Traditional Bock 3

This is the 2nd beer in my NHC 2015 run.  I repitched about 350ml of thick slurry from the Schwarzbier 2.  I have brewed this beer before and it was my first BOS placing (Honorable Mention) so I didn’t do anything to the recipe except change the yeast to 2308.
Bock 3
5-B Traditional Bock
Size: 7.2 gal
Efficiency: 80.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Original Gravity: 1.068 (1.064 – 1.072)
Terminal Gravity: 1.017 (1.013 – 1.019)
Color: 20.32 (14.0 – 22.0)
Alcohol: 6.75% (6.3% – 7.2%)
Bitterness: 23.2 (20.0 – 27.0)
Ingredients:
5.5 lb (30.1%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
8.5 lb (46.6%) Munich TYPE I – added during mash
2.5 lb (13.7%) Munich TYPE II – added during mash
.75 lb (4.1%) Caramunich® TYPE III – added during mash
.75 lb (4.1%) Crystal 120 – added during mash
2 oz (0.7%) Pale Chocolate – added during mash
2 oz (0.7%) Chocolate – added during mash
.7 oz (100.0%) Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1.0 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 ea Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager™
Notes
mash salts:
1.4g G
4.1g CC
sparge salts:
2g G
6g CC
acidify sparge to 5.5 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.3
18.25 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 27.375 quarts = 6.8 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.4 > make sure to check with thermometer before mashing in
pitch @ 48F and raise over 24 hours to ferment @ 50 till fermentation slows > up to 60 degrees 5 degrees a day hold till total ferment time is 3 weeks > keg > drop 2-3 degrees per day to 40 and put in lager fridge for 2 months > carb to 2.4
10/17/14 normal brew day.  mash temp was again a hair low (150F) so need to work on that.  tried a new technique to pitch a bit colder.  so when i turned off my whirlpool i left the immersion chiller running with ice water which held the beer at 45F so this time I pitched at 46F.  success!
10/18/14 bubbling but thin kreusen
10/19/14 nice 1/2″ kreusen and solid bubbling
10/23/14 finally seems to be slowing down

Schwarzbier 2

This is the first beer of my NHC 2015 run.  It is a rebrew so I’ve taken the feedback from competitions and from my BJCP judging group and from myself 🙂 and modified the recipe.  The general feedback I got was it was too roasted / porter-ish but otherwise a great beer.  It took 2nd and 3rd in the two competitions I entered it in so far so it’s not bad, just needs a little tweeking.  So, I decided to cut the Munich I a bit from 40 to 30% and replace that with Pilsner (floor malted Weyerman b/c they ran out of standard Weyermen) and then cut the Roasted Barley in half from 3 to 1.5% and replace that with Crisp Chocolate malt.  The only other change is I moved from Wyeast 2206 to 2308.  So minor tweaks but we’ll see how it turns out.
Schwarzbier 2
4-C Schwarzbier (Black Beer)
Date: 4/1/14
Size: 8.0 gal
Efficiency: 93.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Original Gravity: 1.050 (1.046 – 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.016)
Color: 25.26 (17.0 – 30.0)
Alcohol: 4.92% (4.4% – 5.4%)
Bitterness: 26.7 (22.0 – 32.0)
Ingredients:
7.5 lb (58.3%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
4 lb (31.1%) Munich TYPE I – added during mash
8 oz (3.9%) Caramunich® TYPE II – added during mash
8 oz (3.9%) Carafa Special® TYPE III – added during mash
3 oz (1.5%) Chocolate – added during mash
3 oz (1.5%) Roasted Barley – added during mash
.15 oz (4.8%) Magnum (14.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
2 oz (63.5%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 oz (31.7%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1.0 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 m
2 ea Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager™
Notes
mash salts:
1g Gypsum
2.4g 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
12.88 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 19.32 quarts = 4.83 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.7 -> check temp with thermometer before mashing in
pitch @ 48 and ramp to 50 over 2 days > hold till day 8 then ramp 5 degrees a day to 60 and 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 two months.  rack to clean keg and force carb to 2.4 volumes.
9/19/14 made 2.5L started w/ 2 pouches of wyeast 2308.  lots like stir plate may have spun off stir bar at some point but yeast growth looks good.
9/22/14 pretty standard brew day.  mash temp came in a bit low at 150.  efficiency was off the charts at 90%.  whoa.  had to add a little magnum to keep bittering on target.  cooled to 45 but creeped up to 51 by the time i pitched.  cooled to 50 over 12 hours.  10pm no activity.
9/23/14 no kreusen but slow bubbling
9/24/14 nice 1/2 inch kreusen and solid bubbling
9/27/14 finally started to slow but still solid kreusen and bubbling
10/10/14 kegged.  FG 1.012 pH 4.69 (a bit high)  clean -> not infected.  a bit yeasty but dropped nice and clear.  wonderful flavor.  very promising.  set to slow drop 3 F a day to 40
10/15/14 moved to lagering fridge at 35

Berliner Weisse 1

I recently finished Michael Tonsmeire’s new book -> American Sour Beers.  Pretty good although I felt it was lacking in a few areas.  I’m really looking for a technical manual that gives me step by step details and that I can refer to when I hit issues.  Something similar to “How to Brew” but for Sour beers.  For example, do I need to make a Lacto starter and if so what is the best way to do it?  Not in the book.  That said, it covers 80% of what I would want and it is a fun read ta boot.  Of course reading the Sour Beer book made me want to finally make my first sour!  I figured I’d start with a bit of an easier one with Berliner Weisse (BW) and just get my feet wet.  I’m also in between brews so I don’t have an available temp controlled fermenter and I don’t have the time for an all grain brewday.  So….I decided to do an extract beer and just ferment it at room temp.  The brewing nerd in me is not happy!
As far as recipe goes, the last NHC winning BW was Jamil’s recipe from what I could tell so I figured I give that a go and see how it turns out.  Also, Wyeast has decided to make this quarter the quarter of the bugs so they have a bunch of funky, buggy products one of which is Lacto Brevis.  Brevis is supposed to be the strain that Cascade Brewing uses and as opposed to the very popular L Delbrueckii is supposed to be more aggressive (ie sour faster) and be a bit more hop tolerant.  There is really very little info on the web about Lacto especially when compared to Saccharomyces so I mostly relied on Brewing Classic Styles, American Sour Beers and, most of all, The Mad Fermentationist website.Berliner Weisse 1
17-A Berliner Weisse
Date: 7/6/14
Size: 3.84 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 85.0%
Original Gravity: 1.029 (1.028 – 1.032)
Terminal Gravity: 1.004 (1.003 – 1.006)
Color: 3.48 (2.0 – 3.0)
Alcohol: 3.21% (2.8% – 3.8%)
Bitterness: 3.1 (3.0 – 8.0)
Ingredients:
3.3 lb (100.0%) CBW® Bavarian Wheat Liquid (Malt Extract) – added during boil
.2 oz (100.0%) Hallertauer Mittelfrüher (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 m -> ended up using .15oz 5.3% fuggle since I had it laying around.
1/2 teaspoon wyeast yeast nutrient
1 whirlfloc
1 ea Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05
1 ea   wyeast 5223-PC lacto brevis
Notes
boil salts:
2.7g CC
pitch @ 65 and let sit at room temp (72) > hold for a total of 3 weeks. rack to secondary and store in cellar till acidity is right (~3.5 pH).  bottle condition at 3 (.5~233 grams of corn sugar for 5 gallons).
8/13/14 first sour beer so a bit of an experiment.  pretty normal extract brewday.  once again the extract was darker than expected.  it was 6 months old which for extract isn’t too bad but definitely had a bit of an oxidized flavor.  i’m pretty sick of this happening with extract and I don’t think I will be doing another extract brew.
pitched 1 pouch of lacto brevis (5223) that is pretty fresh (6 weeks old – 7/1/14)
rehydrated 11g of US-05
cooled to 65, racked to fermenter and pitched both bugs and yeast.
no temp control, just put it in bathtub.  taped a temp probe on side of fermenter in insulation and dangled fridge probe in tub.
so, pitched at about 66 and at 48 hours it was up to 75.  my guess is that is about the end of fermentation since temp then dropped back down to room temp.  I think US-05 will be fine at those temp and lacto should be happy but we’ll see how it turns out.
9/11/14 transferred to secondary and held at ~70F
gravity 1.006
crystal clear.  gold in color.  a slight caramel/oxidized note probably from the old extract.  not bad.  slightly sour but a ways to go.  pH = 4.3.
10/12/14 seems unchanged.  gravity is 1.006.  pH = 4.32.   a little worried the lacto has kicked the bucket but will just let it sit for a few more months to see how it progresses.
11/14/14 pH = 4.21 didn’t check gravity.  seems a tinge more sour but just a hint of sour.
12/14/14 gravity is still 1.006.  pH = 3.87.  Progress!!!  had a thin layer of something on the top.  looked like a 2mm thick layer of cream cheese.  it is noticeably more sour but still a ways to go.  maybe a 3 out of 10 sour-wise.  noticeable and slightly mouth puckering but miles from tart.  sadly the caramel/oxidized not isn’t getting any better although seems pretty unchanged.
1/11/14 pH = 3.90 ruh roh.
not any more sour and starting to take on a broth flavor i’m assuming from autolysis.  i’ll give it one more month and then dump.
2/13/15 gravity is 1.006 still.  pH = 3.79.
not much progress at all.  tastes like bad apple cider beer and the brothy flavor is worse and it is also getting darker in color.  dumped.
lesson learned – now that i’ve done a good number of lacto experiments it is clear that the lacto in this beer got totally out competed by the yeast.  i would certainly pitch more lacto and give it at least a few days head start before pitching the yeast so that the beer sours much more quickly.

Northern German Alt 1

The lager run has ended.  Long live Ales.  Well….hybrids.  Errrr….nevermind.  After four lagers in a row it is time to go back to Ales.  Sort of.  I felt like brewing something new and knocking out another style but kinda made a bad choice.  First, I picked Northern German Alt but basically ended up making a Dusseldorf Alt that is a little less hoppy.  Second, a few days before brewing Gordon Strong announced the new Style Guidelines and there is no longer a Northern German Alt!  Well, it is moved into International Amber or some such thing so I guess it’s still a new style.  Anywho.  I did my usually research in BYO, Zymurgy, Past NHC winners, reread the Alt Style Series book, reread the section in Brewing Classic styles as well as trying Alaskan Amber and realized that the modern day Northern German Alt is not very interesting to me.  It is kind of a bland amber lager that is a bit more bitter but not really.  Compared to a Dusseldorf Alt kinda lame in my opinion.  Which is probably why last years NHC winner was a Northern German Alt but it was basically Jamil’s Dusseldorf Alt recipe.  Maybe it hops had faded so it came across a bit maltier.  Who knows.  But I took a cue from that and some of my recent brews and came up with the following recipe.  Dusseldorf Alt Lite?  Basically my Dusseldorf Alt with less aroma/flavor hop additions and a bit lower bitterness and some grain bill tweeks.  Not super crazy but hopefully will make a delicious beer.
Northern German Altbier 2
7-A Northern German Altbier
Date: 4/1/14
Size: 7.5 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Original Gravity: 1.050 (1.046 – 1.054)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 17.61 (13.0 – 19.0)
Alcohol: 4.95% (4.5% – 5.2%)
Bitterness: 39.9 (25.0 – 40.0)
Ingredients:
10 lb (66.9%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
3 lb (20.1%) Munich TYPE I – added during mash
.75 lb (5.0%) Aroma 100 EBC Malt – added during mash
.75 lb (5.0%) Caramunich® TYPE III – added during mash
5 oz (2.1%) Carafa Special® TYPE III – added during mash
2 oz (0.8%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
1 oz (50.0%) Magnum (14.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 oz (50.0%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 ea Wyeast 1007 German Ale™
Notes
2.5L starter and 1 x 1007 smack pack
mash salts:
3.3g Gypsum
1.7g CC
sparge salts:
6g Gypsum
3g CC
acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)
should give mash pH of 5.4
14.94 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 22.41 quarts = 5.6 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.7 so 163.7 into mash tun
pitch @ 58 and ramp to 60 over 24 hours > hold 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 1 month.  rack to clean keg and force carb to ~2.5 volumes.
6/30/14: pretty normal brew day albeit a hot one.  about 90F by the time I pitched.  strangely I was 2 degrees high on my mash which is unlike me.  The water was about half a degree high before mashing but I didn’t think much of it.  I also may have had a bit more water as well.  and it could be that since it’s just hot out that there is less loss.  will keep and eye on it  so mashed in at 154 rather than 152.  not a huge deal.  also a bit high on my sparge which settled in at 173 but didn’t come across as astringent so i think that is also OK.  Not the best day for hitting the numbers but nothing really beer effecting.
What may have a little effect is I ended up pitching at 62 when I wanted to pitch at 58.  Like I said, it was about 90F so even thought I cooled the wort to 55 buy the time I got it in the carboy it was up to 62.  I just did a 2 degree drop over 24 hours to 60 and will hold there for 2 weeks assuming a normal ale fermentation and diacetyl test goes well.
Efficiency was close to 80% again so added a gallon of water to get the gravity to 1.050.
6/30/2014: 1:30pm pitched
6/30/14 @ 9pm : thin kreusen and steady slow bubbling.  wow!
7/1/14 @ 8am : 1 inch kreusen and strong steady bubbling.
7/2/14 : power outage for 1 hour but temp only went up 1 degree so hopefully no real impact to the beer.  still steady ferment although starting to slow just a little
7/3/14: slowed a good deal but still bubbling every 2 sec
7/4/14: ~10 sec apart
7/5/14: very slow, almost done
7/14/14: transferred to keg.  FG 1.014 (new and calibrated hydrometer 🙂 ) pH 4.27  both are spot on nice and clean – no infection.  still yeasty.  not a very flocculant yeast at all.  very nice malt          character.  bready with a slight caramel edge.  bitter with dry finish and a hint of noble hop flavor.  not astringent.  very excited!!!  Harvested yeast for Biere de Garde 1 and got an extra 2L that I’ll carbonate and give a try in a few days.  Will slow drop to 40F over 7 days then put in lagering fridge at 35 for 6 weeks or so.

Doppelbock 1

Well, my run of lagers is coming to an end.  The kegerator has been as empty as it has ever been but hopefully it will be worth it.  Doppelbock 1 is the last of my four lagers in a row repitching yeast from one to the next.  My main concern with repitching is contamination but  that hasn’t seemed to be an issue.  I had an extra 2 liters of my schwarzbier and it was fantastic straight out of the fermenter and certainly no bugs or issues.  My technique is pretty basic.  I buy a slab of quart mason jars and only use new jars i.e. never reused.  I have a pressure cooker that I use as an autoclave and I just loosen the lid on the mason jar so the steam can get in the jar but so I can reseal it without exposing the inside.  I follow the instructions for my pressure cooker for amount of water etc.. and then “cook” the mason jar at 15psi for 15 minutes.  I then let it cool down very slowly (a few hours) so that I don’t shatter the glass.  Then, when I rack the beer I want to collect yeast for I siphon off all the beer but an amount equal to the amount of yeast cake.  So, if the yeast cake is 1 inch deep I leave 1 inch of beer on top.  That way I’m about 50/50 yeast to beer.  I take isopropyl alcohol and soak a paper towel and swab the carboy neck inside and outside and then I flame that same area with a lighter.  I swirl up the yeast and beer and then I pour that into the mason jar and very gingerly put the lid on making sure to not touch the inside of the lid or jar.  For a small lager (< 1.060), I get about 2/3rds of a quart jar (which after everything settles is about 1/3rd of a quart or ~300ml of yeast) and for bigger beers (> 1.060) I get a full quart which ends up being ~500ml of yeast.  Not an exact science but seems to work well.
Anywho, on to the Doppelbock.  Nothing too exciting here.  I found what seems to be a really good doppelbock recipe from an old NHC winning recipe – andy waisanen’s “the noidinator” from zymurgy sept/oct 2012.  I adjusted the recipe for my system and used magnum instead of hallertau (not sure why).  He even used the same yeast I’ve been repitching.  Score!
Doppelbock 1
5-C Doppelbock
Date: 4/1/14
Size: 7.5 gal
Efficiency: 80.0% (ended up being 72%)
Attenuation: 78.0%
Original Gravity: 1.088 (1.072 – 1.112)
Terminal Gravity: 1.019 (1.016 – 1.024)
Color: 21.32 (6.0 – 25.0)
Alcohol: 9.05% (7.0% – 10.0%)
Bitterness: 21.5 (16.0 – 26.0)
Ingredients:
16 lb (66.0%) Munich TYPE I – added during mash
3.5 lb (14.4%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
3.5 lb (14.4%) Vienna Malt – added during mash
14 oz (3.6%) Caramunich® TYPE III – added during mash
6 oz (1.5%) Carafa Special® TYPE III – added during mash
.8 oz (100.0%) Magnum (14.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 15 m
400 mL Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
Notes
mash salts:
1.6g Gypsum
4.0g 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 ( ended up 5.3)
24.25 lb of grain
1.3 qt/lb = 31.5 quarts = 7.9 gallons
mash @ 150
mash in water temp 161.4 so 162.4 into mash tun
pitch @ 48 and ramp to 50 over 2 days > hold till day 10 then ramp 5 degrees a day to 60 and hold for a total of 4 weeks minimum.  rack to keg and drop 2 degrees a day to 40 then put in lagering fridge @35 and lager for 3 months.  rack to clean keg and force carb to 2.5 volumes.
Brewing Notes:
Brewday was pretty straight forward with a couple kinks.  First off, my mashtun was as full as it can get!!!  I lost just a little bit of wort over the top when mashing in.  I used an online calculator to see if it would all fit and moved my water to grain ratio from 1.5 to 1.3 but I didn’t take into account the deadspace.  Good think I left myself a little wiggleroom in my math!  Here is a picture 🙂
Picture

I ended up with much lower efficiency (72% vs about 80% I had been seeing with weyerman based malt bills) than I normally have which I think is because I couldn’t really stir it combined with the thicker mash.  The end effect of this is I ended up boiling a little over 2 hours rather than 1.5 hours to get to my target gravity.  For a Helles I would be concerned but for a Doppelbock it may be a good thing.  We’ll see.
5/26/14 : pitched ~400ml of packed wyeast 2206 slurry @ ~2pm
5/27/14: 8am no activity
2pm a little bit of bubbling has started but no visible kreusen
5/28/14: nice 1/2″ kreusen with steady bubbling
5/29/14: same but a bit more bubbling
5/30/14: some break material has been pushed onto the kreusen and bubbling is more vigorous
6/2/14: bubbling started to slow but still steady
6/5/14: bubbling ~3-4 sec apart will start to rise from 50 > 60 at 5 degrees a day for diacetyl rest
6/16/14: still bubbling every ~10 sec
6/19/14: still ~10 sec
6/20/14 ~18 sec
6/21/14: no apparent bubbling.  almost a month.  wow!
6/24/14: moved to keg to lager.  took sample but pretty yeasty so calculations may be a bit off.  FG 1.024.  pH 4.68 ( a little high.  I prefer <=4.5).  very clean and definitely no infection.  very, very malty, boozy and green > maybe a hint of acetyladelhyde.  but with 3 months of lagering it should be very nice.

Schwarzbier 1

  I’ve done two lagers in a row so why not keep the ball rolling!  The three hardest things about lager brewing is all the extra time it takes, temperature control and having a nice big, happy, healthy pitch of yeast.
Patience is tough but once the beer gets in the lagering fridge I kind of forget about it.  Watching my kegerator run dry and beer runs becoming necessary stinks but so it goes.
My temperature control setup is excellent.  I use a 7 cubic chest freezer and a Brewpi and with that I have ridiculous level of control over my fermentation temps.  For example, I can pitch a beer at 48 and then linearly ramp the temp to 50 over 48 hours, then hold for 8 days, then raise 5 degrees a day to 60 for a diacetyl rest and then let it sit there till i’m ready to rack.  All without touching a thing after the initial setup.  Here is the graph from my current beer so you can see what i’m talking about.  Up top is what it has been doing and at the bottom is what it is set to do.
Picture

No need to go out and change my Johnson Controller a few times a day to ramp temps up or down and I can even log into it remotely and see what is going on.
And the big pitch of happy health yeast – that is why I’ve been doing a run of lagers and plan on doing one more (Doppelbock).  By harvesting the yeast from the previous beer I can get 300-400ml of ready to go yeast at no additional cost versus buying one or two packs of yeast and then doing one or two big starters which all in all can add $20 to a batch of beer.  And the harversted yeast seems to make a cleaner beer, especially with lagers.
Why a Schwarzbier?  Well, a few reasons but other than the fact I haven’t brewed one the big reason is I got my NHC results back and none of my beers placed.  Discouraging but after a couple of beers I decided rather than stop trying I’d rather go after it.  And if I’m going to go after it, maybe having a strategy is a good idea 🙂  With this years attempt, I just submitted whatever beers I had around.  The experience was good since it was my first NHC, but not a great idea.  For starters, the beers I had were two of the most entered categories (American Ale, IPA) and one that was good but not stellar (Belgian Dark Strong 1).  And the Pale Ale (APA Galaxy 1) and IPA (Hop Fu 1) were long in the tooth which is a big no no for those categories.  So, for next year I plan on entering beers in the hardest to brew categories with the fewest number of entries, work the calendar backwards so I am making them at the right times and also have more brews ready then I can enter so I can be selective about what I submit.
So, after looking at the entry data for the last few years it is clear that the lager categories as well as amber hybrid and fruit beers are consistently the lowest number of entries and I think the lagers and amber hybrid are probably the hardest to brew.  Oh, and I HATE Fruit Beer 🙂
With that, I figure I can get 3-4 entries next year so I plan on brewing 6 beers and picking the ones I think have the best shot.  With all that, the categories I’m targeting are light lager, amber lager, dark lager, bock, pilsner and amber hybrid.  And I don’t want my entries to be the first time I’ve brewed those styles so I’m going to do a dry run and then do another run for the actual competition starting in September.  I just did Helles and Vienna so now on to Dark Lagers.  I’ve done a Dunkel but it didnt’ do well in competition and I wasn’t a huge fan so I’ve decided to go with Schwarzbier.  Then I will harvest yeast from that and pitch into a Doppelbock and then do a Northern German Alt.  I’m happy with my German Pilsner I’ve brewed in the past so I think I’ll stick with that as is.
Anywho, how did I come up with my Schwarzbier recipe?  I wasn’t super psyched on Jamil’s recipe but it seemed like a good place to start.  So, I took that and mixed it with a recipe from another beer judge friend that was a Dunkel recipe and melded it with what came to mind when I read the BJCP style guide and out came this recipe.  I did want to have a little roast character since I feel like judges look for that in a Schwarzbier but I also want to have a nice hit of maltiness.  I prefer Munich I to II for it’s malt aroma/flavor profile – II comes across as a bit fruity (cherry) to me when used in high quantities.  My buddies Dunkel had a hit of Caramunich which I thought came across nicely so incorporated that.  For the hops, I really like Tettnanger since it has the classic noble hop character that I think judges really look for.  Spalt and Hallertauer obviously would work but the have a bit more of a floral quality which I think wouldn’t work as well for this beer.
I did have to make a couple of adjustments at the last minute.  I used a bit of warrior at 60 mins to get the bitterness up since my efficiency was better than expected (85 when expecting 80).  Also, I had to use Briess Roasted Barley instead of Carafa II since my homebrew shop doesn’t stock it.  Fingers crossed on that one.
Here is the recipe:
Schwarzbier 1
4-C Schwarzbier (Black Beer)
Size: 8.13 gal
Efficiency: 86.98%
Attenuation: 80.0%
Original Gravity: 1.051 (1.046 – 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.010 (1.010 – 1.016)
Color: 25.28 (17.0 – 30.0)
Alcohol: 5.31% (4.4% – 5.4%)
Bitterness: 30.0 (22.0 – 32.0)
Ingredients:
6.5 lb (46.0%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
6 lb (42.5%) Munich TYPE I – added during mash
.75 lb (5.3%) Caramunich® TYPE II – added during mash
8 oz (3.5%) Carafa Special® TYPE III – added during mash
6 oz (2.7%) Carafa® TYPE II – added during mash #subtituted Briess Roasted Barley
.25 oz (7.7%) Warrior® (14.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m #didn’t plan on initially
2 oz (61.5%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 oz (30.8%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
.75 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 ea Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
Notes
mash salts:
1.1g Gypsum
2.6g 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
14.12 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 21 quarts = 5.25 gallons
mash @ 153
mash in water temp 163.5 so 164.5 into mash tun
pitch @ 48 and ramp to 50 over 2 days > hold till day 8 then ramp 5 degrees a day to 60 and 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 two months.  rack to clean keg and force carb to 2.5 volumes.
4/28 normal brew day.  repitched ~300ml of fairly packed yeast that was 1Q harvest from the previous batch.  when decanted the yeast smelled good.
Only cooled beer to 52 then put it in my fermentation chamber to get it down to 48 which took almost 3 hours.
Ended up with 8 Gallons and put a very clean 6.5 gallons into the carboy.
Efficiency was a startling 85%!  need to double check my refractometer 🙂
Pitched @ 4:30pm
4/29 9am no activity
9pm kreusen starting to form – little islands of bubbles – and very slow bubbling about every 15 secs
4/30 8am 1/4″ kreusen and slow steady bubbling

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)
Ingredients:
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
Notes
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)
Ingredients:
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
Notes
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:
Picture

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)
Ingredients:
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
Notes
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)
Ingredients:
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™
Notes
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).