AG#36 Feed Zone IPA

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This was my second brewday in a 24 hour period, just so I can join in the with the Leeds International Beer Festival, homebrew competition!   Very basic recipe, very brief write up. 

I thought I should stick with the pack and use a Tour de France inspired name.  I quite liked Sticky Bidon “the term used to describe what happens when a rider gets a new water bottle from the team car.  They tend to hang onto it for longer than necessary to get a free tow for a hundred metres or so“.  But, went with Feed Zone “a designated section of the race where riders pick up musettes from the soigneurs”.  A talking point…OK!

You can find the source of that interesting information and other Tour-lingo, here.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.050
Final Gravity (FG): 1.011
Alcohol (ABV): 5.0%
Colour (EBC): 10
Bitterness (IBU): 46 (Average)

4.26kg Pale Ale Malt
0.11kg Crystal Malt 60L

12g Warrior (leaf) (18.2% Alpha) FWH
30g Citra (pellet) (14.4% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (boil)
80g Citra (pellet) (14.4% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (aroma)
100g Citra (pellet) (14.4% Alpha) dry hop

Safale US-05 Ale Yeast (dry) 1pkt of 11.5g

Strike temp of 74C, 11.4L liquor for 4.37kg grain. Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 75 minutes.  Sparged at 76C 18.6L liquor.    60 minute boil.

I collected 19L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.051.  Pitched the yeast at 20C.

I’ll be transferring to secondary and adding the dry hops.

AG#35 Malted Milk Stout

This will be my entry for the Thornbridge/Waitrose Great British Homebrew challenge.  I’m a bit last minute with this brew, but it should be ok in time for the 31st July deadline.  I’m hoping that someone will put me straight if I’m wrong here, but I’m thinking the lactose puts this beer into the Specialty Beers category; as it contains a “non-core brewing ingredient at a level intended to impart a distinctive and discernible flavour or character“.  It’s my first attempt at a sweet stout, and after having tasted the wort, I decided that the amber malt has added a subtle biscuit flavour, and hope this carries through into the finished beer.  For this reason, I’m calling this a Malted Milk Stout

BrCSYpPIMAA1z1oOriginal Gravity (OG): 1.057
Final Gravity (FG): 1.024
Alcohol (ABV): 4.4%
Colour (EBC): 85
Bitterness (IBU): 27 (Average)

3.23kg Pale Ale Malt (Golden Promise)
0.52kg Roasted Barley (de-husked)
0.44kg Pale Crystal Malt
0.37kg Flaked Oats
0.27kg Amber Malt
0.23kg Lactose – Milk Sugar

30g Amarillo (leaf) (8.7% Alpha) @45 minutes from the end (boil)
Safale US-05 Ale Yeast (dry) 1pkt of 11.5g

Strike temp of 80C, 12.4L liquor for 4.83kg grain. Mashed in at 69C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 75 minutes.   First runnings 1.090.  Sparged at 76C 18.0L liquor.  Didn’t take a reading for pre-boil wort. 60 minute boil.

At 15 minutes from the end of the boil, I added the milk sugar to the copper (which I had dissolved into 1/2 litre of boiled water), along with the immersion chiller and protofloc.  

I’m not sure what the final gravity will be, and the FG should (hopefully) finish a lot higher that the 1.012, but BeerSmith didn’t seem to account for the lactose, neither did it seem to adjust the FG when I raised the mash temp.  Hopefully it’ll finish nearer 1.018 and the 5.2% abv stout that I’m shooting for.  Edit: It finished much higher – yet still within the BJCP style guidelines – at 1.024, making this a 4.4% beer.  Tasting good!

I collected 19L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.057.  Pitched the dry yeast at 20C.

29/06 1.038
02/07 1.033

05/07/1.024

09/07 1.024 – bottled 18L / batch primed with 78g sugar.

Dried American Ale Yeast

wpid-2014-05-02-10.14.20.jpg.jpegI don’t know enough about yeast, yet.  I have White & Zainisheff’s book – Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation, and I should make an effort to read it through.  Instead, I rely on yeast to do its thing – and do as many homebrewers do – focussing on the possibilities available through hops; malted barley and other adjuncts.  This is not to say there aren’t homebrewers who aren’t students of yeast, nor is it to say that all commercial brewers would pass Pasteur’s inspection, were he around today.  Yeast is often something brewers pitch nonchalantly into their precious hopped- wort, hoping that it doesn’t muck everything up after 8 hours of toil.

I’ve used liquid yeasts, and have experimented with pitching directly from the vial, and with making yeast starters.  My enthusiasm for liquid yeast has only waned because there is a need to plan ahead i.e. identifying a brew day, and working back 48-72 hours (or whatever the time required) to grow your yeast big enough for the intended wort.  My brewdays happen on a whim.  I see a break in the clouds, and go for it.  Like many other homebrewers, this means that I rely on dried yeast.  Yeast that will happily sit in it’s foil packet, high up in the fridge, alongside the parmesan cheese; eggs and a chocolate supply the kids can’t reach.  Yeast that will be ready for action at a moments notice.  Yeast that is reliable, and that will point it’s finger at you should the beer go wrong.  I am of course talking about Fermentis Safale US-05, an American ale yeast which – in the right quantities – will make short work of even high-gravity worts, and won’t interfere with the flavours and aromas you hope to achieve in your blonde, pale, IPA, porter, stout etc.  There are many other dry yeast strains available, but in my opinion, few can offer the reliability and ability to be sympathetic to fairly uncontrolled fermentation temperatures.  It’ a gem.

I shop for most of my homebrewing ingredients and sundries from The Malt Miller, and noticed they now sell their own West Coast Style ale yeast.  I bought a sachet, and used it in a recent brew.  I also brewed another beer a couple of days later, and pitched my usual US-05.  While this is not a scientific comparison (different recipes, no temp control etc), I thought it would be interesting to blog something anecdotal about their performance, not least because of a comment I received on the West Coast Ale Yeast – from Bob Arnott (@RecentlyDrunk).

I followed this up with Bob, and he added a little more context:

“It started slow, took a few days to krausen and then took it’s time to chomp to FG.  I had the brew fridge set at 19C +/- 1C”

And then another comment from Anthony Davies (@ploddingonwards):

“Isn’t Malt Miller West Coast basically [DANSTAR] BRY-97 [American West Coast Beer Yeast]?  Eats hops but attenuates like nobodies business”

Here’s how they compared:

Brew date    Yeast                                              OG                 SG 23/04       SG 27/04      SG 29/04

19/04           Malt Miller West Coast Style        1.072              1.040                1.021              1.020

21/04           Fermentis Safale US-05                1.042              1.039                 1.020             1.009

I took another gravity reading this morning and the Malt Miller yeast is stuck at 1.020.  As suggested by a few folk on Twitter, I’ll get hold of some US-05 and pitch that.  In the meantime, I’ve gently roused the beer in the FV.

There is no reason why another brew, different temps, OG, etc. might suit the Malt Miller West Coast Ale Yeast, but I’ll be sticking with US-05 for the foreseeable.  Although, I might give the Wyeast American Ale 1056 a chance too.

Comments welcome below, or on Twitter (that’s usually the easiest way).  I’m aware this isn’t the most thorough of posts, given the complexity of the subject, but hopefully a decent topic for discussion.

 

AG#34 Lawnmower Mash

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Original Gravity (OG): 1.048
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.0%
Colour (EBC): 6
Bitterness (IBU): 35 (Average)

4.100kg Pilsen Malt (Dingemans)
0.205kg Pale Wheat Malt

10g Mystery hop from the freezer (leaf) (15.0% Alpha) FWH
50g Summer (leaf) (6.1% Alpha) @15 minutes from the end (boil)
50g Summer (leaf) (6.1% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
20g Mystery hop (leaf) (15.0% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
20g Nelson Sauvin (leaf) (13.0% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
 
Safale US-05 (dry) 1pkt of 11g

I wanted to rid the demons from my last brew, when I seemed to lose the plot a little, and threw loads of random malts together, wpid-1398107043389.jpgwhich will probably end up masking all the hoppy goodness, that I had intended for the so-called IPA.  Anyway, this recipe was also plucked from thin air, but figured that it was a much safer bet.  It’s a pale beer, but not a pale ale.  Brewed with lager malt, but not a lager.  I guess it could be called a hoppy blonde ale, but whatever I call it, I’m aiming for a lawnmower beer – with any luck it’ll be a light, crisp, and refreshing beer, perfect for a hot summer day.

 This was also to be my first brew in my garage (where the lawnmower lives), something which I have convinced myself couldn’t possibly work due to the ancient electrics.  Having damaged my kitchen enough already, I thought I’d give the garage it’s chance.  I have plans to make the space much more brewing-friendly, but it was a revelation to be brewing without the constraints that a family kitchen presents.

Pretty straightforward brewday, except for the element in my old plastic boiler finally gave up.  A quick transfer to one that I had borrowed, and I was back on track.

Strike temp of 75C, 11.0L liquor for 4.305kg grain. Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 60 minutes. Sparged at 80C 19.0L liquor.  Collected 25L at 1.042.  60 minute boil.  

I collected 19L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.048. 

Pitched the dry yeast (sprinkled into the FV as I ran from the boiler) at 20C.

03/05/14 finished 1.009.
08/05/14 bottled. Batch primed 18L with 90g sugar.

BIAB#2 Apollo Pale Ale

Following up from my first BIAB (Brew in a bag), I thought it would be interesting to brew a series of SMASH (single malt single hop) beers.  My first post talks you through the process – if you’re interested.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.040
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 4.0%
Colour: Pale
Bitterness (IBU): 45ish

2.500 kg  Golden Promise Pale Malt

9g Apollo (19.5% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (Boil)
50g Apollo (19.5% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)

Same volumes and temperatures as the first brew (or as near as possible). 6.25L of mash liquor with roughly a quarter of a Campden tablet.  80C strike temperature (to achieve a mash temp of somewhere around 70C).  Sparged with 7.00L liquor at 78C strike temp.

60 minute addition (20g) Apollo hops.  At 15 minutes from the end of the boil I added quarter of protofloc tablet and the Immersion Chiller.  At 0 minutes (flame out / hob off) I added my second addition of Apollo hops (50g) and turned IC on.

I collected 9L of 1.045 wort and pitched half packet of US05 yeast at 19C.  BIAB#1 stopped at 1.025 with half a packet.

Next brew will be same again, different hop.

BIAB#1 Amarillo Pale Ale

It’s been a little while since I’ve brewed at home, but recently bought a 10L BIAB (Brew in a bag) kit, or what has been dubbed – the stove top pilot kit.   I bought it online from Massive Brewery for a mere £100 and you can check the site out to see what you get for your money, or tweet Steve @MassiveBrewery

Original Gravity (OG): 1.040
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 4.0%
Colour: Pale
Bitterness (IBU): 40ish

2.500 kg  Golden Promise Pale Malt

20g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (Boil)
50g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)

If you’re not familiar with BIAB brewing, then in summary, you have one vessel (in this case an 11L stock pot), a bag or two for your grain, and a bag or two for your hops.  The bags keep your brewing liquor and your barley and hops apart, and is essential when you come to transferring to your FV, as there is no hop stopper or tap on this kit.

For anyone who is thinking of trying this, I’ll describe what the brewday entails.  There’s nothing complicated to do, and I tried to be laid back about temperatures etc.  I used the Massive Brewery Excel spreadsheet to calculate the volumes and temperatures for the mash and sparge liquor and treat the 6.25L of mash liquor with roughly a quarter of a Campden tablet.  I used a combination of kettle and warm tap water to get an 80C strike temperature (to achieve a mash temp of somewhere around 70C), then put the two grain bags and the 6.25L into the pot, gave the grain a good stir in each bag to make sure there were no dry spots, then hung the grain bags over the side of the pot, put the lid on and left it for 60 minutes.  Towards the end of the 60 minute mash, I boiled a couple of kettles of water and added them to a large pan (not part of the kit) and added tap water to hit 80C, and in preparation for the sparging. 

To sparge – I lifted each grain bag out in turn and squeezing as much of the wort from the bags and into the stock pot (turning the hob on at this point to start bringing it towards the boil – just as a bit of a time saver).  Then using the plastic fermentation bucket (part of the kit) and a large colander (not part of the kit) I poured the sparge liquor from the additional pan, through the grain bags, each in turn.  I let them sit a while, give the grain a stir and then transferred the wort from the fermentation bucket into the stock pot, squeezing the bags again to get as much wort (sugars) as possible. 

Once the wort in the stock pot reached boiling point I added a 60 minute addition (20g) Amarillo hops.  At 15 minutes from the end of the boil I added quarter of protofloc tablet and the Immersion Chiller (part of the kit).  At 0 minutes (flame out / hob off) I added my second addition of Amarillo hops (50g) and turned the chiller on.  It was

Mashing

I collected 9L of 1.045 wort and pitched half a packet of US05 yeast at 19C.  After 3 days it was down to 1.025 and tasting/smelling great.

I’m impressed with the kit.  It’s basic, but it gives you exactly what you need to brew a beer in about 4 hours, which is a big plus for me at the moment. 

Also included in the kit price, but not shown in the photo: Digital thermometer, hydrometer, bottle capper, crown caps and ingredients for your first beer.  You may need to borrow the odd item from your kitchen, but other than that, the only things you’ll need to buy are some sanitiser and some protofloc (copper finings).

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.