Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

Tasted: The Dude

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The Dude is the first NEIPA (New England India Pale Ale) that I used some reverse osmosis water. It also marks the largest number of different hops, seven, and the first time I used all 2015 hops.

I don’t know if the combination of water profile and fresh(er) hops lead to a solid home brew or the combination of both. I will say, that going forward, I will be using 50% reverse osmosis water or more when making any IPA.

Fresher hops also makes sense. I still have seven pounds of 2015 hops to blow through before I even think about 2016 hops. At the rate of hop usage that will be another 6 – 8 IPAs. My taste buds are waters. Time to get another recipe ready.

Look:Pale gold in color. Covered by full inch of snow white foam; thin but somewhat frothy on top. Great retention, leaving behind immediate and coating lacing before even titling the glass for a sip. Good looking beer in the glass.

Aroma: A light, sweet malt backbone isn’t supposed to be the center of the aroma; it isn’t. Ripe fruits abound: mango, pineapple, apricot, citrus, and pine.

Taste: The taste follows the nose. Big hops and minimal sweet malt backbone. Citrus (orange) and tropical fruits foremost. Hints of grapefruit and pine. Nary much bitterness.

Body: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Dry body.

Overall: One-upped myself as I believe this is the another quality NEIPA. The mix of hops goes well together as well as providing depth of aroma and flavor. Still trending to the high end of the carbonation profile. Might need a bit more body as well,

Used a full breath of hops in this beer. It paid. Peeking at the three week in the bottle range. Need to drink quickly. Someone has to sacrifice. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Caodaism is a Vietnamese religion that worships Joan of Arc, Shakespeare, and Muhammad.

Brewed: Carrot Top

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Life is full of memories, not always good, not always bad, with many somewhere in-between. One of my memories growing up was the color of my brother’s and my hair. It was bright red, almost orange in color. It was an easy target for kids of my generation to poke fun at; growing up in the 70s it seems like there wasn’t much needed in order to do so and it wasn’t looked down upon.

Red hair sticks out. When it is orange at the beginning of the school year, after a summer of natural summer sun bleaching, the red and blonde hues blend to a bright orange. It almost glowed.

It didn’t take long for a myriad of nicknames to fly our way. Since my brother was older, the nicknames were already in place and known before I showed up at school. “Carrot top” was the one that I remember most. It is the one that, at the time, I think I least liked. But in hindsight, who gives a shit. It is a memory that I will have forever.

As I have grown older, I don’t get the highlights in my hair I used to (tons of skin damage – yuck) and it is turning gray. No one will mistake me for a carrot top but I am one still at heart. This beer is for all those red heads that have found their way on the back side of nickname. Enjoy!

Home Brewing Carrot Top Amber Ale

I have been brewing North East India pale ales (NEIPA) for the past few months (The Dude, The Train Man, Baller, and Used to name a few.). I have been trying to become more intimate with style. I have tried many different hops and changes to the brewing process. It has been quite the tasty experience.

I decided to take some of the NEIPA brewing processes and apply them to an American amber ale. I wanted enough malt to hold up the amber ale while getting a hoppier, non-bitter, aromatic beer. The beer needed to have the mouthfeel to hold up the style but allow clean hop flavors to shine.

Mosiac and centennial seemed to be two well suited hops that should/would play nicely together. Layered crystal malts would lend enough maltiness, sweetness and light caramel notes to remind the drinker of the malt backbone the style was once built upon. A touch of chocolate malt to give color, while oats would add to the body with some creaminess. A mash temperature at 154*F should help the body as well. An American yeast, S-05, should round the beer out nicely.

Excited to have this one in the glass as it sounds like it should be darn tasty.

Recipe for Carrot Top Amber Ale

General Information:
Brew Date: Monday, December 26, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.051
Finishing Gravity: 1.008
IBU: 43.9
Color: 12.7 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 5.64%
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
9.00 pounds 2-Row
0.50 pounds Crystal 40L
0.50 pounds Oats
0.25 pounds Crystal 20L
3.00 ounces Chocolate Malt

Mash:
Saccharification @154.0*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Mosiac @1st wort
0.50 ounces 2015 Centennial @15 minutes
0.50 ounces 2015 Mosiac @15 minutes
2.50 ounces 2015 Centennial @0 minutes, 23 minute hop stand
2.50 ounces 2015 Mosiac @0 minutes, 23 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Centennial @dry hop 4 days
2.00 ounces 2015 Mosiac @dry hop 4 days

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates

  • 2016-12-27: (morning) Slow fermentation at 62.1*F. Not on heat blanket.
  • 2016-12-27: (evening) Slow fermentation at 62.3*F. Not on heat blanket.
  • 2016-12-28: (morning) Mild fermentation at 62.7*F. Placed on heat at 68*F.
  • 2016-12-28: (evening) Good fermentation at 67.7*F.
  • 2016-12-29: Slow fermentation at 67.5*F.
  • 2016-12-31: Dry hopped.
  • 2017-01-03: Put in freezer at 38*F.
  • 2017-01-04: Bottled with 3.5 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 27, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: CT.
  • 2017-01-24: Tasted The Dude.

Useless Fact: US consumers spend about $5 billion a year on Christmas gifts for their pets.

Brewed: The Dude

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Yes, I always seem to take pictures of the hops I use.

The Dude is a homage to my nine year old son. When he was born, I was on a huge Big Lebowski kick. I couldn’t get enough of the movie. Of course, it was only natural, to bypass his given name and refer to him as Lil’ Dude. I used the nickname so much that family and friends referred to him as Lil’ Dude as well. He was known more by his nickname than his real name.

Now that he is nine, he doesn’t seem so little. He has graduated to just “The Dude”. I enjoy watching him grow up (as I do both of my girls). This beer is named after a fun loving kid that enjoys video games, basketball and playing with friends.

Home Brewing The Dude IPA

Another IPA (seems like a hybrid: APA (American Pale Ale) an IPA (India Pale Ale)).

There were two changes I was going to make to this beer: water and a complex hop profile. I was finally going to use the reverse osmosis system that I received for my birthday in October. My plan was simple: cut the brew day water in half, 50% tap, 50% reverse osmosis. This wasn’t a complex plan or overly thought out. It was somewhat easy. I have tried to read books and forums on water but it seems to bounce of the thick skull instead of soaking in. Therefore KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

The second change, complex hop profile, was going to take a bit more thought. Looking up the hop profiles (again and again) helped me to understand the profiles of each hop. Past brewing days and notes also aided in choosing the hops. On hand hops played a role as well.

Eureka and Equinox were definitely going to add quality subtle complexities. Galaxy, Amarillo, Columbus and Mosiac each have big characteristics that add distinct aroma and flavor. Layered the complex nature of the helps should meld well together. Enjoy!

Recipe for The Dude IPA

General Information:
Brew Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50 (boil finished with 6.0 gallons)
Original Gravity: 1.068
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 61.3
Color: 4.3 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 7.61%
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
6.50 pounds 2-Row
6.50 pounds Pilsner
2.00 pound Oats

Mash:
Saccharification @153.1*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @1st wort
1.00 ounces 2015 Cascade @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Cascade @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
1.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @0 minutes, 25 minute hop stand
2.00 ounces 2015 Eureka @dry hop 4 days
2.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @dry hop 4 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @dry hop 4 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Equinox @dry hop 4 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Mosiac @dry hop 4 days

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
1.0 pound table sugar @ 15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates

  • 2016-12-22: Strong fermentation at 69.8*F. Not on heat blanket.
  • 2016-12-24: Blew off bung. Added new bung and dry hops.
  • 2016-12-27: Put in freezer at 38*F.
  • 2016-12-29: Bottled with 3.6 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 25, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: D.
  • 2017-01-22: Tasted The Dude.

Useless Fact: US consumers spend about $5 billion a year on Christmas gifts for their pets.

Tasted: The Train Man

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

the train main

Azacca is the focal point of this IPA: a new hop profile for me. I could only predict what I thought might happen rather than have confidence in a known outcome. Probably not the smartest to pair it a beer with three pounds of rye: what is the actual profile of the hop? felt the rye should play nicely with the supposed tropical fruit and, especially, the citrus profile of Azacca.

I have brewed other rye centered beers: Rye IPA, Texas Wedge Rye Saison (multiple times), and tasted some commercial beers along the way. It seems that my palate has yearned for more rye. This the reasoning behind the three pounds of rye.

The Train Man Review

Look: Pours a cloudy gold orange. Inch of whit foam. Retention is what is expected of the styles: loiters for bit before receding almost completely. Sticky lacing that coats the sides of the glass throughout.

Aroma: Tropical, orange with back-end rye. Mango, pineapple and grapefruit are distinguishable. Light pepper.

Taste: Rye throughout. Juicy mango, pineapple and orange citrus are boldest. Rye pushes through late, lingering almost like a bitterness. More pepper as it warms, especially in the finish: rye and columbus.

Drinkability: Medium body. Spritzy carbonation. Dry. Low bitterness.

Overall: Smooth beer. Great hop profile. Rye adds nice complexity. Azacca is an all-star. Low bitterness is stepped up by the rye. Really nice beer.

Hands down, azacca is a solid hop. I am glad that I paired this hop with rye. An amazing combo with the columbus syncing with the rye. I will have to brew this beer up again, shortly. After re-reading the review I gave rye ipa earlier this year, I really need to ramp up my rye beer production. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Movie theater popcorn costs more per ounce than Fillet Mignon, the price of Popcorn is more than 1200% higher than its production cossts.

Worst Day of Home Brewing

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

home brewing sour beers

I have been home brewing up tasty (or not) beers for the past eight years. During a period from 2011 through early 2014, I spent a big part of my time researching, formulating, and brewing wild ales. I had the sour itch and I had it bad.

After buying duplicate plastic home brewing items to keep them form contamination, I decided it was time to take a chance on a Brett beer.

Throughout those early attempts, I used the usual suspects that could be obtained from Wyeast and/or White Labs: bruxellensis, claussenii, lambicus (my least favorite), trois (when it was considered Brett and not Sacch). As well as the different flemish blends.

Most of the Brett beers were takes on Belgian saison and pale ales and mashed in the high 140s. I tried using Sacch first, then adding Brett in secondary. I tried building up a Brett starter, pitching 100% Brett in primary. I even did a straight pitch of Brett without a starter, trying to stress the yeast in order to get more character out of the yeast. Most of my experiences were positive.

I was the first one in the home brew club that was even looking at Brett. I was the only customer at the home brew shop asking about the wild stuff. I was radical. I was cool. I didn’t know shit!

What was beyond Brett?

Shortly thereafter, I wanted more. I wanted more microbes. I wanted more sour. I needed more complexity. How to get it. After reading his blog, among other sources, and emailing many times with The Mad Fermentationist, I sought out some East Coast Yeast.

After many attempts to get the Bug Farm, one fine day I landed a vial. I was ready for my first lambic. It was actually the start of multiple purchases of East Coast Yeast, allowing me to try different styles and different techniques. Being on their mailing list had some advantages; for a while. I had now graduated to craft yeast and turbid mashes.

On Top of American Wild Ales?

I was proud of the fact that I had 10 or so carboys in one state or another of aging wild beer. I would go down and look at those carboys. I would boast to people that I had all these carboys making magic elixirs in the basement.

I imagined what these beers would taste like. They would be perfectly balanced. Blended well. Almost perfect.

I had added blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries to a blend of two years of lambic. I had two different Flanders browns, one Flanders red, plus other Brett combinations. It was a small piece of Belgium in my basement.

What Went Wrong with my Home Brewed Sours?

Life. My kids are growing up and all active in one level or another with basketball. We are a basketball family. My wife and I love the sport. We have tried to pass our passion down to our kids while relating basketball (and any sport) to real life. Connecting sport to life is important to me. Having the kids understand hard work, motivation, determination, and pushing through when the chips are down are lessons they will carry throughout life, giving them the tools to succeed.

The basketball affliction has taken it’s toll on the amount of time I have to devote to home brewing. Long weekends at AAU basketball tournaments only allow me to try new craft beers but not brew and not maintain, like I should, the beers faded away.

Via neglect, the sanitized water evaporated, allowing oxygen to permeate into the beers. I knew it was happening. I had lost interest. My focus was on family. The disillusion of Belgium in the basement eroded to the hope that maybe one beer would be okay, maybe.

Pouring out 3+ years of work in the form of 30+ gallons of colored vinegar wasn’t what I set out to do. Unfortunately, it is what I accomplished.

There are so many mixed emotions about the experience. I could ramble on but I will pull back here. Time to move on.

What’s Next?

I have been a fan of hops since I started home brewing. I have stocked up some eight pounds of hops (that is a lot of five gallon batches, even when using 12 – 16 ounces at a time). I will stay the course, for now, with my hoppy beers. The last few have been successful: Baller IPA and The Train Man. The success of these recent home brews is welcomed in order to keep my imagination from roaming to a new past time.

I never cultured yeast from store bought examples of sour beers. I really don’t know why. Probably because thoughts of sanitation never crossed my mind while drinking a Russian River 375. If and when I go back into home brewing sour beers, I would like to try doing some culturing.

Now there are many new, small yeast companies producing yeast and bacteria blends (The Yeast Bay, Imperial Yeast, and Omega to name a few). Setting sail in the direction of sour beers shouldn’t be as difficult as it once was. Staying the course might be. Enjoy!

Useless Fact In eighteenth-century English gambling dens, there was an employee whose only job was to swallow the dice if there was a police raid.

Local Take on the New Craze

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

So the big thing these days in beer seems to be the Northeast Style IPA. Make it so hoppy your head implodes, make it so hazy you couldn’t see through it with a klieg light, and make it so juicy you won’t have to eat citrus for a month. And the trend has hit Chicago area breweries since the summer. There are too many to name, and although I wish I could try all of them (and I have tried some), this entry will just focus on two I recently brought to a Thursday Night Beer Club.

hailstrom brewing nimbus

BEER ONE: NIMBUS by Hailstorm Brewing out of Tinley Park, canned 9/28/16.

Color was a very cloudy dirty straw/gold. It reminded me of a glass of dark orange juice. The smell was mildly hoppy with slight floral notes. Taste was a slight tang of mildly bitter hops with a slight citrusy backing. Feel was dry, not a big mouth filling beer.
Appearance 4.25
Smell 4
Taste 4.5
Feel 4.25
Overall 4.25
TOTAL 4.29

NOTE ONE: I had this again on tap last week at Sovereign in downtown Plainfield, and I wouldn’t change any of the above notes or ratings.
NOTE TWO: Hailstorm did three of these New England styles (last I checked). I don’t think I have had STRATUS, but I have had CUMULUS and I would highly recommend that one more than Nimbus.

Ram Restaurant and Brewery Juicy

BEER TWO: JUICY by Ram Restaurant and Brewery out of Schaumburg, bought on release date 10/1/16, so canned earlier that week.

It was a much lighter color but also cloudier than the Nimbus. I remember when I had this the first time-it was from a bottle shared with me, and my comment was that it might have been the coolest looking double IPA from the Midwest that I had ever seen (even over every Pipeworks “Fish Series” that I’ve tried). The thing that struck me the most about the appearance was how it had a mass of the smallest bubbles I think I had ever seen in a beer (the canned batch, this wasn’t as present). This had a very healthy thick lacing as well. As for smell and taste, this one has a much stronger hop presence than Nimbus, and the citrus (mostly lemon notes) comes through a lot more, with practically no bitterness. It’s also a thicker, heavier, and creamier beer, but also amazingly smooth. They ran through this quickly at the last release (like most of the special beers they do), so I imagine it’s only going to be just as hard if not harder to get the next time they brew it.

Appearance 5
Smell 4.5
Taste 4.5
Feel 4.75
Overall 4.75
TOTAL 4.61

NOTE: The above numbers were from the first time I had this from a bottle. However, most of the notes were from the recent tasting from can, and I would not change the rating at all. On tap, can, or bottle – TRY THIS BEER!!!

Brewed: The Train Man IPA

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

home brew the train man ipa

Ever since I have had my first memories, my Dad has been a O-gauger. In simple speak: he has had an infatuation with trains, specifically O-gague, which defines a size of model trains (1:48 or 7mm:1ft) and is on the rather large size for model railroading. He worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad that was bought out by the Union Pacific. If memory serves me, it was the C&EI before it was the Missouri Pacific. If you want to know more, Dad will fill you in any time, any place. He will talk trains as much as I will talk home brew. The two hobbies don’t mesh well together.

Our basement was full of his trains and a layout, always in one form or another of completeness. I tagged along to monthly train meets: early Sunday morning drives that seemed to last for eternity. Once there, I worked odd jobs, walked through all the tables and wondered how cool it would be to have a layout with one of everything. A kid dreams.

Dad is 80 now. In great shape and spry (I only hope to be as nimble when and if my turn comes at 80). His love for trains has never waned. His layout is more complete than ever. It is realistic. It is beautiful. It is a labor of love. This beer is in honor of the best Dad: a man who never looked the other way when it came to hard work or trying to make a better future for his family. The Train Man.

Home Brewing The Train Man IPA

I have found that I enjoy rye in a beer much more than I enjoy eating rye bread. A mix of rye spice works well with fruity and citrus hops. Azacca, a new hop for me, seemed to be a great place to start. I decide to add Columbus to get an extra spice kick while kicking up the citrus profile. The added IBUs would also assist with balance. The last time I brewed a rye ipa I only used two pounds of rye. I upped it to three here with the idea of pronouncing the rye in the finish even more (writing this also reminds me that I need to brew that rye ipa again).

Leading up to this brew day, I worked on my grain mill to get it better dialed in for higher efficiency. Based on the brew day numbers, I was spot on for the first time in a long time with my gravity. This should help the balance since the bitterness will be a bit more in check.

I am looking forward to this beer. Reusing many of the techniques from Baller IPA, I expect the mix of rye and Azacca to wow me. Enjoy!

Recipe for The Train Man IPA

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, November 12, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.071
IBU: 49.7
Color: 5.7 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 8.4%
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
11.00 pounds 2-Row
3.00 pounds Rye
1.00 pound Carapils
4.00 ounces Caramel 40L

Mash:
Saccharification @149.7*F

Hop Bill:
2.50 ounces 2015 Columbus @1st wort
2.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @1st wort
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @45 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @10 minutes
4.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @dry hop 4 days
1.50 ounces 2015 Columbus @dry hop 4 days

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
8.0 ounces table sugar @ 15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

Updates

  • 2016-11-13: moderate fermentation at 65.8*F.
  • 2016-11-14: morning – moderate fermentation @67.1*F.
  • 2016-11-14: evening – strong fermentation @67.1*F.
  • 2016-11-15: morning – hard fermentation @70.1*F.
  • 2016-11-16: evening – slowing fermentation @67.1*F. Added dry hops: 4.0 ounces 2015 Azacca and 1.5 ounces 2015 Columbus. Placed on heat @70*F to help finish.
  • 2016-11-20: bottled with 3.5 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 23, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: TM.

Useless Fact: Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

Tasted: Smiles IPA

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

home brew smiles ipa

I continue to stand by my claim that my sense of taste and aroma evolve as more potent version of India Pale Ales (IPAs) hit the craft beer market. This causes my perception of beers gone by to no longer have the same quality of impact. My home brewing is affected by these changed perceptions: I need to increase the hop profile, keeping my senses appetite satiated.

Smiles IPA was my second attempt at a Northeastern style IPA. I used a bit more varied malt profile and multiple type of hops as compared to Used. The hope was to push the hops to 11, allowing my lack of location to the Norther east, to not inhibit my ability to enjoy juicy, ripe IPAs.

The result…

Look: Pours cloudy with a half finger of white, loosely packed bubbled foam. Retention is meager for an IPA. Mildly effervescent.

Aroma: Big, juicy tropical hops abound.

Taste: Taste isn’t as big as the aroma. Tropical fruit is there, less instense. A little of the base malt comes through. Citrus.

Body:
A little on the thin side, only carried by the carbonation. Not oily in spite of the amount of oats. Dry finish.

Overall:
The aroma outshines the taste and, be far, is the best part of this beer. If I was to brew again, I would add more late kettle hops and probably some type of speciality grain to give it more malt character. Too neutral for me.

A better attempt at a Northeastern style IPA than Used. Getting closer but still missing something. Yeast? Hop process? Water profile? Enjoy!

Useless Fact: 93% of the Great Barrier Reef is now damaged by coral bleaching.

New Glarus Brewing Company Visit

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

A visit to New Glarus Brewing Company is always a welcome event. Before the kids got active, we made multiple 2+ hour trips to the brewery each year. Typically our weekends are abuzz with trips to the gym, soccer field and/or basketball tournament.

This past Sunday was special: it was my birthday.

The wife asked me multiple times what I wanted to do for my birthday. I gave little input. Finally she mentioned New Glarus but only because she really wanted to go and has been talking about it for a month ago. She is a Spotted Cow super fan.

In the four or more since we have visited New Glarus, the drive hasn’t changed but the brewery has. It is bigger, with multiple additions: one on the west side, one on the south-west and possibly more. One of which is near the bottling/kegging area that includes the ability to can their beers. Probably the biggest change: the common area on the north-east side of the brewery. Now there is more and nicer seating, there are trails in the woods, there are a bunch of partially built structures surrounding the area that look more like bombed out Germany during World War II. Tons of new and interesting sites and places for the kids to play. There was live entertainment, see video above. Sausage on wheels was served from a food chuck. The man serving food had a mustache worthy of 20th century Germany.

They still only have four beers on tap for tasting. The price for the tasting has increased while the serving size has not. My only complaint of the day.

The brewery was crowded with people and dogs but the improved family feel made us feel welcome for a lazy October afternoon. We will be back again, just hopefully not for so long. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: If you go blind in one eye you only lose about one fifth of your vision but all your sense of depth.

Brewed: Baller IPA

Thursday, October 6th, 2016
Over an 1.5 inches of trub after my first go around with dry hopping while active fermentation.

Over an 1.5 inches of trub after my first go around with dry hopping while active fermentation.

Home brewing beers that are named after family members has created an issue: now all my kids want a beer named after them. When the first kid (that I named a home brew after) brags to the other kids, a battle for Dad’s attention ensues. Since my oldest was the most exuberant, Baller IPA was named after her. As I mentioned before, when naming a beer I don’t typically give it the name of the real person but something that reminds me of that person. Thus, Baller IPA, is named due to my oldest child’s affinity for basketball. She plays hard, tough and with a determination that continues to soar in recent months.

Formulating Baller IPA Recipe

Baller IPA is another attempt at a Northeast style IPA (earlier attempts: Smiles and Used). The beer actually started out with intentions of being a double IPA, using some Northeast style hopping processes, while resuscitating an old, friendly on. Alas, it did not end up that way from the standpoint of gravity.

Cracking grain for me can be an adventure at times. The drill that drives my grinder doesn’t allow me to crack the grain as finely as I would like; the grinder binds as the drill doesn’t have the stones to push through the grain to the powdery mist I prefer. Instead, I back off a bit, cutting down on efficiency. The drill, mill and myself did not see eye-to-eye on brew day, more so than usual. The drill/mill bound up, multiple times, making me dump out the grain and clean out any traces before “working” again. Half-dozen times later, I was a bit miffed. I opened the mill spacing to allow for a more coarse grind, alleviating pressure on the drill. 45 minutes after starting the milling process, I was done and hating the mill, drill and anything within eyesight.

I knew my efficiency was shot but I did not change the process I was going to use in terms of the hops. I felt that the way I was going to use the hops, the drop in efficiency shouldn’t raise the bitterness to an obnoxious level.

The changes to the hopping process was threefold:

  • No whirlpool hops. Happy with the aroma this adds but, perception is, not enough flavor. Also, was to be a DIPA to start.
  • Add a first wort hop. It has been a long time but feel this process adds a nice flavor profile to the beer with a minimal impact on bitterness.
  • Add the dry hops towards the end of active fermentation. I have been wanting to use this technique for a while. After my mediocre success with Smiles and Used, I thought that trying this technique might up the perceived aroma (never enough).

The aroma jetting out of the carboy, while racking to the bottling, was impressive. I hope that my milling blunder allows this beer to shine through once I begin tasting. Enjoy!

Recipe for Baller IPA

General Information:
Brew Date: Thursday, October 06, 2016
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.070
IBU: 136.7
Color: 6.3 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 7.6% (due to poor milling)
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @66*F

Grain Bill:
7.00# Maris Otter
7.00# Pilsner
2.00# Munich
8.00 ounces CaraPils
1.00# Table sugar

Mash:
Saccharification @150.8*F

Hop Bill:
3.00 ounce 2014 Simcoe first wort
1.50 ounce 2014 Citra @20 minutes
1.50 ounce 2014 Simcoe @15 minutes
1.50 ounce 2014 Citra @10 minutes
1.50 ounce 2014 Simcoe @5 minutes
4.00 ounce 2014 Citra dry hops 4 days in primary
2.00 ounce 2014 Simcoe dry hops 4 days in primary

Extras:
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
30 seconds of pure oxygen after racking to carboy
4 quarts of rice hulls

Updates

  • 2016-10-09: Hard fermentation @67.8*F.
  • 2016-10-10: Slowing fermentation @66.3*F. Added dry hops to primary: 4.00 ounce 2014 Citra, 2.00 ounce 2014 Simcoe.
  • 2016-10-15: Cold condition @39.0*F.
  • 2016-10-16: Bottled with 3.6 ounces of priming sugar and 2.0 cups of water. 28, 22 ounce bottles. Bottle crown label: LN.

Useless Fact: Spain leads the world in cork production.

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