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IPA : Bent Nail Clone

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Moving from MT to OR opens up a huge new world of beer, and honestly most Oregon beer is like comparing a college student to a freshman in high school.  Plenty of reasons, but the beer culture here is so hard core that you can make some pretty niche stuff.  Montana breweries often have to please a less refined palette.  Not to say they aren’t good, but there’s just a lack of interesting styles.  While I’m rambling… It’s worth mentioning that the best Scottish & Scotch Ales you can find anywhere are being made in MT (Cold Smoke, Jacks 90 Shilling, Copper John).

Anyways… there’s a beer I missed after moving.  Bent Nail IPA from Red Lodge Ales is one of my favorite beers.  It’s not the hoppy-est, it’s not the booziest, it’s not the anything-est, but it’s light, refreshing, tasty, and everything I love about an IPA.  It’s a pretty basic IPA, and I decided that I wanted to take a swing at creating something similar.

I was able to tour the brewery years ago, and I vaguely remembered which hops I was told they use.  They don’t publish many details about the beer, so I was basically guessing on everything.  That’s part of the fun, right?  My “clone” is more of a tribute than anything else, especially since my final product wasn’t even close!

All-Grain Recipe: Bent Nail IPA Clone

Ingredients:

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  • 12.75 lb. – Great Western 2-row
  • 1 lb. – Crystal 60L
  • .75 lb. – American Munich
  • .25 lb. – Caramel Malt 40L

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1.5 oz. – Northern Brewer (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 50 min
  • 1.5 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1.75 oz. – Northern Brewer (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • 1.6 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

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  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 14B – American IPA
  • OG 1.060 / TG 1.007
  • 7.1% ABV | Color: 11.0 SRM | ~75 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 08/10/2013, Secondary: 08/24/13, Bottled/Kegged: 09/07/13
  • Mash Temp: ~149°, Thickness: 1.08 qt/g, Efficiency 59%, Attenuation 89%

Brewing the Bent Nail IPA Clone

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The Mash. Too much grain for my setup, so I was forced to go with a thicker mash than usual.  Efficiency suffered big time as a result.  Nailed my temp of 149° and let it sit for 75 minutes.

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The Boil. Pulled off 6.5 gallons for the boil.  Let it boil 20-30 minutes before adding hops.  Screwed up and added Cascade at 30 min.  The original recipe had called for a 10 minute addition.  Shortened the overall boil by 10 minutes to reduce bitterness.  Didn’t boil down as much as usual.  Ended up with almost 6 gallons to ferment.

Cooling. Indoor in shop sink. ~30 min.

Fermenting. 30-45 seconds of oxygen, plus yeast nutrient added before fermentation.   Created a yeast starter the day before brewing.  Had a good start, 2 or 3 days would have been nicer.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Racked to secondary 2 weeks later.  Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Bent Nail IPA Clone

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Swing and a miss!  The hops are pretty close to what I wanted, but the beer is cloying.  It’s okay to drink, but it’s just so damn sweet.  It’s unbalanced and needs to be way dryer to come across as an IPA.  My next batch was another IPA with crystal grain levels dialed way back and more 2-row.  THAT is the body I was shooting for.  This combination of hops, with that combination of grains should get pretty close to the desired result.  I haven’t tried that yet, but it’ll happen soon.

It’s worth mentioning, if you’re ever brewery touring in MT, make a point to get to the tiny town of Red Lodge to visit Red Lodge Ales!

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Kölsch Ale V2

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This is round two, of my 2013 Kölsch project.  Both recipes were based on research I’d done through books and the internet.  I don’t know if either one was specifically based on any one source, though BYO Magazine probably played a factor in one of them.

This second Kölsch reuses the same yeast from the first Kölsch I brewed. I brewed this batch 2 weeks after the first one, and strained the wort directly on to the yeast cake from the recently fermented batch.

All-Grain Recipe: Kölsch Ale V2

Ingredients:

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  • 10.3 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • .4 lb – Vienna Malt

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1.5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min

Yeast:

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Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on Kölsch – 6C
  • OG 1.060 / TG 1.010
  • 6.5% ABV | Color: 4.1 °SRM | ~24 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 05/12/2013, Secondary: none, Bottled/Kegged: 06/02/13
  • Mash Temp: ~149°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 80%, Attenuation 83%

Brewing the Kölsch V2

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Kind of a problematic batch, with a few dumb missteps, but the final product didn’t seem to suffer as a result.

The Mash. Missed the mash in temp by a ton, to about 156°.  Cooled with ice, but too far, then heated with more water, used about 4 gallons total.  Final temp was 148.5°, so should have been pretty close, maybe over cool.  Mashed for 90 minutes.  Stirred really well before doing the 3 cycle vorlauf, hoping to help efficiency.  Pulled off first 4 gallons and started heat.  Added 2 more gallons 20 min later.    Very cloudy wort.

The Boil.  Crazy bubbly.  Boiled over on first boil, then foamed to the top with first hop addition.  Boiled for probably 30 minutes before adding hops. Added whirfloc with 10 minutes remaining in the boil.

Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water. ~30 min.  Cooled to 68°.

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Fermenting. No oxygen on this one, lots of stirring. Fermented at about 60° in temp controlled fermentation fridge. Kept cool for 2 weeks.  Primary stayed in fridge at about 50-55° after fermentation.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Chose to rush things for no good reason, skipping the secondary.  Bottling same day is Kölsch V1.  TONS of yeast in the primary.  Was worried about additional fermentation in bottles, but nothing bad happened. 

Super cloudy at bottling. Should have settled for a week or two in secondary.  Bottled 3 growlers and keg.  Flavor nowhere near as good at bottling, but probably due to yeast.  Kölsch V1 wasn’t great when racked over either.

Drinking the Kölsch V2

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Really liked this one.  Simple flavors, but really let that Kölsch yeast shine through.  Even with all of the weird issues along the way, things turned out well.

I think the yeast health was a little better on this batch, from using a healthy yeast cake.  That seemed to give the batch an overall better flavor than my first effort.  As mentioned in my Kölsch V1 write up, this beer was better from the keg, while the other batch was better bottled.

Definitely something I can improve upon, but really happy with both Kölsch batches of homebrew.

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Kölsch Ale V1

kolschV1-03I’ve been really enjoying Kölsch beers lately, so I wanted to branch out and try brewing a couple.  In an effort to cut costs, and try a couple of different recipes, I made the decision to brew two Kölsch batches back to back, reusing yeast.

For those who aren’t familiar, “Kölsch is ale that tastes like a lager. The beer has a very soft mouthfeel. It can be slightly sweet, but has no malty aroma and finishes very dry. Some Kölschbiers have some fruity flavor, but it is very slight. Any fruitiness in the beer should be very subtle.  Kölsch is similar to an American Blonde Ale, but finishes much cleaner and crisper.”   Quoted from Beersmith.

All-Grain Recipe: Kölsch Ale

Ingredients:

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  • 8.5 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • .5 lb – Vienna Malt
  • 4 lb. – White Wheat Malt

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Tettnanger (4.8%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .7 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .3 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added end of boil

Yeast:

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  • Wyeast 2565 Kölsch

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on Kölsch – 6C
  • OG 1.050 / TG 1.008
  • 5.5% ABV | Color: 3.9 °SRM | ~26.1 IBU’s
  • Brewed 04/23/2013, Secondary 05/12/13, Bottled/Kegged 06/02/13
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 75%, Attenuation 84%

Brewing the Kölsch

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Kind of a problematic batch, with a few dumb missteps, but the final product didn’t seem to suffer as a result.

The Mash. Mash at 151° for an hour.  Pulled off first 3 gallons of wort, then started boil.  Overflowed the 5th pitcher for who knows how long… Added to about 6 gallons, heating along the way.

The Boil. TONS of coagulant in the boil. Flame blew out after about 30 minutes.  Kept terrible notes on this one, and hop additions are generally off due to the boil issues.  Extended overall boil by 10 minutes to make up for lost time.

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Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water. ~30 min.

Fermenting. Added 45 seconds of oxygen & cap full of yeast nutrient.  Fermented at about 60° in temp controlled fermentation fridge.  Kept cool for 13 days.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Warmed up 1 day before secondary.  Yeast is floating on top, wort is very cloudym but gravity is in the right range.  Kept in the closet at 65° for 2 weeks.  Bottled half, kegged half.

Drinking the Kölsch V1

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Pretty happy with my first shot at a Kölsch.  I feel like I could have probably aged it out a bit longer, but the taste is great.  Happy with the recipe, overall.  Compared to my second Kölsch (recipe to follow this one), it was better tasting out of a bottle, but not quite as tasty out of the keg.  No idea why, it just lent itself to the crisper carbonation from bottle conditioning.

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Honey Wheat Ale

honey-wheat-ale-07After trying out a Honey Rye, I’d had a request to brew a Honey Wheat Ale.  I’ve created some decently successful Wheat Ales, so I decided to refer to a few of my older Wheat Ale recipes for inspiration.  For the honey, I went with a honey malt instead of actual honey.  I’ve never been that impressed with the flavor I’ve gotten from real honey, and I wanted the flavor of honey.  In my experience, the honey malt provides a better honey flavor than actual honey does.  Real honey tends to ferment away and dry things out.

The all-grain recipe is mostly wheat malt and pilsner malt.  Honey malt and Munich are used for a little character.  The hops are the same as you might find in a Pilsner, but also what I’ve liked in Blond Ales I’ve made.  The attempt is a spicy blond ale / wheat ale hybrid.  In my mind this all makes sense…

All-Grain Recipe: Honey Wheat Ale

Ingredients:

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  • 4 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • 4 lb. – Wheat Malt
  • 12 oz. – Honey Malt
  • 12 oz. – Munich Malt
  • .5 lb. – Rice Hulls

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added end of boil
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added end of boil

Yeast:

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  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on American Wheat Ale – 6D
  • OG 1.047 / TG 1.012
  • 4.6% ABV | Color: 8.1 °SRM | ~26.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 03/10/2013, Secondary ?, Kegged 04/14/13
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

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Brewing the Honey Wheat Ale

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The Mash. Poured the rice hulls in to the mash tun before the grains in an effort to keep from getting a stuck sparge.  I’ve had that problem with wheat before, and it’s a pain.  Not a lot of grains for this one, didn’t require much water to mash.  Did a loose mash, 1.4 qt/lb.    3.5 gallons of water at 162° to get it to 151°.   Recirculated 3 gallons of wort back over the grain bed after an hour to set the grain bed.

honey-wheat-ale-03The Boil. Nothing very exciting here.

Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water.  ~30 min.

Fermenting. Added 30 seconds of oxygen.  Fermented at about 68° in basement closet. About 63° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Skipped the secondary on this batch (not sure why). Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Honey Wheat

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This one turned out okay, but I missed the mark a little in my recipe creation.  I’m on a run of batches that are coming out just a little bit too sweet.  I need to add a higher ratio of the base malt to let the Munich and Honey Malt be a lot more subtle.  Not to say this was a bad batch, but it was nothing I will rush to make again.  It’s also not a style that I’m particularly fond of drinking.

This batch didn’t age particcularly well.  As with a few other batches lately, it started to take on a certain level of green apple flavor.  Best I can research, that is an indication that my yeast health wasn’t where it should have been when I started.  I’m hoping to get better with yeast starters going forward.

The nice thing about a Wheat Ale is that you’re brewing something that rookie homebrew drinkers have a decent shot at liking.  This batch was a decent crowd pleaser, and a good recipe for new drinkers.

brewing honey rye ale

Honey Rye Ale

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A while back, I’d created a recipe for an Amber Rye Ale.  Overall, I was pretty happy with it, and wanted to come back to it eventually.  Recently, I’d been wanting to play with some honey malt, and felt like this would be a great way to do it.  The original Amber Rye was based on a Fat Tire Clone, and the honey malt seemed like a nice addition that flavor profile.

The brew was made differently than usual, which made it extra exciting.  I did the mash at home, then traveled to a friend’s house to boil with 2 others in on his basement brewing setup.  After all this time, it was the first time I’d brewed at the same time as other people, so it was really cool.

All-Grain Recipe: Honey Rye Ale

Ingredients:

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  • 8 lb. – American 2-row
  • 2 lb. – Rye Malt
  • 1 lb. – Munich Malt
  • 1 lb. – Honey Malt
  • 8 oz. – Victory Malt

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .6 oz. – Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Crystal (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min

Yeast:

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  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on American Amber Ale
  • OG 1.056 / TG 1.010
  • 6.01% ABV | Color: 11.8 °SRM | ~33.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 12/02/12, Secondary 12/30/12, Kegged 01/13/13
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

Brewing the Honey Rye Ale

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The Mash. Totally missed my goal of 152°.  Mashed in 4 gallons of water at 164° for a thickness of 1.3 qt/gal.  Rest for 1 hour, drain in to brew kettle for one hour.

The Boil. Indoor boil, in friend’s basement. Added Whirlfloc and the Wort Chiller near the end of the boil.

Cooling. Used the wort chiller hooked up to indoor shop sink. Added 30-40 seconds of oxygen.

Fermenting. Basement closet. About 63° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Skipped the secondary on this batch (not sure why).  Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Honey Rye

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Pretty pleased with this one.  I love the honey malt with the rye.  I think the two play really well together, and it’s a combo I’d like to revisit.  The flavor is really nice, but the balance is shifted a little far in the sweet direction.  Looking back at the recipe, I need to shift percentages quite a bit.  I’d only used 64% 2-row, and I think that needs to get around 80, or higher.  Rye was 16%, which is probably okay, but I might increase that with the 2-row.  Munich/honey/victory clocked in 20%, which (in hindsight) is crazy high.  I’d keep those around 10% next time.

This one was a crowd pleaser.  Easy to drink, not too dark, not too hoppy.  A little sweet, but that doesn’t bother most people.