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Just Brewed: Dry Irish Stout

19 Sep

This recipe was heavily influenced by the Dry Irish Stout recipe in the book Brewing Classic Styles. I have tried a couple of stout recipes before, but for several reasons, they have not turned out great. Mainly the problem had to do with mash issues and yeast not fully attenuating–leaving a medium-ish body finish–which is not ideal for “dry” stout.

I have a good feeling about this one–primarily because of the milled roasted barley and goodly amount of flaked barley. One huge unknown at this point is the yeast. Many recipes call for Irish ale yeast. The plus about this yeast is its low ester production. Of course, just about any yeasts can be “low ester” producing if fermented at the right temperature. So, I decided to give Fermentis Safale US-05 a try. Its label says it is an American Yeast, but it’s qualities are well suited for Stout–high attenuation and clean fermentation. I am fermenting it at 64 F, which should keep things in the clean zone. So far so good, but with only 6 hours into fermentation, it’s much too early to tell.

In the meantime, here is the recipe for Dry Irish Stout. It is unnamed as of yet. we’ll see how it shapes up.

 
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Just Brewed: Ellusive ESB #3 (a Fullers ESB clone)

22 Aug

First of all, Fullers ESB is one of my favorite beers. In fact, for many years it was my ONLY favorite beer. No matter what, I think it remains #1 in my book—especially when it’s served from a cask. If you live near the San Fernando valley, be sure to check out the White Harte Pub in Woodland Hills. They not only have Fullers ESB on cask, but Fullers London Pride from the cask as well (both–usually–served in a sweet dimple mug).

OK, so, since I started brewing, I have made many attempts at brewing what I consider to be the perfect ESB. Many attempts have come close, but none have been excellent–UNTIL NOW! This recipe, in my opinion, brews up a great ESB. The important factors I have gathered throughout the years:

  • Use a good English yeast (Fermentis Safale S-04 is my new favorite, fermented at 68 F)
  • Find your local water profile and use this brewing water calculator to match the Burton on Trent water profile as closely as you can
  • When fermentation is complete, condition at 55 F for at least a week

So, without further adieu, here is my Fullers ESB clone recipe. I call it “Ellusive ESB” because of the many times I’ve tried to brew it with less than stellar results. Cheers!

 
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Los Angeles County Fair awards

19 Aug

Dark Heather Saison and Haas Wit picked up a gold and silver ribbon respectively. Results are posted here http://www.lacountyfair.com/2010/entertainment/documents/LACF2010OfficialResultsfinal.pdf. And the recipes can be found here:

Dark Heather Saison Recipe
Haas Wit (Witbier Recipe)

 
 

Just Brewed: American Amber

25 Jul

My original inspiration for this beer was Mack & Jack’s African Amber. I first tried this while on vacation in Seattle and I thought it was awesome. With its limited distribution, I have not been able to try it since. But I remember much of the flavor and aroma of it and have tried to match it with this recipe. Earlier versions of it were a little too intense on the malt character. This version is a little more simple and I think fits more in-line with what people expect from an Amber. Sadly, it has been way too long since I’ve tried M&J’s so I can’t say if it is a decent clone, but this recipe brews a good drinking Amber nonetheless. It is medium-low body, with an initial malt sweetness that fades into a caramelly medium-dry finish. The hops are restrained–but in a good zone for this style.

This beer has an interesting malt bill and a nice array of hop additions. It is somewhat easy on the late hop additions compared to some American Amber recipes, but I am always more pro-malt that hops, so that is my personal preference. If you like more hop flavor and aroma, double the 10 minute and knock out hops.

Recipe here: American Amber.

 
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Just Brewed: Fiddy Fiddy Rye

13 Jun

This is an American-style Rye beer brewed with 50% malted Rye. The Rye malt adds a dry, crisp character to beer and some perceived spiciness. Typically it is used in amounts of 10-15%, but I decided to use Rye for half the malt base (hence, Fiddy Fiddy). This is more of a ratio used for wheat beers. Personally, I like a little uniqueness in the flavor and I’m a big fan of Rye whiskey. When I’ve had Rye beers before—such as Hop Rod Rye—I often wish there was more Rye flavor in the beer. So, I’m giving this a go. I figure, if it’s too much, we can always pull it back next time. But sometimes More is More.

Click here for the detailed recipe for Fiddy Fiddy Rye.

Batch Size: 6.00 gal
Boil Size: 8.03 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00
Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 3.70 %
6.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 48.15 %
6.50 lb Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 48.15 %
0.70 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (60 min) Hops 26.1 IBU
0.50 oz Liberty [4.70 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
0.75 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
1 Pkgs Kolsch Yeast (Wyeast Labs #2565) [Starter 1000 ml] Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.051 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.048 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.008 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.04 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.21 %
Bitterness: 26.1 IBU Calories: 210 cal/pint
Est Color: 5.8 SRM Color:

Color
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body Total Grain Weight: 13.50 lb
Sparge Water: 5.72 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 18.23 qt of water at 161.0 F 150.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
 
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2010 California State Fair Results are in

12 Jun

Starry Blonde takes 2nd in the Cream Ale / Blonde Ale category.

Oktoberfest II takes 3rd in the European Lager category.

Alt Whitman takes 3rd in the Amber Hybrid category.

 
 

Just Brewed: Dark Heather Saison

30 May

This recipe was designed to mimic New Belgium’s Dark Heather Saison. It is essentially a saison with added dark grains and spices (black pepper, cardamom, and heather tips). The results is—at least in the New Belgium version—a light bodied, drinkable beer with hints of chocolate and a spicy, peppery finish. This is much darker than a traditional saison, hence the name. Click here for the detailed recipe.

Batch Size: 6.00 gal

Boil Size: 8.63 gal
Boil Time: 90 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
9.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 70.53 %
0.75 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 5.88 %
0.75 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 5.88 %
0.50 lb Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 3.92 %
0.13 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 1.02 %
0.13 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 1.02 %
1.80 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (60 min) Hops 26.9 IBU
1.00 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
1.00 tsp Black Peppercorn (measured after coarse grind) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.00 tsp Cardamom Seeds (measured before grind) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.00 oz Heather Tips (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.50 lb Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 11.76 %
2 Pkgs Belgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.008 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.44 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.79 %
Bitterness: 26.9 IBU Calories: 265 cal/pint
Est Color: 21.1 SRM Color:

Color
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body Total Grain Weight: 11.26 lb
Sparge Water: 6.86 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.2 PH
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
90 min Mash In Add 15.00 qt of water at 157.7 F 147.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 15 min 168.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

————————

After mixing the spices together, I noticed that each had a somewhat peppery aroma, which should play well together. The cardamom had the most intense character, but since the recipe uses very little, it should not be overpowering.

The brew procedure was a single infusion mash at 147° F for 1.5 hours. I was using a PID controller for the first time and have yet to work out some of the kinks. It ended up overshooting the temp by about 5 degrees. I had to add some ice to get the temp down quickly. I realized later that I should have gone through the “auto-tune” procedure on the PID which would have kept it from overshooting the temp. I’ll figure out the auto-tune piece for the next brew.

I tasted the wort post-boil and it was very sweet, but I could definitely taste the character of the spaces in the finish. I’m looking forward to tasting how this ferments.

Fermentation started quickly (in about 4 hours) and is going strong at 69° F.

History of Saison

Saison doesn’t have quite the storied past of styles like bock or porter. Its humble birth occurred in the farm houses of Wallonia, Belgium. Saison was the beer brewed by households for their own consumption. This style brewed by the French speaking people in southern Belgium shares a lot of similarities with the Bière de Garde style of France. Originally this was a seasonal beer brewed in spring to last through summer and into autumn. Therefore is had to be durable and refreshing – a tall order for ales brewed in the days before refrigeration.

Update 6/01:

Fermentation is nearly 50% completed. Tasted a sample and it is, of course, still very sweet. The spice character is very strong at this point, but I think this is probably due to the sugars still in the beer. Fermentation has slowed significantly but still steady.

http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/dark-heather-saison
 
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Just Brewed: Haas Wit

02 May

This beer was inspired by Hoegaarden, brewed in Belgium. It was brewed with 44% flaked wheat and 10% flaked oats. Corriander, fresh zest from farmers market oranges, and dried chamomile flowers were added near the end of the boil to create zesty aromatics in the finished beer. The result is a light bodied, refreshing, highly drinkable beer. Get the detailed recipe here.

Batch Size: 6.00 gal
Boil Size: 8.63 gal
Boil Time: 90 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 4.21 %
5.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 42.09 %
5.00 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 42.09 %
1.13 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 9.51 %
0.25 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2.10 %
1.35 oz Hallertauer [4.00 %] (60 min) Hops 20.1 IBU
1.00 gm Chamomile Flowers (Dried) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.00 tbsp Flour (white) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
2.00 gm Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min)
11.00 gm Coriander Seed (Crushed) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
43.00 gm Orange Citrus (Zest) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Belgian Wit Ale (White Labs #WLP400) Yeast-Wheat
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.051 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.049 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.008 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.13 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.34 %
Bitterness: 20.1 IBU Calories: 214 cal/pint
Est Color: 3.6 SRM Color:

Color
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body Total Grain Weight: 11.88 lb
Sparge Water: 6.93 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.2 PH
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
15 min Mash In Add 15.00 qt of water at 129.5 F 122.0 F
60 min Rest Heat to 154.0 F over 15 min 154.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

The History of Witbier

Witbier, white beer, (French: la bière blanche), or simply witte is a barley/wheat, top-fermented beer brewed mainly in Belgium, although there are also examples in the Netherlands and elsewhere. It gets its name due to suspended yeast and wheat proteins which cause the beer to look hazy, or white, when cold. It is a descendant from those medieval beers which were not brewed with hops, but instead flavoured and preserved with a blend of spices and other plants.

At one point Witbier almost vanished completely from the landscape. Its origins date back to the Brabant region east of Brussels in Belgium in the 1500s, where wheat beer had been brewed for hundreds of years. By the 1950s, it had all but disappeared, due to wars, the big movement towards lagers, and breweries being bought and sold or closing down altogether. In 1966, a man named Pierre Celis, one of the greatest and most influential minds in the history of modern brewing, established the De Kluis Brewery, next to his house in Hoegaarden. He made a beer that the town had once been known for, and the road to recovery was being paved.

Witbier Characteristics

A moderate sweetness with light notes of honey or vanilla and spicy, fragrant wheat aromatics will be the nose that is an earmark of these beers. They’re very pale straw to very light gold in color, with a cloudiness from starch haze and yeast and a dense, white, mousy head with lacing that should be present until the last sip. Witbier has an incredibly flavorful, refreshing sweetness combined with a zesty, orange-citrusy fruitiness. Herbal, spicy flavors from the coriander will be ever present, but should not dominate the flavor of the beer. Like Hefeweizen, hop bitterness is low to medium-low. They’re medium-light to medium bodied with a smoothness and light creaminess from the unmalted wheat and occasional oats, with a dry, tart finish.

 
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“Little Bo Pils” & “Oktoberfest II” place 2nd at NHC First Round

25 Apr

Two beers will move on to the AHA National Hombrew Competition final round this year—Little Bo Pils (Bohemian Pilsener) and Oktoberfest 2.

For recipes, click below:

Little Bo Pils

Oktoberfest 2

 
 

Just Brewed: Maude’s Mild

21 Mar

This is a dark English mild brewed with chocolate malt, biscuit malt, and roasted barley. I originally wanted to use brown malt, which is a unique character, but my local shop didn’t have any. Instead I substituted Special B and the roasted barley. The flavor was a bit more bitter than I wanted, due to the roasted malt. But hopefully it should mellow with age. I also put some oak chips in during the last week or so. Click here for the recipe.

Mild ale background

Mild ale is a low-gravity beer with a predominantly malty palate that originated in Britain in the 1600s or earlier. Modern mild ales are mainly dark coloured with an abv of 3% to 3.6%, though there are lighter hued examples, as well as stronger examples reaching 6% abv and higher.

The term mild originally meant young beer or ale as opposed to “stale” aged beer or ale with its resulting “tang”. In more recent times it has been interpreted as denoting “mildly hopped”.

Light mild is generally similar, but pale in colour. There is some overlap between the weakest styles of bitter and light mild, with the term AK being used to refer to both. The designation of such beers as “bitter” or “mild” has tended to change with fashion. A good example is McMullen’s AK, which was re-badged as a bitter after decades as a light mild. AK – a very common beer name in the 1800s – was often referred to as a “mild bitter beer” interpreting “mild” as “unaged”.

Once sold in every pub, mild experienced a catastrophic fall in popularity after the 1960s and was in danger of completely disappearing. However, in recent years the explosion of microbreweries has led to a modest renaissance and an increasing number of milds (sometimes labelled ‘Dark’) are now being brewed.

The Campaign for Real Ale has designated May as “Mild Month”.

History of Mild Ale

“Mild” was originally used to designate any beer which was young, fresh or unaged and did not refer to a specific style of beer. Thus there was Mild Ale but also Mild Porter and even Mild Bitter Beer. These young beers were often blended with aged “stale” beer to improve their flavour. As the 19th century progressed and public taste moved away from the aged taste, unblended young beer, mostly in the form of Mild Ale or Light Bitter Beer, began to dominate the market.

In the 19th century a typical brewery produced three or four mild ales, usually designated by a number of X’s, the weakest being X, the strongest XXXX. They were considerably stronger than the milds of today, with the gravity ranging from around 1.055 to 1.072 (about 5.5% to 7% abv). Gravities dropped throughout the late 1800s and by 1914 the weakest milds were down to about 1.045, still considerably stronger than modern versions.

The draconian measures applied to the brewing industry during the First World War had a particularly dramatic effect upon mild. As the biggest-selling beer, it suffered the largest cut in gravity when breweries had to limit the average OG of their beer to 1.030. In order to be able to produce some stronger beer – which was exempt from price controls and thus more profitable – mild was reduced to 1.025 or lower.

Modern dark mild varies from dark amber to near-black in colour and is very light-bodied. Its flavour is dominated by malt, sometimes with roasty notes derived from the use of black malt, with a subdued hop character, though there are some quite bitter examples. Most are in the range 1.030-1.036 (3-3.6% abv).

Light mild is generally similar, but paler in colour. Some dark milds are created by the addition of caramel to a pale beer.

Until the 1950s, mild was the largest selling ale. It retains some popularity in the West Midlands, Wales and North West England, but has been totally ousted by bitter and lager in the South of England. In 2002 only 1.3% of beer sold in pubs was Mild. Mild’s popularity in Wales, in particular, persisted as a relatively low-alcohol, sweet drink for coal miners. Outside the United Kingdom, Mild is virtually unknown, with the exception of Old in New South Wales and some microbrewery recreations in North America and Scandinavia.

 
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