Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Porter

Today, Leonard Nimoy (better known as Mr. Spock) passed away after a long and prosperous life. As someone who really enjoyed his work and found his public presence to be a positive one, it only seemed appropriate to name today's brew in his honor. I had a porter recipe that was otherwise untitled...thus, "Live Long and Porter" was born.

Live Long and Porter

  • 7.5 lbs. 2-row malt (Great Western Malting)
  • .75 lbs. chocolate malt
  • .75 lbs. Vienna malt
  • .5 lbs. Carapils malt
  • 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% estimated alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% estimated alpha), 20 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss
  • 1 tbs. 5.2 pH stabilizer (in mash)
  • California Ale V yeast (White Labs WLP051), prepared 24 hours in advance in 1.5 L starter
Anticipated Statistics
  • 1.048 s.g., 1.012 f.g., 4.7% abv
  • 29.5 IBU
  • 23.8 SRM
  • I mashed in with 3.125 gallons of water at 172°; the mash stabilized at 155°.
  • I let the mash sit for 80 minutes and then added 1.15 gallons of water at 190°. I let the mash rest for 20 minutes, and collected 3 gallons of wort.
  • I added 3.15 gallons of water at 190°; the mash was a little too hot, so I added ~0.25 gallons of ice cubes to bring the temperature down to 168°. I let this sit for 20 minutes.
  • In total, I collected 6.85 gallons of wort, with a gravity of 1.043 at 60°. This works out to roughly 83% efficiency!
  • I brought the wort to a boil and added the first round of hops. These were boiled for 60 minutes total; the second hops addition was boiled for 20 minutes. For the last 15 minutes of the boil, I added 1 tsp. of Irish moss.
  • After 60 minutes of boiling, I removed the kettle from the heat and cooled it down using my wort chiller. Final volume in the kettle was roughly 6.2 gallons.
  • The "official" measured starting gravity was 1.050 at 60°; this is just a hair above my predicted target (1.048), but well within the bounds of acceptability. The wort is a rich, chocolatey brown...very pretty!
  • I ended up with around 5.75 gallons of wort in the fermenter (after adding the starter), with a starting temperature of approximately 72°. I pitched the entire yeast starter and transferred the whole lot into the fermentation chamber. I'll ferment it at 66°.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beer Tasting: Beringea IPA

The Beringea IPA has been on tap for about three weeks now, and has matured and clarified beautifully. Before it's all gone, I figured I should do an official tasting!

A few notes--it was dry-hopped at around 60 degrees for 10 days. I chose to leave the hops in while carbonating and serving, and haven't noted any negative effects on the beer.

  • Basics
    • Starting gravity = 1.060; final gravity = 1.013; abv = 6.2%. Estimated IBU = 56
  • Aroma
    • Pleasantly and moderately floral.
  • Appearance
    • Off-white, creamy head that is pretty persistent, with modest lacing. The beer itself is a clear, moderate copper in color. No chill haze. Really pretty!
  • Flavor
    • Nicely balanced with a hint of maltiness. The beer is modestly bitter but not overly so. The finish is gently bitter but not harsh at all. The hops come through nicely...not just bitter, but flavorful.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Smooth; carbonation is about perfect for the style. 
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! It's a nicely balanced IPA; very drinkable, and not so ridiculously bitter that it blows out your taste buds from the first sip. I'm pleased.
  • Overall rating
    • 9/10

Sunday, February 22, 2015

von Meyer Weizen Bottled

Tonight I bottled my von Meyer Weizen; it had been in the fermenter for 3 weeks. This was a touch longer than originally intended, following various unexpected interruptions. The final gravity was 1.012, down from 1.047. This works out to 4.6% abv. The beer has the prominent banana and clove aroma/flavor that's expected with this style--I shall be curious to see how these mellow and taste after a little aging and at proper serving temperature under carbonation.

I primed the beer with 2.6 oz. of corn sugar boiled in 2 cups of water, targeting 2.7 volumes of CO2. My final yield was 6 12-oz. bottles, 12 18-oz. bottles, and 3 22-oz. bottles.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

von Meyer Weizen

My homebrew club is focusing on German wheat beers for its March meeting, so today I brewed up a batch in preparation. Based on past experiences, I knew that German wheat beers are tasty, but maybe not something I wanted five gallons of (especially given the relatively short shelf life for the style). Given my brewing equipment and available time this afternoon, I decided to go for a 2.5 gallon batch of an all-extract beer. My mash tun holds 10 gallons, so I was worried that a half batch (2.5 gallons) wouldn't hold temperature for a sufficiently long time, and I didn't feel like simultaneously learning BIAB, so extract seemed the way to go. As I read up on the style, I ended up thinking that a simpler brew would be best.

Because I was using all-extract, I elected to use distilled water to keep the mineral concentrations down. In my reading, it became apparent that extracts already have the minerals from the mash. For a lighter beer like this, using my (already heavily mineralized) tap water to rehydrate might ding the flavor a little bit. We'll see how it works out!

The recipe itself is named after Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer, a nineteenth century German paleontologist who studied Plateosaurus, perhaps one of the best known dinosaurs of Germany. I was using a Bavarian malt extract, and Plateosaurus are plentiful in Bavaria, so all of the elements add up!

von Meyer Weizen
  • 3 lbs. Bavarian wheat dry malt (Briess, 8.0 SRM; 65% malted wheat, 35% malted barley)
  • 0.35 oz. Hallertauer hops pellets (4.3% alpha, 5.6% beta)
  • 3.5 gallons distilled water
  • Hefeweizen Ale Yeast (White Labs WLP300)
Anticipated statistics
  • 1.047 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 4.6% abv
  • 10.3 IBU
  • 6.4 SRM
  • I heated 3.25 gallons of distilled water to a boil, turned off the heat, and added the dry malt extract.
  • Once the mixture returned to a boil, I added the hops pellets and boiled for 60 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes, I cooled the wort down to 70° using my chiller and transferred it into my carboy. The gravity was a little high (1.052), so I diluted the wort slightly by adding another 0.25 gallons of water. This brought my starting gravity exactly where I wanted it to be.
  • I pitched the yeast directly from the vial into the wort (no starter needed for this small of a batch), agitated the mixture, and set it in my fermenting chamber. I plan to ferment at 64°. Based on what I read, this temperature can result in a more balanced clove/banana aroma than fermenting at a higher temperature.
  • Starting gravity was 1.047, with ~2.67 gallons in the fermenter.
  • After 10-14 days, I will bottle the beer.
This project reminded me of one of the great pleasures of extract brews--rapid brewing and short clean-up! I spent maybe 2.5 hours max on this, for everything from pulling out the equipment to washing the brew pot.