Monday, September 27, 2010

Berliner Weiss

Over the winter my friend Jesse brewed a Berliner Weiss that turned out delicious. He used a historically influenced no-boil method where he did a normal mash, boiled a tiny amount of hops in the sparge water, then sparged with that, and then did not boil the resultant wort at all after lautering. It had a butyric vomity character for several months, but it has faded significantly now into a tart, complex beer that is aging nicely. He happen to save the yeast/bug slurry from that batch and made a second BW with it as well that, as far as I know, hasn't been bottled yet.

I got him to share half of the resultant slurry from that batch with me and brewed one of my own following his original method yesterday. I was brewing a Habanero Pale Ale, and happen to have a bunch of Belgian Plis and German wheat malt I bought in bulk just sitting around, a thermos full of BW yeast slurry, and I bought the hops awhile back so I could brew it at my leisure without having to make a trip out for a tiny bag of hops. Here's the recipe:

Berliner Weiss

brewed on: 9/26/2010
expected OG: 1.028

Expected IBUs: 4 IBUs
mash temp: 150F

3 lbs. Belgian Pils
3 lbs. German Wheat

0.5 oz Hallertauer - boiled in the sparge water for 20 minutes prior to sparging

Jesse's yeast/bug slurry

Boiled the hops in the sparge water, but otherwise this was completely a no-boil recipe. I collected the wort, let it cool naturally in the basement with a lid on it, then transfered it to a carboy and pitched the slurry while it was lukewarm (to encourage a bit of bacterial growth before the yeast kicked in.)

10/4/10 - SG ~0.999. Appley, malt w/ slight sourness developing.

Habanero Pale Ale

This may sound a bit ridiculous, but I've been craving chile beer all year. When I first joined the local homebrewing club here in town a year and a half ago, someone brought in a habanero pale ale he brewed and I thought it was delicious! Keep in mind, I love spicy food. We got to talking and he apparently used 16 dried habaneros right in the boil. Not a lot of the chile flavor came through, but the heat did. When I'd take a sip the bite of the carbonation never went away, it seemed to just continue for many more seconds in the form of chile heat. This sensation of the carbonic bite carrying right through into the heat worked really well for me. I know others who've had the same beer and weren't fans, but they all say it was just too hot for them. I can understand that, but if you can handle spicy food (or drink, I guess) this one was a winner!

I've been wanting to brew a similar beer ever since, but never got around to it. Yesterday was my chance! Our habanero plants have tons of peppers ready to be picked, and I had spare US-05 in the fridge, homegrown hops in the freezer, and bulk grain & my new grain mill in the basement! A friend who lived nearby had extra Munich & Victory malt sitting around and donated that. This is the first time I didn't have to run to the store for to brew with. It was a nice feeling to have it all here ready to go.

This is also the second time in 1 month that I managed to brew 2 beers in one day. Whereas the former time was simply a 10 gallon batch that I split with different yeasts, yesterday I actually brewed two separate beers! The second was a Berliner Weiss that I'll post about separately.

Here is the Habanero Pale Ale recipe:

Habanero APA

brewed on: 9/26/2010
expected OG: 1.053

Expected IBUs: 32 IBUs (not sure on this one due to all homegrown hops)
mash temp: 152F

9 lbs. Belgian Pale Malt
1 lb. Munich Malt
8 oz. Victory malt
6 oz Carastan malt

1.23 oz homegrown Cascade (60 minutes)
1 oz homegrown Willamette/Fuggles (60 minutes)
1 oz homegrown Cascade (15 minutes)
1 oz homegrown Cascade (flameout)

12 habaneros (5 minutes)

Safale - US-05

-also added 1/2 tsp of Whirlfloc, Gypsum & Calcium Carbonate during last 10 minutes

10/11/10 - racked to secondary. FG 1.011.

Sour Grisette

I recently got a group of guys together to start a barrel project. I'm pretty excited about it and they are all good brewers! What we decided on for our first batch is the Dark Dawn recipe I brewed over the winter, and since there isn't a Bugfarm blend available from AlB on BBB right now, we're using Roselare blend from Wyeast. I've heard from many sources that Roselare doesn't really get sour until the 2nd or 3rd generation, so I am building up one or two starter batches first.

The plan is that everyone is brewing the same Imperial Stout recipe and fermenting it clean with Ardennes yeast in their primaries. We'll then add it to our barrel. We'll fill the entire barrel with the clean version of the beer, then after a couple weeks, draw 5 gallons back out to see what the barrel added in a short amount of time, and I'll replace it with my buggy batch. We'll see how it's doing after about 6 months. At that point, the plan is to take it out and put another batch in, but we'll see how it is aging and decide from there.

We found a guy (Tom Griffin) who lives a couple hours away here in Wisconsin and supplies used spirit and wine barrels to many of the breweries around the country including Lost Abbey and Jolly Pumpkin! One of our guys gave him a call and he's apparently a really nice guy. He was happy to sell us a single barrel at the same price he sells in bulk to the breweries. Here's an article about him:

We decided on a brandy barrel for now. When we originally got together we wanted a wine barrel, but couldn't locate one at the time, so we were going to use a Jack Daniels bourbon barrel since they were easy to get a a hold of. By the time we got in touch with Tom we had already formulated a recipe that we thought could stand up to the bourbon character left in the barrel and bought yeast and bulk base grain. We decided, rather than scrapping the plan and starting over, to use the same recipe in a brandy barrel, then in a few months get a wine barrel as well. I'm hoping to do some farmhouse style ales in the wine barrel using just brett, rather than a huge bug slurry to start with.

As a starter for the bugs for this barrel though, I decided to brew a simple Grisette, but ferment it solely with Roselare blend to get it started. I'll probably do one more batch on this yeast cake soon, before the Dark Dawn batch. Here is the recipe:

Grisette d'Roselare

brewed on: 9/20/2010
expected OG: 1.046

Expected IBUs: 23 IBUs
mash temp: 152F

7 lbs Belgian Pils malt
2 lbs 4 oz German Wheat malt

1.5 oz Hallertauer @ 3.5% (60 minutes)
0.7 oz Styrian Golding @ 3.4% (15 minutes)
0.5 oz Kent Golding @ 5% (1 minute)

Wyeast 3763 - Roselare Blend

10/4/10 - SG @ 1.006. Racked to secondary. Flavor is malty with maybe a hint of diacetyl in the nose. Hopefully it's just the beginnings of some lactic fermentation that I interpreted as a hint of butter. No noticeable sourness or funk at this point.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

American Stout

Over the weekend, I decided spur of the moment to brew on Labor Day since we had no plans. I wanted to stick with something straight forward as I've done a ton of sour/brett beers that are aging in the basement. I have some bottles left of my saison and cherrywood smoked porter, but that's about it. There's already 10 gallons more of saison on the way in carboys, and the smoked porter is delicious, but a bit of an acquired taste for my less adventurous friends. I narrowed it down to an IPA to use up last year's leftover hops (I just harvested this year's hops last weekend,) or a stout. Since I have a lot of lighter beer in the saison, I went with the stout.

While buying my ingredients, I took the opportunity to pick up a grain mill from Northern Brewer. It's something I've wanted for awhile, but with an order of over 100 lbs of grain on the way it was time. Can't wait to get brewing some more Belgian inspired beers. I've got a bag each of Franco-Belge pils & pale malt on they way as well as splitting bags of German wheat, crystal 40, and pale chocolate!

Once the weather cools down a bit more I intend to brew a barley wine and a strong Old Ale. Rather than bother building up big starters, I've been considering using dry yeast. I've heard good things about Safale US-05 and -04. This American stout seemed like as good a time as any to try out the -05 dry yeast and see how I like it! Here's the recipe:

American Stout

brewed on: 9/6/2010
expected OG: 1.069

Expected IBUs: 55 IBUs
mash temp: 155F
6-7 gallon batch (I ended up with around 6 in the primary, but left a bit behind in the kettle with the sludge.)

15 lbs US 2-row
0.5 lb Black malt
0.5 lb Black roasted barley
0.75 Crystal 40L
0.75 Chocolate malt
0.75 Coffee malt

1.5 oz Yakima Magnum @ 14.4% (60 minutes)
1 oz Centennial @ 9% (5 minutes)
~ 1 oz homegrown Cascade (flameout)

2 packs - Safale US-05

9/15/10 - Transferred to secondary. Roasted coffee & chocolate aroma. Flavor: intensely bitter dark chocolate & roasted coffee. Gravity: 1.023
10/11/10 - kegged. FG 1.023 Chocolate & coffee. bitterness has lowered to an appropriate level.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pomegranate Melomel

I recently found out that one of my friend's dads is a beekeeper. (Yay!) Of course, I immediately jumped on the opportunity and got 3.25 gallons of honey just after his final extraction for the year, at a good price I might add. Now the question has been what to do with it all!

In a separate discovery, I was browsing through the local Indian grocery store down the street and came across bottles of pomegranate juice containing just pomegranate & water. No preservatives. Of course, when these two things present themselves to you within a week of each other, what else can you do but make a pomegranate melomel!

Pomegranate Melomel

brewed on: 9/4/10

4.5 gallons. (Will top better bottle to 5 once primary fermentation slows a bit.)
OG 1.162

18 lbs (1.5 gallons) honey
2.5 gallons pomegranate juice
0.5 gallon water
aerated extremely well, added 1/2 tsp wine yeast nutrient & 1/4 tsp yeast energizer

yeast: D47

I'm a bit worried about the OG. It is higher than I was shooting for. I plan to add another 1/2 gallon of water once the bulk of primary fermentation has died down a bit to ensure the better bottle doesn't spew its contents all over the basement. If the gravity stays too high I may split a portion into a smaller carboy and dilute both with water down to a more reasonable gravity.

10/11/10 - Racked to secondary. SG 1.050. Still mild fermentation taking place. (abv ~ 15.5% and rising.)