Tuesday, April 28, 2015

American Saison w/ Dandelion Flowers Brewday

This is another Jeff Alworth-inspired beer, albeit a riff on a previous similar idea. But if the goal is to recover corn for American craft brewers, the saison and all that it represents for American craft brewing seems the most obvious place to extend the idea. After all, who don’t love saisons? I mean, besides this guy? Although since he hasn’t posted for like six months, that insult is effectively as dead as that blog. Oh, and I included the dandelion flowers as a means to compare the flavor contributions to beer in relation to the contributions from the leaves and roots in 207. Dandelion Saison.

Note: the 30/70 corn to grain ratio might have got some extra traction for me today via today’s stuck sparge. I adjusted the ration for the next version, so we’ll see what happens.

208. American Saison w/ Dandelion Flowers
Mash:
6 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
3 lbs. flaked maize

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; mash stuck after I collected 1 gallon drained, so I topped it off with sparge water @ 1.080
Batch sparge @ 158° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 ½ gallons RO water; wort collected @ 1.030

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ½ oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
4 oz. dandelion leaves
1.5 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
3 ½ oz. table sugar

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
4 oz. dandelion flowers

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched mason jar of saison yeast from 207. Dandelion Saison

Brewed: 4/28/2015
Secondary: 
Bottle:

OG: 1.050
FG:

Tasting Notes: 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dandelion Saison Brewday

Time to bring back an oldy but a goody. I've made dandelion saisons off and on over the years, but I was re-inspired by pulling out an old bottle of dandelion saison, and being blown away by the balance of flavors, even after 3 plus years. Plus, since it is the time of year when dandelions have returned in all their majestic glory, it is time to once again take advantage of the bounty of my back yard.

207. Dandelion Saison
Mash:
6 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
1 lb. Best Malz Wheat
1 lb. light Munich
1 lb. Acidulated

Mash @ 149° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 ¾ gallons @ 1.064
Batch sparge @ 158° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.018

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go:½ oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
4 oz. dandelion leaves
1.5 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped

w/20 to go: 1.2 oz. dandelion leaves
.7 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped

w/10 to go: 1.2 oz. dandelion leaves
.7 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient
8 oz. Turbinado sugar

w/5 to go: 1.2 oz. dandelion leaves
.7 oz. dandelion root, coarsely chopped
2 g. coriander
1 g. grains of paradise

Chilled, & racked onto yeast from 205. Saison

Brewed: 4/18/2015
Secondary: 4/28/2015 @ 1.004; dry-hopped w/ 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA
Bottle:

OG: 1.044
FG:

Tasting Notes: 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fresh Hop 2014 Recap

I spent the weekend contemplating what I learned from brewing this year’s round of fresh hop beers, mostly because I came across a bottle of Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies at Belmont Party Supply and felt compelled to pick it up. Yes, it was a bit past its prime—hop grassiness had started to cut through the more interesting hop flavors—but it was still certainly enjoyable. And my introspection led me to consider not only what I had learned this year, but also over the last couple of years of fresh hop brewing. Generally, I brew four or so fresh hop beers a year in my pursuit to retain the self-proclaimed title of Fresh Hop King of Ohio, which started in 2012 during a speculative moment similar to this one. Unlike most of my other posts, however, someone actually read that post and called me out on it, hence the small-scale competitions of the last two years. So what did I learn this year? 

1) Hop volume matters. One pound of fresh hops is not enough for a good or interesting fresh hop beer. Yes, you can adulterate your recipe with dried hops for the 60 minute addition to compensate for a lack of fresh hops, or mix dried hops in throughout the hopping schedule, but that is not really a fresh hop beer, is it? While getting multiple pounds of fresh hops is both difficult and expensive, it is worth it. I’m generally not a brewing purist, but when it comes to Fresh Hop beers, I am. The Bike Path Fresh Hop beer I made this year with almost 4 pounds of hops is the closest I’ve come to getting that gamey wild hop character you find in the best fresh hop beers, although it lacked the reciprocal hop flavor and aroma intensity I also desire. Next year, I’d like to combine a couple of different hop varieties in the same batch as a way to expand my repertoire—all of my previous fresh hop beers have been single-hop beers.

2) Simplify your malt bill. I learned some of this during last year’s round of fresh hop beers, but this year confirmed it. Want to use a whole bunch of caramel malt? Then you should probably just throw those fresh hops in the trash can right now. Unless you have multiple pounds of fresh hops to use in your beer. This year Pilsen was the base malt for all four of my fresh hop beers; I also used White Wheat in three, and MFB Vienna in the fourth as an experiment carrying over from last year. One beer did have a pound of MFB Pale, but that was because I ran out of Pilsen, and that was the most appropriate malt on hand. I did try a pound of acidulated malt the Smith Hop, which I will try again next year; the bright carbonation and slight tartness from the acidity really brought the beer together as a whole. And while I have no scientific justification for what I’m about to say, the acidity seemed to accentuate the subtle hop flavors—it was saison-like in brightness and acidity, and this was accentuated by the subtle hop flavors. Focus on the base malt, and cut out the darker and sweeter malts.

3) Yeast selection matters. I initially started with “pick a clean, neutral yeast,” but thought better of it. This year, I used US-05 for three of the four fresh hop beers. While I know that US-05 is supposedly a clean, neutral yeast, all three of these beers had a similar subtle off-flavor in the finish that I found off-putting. The fourth beer went the opposite route; I used a blend of custersianus, bruxellensis Trois, and Lactobacillus that is currently my house yeast, mostly because it was on hand when a couple of pounds of Nugget fresh hops magically came my way. It made a great beer, but by the time it got into the bottle, the Brettanomyces had decimated anything that might be identified as fresh hop derived, which was something of a tragedy, since those Nugget were the nicest fresh hops I had ever laid my hands on. Still, there are a lot of options between the two poles of neutral and wild; last year, I used ECY08 Saison Brasserie, WLP510 Bastogne, and Wyeast 1272 American Ale II in fresh hop beers. While the ECY08 might have been a bit too expressive of a yeast choice, the WLP510 paired well, and the Wyeast 1272 is a better clean, neutral American yeast selection that US-05, at least to my palate. 

For ease of reference, here are links to the fresh hop beers I’ve brewed over the last four years:

Bike Path Fresh Hop 2014 Fresh Hop King of Ohio winner 2014
Sour Fresh Hop w/ Nugget 2014
Brewer’s Gold Fresh Hop 2014
Smith Hop 2014
Last Wild Fresh Hop 2013
Brewer’s Gold Fresh Hop 2013
Smith Hop 2013 Fresh Hop King of Ohio winner 2013
Cascade Fresh Hop 2013
Last Wild Fresh Hop 2012
Smith Hop 2012
Wild Wet Hop 2012
Wild Wet Hop 2010

(4/13/2015)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Even More Hoppy LTC

One final hurrah for the Hoppy LTC. Today’s brew featured an all-Belma hop regimen and an abbreviated boil: I first-wort hopped the beer and cut the boil time to 20 minutes. The last version of this beer (204) ended up having plenty of bitterness, so I wanted to see the effects of shortening the boil time in relation to a similar flavor and aroma hop schedule. Can’t hurt, right?

And the Yo! bird is back, baby!

206. Hoppy LTC
Mash:
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
4 lbs. Best Malz Wheat

Mash @ 150° F for 80 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.074
Batch sparge @ 166° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.024

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (20 minutes), & added:
FWH: 2 oz. Belma leaf 12.1% AA

w/20 to go: 1 oz. Belma leaf 12.1% AA

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Belma leaf 12.1% AA
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Belma leaf 12.1% AA

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Belma leaf 12.1% AA

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & racked onto LTC yeast cake from 204. More Hoppy LTC

Brewed: 4/12/2015
Secondary: 
Bottle: 

OG: 1.052
FG: 

Tasting Notes: 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Saison Brewday

Time to get back to basics. Since it is summer, that means saison. And thanks to Jeff Fortney at Warped Wing, I have some fancy new yeast for my summer run of saisons. After this one, the dandelions should be in full swing, so another version of the dandelion saison will be in the mix. Maybe two.

205. Saison
Mash:
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
1 lb. MFB Vienna
1 lb. Acidulated

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 ¾ gallons @ 1.066
Batch sparge @ 163° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.020

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA

w/20 to go: 1 oz. German Magnum leaf 14.2 % AA

w/10 to go: 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 3.7% AA

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched saison yeast blend from Warped Wing (thanks, Jeff!)

Brewed: 4/3/2015
Secondary: 4/18/2015 @ 1.006; dry-hopped w/ 2 oz. Azacca leaf 9.9% AA
Bottle: 4/27/2015

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.004

Tasting Notes: 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

More Hoppy LTC Brewday

Another one for the drinking; this one has a different grain bill and a slightly different hop bill, but otherwise it is headed down the same path. Word to your mother, indeed.

204. More Hoppy LTC
Mash:
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
4 lbs. Best Malz Wheat

Mash @ 150° F for 80 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.076
Batch sparge @ 166° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.024

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. Millenium leaf 16.7% AA
1 oz. German Magnum leaf 14.2 % AA

w/20 to go: 1 oz. German Magnum leaf 14.2 % AA

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Comet leaf 10.9% AA
5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Millenium leaf 16.7% AA

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Comet leaf 10.9% AA
1 oz. Millenium leaf 16.7% AA

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & racked onto LTC yeast cake from 202. Hoppy LTC

Brewed: 3/21/2015
Secondary: 4/12/2015 @ 1.004; dry-hopped w/ 1 oz. Comet leaf 10.9% AA and 1 oz. Millenium leaf 16.7% AA
Bottle: 4/18/2015 w/ 3 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes: 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Barrel Project Lambic Solera

Time for the third addition of lambic to the barrel project. It did take me longer to get the last 15 gallons in the barrel than I anticipated. Still, it is now full, so time for the waiting game to begin in earnest. And maybe finally get around to making something to drink in the short term, dammit!

Details on the second addition.

And on the first addition.

197. Barrel Project Lambic

Mash:
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
4 lbs. Best Malz Wheat

Mash @ 150° F for 75 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water, 4 g. gypsum, & 4 g. CaCl; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.072
Batch sparge @ 167° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.024

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. German Magnum leaf 14.2 % AA

w/10 to go: 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

Chilled, racked to carboy, & pitched most of ECY Bug County from 191. Barrel Project Lambic

Brewed: 2/8/2015
Secondary: 3/6/2015 @ 1.002
Barrel: 3/20/2015

OG: forgot!


199. Barrel Project Lambic
Mash:
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
4 lbs. Best Malz Wheat

Mash @ 148° F for 80 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 8 g. gypsum; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.070
Batch sparge @ 165° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 ¼ gallons @ 1.028

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (70 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. German Magnum leaf 14.2 % AA

w/10 to go: 5 g. Wyeast yeast nutrient

Chilled and pitched Hanssen’s Oude Gueuze from 194. Barrel Project Lambic

Brewed: 2/9/2015
Secondary:3/6/2015 @ 1.002
Barrel: 3/20/2015

OG: 1.052


200. Barrel Project Lambic
Mash:
8 lbs. Best Malz Pilsen
4 lbs. Best Malz Wheat

Mash @ 150° F for 80 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 6 g. gypsum; collected 2 ½ gallons @ 1.072
Batch sparge @ 166° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.028

Topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. German Magnum leaf 14.2% AA

Chilled & racked to carboy; pitched mason jar of Hanssen’s Oude Gueuze from 194. Barrel Project Lambic

Brewed: 2/21/2015
Secondary: 3/17/2015 @ 1.004
Barrel: 3/20/2015

OG: 1.050