Saturday, May 26, 2012

Double Batch Hefe

So SWMBO has been draining my kegs lately.  This is probably the biggest reason some of my review pics lately haven't been very good, as I'm stuck with what's left before the keg kicks.  The jaggery pale was tapped in less than 2weeks!  So in an effort to get her to leave some of the beer around for me I decided to knock out a double batch of a hefeweizen.

This is a pretty basic run of the mill batch, 60/40 pils to wheat, single infusion with low hopping.  I was thinking about doing a decoction to mashout temps but I didn't have any burners available (maxed out heating sparge water) so I skipped it. Overall it was a very easy brewday, something that hasn't happened recently!

I was thinking that I would like to do something to half of the batch though, afterall 10gal of hefe doesnt really sound that great to me (even if its not really for me).  With all the messing around Ive been doing with making candy syrup using lime I started thinking that some type of sugar syrup might thin the body a bit and give me two different beers for the price of one. Plus it would let me brew a full batch of beer with some of the syrup, and see what kind of lasting flavor impacts it has. After tinkering around a bit more with making lighter colored candy syrups using lime, I ended up making a very toasty, cracker-like syrup that is about the same color as the hefe itself. A rather lousy picture of the syrup is on the left. I ended up adding ~1lb of it to half of the batch after most of the fermentation had died down.

Double Batch Hefe
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
7White Wheat
Amt (oz)TypeTime
1.0Sterling (7.9%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.5qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastHefeweizen IV WLP380 (Slurry ~300mL)
11.5galOG1048 (plain half)
1056 (syrup half)
83% effIBU12
13gal BoilFG

Hefe sans Sugar Review - 6/20/12

Sugar Hefe Review - 10/13/12

Monday, May 14, 2012

Orange Table Sour with Vanilla & Light Toast Oak

The idea for this beer came about relatively recently.  I got an email from someone thinking about using warmer temps on a sour to speed things along. The beer we were discussion was a Flanders Red with Oranges.  I was a little worried about the acidity of the oranges with the aggressive souring culture he was using, but the flavor combination intrigued me.

A sour with orangey flavors sounded right up my alley.  Here in Phoenix most of the Seville oranges are a bit past their prime, but I lucked into about 20lbs of another variety called Bouquet des Flores, that keeps well on the tree.  The flavor of their rind was a little underwhelming compared to what it normally is so I supplemented the oranges with some tangelos and navels that I picked as well.  Nothing like fruit fresh off the tree!

Now I wasn't really interested in a red for using the fruit (although I hope to try his!) Instead I wanted something a bit lighter that would really highlight the orange flavors.  In addition I decided  that I wanted to add a small amount of light toast oak to provide some hints of coconut, and a tiny bit of vanilla.  I don't want to really actually notice the vanilla, instead I want it to accentuate all the other flavors and really highlight the creamy grain bill I came up with for this one.

As for the oranges, I took them all and zested them using a cheese grater.  I then squeezed all the juice, strained it, and reduced it on the stove top on low to thicken it up and hopefully give me a bit of a marmalade type flavor.  The zest went into the beer when it was ~120F and found its way into the fermentor.  The vanilla and oak will be added once the beer is done fermenting.

For the souring culture I decided to again go about reusing some of a yeast cake from the Bugfarm lambic I brewed up about 2yrs ago.  That beer is nicely sour, very minimally funky with subtle fruity undertones.  Something I think will work well in this beer.  Hopefully the souring happens quickly, because I'd like to be drinking this in about 2-3mos.

Orange Table Sour
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
1.0Spelt Berries
400mLTangelo Juice*
400mLNavel Orange Juice*
150mLSeville Orange Juice*
Hops & Spices
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.25EKG (5.1%)60
1.0Tangelo ZestKO <120F
0.8Navel ZestKO <120F
0.8Navel ZestKO <120F
0.5Light Toast Oak4days
Mash Schedule
170F1.8qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastAl's Bugfarm Batch 3 Cake + Nottingham
81% effIBU8
3.5gal BoilFG
Notes:* - Juice from oranges was reduced over low heat on the stove, final volume added to carboy was 300mL. More seville juice may be added after primary fermenation has died down and I can taste the level of acidity in the beer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Funky Peach Review

Appearance - Dark Golden, with some gray? highlights (most likely oxidized peaches) thin head nearly no retention. very hazy

Aroma - Peaches and honey (buckwheat honey aromatics?) followed by funky bretty nose that seems to have become a common aroma/flavor in many of my brett beers. A house strain perhaps? (its sort of floral, rose-like, mixed with baby powder and funk)

Taste - Slighltly phenolic brett taste hits your tongue first, slightly sweetish with a subtle yellow peach flavor, starting to become tangy.  Some flavors (honey-like) that remind me quite a bit of the buckwheat braggot I did a couple years back.

Mouthfeel - Slick, and very full feeling with medium carbonation that could just as easily be dialed up or down and fit very well with the beer (low carb would highlight the subtle peach and brett notes, high carb would mask the peach to some extent but drive up the aroma)

Notes/Thoughts - This one didnt have any hint of brett until I started messing with the original culture I pitched. Before I messed with it, or added the peaches for that matter, the wild yeast I cultured up had a very intense peach flavor and aroma.  Im kinda wishing I hadnt messed with it, or had split the batch so that I could tell if the peach flavor is solely yeast derived or if the fruit added much.  All in all a decent attempt, in the future I would like to minimize the bretty flavors so the peaches could be highlighted a bit more.

Brewday - 3/17/2012 - Recipe & Notes

Friday, May 4, 2012

Kentucky Common Reboot

After my last debacle I decided to give it another shot trying to brew up a Kentucky Common.  After my last beer developed intense hot vomit aromas I had to dump it out.  Luckily I dumped it out in my grass so that I was able to smell the wonderful aromas for quite some time!
This time around I decided to change a few things up.  I think one of the biggest issues in using raw grain as a source of cultures is that you really never know what your gonna get.  And its very likely that there are some enterobacter, butyric acid bacteria or other nasties living on the grain that will give it a nice garbage aroma and taste.  Luckily though those nasty type of bacteria are killed by lowering the pH, so once fermentation starts in most all of them die.  Well then you say, why did they ruin your last Kentucky Common? That's because the flavor thresholds for the compounds they produce are extremely low, so it doesn't take much time for them to leave a lasting impact on a beer.

A great way to avoid having to deal with them is by making a "starter" using raw grains to build up a culture to add to your beer.  The nasty bacteria may be present initially but if you dump off most of the starter and step it up 2 or 3 times the nasty flavors are gone and the bacteria are dead leaving you sacch, brett, and any lactic bacteria you may have grown up.

This was the approach I took to this beer, I'm hoping that the culture will end up much more sour that when I tried with the funky peach from a month back.  In this attempt I grew up the culture over a much longer time (~1.5wks) and added backing soda/chalk to buffer the acidity so the bacteria didn't die. Other than that the only other thing I changed in this go around was to do a no boil batch, and added mash hops to make up for not boiling.  Hopefully these changes will give me a nice sweet/sour beer that is an easy drinker relatively quickly.  Worst case I dump it out again (though this time I'll use the toilet to get rid of it)

Kentucky Common Reboot
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
2.0Flaked Corn
1.0 ozRoasted Barley
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.75EKG (5.1%)Mash
Mash Schedule
170F1.7qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastGrain Culture + Nottingham(3days later)
92% effIBU7
No BoilFG
Notes: So this ended up being quite a bit higher OG than I had anticipated.  I planned on getting worse than normal efficiency because I wasnt running off as much wort.  Somehow I managed to get about 5% better than I normall do, so this one ended up quite a bit higher (~10pts):  The mash smelled amazing with the hops in there, I might have to do that again soon!

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