Homebrew Wednesday – Hopsinjoor

I’ve blogged about other people’s homebrew before, but hope to start contributing to the Homebrew Wednesday ‘thing’.  I say ‘thing’ because I’m not sure of its origin, but know that people interested in homebrewing have allocated Wednesday as the Holy Day.  Be it; brewing, blogging, vlogging, tasting, or sharing their latest brewkit project, Wednesday is the day to do it.

I have made some friends while brewing and blogging, and one such friend recently sent me a couple of his beers.  I haven’t asked him if he’d like to be Wednesday’d, but I don’t think he’ll mind.

Blog: Hopsinjoor’s Brewing Spot

Twitter: @hopsinjoor

Among other things, Al likes to brew beer at home.  I’m writing this as I look at two of his beers, both labelled and packed with vital stats and ingredients.  Off to a good start then!  I’m guilty of sending homebrew out to friends, and when they ask me what’s in it, I tell them what I can remember, which is usually good enough to be honest.  I drank the beers before reading the contents.

Smashton’s Bruxellensis IPA (Mk 1)

Pours murky amber colour, decent white head, good carbonation, smells fantastic (think Axe Edge meets Orval), sweetness, hops are jumping out of the glass, peach, sweet orange, lemon, bready.

Flavour/taste: resiny, grassy, peppery, fruit salad sweets, alcohol

Medium body, good carbonation

Really balanced bitterness and the punchy Mosaic hops play nicely with the Belgian yeast.  Pretty boozy.

Slightly dry on the finish, and then a long, subtle bitterness (considering the 70 IBUs).

Really complex beer, full of flavour and backed up with generous aromas.  It’s difficult to get across how good this beer is.  This is Al’s 31st All Grain brew and is not yet on his blog.

wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-02-12-21.04.09.jpg.jpgSmashton’s Bruxellensis IPA Mk 1
Original Gravity (OG): 1.065
Final Gravity (FG): 1.008
Alcohol (ABV): 7.5%
Bitterness (IBU): 71.3 
Brewed: 21/11/2013
Bottled: 16/12/2013
Grain:  Marris Otter, Munich, Crystal, Wheat
Hops: Magnum (bittering), Magnum, Mosaic
Yeast: WLP650 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis

I’ll enjoy this beer, then update the post with beer #2 later this evening.  Cheers Al.

Smashton’s Winner Staison Bretted Stout (Mk 2)

Next up, stout.  It’s stormy outside, the stove is blazing, and I now have a glass of stout.  Same as before, drank the beer before reading the details on the label.

Opened with a fizz and gushed a bit, but lost very little beer.  Skills.

Pours black, the initial fizz settling into a thin head – fed by a stream of carbonation (just visible at the side of the glass).

The aroma is all about the yeast, and a faint whiff of roasted malts.  It has a Belgian yeast esters going on, and really mixes you up….reading stout on the label, pitch black in the glass, and then “Hallo!”

Initial taste is intense tartness – and I get the two mixed up, but – sour, like sherbet crystals.  The sourness dissipates leaving a smooth coffee flavour.

It’s a really interesting beer, I’ve had nothing quite like it.  I think this beer is too refined for me….it’s tough when you have no reference points.  It’s a sour stout, right? Al?  I’m thinking, acidic dark malts, and then the blend of yeasts playing tricks on me?  I need to know more about this one.

Definitely one to sip and enjoy, which I intend to do.  Cheers once again for the beers Al.

wpid-20140212_223910.jpgSmashton’s Winner Staison Bretted Stout Mk 2
Original Gravity (OG): 1.078
Final Gravity (FG): 1.009
Alcohol (ABV): 9.0%
Bitterness (IBU): 62 
Brewed: 27/10/2013
Bottled: 08/12/2013
Grain:  Marris Otter, Roasted Barley, Wheat, Flaked Oats, Chocolate Malt, Rye
Hops: Bramling X, Galena
Yeast: Saison / Brett

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AG#27 Nebulous Cascadian Dark Ale

This is my brew for the bar at the Northern Craft Brewers event on Saturday 13th April.  I opted to brew a Cascadian Dark Ale.  The recipe is based on my AG#5 Nebulous Pitch Black Ale, this time with more of an effort with the dry hopping.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.048
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.1%
Colour (SRM): Dark (EBC): Dark
Bitterness (IBU): 64.8 (Average)

Mash 1:
0.500 kg  Black Malt (cold steeped with 2.5L liquor)

Mash 2:
3.800 kg (84%) Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.400 kg (9%) Caramalt
0.200 kg (4%) Munich
0.120 kg (3%) Pale Wheat Malt

15g Galena (12.0% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (boil)
5g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) @20 minutes from the end (Boil)
20g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (Boil)
65g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
100g Centennial (11.0% Alpha) T90 pellets in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)

Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), 1 tsp gypsum (mash). My weighing scales aren’t great and I only need 3-4g, which is a tsp (approx). Same rule for the epsom salts in the boil.  I ordered some 0.1-100g scales last week so that once I’ve looked at my water treatment in a little more detail, I’ll be able to weigh the salts more accurately.

Strike temp of 77C, 11.0L liquor for 4.5kg grain. Mashed in at 68C, a degree higher than my target as my mash tun loses a bit of heat (single step infusion). Mashed for 60 minutes and temp dropped to 67.  Fly sparged at 84C for strike temp of 78C, 18.5L liquor (the 2.5L cold steeped liquor making up the total to 21L). The boil was scheduled for 60 minutes.  Galena added as the wort was coming to the boil, followed by additions of Simcoe at 30,  20, 10 and 5 minutes before the end of the boil.

I collected 23L of wort post boil with SG of 1.051, and added 2L cool boiled water  (liquoring back) to bring the OG to 1.048.  Pitched US-05 at 20C.

My only mistake of the day was calculating the IBU using the Simcoe AA% as 12.2 when it was supposed to be 15%.  No big deal, the average IBUs were 57 and will now be more like 65.  Also, having had a hydrometer emergency I had to rush oer to HopZine Rob’s house and borrow one.  I’ve since purchased two new saccharometers which I’ll be taking good care of.

Updated 21/03/13 – SG 1.026

Once I reach the target 1.010 I’ll transfer to secondary and dry hop with at least 100g of Centennial pellets.  My first attempt with pellets.  It’ll then be transferred to a bag-in-a-box from which it will be dispensed to the good folk at the Northern Craft Brewers meet.

Went with 4 day dry hop with 50g Centennial t90 pellets in primary.

Updated 30/03/13 ) Racked to a polypin today, gravity 1.010, primed with 12g sugar. Roll on the 13th April.

AG#25 & 26 Prohibition APA

This is the write up from my brewday from Sunday gone.  It’s an American Pale Ale that will serve two purposes; my entry for the Revolutions Brewing Co. competition (AG#26) and my test brew for the Northern Craft Brewers event in April (AG#25).  As this is an American Pale I wanted to use US hops, opting for trusty Galena for bittering and then Cluster as the main copper hops.  I chose Cluster hops having decided to try a new variety and was happy with my choice.  During the boil I was reading a little more about Cluster hops and stumbled upon this by Beervana;

By the turn of the 20th century nearly every hop grown in the country was Cluster (96%). After Prohibition, Clusters continued to dominate; in 1935, they occupied 90% of the market – Beervana

From a quick read of Beervana’s blog post you learn that Cluster hops were gradually overlooked over the years, and in their place came the ‘C’ hops we enjoy in many of the beers we enjoy today.  Despite all of this I started focusing on one of the comments made at the bottom of the blog;

If you see any brewers talking about them, the phrase they generally use is “catty,” or “cat piss.” They aren’t being catty themselves, cluster literally smells like a litterbox – Daniel Warner

I was 20 minutes into the boil when I read this and started doubting whether Cluster were the right hop for this brew….I had in mind an easy-going, fruity APA (nothing wrong with a bit of cat piss aroma right!).  I Tweeted my dilemma and with 10 minutes to spare before needing to make the hop addition, the ever-friendly Jay Krause (Quantum Brewing Co.) tweeted some sense into me and I stuck with my original plan.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.052
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.6%
Colour (SRM): 9.3 (EBC): 18.3
Bitterness (IBU): 40.0 (Average)
Brew length: 21.0L

3.000 kg (82%) Pale Ale Malt (Dingemans)
1.500 kg (10%) Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.600 kg (6%) Crystal 40
0.200 kg (2%) Pale Wheat Malt

14g Galena (12% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (boil)
20g Cluster (8.1% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (Boil)
50g Cluster (8.1% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Cascade (7.8% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
25g Cascade (7.8% Alpha) in secondary for 3-4 days (dry hop)

Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), 1 tsp gypsum (mash). My weighing scales aren’t great and I only need 3-4g, which is a tsp (approx). Same rule for the epsom salts in the boil.

Strike temp of 75C, 13.2L liquor for 5.300kg grain.  Mashed in at 67C, a degree higher than my target as my mash tun loses a bit of heat (single step infusion).  Mashed for 60 minutes and temp dropped to 66C.  Sparged at strike temp of 87C, to sparge at 78C, 18L liquor.  The boil was scheduled for 60 minutes.  All went to plan, Galena in at 60 minutes (from the end of the boil), followed by additions of Cluster at 30 minutes and Cluster and Cascade at 5 minutes.

I collected 21L of wort post boil with SG of 1.052 and ran this off into two FVs:

  • Pitched US-05 at 18C into FV2 (10L) and liquored back 1.8L (total 11.8L) to achieve an OG of 1.044.  I’ve also tweaked this batch with another ingredient, but more about that once the judging has taken place.
  • Pitched WLP090 at 18C into FV3 (11L) leaving the OG at 1.052,  I’ll be dry hopping both batches  Cascade (in primary FV).

Updated 23/01/13

Interesting to see the progress of the different yeast strains.  The only real difference being the OG.  US-05 had taken the SG in FV2 to 1.012 in 3 days, whereas WLP090 (the highly flocculant San Diego Super Yeast) had only managed 12 points in the same time, SG 1.040.  I’ll take another reading today, but here’s how they look (and by the way, no cat piss yet, just lovely fruity hop smells):

AG#14 Broadford American Brown Ale

Yesterdays brewday was my first attempt at an American Brown Ale and if it works out well it’ll be my entry for the Ilkley Brewery homebrew competition.  I borrowed someone elses boiler and immersion chiller for this brew, so was prepared for fun and games with losses.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.038 (°P): 9.5
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010 (°P): 2.6
Alcohol (ABV): 3.73%
Colour (SRM): 15.3 (EBC): 30.2
Bitterness (IBU): 35.1 (Average)

Maris Otter
Aromatic Malt
Munich I
Special B
Flaked Oats
Pale Chocolate Malt

Chinook (12.5% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
Galena (12.0% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
Chinook (12.5% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
Galena (12.0% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
Chinook (12.5% Alpha) @15 Minutes (Boil)
Galena (12.0% Alpha) @15 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @5 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) Dry hop

Single step Infusion at 66°C for 60 Minutes. Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), Gypsum (mash), Epsom Salts (Boil).  Boil for 60 Minutes. WLP023 Burton Ale.

Strike temp of 74C and 7.73L liquor for 3.092kg grain.  Mashed in at 65C.

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 84C, 18.7L liquor.  I didn’t record pre and post boil volumes and gravity readings.

First hop additions of Chinook, Galena and Summit at 45 minutes.  Same additions repeated at 30 and 15  minutes.  Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes, and a further copper addition of Summit at 5 minutes, before a generous addition of Summit at flame-out.

Collected 15L of wort post boil with SG of 1.040.  Liquored back to 16L and 1.038.  Cooled to 20C and pitched my WLP023 Burton Ale yeast starter.

I’ll be dry hopping this with some more Summit.

A few more photos of the brewday here.