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grains and hops

IPA : Griz Tears IPA V2

I’d recently decided to set off on a quest to make IPA’s until I hit one that I could be happy calling a house batch.  My Bent Nail Clone was a miss, so I decided to refer back to an older recipe.  My original Grizzly Tears IPA turned out pretty great, so I used it as a starting point for my recipe.

I’ve always been a fan of Citra, and thought that Amarillo & Cascade would play nice with it, so I chose those hops, too.  I like to focus on the hop flavor way more than extreme bitterness, so I really didn’t use that many ounces of hops for the final recipe.  I also don’t care for dry hopping, though I will probably play with it again down the line.

brew pot and chiller

All-Grain Recipe: Griz Tears IPA V2 Clone

Ingredients:

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  • 11 lb. – Golden Promise Pale
  • .25 lb. – American Munich
  • .25 lb. – Crystal 40L – Great Western
  • .50 lb. – Crystal 15L – Great Western

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .5 oz. – Warrior (15%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .3 oz. – Amarillo (8.7%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .4 oz. – Warrior (15%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .75 oz. – Amarillo (8.7%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 1 min
  • 1.0 oz. – Cascade (7.3%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

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  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale & Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 14B – American IPA
  • OG 1.050 / TG 1.006
  • 5.8% ABV | Color: 7.7 SRM | ~67 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 10/13/2013, Secondary: n/a, Bottled/Kegged: 11/03/13
  • Mash Temp: ~150°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 59%, Attenuation 88%

Brewing the Griz Tears IPA V2

The Mash. Mash temp 150.5, dropped to 147ish after 1 hour.  Nice loose mash.  Stirred before a triple vorlauf.

griz-tears-IPA-V2-05The Boil. Drained about 6.5 gallons off.  Ended boil with just under 5 gallons.  30 minutes to reach boil, 90 minute boil.
Super bad efficiency.  Not sure why.

Fermenting. Planned to reuse saved yeast from an older batch, but I wasn’t happy with the zombie yeast.  I added an old frozen packet i’ve had forever (rolled the dice…).  Smells fine and the new stuff was frothy and seemed healthy.  Pitched entire amount.  
Pitched yeast at 68°.  Fermented right about 68°, with 64° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Kegged 3 weeks later, no secondary.

Drinking the Grizzly Tears IPA V2

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In my quest to make an IPA to my liking, I only had to endure to rounds of battle.   Freaking nailed it!

The Citra is stands out in a great way, with the Amarillo and Cascade rounding it out in a great way.  Really nice balance between the hops.  Lots of citrus on a really light body.  Not too sweet, not too dry.  Has a nice amount of bitterness.  Could probably up the gravity that next time if body ends up too thin.

For sure a recipe I’ll continue to refine, but this batch was almost exactly what I wanted to create.

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Mystery Hop Pale Ale

mystery-hop-ale-01Having recently moved to a different state, I didn’t have access to my previous years wealth homegrown hops. However, a friend happened to have a ton of hops growing in his back yard that were planted for decorative purposes. We don’t exactly know what they are… but that shouldn’t stop me from trying to make beer with them!

It takes about a year to forget what a pain in the ass it is to pluck hops from the vine.  It’s hours of slow, sticky work.  That said, I got a ton!

I haven’t had great success in the Pale/IPA category, but try, try again…  I’m not exactly sure why I picked what I picked for this recipe, but we’ll pretend I had a good reason.

All-Grain Recipe: Mystery Hop Pale Ale

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Ingredients:

  • 9 lbs. – German Pilsner
  • 7 oz. – Crystal Malt 10°L
  • 6 oz. – Caramunich
  • 5 oz. – Crystal Malt 60°L

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Cascade (5.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 oz. – Cascade (5.5%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 4 oz. – Wet Mystery Hop (~1 oz. dry) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 5 oz. – Wet Mystery Hop (~1 oz. dry) – added end of boil, at flame-out

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Yeast:

  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • OG 1.061 / TG 1.008
  • 6.95% ABV | Color: 10.6 °SRM | ~44 IBU’s
  • Brewed 09/02/12, Secondary ?, Bottled & Kegged 09/30/12
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 85%, Attenuation 87%

Brewing the Mystery Hop Pale Ale

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Interesting process on this batch.  I had spent so much of the day messing with the dang hops, that my mash ended kind of late in the afternoon.  I had errands to run, so I left my drained wort to cool in a covered container.  I had planned to boil the next day, but I ended up getting scared and starting the boil late in the evening.  Things went fine, it was just under the cover of darkness.  Nothing a cigar and a couple beers can’t help, however.

The Mash. Called for 3.4 gal. of strike water at 165°, using 1.35 qt/lb to get the temp to 151°.

The Boil. Done hours after the mash ended.  Used Cascade hops in pellets for the bittering additions.  Fresh hops used at 10min and flame out.  I didn’t have a clue on bittering for the Fresh Hops, so I used them for the flavor and aroma additions.  I roughly figured 4-6oz of wet hop to equal 1oz. of dry.

mystery-hop-ale-06Cooling. Used the wort chiller hooked up to the outdoor spigot.  Added 30-40 seconds of oxygen.

Fermenting. New packet of dry Safale US-05 yeast.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. I don’t have notes about a secondary on this batch, and I was out of town two weeks in.  I have a feeling this sat on yeast for 4 weeks until it was kegged and bottled.

Drinking the Mystery Hop Pale Ale

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This batch was never really bad or good.  I had a run of a few batches that had a weird green apple character, and this was one of them.  It wasn’t foul, just not really great to drink.  I don’t love fresh hop beers, so maybe I just wasn’t a fan of this one for that reason.

This batch eventually got drank, but not because it was great… I still need to dial in a good Pale or IPA base so I have a better starting point when it comes to batches like this.

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Batch 42 : “What The Fruit” Pale Ale

I moved to a new city in May of 2012.  This really put a kink in my brewing schedule for the better part of 6 months.  I wasn’t able to have anything in the fermenter or secondary when I left town, and it took some time before I was settled in to the new city before I was ready to try a new batch.  Once I was finally ready, I opted to make a batch using supplies on hand and some basic grains.  It’s fairly random, but I had some honey I wanted to use, some crystal grains, and various hop leftovers.

When it was all said and done, I had a boring batch of beer, but a good one to get me back in to the swing of brewing.  The brew day and batch of beer turned out just fine, but I still felt like I needed to play with things.  I’d come across a bottle of Apricot extract at a homebrew shop.  The use of homegrown hops meant that this Pale had fallen a little flat, and it wasn’t an interesting beer.  When it came time to keg, I decided to make things interesting, adding in some Apricot flavoring…. and “What the Fruit” was born.

Ingredients: What the Fruit?

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All-Grain Recipe

  • 10 lbs. – American 2-row
  • 16 oz. – Carapils
  • 8 oz. – Crystal Malt 60°L
  • 4 oz. – Crystal Malt 80°L
  • 33 oz. – Honey
  • Whirlfloc Tablet – added during boil, boiled 15 min

Hop Additions

 

  • .9 oz. – Cluster (6.8%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • what-the-fruit-02.5 oz. – Cluster (6.8%) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • .5 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .7 oz. – Centennial (10%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added end of boil

Yeast

  • Safale S-05 Dry Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • OG 1.061 / TG 1.006
  • 7.22% ABV | Color: 11.23 °SRM | 62 IBU’s
  • Brewed 06/03/12, Secondary 06/16/12, Kegged 06/30/12
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 62%

Brewing “What the Fruit” Pale Ale

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My first batch in a new city.  Fortunately, the water in PDX is said to be great for brewing, so I’m done goofing with water (at least for a while).  The first time brewing in a new location is an undertaking of it’s own.  It was a challenge to find everything, and another challenge to figure out how to use everything in the confines of my new space, but things went well enough.

The Mash.  Used about 3.5 gallons of stike water at 164°.  It ended up a little warm, so stirred until it was 151°.  1 hour Mash, then recirculate 3 gallons of wort and Sparge with 5 gallons of water at 170° for ~1 hour.  Drain off about 6 gallons in to the boil pot.  Generally do more, but didn’t have enough hot sparge water to pull 6.5 gallons.

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The Boil.  Nothing too exciting here.  I used a mix of store bought hops, and some that I had grown myself.  The Cascade and Centennial additions are mostly from my garden.  Tossed in Whirlfloc and the Wort Chillers with 15 minutes to go.

Cooling.  Summertime ground water is warm.  This took about an hour.

 

Fermenting.  Straining the wort in to the fermenter went poorly.  Too many whole cone hops, which held on to a lot of the liquid.  I ended up having to top off with about 1/2 gallon of water.

what-the-fruit-01Racking to Secondary & Kegging.  Upon racking to the secondary, I was unexcited about this batch.  Combine that with my inability to ever leave well enough alone, and I decided to add some fruit flavor to the batch.  I had picked up lemon extract and some Apricot flavoring.  I used about a cap of the lemon and about 2.5 oz of the Apricot stuff (half the bottle).  More on this decision below…  After a couple of weeks in the secondary, I kegged this whole batch.  One less step to worry about.

Drinking the Fruit Pale Ale

Fruit might have been a cute idea, but I went way too far with it.  The apricot dominated, while the lemon wasn’t really a factor.  I don’t know that the batch would have been very good to begin with, but it wasn’t great with the added flavor, either.  The fruit was pretty obnoxious.   The base beer was smooth and easy drinking, so in the end all 5 gallons were consumed.

Though not a winner, this was the second batch in a row without any contamination (with many successes to follow), so at least there is that!

 

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Batch 40 : C-Bomb Pale Ale

Sometimes you end up with a bunch of leftover hops.  That was the case when it came time to brew this beer.  Ultimately, this is the same receipe as I had used for the Crosstown Pale that’d I’d made, but with modifications based on existing materials.  I needed to get rid of some hops, so I wanted to go kinda hop heavy, too.

The name for this one comes from all of the “C” hops used.

Ingredients: C-Bomb Pale Ale

All-Grain Recipe

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  • 9 lbs. – German 2-row Pilsner Malt
  • 7 oz. – Crystal 15
  • 6 oz. – German CaraMunich
  • 5 oz. – Crystal 60

Hop Additions

  • .4 oz. – Columbus (13.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .4 oz. – Chinook (11.2%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .4 oz. – Centennial (8.7%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .3 oz. – Columbus (13.9%) – added end of boil
  • .5 oz. – Chinook (11.2%) – added end of boil
  • .6 oz. – Cascade (5%) – added end of boil

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Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.056 / FG 1.009
  • 6.05% ABV | Color: 10.79 °SRM | 38.1 IBU’s
  • Brewed 2/25/12, Secondary 03/11/12, Bottled 03/18/12
  • Temps: ~153° Mash, ~65° in Primary

Brewing C-Bomb Pale Ale

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The brew day on this one went pretty straightforward.  I had mashed in at 165°, then cooled a little too quick, so added hot water to get to 153°.  This made the mash pretty watery to about 1.4 qt/lb, but it was okay.  As I’d recently started doing, I did a 3 gallon vorlauf after the 60 minute mash (recirculate the wort one gallon at a time through the grain bed until wort draws clearer).  Drew about 7 gallons to boil.

Once the wort came to a boil, I let that run for about 30 mintues before I started my hop additions.

After the completion of the boil, I ran the wort chiller for about 30 minutes, then added 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient and 35 seconds of oxygen.  I strained the boiled wort in to the fermenting bucket that had just contained my previous batch, so the yeast cake was good and fresh.

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For some reason my efficiency on this batch was crazy high, which probably means one of my grain measurements is off, but close enough.  After 2 weeks in the primary, I racked to the secondary.  At this point, the batch was GREAT.  As has been my M.O., that didn’t hold.

The first week after this went in to the bottles and keg it was great, then that damn contamination set it…

Drinking the Pale Ale

What was probably a great batch was yet again ruined by my contamination issues.  I think this was the last batch that went bad.  Either way, I had plenty of able drinkers to take care of this less-than-perfect Ale.  Ultimately, the contamination just made the beer extra dry and over carbonated.  Not the end of the world.  Would love to revisit this recipe someday.

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Batch 39 : Crosstown Pale Clone

Back in January, I took a trip out to Portland, OR, where I was able to visit a bunch of breweries.  One of my favorites was a place called Hopworks (HUB).  While sitting at the bar, I was able to see the ingredient list for a beer that I absolutely loved, called Crosstown Pale Ale.  I made several changes, based on items I had on had, and I totally guessed on all the ratios, but the end product was “inspired” by the Crosstown Pale.

Ingredients: Crosstown Pale Ale

All-Grain Recipe

  • 9.5 lbs. – 2-row Pilsner Malt
  • 9 oz. – Crystal 15
  • 6 oz. – German CaraMunich
  • 3 oz. – Crystal 60

Hop Additions

  • .5 oz. –  Centennial (10%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .6 oz. – Cascade (5%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .6 oz. –  Centennial (10%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Cascade (5%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min
  • .3 oz. –  Centennial (10%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min

Yeast

  • Safale S-05 Dry Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.053 / FG 1.009
  • 5.78% ABV | Color: 9.53 °SRM | 35.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 2/11/12, Bottled 02/25/2012 (no secondary)
  • Temps: ~153° Mash, ~65° in Primary

Brewing Pale Ale

Due to a recent move, I’m waaaaaay behind on my last few batches.  I have to work from memory and my notes, so this one will be shorter than usual.  For this batch, I played a bit with my mash water.  I used 1 gal. tap water and 4 gal. RO with 1stp (.1 0z) gypsum added.  I added 3.8 gallons of this water to the grains for my mash, settling in at a temp of 153.3°.  Over the course of this hour long mash, I heated the sparge water, which was composed of 1 gal. tap water + 3 gal. RO + 1 gal. of leftover mash water.  I heated the sparge water to about 166° for the HLT.

After getting to brew at a real brewery in January, I had learned the power of the vorlauf.  I think this was the first batch where I really paid attention to it.  I recirculated 3 gallons of the wort (1 gal. at a time) back over the mashed grains.  I’d always done one or two, but the third is where you really see a difference in the clarity of the wort.  Doing the vorlauf serves to set the grain bed and provide much better filtration.

I ran off 7 gallons of wort in to my brew pot.  Boiled for about 30 minutes before beginning my hop additions.  Ended with ~6 gallons of wort in the kettle, which was cooled and strained in to the ferm bucket.  30 seconds of oxygen were infused, and dry yeast was sprinkled on top.  24 hours later, decent rolling bubble in the airlock at 65°.

I wanted to see how quick I could go from brew to keg on this batch.  I kegged the entire batch, doing so only 2 weeks from the brew date, and force carbing for a party I was having.

Drinking the Pale Ale

First off, 2 weeks wasn’t enough time to age this one.  As I had used hops grown in my garden, the beer needed some extra time to mellow.  For whatever reason, my garden hops generally have a pronounced tangy flavor that ages out after a month or so.  This batch was super tangy and sweet upon first drink.  It was green beer, and tasted like green beer.  No real shock.

As time progressed, this turned out to be a pretty nice beer.  There’s nothing super about it, but it was a fine,  if a little boring Pale Ale.  The pilsner malt gives a nice sweetness that I like over regular 2-row.  Beyond that… I don’t really remember much about this beer.  Ha!  That’s what I get for waiting so long to do the write up…

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Batch 35: American Pale Ale

After a couple of problematic previous batches, I needed to right the ship.  I bought some heavy duty cleaning detergent from my LHBS, and cleaned every piece of equipment that I use.  In hindsight, should have done that a long, long time ago.  I was under the impression that sanitization was the most important thing to think about.  Turns out, any little bit of film or residue that doesn’t come off with a rinse or a soak can also contaminate your beer.  Clean AND Sanitize.  Now I know.

Over the last few batches, I’d accumulated a lot of leftover hops.  The idea for this batch was to make a beer to get rid of some of them, without going to wild.  I’m still searching for my favorite IPA or Pale base, so I aimed a lot lighter on this one.  American 2-row base with a mix of 10L & 40L crystal malts.  Heavy on this Citra and Cascade hops late in the boil, I was hoping to get quite a bit of flavor & aroma from both.

Ingredients:  Grizzly Tears APA

All-Grain Recipe

  • 10 lb American 2-row
  • 3 oz. – Crystal 60
  • 8 oz. – Crystal 10
  • 2 tsp. – 5.2 pH Stabilizer
  • 1 Tablet – Whirfloc – added to during boil, boiled 10 min

Hop Additions

  • .5 oz. – Tomahawk (16.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .9 oz Citra (10.3%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • 1 oz Cascade (5.5%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min

Yeast

  • WYeast 1056 American Ale.  New smack pack.

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.046 / FG 1.008
  • 4.96% ABV | Color: 6.1 °SRM | 37.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 10/23/11, Secondary 11/05/2011, Kegged 11/12/2011
  • Temps: ~150° Mash, 75° Pitch Yeast,  ~63° in Primary, ~70° Secondary

Brewing the American Pale Ale

This batch went pretty smooth.  My mash started out a little cooler than I’d wanted at 150°, but I kept adding small amounts of boiling water throughout.  Final temp was about 148°  I heated 5 gallons of sparge water to 165°, draining about 7 gallons to my brew pot.

Nothing exciting about the boil.  I generally let the pot boil 15-30 minutes before adding hops, then make my additions accordingly.  I add the wort chiller and whirfloc with 10 minutes to go in the boil.  After the boil, my wort chiller is hooked up to the outdoor hose (when it’s not frozen).  Winter in MT is an easy time to cool a pot if it’s about 35° outside.  I cooled the boil pot to 80° before straining it in to my fermenting bucket.

By the time I added 40 seconds of oxygen and pitched the yeast, my final temp settled in at 75°.

Due to impatience, I sped up the processing time on this batch.  2 weeks in the primary, 1 week in the secondary, then bottled.

Drinking the Grizzly Tears APA

I drink Pale Ales and IPA’s.  It stands to reason that I’d like to brew those styles for myself, but in three years of brewing I’d yet to make one I truly enjoyed.  I’ve made a couple that were fine, and a few that were awful, but none I’d even call good.  This batch finally changed things for me.  I’d finally made a hoppy beer that didn’t get too bitter.  The body is light and crisp, and the Citra hits you hard.  I may never be completely satisfied with a Pale that I made, but this one is by far the closest I’ve been.  I’ve been more than happy to share this one.

I’ve been a huge fan of Citra as a hop for a while, so it was great to make a nice beer with it.  I doubt I’ll repeat this batch exactly, but I’ll certainly come back to it for inspiration on future batches.

One thing to note about this one is that it didn’t age well.  This one was great out of the gate, but a few months later the few that are left aren’t very good anymore.  I can’t pin down exactly why, but it’s probably a lack of complexity in the grain bill.  Don’t be worried to drink this one fast.

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Fresh Hop Ale 2011

I planted some hops this year!  I’d been wanting to do it for a while, but always missed the very small window to plant in the Spring.  This year I did, and get two varieties in the ground. I planted two rhizomes each of Centennial and Cascade.  I’m not overly familiar with Centennial, but it’s such a common “C” hop that I figured it’d be a safe choice.  I was told not to expect much for first year growth, but was pleasantly surprised.  I was able to get enough to do this batch and have a couple ounces of each left over for future batches!  It’s worth noting… picking hops from the vine is a LOT more work than I’d anticipated.  What a pain!

This was my first time brewing with whole hops, much less wet hops, so I was sort of winging it.  I’d also had yet to pull of an APA or IPA I was particularly fond of, so this recipe was just a roll of the dice.  I prefer my hoppy ales to be lighter in color, and not as copper, so I picked a really light and simple grain bill for this batch, modeled as an American Pale Ale.  As far as hop utilization, I found a couple places that suggested dividing the weight by 5 or 6.  I picked 6 and played conservative from there.  This batch is heavier on the Centennial than the Cascade, as I had quite a bit more of the Centennial to work with.

Ingredients:  Fresh Hop Ale 2011

All-Grain Recipe

  • 10.5 lb American 2-row
  • 1.1 lb Carafoam
  • 1 tsp 5.2 pH Stabilizer – added to mash
  • 1 tablet Whirfloc – added to during boil, boiled 10 min

Hop Additions

  • 2.5 oz Centennial Whole, Fresh (~10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .4 oz Cascade Pellets (6%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 2 oz Centennial Whole, Fresh (~10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 2.5 oz Centennial Whole, Fresh (~10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • 3 oz Centennial Whole, Fresh (~10.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min
  • 5 oz Cascade Whole, Fresh (~6%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min

Yeast

  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.048 / FG 1.012
  • 4.76% ABV
  • Brewed 09/03/11.  Racked to Secondary 09/18/11.  Bottled 10/03/11.
  • Divided Fresh Hop weights by 6 for calculations in Beer Tools.

Brewing the Fresh Hop Ale

Prepared my strike water as usual by heating 5 gallons of water in a ratio of 3 gal RO to 2 gal Tap.  I used 3.6 gallons of strike water at 164° in an effort to get to 152°.  Aimed a bit hot and stirred to cool from 157°.  I also added 1 tsp of 5.2 pH Stabilizer to the mash.  I added additional RO and tap water to my brew pot to heat for lautering.  The 5 gallons turned out not to be enough sparge water, and I was only able to get just above 6 gallons of wort.  Should have had an extra gallon ready to add, but didn’t.  Added 1/2 gallon of clean water prior to fermentation.  Also had very low efficiency due to the lack of wort (usually do 6.5 gal).

The boil on this batch was FUN!  Fresh hops are bulky to deal with, but the brew pot looks awesome.  I’ve read plenty on not using fresh hops for bittering, but opted to do it anyway, using 2.5 oz of Centennial at the 60 mark.  I also used some pellet Cascade as backup.  I also used a 30 minute Fresh Hop step as an addition backup for some bittering.  In all honesty, I think the 30 minute addition was just so I could throw more of the bright green cones in to my pot…

I chose to do my final additions at 5 minutes and flame-out.  If I had it to do again, I think I’d push the 5 minute addition back to 10 minutes.  Probably similar, but I was pushing harder for aroma than flavor.  Someday I’d like to experiment more with addition times, at this point I make it up as I go.

After the boil, I cooled with my chiller, then strained in to the fermenting bucket. Getting all the whole cones out of the wort got pretty messy, and they held a lot of wort, so my final volume came up a little shorter than I’d hoped for.  I topped off the wort with about 1/2 gallon of water to get to 5 gallons.  This was the first batch in an eventual run of 4, and got used fresh yeast!  After pouring the yeast in to the wort, I pumped in about 40 seconds of oxygen.  When it was all said and done I capped the fermenter at 79°.

Drinking the 2011 Fresh Hop Ale

A week after bottling I cracked open one of these and was blown away… but not in a good way.  I don’t even know the words to use to describe the flavor of this beer at that point.  It was sweet and really tangy.  Easily the worst I’ve had a beer taste a week after bottling.  So I gave it another week.  That tangy flavor was still present, but it was mellowing out.  At this point it was okay, but the balance was really off.  A little too sweet, and bitter without really being hoppy.  I’d pretty much conceded that this was as good as it was going to get at this point, and more or less put it aside to drink better beers.  I’m glad I did.  5 or 6 weeks after bottling, this batch actually turned out pretty great!  My only guess is that the fresh hop character takes a little while to fade away.  I think boiling all the fresh hops took on a little bit too much off the ‘green’.  Once things had time to mellow, this is actually my best Pale Ale to date.  I recently had a Fresh Hop from a local brewery, and the two are almost identical.  Turns out I may not love Fresh Hop Ales, but this one was right about how it was supposed to be.  Good to know these Fresh Hop Ales need a little mellow time.  Mark this one as a success!

Contamination Update

Primary Explosion! Use a blowff tube.

NOTE:  My previous two batches were slightly contaminated.  I didn’t realize until just before bottling this one.  Luckily I’d realized my problem was likely connected to my bottling bucket.  Before brewing this batch I cleaned all of my brewing equipment with heavy duty brewing cleaner, and replaced all of my hoses.  This brew, and each batch since, are perfectly fine.  In fact they’re the best I’ve made all year.  A shame I was slowly ruining so many beers!

Also, I have included a picture of my Primary Bomb from this batch.  I opted for a bubbler airlock instead of a blowoff tube.  The result was a very messy beer fridge.

 

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Tongue Splitter American Pale Ale

I try to buy all of my ingredients locally.  I have a great LHBS, and I make a point to see that they get as much of my money as I can spend there.  However, I had an item that I wanted to order from Northern Brewer, so I decided to pick up a couple of All-Grain kids to round out my order.  They have some great prices, and for a ultra hoppy beer like this one, it’s a lot cheaper to buy the hops pre-measured than buy 2 oz of each variety.  I purchased the Tongue Splitter and Scottish 60/- kits.  The Scottish is the batch that follows this one.   I’d also wanted to make some ‘lighter’ beers for Summer, so both of these batches tend to be a little lower alcohol than most I have made.

Ingredients:  Tongue Splitter APA

All-Grain Recipe

  • 8 lb American 2-row
  • .5 lb Caramel Pils
  • .5 lb CaraMalt

Hop Additions

  • .5 Summit (18.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 oz Glacier (5.6%) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • 1 oz Cascade (6.0%) – added during boil, boiled 2 min
  • .5 oz Liberty (4.0%) – added during boil, boiled 2 min
  • .5 oz Cascade (6.0%) – in Secondary for 1 week
  • .5 oz Liberty (4.0%) – in Secondary for 1 week

Yeast

  • Fermentis Safbrew S-33

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG ~1.044 / FG 1.013 / Second FG 1.080 – additional fermentation in secondary
  • 4.81% ABV
  • Brewed 05/07/11, Secondary 05/22/2011, Bottled 06/04/11
  • Fermentation temps:  ~64° in Primary, ~70° Secondary

Brewing the TS American Pale Ale

Hot Break

This batch was a pretty easy one to create.  The hops are all pre-measured, and the grains were already crushed.  I started the mash as usual.  I warmed 5 gallons of water at a 3/2 jug to tap ratio.  Warmed the water to 167°, and used 2.8 gallons, which put the grains at 156°.  I cooled that with ice to get it to 152°, then let that work it’s magic for an hour.  Toward the end of the hour, I recirculated 1 gallon of the runoff, pouring it back over the grain bed.  Then I sparged at 170° for about an hour, draining 6.5 gallons (a bit more than I meant to drain).

I got the wort to a boil after about 20 minutes, and started my hop clock.  I currently let the boil run for about 30 minutes before starting my hop clock, but didn’t do that on this batch.  The hop additions were nice, because this kit had everything already measured out.  At the end of the boil, I cooled with my wort chiller, then strained in to my fermentation bucket.  At this point I pumped in about 30 seconds of oxygen.  Next up, time to sprinkle on the yeast!

Boiling the Wort Chiller

This batched used a yeast I’ve never used before, a Safbrew S-33. Described as a “very popular general purpose yeast, displaying both very robust conservation properties and consistent performance. This yeast produces superb flavour profiles and is used for the production of a varied range of top fermented special beers (Belgian type wheat beers, Trappist, etc.).”

I let the yeast soak for about 10 minutes, then gave it a good stir and capped it for 2 weeks, at which time I racked it over to the secondary.  This is where things get goofy…  When I racked everything over the FG was 1.013 – exactly where I expected it to be.  The beer had an amazing flavor, and I was REALLY excited to get this one to the bottle.  I left it in the secondary for one week before it was time to dry hop.  Over the course of that week, it appeared to be fermenting a bit.  The top foamed up a fair amount, and things appeared to be happening.  Either way, I added my hops and let it sit for another week.

Dry Hopping

When it came time to bottle, I measured the FG, and it had changed… quite a bit.  I went from 1.013 to 1.080.  The flavor was okay, but nowhere near as nice as it had been 2 weeks prior.  The thin bodied base had taken on a bit of a fusil character.  Not bad, but not smooth like it had been.  Over time, this beer ended up taking on the classic “green apple” flavor, which is often due to poor sanitization.  It would appear something wasn’t clean when I racked to the secondary.  Damn.

Drinking the Tongue Splitter APA

As I mentioned already, this beer was great, then less great.  Looking past the fermentation issues, the flavor on this one is GREAT.  I tend to lean toward lighter bodied ales, and this is exactly that.  The mixture of hops is really nice.  It’s very hoppy, but the flavors balance out really nicely.  I can’t really speak to the yeast I used, as I don’t blame it for my issues.  I ended up using it for my upcoming Scottish 60, and for my “Scraps” IPA.  In the end, it’s not my favorite yeast, but i worked okay.

I may have missed the mark on this batch, but it is a recipe I’ll attempt again.  I loved the hop combination, and the light body was really nice.  Worth brewing, just sanitize your equipment properly!

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Washing Yeast

Lately I’ve become a big fan of reusing yeast.  Especially when using liquid yeast, it seems like you should get more than one batch of beer out of something that is such a large portion of your cost per brew.  I’ve read that reusing once is fine, twice is okay, but after that you’re running higher risks of contamination.  I’ll push those limits later, but for now I wanted to stretch the yeast to a third brew.

My last two batches have used and re-used a pack of Safale US-05.  Both the Blonde Ale and the Honey Ale turned out great, so why not try for a third round?  At this same time, I was reading a book about Yeast, so I was all about playing a little bit.  I wanted to go through the process of washing the yeast.  Washing yeast is basically the process of separating used yeast from the trub that has settled at the bottom of the fermenter.  You can reuse the whole yeast cake, but you’ll probably get better results over the long term if you remove old hop particles, dead yeast cells, etc., from the mix.

When I racked over my Honey Ale, I took a few scoops of the twice-used yeast from the empty fermenter.  I used a funnel and scooped it in to a sanitized growler.  I then added some boiled and cooled water and shook it all up.  It’s pretty interesting to watch the various levels of separation.  Each different element in the used yeast cake settles at a different rate.  The crud you don’t want settles the quickest, then the yeast settles on top of that.  The top area appears to be the lightest liquid levels.  The yeast stay suspended in the liquid for a while, but you can see clear-brown water remains as the yeast settle out.

I let the growler mixture settle for a few hours, then transferred to a mason jar.  I poured off the liquid layer at the top, then tried to pour the middle layers in to the new jar, leaving the heavy bottom layer behind.  I kept this new jar of cleaned yeast for a week before I was ready to use it in the Leftover Ale.

Making the Leftover Ale

As the name would suggest, I had a bunch of random ingredients around, so I decided to brew a small batch of beer.  More than anything I wanted to test out my washed yeast, but didn’t want to lose a whole batch if it wasn’t any good.  I had several types of hops left around, as well as some crystal malts.  I didn’t have grains around, but I did have some Amber Malt and some Honey.  The Mr. Beer Kegs I bought are perfect for a small batch, so I figured why don’t I make a batch of beer?

Ingredients: Leftover Ale

Fermentables

  • 27 oz Amber DME
  • .5 oz Crystal Malt 40L (steeped for 20min)
  • 16 oz Honey – added at end of boil, (0 min)

Hop Additions

  • .4 oz Simcoe – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 oz Cascade – added during boil, boiled 5 min

Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.057 / FG 1.011
  • 5.95% ABV
  • Brewed: 02/05/2011, Secondary: 02/12/11, Bottled: 02/19/11
  • Efficiency 75% – Attenuation 80% (from Beer Tools)
  • Fermentation temps: ~60° in Primary, ~64° Secondary
  • Small batch.  Fermented in Mr. Beer Keg using washed yeast.

Brewing the Leftover Ale

I went with a 2.5 gallon boil for this one.  I started off by steeping 5 oz. of 40L Crystal Malt for 20 min at about  155°.  Then I raised the heat and added my DME when the temp came almost to a boil.  I let this roll for 10 minutes before making my 30 minute Simcoe hop addition. The second and final addition was 1 oz of Cascade with 5 minutes left in the boil.  Finally, I added the pound of Honey at the end of the boil, stirring it in to dissolve it.

I brewed on a cold day, so I covered the pot and set it outside for a while.  That didn’t work very fast, so I gave it an ice bath for a while longer.  It took about an hour, but once the temp was about 88° I strained the wort in to a Mr. Beer Keg.  At this point, I poured the room temp. washed yeast in to the keg and gave it a good stir, then off to the fermentation fridge.

After a couple of weeks, I racked the beer over to a second Mr. Beer Keg.  After another 2 weeks it was time to bottle.  While I have mixed feelings on the Mr. Beer brews, I have to admit these kegs are really handy for small batches.  Being able to bottle from the little tap on the side is pretty dang cool.  As with my usual “Mr. Beer” brews, I used the little measuring tool and used cane sugar for priming.  All in all, I ended up with 5 liter bottles and 1 growler.  Barely worth the work, but this batch was in the name of science!

Drinking the Leftover Ale

Jokes were made after I brewed this beer that it would be one of my best creations, but impossible to recreate.  Truth be told, that’s not too far from the truth.  The combination of the Amber Malt with the Honey created a pretty nice base for a Pale Ale, and the Simcoe & Cascade were really nice together.  I didn’t mess with filtered water (as I’d done with my Blonde & Honey Ale), so I think my hard water gave it a little bit of the bitter quality that I’ve found in my other Pales and IPA’s.

Overall, though, the Simcoe & Cascade made a really nice combination.  I’d really like to revisit that combination in the future.  I read someplace that Simcoe can have a bit of a passion-fruit flavor, and I really agreed in this beer.  Someday I’d like to try Simcoe with added orange & lime peel and go as tropical as I can go.  Whether anybody will drink it… I don’t know.

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