the sides, and the WLP001 in the middle. The WLP565 batch had to be split due to the size of the starter.