AG#29 West Coast IPA Style Ale

This is my brew for the Yorkshire vs Lancashire homebrew challenge arranged as part of the Leeds International Beer festival 2013.  I opted to brew a West Coast Pale style Ale….this plan evolved mid-brewday:  

Original Gravity (OG): 1.058
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 6.4%
Colour (SRM): 14 (EBC):
Bitterness (IBU): 50 (Average)

4.400 kg  Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.230 kg  Dark Crystal Malt

14g Green Bullet (12.0% Alpha) @40 minutes from the end (Boil)
20g Northdown (9.8% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (Boil)
35g Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @15 minutes from the end (Boil)
20g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) @o minutes from the end (Boil)
40g Centennial (11.0% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)
90g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) leaf in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
20g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) leaf in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
20g Centennial (11.0% Alpha) T90 pellets in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
20g Citra (12.0% Alpha) T90 pellets in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
10g Columbus (12.6% Alpha) leaf in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)

I’ll add the usual info on temperatures etc at some point, but the main thing I learnt from this brew is that it isn’t safe to brew a Pale Ale while drinking super hoppy hoppy IPA and watching a beer review of Magic Rock’s Unhuman Cannonball.  I had already mashed in so the malts stayed the same, however my hop bill went out of the window and I delved into my freezer.  I stuck with the shorter volume collected and the higher OG.  I’ll add more dry hops than I originally intended on, et voilà!  A West Coast/West Yorkshire/Northern Hemisphere inspired India Pale Ale, of sorts.  The IBUs are lower than I would have aimed for had I intended to brew a 6.4% IPA, but the BU:GU ratio is still a respectable 0.86.

This beer will now be tasted alongside other Leeds Homebrew/Team Yorkshire beers, before we put forward our gladiator beers to be scrutinised by a panel of judges selected by the Leeds International Beer Festival.  Our Lancashire foe will be doing the same, and the best of Yorkshire will be pitted against theirs during the @LeedsBeer Fest in September.

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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#22 Tricks of the Shade – Black IPA

It was an impromptu brewday yesterday.  It was a nice moment when I realised that I had all the components necessary to create beer, excluding free time, but went for it anyway.  I had intended to brew a Christmas Belgian Stout as per my last post, but the yeast starter didn’t make it.  Sad times.  I’ll revisit that another time.  Instead I decided to give brewing a Black IPA a third shot.  My previous efforts AG#5 (Nebulous) and AG#18 (Transatlanticism) both yielded good results, but not the kind of Black IPA I was looking for.  Both of my previous brews were roasty versions of the style, more what some would describe as a hoppy porter.  For my third attempt I had planned to steep the dark malts overnight and add the resulting wort to the boil.  However, due to the impromptu brew, I decided on adding the Carafa III just before the sparge.  As usual, the figures below reflect the recipe.  I did OK, but did collect more wort at a higher gravity than planned.  Most likely due to several things, including; not factoring in the Carafa III, boiling for slightly longer and I think my software has malt extract values that might be lower than the actual values?

Original Gravity (OG): 1.051
Final Gravity (FG): 1.008
Alcohol (ABV): 5.7%
Colour (SRM): 7.7 (EBC): 15.2 (this is the colour without the dark malts)
Bitterness (IBU): 55.0 (Average)

3.750 kg (75%) Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.300 kg (10%) Caramalt
0.200 kg (10%) Munich I
0.150 kg (5%) Biscuit
0.350 kg Carafa III (added before sparge)

27g Columbus (16.5% Alpha) @15 minutes from the end (boil)
13g Simcoe (16.2% Alpha) @15 minutes from the end (Boil)
30g Galaxy (14.4% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end(Boil)
30g Simcoe (16.2% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
100g Crystal (3.3% Alpha) @0 minutes (Steep at flame out)
20g Galaxy (14.4% Alpha) @0 minutes (Steep at flame out)

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 and gypsum in the boil.  Since my outing to Roosters, I was testing the PH at various stages of the process.  Those in the brackets are the target range:

HLT 5.6
Start of mash 5.4 (5.2-5.5)
First runnings 5.0 (4.8-5.2)
Pre boil 5.5 (5.1-5.4)
Post boil 5.0 (4.9-5.3)
Beer after fermentation (3.7-4.2)

Strike temp of 74C, 12.5L liquor for 5kg grain.  Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).  Mashed for 75 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 78C (strike temp 85C), 23.30L liquor. I didn’t take any gravity readings as I was trying to be a dad and a brewer at the same time.  I used this brew to try out using biscuit malt, to give me an idea of what to expect for future brews.  It gave the first runnings a really deep amber colour, even though it was only 5% of the bill.  I suppose of the Carafa doesn’t dominate then it may even add to the malt aroma too.

The boil was scheduled for 90 minutes, but due to life getting in the way it was more like 110 minutes.  No drama here is nothing was scheduled to happen until 15 minutes from the end.  In went the Immersion Chiller, protofloc and first addition of Columbus.  Closely followed by additions of Simcoe, Galaxy and Crystal.

My next time-pressure induced mistake was running to the FV too soon and ending up with 33C wort.  As I couldn’t pitch at this temp, I sealed the FV and stood it outside to think about what it had done.  An hour or so later I pitched the US-05 at 23C and left the FV in the cold kitchen so it’s temp continued to fall (18C this morning, and moved to a warmer room).   I collected 24L of wort post boil with SG of 1.058.

I’ll be dry hopping in the FV with Galaxy, before making this my first kegged beer just in time for Christmas.  Any advice on dry hopping in the keg would be great, thanks.

Update: 09/11/12 down to 1.020. Dry hopped with 80g Galaxy. Great aroma from the FV. Colour is a dark muddy brown rather than black, but tastes good so I’m happy enough.

Update: 12/11/12 down to 1.016.

Update: 15/11/12 removed dry hops from FV (6 days).

Update: 20/11/12 kegged (and 5 bottles) 1.012 (6.1%)

AG#18 Transatlanticism – Porter

I brewed this beer for the Roosters Brewing Co. / Leeds Homebrew competition.  I didn’t write it up on the blog at the time as we were asked by the organisers/judges to keep our entries anonymous.  It won.  On Friday I went along to Roosters to brew it on their pilot kit.

Ol Fozzard (Head Brewer/Roosters) made it clear throughout the process that this was my beer.  He had no interest in changing it from the beer the judges chose.  At times I found this a challenge, brewing a beer I had only brewed once before, on an unfamiliar kit and knowing that a limited number of bottles would eventually be sold to the discerning public.  Ol did lead the brewday, no doubt, but each time there was a decision to be made I was left to mumble my way through it.  The beer is a hop-forward Porter, meaning that in the first instance I aimed to brew a Black IPA, made it too roasty (possibly) and voila! a hop-forward Porter.  We stuck with this, but substituted some of the crystal malt for brown malt and added some flaked barley for head retention/body.

The reason for entering these competitions is for fun and for the opportunity to get some impartial feedback on my beer.  Another reason for me is to gain experience from the brewday that usually forms part of the prize.  As well as a day off work and the chance to get inside a brewery, I try to learn something new.  This can be tricky when there is so much information to take in.  Brewing with Ol, a guy with over ten years commercial experience, gave me time to watch what he was doing and ask a fair few questions.  Whereas a typical brewday for me at home, bearing in mind that I’ve only brewed 20 beers, is a repetition of the process I know.  I become more familiar with my kit, and might make fewer errors, like closing all the taps or adding the finings at the right moment, but I wouldn’t say I’m learning more about the brewing process.  Ol didn’t come from a homebrewing background and as such he has learnt from the brewers at Daleside, Copper Dragon and most recently his time working alongside Sean Franklin as the brewery was handed over.  He doesn’t use brewing software, bar the odd spreadsheet and has learnt the maths.  One such equation can be seen below.  This was used as we stood and scaled up the malt bill from my 23L brew.  Total malt extract value multiplied by kg’s, divided by brewlength, multiplied by brew kit efficiency, equals OG.  In this case we looked at the pale malt and the munich.  A useful calculation.

The second learning point (or more a starting point for more reading) was regarding pH.  I haven’t concerned myself with pH while brewing at home.  I have brewed a few times and have not had feedback to suggest off-flavours of that nature.  I use minimal water treatments and haven’t read/applied much in the way of water profiles to suit beer style.  It appears I have got away with it this far, but should take note that the styles of beer traditonally coming out of London, Burton upon Trent and Dublin were no coincidence.  Being aware of the pH of your local water supply, routinely checking it before you start brewing and adjusting it accordingly, depending on your malts, will help the conversion of sugars during the mash, and among other things, it will affect the flavour of the finished beer.  In the case of my Porter and the inclusion of roasted malt (Carafa III) the acidity needed to be taken into account.  Ol knows the water for his brewery and knows exactly how he will treat it for the beers they brew.   During the brew the pH was measured no fewer than five times: HLT (and adjusted), mash, sparge, run off from sparge and post boil.

…all malts (and dark malts in particular) have phosphates in them that react with the calcium and magnesium ions in alkaline water freeing up H+ ions that make the mixture acidic.  Adding malt, especially dark malt, lowers the pH of the malt water mixture in the mash – BeerSmith ‘understanding pH’.

I won’t try to talk any more about pH as I need to learn about it first, and I know there will be more than a few homebrewers who will read this and wonder why I’m heralding this is as a gem of information.  It’s just new to me, that’s all.

Finally, the finer details.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.062
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 7.3% (if the yeast stops!)
Colour (SRM): 16.7 (EBC): 32.9
Bitterness (IBU): 61.0 (Average)

Golden Promise Pale Malt
Munich I
Caramalt
Brown Malt
Flaked Barley
Carafa III (in the mash)
Carafa III (before sparge)

Simcoe (boil)
Cascade (boil)
Chinook (boil)
Cascade (Dry for 5 days in FV)
Centennial (Dry for 5 days in FV)

I’m told (this morning) that the fermentation has been steady and the smells from the FV are promising.  With a bit of luck the beer will make its way safely into bottles and you’ll be able to buy it from Beer Ritz (Headingley) and online.  A few people have asked when it will be available and I don’t have the answer to that, but I’ll be tweeting about it along with @RoostersBrewCo, @RoostersTom and @RoostersOl.  Can’t wait to see and taste the finished beer.  Tom had drafted the label and it was looking great!

AG#17 Hangerhead Double IPA

Had a crack at brewing an Imperial IPA last week (18/07/12).  I was back using my own kit, rather a bump back down to reality.  No supercharged boiler or immersion chiller to play with and boy did it tell.  Despite my best efforts the planned recipe changed during the brew.  (No photos as  I was busy mucking around sorting the issues).

Original Gravity (OG): 1.089 (°P): 21.3
Final Gravity (FG): 1.020 (°P): 5.1
Alcohol (ABV): 9.09%
Colour (SRM): 8.2 (EBC): 16.2
Bitterness (IBU): 96.6 (Average)

3.4kg Maris Otter
0.300kg White table sugar (added to the copper)
0.180kg Carapils
0.070kg Crystal Malt 30L

10g Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @90 Minutes (Boil)
10g Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
30g Simcoe (14.2% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
30g Centennial (10.4% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)
40g Simcoe (14.2% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)
40 Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)

25g Centennial (10.4% Alpha) dry hop Day 5 in FV
30g Simcoe (14.2% Alpha) dry hop Day 5 in FV

Single step Infusion at 65°C for 60 Minutes. Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), Gypsum (mash), Epsom Salts (Boil).  Boil for 90 Minutes. WLP090 San Diego Super (repitched from AG#16).

Strike temp of 73C and 9.0L liquor for 3.650kg grain.  Mashed in at 65C.

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 78C, 12.05L liquor. I didn’t record the gravity readings, I’ll start doing this as soon as I can warrant buying a refractometer.

First hop addition of Columbus added to the copper during transfer from the mash tun (which blocked for the first time.  Last time I had a problem with running from the tun, it was due to the manifold coming apart) .  More Columbus at 45 minutes, followed by Simcoe at 30 mins.

Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes.  At the end of the boil the wort was cooled to 80C before further additions of Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe.  These were steeped while I ran to the FV, which was probably 40+ minutes thanks to a blockage.

Collected my target of 11L of wort post boil with SG of 1.068.  Having not been able to check my gravity before now, I was a little pissed off with missing my target OG of 1.089 by a country mile.  I decided to add a further 100g sugar (boiled on the hob for 10 minutes) which I calculate brings the OG to 1072.  As I had already strayed from the recipe and because the wort was looking a little on the light side, I also reduced 200ml of wort on the hob to add a little more colour. Cooled to 20C (which took hours due to cooling in the sink) and pitched my WLP090 yeast starter.

Due to the new OG I have demoted this brew from Imperial to Double IPA.  I’ll try and brew it again when I sort my kit out.  I really don’t know what went so wrong.  Despite that, the brew is happily fermenting and smells great.  If this turns out well, I may still enter it into the National Homebrew competition.

I dry hopped the FV 22/07/12 with 25g Centennial and 30g Simcoe.

Some thoughts from CAMRGB on this beer here.