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#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.

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
Crystal 30
Chocolate, Pale
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).