Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Red Door Saison

I have gotten back on a bit of a Saison kick lately, especially since White Labs WLP-670 – American Farmhouse has become available to homebrewers. White Labs has this to say about the strain. “Inspired by local American brewers crafting semi-traditional Belgian-style ales. This blend creates a complex flavor profile with a moderate level of sourness. It consists of a traditional farmhouse yeast strain and Brettanomyces. Great yeast for farmhouse ales, Saisons, and other Belgian-inspired beers.”

What I have created here could be described as either a Saison or a farmhouse ale (those terms seem to be interchangeable these days). I have brewed this beer twice now and I’m happy with the outcome of batch two so I figured I might as well share the recipe here. The brett character is still very light in this beer, however I really like how quickly the Saison strain works and how well it dries out the beer. The “sourness” that White Labs references in there description is also not there, however I think doing a starter with this yeast, in addition to saving the yeast and using it on a second batch has really helped the Saison strain overpower anything else that may have been in the original vial. I do like how this strain is progressing and I plan to keep this strain going for quite a few more generations. I might even try it in my Christmas Ale this year.

On this batch I was lucky enough to have a friend pass on some Galaxy hops that they didn’t plan to use. Going forward I will most likely continue to finish this beer with the Galaxy hops (really like the tropical fruit/citrus character they provided) however I could also see myself using Amarillo or Citra and even dry hopping the beer with those hops as well.

11 Gallon Batch
90 Minute Boil
Brew Day – 8/10/13

12 lbs of German Pilsner Malt (57%)
4 lbs of Red Rye Malt (19%)
1 lbs of Flaked Oats (5%)
3 lbs of Wheat Malt (14%)
1 lb of Clear Belgian Candi Sugar (5%)
Rice Hulls (as needed based on your mash tun)

3 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet, 3.8% AA) @ 60 min.
1 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet, 3.8% AA) @ 10 min.
3 oz of Galaxy at Flame Out

WLP-670 – American Farmhouse – 2nd Generation

Pre-Boil Gravity without sugar addition = 1.035
OG = 1.044
OG with Sugar = 1.047
FG = 1.005
ABV = 5.5 %
IBU = 22

7.5 gallons – target 142 F

10 gallons

Fermentation Notes
Start ferment at 69 degrees. Raise 1-2 degrees each day until 78 F is reached. Hold at 78 F for 2-3 weeks or until FG of 1.005 is reached. Crash cool to 45 F to drop out yeast.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Middle States Hop Ale

I finally got around to brewing what I have been referring to as Middle States Hop Ale again.  Since this was my first batch brewed in Lawrence and due to some changes I made to my system and brewing software I didn't have the numbers quite dialed in and the first batched turned into more of an "imperial pale ale".  This time around I also decided to just stick to pilsner malt, wheat and oats.  I was also able to get my hands on hops that I originally wanted (thanks to my local homebrew shop JWL Craft Brewing in Lawrence, KS) ...Columbus for bitter along with Citra and Amarillo for aroma. 

At this point I think the only thing I would change in this recipe is the bittering hop addition.  For this 10 gallon batch I plan to take it from 3 oz of Columbus down to 2 ounces (75 to 50 IBUs). This beer also finished below 1.005 so I might lower the pilsner malt addition just a touch to get this beer under 5% abv.  I do like how dry it turned out so don't want to change the FG at all. 

Middle States Hop Ale

11 Gallon Batch
90 Minute Boil

18 lbs of Pilsner Malt (85%)
1 lb of Oats (5 %)
1 lb of Wheat (5%)
1 lb of Clear Candi Sugar (5%)

3 oz of Columbus (13.9% AA) for 60 Minutes
1 oz of Citra (14 % AA) for 10 Minutes
2 oz of Amarillo and 1 oz Citra (% AA) at KO

1 oz of Citra and 3 oz of Amarillo dry hop for 11 days
1 oz of Citra and 1 oz Amarillo for 3 days

WLP-001 – American Ale
7.5 gallons @ 149 for 60 minutes

Fly sparge with 9.5 gallons of water
The Numbers
OG – 1.044
FG – 1.002
ABV = 5.5%
IBU = 75

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Death Metal All-Grain Recipe

I have brewed this beer once or twice per year for the last 4 or so years...and I think I have finally settled in on a recipe...well except for the yeast and coffee which I tend to change from time to time.  Oh the hops too depending on availability.  Lately I have been using a Belgian Abbey Ale yeast. I like how the beer ferments out and I like the esters that are picked up when using this strain.  However it tends not to do as well in competitions because if I mentioned that it's an Imperial Stout...the esters throw the judges off.  But regardless I like the way the beer turns out and I think it adds another layer of depth to this beer as opposed to what the American strain imparted.  I also go with citrusy/piney American hops if at all possible.

I also realized that I never posted the all-grain recipe on my blog and have had quite a few people email me asking for an all-grain recipe.  The extract recipe is available in Sam Calagione's Extreme Brewing, A Deluxe Edition book that was released in 2012.  If you plan to brew this beer as an extract batch I would recommend you follow the recipe in the book and reference this recipe for any possible changes and also to incorporate any steps that you may be able to work into your batch.

11 Gallon Batch


28 lbs of (2 Row) Rahr (58%)
6 lbs of Maris Otter Pale Malt (12%)
3 lbs of English Roasted Barley (6%)
1 lb of English Black Malt (2%)
2 lb of English Chocolate Malt (4%)
2 lb of Briess Crystal 120 (4%)
2 lb of Weyermann Pale Wheat Malt (4%)
2 lb of Flaked Oats (4%)

Adjuncts (added to boil kettle)
2 lb of D-180 Dark Belgian Candi Syrup (4%)
15 oz of Plantation Blackstrap Molasses (2%)

90 Minute Boil
5 oz of Columbus (15.2% AA) @ 60 minutes
3 oz of Mosaic (12.7% AA) @ 15 minutes
2 oz of Simcoe (13% AA) @ 5 minutes
2 oz of Mosaic (12.7% AA) @ 1 minute

1 Vanilla Bean with 7 days in fermentation (soaked in vodka over night before adding, pour vodka and beans directly into fermenter)

12 oz of course ground coffee beans – cold steeped in the fermenter for 24 hours. What I is coarsely grind the beans and put them into a sanitized hop bag. I usually boil the bags first in order to sanitize them. I have a conical fermenter that I’m able to control the temperature on and I drop it down to 42 degrees F in order to do a cold steep directly into the fermenter. I transfer out of the fermenter directly into kegs 24 hours after adding the coffee. This time around I used freshly roasted Asociation Primaveral medium roast beans from Oddly Correct Roasters out of Kansas City, MO. Thanks to Gregory Kolsto at Oddly Correct for offering up the beans! You can use your favorite locally roasted fresh beans. However what I tend to look for is the freshest beans that I can get my hands on.  I shoot for a medium roast or lighter roast that imparts milk chocolate, toffee, nuts, vanilla and some fruity notes.

WLP530 – Abbey Ale Yeast

90 Minutes at 152 Degrees F
Batch Sparge

90 Minutes
Estimated Pre-Boil = 1.088
Estimated OG = 1.111
Estimated FG = 1.025-1.030
Estimated ABV = 11-12%
Estimated IBUs = 90ish

Fermentation Plan
Ferment in 14 gallon conical fermenter. Allow to ferment for two weeks. Start at 68 F for close to one week. Then raise to 74F. After 2 weeks add vanilla beans for an additional week.

Coffee Plan
Crash cool fermentor down to 42 degrees. Drop out any yeast.

12 oz of coffee course ground locally roasted coffee as fresh as possible. Boil hop bags to sanitize. Fill hop bags with coffee and place into fermenter. Allow to sit for 24 hours and then keg the beer.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Middle States Imperial Pale Ale

Yet again I apologize for the delay in updating this blog.  My goal is to at least do an updated everytime I brew a new beer (if it's a new recipe).  However life has brought me to the middle of the country and from late last year through the first quarter of 2013 I was in the process of packing up everything we own and moving to the wonderful town of Lawrence, Kansas (my day job has brought me here).  Hopefully that helps explain the lack of attention the blog and brewing in general has recieved lately.  But enough with that, we are all settled in now and I can get back to brewing!
I will admit it, I'm obsessed with heavily hopped, clean and crisp, extremely drinkable Pale Ales (or I guess in some cases IPA's). This time around I decided to strip out pretty much all the speciality malts that seemed to be adding too much caramel notes to my IPAs.  Not sure anyone in the middle of the US (commerical brewery wise) is brewing an IPA like this.  Closest I have found is Boulevard 80-Acre (a hoppy wheat beer).  Most of the pale ales and IPA's out here still have a heavy dose of some sort of specialty or munich malt that just isn't what I like in a beer like this.  I also wanted to put some Mosaic hops to use and decided to go 100% Mosaic with this beer.  Since my efficiency was a lot better than expected this turned into more of an Imperial Pale Ale than a regular Pale Ale or IPA.

Middle States Imperial Pale Ale (aka Double Mosaic Pale Ale)

11 Gallon Batch

60 Minute Boil
Brew Day – 30 March 2013

22 lbs of American 2 Row (88%)
1 lb of Oats (4%)
1 lb of Wheat (4%)
1 lb of Corn Sugar (4%)

3 oz of Mosaic (12.8% AA) for 60 Minutes
1 oz of Mosaic (12.8% AA) for 15 Minutes

3 oz of Mosaic (12/8% AA) at KO

4 oz of Mosaic dry hop for 12 days
2 oz of Mosaic dry hop for 3 days

WLP-001 – 2 vial with large starter

Pre-Boil Gravity without sugar addition = 1.049
OG = 1.058
FG = 1.005
ABV = 7 %
IBU = 47

7.5 gallons @ 149 for 60 minutes

Fly sparge with 8.25 gallons of water @ 200

Mash & Sparge Notes
Pre-boil gravity with no sugar = Missed taking this.

Boil Notes

OG – 1.071 or 17.2 Brix

FG – 1.005
ABV = 8.8 %

OG was a little bit higher than expected. Got really good efficiency out of my mash this time around and fermentation went great and got this beer really nice and dry.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Black IPA...or Double Black IPA

This whole Black IPA trend has been hit or miss with me.  Out of the handful of Black IPAs I have tried there have only been a few that I really enjoyed.  However after trying the Hill Farmstead Society and Solitude #2 I decided it was probably time for me to give it a go with the style.

I have been meaning to brew a beer with my friend Mike Ingrassia so after a few months of planning we finally figured out a brew day and set out to create a Black IPA.  Here is the recipe for an 11 gallon batch size.

Malt and other Fermentables
22 lbs of American 2 Row (82%)
¼ lb of Weyermann Carahell (11 L german crystal malt) (1%)
½ lb of Weyermann Cara Aroma (130 L) (2%)
1 lb of Carafa III (Dehusked) (4%)
1 lb of Flaked Oats (4%)

1 lb of corn sugar (3.5%)
1 lb of orange blossom honey (3.5%)

Maltoferm A-6001 (added ~ 2 ounces right before kegging.  Boiled in 2 cups of water for a few minutes, cooled and added fermenter.  The original plan was to use Sinamar in the boil, however none of our local homebrew shops had it and Maltoferm was recommended to us after we had already brewed the beer)

4 oz of Columbus at 60 Minutes
1 oz of Simcoe at 20 Minutes
1 oz of Simcoe at 10 Minutes
2 oz of Simcoe at KO
2 oz of Columbus at KO

2 oz of Citra Dry – Pellets (10 Days)

2 oz of Amarillo Dry – Pellets (10 Days)

2 oz of Simcoe Dry – Pellets (3 Days)

Mashed around 149F for 60 minutes.  Added the carafa halfway through the mash.  So that was only in the mash tun for 30 minutes (was hoping to get the color but hold back on some of the roast).

WLP001 and WLP007 (1 vial of each with a starter)
Ferment at 68-69 F
Once fermentation slows down add first dry hop addition.
I drop my fermentation temp to 40F when it's time to transfer to a keg in order to drop out the massive amount of dry hops and the yeast.

OG – 1.070
FG - 1.009
ABV - 8%
IBUs - 80

Tasting Notes
Appearance - The beer pours a deep black with a rich creamy deep tan head that left sticky lacing.

Aroma -  Tropical fruits, orange rind and floral hop notes.  Hops are very up front with hints of caramel malt and the lightest hint of roast.  Some alcohol sweetness present in the nose, however it's not a hot or solventy type of heat.

Flavor - For an under 1.010 FG beer there is still some hints of sweetness but most likely from the alcohol.  There are hints of roasted malt (very slight) and some caramel malt but this beer is primarily dominated by the hops.  Mixed citrus notes, piney and floral.

Overall -  The efficiency of my system has been yielding higher starting gravity wort lately so while we set out to brew a Black IPA...this one ended up to be more of a Double Black IPA.  The color, hop aroma and roast/caramel malt notes were exactly what we set out for.  I would try to work the Sinamar or Maltoferm into the brew kettle the next time around like we originally planned to do.  I can't say that I specifically detect it in the final beer, however there may be a slight chalkiness there...and that could be adding to the sweetness that I'm perceiving as alcohol sweetness as well.  Either way I would recommend this Black IPA recipe to anyone looking to try out a slightly higher ABV Black IPA.  Maybe just lower the target ABV to 6-7% and use the Sinamar/Maltoferm in the boil kettle.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

American Wheat Pale Ale

This time around I set out to brew a nice and dry, wheat based American Pale Ale.  I wanted to pack in as much orange and lemon zest notes that I could into a fairly easy drinking wheat based beer.  I toyed with the idea of adding some lemon and orange zest to one of the kegs, however once I tasted the finished beer I decided to pass on the citrus zest addition.  Between the Sorachi Ace and Amarillo hops this beer had all the citrus notes that I wanted from the hops alone.  I'm still not certain I love what the Sorachi Ace hops added to this beer.  Yes the lemon notes are there, however I do get hints of the dreaded "dill" that other brewers have noted with the use of Sorachi Ace. The next time around I may switch out he Sorachi Ace hops with some Citra hops.  I did like how the WLP320 - American Wheat yeast kept the yeast profile  of this beer fairly neutral and it certainly dried it out. My final gravity was closer to 1.005 and the oats helped the beer to maintain some body.  The keys to this beer is the use of the oats (at least 4%) and the heavey use of late addition hops and dry hops. The recipe is simple and I feel as though it makes one great hoppy summer beer.

11 gallon batch

13 lbs of Wheat Malt (54 %)
10 lbs of American Pale 2 Row (42%)
1 lb of Flaked Oats (4%)

1 lb of rice hulls

1.5 oz of Columbus at 60 Minutes
2 oz of Sorachi Ace at 10 Minutes
2 oz of Amarillo at KO

2 oz of Amarillo Dry – Pellets (7 Days)
1 oz of Sorachi Ace Dry – Pellets (7 Days)

WLP320 – American Wheat

Pre-Boil Gravity – 1.049
OG – 1.057
FG – 1.008
ABV – 6.5%
IBU's - 40

7.5 gallons of mash water at 145-148 F
9 gallons of sparge water

60 Minute Boil

I plan to brew a Black IPA this weekend with my good friend Mike Ingrassia.  Once we see how that one turns out we will post the recipe here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Death Metal Recipe Published

So it's been a while since I have posted an update to this blog.  When I noticed today that Sam Calagione's new book Extreme Brewing, A Deluxe Edition was released on June 1st, I figured it was time that I at least throw a quick update on the old homebrewing blog.  Sam featured my Death Metal recipe in the updated version of his book and I realized that a link to this blog was published in that book.  So if you have come across this blog after reading my recipe in the book, I welcome you!  I will do my best to stay on top of updating this blog with new recipes and my various other adventures in craft brewing as best I can.

Death Metal did bring home another first place this past weekend in the annual Buzz Off Homebrew Competition. The results are posted here.

If you would like more information on Death Metal and my experience brewing with Dogfish Head the best summary is posted here.

If anyone has tried out the recipe that was published, please get in touch with me.  I would love to figure out a way to try your homebrewed version of my beer!