Sunday, November 29, 2009

Favorites: Mass Productions and Variance

I have friends visiting for the holidays. They will be here shortly after Christmas and stay a few days after New Year's. I need to be ready. I asked them what kind of beer they wanted and they gave a rather wishy washy response. So I took it upon myself to brew up some of my favorite styles. I chose to recreate the Rye Pale Ale for them as well as the Amber Clone, but I chose to do 10 gallons. Adapting a 5 gallon recipe to a 10 gallon recipe requires close attention to detail and a knowledge from experience of which variants need to be remeasured or multiplied by an exact coefficient to produce a consistent product. I, on the other hand, just doubled everything. Looking at the Recipes side by side:

Amber Clone
Style: American Amber Ale
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.013
ABV: 4.72 %
IBU's: 37.22
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Volume: 5 Gallons
Color: 9.4 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
0.50 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L
0.25 lbs Biscuit Malt
8.25 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US
0.50 lbs Munich Malt
0.25 lbs Victory Malt

Hops
1.00 ozs Northern Brewer - 60 mins
0.66 ozs Williamette - 15 mins
0.34 ozs Williamette - 5 mins

Yeasts
1.0 pkg California Ale V - White Labs WLP051

www.iBrewMaster.com

Amber Clone (10 gal)
Style: American Amber Ale
OG: 1.050
FG: 1.014
ABV: 4.72 %
IBU's: 36.69
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Volume: 10 Gallons
Color: 8.5 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
0.50 lbs Biscuit Malt
1.00 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L
0.50 lbs Victory Malt
1.00 lbs Munich Malt
17.00 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US

Hops
2.00 ozs Northern Brewer - 60 mins
1.25 ozs Williamette - 15 mins
0.75 ozs Williamette - 5 mins

Yeasts
2.0 pkg Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast - Fermentis

www.iBrewMaster.com

we can see roughly the same numbers as predicted by iBrewmaster. Now those of you who are math sticklers can see that the hops were misadjusted. If I doubled everything then the flavoring hops should have doubled from 0.66oz to 1.34oz, or from 2/3 to 1 1/3, and the aroma from 0.34oz to 0.66oz, or 1/3 to 2/3. Good for you for knowing fractions and ratios! The total hops ounces are the same, but you can see a slight variance in the IBUs.

Looking at the Rye Pale Ale:

Rye Pale Ale
Style: English IPA
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.24 %
IBU's: 41.50
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Volume: 5 Gallons
Color: 11.2 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
0.50 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L
8.50 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK
2.00 lbs Rye Malt

Hops
1.00 ozs Cluster - 60 mins
1.00 ozs Amarillo Gold - 15 mins
1.00 ozs Glacier - 5 mins
1.00 ozs Cascade - 14 days (dry hopped)

Yeasts
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale - White Labs WLP007

www.iBrewMaster.com

Rye Pale Ale (10 gal)
Style: American Rye Beer
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.24 %
IBU's: 41.50
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Volume: 10 Gallons
Color: 10.5 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
1.00 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L
17.00 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US
4.00 lbs Rye Malt

Hops
2.00 ozs Cluster - 60 mins
2.00 ozs Amarillo Gold - 15 mins
2.00 ozs Glacier - 5 mins
1.00 ozs Cascade - 14 days (dry hopped)

Yeasts
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale - White Labs WLP007
1.0 pkg Safale S-04 - Fermentis

www.iBrewMaster.com

we see exactly the same numbers, save a slightly lover SRM color rating. Note the amount of dry hops stays constant from 5 gal to 10 gal, but the overall IBUs didn't change. I usually don't use a whole ounce of hops for 5 gallon batch, but I do use a handful of whole leaf - enough to cover the surface area.

These two recipes are solid, but I wanted to revive one of my favorites, The Rouge Wheat. If I haven't mentioned it, it's a pun. You can read all about it in my Note on Facebook:

Brew 6/24 Wheat

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 3:18pm
I'm making a summer wheat beer. I made one for my friends wedding involving orange peel, honey, and chamomile flowers called the Honey Moon Wedding Wheat. This one skips the flowers and uses grapefruit rather than orange. The honey is still there. I can't think of a good name. Suggestions? Preferably something Baton Rouge related.

It contains:

1 x Brewers 2-Row Malt 4 lbs 8 oz

1 x White Wheat 4 lbs 8 oz

1 x Rice Hulls 1 lb

1 x Rye Malt 8 oz

1 x Flaked Wheat 8 oz

1 x Vanguard Pellet Hops (1 oz) boiled 60min

1x Grapefruit peel boiled 20min

cheers!

The comments had names like Bitter Bee Summer Wheat (Bitter for the Grapefruit, Bee for the Honey), sweet nip summer, and Jangle. In the end I settled the discussion by commenting:

"..and the winner is Red 8. Which [in] French is Rouge Huit ("rouge wheat") get it? so Rouge 8 it is, thank you Sarah Dee I cannot resist a bilingual pun."

The name turned out to be too clever for its own good. To keep it simple I now call it Rouge Wheat and its label is a Red #8, don't think too hard about it. The recipe evolved from there. I dropped the Rye Malt altogether, I gravitated towards a 60/40 ratio wheat to barley, and the grapefruit was replaced by dried apricot:



Rouge Huit
Style: Witbier
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.016
ABV: 4.98 %
IBU's: 18.34
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Volume: 5 Gallons
Color: 4.6 SRM


Grains & Adjuncts
5.00 lbs White Wheat Malt
4.00 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel
1.00 lbs Wheat, Flaked
0.50 lbs Rice Hulls

Hops
1.00 ozs Vanguard - 60 mins

Yeasts
1.0 pkg Bavarian Wheat - Wyeast Labs 3638

Additions
8.00 oz Apricots - 60 mins / Boil
1.00 lb Honey - 60 mins / Boil

www.iBrewMaster.com

This beer was the smash hit of the summer. I made it exactly as listed numerous times and once as a 10 gallon (double the recipe). I wanted to recreate this recipe for my visitors - they come from all over; several are on the East Coast, Baltimore and New York to be specific, others are on the West Coast, Los Angelas. In accordance I have adjusted the recipe to better suit the Gulf Coast:

Satsuma Wheat
Style: American Wheat Beer
OG: 1.061
FG: 1.018
ABV: 5.63 %
IBU's: 17.22
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Color: 4.7 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
1.00 lbs Honey
0.50 lbs Oats, Flaked
5.00 lbs Wheat Malt, Bel
5.00 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel

Hops
1.00 ozs Vanguard - 60 mins

Yeasts
1.0 pkg Safbrew WB-06 Wheat Beer Dry Yeast - Fermentis

Additions
Peel and separated 3 satsumas with white part of peel zested off. Add satsumas and peels to boil for 60 min. At flame out add saved shavings of peels.


The homebrew shop was out of Flaked Wheat and low on White Wheat. I used standard, slightly darker Belgian Wheat Malt as well as Flaked Oats, which he assured me was a fine compliment to any Wheat Ale. I couldn't get my hands on any coriander - out of season I suppose- but Satsumas are plentiful these days.

I got my satsumas from my wife's parent's neighbor's tree. It was hanging over the fence and loaded with satsumas. In a matter of minutes we had a bagful and it seemed the tree had barely been picked at all. Some recipes call for fruit or fruit peel addition late in boil, but my experience with the previous mutations told me the best favor can be achieved by a full boil as I did with the Apricots and the Grapefruit.

One of the major catalysts for the switch to Apricot from Grapefruit was my wife. She did not favor the extreme bitterness of the grapefruit. I mean I used a huge grapefruit! Peel and all! As a friend pointed out I should have used zested Grapefruit peel. Supposedly the white stuff between the peel and the fruit was quite bitter. In addition the Rye might have imparted a spicy bitterness. I enjoyed the bitterness. In my opinion it makes a wit more than the fruity notes and the Abita brewery's interpretation of a very similar brew was decent, but could have used more citrus and bitterness - more satsuma.

I intend to achieve this bitterness. As I described I peeled and separated the chunks and used a fine cheese grader to sand off as much of the white stuff off the peels. I collected it and added it at flame out, as you would flavor hops. The fruit and its peels went into a bag and got boiled for an hour along with 1 lb of honey and a single ounce of hops. Very easy brew, just add it and forget it.

This will be the first brew my visitors try when they get here, unless some of the brews mentioned earlier are still available (not likely). I then hope to crank 'em out, age slightly, and force carbonate for quick consumption. This next month will more than likely fly by, as the Holidays usually do, and I have set a grueling pace for myself... That's it. That is all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pretty Soon We'll All Be In Cider

A few weeks ago I was at a festival, the Black Pot Festival. It's been put on annually for the past 3 or 4 year in my hometown. My parents still live there, but we take full advantage of their policy to allow camping on the festival grounds over the weekend. Some friends of mine brought Organic Apple Juice and mulling spices to make Apple Cider. "Apple Cider?" I thought, is if fermented apple juice? No, it was just cloudy apple juice they wanted to heat up and add spices to. They also brought whiskey to mix into it. The beverage was delicious both leaded and unleaded, but it shook my concept of what a cider really is.

Now these friends of mine are from Michigan and Illinois, so they probably know more about hot cider than I do. Traditionally ciders are alcoholic and bubbly, but thanks to breakthroughs in carbonation technology it is possible to get sparkling, non-alcoholic cider called cider. What I have traditionally called cider is now labeled hard cider. So a traditionally fermented beverage gets the boot for another spiced beverage that we, ironically, spiked with whiskey. I set out to make a true apple cider, it's not difficult.

Ingredients: 1 gallon jug of Apple Juice, 1 pkg Champagne Yeast

That's it. The particular Apple Juice we used came in a gallon glass growler and you can pitch and ferment directly into it. I, however, wanted to get a little fancy.

Process: We emptied the juice into a stock pot and brought it to a near boil, a gentle simmer that stopped when the bubbles started. This was to purify, but I was afraid a full boil would ruin the taste. After that we added some mulling spices to recreate that camping beverage. The mulling spices came prepackaged in tea bags and contained nutmeg, cinnamon, and the like. You can add this to the ingredients list or not, it's not essential. We drank a mug or two to clear some head space in the gallon growler in anticipation of a yeast head resulting from fermentation. The growler itself was thoroughly washed and sanitized. After letting the Champagne yeast get started in a simple sugar solution we pitched it and let it go to work. Champagne yeast is preferable here because it imparts very little taste and can stand higher gravities. This apple juice register a 1.060 on the hydrometer, which means a potential ABV of 6.5-7%. Ive never fermented juice, but I suspect an amount of unfermentable sugars to be present so it shouldn't get that high, but I'll know in about 2 weeks.

In addition, it's the holidays and I find myself with some free time, so why not brew a beer! A basic brown ale I have lovingly and fittingly called:

Brown
Style: American Brown Ale
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.014
ABV: 4.98 %
IBU's: 43.55
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Color: 20.8 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
1.00 lbs Cara-Pils/Dextrine
1.00 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L
0.50 lbs Chocolate Malt
8.00 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US

Hops
1.00 ozs Northern Brewer - 60 mins
1.00 ozs Cascade - 20 mins
0.50 ozs Cascade - 10 mins

Yeasts
1.0 pkg - Safale US 05 - Fermentis


www.iBrewMaster.com

Nothing too special about this number. Taking a lesson from when I tried to brew the Almond Brown, I am keeping this one simple. Pale 2 Row for basic sugars, Crystal 40L for color, Chocolate to make it a brown to be happy about, and Cara-pils for head retention and stability. I am going to add an amount of cane sugar, about 10oz, to give it more flavor and perhaps more ABV, but, more or less, this is a simple ale.

I bought more Apple Juice this morning. My wife's company was having their annual Thanksgiving meal and we were without a dish to contribute. My wife made a delicious salad and I decided to make that camping beverage. I used 1/2 gallon of Apple Juice and the spices I mentioned earlier, then I funneled it into a growler and took it to the party under the name McHargrave Hot Apple Cider (non-Alcoholic). It was a hit, but now I have 1/2 gallon of apple juice leftover and it will go bad quickly. 100% apple juice is that dark cloudy stuff that has no preservatives and come straight from apples crushed by hippie feet. In fact if I was to leave this out and open to the air too long, airborne yeast would ferment it in most unfavorable manner. So what am I going to do with it, you might ask? I'm going to ferment it along with my brown ale.

This might sound crazy or it might not. Woodchuck makes beer ciders though I have no idea what process they use or what ratio or juice to beer. What I plan to do is to take 1/3 or 1/4 gallon of the wort from this beer and add it to the juice. Then I'll ferment it in another growler and taste it in about two weeks. Rather than champagne yeast I'll use the Safale US 05 dry ale yeast from Fermentis, I'll have extra since I started it. I hope it comes out palatable, but if it doesn't oh well. I'll have only wasted 1/2 gallon of Apple Juice, 1/4 gallon of wort and an few million yeast cells. No biggie.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chirstmas is Ruined

I don't want you to get the impression that all of my beers are wild and crazy. My feet are firmly planted on the ground though my branches be lofty. I've started you off with the icing, but now we hit the fluffy sugar bread which is the meat of the cake that is my home brewing exploits. Got all that?

What I mean to say is that I'd like to tell you about the beers I tend to brew (and consume) on a regular basis. I am doing this in part because of the humbling troubles I've had with my Holiday Stout. As my brother once put it, "You put all this shit in your beer and expect it to come out all awesome. No. You're dumb." I might have added that last part and I doubt he said awesome, but those of you that know him can confirm it was an understood statement.

The Stout fermented nice and heavy for a few days and the following weekend when I was to transfer it to the secondary vessel, I got lazy and didn't do it. So it sat there for a few days more before I transferred it. The OG was 1.090 and upon time of transfer it was 1.065 leaving it with 3 - 3.5% ABV and a sickeningly sweet taste. Second mistake - I didn't start the champagne yeast which was to finish fermenting the still massive amounts of sugar. I dumped the dry yeast into the beer cold and dehydrated. Nothing happened. I waited a week for a sign of fermentation, but nothing happened! I read up a lot on stuck fermentation and what to do about it. As I gathered from a www.bodensatz.com FAQ there are some tricks you can do to correct it, but #7 was pray. Things looked grim. I broken some fundamental laws of smooth fermentation. I believe I used too much adjunct sugars (sugar cane), I transferred too late into the process, and this one time I spit on a gypsy.

This past weekend, well two weekends ago as I write this, I brewed what has become a very common drink here at Herrmann Brew works, A Rye Pale Ale.

Full Moon Rye Pale Ale Clone
Style: English IPA
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.24 %
IBU's: 41.50
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Color: 11.2 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
0.50 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L
8.50 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK
2.00 lbs Rye Malt

Hops
1.00 ozs Cluster - 60 mins
1.00 ozs Amarillo Gold - 15 mins
1.00 ozs Glacier - 5 mins
1.00 ozs Cascade - 14 days

Yeasts
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale - White Labs WLP007

www.iBrewMaster.com


This is another clone recipe of a commercial beer, one brewed in Blanco, Texas just outside of Austin by Real Ale. They make a quality brew using the waters of the Blanco river. I hope to go out there soon next time I visit the capital of Texas. All of their beer are excellent, but their Rye Pale Ale, available year round, has a hops profile rarely seen in this part of the south. This recipe is simple - 2-Row for base sugars, Crystal 120L for color, and Rye for a spicy, woody, some even say grapefruit taste, but the amount of hops and pairing with the rye give it a kick. I have the right yeast this time too, the Dry English Ale, and I intend to use it correctly.

Starting a yeast culture is not difficult, but it does require some forethought. A simple sugar solution needs to be made by boiling a 1/3-1/2 a cup of sugar in 1-1 1/2 cups of water to purify, then cooling it to pitching temperature, room temp to 75 degrees, so the yeast can thrive. I do this with raw cane sugar I get from a friend of a friend on the Cajun Blackmarket. It comes straight from the fields to the mills into a bucket and somehow into my kitchen. I've already said too much. It's much better then table sugar, I assure you. Once you pitch the yeast into the sugar water in a sanitary container, it is important to keep things sanitary. I cover my vessel, a mason jar, with a coffee filter and fasten with a rubber band. This will stop dust and other airborne bacteria from getting in, and it will allow the Carbon Dioxide produced to escape. Starting yeast gets them active and alive. They reproduce and divide rapidly so that when they hit the wort fermentation starts in a matter of minutes. This proliferation of cells also allowed me to divide the culture.

About half, maybe more, of my starter went into the Rye Pale Ale. It fermented heavily for a few days and slowly petered out. It has an OG of 1.054 and ended at an FG of 1.010 putting its ABV at 5.5%. Due to the nice weather as of late I was more or less able to ferment at an optimal temperature, 68-75 degrees. Because of that, this beer has a great taste. The fermentation wasn't volcanic, it didn't erupt and quickly die out, it was steady. This temperature range gave off desirable esters. Esters are the subtle flavors and aromas given to a beer by the type yeast used. They can be fruity as in a typical Wheat beer yeast, or hearty like a stout yeast. I was so pleased with its progress I allowed the brew to sit in primary for 2 weeks when normally I allow one. I could have transferred it, but its bubbling never ceased or even slowed to a point I felt comfortable with. I added whole leaf cascade to another carboy and transferred the beer on top of it. The beer will sit in the hops for aroma and flavor in a process called dry hopping. I usually allow 2 weeks of dry hopping, but I might rush this beer because it's just that good.

The other half of my yeast starter went into the abortion that is my Holiday beer. My wife says I'm being dramatic, even so it's frustrating. To get yeast fermenting you need oxygen in the beer. To achieve this, I transferred the beer from one carboy into another and allowed it to cascade and splash all the way to the bottom of the vessel. Normally Oxygen is kept out of the beer at all costs, but if I wanted my strong stout, desperate measures needed to be taken. It took a few more days than usual, and I move the carboy into another, warmer room, hoping that would aid the yeast, but finally it started to ferment. it gathered some momentum and peaked about 4 days into it. I let it die down, but the bubbles never ceased entirely, meaning the yeast was still viable. I transferred it today and the FG was 1.040. That is still pretty sweet. For a reference my Rye Pale Ale starts at 1.054, whereas this one has had 2 fermentations, 3 different strands of yeast, and almost a month of aging. The OG was 1.090 and now it is at 1.040 which gives it an ABV of 6-7%. It is still sweeter than I like, and with an ABV that high I'll have to give champagne yeast another try. If I do I'll start it this time, but if I can't get it fermented and in a bottle before the end of this month, it might not be ready in time. We can only hope for a Christmas Miracle.