Category Archives: Brew Log

Vienna 3

This is my second go at brewing  Vienna Lager but this time it isn’t just practice – this ones going to NHC assuming it is one of my better beers at the time of submission.  some small (ish 🙂 changes from my last Vienna.  I moved from Weyerman to Best Malz for my base malts (Pilsner, Vienna, Munich).  I also added a bit of color using Briess Midnight Wheat.  Lastly I used the German Lager strain from White Labs.
I did a 2.5L starter of 2 yeast vials that were under 1 month old.  Starter went well except stir plate is kicking the bucket.
I went to a different homebrew shop which is closer since they carry the Best Malz but their crush was a bit coarse.  My own fault since I set the crush.  Boooo me.  Efficiency were spot on though it appeared to not make any difference.  That said, my wort was a bit hazier than I’m used to so I wonder if there was some left over starch in there.  We’ll see.
SG was right on which may well be a first.  I ended up adding 1 L of filtered water to boil to hit my end of boil gravity on the nose.
I used the same cooling technique again (kill whirlpool but leave cooling water on when I let it sit for 20 mins before going to fermenter) and it worked perfectly.  I cooled to 47 and after 20 minutes of settling time it was down to 45 and up to 48.5 by the time I got it in the fermenter, oxygenated and pitched.
Vienna 3
3-A Vienna Lager
Size: 7.5 gal
Efficiency: 80.0%
Attenuation: 80.0%
Original Gravity: 1.052 (1.046 – 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.010 (1.010 – 1.014)
Color: 12.87 (10.0 – 16.0)
Alcohol: 5.47% (4.5% – 5.5%)
Bitterness: 29.4 (18.0 – 30.0)
6 lb (42.3%) Best Malz Pilsen Malt – added during mash
6 lb (42.3%) Best Malz Vienna Malt – added during mash
14 oz (6.2%) Best Malz Munich Malt Dark – added during mash
14 oz (6.2%) Weyerman Caramunich® TYPE I – added during mash
3 oz (1.3%) Briess Midnight Wheat Malt – added during mash
4 oz (1.8%) Weyerman Acidulated Malt – added during mash
1 oz (50.0%) Northern Brewer (9.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 20 m
1 oz (50.0%) Czech Saaz (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 m
2 ea White Labs WLP830 German Lager
vienna 2 was a bit light so darkened up w/ midnight wheat
mash salts:
1.1g Gypsum
2.7g CC
sparge salts:
2g Gypsum
5g CC
acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.3
14.44 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 21.7 quarts = 5.4 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.4 so ~163.4 into mash tun
pitch @ 45 and ramp to 50 over 2 days then hold for two weeks than raise 5 degrees a day to 60 and hold.  on day 21 rack to keg and drop 2 degrees a day to 35 and lager for one month.  rack to clean keg and force carb to 2.4 volumes.
11-10-14 brewday.  pitched at 48.5F and raised it over 24 hours to 50 and held it there till diacetyl rest at 2 weeks.
11-11-14 little bit of bubbling but no real kreusen
11-12-14 nice 1″ kreusen and strong steady bubbling
11-15-14 seems to be starting to slow.  still 1/2″ kreusen and steady bubbling.
11-16-14 still a little kreusen.  bubbling every ~3 sec.
11-17-14 ~5 sec
11-18-14 ~12 sec
11-23-14 no bubbling

Vienna 2

As I mentioned in my Helles 1 post, I am now down to the last of 23 main categories – European Amber Lager.  Kind of a coin toss between Oktoberfest/Marzen and Vienna Lager so I just kind of randomly picked Vienna Lager.  I do like that it is a little less malty and a little drier than Marzen which can be a bit bready and malty sweet for my tastes.Serendipitously, I just got the March/April 2014 issue of Brew Your Own which has the standard Jamil Style Profile on Vienna but also has a “tips from the pros” section.  Also, serendipitously I’ve recently had the best Vienna lager I’ve ever had from Devil’s Backbone in Virginia and low and behold one of the brewer’s covered in the article is Jason Oliver from DB.  Cool!
In the article, it gives loose details on his recipe.  The base is a fifty / fifty split of pilsner and vienna malt.  The remainder is dark Munich and caramel malt.  He also said the vienna, dark munich and caramel are continental so I picked weyerman vienna, munich II and caramunich II.  He also laid out the hops as northern brewer for bittering and saaz for flavor/aroma.  So with that I came up with this recipe:
Vienna 2
3-A Vienna Lager
Size: 7.5 gal
Efficiency: 80.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Original Gravity: 1.051 (1.046 – 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.014)
Color: 8.11 (10.0 – 16.0)
Alcohol: 5.02% (4.5% – 5.5%)
Bitterness: 28.3 (18.0 – 30.0)
6 lb (42.3%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
6 lb (42.3%) Vienna Malt – added during mash
1 lb (7.0%) Munich TYPE II – added during mash
1 lb (7.0%) Caramunich® TYPE II – added during mash
3 oz (1.3%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
1 oz (50.0%) Northern Brewer (9.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 oz (50.0%) Czech Saaz (3%) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
2 ea Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
mash salts:
1.2g Gypsum
3.1g CC
sparge salts:
2g Gypsum
5g CC
acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.4
16.25 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 24.375 quarts = 6.1 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.4 so ~163.4 into mash tun
pitch @ 48 and ramp to 50 over 2 days then hold till done (~14 days).  rack to keg and drop 2 degrees a day to 38 and lager for at least one month.  rack to clean keg and force carb to 2.5 volumes.
3/31/14  normal brew day.  yeast was a repitch of yeast harvested from helles 1 -> about 1Q of 2206 slurry collected which over a few days packed down to about 250-300ml of compact yeast.  81% efficiency.  cooled to 48 but by the time it was in the fermenter it was up to 50.  would rather pitch at 48 but 50 is fine so pitched yeast straight out of refrigerator that I had decanted off most the liquid from at 1:30PM.  brew pi set to hold at 50 for 8 days then ramp 5 degrees a day to 60 and hold there till I rack to keg.  here are my brew pi settings:

4/1/14 8AM no activity.  10PM small 1/4″ kreusen but no bubblied.  worried there may be a leak.
4/2/14 still no bubbling so put a worm clamp around base of carboy cap and voila!  blow off tube started bubbling.
4/5/14 still steady bubbling with 1/2″ kreusen
4/6/14 kreusen started to fall but still steady bubbling and turbulent with yeast
4/10/14 very slow bubbling – ~ every  6 secs.  yeast has started to drop out
4/11/14 bubbling every 11 sec
4/12/14 bubbling every 12 sec
4/13/14 bubbling every 14 sec
4/16/14 no activity.  moved to bubbler.  forced diacetyl test was negative.  1.010 FG.  pH 4.55.  very clean and already dropped very clear.  good flavor but color is low.  looked at beer tools pro and realized color was using “classic” color model.  moved to morey and dropped from 10 SRM to 8 SRM which seems much more accurate.  kind of a light copper color rather than light amber to copper.  not way off but noticeable so for vienna III I’ll add a bit of carafa special to add a bit of color.
4/21/14 transferred to keg and started 2-3 degree a day drop to 40 at which point i’ll move to my lagering fridge at 35

Helles 1

Another step in my journey to brew all the BJCP beer styles.  Of the 23 top level categories, there are only 2 that I haven’t brewed at least 1 sub-category – light lager and amber lager.  So, my plan is to brew this Helles and then harvest and pitch the yeast into a Vienna.  I looked at Brewing Classic Styles and NHC winners and put it all together to make this recipe.
Helles 1
1-D Munich Helles
Size: 9.15 gal
Efficiency: 85.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 161.35 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.049 (1.045 – 1.051)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.008 – 1.012)
Color: 3.83 (3.0 – 5.0)
Alcohol: 4.77% (4.7% – 5.4%)
Bitterness: 21.0 (16.0 – 22.0)
14.5 lb (94.3%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
.5 lb (3.3%) Munich TYPE II – added during mash
6 oz (2.4%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
.25 oz (11.1%) Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1.5 oz (66.7%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
.5 oz (22.2%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
2 ea Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
tettnanger i bought were a bit low on alpha so used a small amount of magnum to adjust bitterness
starter: yeast a bit old (~2 months) so a bit bigger starter needed than normal.  3.75L starter used.
mash salts:
1.2g Gypsum
2.9g CC
sparge salts:
2g Gypsum
5g CC
acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.4
15.38 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 23.07 quarts = 5.78 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.4 so ~163.4 into mash tun
pitch @ 48 and ramp to 50 over 2 days then hold till done (~14 days).  rack to keg and drop 2 degrees a day to 38 and lager for one month.  rack to clean keg and force carb to 2.5 volumes.
brew day notes:
3/1/14 Made 4L starter but somehow only ended up with 3.5L in ehrlenmeyer.  Weird.  Otherwise normal starter.
3/3/14 super cruddy weather.  started at 50F and dropped all day to freezing by the time I pitched which always makes things interesting.  Seemed to go pretty normal so fingers crossed.  Had very high efficiency again ~85% so ended up with a ton-o-wort.  Almost 10G.  Worked out well b/c I had planned for that ahead of time and adjusted my hops.  Also, had very clean wort into fermenter since didn’t get anywhere near the trub when racking to the fermenter.
3/4/14 a bit slow to get going but had a very small kreasen but no real bubbling at 12 hours and 1/2″ kreusen and slow bubbling at 24 hours.
3/5/14 still 1/2″ kreusen but good slow steady bubbling – bubble about every 1 sec.
3/6/14 ditto
3/9/14 kreusen has fallen and bubbling has slowed a bit.  still churning with yeast.
3/10/14 slowing and seems to be clearing a bit.  still bubbling every 2 sec.
3/12/14 bubbling every 7 sec.  moved to bubbler. 1.0.14.  a bit of sulfur in the nose.  little diacetyl?  tastes very nice.  malty delicious helles.  very promising.
3/13/14 raised 5 degrees a day to 60 for diacetyl rest
3/14/14 bubbling picked back up a bit to every 7 seconds
3/16/14 bubbling slowed to every 30 seconds
3/19/14 pulled sample for forced diacetyl test.  getting a bit of diacetyl in warmed sample?  hard to tell.  if so a very low level.
3/23/14 transferred to keg for lagering.  sample is 1.008.  final pH 4.46.
force diacetyl test negative.  only noticeable issue is low burnt match type sulfur in aroma and flavor.  should lager out hopefully.  will blow off head space once a week during lagering to make sure.  starting 2-3 degree a day drop to 40.
3/30/14 moved to lagering fridge @ 35

Biere de Garde 1

Yet another new beer style for me.  I am a member of the Rare Beer Club (thanks to my wife!) and they seem to really like Biere De Garde since a few have come from them.  Also, while studying for my BJCP exam I made sure to get some legit examples (ie French) and have had Jenlain on multiple occasions.  So, I’m fairly familiar.  To me, the BJCP describes it basically as a big malty lager-esque beer that finishes nice and dry.  This seems to jive pretty well with the examples I’ve had although there are some intangibles there that get get lost in that description.   BdG is not a Doppelbock that finishes really dry.  There is a earthy/funky note that is subtle but very nice.
I re-read Brewing Classic Styles and listened to the Brew Strong episode covering BdG and wasn’t particularly inspired although I do like Jamil’s thoughts on Fuggles earthy quality so incorporated that.  I also re-read Farmhouse Ales which is extremely helpful and definitely gives the best information on this style that I could find.  That said, I didn’t find the recipes in the book all that intriguing.  They are either way too simple or way too complex and I wanted to shoot for the middle ground.  So, I just took the info from the BJCP and Farmhouse Ales and Commercial examples and took a stab at it with my own recipe.  Living dangerously!
I wanted a nice toasty, bready backbone without coming across like a Dunkel so I used Maris Otter for the bulk of the base grain (toasty) and Munich I (lightly bready).  I also wanted a nice caramel note and a nice dry finish so I thought I’d try some D-45 Belgian Candy sugar.  I really like the D-90 but it has a raisin quality to it that would be totally inappropriate.  D-45 is supposed to have a straight caramel flavor.  Fingers crossed.  Also, the sugar should help dry the beer out.  Lastly for the grain, I used some Carafa Special I to color it up a bit and Acidulated malt to get the pH right.  For the hops I used Fuggle as mentioned above to try and impart a nice earthy quality that I think really works with this beer.  For yeast, I harvest German Ale (Alt yeast) from my last beer so pitched that since it gives a very clean, lager like character but with some other nice very subtle ester character that I’m hoping will work well.
Biere de Garde 1
16-D Bière de Garde
Date: 4/1/14
Size: 7.5 gal
Efficiency: 80.0%
Attenuation: 82.0%
Original Gravity: 1.071 (1.060 – 1.080)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.008 – 1.016)
Color: 15.87 (6.0 – 19.0)
Alcohol: 7.65% (6.0% – 8.5%)
Bitterness: 24.4 (18.0 – 28.0)
10 lb (57.1%) Maris Otter – added during mash
5 lb (28.6%) Munich TYPE I – added during mash
.25 lb (1.4%) Carafa Special® TYPE I – added during mash
4 oz (1.4%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
2 lb (11.4%) Candi Sugar D-45 – added during mash
2 oz (66.7%) Fuggle (4.8%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 oz (33.3%) Fuggle (4.8%) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
1 ea Wyeast 1007 German Ale™
mash salts:
1.1g Gypsum
2.8g CC
sparge salts:
2g Gypsum
5g CC
acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.4
15.5 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 23.25 quarts = 5.8125 gallons
mash @ 151
mash in water temp 161.3 so 162 into mash tun
pitch @ 58 and ramp to 60 over first 48 hours > hold for a total of 3 weeks minimum.  rack to keg and drop 2 degrees a day to 40 then put in lagering fridge @35 and lager for 6 weeks.  rack to clean keg and force carb to 3.0 volumes or bottle condition at 3 (~6 oz  200 grams of corn sugar for 5 gallons).
BrewDay notes:
Fairly normal brewday.  Yeast was ~250ml repitch of thick slurry from NG_Alt_1.  Mash temp was off again.  Was targeting 151 but hit 154.  I’ve just been going with the thermometer in my HLT so I’ll make a point of checking the water in the mash tun before doughing in.  It has been super hot so I think it is probably just that.  Batch sparge was a bit low but that is mostly b/c I was gun shy after my last brew.  I need to be better about precalculating what my mash out water temp should be ahead of time.  Efficiency was right on after mash but the D-45 had less fermentables than I had thought (even though it is right on the label – duh!!!).  So, I went from a 60min to 90min boil and hit my OG right on.  I did use yeast nutrient in the boil since it is a repitch.
7/21/14 @ 1:30 pitched at 58F so set Brewpi to right to 60F over 24 hours
10pm thin kreusen and nice bubbling
7/22/14 @ 8am nice 1 inch kreusen and strong steady bubbling
7/23 @ 8am 2 inch kreusen and really cranking
7/24 @ 8am still big kreusen and a bit of blowoff in the tube but starting to slow a bit
7/25 @ 8am steady bubbling every 1 sec but has slowed down since yesterday
7/26 @ 8am started rise from 60-65 over 5 days.  slow steady @ ~ 4 sec
8/11 no activity for over a week and dropped fairly clear although yeast is dusty.  moving the carboy really unsettled the yeast.  transferred to keg and started 2 degree + F drop per day to 40 F
8/18 due to some lagering fridge space issues keeping in ferment chamber for extra week and dropping 2F a day to 35.  got about 1.5L sample when racked to keg which I carbed and tried.  let sit for the last week so had dropped pretty clear.  very malty nose.  rich breadcrust and toast.  faint caramel.  noticeable earthy hop aroma -> med-low.  maybe a bit higher than I would want but should drop with lagering.  similar flavor.  rich malt with bready and toasty dominant but nice caramel edge.  very clean.  very dry.  an alcohol note that should fade with lagering.  all in all, very happy with it but need to sit down with some commerical examples and compare.  forgot to test beer after transferring to fermenter so degassed this sample so reading may be off.  FG: 1.016.  pH 4.65 (a bit high).

Brown Porter 1

I have time for one more beer before I start making my NHC 2015 beers.  Not much time so I figured I’d make an English style beer that is a bit quicker turn around and one I have haven’t brewed before.  After kicking it around a bit I settled on a Brown Porter for no real good reason other than I’ve brewed most of the other English low gravity styles.
I did my normal research and reread the Porter book from the Classic Styles series, Brewing Classic Styles and old NHC recipes.  Jamil’s recipe seemed like a good place to start so I took his recipe and tweaked it a bit.  In reading the BJCP style guide it mentions low roast and chocolate and possibly some coffee notes.  I find most chocolate malt to be a bit harsh (acrid/astringent) so I decided to take Jamil’s chocolate and split it half and half as pale chocolate and coffee malt.  Also, I find fuggles to be a bit too earthy / woody so I used Willamette instead which I really like.  Otherwise I basically stuck with his recipe.
Brown Porter 1
12-A Brown Porter
Date: 4/1/14
Size: 8.44 gal
Efficiency: 85.0%
Attenuation: 77.0%
Original Gravity: 1.050 (1.040 – 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (1.008 – 1.014)
Color: 20.34 (20.0 – 30.0)
Alcohol: 4.99% (4.0% – 5.4%)
Bitterness: 26.1 (18.0 – 35.0)
10.5 lb (75.0%) Maris Otter – added during mash
1.25 lb (8.9%) Brown – added during mash
1.25 lb (8.9%) Caramel Malt 40L – added during mash
.5 lb (3.6%) Pale Chocolate – added during mash
.5 lb (3.6%) Coffee Malt – added during mash
2 oz (66.7%) Willamette (5.3%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 oz (33.3%) Willamette (5.3%) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 ea Wyeast 1028 London Ale™
mash salts:
1.1g Gypsum
2.6g CC
1.6g pickling lime
sparge salts:
2g Gypsum
5g CC
acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.4
14 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 21 quarts = 5.25 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.1 so 162.1 into mash tun and measure before mashing in
pitch @ 66 and ramp to 68 over 2 days > hold for a total of 2 weeks minimum. rack to clean keg and force carb to 2.3 volumes.
8/25/14  Fairly normal Brewday.  80F and sunny out which is always nice 🙂  Efficiency was super high (84%) so I had to dilute my work with 1G of water to get the gravity right.  pH was a bit high but not way off.  I measured water temp in MLT pre-mashing in and it was spot on it looks like Mash temp was good.  Cooled wort to 65 but it was 69 by the time I pitched.  Not a big deal but I was aiming for 66 at pitching time.   Pitched 1.3L starter.  Set the brewpi to drop 1 degree F over 24 ours and hold at 68 through end of primary.
8/26/14 @ 8am 1 inch kreusen and VERY active fermentation.
8/27/14 @ 8am yesterday afternoon ferment was ferocious!  amazingly no blowoff.  this morning ferment still steady but seems to have slowed
8/28/14 @ 8am wow, kreusen totally dropped and zero bubbling.  definitely my fastest ferment ever.  hopefully it has finished out.

Belgian Dark Strong 1

I’ve been brewing for going on three years now and I decided early on that I wanted to brew all 80 BJCP styles.  I’m about half way there and with this brew I’m knocking another one off the list.  I had also won some D-180 at a homebrew competition which I needed to get out of the refrigerator and this seemed like the best candidate 🙂  I definitely gravitate towards hoppy beers and big Belgian beers and I’ve been a fan of this category since I had my first St. Bernardus 12.  Some of the versions I’m not a huge fan of (Chimay Blue) but others I absolutely love (St. B 12, Gulden Draak).
To put this recipe together, I looked at my normal sources (Brewing Classic Styles, BYO, Zymurgy, Gordon Strong’s Books, NHC recipes) but none of these really struck a chord.  Most have very complex grain bills and did not take advantage of the great Belgian Dark Candi Sugar we can now easily get.  So, I re-read Brew like a Monk and took a lot of inspiration from the Dark Strong write up as well as the insight into how St. Bernardus brews the 12 and how Westmalle ferments their yeast in their Dubbel and Tripel.  Since I had the D-180, I also looked at their website which has a pretty good looking St Bernardus 12 and Westvleteren 12 clone recipe.  Lastly, I brewed a Tripel I was very happy with (and my first 1st place beer) in which I used Westmalle Yeast (Wyeast 3787) and 20% sugar.  So I took all this together and came up with my Belgian Dark recipe.  The brunt is Castle Pilsner malt but I wanted a nice malty aroma and flavor so I used 9% Castle Chateau Aromatique (basically super charged munich malt at 35L).  I also wanted it to dry out nicely so I mashed low (ended up at 149 rather than planned 150) and used 4% D-180 (1Lbs) and 9% table sugar (2Lbs).  Pretty basic hop bill, middle of the style range and just enough to offset some of the sweetness but not be particularly noticeable.  For the ferment, the one issue with my Tripel was it was a bit too low on phenolics and esters so I ramped the ferment faster.  I started at 64 and ramped it to 76 over three days whereas with the Tripel I did it over 5 days.
Belgian Dark Strong 1
18-E Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Size: 7.0 gal
Efficiency: 70%
Attenuation: 80%
Original Gravity: 1.090 (1.075 – 1.110) – ended up at 1.088 since boil evaporation rate was only 1G/hr                                                                                                     rather than expected 1.25G/hr
Terminal Gravity: 1.018 (1.010 – 1.024) – Tripel with same yeast finished at 1.006 so this is probably                                                                                                 high
Color: 19.13 (12.0 – 22.0)
Alcohol: 9.52% (8.0% – 11.0%)
Bitterness: 31.7 (20.0 – 35.0)
18 lb (78.3%) Pilsen 2RS Malt – added during mash
2 lb (8.7%) Aroma 100 EBC Malt – added during mash
1 lb (4.3%) Candi Sugar Dark D-180 – added during mash
2 lb (8.7%) White Table Sugar (Sucrose) – added during mash
1 oz (50.0%) Northern Brewer (10.3%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 oz (50.0%) Styrian Goldings (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 ea WYeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity™
mash salts:
2.2g Gypsum
3.3g CC
sparge salts:
4g Gypsum
6g CC
acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~12ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.4 – was actually 5.6 so i acidified the boil to get it down to 5.3
20 lb of grain
1.4 qt/lb = 28 quarts = 7 gallons
mash @ 150 – was 149
mash in water temp 160.9 so ~161 into mash tun
pitch @ 64 and ramp to 76 over 3 days then hold ~21 days.  rack to keg, drop to 45F at 5F a day and then force carb to 3.
1-18-14 : made 3.4L starter with 1 yeast pack per Mr Malty
1-20-14 : pretty normal brew day.  kettle gravity was higher than expected but then boil rate was less so ended up not having to adjust at all but came in at 1.088 rather than 1.090.  the wort was brown out of the MLT but the D-180 adds a lot of color.  maybe it will be 19 SRM but seemed darker than that.  time will tell 🙂  6.5G into the fermenter and decanted started down to 2L so total of 7G in 6.5G glass carboy.  hopefully blowoff won’t be a huge issue.  only area of concern was pH.  Mash Ph came in at 5.6 rather than calculated 5.4.  In looking further into this, I realized in Bru’n Water that I had marked the Aromatic as Roasted malt rather than Base Malt which then made the proper calculation.  I addressed it by acidifying the boil kettle with 5ml of 10% phosphoric acid which brought it down to 5.4 which dropped to 5.3 by end of the boil and is inline with the Braukaisers recommendations.
a thin krausen had formed at 4 hours with a small amount of bubbling.
1-21-14 major fermentation.  huge kreusen that has blown off some but not too bad.
1-22-14 temp up to low 70s.  fermentation slowed but still steady
1-23-14 fermentation slowed to bubbling every 2 sec
1-26-14 still bubbling every two seconds but yeast seems to be starting to drop
1-27-14 bubbling every 4-5 sec
1-28-14 bubbling every 5-6 sec
1-30-14 bubbling every 8 sec.  moved to bubble and took sample.  1.012!  wow.  nice peppery note along with dark fruit (plum, fig).  no fusels.  very clean for 10+%!  definitely not infected.
1-31-14 bubbling has greatly slowed to about 15sec.
2-1-14 almost no bubbling (> 30sec) and has started to clear
2-3-14 kegged and slow dropped to 45 @ 5 degrees a day.  measured at 1.010.
2-9-14 racked to clean keg and force carbed @ 20 psi @ 44 F
2-17-14 carbonation seems a bit low especially compared to “high carbonation” in style guide so increased to 24 psi @ 44F
2-19-14 carbonation is better although a hair lower than st bernardus 12.  bottled of some for competitions.

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.
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)
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
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)
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
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.