Category Archives: American

Hop Fu eBIAB 1

Third brew on the new single vessel eBIAB setup and now that I have most the kinks worked out time to see how it handles a serious quantity of hops!  I’ve brewed this beer before but adjusted the recipe a little since I couldn’t get my previous ingredients (namely British Medium Crystal – I had to substitute in Briess Caramel 60).   Note: stick with real British crystal malt (Briess has a more candy caramel character that reminds me of diacetyl and lacks some of the depth of flavor that british crystal has).  Here is the recipe:

BrewDesign

Recipe Info

Beer Name: Hop Fu eBIAB 1
Style: American IPA

Style

Original Gravity: 1.067
Final Gravity: 1.013
Color: 5.9
Alcohol: 7 %
Bitterness: 214.1 IBUs

Brewery

Efficiency: 70
Attenuation: 80

Mash

Mash Fermentable Weight: 14.25 Pounds
Mash Thickness: 1.75 Quarts per Pound
Grain Temp: 72 F
Strike Water Qty: 8.23 Gallons
Mash Volume: 9.37 Gallons
Strike Water Temp: 161.6 F
Mash Temp: 152 F

Boil

Kettle Gravity (start of boil): 1.050
Starting Boil Volume: 7.375
Boil Duration: 90 Minutes
Evaporation Rate: 1.25 Gallons per Hour
Final Boil Volume: 5.5

Fermentables

Weight (Lbs) % by Weight Name Yield SRM
13 91.2 Rahr Pale Malt; American (Rahr) 80.0 1.8
.25 1.8 Briess Caramel 60 76.0 60.0
.75 5.3 Briess Carapils 74.0 1.3
.25 1.8 Weyermann Acidulated Malt 78.7 2.3

Hops

Weight (ozs) Name AAU Time (mins) Use IBUs / Addition
1 Magnum Pellets 15.2 60 Boil 52.7
1 Columbus Pellets 15.6 30 Boil 41.6
1 Simcoe Pellets 14.1 10 Boil 17.7
1 Amarillo Pellets 8.5 20 Whirlpool 8.9
1 Citra Pellets 14.5 20 Whirlpool 15.2
1 Centennial Pellets 10.0 20 Whirlpool 10.5
1 Columbus Pellets 15.6 20 Whirlpool 16.4
1 Simcoe Pellets 14.1 Dry Hop 0.0
1 Amarillo Pellets 8.5 Dry Hop 0.0
1 Citra Pellets 14.5 Dry Hop 0.0
1 Centennial Pellets 10.0 Dry Hop 0.0
1 Columbus Pellets 15.6 Dry Hop 0.0

Yeast and Friends

Amount (Milliters) Name
1 vial and 1 L starter White Labs WLP001 California Ale

Misc

Amount Name Time
1 tablet Whirlfloc Tablet 15
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Wyeast) 10

Notes

mash salts:
9g gypsum
2g cc
pitch @ 66 and ramp to 68 over 1 day then hold till day 8 and half dry hop, day 10 swirl and do other half day 12 swirl again and when dropped clear (~day 14) rack to keg and force carb to ~2.5 volumes.

4/11/15 made 1 L starter
4/13/15 brew day
ebiab notes:
+ mash started @~155 but dropped to 150F within a few minutes. can probably target 5F overshoot
+ dropped back edge and some grain got out.  i fished all out of the wort but maybe missed a little
+ normal brew day otherwise.  fairly trubby into the ferment since i was short on wort.  5 gallons @ end w/ 4 gallons into the fermenter so finishing with 1 gallon more would have been good.
+ all numbers were on
+effienciency ok but not great @ 68%
+ stabilized @ 66.8F (was 65F in kettle at end of cooling) so set to raise to 68 over 24 hours
@ 1pm pitched
@10pm kreusen formed and slow steady bubbling
4/14/15 big fluffy kreusen and furious bubbling
4/27/15 racked to secondary to dry hop all 5oz at once and plan to swirl.  1.014 FG.  sample is very promising.  clean.  big hop flavor and aroma.
5/4/15 racked to keg and put in lagering fridge ~3 gallons
5/5/15 added .5 tsp of gelatin to 1/4 cup of filtered water.  microwaved 15sec at a time to 180F and added it to the keg, purged.  swirled just a little.
5/10/15 racked to sanitized and purged serving keg and did 5 min shake @ 30psi to start carb.  pulled 1/3 pint before transfer to clear out gelatin.  clear and sample tastes awesome.  only 2.5 gallons 🙁
gelatin worked really well.  beer is crystal clear.
 

Cal Common eBIAB 1

Second brew on the new eBIAB single vessel system and I made a few tweaks including mashing a lot thinner and using a sparge arm to make the recirculation a bit more gentle both of which seemed to really help my efficiency (this batch was 74%) and wort clarity.
I wanted to do another slightly hoppier beer for my wife and I had never brewed a Cal Common so seemed like a good one to try.  I looked at Jamil’s recipe in BCS as well as the one old NHC winner I could find and a few Anchor Steam clone recipes.  Nothing really peaked my interest so I decided to keep it simple.  I just did 90% pale/MO style base  and 10% mid-caramel/crystal.  My local homebrew shop carries Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise which I’ve always wanted to try and this beer seemed like a good one based on the BJCP style description.  I’m not a huge fan of american caramel malts so I figured I’d branch out and try a british crystal that I haven’t tried before.  I did some digging around on the web and people seem to LOVE Simpson’s Crystal so I ordered some Medium Crystal from them.  Jamil’s Northern Brewer hop schedule looked pretty hoptastique so I used that as a rule of thumb.  Here is the recipe:

BrewDesign

Recipe Info

Beer Name: cal common 1
Style: California Common Beer
Author: hommel homebrew
Date: 3-13-15

Style

Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.012
Color: 10.6
Alcohol: 5.3 %
Bitterness: 44.1 IBUs

Brewery

Efficiency: 70
Attenuation: 77

Mash

Mash Fermentable Weight: 11.125 Pounds
Mash Thickness: 1.5 Quarts per Pound
Grain Temp: 72 F
Strike Water Qty: 6.17 Gallons
Mash Volume: 7.06 Gallons
Strike Water Temp: 159.7 F
Mash Temp: 150 F

Boil

Kettle Gravity (start of boil): 1.043
Starting Boil Volume: 6.75
Boil Duration: 60 Minutes
Evaporation Rate: 1.25 Gallons per Hour
Final Boil Volume: 5.5

Fermentables

Weight (Lbs) % by Weight Name Yield SRM
10 89.9 thomas fawcett golden promise 80.5 2.7
1 9.0 simpsons medium crystal 76.0 67.0
.125 1.1 Weyermann Acidulated Malt 78.7 2.3

Hops

Weight (ozs) Name AAU Time (mins) IBUs / Addition
1.33 Northern Brewer Pellets (UK) 6.0 60 29.5
1.33 Northern Brewer Pellets (UK) 6.0 15 14.6
1.33 Northern Brewer Pellets (UK) 6.0 0 0.0

Yeast and Friends

Amount (Milliters) Name
1 pouch California Lager – WY2112

Misc

Amount Name Time
1 Whirlfloc Tablet 15
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Wyeast) 10

Notes

mash salts:
4.1g Gypsum
2.0 calcium chloride
boil salts:
none
should give mash pH of 5.4
pitch @ 60 and ramp to 62 over 1 day then hold till done (~14 days). rack to keg lager for 2 weeks. rack to clean keg and force carb to ~2.5 volumes.
BrewDay notes:
I’ve been re-reading “Brewing Engineering” by Steven Deeds.  It’s a fun book since it is him documenting his home experiments.  Some are very basic and a bit silly but some are very interesting.  In particular, he doesn’t buy the MrMalty’s yeast viabilty calculations and so he tests them with his own yeast and finds that the MrMalty numbers assume too high a die off rate.  And I’ve seen this a bunch of times in my brewing where MrMalty will say a yeast is only 30% viable based on age and calls for an enormous multi-stage starter and when I do that I end up with what looks like way too much yeast.  I have recently purchased a microscope and the other tools needed to do cell counts so I plan to test this out on my own as well.  So, my yeast for this beer was 4 months old which meant I would have needed 7 vials or some enormous starter.  But this yeast has been kept nice and cold the whole time so I just don’t buy it.  Maybe 50% viable but I’m doubting 7%.  So instead I used Wyeast’s standard recommendation for a hybrid strain and did a 2L starter (actually 1.4L since this was a smaller batch) and I did end up with a nice pitch of yeast after that ran for 48 hours and when I pitched it the fermentation was going strong by the next morning.
And the more I think about it the more that viability measure bothers me.  You could have 2 week old yeast that shipped in 100F weather and it have poor viability or have 3 month old that was stored cold and have good viability.  If you can’t do a cell count, why even bother with the MrMalty calculator.  In all reality, you have NO idea what your viability is.  So it seems the right path is either do cell counts and pitch the right amount of yeast or just use Wyeast’s starter recommendations.

  • 1 liter starter = about 150 billion cells
  • 2 liter starter = about 200 billion cells
  • 1 liter starter, then pitched into 4 liter starter = 400 billion cells

Or maybe I’ve been thinking about this too much 🙂
3/23/15 made 1.4L starter
3/25/15 pretty standard brew day.  did a step mash of 152 for 60 mins and 168 for 10 mins.
started at 6:45 am and had pitched and had beer in fermentation chamber by 11:30 am.  Under 5 hours.  Not bad.  Another 2 hours for cleanup but that was 80% the cleaner recirculating and me not doing anything.
pitched at 11:30 @ 60F and set controller to raise to 62F over 24 hours and hold it there till its done.
3/26/15 @9am.  Nice 1″ kreusen and steady strong bubbling
3/27/15 still kreusened with nice bubbling although maybe slowed a hair?
3/28/15 kreusen dropped.  bubbling slowed to ~2sec apart
3/29/15 ~10 secs
3/30/15 ~15 sec
4/2/15 no activity – dropped fairly clear
4/9/15 racked to keg ~3.5 gallons
FG – 1.015 pH 4.28
very nice beer but a hint of sulfur.  very low but will lager for 2 months to get rid of it.  also a bit green
4/23/15 forced carbed and put on draft.  big foam issue which seems to be from the liquid out post on all my lotto kegs.  moved to a new keg and problem went away but knocked out all the carb need to recarbonate.  very hazy.
4/28/15 still not quite carb’d but getting better.  still hazy but starting to clear.  a tasty beer.  need to try side by side with anchor steam.
my beer vs anchor steam:
aroma: mine>clean with restrained caramel and generic malty notes.  noticeable herbal/woody hops.  anchorsteam> more caramelly (oxidized?), less hops
flavor: mine> nice caramel character.  hop bitterness and flavor are spot on.  anchorsteam> more caramel flavor.  bitterness is similar but less hop flavor.
appearance: similar color.  my clarity stinks 🙁
mouthfeel: very similar
overall impression: other than clarity I prefer my cal common to anchor all the way around.  anchor sample has way more caramel and less hop aroma and flavor.  this doesn’t match up with the anchor i had on draft in bay area but it’s what I’ve got. seems the anchor steam here is old and oxidized.  sad.
5/5/15 finally dropping clear after ~2 weeks.  ok clarity but not great.  next time would definitely try gelatin or biofine to see how much faster / better it clears.

Hop Fu West Coast IPA 1

My first few American IPAs did not turn out quite the way I wanted.  I’ve brewed Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles / Lagunitas IPA / Dogfish 60 min hybrid and a clone of Blind Pig as well as two Pliny the Elder clones (almost an IPA by today’s standards 🙂 ).  None of these were bad but they definitely lacked the hop flavor and aroma I am looking for.  What I want is a Pliny the Elder / Sculpin / West Coast IPA punch in the face from across the room hop aroma and a big citrusy / piney / dank hop flavor and I just wasn’t getting there.  I think part of it is recipe and part of it is process.  So I decided to address both.
Recipe:
With the recipe I came across Kelsey McNair’s Hop Fu in the NHC winning recipe section from a few years back.  I looked into it further and realized he has placed at NHC in IPA at least three times with this recipe.   Wow.  That is totally nuts especially considering that is one of the largest category with well over 500 entries.  So, I figured his recipe is a good place to start.  I tweaked it a bit for what ingredients I can get easily (rahr 2-row instead of great western, simpson’s heritage med crystal) and my water (1% acidulated malt) and I adjusted the amounts a tinge towards my tastes (a hair more crystal but still under 2%).  The other big changes are I totally changed how I do my knock-out additions (0 minute) and dry hop.
Knockout addition:
I have heard the advice over and over again to cool as fast as possible in various books and radio shows so I have a very rapid immersion chilling setup with recirculation.  It works great and I can get down to ale fermentation temps in about 30 mins and lager temps in about 45 depending on the weather.  More recently, I listened to an interview with the brewer from, I think, Lagunitas where he talked about how they do whirlpool additions and the light bulb went off.  I had been throwing in a bunch of late addition hops but then immediately chilling but Lagunitas was whirlpooling at > 185 for 30+ mins.  Lagunitas has some of the best hop character in the business (especially IPA and Sucks) so I took that hugely to heart.  Then, as often happens, I started seeing those types of comments everywhere (Vinny’s Pliny write up in Zymurgy for example) so I decided to incorporate it into my process.  So with this beer I cut the heat, threw in the hops, put the lid on my kettle (I had the lid notched so I can close the lid with the immersion chiller in) and let it recirculate for 30 mins before starting the chilling water.
Dry Hop:
Similar to cooling as quickly as possible, I had also heard to add dry hops while ferment was still active to eat up any introduced oxygen.  Recently I reread Vinnie’s Pliny write up and noticed that he lets the ferment end, lets the yeast drop and pulls the yeast plug from the conical cone before dry hopping.  So, for this beer I let it totally finish and out and sit for an additional 4 days then racked to secondary (I use glass 6.5 gallon carboys) and then did a split hop addition with half for three days then added the other half for another 4 then racked to keg.
So some pretty big changes from how I did IPAs/DIPAs before.  Not really adhering to the scientific method – changing 3 big things at once makes hard to tell what actually helped –  but if it works it works!  I’m anxious to see how things turn out!
Hop Fu
14-B American IPA
Size: 7.0 gal # I target this but that is just to make sure I can get 6-6.5 gallons into the fermenter
Efficiency: 70.0% # I use a low number here to be safe – for this beer I ended up at 74% which is normal for rahr
Attenuation: 79.0% #the halfway mark for cal ale based on wyeast numbers but i just usually end up a bit higher.
Original Gravity: 1.066 (1.056 – 1.075) #actual was 1.065
Terminal Gravity: 1.014 (1.010 – 1.018) #actual was 1.010
Color: 7.03 (6.0 – 15.0)
Alcohol: 6.81% (5.5% – 7.5%) #more like 7.2%
Bitterness: 113.7 (40.0 – 70.0)
Ingredients:
17 lb (93.2%) Standard 2-Row – added during mash
12 oz (4.1%) Cara-Pils® Malt – added during mash
5 oz (1.7%) Medium Crystal Malt – added during mash
3 oz (1.0%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
0.5 oz (3.9%) Chinook (13.0%) – added first wort, boiled 90 m
1.25 oz (9.8%) Warrior® (16.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1.0 oz (7.8%) Columbus (15.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30 m
1.0 oz (7.8%) Simcoe® (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1.0 oz (7.8%) Amarillo® (8.5%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Citra™ (12.0%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Centennial (10.0%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Columbus (15.0%) – steeped after boil
1.0 oz (7.8%) Simcoe® (13.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Amarillo® (8.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Citra™ (12.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Centennial (10.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 oz (7.8%) Columbus (15.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2 ea WYeast 1056 American Ale™ #actual used 1 with a 2.5L starter
Notes
mash salts:
3g G
1.6g CC
sparge salts:
5.5g G
3g CC
acidify sparge to 5.5 (~12ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water) # I batch sparge
should give mash pH of 5.5 #was 5.6 so a tinge higher than i would want
18.25 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 27.4 quarts = 6.84 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.4 so ~163 into mash tun
ferment @ 67 for 10 days > secondary and dry hop half for 3 days and other half for 4 > keg  > drop 5 degrees per day to 45  > force carb to 2.5 vol
12/22 made 2.5L starter with 1 smacked wyeast 1056 pack put on stir plate
12/24 normal brew day.  tested new herms setup before starting brew and it was not recirculating right so i ditched it to do more testing.
did the 30 min whirlpool as planned and it started at 212 and at 30 mins was down to right at 185.  let sit for 20 mins after cooling and cone in center was HUGE mound of hops.  last about 2 gallons but was still able to get just over 6 gallons into the fermenter.
decanted down and mixed up 1L of slurry.  pitched @65 and slow ramped over 8 hours to 67 and held there for whole fermentation using brewpi.
pitched at 2pm and at 10pm had nice 1/2 inch kreusen and good blowoff activity
12/25 2 inch kreusen and very strong fermentation
12/27 fermentation really starting to slow down and is almost done
12/30 sample taken and is 1.008-1010.  sample is clean (no infection, no perceptable diacytl) and VERY bitter and nice hop flavor and aroma.  very promising!
1/2 racked to secondary 6.5 gallon fermenter purged with CO2.  about 5.9 gallons.  added 2.5 ounces of dry hops (.5 oz of each hop)
1/5 added other half of dry hops
1/10 racked to co2 purged keg.  got about 4.9 gallons 🙂  wow – all those hops really soak up the beer.  finishing pH is 4.6 which is a bit higher than i would like.  most likely because my mash pH was 5.6 which is a bit high as well.  very strong citrus / orange aroma with a bit of dank.  no carbonation so it will be interesting to see how that changes things.  very bitter but smooth, not harsh.  nice hop flavors which lean towards the dank / piney but show a nice citrus edge.  will drop 5 degrees a day to 45, force carb and put on tap.
1/14 beer down to 45F so force carbed (30psi and shake for 5ish mins) and put on tap @ 14psi and 43F to get it to ~2.5 carbonation.  usually takes a few more days to get fully carbonated but did pull a sample.  Whoa!  serious hop aroma and flavor.  also huge head with serious retention.  all around pretty dank/piney but there are hints of citrus around the edges.  quite bitter but it is not throat constricting or unpleasant.  so far so good!  clarity is pretty poor so will keep an eye on it to see how long it takes to clear.
1/21 beer is now nicely carbonated and has dropped fairly clear but there is a bit of a haze.  did a side by side with sculpin and nose is spot on as is the flavor although the bitterness seems a tinge higher on my hop fu.  very happy with this beer.  not sure I would make any adjustments other than getting pH down a bit.

American Pale Ale Galaxy 1

Last year, I brewed with a focus on local competitions and did well but I feel like I’ve done what I want with that.  So, this year my focus is on getting six beers tuned for NHC.  My American IPA, Belgian Dark Strong and Wit are pretty solid and I feel like only need minor tweaking.  My German Pils, Dusseldorf Alt and American Pale Ale are some of my favorite styles but my versions need some work.
This beer I’m focusing on some ideas I have for my American Pale Ale to see if they work or not.  So, my general idea for an American Pale Ale is similar to my IPA (see Hop Fu) but I would like a bit more toasty, bready and caramel flavor but still subdued.  On the hop side , I’d like to use some of the new big oil hops to have a nice mix of new school tropical fruit (galaxy), citrus (amarillo / citra), berry (mosaic / nelson sauvin) and old school classic american hop flavors like centennial or columbus (citrus, dank).  To be clear, I don’t plan to use all those hops!  I’d like to pick one or two new school and one or two old school and do a pretty big whirlpool (2-3 oz) and similar sized dry hop addition to get a nice big hop pop but keep the bitterness in balance to the style.  So, I wanted to test my idea for the base beer and test one of the new school hops, galaxy, to see if I want to incorporate it.
Single Hop Pale Ale Galaxy 1
10-A American Pale Ale
Size: 7.5 gal
Efficiency: 70% (actually 80+%)
Attenuation: 80%
Original Gravity: 1.048 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.010 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 9.9 (5.0 – 14.0)
Alcohol: 5.0% (4.5% – 6.0%)
Bitterness: 18.1 (30.0 – 45.0)
Ingredients:
13 lb (91.2%) Maris Otter – added during mash
.5 lb (3.5%) Medium Crystal Malt – added during mash
.5 lb (3.5%) Cara-Pils® Malt – added during mash
4 oz (1.8%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
.5 oz (20.0%) Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
2 oz (80.0%) Galaxy (14%) – added after boil, steeped 30 m
1 ea Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05
Notes
14.25 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 21.375 quarts = 5.34 gallons
mash @ 154
mash in water temp 164.7 so ~166 into mash tun
mash salts:
3.3g G
1.6g CC
sparge salts:
6.0g G
3g CC
should give mash pH of 5.3 (was 5.3)
acidify sparge to 5.5-6 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
ferment @ 67 for 10 days  > keg  > drop 5 degrees per day to 45  > force carb to 2.5 vol (pitched at 65 and raised over 24 hours to 67 and held there till done)
2/10/14 standard brew day but first day using new automated HLT.  safale us-05 which was reconstituted in 1 cup of 90 degree pre-boiled water.  efficiency was much higher than with rahr 2 row.  rahr was about 72% and crisp maris otter was about 84%.
2/11/14 ferment took a little longer than normal to get going.  i’ll chalk that up to dry yeast.  By 24 hours 1/2 inch kreusen and solid steady bubbling.
2/12/14 still solid fermentation
2/13/14 still solid but starting to slow
2/14/14 switched to bubbler and measured 1.010 pH 4.13.  definite tropical fruit notes in nose.  strong bitterness but not overwhelming.  nice malt character.  no infection.
2/21/14 kegged.  no activity after 2/16 but let sit for a bit to let yeast do any cleanup.  slow drop 5 degrees a day to 40 to cold crash.