AG#32 Texas Brown Ale – Continuity Error

I recently blogged about my intention to brew a Texas Brown Ale.  More about it here.

Here’s the writeup from the brewday last week (28/02/14).  This beer is destined for the Northern Craft Brewers & Saltaire Brewery bar.  Brown hoppy craft cask ale.  No filtration, no pasteurisation, no pressurisation, no vitriol. 

wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-02-26-19.14.18.jpg.jpgOriginal Gravity (OG): 1.048
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.1%
Colour (EBC): 50.4
Bitterness (IBU): 48.9 (Average)

3.30kg Golden Promise Pale Malt (Simpsons)
0.50kg Biscuit Malt (Dingemans)
0.25kg Dark Crystal Malt
0.25kg Chocolate Malt
0.25kg Pale Wheat Malt (toasted)

10g Columbus (Tomahawk) (16.5% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (boil)
12g Brewer’s Gold (7.5% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (boil)
88g Brewer’s Gold (7.5% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (boil)
50g Columbus (Tomahawk) (16.5% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
100g US Cascade (pellets) (5.8% Alpha) dry hop

Safale US05  yeast.

Strike temp of 75C, 12.0L liquor for 4.55kg grain. Mashed in at 65C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 75 minutes.   First runnings 1.090.  Sparged at 76C 19.0L liquor.  Collected 24L at 1.046. 60 minute boil.  

I collected 17L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.056.  Liquored back with 2.0L cooled boiled water to 19L with an OG of 1.048

Pitched US05 yeast starter at 19C.

Update: 03/03/14  1.040 

I’ll be transferring to secondary and adding 100g US Cascade pellets for 3-5 days.

Update: 12/03/14  FG 1.012 (4.8%) Dry hopped with 100g US Cascade pellets (in primary).

N.B. My last brewday led me to look at my efficiencies.  I got in a right muddle and was rescued by a professor of brewing, loosely associated with Stringers Brewery.  I applied the prof’s maths to my numbers from this brew. And I calculated my Mash Efficincy as 80% and my Brewhouse Efficiency as 69%.  Workings out, below. 

Pale malt: 3.5 kg @ 293 L.deg per kilo = 1025.5
Biscuit malt: 0.5 @ 273 = 136.5

Dark crystal malt: 0.25 kg @ 275 = 68.75
Chocolate malt: 0.25 @ 273 = 68.25

wheat malt: 0.25 @ 296 = 74.0

Total potential extract 1025.5 + 136.5 + 68.75 + 68.25 +74.0 = 1373 litre.degrees

My runnings from the mash were 24 litres at 1.046 Specific Gravity, so: 24 litres x 46 degrees = 1104 litre.degrees

My mash efficiency is something like…
 1104/1373 = 0.804 = 80%

Post-boil, I ended up with…
17L @ 1.056 i.e 17 x 56 = 952 and 952/1373 = 0.693
That is 69.0% which I’m calling my brewhouse efficiency.

 A couple of photos:

The grist

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The toasted wheat malt

wpid-20140228_081508.jpg

First runnings from the mash

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The final colour

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Texas Brown Ale

This will be my brew for the upcoming Northern Craft Brewers event in April 2014.  Alongside the bottle competition, there will be a full bar of homebrewed beer to explore, this being one them.  I’ve brewed an American Brown Ale before, but this time I’m taking inspiration from one of the craft brewing pioneers – Pete Slosberg and his Wicked Ale (circa. 1986).  Sadly this beer was discontinued in 2011*.  More recently a Bear Republic / Fat Head’s and Stone Brewing Co. collaboration paid tribute to Pete’s Wicked Ale, when they brewed TBA, a 7.1% / 80 IBU “extra hoppy brown ale“.  Sounds good to me!, however, as this will be on a packed bar, with fairly limited drinking time, and dispensed from cask, I have toned it down, and in doing so hopefully making it more akin to Pete’s beer.  I can always brew it again at full volume, for bottle consumption.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.051
Final Gravity (FG): 1.011
Alcohol (ABV): 5.3%
Colour (EBC): 50
Bitterness (IBU): 45 (Average)

The Stone collab recipe calls for; Victory malt – substituted for biscuit malt; Toasted Wheat Malt – which I will sub in some home-tasted pale wheat malt; and molasses – which I will omit for this lower abv version.  I think this wants to be a medium-bodied beer, so no point in overloading it, for the sake of “cloning” a recipe.  I think it will be complex enough with the roasted malts.

Golden Promise Pale Malt
Biscuit Malt
Crystal Malt (120L)
Chocolate Malt
Pale Wheat Malt (toasted)

The hops in a Texas Brown Ale should be Cascade heavy, but taking direction from the Stone TBA, I’m going to layer it up with Columbus and Brewer’s Gold (leaf hops) and dose it with a Cascade dry hop (pellet).  In comparison to the Stone beer, my target IBUs don’t look wayward enough, but I’m shooting for a BU:GU of 0.9, so should be plenty for the strength.

Columbus (bittering/late copper)
Brewer’s Gold (late copper)
Cascade (dry)

If I’m given enough encouragement, I may be persuaded to brew a 7.1% abv / 80 IBU version.  Comments welcome, as ever.

Thanks for reading.

*Brookston Beer Bulletin – “Gambrinus Discontinues Pete’s Wicked Ale

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.

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#24 Tomahawk IPA

I got the green light for a brewday on Sunday morning, so I set the kit up and weighed the grain the night before to ensure an early start. I had five hours to get this done and cleared away (ended up being nearer 6). This was a rebrew of my Tomahawk IPA AG#9 and AG#15. My aim was to brew a similar beer, but as this is one of my two recipes in development I tried a couple of different things with it. Having just bought Mitch Steele‘s IPA book, I couldn’t resist tinkering. The first was to tweak the grain bill, upping the quantity of caramel malts. To date I have used a combination of Pale, Munich, Pale Wheat and a small quantity of Caramalt in my IPAs, but wanted to experiment, so out with the Pale Wheat Malt and in with some Crystal 60L.

The second change was to the hopping, sticking with Pilgrim for bittering and with Columbus as the late copper hop. I previously brewed with Cascade in there too so kept that. I added Chinook to the bill which I hope will tame the Tomahawk down a notch. As well as the slight change to hop varieties I wanted to structure the schedule, as per a Deschutes recipe (Inversion IPA) in the Steele book. I want a beer with 80 IBUs or thereabouts that isn’t harsh, and as I wasn’t sure how that would work it seemed a sensible idea to use a Deschutes recipe (Inversion IPA) as a guideline for hop addition rates. I based my recipe on their 5.8g/l , which worked out at 133g, added to the kettle as follows: 15% at the start of the boil, 25% at 30 minutes and 60% at 5 minutes. For the dry hops, Deschutes use 1.16g/l which works out at 30g. This seems a bit low, but as those hops will be Columbus, Chinook and Cascade then they should still give it a bit extra on the aroma.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.062
Final Gravity (FG): 1.012
Alcohol (ABV): 6.7%
Colour (SRM): 9.3 (EBC): 18.4
Bitterness (IBU): 80.0 (Average)

5.000 kg (82%) Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.600 kg (10%) Caramalt
0.370 kg (6%) Munich
0.120 kg (2%) Crystal 60L

20g Pilgrim (11.2% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (boil)
33g Columbus (14.5% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Chinook (12.5% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
60g Columbus (14.5% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Cascade (7.9% Alpha) in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
10g Chinook (12.5% Alpha) in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
10g Columbus (14.5% Alpha) 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.

Strike temp of 76C, 15.2L liquor for 6.090kg 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. Sparged at 78C (strike temp should have been 88C, error), 19L liquor. The boil was scheduled for 60 minutes. All went to plan, Pilgrim in at 60 minutes (from the end of the boil), followed by additions at 30 minutes and 5 minutes. No steeped hops after flame out on this occasion.

I collected 21L of wort post boil with SG of 1.062. Pitched US-05 at 18C. Once I get back to the point of being able to plan ahead, I’ll brew a few more beers with liquid yeast. I’ll be transferring to secondary and dry hopping with Columbus, Cascade and Chinook.

Updated 09/01/13 – SG 1.032

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#16 Broadford American Brown Ale (Take 2)

I recently brewed an American Brown Ale for the upcoming Ilkley Brewery competition.  I had high hopes for it based on an interesting malt and hop bill and a Burton Ale yeast.   My first concerns were due to the aromas coming from the FV, which turns out was from the Summit hops I added at flame out.  Having spoken to other homebrewers and a pro brewer I was reassured that the onion/garlic aromas from Summit do dissipate and make way for orange! Sure enough the onion stench moved along.  After my initial panic I had also dry hopped with 20g of US Cascade.  I took a gravity reading on day 7 of primary fermentation and tasted the beer…. describing it as ‘interesting’ doesn’t quite do it justice.  There are several unfamiliar flavours which could be as a result of aromatic or special B malts, which I’ve never used before, the combination of hops, the yeast or the combination of all of them.  The main off-flavour is of elastoplast (I think) and am told this could be chloramines.

Chloramines or Chlorine will give your beer a medicinal or band-aid type of flavor.

I will look into this in more detail, but did the following to avoid this: Water treatment using 1 Campden tablet per 5 Gallons and I use an acid, rather than chlorine, based sanitiser.  I’m hoping that the off flavours are phenols that haven’t been dealt with by the yeast yet, so there is hope, but I didn’t want to chance not having a beer to enter into a competition I’ve helped organise.  So here is the American Brown Ale brewday Mark II.  Despite Chris Ives (Ilkley Brewery) advice to make incremental changes as a way of understanding your brewing process, I decided on a totally different recipe (sorry Chris), and a beer I’ll be calling ‘Mothman’, due to my late night brewing and the critters dive-bombing me and my precious beer.  (Also, thanks to Neil @leedsbrew and Ian @lugsy51 for talking this through with me).

Original Gravity (OG): 1.038  (°P): 9.5
Final Gravity (FG):    1.010  (°P): 2.6
Alcohol (ABV):         3.73 %
Colour (SRM):          16.4   (EBC): 32.3
Bitterness (IBU):      38.8   (Average)
Maris Otter Malt
Caramalt
Crystal 30
Chocolate, Pale
Special-B
Amber Malt
Flaked Oats
Magnum (12.5% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil)
US Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @ 15 Minutes (Boil)
US Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
US Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma)
Single step Infusion at 64°C for 60 Minutes. Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), Gypsum (mash), Epsom Salts (Boil).  Boil for 60 Minutes. WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast.

Strike temp of 72C and 4.53L liquor for 1.810kg grain.  Mashed in at 64C.

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 84C, 12.23L liquor (total liqour 16.75L).  Collected 13.60L with gravity reading of 1.030 @22C.  My target was 15.1L at 1.036.

First hop additions of Magnum at 30 minutes.  Added a protofloc tablet and immersion chiller at 15 minutes, and a further copper additions of Cascade at 15 and 5 minutes, before a heap of Cascade at flame-out.

Collected 10L of wort post boil with SG of 1.038.  Cooled to 20C and pitched the vial of WLP090 yeast.  No starter for this one, but MrMalty told me that this would be fine.  Ideally I would have made a starter, but the brew impromptu and needed to be done without further delay due to the 14/07/12 deadline.

and a shot of the colour in the daylight

The design and name of this yeast promise a lot!  I’m hoping it saves the day.

A few more photos of the brewday here.

Update 25/07/2012 This beer took joint 1st prize in the Ilkley Brewery competition (along with Matt Lovatt).