Friday, July 27, 2012

American Pale Ale Yeast Experiment Brewday

We’re officially into round two of the yeast experiment. I racked the three versions of the 80 Shilling into empty carboys, and will be splitting this beer on up on top of the three left over yeast cakes. I did go for a bit more volume with this beer; I had a little over seven gallons going into the fermenters, so they’ll be a little extra for yours truly, if you know what I’m saying. And I think you know what I’m saying.

122. American Pale Ale Yeast Experiment
11 lbs. Dingemans Pilsen
1 lb. Dingemans Pale
1 lb. Dingemans Aromatic
1 lb. Dingemans Cara 8

Mash @ 152° F for 60 minutes w/ 5 gallons of RO water; collected 3 ¼ gallons @ 1.082
Batch sparge @ 156° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water and 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.026

Collected 7 ¼ gallons; added ¾ gallon and 3 g. gypsum to bring to 8 gallons total, brought to a boil (60 minutes) & added:
w/30 to go: 1 oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA

w/20 to go: 1 oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 1 ½ oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA

w/0 to go: 1 ½ oz. Amarillo 10.7% AA

Chilled, racked into 3 carboys from 121. 80 Schilling Yeast Experiment

Brewed: 7/27/2012 @ 68° F
Secondary: 7/31/2012; dry hop each carboy w/ ½ oz. Amarillo leaf 10.7% AA (a @ 1.010, b @ 1.008, e @ 1.012)
Bottled: 8/3/2012 w/ 1.0 oz table sugar each

OG: 1.050
FG: a @ 1.008, b @ 1.008, e @ 1.012

Tasting Notes: Again, all three poured pretty much the same crystal clear faint copper: 1272 was stunningly clear, 028 was clear, and 3522 was hazy but clear. I may have waited a bit long to type up the notes, as the hop aromas are not as forward as when first bottled, although the deterioration is most evident in the 1272 version—it doesn’t have any reciprocal yeast character to bulk and balance the lost hop aromatics. 

Wyeast 1272 American II (a): Pours clear with a thin white head; the retention is moderate, but the clarity is like mad prism-like. Yo. In the nose, there is floral, spice, and citrus, with the spiciness being the most prevalent. There is none of the orange that can come with Amarillo. And other that the hop aroma, the beer is quite clean—there is a touch of Belgian candy and biscuit malt, but even this is subdued. The biscuit is more prevalent in the flavor, specifically in the front, along with floral and spice hop flavors. There is a touch of lemon/orange citrus is the middle, but again, it is restrained. There is orange in the finish, and a nice clean bitterness that lingers briefly on the back of the mouth. The body is very light, as intended, and the carbonation is bright and brisk even in cleaning the palate and leading into the lingering bitterness. Good, safe, clean. It was better when the hops were fresher; it is effective now, but less interesting.

Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes (b): Pours clear, albeit with a slight haze, and has a thin white head that laces the glass—there is more on the sides of the glass than covering the beer. The hops in the nose are spicy floral with mineral that finishes with orange marmalade. There is also perfume-y sour musty tang that I’ve gotten in Amarillo before, but that I associate more commonly with Centennial; it could also be some of the yeast esters from the Belgian Ardennes. It feels like there is a touch of Belgian candy sweetness trying to come through here, but the nose in this one has a lot of things going on, so I’m not certain—I find the nose more beguiling here than the 028 version, as it offers a more alluring combination of aromas. Flavors are bright and clean, with candy malt and spicy orange hop flavor in the front, followed by floral and perfume in the middle—either hop or yeast, I’m not certain—with a clean dry bitterness. The finish has a spicy mineral tang in the bitterness, along with a touch of biscuit. The body is light and clean with a prickly, dry carbonation that accentuates the bitterness—it had the same FG as 1272, but it tastes noticeably drier. I like this version best of all, most likely because of the Belgian yeast accompanied by an American hop profile—I do, after all, know my own weaknesses. Still, I think the beer hangs together best as a whole, although I’m not sure I’d call it a proper APA by any stretch of the imagination. Oh well. Like with the 028 version, I’ll be revisiting what I’ve learned here soon.

White Labs 028 Edinburgh (e): Also pours clear, although not as vibrant as the 1272 version, and it has slightly better head retention with a thin white head that hangs around and laces the glass. The nose is a mineral dry spiciness that is floral with an almost herbal hint at the end that runs into orange marmalade. Some malt sweetness is mixed in with the hop aromas—almost caramel, but not quite—as well as breast crust and biscuit in lesser amounts. Like with the 1272 version, I’m not sure I’d peg this as Amarillo. Flavors are rounded with more depth than 1272; after the initial biscuit malt and mineral/floral hop flavors, the middles heads into orange marmalade and clean bitterness with some Belgian candy sweetness behind that. The finish is spritzy and bright via the carbonation and hop bitterness; while the beer has more body than 1272, it finishes with more lingering bitterness, that picks up some pleasant hop spiciness as it warms. This beer has aged better and is more interesting that 1272; I thought the same thing when the beer was fresh, although the fresh hop character of 1272 made it hard to put down. But has aged into a better beer: the balance between the hint of caramel, the orange marmalade hop flavor, and the clean mineral bitterness combines to create a more interesting and rewarding beer. Interesting combination of malt, hops, and yeast that I wouldn’t have guessed would create this type of beer. Glad I tried this; I’ll certainly return to some version of this beer in the future.

There was more variance in regards to what I expected from the yeast with these three beers than with the 80 Shilling Yeast Experiment—I expected to like 1272 American Ale II better than I did precisely because of the clean yeast profile combined with the hoppier body. And while it was better when fresher, I still preferred the two other versions, specifically 3522 Belgian Ardennes. I was a bit surprised that 028 Edinburgh worked as well with hops as it did with malt—that was certainly the curveball I didn’t see coming out of this, but then again, discovering useful tidbits like this is precisely the reason to perform such an experiment.

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