Sunday, April 27, 2014

Flanders Red 2014

I wasn't quite sure I wanted to brew this beer yet, as I currently don't have anything on tap and I only have a single beer fermenting (Slump Buster PA).  I would've liked to have a few more in the pipeline before I got a 1yr+ sour going, but I did really need to get to this before my pack of roeselare started getting old.  I was originally hoping to get some more of Al's bug blends from ECY for this batch but that didn't pan out. The last time I got a hold of some was quite a long time ago, and was before he was selling it commercially, however it did turn out fantastic!

Unfortunately this time around I wasn't able to get my hands on any.  I'm not too worried though as I've done used Roeselare in the past and had great results. Thinking forward, and due to the difficulties of getting ECY  blends, this time next year I'm looking forward to finally doing a true ambient fermentation. I'll be putting the wort in a small apple or cherry orchard nearby to capture some bugs.

Fort this years beer, I decided to change up the malt bill a bit and do something different that the typical malt bill I've done in the past.  The malt bill I'd previously used was outlined in Wild Brews, many other people, including myself, have used that as a guideline for reds and had nothing but great luck.  However, the more I make sours, the more I want to play with the base beer to see what I can get out of it.  Honestly after 1yr+ in the fermentor I'm not sure how much character is left from the malt anyway.

In this batch I'm using just enough Special B and Aromatic malt to get me in the color range for a red, with a bit of honey malt for aromatics. I even tossed around the idea of using a little roasted barley for color, or even a 100% Red X malt bill (which I will do soon enough)

Aside from the changes to the malt bill, I am also approach the mash schedule a little bit differently.  This time around I will mash the barley without adding the wheat.  Then right before mashout I plan on adding the crushed wheat and vorlaufing.  I'm hoping this will retain some starch, but still allow for decent conversion.  I'm also likely only going to do a 15min mash and a 15min vorlauf to keep things quick and simple.

One last minute change I made was to use some aged hops I had on hand.  I cant say I've ever been one to think that a large quantity of aged hops was necessary for homebrewed sours, and have almost always advocated for using a small quantity of fresh hops to get your IBU's.  My rationale has always been that a large quantity of aged hops is only needed when your dealing with the unknown of a spontaneous ferment (lots of protection against the bad bacteria).

However recently, (brewday), I began thinking about brett and hops, which is something that has been coming up a lot more in homebrew and commercial examples.  There are lots of examples of Brett IPA's out there now, and the consensus seems to be that the hop profile becomes muted much more quickly in a brett beer than in a sacch one.  I'm starting to wonder if the brett is eating the hop oils/acids? If this is the case then there is likely a flavor contribution from large amounts of aged hops in the beer that we have been missing out on!

With this line of thinking, and being pinched for time (couldn't find my scale to weigh out fresh hops), I decided to toss in copious amounts of aged hops in the boil. I wish I could have done
a side by side of the same wort with different hops (aged vs fresh) to test this theory, but I wasn't set up for it, maybe next time?

One last thing, my brew area still inst set up (well) and my garage around it is a disaster area.  In the middle of my brewing I jumped and hopped across one of the many piles in the garage and managed to trip and rip apart my temperature probe wire.  Now that I'm using an electric HLT, I cant really brew without the temp probe being connected, so I had to do a bit of soldering on the fly! (10min after I fixed it the first time I had to do it again..........)

Flanders Red 2014 - cant believe its been 5yrs since my last one!
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
6.5NW Pale Malt
1.0Honey Malt
1.0Wheat Berries - added just before vorlauf
0.5Special B
Amt (oz)TypeTime
6 handfuls2006 Magnum60
Mash Schedule
152F1.1qt/lb (sans wheat)60
170F2qt/lb (with wheat)15min - vorlauf
YeastRoeselare WY3763
85% effIBULow?
7gal BoilFG

Friday, April 18, 2014

Slump Buster Pale Ale - A Homebrewed Beer

This beer has been a long time coming now.  Its strange to say but its been around 11-12mos since I last brewed!  Lots of things have changed in the past year and I'm still trying to work out some of the kinks of brewing in a new location and with my electric setup (only HLT currently).  One things for sure, the cold tap water in Washington sure does chill a beer down quick!

To come back from my hiatus I wanted to do something relatively simple yet very tasty.  I've been drinking lots of pale ales and IPA's lately (lots of local stuff) so I thought I'd keep the trend going and do a pale.

Most of the local beers Ive been drinking are West Coast IPA's and pales, however for this beer I was inspired a bit by British bitters, in that I wanted a solid bitterness, lots of aroma, and only mild amounts of hoppy flavors.  I intended for the malt to show off, but I couldn't find some of my brewing salts (CaCl) so I think this one is gonna be more about the bitterness (low Cl, high SO4).  That's fine though, and it also gives me a first crack at seeing how the local water will do in my homebrew (albeit with some chemistry changes).

This should be the first of quite a few new recipe posts in the near future (lots of ideas in a year of no brewing!). I'm also going to try and do a write up on my electric conversion when its complete.

Slump Buster Pale Ale - Hopefully I wont regret this one....... :)
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
6.0Northwestern Pale Malt (GW)
3.0Vienna (Weyermann)
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.50Summit (18.1%)60
1.0Ahtanum (4.9%)5
1.0Summit (18.1%)KO
1.0Ahtanum (4.9%)KO
TBDAhtanum (4.9%)Dry Hop
TBDSummit (18.1%)Dry Hop
Mash Schedule
170F2.0qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastAmerican Ale WY1056 (500mL Starter)
86% effIBU32
7gal BoilFG

Monday, April 14, 2014

Locked and Loaded

I'm prepping for a return to a somewhat normal blogging schedule.  I should have some new recipes posted soon!

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