Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chicory Coffee Mild Brewday

This beer was Elli’s idea; after trying this coffee and complaining about the need for more of a caffeine pick-me-up, she followed up with the observation that the roasted chicory and coffee flavors would work well in a mild. How’s that for the best observation ever over breakfast? So here we are...

Picture on loan from French Market

94. Chicory Coffee Mild
6 lbs. Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter
½ lb. Muntons Crystal 60° L
½ lb. Muntons Dark Crystal 2-row 135-165° L
½ lb. Crisp Chocolate
½ lb. Breiss Flaked Maize

Mashed @ 154° F w/ 3 gallons of RO water for 60 minutes
Batch sparged @ 168° F w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water for 20 minutes

Collected 5 ¼ gallons; added to brew kettle and topped off to 6 gallons; brought to a boil (60 minute) and added:

w/60 to go: 1 oz. Sonnet leaf 4.1% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 2.45 oz. French Market Chicory Coffee cold-pressed for 24 hours in 30 oz. (weight) RO water

Chilled, racked to carboy, and pitched slurry from batch 88 (Wyeast Northwest Ale 1332)

Brewed: 6/29/2011 @ 73°
Secondary: 7/19/2011 @ 1.010
Bottled: 8/3/2011 w/ 2.75 oz. table sugar @ 70°

OG: 1.040
FG: 1.010

Tasting Notes: at bottling, this was tasty both warm and flat, so here’s hoping that some carbonation and cold make this dee-licious!

(12/7/2011): I damn near drank all of this before I realized I hadn’t typed up any notes. And as it stands, this is one of the last ones left. So this is mainly for posterity. Which means I am doubly anxious to get at the most recent version of this beer—the Coffee Mild I bottled last Saturday. Chicory Coffee Mild pours a clear chocolate; there are some orange hints that are almost highlights, and a pretty solid tan/cream head that absolutely refuses to depart. You know, like relatives during the holidays. The nose is chocolate and coffee with a touch of roastiness and creaminess (which could be the head). Flavors are a nice balance between coffee and chocolate with small amounts of roast flavor in the background, which is either from the coffee or the chicory, since no roasted barley went into the beer. There is a touch of caramel sweetness, but it is rather subdued—the coffee and chocolate are more pronounced. There are, however, enough residual sugars to give the beer a delicious mouthfeel—light, but not dry, with just enough presence to linger subtly on the tongue. Mixed with the touch of creaminess, the palate sensations are excellent once the carbonation calms down (yes, it was a tad overcarbonated). The flavor is complex, but the beer is light, refreshing, and crisp—I know I’m gonna keep experimenting with this beer, if for no other reason than to have it on hand at all times. Done well, it is easy drinking magic. Does this mean I’m falling for a malt-focused beer? Oh, the deliciousness!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hoppy Belgian Pale Ale Brewday

Much like 87, the previous version of this beer, this one is something of a mutt, which means that it is odd but lovable, and a naughty irascible scamp. Other than the different yeast, however, the only real difference is a slight change in the hop profile—I used Magnum as the bittering addition instead of Simcoe. And since 87 was delightful and dreamy, let’s hope for good things from this beer as well...

Like Ivar said, “Keep clam.”

93. Hoppy Belgian Pale Ale w/Jolly Pumpkin yeast
9 lbs. MFB Pilsen malt
1 ½ lb. Dingemans CaraVienna 20°

Mashed @ 152° F w/ 4 gallons of RO water for 60 minutes
Batch sparged @ 168° F w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water for 20 minutes

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; added to brew kettle, brought to a boil (60 minute; had false bottom in for this one) and added:

w/60 to go: 1 oz. Magnum pellet 10.0% AA, 2 grams gypsum

w/15 to go: 1 oz. Simcoe leaf 14.1% AA, 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Centennial Leaf 11.5% AA

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Willamette Leaf 4.8% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, and pitched on to Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere yeast cake from batch 92

Brewed: 6/22/2011
Secondary: skipped; didn’t have a spare carboy
Bottled: 9/1/2011 w/ 5 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes (12/10/2011): Hoppy Belgian Pale Ale pours a vibrant clear straw with just a touch of haze; it has a thin white head that is constantly replenished by the cascading tiny white bubbles streaming through the beer, giving the beer a bright mouthfeel. At the same time, there is a soft slickness that combines with the carbonation, creating some bubbliness at the top of the mouth, but none in the back of the throat—it is interestingly creamy as I swallow. The nose is minerally and musty with a slight funky sourness: it’s not quite barnyard, but it is more than mere cellar character. Flavors follow and build on the nose—there is a bright sharp lactic sourness, sort of an even mix of vitamin C and sour milk, which continues to rise into the middle of the beer. There is also a touch of hop bitterness, although the previous hop flavor has been dispensed by the sharp sourness. As flavors disperse, a slight residual slickness that is both bitter and sharp lingers in the middle of the tongue. Bright, tart, sharp, and clean. It has also become a bit more aggressively sour since the last bottle I had, which is nice. This beer pretty much solidifies the need to begin experimenting more vigorously with harvesting yeast from commercial beers; as opposed to 92 and 97, which were small beers made off of the third runnings of an old ale, this beer has the light grain body that allows the funk to shine through. Next time, I would probably even add a couple of pounds of wheat to further lighten the malt character. But good stuff here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Session #52: Breweriana

Like most former 30-somethings, I was initially seduced by the ease and grandeur of the internet. This reciprocally led, of course, to my e-Bay period. You know what I’m talking about. I mean, you can pretend that you don’t know, but you’d be lying. Anyway, while others focused on things like favorite childhood toys (Thundercats, for example), I went in for Olympia beer paraphernalia. Why that? Mostly because my grandfather had worked for Olympia back in the day—I remember getting the all access tour as a kid and being blown away by the size of the tanks. Plus, we got to check out the sweet falls pictured on the label. Anyway, because of this, Olympia always felt like family.

Can you see the family resemblance?

The initial thing I went to e-Bay looking for was a “Powered by Oly” patch. It featured a keg with smoke and dust shooting out behind it—as if it was a car peeling out really fast. Both of my brothers and I had these patches on our overalls as kids. Nothing like rocking the Oly patch on our OshKosh B’goshes. Looking back, it does seem kinda odd to have a beer patch on the clothes I wore to school, but, after all, it was the 70’s. Anyway, I looked and looked, but could never find one. But there were tons of other cool Olympia merchandise. So I started buying it. The quirk to my collecting was that I generally mailed whatever I bought to other family members—sweet glassware and pitchers went to my brother with the kegerator, while I doled out hats, Hawaiian shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, patches, bottle openers, bottlecaps and all kinds of other crap to everyone else. I even had family friends ask to be included on the list I used to pass stuff out. While I kept a few things for myself (like this sweet beer can hat), most of it went elsewhere.

Two things led to the end of my e-Bay collecting. One, I realized I was spending far too much time trolling e-Bay for esoteric purchases. After all, since I lived in the Northwest, the vast kinds of arcane beer and hydroplane paraphernalia was well-nigh overwhelming. But the real nail in the coffin was when the old tanks from the Olympia brewery started showing up on e-Bay. Yep. Seriously. After using the Olympia brewery for years to brew all of the regional beers it owned (which was, at this point, all of them), SABMiller decided it was time to shut down the brewery and move production to a newer and out-of-state facility. Now, while I knew this was happening, I didn’t realize that all of the liquidated stuff no one wanted would end up on e-Bay. And it kinda drove it all home. So while I still have a couple of my e-Bay finds, I’ve moved away from the collecting. Although I do want to end on a happier note: the coolest thing I scored from my days with e-Bay were 300 unused Olympia beer caps, most of which I’ve subsequently used on my own beer. Now that’s awesome!