Thursday, August 23, 2012

Altbier brewing/drinking and Citra Pale Ale brewing

It's been a while since I posted but it has also been a while since I brewed...

In January, I brewed a Northern German Altbier with the following recipe:
  • 6 lbs. German Pilsner Malt
  • 2 lbs. Munich Malt
  • 8 oz. Aromatic Malt
  • 8 oz. Crystal 60L
  • 8 oz. White Wheat Malt
  • 2 oz. Carafa III
  • 1.50 oz. Tradition hops @ 60 min.
  • 1 package Kolsch yeast (Wyeast 2565)
OG was 1.046 and FG was 1.012 giving us an ABV of 4.5% and I fermented at 58F.

This was a very light and easy drinking beer.  It is very well balanced and very smooth.

In my last blog post I mentioned brewing a Centennial IPA but I decided to brew a Citra hopped based Pale Ale first.  I've worked out the recipe and brewed this earlier in the month.

  • 10 lbs. Rahr 2-row
  • 8 oz. Crystal 60L
  • 8 oz. Crystal 20L
  • 8 oz. White Wheat Malt
  • 0.50 oz Citra hops @ 60 min.
  • 0.50 oz Cascade hops @ 15 min.
  • 0.50 oz Citra hops @ 15 min.
  • 0.50 oz Cascade hops @ flameout
  • 0.50 oz Citra hops @ flameout
  • 1 oz Cascade - Dry Hop
  • 0.5oz Citra - Dry Hop
  • 1 package Safale US-05 yeast
OG was 1.055 so I expect the ABV to be around 5.5% but won't know until I transfer to the secondary for dry hopping this Saturday.

I'm also planning on brewing my Centennial IPA this Saturday and reusing the yeast cake from the Citra Pale Ale.  Update for this to come later. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Centennial Blonde on tap, Altbier and Apfelwein kegged

The Centennial Blonde has been tapped and is pretty good.  It is on the slightly bitter side with a citrusy flavor, all in all it is an easy drinking session beer. 

I've tried the barleywine that I bottled last month once but it is still a bit young so I'll give it a couple more months before I review it again.

The ESB that I removed from the tap for the SuperBowl party is about 3/4 gone, but was received very well. It is back in the kegerator and will go back on tap once one of the other kegs is emptied.  I also kegged my second attempt at Apfelwein.  This Apfelwein used brown sugar instead of Dextrose but should also be around 10% ABV.  The Altbier that I brewed last was also kegged today and came out to about 4.5% ABV.

After tasting/smelling the Centennial hops in my Blonde and trying a Centennial IPA while downtown one evening, I think I'm going to make a Centennial/Cascade IPA next.  I'll have to figure out a good recipe and I'll post it once I know what I'm going to do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

ESB drinking, English Barleywine Bottling and Centennial Blonde Brewing

Catching up on what happened over the Christmas holiday.  I decided to bottle my Barlywine instead of kegging it.  OG for the Barlewine was 10.94 and FG was 1.020 which will give it an ABV or about 9.8%.  I plan on my first tasting of it the first week of March.

I finished off the APA I had which freed up one of the taps for my ESB.  The ESB is a good, balanced beer.  The hops give it a little bit of an earthy taste but it is still very smooth.

I also brewed my Centennial Blonde Ale.  The recipe is:

  • 7 lbs. - Rahr 2-row
  • 8 oz. - Aromatic Malt
  • 8 oz. - White Wheat Malt
  • 4 oz. - Crystal 20L
  • 0.5 oz. - Centennial Hops @ 60min.
  • 0.5 oz. - Centennial Hops @ 30min.
  • 0.5 oz. - Cascade Hops @ 20min.
  • 0.5 oz. - Cascade Hops @ 5min.
  • Wyeast 2565 Kolsch Yeast
I mashed in at 150F for 75 minutes and boiled for an hour.  OG was 1.044 which was pretty close to  what I expected it.  Here is a picture of the boil with about 10 minutes left which is why the wort chiller is in the pot.
I fermented at 57F which is near the low end for the Kolsch yeast.  I wanted this to be closer to a lager than an ale in taste.  I plan on kegging this next weekend.  I'm also planning on rinsing off the yeast cake and brewing an Altbier the weekend after next and then maybe a Kolsch after that sometime.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ESB Kegging, Smoked Brown drinking, English Barleywine Brewing and Hops.... Even more hops

On Saturday I kegged my ESB.  Original gravity was 1.056 and final gravity was 1.012 giving me a 5.8% ABV beer and 71% efficiency.  I also brewed by English Barleywine.  The recipe is:
  • 11 lbs. - Marris Otter
  • 1 lb. - Munich Malt
  • 1 lb. - Crystal 60L
  • 8 oz. - White Wheat Malt
  • 2 oz. - Special B
  • 4 lbs. - Light Dried Malt Extract
  • 2.5 oz. - Target @ 60min.
  • 1 oz. - UK First Gold @ 10min.
  • 1 oz. - Styrian Goldings @ 2min.
After brewing this, I racked on top of the ESB's yeast cake.  BeerSmith estimated OG at 1.096 and I measured it at 1.094 so I'm pretty happy with it.  The only problem I had was I couldn't seem to hit my mash temperature.  I wanted it to be 151F, but it started at 156.  I added cold water and it dropped to 143.  I boiled some water and it jumped to 153 and I just game up at that point and called it close enough.  Despite all the problem I was really closed to the expected OG so I'm not overly worried about it.  Visible fermentation started in about 2 hours and I had trouble keeping the temperature at 62F due to how vigorous it was.  As of the post it is still slowly bubbling.  I'll give it at least 2 more weeks in the primary.  I haven't decided if I'm going to secondary in a fermenter or in a keg.

I finished off the Apfelwine that I took to work and tapped the Smoked Brown Ale.  Since this was the first recipe I created from scratch, I was worried how it would turn out.

The smoke really doesn't come through that strong.  You notice a hint of it at the back end of the swallow but that is it.  If I were to brew this again I would double up on the smoked malt.  One of the guys who tasted it said he wouldn't have known it was a smoked beer unless I told him first.  I'll leave it up to him to provide his opinion on it (hint, hint John...)

I also ordered another 3 lbs of hops.  The first round of hops I purchased was to cover the English and American hops.  This second (and last) order was to get the German/Bohemian hops.  I bought a pound each of Czech Saaz, German Perle and German Tradition from Hops Direct

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smoked Brown Kegging, Apfelwein drinking, ESB Brewing and Hops.... Lots of hops

On Thursday I kegged my Smoked Brown Ale.  Original gravity was 1.058 and final gravity was 1.020 giving me a 5.0% ABV beer and 71% efficiency.  I will be happy with 75% efficiency and since I've been steadily increasing I won't complain.  I took a taste from the wine thief (used to get enough beer to take a gravity reading) and it tasted pretty good but I didn't get any smoke flavor.  Once it is carbonated and on tap we will see if any smoke flavor comes through.

On Friday I took the Apfelwein to work for the testing department's Thanksgiving pitch-in using my new portable kegging system.  The system worked flawlessly and the Apfelwein seemed to go over very well as I only came home with about 1/2 a gallon of the 4+ gallons I took.  There seemed to be an even split between people who liked it dry and those who back-sweetened it with Apple cider/juice.  I liked it both ways but had a slight preference for back-sweetening.  With the right mix, it tasted similar to Woodchuck Amber Cider.

On Saturday I brewed my Extra Special Bitter (ESB).  This is the second recipe I've made from scratch so I'm excited to see how it turns out. 

The recipe for the ESB is:
  • 9lbs - Marris Otter malt
  • 8oz - Crystal 60L
  • 8oz - White wheat malt
  • 4oz - Aromatic malt
  • 2oz - Pale chocolate malt
  • 1.5oz - Target hops @60 min
  • 1oz - Styrian Golding hops @2min
  • British Ale II yeast
Total cost for 5 gallons with bulk purchasing the ingredients = $22.43.

I also built up my RO water to something similar to the Burton On Trent water profile.  Up until now, I've kept my water additions fairly light so we will see how this works out for me.  Once fermentation is complete and a keg opens up, I'm going to brew an English barleywine and pitch right on the yeast cake from this ESB.  That should give me enough yeast to chew on a 10% barleywine.

My first bulk hops purchase also came in early last week from Hops Direct.  I ended up purchasing 8lbs of hops and they always send a little more than a pound.
  • Centennial - received 21.5oz
  • Citra - received 18oz
  • Cascade - received 18.5 oz
  • Northern Brewer - received 18.5oz
  • Gr. Target - received 19oz
  • Styrian Golding - received 18oz
  • UK First Gold - received 18.5oz
  • Palisade - received 18.5oz

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scottish Ale on Tap, Smoked Brown Fermenting

Last weekend and this week have been busy at the home brewery.  With the help of some friends, I finished off the Bohemian Pilsner.  This opened up a tap for my Scottish 60/-.

Not the best picture, but if you want a better look your just going to have to stop by and see it.  This beer, in my opinion, fits the style quite well. 

Aroma : Nice light malty smell with a hint of earthiness to it.
Appearance: Dark Amber with a small off-white head.
Flavor: Pronounced malty flavor with a hint of smokey/peaty trailing right behind it.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

I've brewed this once before as an extract kit from MidWest Supplies and both the extract and all-grain are excellent. 

I also brewed my Smoked American Brown Ale this weekend.  I changed up the recipe a little from when I last posted about it.
  • 3.5lbs - German Pilsner Malt
  • 3.5lbs- Marris Otter
  • 2lbs - Home smoked malt (Hickory)
  • 8oz - Home toasted malt (60min @ 350F)
  • 8oz - Crystal 60L
  • 8oz - Pale Chocholate
  • 8oz - Special B
  • 0.5oz - Cascade (First Wort Hopped @90 minutes)
  • 0.5oz - Centennial Hops (60 minutes)
  • 0.5oz - Centennial Hops (15 minutes)
  • 0.5oz - Cascade (First Wort Hopped @2 minutes)
  • Wyeast 1332 - Northwest Ale
This was a single infusion mash at 154F for 60 minutes with a 90 minute boil.  BeerSmith is estimating this to be:

  • OG - 1.058
  • Bitterness - 38 IBUs
  • Color - 24 SRM
  • ABV - 5.1%
This is also the first beer in which I reused washed yeast.  The yeast have been in the refrigerator for 3 months, so I made a 1.5L starter.  The yeast were so active they actually made it out of my 2L Erlenmeyer flask.  It's a good think I used aluminum foil to cover the flask instead of an airlock or I would have been in trouble.

I also kegged the Apfelwein I made on September 10th.  That gave it 6 weeks in the fermenter.  My hope is that it will be ready in two weeks for our annual Thanksgiving party at work.  I'm not holding my breath on this since its ABV is around 9% and it usually takes a couple more months to age.  If it isn't ready, I can always take the APA I brewed in the middle of July.

Friday, October 14, 2011

APA tasting and Scottish Ale Kegging

With the help of some others (thanks Brian and Chris), I finally finished off the Saison.  After cleaning the keg and lines, I tapped my APA.
This isn't the best picture I could do but I was in a hurry.  This is Great Fermentation's BrewBQ Pale Ale.  This beer has amazing hop flavor and aroma without the strong bitterness of an IPA.  I absolutely love this beer and plan on making a few modifications and make it my house pale.  If you notice from the picture, this beer is as darker or darker than some of the other beers I've brewed.  The term Pale Ale appeared in the early 1700's and denoted a beer that was pale compared to other beers of the day such as porters and stouts. 

I've made this as an extract kit and all-grain, both taste nearly identical and are well worth trying.  This beer has small hop additions at 60, 45, 30, 15, 10, 5 minutes as well as an ounce dry hopped.  It uses Cascade, Columbus and Amarillo hops.  I think I'll keep the Cascade and Columbus and replace the Amarillo with Citra and see what I get.  Experimenting is fun!

I also kegged my Scottish Ale.

This is a picture of it in the secondary fermenter right before kegging.  After fermentation, it is racked into this fermenter and I added oak chips soaked in Scotch (thanks for the scotch Chris).  I was originally going to sanitize the oak chips by boiling them in a little water but was inspired to soak them in Scotch/Bourbon after having a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Pale Ale.