Thursday, March 6, 2014

SNPA . . . again

I'm back. Just lost interest in brewing for a while - but I think it's back again.

To ease my way back into things I've brewed yet another version of this excellent Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone. I've used safale us-05 to keep things simple, and also no-chilled to make it probably the simplest brew day I've had in a long long time.

Recipe for a 23L batch:


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
 92.2     4.70 kg.  Pale Ale Malt (2-row)         Australia      1.037      2
  7.8     0.40 kg.  Crystal 105L                  UK             1.033    105

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
 20.00 g.     Nugget                            Pellet  13.60  29.5  50 min.
 20.00 g.     Perle                                Pellet   7.70   8.5  20 min.
 80.00 g.     Cascade                           Pellet   5.75   0.0  0 min.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Marble Red Ale

One of the best beers I've ever brewed was my version of Jamil Zainasheff's Evil Twin (blog post here). There's something magical about so much malt and hop character coming together. I was toying with the idea of re-brewing it, but just for fun I decided instead to try my first recipe from the recent book "For the love of hops" by Stan Hieronymus.

The recipe is for "Marble Red Ale". I should mention that I have never tried a Marble brewery beer, nor heard of them outside of this book, but the recipe would seem to add up to a pretty awesome beer, so I had to try it out.

If you look through my older posts you will see that I have a few different possible brewing configurations, from pretty simple pot on a heat source BIAB  with no chilling, right up to recirculating automated step mashing, sparging and full chilling. Generally the higher the OG, the more complex my setup, so for this 1.065 monster I sparged and chilled. I also upped my volume a little to 24L to account for extra losses to hop material.

For yeast, I cultured up a large stirred starter of WYeast PACMAN, which I kept from a smack pack from late last year. Pacman is now my favourite yeast for American ales. I feel that it gives a really nice mouthfeel that I don't get from other american ale yeasts. Also it really is a beast and gets through high OG worts very quickly.

Here's the recipe:


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
 75.0     5.14 kg.  Pale Ale Malt (2-row)         Australia      1.037      2
 10.0     0.69 kg.  Vienna Malt                   Germany        1.036      4
 10.0     0.69 kg.  Crystal 77L                   UK             1.035     75
  5.0     0.34 kg.  Crystal 120L                  UK             1.033    120

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
 20.27 g.     Columbus                          Pellet  15.00  38.7  60 min.
 11.73 g.     Citra                             Pellet  11.50   3.4  10 min.
 11.73 g.     Simcoe                            Pellet  13.00   3.9  10 min.
 23.47 g.     Cascade                           Pellet   5.75   3.4  10 min.
 48.00 g.     Cascade                           Pellet   5.75   0.0  0 min.
 90.67 g.     Cascade                           Pellet   5.75   0.0  Dry Hop
 13.87 g.     Simcoe                            Pellet  13.00   0.0  Dry Hop
 13.87 g.     Citra                             Pellet  11.50   0.0  Dry Hop



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brewer's Gold

Wow, it's been quite a delay between my last post and this one. I've moved house, which means that I now have a garage, and hence somewhere to brew indoors so I'm not so vulnerable to the weather and lack of daylight. Also I can have the brewery set up permanently, which saves me an hour or so of assembly and disassembly every brew day. Unfortunately the move led to a long hiatus in my brewing, and I've had no beer on tap for nearly three months now - far too long!!

The Beginnings of a Permanent Installation

I've got a few brews lined up, but this is the first: a clone of Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold. I was actually at 'The Great British Beer Festival" one year when the original won champion beer, and a fine drop it was too.

The plan is to do a no-chill, with a huge dose of brewer's gold hops just before flame out. This should provide a good deal of bitterness and hop aroma/flavour, while a very small charge at the start of the boil will keep things under control and add some IBUs.

This is really a summer brew, but I've had the hops on hand since April and have been planning to have a go at it since long before then. It's a chance to get to know another hop variety, and should be an easy drinking ale on the handpump in a short period of time.

I'd like to be drinking this in three weeks, so I'll be taking a large starter to innoculate with WLP006, and I'll get the fermentation happening within a few days.

Here's the recipe:


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
 100.0     3.91 kg.  Lager Malt(2-row)             UK             1.037      1

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
  5.00 g.     Brewer's Gold                     Pellet   7.00   5.1  60 min.
 95.00 g.     Brewer's Gold                     Pellet   7.00  25.9  15 min.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Hopped up American Pale Ale

The weather here has been pretty unforgiving over the past two weeks, with little sign of relief. We've hit 35C most days, but it's the warm nights that are hardest to take, with temperatures often up at 30C at 11pm.

At times like these the only beer that seems to sate my thirst is a hoppy american pale. I've found myself craving it a lot, so I decided to brew one on Saturday. Of course by the time it's ready it'll probably be 10C and rainy.

Back last year I made the first American Pale Ale from Jamil Zainasheff's "Brewing Classic Styles" book. That proved to be quite a good beer, but was probably lacking a little in the late hopping for my tastes. The grain bill here is exactly the same as for my first attempt, the late hops have been bumped up quite a bit, doubled in the case of the flame out addition.

The most exciting thing about the brew day was my new gas burner. It's what the aussie's call an "Italian Spiral", and I bought a high pressure regulator with it. My strike water was up to mash temperature within about 10 minutes, and later on I got from mash out to boil in about 10 minutes too. The power of this thing is quite incredible, and it should shave about an hour off my brew day. The only issue is trying to keep the boil under control. Also I came pretty close to a boil over despite plenty of headspace.

I decided to change the mash schedule for this beer, just for fun really. I did the following:

55C for 10 minutes
65C for 45 minutes
72C for 15 minutes
78C for 15 minutes.

I can ramp up slightly faster than 1C per minute. Here's a picture of the mashing setup, organised chaos again I'm afraid:

I have to say I had a lot of fun brewing on Saturday. I managed to have pretty much the whole day free so was quite relaxed. I was so relaxed that I forgot to close the tap on my fermenting vessel when filling it from the chiller and lost about 2 litres of wort down the drain. I'll be at least a litre short when it comes time to fill a keg with this.

For yeast I chose Wyeast Pacman. I had a split from a pack I opened in September, so I carefully stepped it up and pitched the yeast from a stirred 1L starter to this batch, also saving a small sample for a future batch. SG was 1.055, and the fermenting chamber is set to 18C. My efficiency to fermenter wasn't great here. I lost 2 litres down the drain, and at least 4L to trub. I really need to have a think about how to deal with trub when there's a big hop bill. It might be as simple as bumping up the final volume to account for it, but the engineer in me rejects that idea. I'll figure something out.

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (L):          22.50    Wort Size (L):     22.50
Total Grain (kg):         5.98
Anticipated OG:          1.057    Plato:             14.11
Anticipated SRM:           6.8
Anticipated IBU:          41.0
Brewhouse Efficiency:       70 %
Wort Boil Time:             60    Minutes
Pre-Boil Amounts
Evaporation Rate:      15.00    Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size:   26.47    L
Pre-Boil Gravity:      1.049    SG          12.08  Plato
   %     Amount     Name                          Origin       --------------------------------------------------------------
 84.8     5.07 kg. Joe White Pale Ale Malt (2-row)        
  3.8     0.23 kg. Joe White Wheat Malt                   
  5.7     0.34 kg. Breiss Victory Malt                           
  5.7     0.34 kg. Joe White Munich Malt I                
   Amount     Name                   Form    Alpha  IBU  BoilTime
 20.00 g.     Nugget                 Pellet  12.10  34.1  60 min.
 20.00 g.     Cascade                Pellet   5.75   3.4  10 min.
 20.00 g.     Centennial             Pellet  10.50   5.0  10 min.
 30.00 g.     Cascade                Pellet   5.75   0.0  0 min.
 30.00 g.     Centennial             Pellet  10.50   0.0  0 min.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Special Bitter

My first brew of 2013 proved to be a disaster, with my element blowing at the first hop addition. The situation was rescued (again), by ripping off the insulation and bringing the pot inside onto our cook top, which luckily has a high powered gas ring.

This is the third time I've blown one of these elements, and I'm done with them. I'll be purchasing a gas burner as soon as I can get my hands on one. I'm finding it harder and harder to find the time to brew, so anything which interrupts a brew session really hurts.

Anyway, the recipe is a new one, though familiar looking in some ways. It's a special bitter from . Apart from a sub of Willamette for Fuggles, my recipe is identical, yeast included. To get the hard water profile required I needed 2.5tsp gypsum, 1tsp Epsom salts and 0.75tsp Calcium chloride.

I had planned to chill this one on the plate chiller, but having to bring the pot inside was quite enough lugging around for one day, so I didn't lug it back out to do the chilling, I just no-chilled in a cube after the 15 minute hop addition (which became a flame out addition). I saved 2L of wort in an Erlenmyer flask and when pitching the yeast 2 days later (a 1L starter of WLP006), I boiled this 2L, turned off the flame and steeped the Styrians in it for 10 minutes before adding it to the main batch. This is a method from AussieHomeBrewer that I've tried before with limited success, but I was a bit stuck for ideas on Saturday so I'm trying again.

With the decision to change to gas comes another decision - do I double up on batch volume? I haven't decided yet about this. I'm usually quite sorry to see the end of a batch, and there are a lot of people about who drink my beer (I actually didn't get to taste a recent batch it disappeared so quickly). At the moment I'm inclined to do it, but that could change.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'm back

I'm finally back in Melbourne from an extended trip back home to Ireland. I'm happy to report that the craft beer scene in Ireland has finally awoken. Existing microbrewers are expanding and new ones emerging, and most off-license premises seem to have a selection of some sort.

I'm planning to brew this Saturday, my first of 2013. It will be something in the 4.5% abv region, as I want to turn it around in the minimum possible time (I find about 4 weeks is the best you can do). It will be something English, probably with either the Wyeast West Yorkshire strain or the Fullers strain. I'll leave the final decision until Friday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baritone Bitter V2

Hot on the heels of the Landlord I made over the weekend, I diving straight into a hopefully improved version of my recent baritone bitter. This was a beer inspired by cask bass, with a heavy dose of Northern Brewer hops. Besides being far too bitter, I felt that there were a few other areas ripe for tweaking.

First, I'll say what's not changing. The water treatment, a 'burtonizing', and the yeast, WY1028 will stay the same. These were two of the more successful elements of my first version. The malt bill is only slightly modified, going to 6% simpsons medium crystal, up 1% from the last version.

In the hopping schedule I'm dropping the early hopping back to 10g of Northern Brewer, from 15g previously. This beer is no-chilled, and the flameout additions are 20g of Northern Brewer and 20g Williamette. I'm calculating the flameout additions as a 20min addition because of the no-chill, and altogether this brings my total IBUs to 26ish, from 34ish in the previous version. In fact I think I somehow ended up nearer to 40ish in the previous version. The williamette should also help to flavour the hop palate a bit. This was quite pleasant but a little monotone last time round.



A ProMash Recipe Report

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (L):          22.50    Wort Size (L):     22.50
Total Grain (kg):         4.21
Anticipated OG:          1.044    Plato:             10.95
Anticipated SRM:          13.2
Anticipated IBU:          25.9
Brewhouse Efficiency:       75 %
Wort Boil Time:             60    Minutes


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin   Potential SRM
 93.0     3.91 kg.  Pale Malt (Maris Otter)       UK        1.038      3
  5.9     0.25 kg.  Crystal 80L                   USA       1.033     80
  1.1     0.05 kg.  Roasted Barley (Simpson's)    UK        1.029    685

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


   Amount     Name                         Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
 10.00 g.     Northern Brewer              Pellet   9.00  13.2  60 min.
 20.00 g.     Northern Brewer              Pellet   9.00   8.9  20 min.
 20.00 g.     Willamette                   Whole    4.30   3.8  20 min.

WY1028 London 
Water Treatment
0.75tsp CaCl2  2.5tsp CaSO4  1tsp MgSO4