Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Schwarzbier - Review

So I finally got off my lazy but and decided to review the schwarzbier I brewed back in January. Ive been drinking this now for ~2wks. Fermentation went very smoothly and quickly, finished up in about 2-3wks. I racked and have been cold conditioning since.

Appearance - Dark Black, with a very light creamy 2 finger head that slowly dissipates leaving nice lacing

Aroma - slightly toasty, caramelly, a bit of noble hops poking through

Taste - slight caramel flavor, crisp, some toasty/bready notes, moderate bitterness that lingers pleasantly, very little to no roasty flavors with a dry finish. Very different beer cold vs warm, smooth and bitter when cold, more malty as it warms

Mouthfeel - Medium body, medium to high carbonation, body is pretty good and fits it well

Drinkability - OK beer, definitely could be more malty/caramelly than it is, hop presence is good and I wouldn't change that at all, I prefer this one pretty cold to start so I can enjoy how it changes as it warms up. Nice dry/bitter finish that makes you want to take another drink

- A few changes and this one will be a regular in my rotation, style wise this is dead on, although I would prefer it to have a bit more of a caramel/munich presence than it does. Bitterness is perfect so no change there, I think I will do a double decoction next time and use a bit more caramunich for more malt depth. I think I will also use Saflager W34/70 the Weihenstephaner lager strain to accentuate the malt flavor.

Carafa II cap during the sparge had the exact effect I was shooting for: minimal roast flavors and a jet black color, I plan on using this technique again for other dark beers that I prefer to have minimal roast flavors
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mead Experiment - Mead with Ale Yeast

So Ive been running low of my last batch of mead (made in 06) and thought it was time to make up something again. Lately however Ive been in the habit of using ale yeasts in ciders and have really preferred the results to the wine yeasts I have used in the past. The body has been better, flavor profiles are cleaner or exhibit esters that I believe blend better with the various fruit ciders I have made (nottingham in cider is great)

So I thought why not give this a shot in mead. There is a general consensus that Lalvin D47 is the way to go, although Ive always preferred to use Lalvin K1V116 (very fast clean fermentor) Admittedly I didn't do much background research until after I brewed this one up, but others have attempted a mead using ale yeast, one group even did a large experiment with a bunch of yeasts on the same honey base. Hopefully this turns out fairly well, I doubt I will be as picky as some of the tasters in the experiment (I'm a beer guy anyway)

I also plan on splitting this up into several 1gallon trial batches that will have various flowers, spices etc added to see if anything warrants a full batch. I kept this one pretty light, its more ofa hydromel (a lower gravity mead) than a regular mead, because I plan on priming and bottle conditioning them all with a medium amount of carbonation


OG 1063: 5gal

7.5 lb Raw Desert Honey
0.5 tsp Fermaid
0.5 tsp DAP/Fermaid (added when fermentation slows)

US05 American Ale Yeast

Notes: Water was dechlorinated then 2gal warmed to ~90F to help dissolve honey, after honey was dissolved the remaining water was added, when the temperature of the honey water reached ~65F the US05 was added (after being rehydrated): Fermentation temp is ~72F

Update 4/4/09 - w/Pictures

Peppermint Metheglin First Tasting - 6/27/09
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Old Fuzz Update - A fortified Old Ale

Today I bottled a bit of my fortified old ale, I decided to fortify, sweeten and bottle 2gallons, leaving the last gallon to be carbed in the bottle. I didn't take a gravity reading because I had so little and didn't want to waste any on a hydrometer sampling, on its own it was earthy, bready, some subtle hints of banana and a bit funky with a slightly warming finish. I think the earthiness that Wyeast Old Ale 9097 gives off is very smooth and if you like brett/funky beers you should pick up a pack

The fortified part I decided to go with a 375mL bottle of everclear, that I soaked some medium toast oak cubes in for a day or so, I used everclear to minimize the flavor contributions from the alcohol, it was then sweetened to taste with ~0.75lbs of buckwheat honey. While I don't know an exact alcohol content, It was at ~1030 about a week before I bottled this so the fortified beer should be in the 17-18% abv range

The remaining gallon will get a small starter of Lalvin EC1118 to finish out the beer and carbonate (12% is the alc tolerance of 9097)

Brewday 2/23/09 - Recipe & Notes

Friday, March 20, 2009

Added Capacity - Homebrew Bottles

So I was perusing craigslist today, and I came across an ad for beer bottles $1/12, it was too good to pass up, So I drove up to the guys house to pick some up, fully expecting them to be just nasty, covered in mold and dirt

Turns out there he washed and dried every single one!! So I ended picking up ~120 bottles, which gives me another 11+ gallons of bottling capacity! I also happened to score a 6 gallon polarware pot (once used) for $30, just too cheap to pass up, so now I have a new hot liquor tank and tons of more bottles, Guess I better start brewing
I'm sure these bottle appreciate whats gonna be in them from now on .......
Monday, March 16, 2009

Vanilla Toffee Cream Ale - First Tasting

Appearance - Dark Brown, Substantial head that stays at least a finger thick for the whole pint, nice lacing

Aroma - Vanilla, caramel, toffee

Taste - Malty, sweet but not cloying, nice vanilla caramel finish, little heavy with the lactose, bit of hops in the finish

Mouthfeel - Medium-full body, medium carbonation

Drinkability - Very good beer, almost desert-like, easy to drink, while its sweet it doesnt become cloying, alcohol level is just about right

Notes/Thoughts - I went a bit heavy with the lactose in this beer, and while the body is perfect the lactose flavor is a bit strong to me (others dont notice it as much); Next time I plan on thining the body a bit and upping the carbonation, adding a bit more vanilla (2Tbsp maybe), and boiling down a bit more of first runnings/or extract to get more toffee/caramel flavors, overall a good beer and I plan on making it again

Brewday 1/24/09 - Recipe & Notes

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What the Funk? - A Brett and Wine Beer

So the past few days I have been going back and forth with a fellow BA'er, Dreadnatty, about different beers involving brett lambicus or wyeast old ale 9097. And he had an idea that I really liked alot. It was too good an idea, so..... I stole it and put my own twist onto it. I'm hoping that we can eventually do a trade, I'm very interested in how each of our beers would taste side by side.

This was really a spur of the moment brew, which is starting to be a trend, and I didn't mash in until 630pm, I'm actually finishing the boil as I type! But its actually been one of my smoother/quicker brewdays, I should be finished in about 4hrs, not bad I'd say.

What the Funk? - A Brett and Wine Beer
OG 1055: IBU 16: 5gal

8.0 lb 2-Row
0.5 lb Acid Malt - Added when Sparging

1.0 oz Medium Toast Oak Cubes
0.3 oz Zeus (16.4%) 60min

750ml Merlot - reduced to 375mL

Wyeast Old Ale 9097 Yeast Cake

Notes: Acid malt was added when sparging so as to not effect mash pH; From what Ive been told, in the absence of O2, Brett L will throw off much more cherry character, so Im pitching a very large slurry of 9097 and will not aerate: Reduced Merlot will be added to secondary

Dan's - aka Dreadnatty's version

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Buckwheat Braggot

This was a small trial batch (1.25gal) prior to brewing something a bit bigger in size with buckwheat, and was definitely a learning experience. I eat buckwheat quite often for breakfast, and I am constantly surprised by the amazingly nutty aroma of toasted buckwheat groats. The resulting wort had an amazing nutty/earthy aroma and I really wanted a taste but the batch is so small I didn't want to take any out of it. I really hope to retain a lot of the nutty flavor from the buckwheat and a nice earthy/molasses flavor from some buckwheat honey in the finished product.

Buckwheat Braggot

OG 1090: IBU 31: 1.25gal

1.0 lb 2-Row
1.0 lb Buckwheat Groats
0.2 lb Rice Hulls
1.0 lb Buckwheat Honey @ KO

0.1 oz Zeus (16.4%) 60min

Step Mash
122F - 148F - 155F - 168F

Notes: Buckwheat was toasted in a pan, until a nice amber color, with some kernels much darker: After toasting buckwheat was allowed to cool, and then crushed very finely: Buckwheat is very gelatinous, a more thorough glucanase rest might be beneficial:

First Tasting - 7/1/2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009


This was an unplanned brew really, but when you have access fresh Seville oranges you can't pass them up. And what better beer to make than a witbier, after all Seville orange peel is a traditional ingredient. The dried orange peel that you’ve probably seen in your LHBS is a waste of money; it won’t provide the flavor/aroma you’re looking for and is very expensive, I really suggest going out and getting fresh oranges and zesting them yourself. Be careful when zesting though you don’t want to get any of the pith (white stuff) it will lead to an unpleasant bitterness in your beer. Which is probably one of the biggest reasons the dried stuff is bad, it’s mostly pith, seriously, look at it next time you in your LHBS.

Now Seville oranges aren’t the easiest thing to come by, in fact I’ve never seen then sold commercially anywhere. Luckily the ASU campus is filled with Seville orange trees just ripe for the picking! If you can’t find Seville oranges I suggest getting tangerines, as they have a very similar fragrance in the peel.

During this brew I also was teaching a buddy how to brew AG, it probably wasn’t the best beer to do, as the high percentage of unmalted grains made things a bit trickier, and I did a cereal mash, but he got the idea, and is moving to AG himself very soon


OG 1049: IBU 13: 5.75gal: 85% eff

5.0 lbs Pilsner Malt
4.0 lbs Flaked Red Winter Wheat
1.0 lbs Flaked Oates
0.5 lbs Rice Hulls

0.25 oz Sorachi Ace (60min)
15.0 gm Seville Orange Peel
0.25 oz Crushed Indian Coriander

Wyeast 3944 Witbier

Cereal Mash

Unmalted grains were placed in a pot with ~2lbs of Pils, then were brought through the steps listed below, before being boiled, this was then added back into the main mash that was resting at 122F, this brought the mash up to 152F

122F - 15min
152F - 60min
168F - 20min (recirculation)

First Tasting 4/16/09

Witbier pt Deux - 4/5/2010

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