Posts Tagged 'american ale'

AG#54 – Whamarillo Pale Ale

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In my bid to do some new beer styles and experiment with new techniques in 2016, I’ve decided to do my first ever SMaSH beer. SMaSH is a home brewers term meaning “Single Malt and Single Hop”. It’s a way of keeping a recipe simple in order to taste a variety of malt and hops in an unadulterated way. It’s an interesting technique, though it has me worried as I tend to go a little complicated when it comes to recipes. Particularly with hops, where I love the complexity that comes with using 2 or 3 complimentary hop varieties in the same beer.

The decision on which malt and hops to use in this beer is driven by practical reasons. I’ve at least 30kg of Munton’s Maris Otter malt, some of it past its prime, so I’m going to use some of it up in this recipe. I’ve several hops varieties in the fridge at the moment, but I’m going to use Amarillo here, which will give the beer some fantastic citrus flavours.

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.056 SG
Estimated Color: 10.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 52.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter, Muntons (6.5 EBC, 100.0 %
15 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 21.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 14.2 IBUs
51 g Amarillo [9.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10 mins, 10.2 IBUs
34 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10 mins, 7.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml slurry from Harvest Pale Ale)
100 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.600 kg
Mash In Add 15.68 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.35l) of 77.0 C water

28/02/2016 Brew Day – Runoff extremely slow from the mash tun, which I thought was to do with the fact that I hadn’t charged the drill fully and had to crush the grain in stages. I think the grain wasn’t quite as crushed as usual, but not sure. Wort was really clear, but I had to exercise serious patience to let the wort run off fully. I ended with the full pre-boil volume, so I tried to watch the boiler like a hawk. It was a close thing at times. Hops weren’t the freshest, but I was determined to use them, as they’re so expensive. Smells nice in the fermenter anyway. Pitched a yeast cake from the Harvest Pale Ale. It’s surprising how much colour you can get out of this pale malt. Target OG was low at 1.050 – 1.052.

13/03/2016 – Racked to secondary and dry hopped with a metric shitload of Amarillo. Well, 100g to be exact. But as dry hops go, that’s quite a lot, especially in one go.

14/03/2016 – The smell from the fermenter is absolutely amazing. Really intense. I’m going to have to remove the hop bag and leaving the beer to settle for a few days, as I think there is going to be a lot of fine hop matter in there.

20/03/2016 – Bottled with 112g corn sugar (17 litres @ 2.5 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 12 x 500ml bottles from the batch. Lots of sediment in the secondary fermenter from the massive dry hop.

AG#32 – Old Dawg American Barleywine

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This is a re-brew of the American barleywine which I did last year.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.090 SG
Estimated Color: 25.9 EBC
Estimated IBU: 137.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 77.8 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

1.00 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent
5.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 71.8 %
0.400 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 5.1 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 2.6 %
0.150 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 1.9 %
0.050 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC), 0.6 %
0.050 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (591.0 EBC), 0.6 %
1.000 kg Light Dry Extract (15.8 EBC), 12.8 %
22 g Chinook [11.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 30.8 IBUs
30 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 30.0 min, 21.5 IBUs
0.350 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min], 4.5 %
75 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 18.1 IBUs
50 g Summit [17.70 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 30.1 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
60 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  20.0 Hop, 11.4 IBUs
25 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  20.0 Hop, 8.7 IBUs
25 g Summit [17.70 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  20.0 Hop, 11.8 IBUs
16 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool, 4.7 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (450ml yeast slurry from Big Dawg)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 7.800 kg

Mash In           Add 18.06 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min
Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 16.82l) of 77.0 C water

Mash Day 24/04/2015 – Mashed in at around 75C which I though might be a bit hot, but with the large volume of grain, the lash temperature settled out at 67-68. A little higher than I wanted for this barleywine, but happy enough. Run-off was fairly slow. I also realised that I didn’t have the full kilo of DME that I thought I had!

Brew Day 25/04/2015 – Got an OG of 1.088 – 1.090, so pretty much on target given the large gravity. I was short about 140g of regular DME, so I used some wheat spraymalt I had. It won’t make an difference. I made some last minute additions to the hop bill, based on what I had open in the fridge. I had a small bit of Centennial which I decided to use as a mid-boil addition and then use the rest at flameout. The Chinook I had smelled so good that I had to use a little of that along with the Cascade and Summit. Run off from boiler was an absolute nightmare, despite using my hop bags for the flameout additions. The fermenter is full of cold break and pellet hops. Pitched the yeast slurry and will try to ferment as cold as I can for a few days.

27/04/2015 – Fermentation underway after less than 12 hours. Going like a machine gun now.

17/05/2015 – Aimed for 16.5 litres of bottled beer. Got 18 x 330ml and 21 x 500ml bottles from the batch. primed with 115g of corn sugar (16.5 litres at 2.6 vol). Happy with the bottling session. I opted not to reseed the yeast (out of laziness) and I hope I’m not going to regreat that decision. But I think the carbonation problems I had with the last brew of this beer was mostly due to using carbonation drops and also due to lack of patience. I just need to leave this at conditioning temperature for 2 or 3 weeks. Anyway, the smell from the beer was amazing. It’s so hoppy that there was a very visibile layer of hop oil on top of the beer. A couple of days ago I was alarmed that I wasn’t getting much hop aroma out of the fermenter, but that was due to the blanket of CO2 on the beer. I literally hadn’t touched the fermenter since the wort went in. Can’t wait to sample this. And I’m happy to get at least some of this beer into 330ml bottles. 500ml bottles really are too big for a beer of this strength and intensity.

19/07/2015 – I opened a bottle of this because I was concerned about the carbonation level. I’m happy to say the carbonation is great this time around. The alcohol and hop bitterness are still a little overwhelming, so I’m hoping the hop and malt flavours will be more in focus when fully conditioned. I drank it all, which is probably a good sign.

01/12/2015 – This has improved a lot. I can taste more of the malt and hops. The bitterness is still very assertive, probably still a little bit too much. For a beer that’s almost 10%, it’s quite dry and drinkable. I think another 3 months aging on this will make a huge difference. Lovely hop flavours. Big caramel. Alcohol is quite smooth. Very nice.

16/01/2016 – Lovely head retention, quite hazy but still looks the part. Very nice aroma, citrus hops and dark caramel. So far so good. Flavour is great, big ass hops. Fourth beet of the evening, so probably not detecting any hot alcohols. Bitterness is still very prominent. Could probably use another couple of months aging.

AG#29 – Easy Company Pale Ale

The hop drawer in my brew fridge is currently crammed full of partially used bags of hops. I know that in there I’ve got bags containing Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, Summit, Northern Brewer, Chinook, Cascade, EKG and probably loads more. A “leftovers” recipe has been on the cards for a while.

I’m going to do my usual thing of weighing out my hop leftovers on brew day and then updating the BeerSmith recipe to get my measured IBUs. Hop bags will be required for this brew, I think!

I’m going to use a simple malt bill of Crisp Maris Otter and equal percentages of Munich malt and wheat malt. Nothing else. I think that in the past I’ve unnecessarily complicated the grain bills on my pale ales and IPAs. So I’m going to concentrate on using a simple malt base in order to layer on the lovely hop flavours. I’m keeping this at a sessionable 4.5% as part of my 2015 effort to brew more low ABV beers.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.046 SG
Estimated Color: 9.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 66.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

3.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 82.6 %
0.400 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 8.7 %
0.400 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 8.7 %
10 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 18.6 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
60 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 13.7 IBUs
24 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.5 IBUs
10 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 2.2 IBUs
99 g Citra [14.40 %] – Steep/Whirlpool, 5.0 min, 15.8 IBUs
30 g Saaz [4.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  5.0 min, 1.5 IBUs
21 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  5.0 min, 3.3 IBUs
21 g Columbus [14.20 %] – Steep/Whirlpool  5 min, 3.6 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (sprinkled)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.600 kg
Mash In           Add 12.88 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 20.15l) of 77.0 C water

14/03/2015 Mash Day – Mashed at around 66-67C. Slow enough run-off from mash tun. Wort is nice and pale.

15/03/2015 Brew Day – Centennial leaf hops a bit musty, 21g chinook smelt amazing. Bit of Saaz got in by mistake. OG 1.046

30/03/2015 – Dry-hopped with 50g Centennial pellets. Will dry-hop for 3-5 days. Smells pretty good from the fermenter already. I have some concerns at the momentabout how little aroma and flavour I’m getting from the hoppy beers I put in the keg. They never seem to be what I’m expecting given the huge amount of hops I’m putting in. For this reason, I intend to bottle these beers, probably in some 750’s.

04/04/2015 – Bottled with 118g corn sugar (16 litres at 2.7 vol).

27/04/2015 – been a bit lax in posting updates on this. It’s nearly gone! And only just over three weeks in the bottle. Great hoppiness and mouthfeel. Really firm bitterness. But the star of the show is the crispness contributed by the gypsum which was added to the mash water. It makes a huge difference. Probably the best pale ale I’ve ever done. Already considering a rebrew.

AG#27 – Jaipurish India Pale Ale

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I’ve long been a fan of Thornbridge’s Jaipur. Though it’s brewed by an English brewery, it’s very much an American style IPA, though perhaps not as strong as most IPA. It comes in at 5.9% ABV, but delivers a lovely hoppy punch – grapefruit rind with a little pine. I’ve always liked it because it’s very crisp and drinkable. I decided to attempt a clone version of the beer because I have some WLP810 yeast slurry left over from a previous batch. It might seem odd to be using a lager strain for this beer, but I read some comments on JBK that point to WLP810 (the Anchor Brewing strain) as the yeast Thornbridge uses for this beer. The only way I’ll know is to give it a try. for the grain bill, I’ll be using Mitch Steele’s recipe taken from his “IPA” book. Mitch specifies 96% pale malt and 4% Vienna malt. I’ll be using 4% Vienna, 4% wheat and 92% pale malt. I’ll also be using the hop varieties reported to be in Jaipur – Ahtanum, Centennial and Chinook. I’ll be using lots of Ahtanum and Centennial but keep the Chinook addition(s) quite restrained, as Chinook can be quite pungent and I don’t want it to overwhelm the more delicate Ahtanum. I doubt by beer will be as pale as Jaipur, but I hope so.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.056 SG
Estimated Color: 10.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 55.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.166 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 92.0 %
0.225 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 4.0 %
0.225 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 4.0 %
24 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 44.6 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
25 g Ahtanum [6.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 4.2 IBUs
25 g Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.0 IBUs
50 g Ahtanum [6.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
25 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg WLP810 (400ml slurry from Union Square)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 5.616 kg
Mash In           Add 15.72 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.32l) of 77.0 C water

Notes

26/01/2015 – Made a couple of boo-boo’s.. First of all I decided to add more hops at the last minute, but instead of adding them to the flameout bowl as intended, I added them to the 10-min bowl. I couldn’t accurately remove them as there were different hop varieties in the bowl so I just left them in. Beer will have a bit more bitterness than the 56 IBU above suggests. I also completely forgot to take a gravity reading. Used hop bags for all the additions, even the bittering addition, and I got a good run off from the boiler. I might have to do this again. I’ve a horrible feeling my dial thermometer is not accurate, it was measuring 20C before I ran off from boiler, but the hop bags I removed from boiler had beer in them that felt distinctly warm. Were the hop bags insulating warm beer inside them? Must calibrate the thermometer before I use it again. Pitched yeast mid-morning and fermentation was going by evening.

Also, I was adding some cold water to the strike water to take the temperature down, but I overcooked it. When I doughed in, the temperature of the mash was at 63-64C. Even I couldn’t ignore that mistake. So I added boiling water from the kettle to bring the temperature back up closer to 65C. Added an extra 25g of Ahtanum and increased the amount of Chinook to 40g because they smelt so fresh.

02/02/2015 – Weather is really cold at the moment, but this is still fermenting away. Still a steady stream of bubbles through the airlock.

16/02/2015 – Kegged the beer tonight and bottled a single bottle with 2 carb drops. Aroma is a bit sulphurous, but the sample tasted quite nice.

AG#26 – Yo-leven India Pale Ale

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This beer was fantastic the last time I brewed it, but I did think it was a little too sweet and cloying. I’ve taken the drastic step of removing all of the crystal malt in an effort to dry out the beer to make it more quaffable. It might also allow those hop flavours to come out even more. I’ve included a small portion of CaraPils, which together with the wheat malt will give the beer great head retention and lacing down the glass. The hopping schedule is exactly the same as the last recipe – some things you just don’t mess with!

Recipe Specification

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.066 SG
Estimated Color: 11.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 57.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 79.1 %
1.000 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 14.9 %
0.200 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 3.0 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 3.0 %
18 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 27.4 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 11.4 IBUs
50 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 18.6 IBUs
50 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml yeast slurry from Thirsty Dog)
60 g Citra [14.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days       Hop           13       0.0 IBUs
40 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days    Hop           14       0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.700 kg
Mash In           Add 18.76 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 15.35l) of 77.0 C water

Notes

29/12/2014 – Dry hopped with 40g of Amarillo pellets. Plan on leaving them in for no longer than 5 days before racking to secondary and dry hopping again with lots of Citra.

02/01/2015 – Racked to secondary and dry hopped with 60g of freshly opened Citra pellets. Lot of what appears to be off-gassing of CO2 going on.

06/01/2015 – Removed the hop bag from the fermenter. Great aroma. Will let the sediment settle before bottling tomorrow night.

07/01/2015 – Did three bottles and primed with 1.5 carb drops per bottle. Kegged the rest, even though I only got about 15 litres into the keg. Didn’t bother sanitising the keg, just scalded the inside with a couple of kettles of boiling water.

10/01/2015 – I’ve a horrible feeling the bottles aren’t carbonating…

12/01/2015 – I think it’s okay, bit of life showing in the bottles.

17/01/2015 – Astounded to discover that this is tasting pretty dreadful out of the keg. Can’t figure it out. I thought that maybe it was just the first glass, but I drew three glasses off the keg and it still tasted rubbish, overly sweet and not very hoppy. It was also under carbonated, which is completely bonkers as it’s had a week to chill and carbonate in the fridge. I suppose I can’t do anything else expect wait another week or two before trying again.

15/02/2015 – This has actually come good in the keg, though not as nice as last years attempt. I suspected that the funny sweetness I was tasting was down to the CaraPils, because I got the same taste in the kegged Little Dawg. But interestingly, I didn’t get it in the bottled Little Dawg. Maybe it’s because the bottled beers are getting more conditioning time, whereas the kegged beer is going straight out in the cold shed after it’s finished fermenting. Anyway, the sweetness has subsided, revealing a pretty sharp bitterness. The hop flavour and aroma is a bit disappointing though, nowhere near as intense as last years. It could be just the keg version – I do have one bottle conditioned example of Yo-leven though, which I plan on opening tomorrow evening.

02/03/2015 – Tasted the bottled version. Nice, but not a patch on last years. Not enough bitterness and hop flavour is a little disappointing. Not the worst IPA I’ve ever had, however. The most troublesome thing about this sampling was how inferior the kegged version is compared to the bottle conditioned version. By comparison, the kegged IPA seems creamier, much sweeter and lacking in both aroma and flavour.

AG#25 – Union Square Steam Beer

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I’ve wanted to do a steam beer for a long time, even going as far as buying the WLP810 yeast a year ago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule and the yeast languished at the bottom of my fridge for a year before being thrown out.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 21.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 45.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

4.200 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 75.8 %
0.500 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 9.0 %
0.400 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 7.2 %
0.200 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 3.6 %
0.200 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 3.6 %
0.040 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (591.0 EBC), 0.7 %
24 g Northern Brewer [9.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 30.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
30 g Northern Brewer [9.70 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.7 IBUs
30 g Northern Brewer [9.70 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 6.4 IBUs
1.0 pkg San Francisco Lager (White Labs #WLP810) (starter)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.540 kg
Mash In           Add 15.51 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 17.44l) of 77.0 C water

08/12/2014 – Made a 1.2 litre starter with a vial of WLP810 California Lager yeast and 120g of light dry malt extract. Transferred to growler and shook to aerate.

15/12/2014 – Mashed at 66C, but couldn’t seem to get a consistent temperature reading, even at the end of the mash. Put the late addition leaf hops in bags, used perhaps a little more Whirlfloc than usual, started the chiller as soon as boil finished and subsequently got a great cold break and runoff from the boiler. Had a lower post boil gravity than intended but I did start out with slightly less in the boiler this time. Got an OG of 1.055 which is spot on. Also blocked the Insinkerator with the leaf hops but that’s another story. Just realised that I misread the recipe and used too much hops so ended up with a few more IBUs than intended. The hops weren’t particularly fresh though, so it’ll probably be fine.

16/12/2014 – First time using a lager yeast strain so a bit nervous about this one taking off, but it seems to be doing fine. No action from the airlock as yet. Will need to take a temperature reading this evening, as there’s a chance that I’m actually fermenting this too cold.

11/01/2015 – Bottled with 120g of corn sugar (17 litres at 2.6 vol). Got 6 x 750ml and 23 x 500ml bottles. Tastes fantastic, the biscuit malt and pale chocolate malt giving a wonderful toasty flavour.

01/02/2015 – I was very disappointed with this when I opened. Instantly I knew it was under-carbonated. Not hugely so, but the head formation is not good enough and not quite enough carbonation for the style. I think another 10-20g would have been perfect. On the upside, beautiful flavour. Nice bit of caramel, great “lager” flavour, dry and toasty on the finish. I was concerned there would be too much roast flavours from the pale chocolate malt, but it doesn’t come through. Instead it gives the beer a beautiful dark amber colour. One other disappointing thing is the hazy appearance, which I wouldn’t have expected in a beer that isn’t particularly well hopped.

AG#24 – Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale

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This is, without a doubt, one of the best beers I’ve done to date. The recipe was a little bit of accident. It was originally intended to be an amber IPA, but it came out darker than I intended and with a lot more dark crystal character than I wanted. It also had far too much residual sweetness to be considered an IPA, a style of beer which is supposed to be reasonably dry and easy to drink. However, the residual sweetness was perfectly balanced by the 70 IBU and beer turned out to be a delicious hoppy monster. I did a re-brew of it last year and it turned out well, but not quite as good as the original. This is my third attempt and my first all-grain version of the recipe, so I have high hopes for it. I hope to get as close to the original by closely watching my mash temperatures and volumes.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.072 SG
Estimated Color: 25.9 EBC
Estimated IBU: 70.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 82.9 %
0.450 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 6.4 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 2.9 %
0.150 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 2.1 %
0.050 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (197.0 EBC), 0.7 %
0.050 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 0.6 %
32 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 47.5 IBUs
0.300 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min], 4.3 %
30 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 7.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
30 g Summit [17.70 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 14.7 IBUs
60 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
60 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
30 g Summit [17.70 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  (500ml slurry from Little Dawg)
50 g Centennial [8.0 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 6.995 kg
Mash In           Add 18.75 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 15.36l) of 77.0 C water

07/12/2014 – Good brew day, all additions made at the right times. Mashed at 66-67C. Pitched yeast pretty cold as it was so cold outside. The yeast slurry I pitched was pretty rank looking (lots of pellet hops and trub) but I’ve done this before and had no issues. Likewise, I had the same trouble I always have separating the boiled wort from all the hops and break material. But I’ve always had the same problem with this beer and had no problems. Finished just after lunch but seeing fermentation before night fall. Got an OG of 1.070, so 2 points under target.

08/12/2014 – Impressive kreusen on the beer.

15/12/2014 – Fermentation has completely finished and cleared so I started sanitising siphon etc. in order to do racking and dry-hopping – then I realised it’s only been in the fermenter a week!! Will leave it on the yeast for another week. Might do a first dry-hop in the primary.

23/12/2014 – Dry-hopped with 48g of Centennial pellet hops, just because I had them open. Unfortunately I gad some problems with the siphon and I was forced to give up after getting only 15 litres into the secondary fermenter. Great nose off the beer.

28/12/2014 – Bottled with 99g of corn sugar (15 litres at 2.5 vol). Got 9 x 500ml and 12 x 750ml bottles from the batch.

25/01/2015 – I’d better post a tasting update on this before it’s all gone! Really delicious, as always. There’s little roasted flavour coming through, but it’s a little bit darker than I want it. I think I’ll cut the chocolate malt down by 25% next time. It’s currently more brown than amber. The hop flavour is a tiny bit grassy still, but that will dissipate. Great aroma and very good head retention. The topical flavours of the Citra are definitely poking through on both aroma and flavour. Might a little more carbonation.

11/02/2015 – Down to the last few bottles of this and it tastes amazing. Definitely a shade too dark. Will use a bit less chocolate malt next time. Hopping is great, but might substitute Citra with something different next time too, like Amarillo or Centennial.

AG#22 – Little Dawg Amber Ale

American amber ale has always been one of my favourite styles of beer, with Brewdog’s 5am Saint, one of the first hoppy craft beers I tried and my favourite for a long time. I tried to make several clones of this beer and had a reasonable level of success with my “Pie-O-My” ale. I also made a very decent version using a kit hack. As good as the attempts were, they were never quite good enough. So for this amber ale, I’m changing my approach and doing a scaled down version of my Big Dawg recipe, one of the best beers I’ve ever done. It has plenty of crystal malt for body and flavour, an insane amount of Cascade and Summit hops, and just a touch of dark crystal and chocolate malts to enhance the colour and the flavour of the beer. I know the balance of malts is excellent and provides a great malty base to layer hop flavours on.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.38 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 25.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 39.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

4.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 81.1 %
0.400 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 7.5 %
0.200 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 3.8 %
0.150 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 2.8 %
0.150 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 2.8 %
0.050 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC), 0.9 %
0.050 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 0.9 %
7 g Summit [17.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 17.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 9.2 IBUs
25 g Summit [17.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 12.7 IBUs
50 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Citra [15.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
30 g Summit [17.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
40g Citra [15.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.300 kg
Mash In           Add 14.84 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 16.35l) of 77.0 C water

Brew Day 16/11/2014 – An uneventful brew day, but started a lot later in the day than usual. I do prefer kicking these things off as early in the day as possible. The wort was a lovely colour, sort of copper/mahogany. Wort was very clear also. The only problem was the huge amount of hop material in the boiler. I had bought new hop bags which have a really fine mesh, thinking they were going to hold all of the hop pellet material. I was using all pellet hops today. But they didn’t hold much more than the regular muslin bags! I did notice that when I opened the Citra hops that they went to mush straight away. But I’ve frozen pellet hops before and they remained intact when thawed. Naturally, I got a shitload of hop and break material in the fermenter. I also got a lower volume, which seems to be happening more and more. I think its because I’m boiling with two elements more often now and getting more evaporation, but I’m getting reasonably accurate OG readings. My post-boil volume is a little less than it should be. This all points to problems with my efficiency and a need to increase my evaporation rate in BeerSmith. Pitched yeast about 7pm.

17/11/2014 – Early signs of fermentation in the bucket, despite the cold temperature in the room. Wort smells amazingly hoppy.

24/11/2014 – Fermentation almost finished, but will leave another week until the yeast fully drops before racking and dry-hopping with some Cascade.

30/11/2014 – Racked to secondary fermenter and dry-hopped with 40g of Citra pellets. I’d planned on using Cascade, more in line with the original Big Dawg recipe, but I had the open bag of Citra, and I thought it would be nice to ring the changes, given that I’ll be doing a batch of Big Dawg before the end of the week anyway. The beer was really clear for such a heavy hopping rate. I did something slightly different with the hop bag this time given that I was alarmed by how fine the hop particles in the Citra when i used them in the boiler. I boiled the hop bag as normal, then sanitised in star san and weighted the bag with marbles. I then secured the bag with a sanitised bag clip. I saved two flasks of yeast slurry, but it looked pretty grim, with lots of green hop material.

05/12/2014 – Bottled 3 x 500ml bottles and kegged the rest. There was only about 16 litres of beer in total, because I got slightly less than volume than usual. Great aroma and colour. Can’t wait to get this carbed and ready for drinking, hopefully just in time for Christmas. I haven’t done a really hoppy beer in months.

AG#16 – Monkey Feet Pale Ale

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The search continues for my “go-to” pale ale recipe and one that is worthy of the title “Monkey Feet”. For this attempt I want to use some of the lessons learned during the design of my Galway Hooker clone. Namely, a simple grain bill and restrained use of crystal malts to obtain a biscuity flavour rather than an overwhelming caramel flavour.

I’ve tried being restrained on hop additions in the past and it just doesn’t work for me. I just like hops, that’s the way it is. So I’m going to load this beer with mountains of Cascade and Mosaic, the latter being a variety I’ve never used before. Going to use massive flameout additions to give plenty of flavour and aroma. Will give the dry-hop a miss this time.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.40 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 14.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 39.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

4.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.8 EBC), 89.1 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 5.9 %
0.250 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 5.0 %
7 g Columbus [15.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 16.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
50 g Mosaic [11.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 16.8 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [10.10 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 6.7 IBUs
50 g Mosaic [11.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [10.10 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (fresh sachet)

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.050 kg
Mash In  Add 13.17 l of water at 75.7 C   68.9 C 45 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (4.84l, 12.95l) of 75.6 C water

14/06/2014 – Brewed. Had lots of problems try to separate the wort from the break material and hops. Even though I used hop bags during the brew. I suspect I might be using too much Irish moss, or adding it at the wrong time. Lately, I have been adding it at 15 mins instead of 10 mins. Might have something to do with it.

I really fecked up this beer because I got much more evaporation loss than usual. Lately I’ve been thinking that I’m not getting enough kettle caramelisation from the boil along with a lack of malt character. So today I tried boiling harder – cycling my second element on and off. By doing so, I only got 15 litres into the fermenter.

24/06/2014 – Even though the fermentation has long died off, the smell from the FV is amazing – huge fruity hop aroma. Mosaic seems to be doing the trick. Might end up being a fantastic pairing with Amarillo.

27/06/2014 – Bottled with 93g of glucose (because I was only bottling about 15 litres). Got 27 bottles from the batch. Great aroma. Little light on malt flavour though?

10/07/2014 – Wasn’t really expecting this to taste great at this early stage, but it’s pretty nice. Nice tropical fruit flavours from the hops. The sweetness is a bit cloying, but I think this would age out slightly if left to cold-condition for a bit. Need to leave a bottle in the fridge for a few days.

21/07/2014 – Pretty pleased with this given the less than ideal fermentation temperatures. Great hop flavours and aroma but it could do with being a bit more bitter and the malt flavours are a little cloying. I might consider leaving the specialty malts as they ate, but reducing the base malt to give a lower ABV.

AG#11 – Chasing Tail Pale Ale

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Intro

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 24.88 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.059 SG
Estimated Color: 11.0 EBC
Estimated IBU: 52.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

1.00 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
4.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 75.0 %
1.000 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 16.7 %
0.250 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 4.2 %
0.250 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 4.2 %
22 g Chinook [13.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 40.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
57 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 11.9 IBUs
41 g Citra [14.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
28 g Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
20 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
19 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.000 kg
Mash In Add 16.80 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 14.59l) of 77.0 C water

28/03/2014 Brew Day – Mash temp 67.5C. Used a couple of hop bags on this batch but still ended up with a stuck runoff and a lot of break material entering the fermenter. Recorded an OG of 1.064, so this is going to come out a little bit stronger than expected.

12/04/2014 – Bottled with 130g of dextrose (17.5 itres @ 2.6 vol). Got 12 x 750ml bottles and 14 x 500ml bottles from the batch. Abolsutely amazing smell from the fermenter – toasty and really fruity. Very high hopes for this recipe and suspect it could become my default pale ale recipe.

02/05/2014 – Probably a bit early for a taste, but it was in the fridge and I couldn’t help myself. Pretty good, but a bit immature. Jammy. Great hop flavours, very catty, but that’s not a bad thing. Surprising how much sweetness is there, considering there’s absolutely no crystal malt in it.Even at this early stage, there’s great head formation, really silky. Really nice colour, but not as pale as I expected. A little less Vienna next time? Hazy, but not hugely so.Plenty of tropical fruit and cattiness on the nose. Needs more bitterness perhaps, as the sweetness is very prominent.

16/05/2014 – Wow, this is really shaping up, but should be even better in a week or two. Really dank and hoppy. Lots of sweetness there still, but I wanted the beer to be a lot drier. I will try reducing the gravity on this the next time and I might drop the CaraPils, just in case that is contributing some of the sweetness I’m getting. I might also drop the Vienna malt slightly.

21/05/2014 – The combination of CaraPils and wheat malt has produced a fantastic pillow of a head, with great lacing on the glass. I think I’d definitely do this combination on any future IPAs, but I suspect the CaraPils is contributing a bit more body than I actually want in an IPA. But maybe this was caused by the mash temperature? Great hop aroma and flavours. Quite hazy. I think it needs more bitterness.


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