This Week on BrewZasters: Brewing a Single-Hopped Ale

Humulus lupulus

The hop plant with cones. The cones hold the hop oil which give beer its bitterness. (Photo credit – Flickr)

This week on BrewZasters, we brew a beer using a single type of hop–in this case the Falconer’s Flight hop.

Many in the Lake County Homebrewers club are brewing these Single Hop Experiment (SHE) ales this month with the plan to compare, contrast, and exchange the beers at our meeting next month (which should occur on August 2o–the 3rd Monday of the month–at 6pm).

The recipe is very simple. The grain bill is: 9.5 lbs of 2-row malted barley, 0.75 lbs of crystal 60L malted barley, and 0.5 lbs of crystal 15L malted barley. Mash at 152F (this should give a specific gravity after the boil of 1.050).  Then the amount of hop added at 60 minutes is calculated to deliver 25 International Bittering Units (IBU–I calculated 0.68 oz of Falconer’s Flight would give 25 IBU), then 1 oz of the hop at 10 minutes and 1 minute before the end of the boil, and 1 oz of the hop in the fermenter as a “dry hop.” The yeast is White Labs California Ale WLP001.

Other than slightly scorching the bottom of my mash tunand ripping a gaping hole in my BIAB bag that I use for my mash…oh and raising the mash temperature waaaay too high again, and I’m a gallon short (4.5 gallons yield), the brew went swimmingly. The wort tastes great. Now, we wait for 14 days….

This Week on BrewZasters: Bottling Laurel India Pale Ale

Last time on BrewZasters), we lost all of our  Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale clone  from our three Tap-a-Draft bottles.

Tap-a-Drafts are a compromise between bottles and kegs. It’s nice filling only three bottles…The handle has an issue. If you do not confirm that the handle is secure and the locking tab is in place, it leaks… About 15 minutes later the beer had found its way into vegetable crisper (onions, celery, and lettuce were marinating in beer), behind and under the crisper, and onto the kitchen floor…we lost one-third of our product, or about $10 retail. Damn. [Update: Lightning struck twice and a second TAD leaked. The TAD needs to be checked constantly.]

My version of Laurel IPA. Slightly cloudy with a SRM color around 6.

Well, gluttons for punishment that we are, today we packaged our third batch of Laurel India Pale Ale. The initial tastings of the flat beer hint at this being another dynamite batch. This time we filled just one Tap-A-Draft so that we can sample the Laurel sooner but we didn’t expose all our batch to the TAD [I checked that it was still holding product after writing this sentence.] We bottled the remainder in 12-ounce bottles.

We will keep constant vigilance on this batch. It is a sin to spill beer.

Fermentables
Ingredient    Amount        %         MCU    When
Pale 2-row 
Ale Malt     13lb 15oz     94.7 %    7.6   In Mash/Steeped
Carapils Malt  7.20 oz     3.1 %     0.1   In Mash/Steeped
Caramel 40L    5.40 oz     2.3 %     2.5   In Mash/SteepedHop Schedule
Hop                     %Alpha     Amt         Timing
Magnum                 11.0 %     0.77 oz    First Wort Hopped
Cascade                 5.9 %     1.85 oz   60 Min From End
Centennial              9.5 %     0.75 oz   30 Min From End
Simcoe                 12.5 %     0.30 oz   10 Min From End
Columbus(Tomahawk)     15.5 %     0.30 oz   10 Min From End
Centennial              9.5 %     0.45 oz   At turn off
Cascade                 5.9 %     0.20 oz   At turn off
Cascade                 5.9 %     2.12 oz   Dry-Hopped
Centennial              9.5 %     1.15 oz   Dry-Hopped
Citra                  11.1 %     1.00 oz   Dry-Hopped
Yeast
 White Labs WLP001-California Ale

mashed at 151F using 9 gallons of water
Output:
7.5 gallons wort pre-boil grav 1.044 @ 113F (Corrected pre-boil of 1.053)
Original gravity: 1.065
Final Gravity: 1.013
ABV: 6.9%

This Week on BrewZasters: Kegging our Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ clone

The finished product.

Last time on Brew Disasters (from now on to be referred to as BrewZasters), we had sampled our clone of Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale and detected  hints of clove (phenolics) and banana (isoamyl acetate) in the aroma and taste.

And we here at Flog This Dead Brewery wondered  if, given these possible imperfections, should we throw the whole batch down the drain, as Dogfish Head Brewing did in nearly every episode of Brew Masters? Hell no! Was our answer. We dry-hopped the bejeezus out of it with  2.33 oz   of  Cascade 1.0 oz of Simcoe, 0.53 oz of Columbus (Tomahawk), 0.45 oz of Perle, and 0.15 oz of Nugget–if a hop was in stock it went into the carboy. And, we hoped time would do its magic and remove the off-flavors.

Tasting Notes – NOT cloned – but not bad

After another two weeks in the secondary, the beer is not a clone but it tastes pretty darn awesome. The hops jump out of the glass and hit your nose like a wave of citrus and pine. It’s light in color (about 5 SRM). When you sip the hops hit your tongue first and it finishes with a bright citrus flavor with some pine in the background.

Troubles in kegging bottling Tap-A-Drafting

For bottling, we added 4 ounces of corn sugar and put the beer in our three Tap-a-Draft bottles. Tap-a-Drafts are a compromise between bottles and kegs. It’s nice filling only three bottles rather than 52 12-ounce bottles. A 16 ounce CO2 cartridge charges up the system and carbonates it. The handle has an issue. If you do not confirm that the handle is secure and the locking tab is in place, it leaks. This is what happened: I missed making sure the handle was completely secured and put it in the refrigerator. About 15 minutes later the beer had found its way into vegetable crisper (onions, celery, and lettuce were marinating in beer), behind and under the crisper, and onto the kitchen floor. Not quite as large a mess as the time the glue from labeler in Dogfish Head Brewing spilled all over, but a mess it was. And, we lost one-third of our product, or about $10 retail. Damn.

 

Sam Calagione has much higher standards than we do. His company has flavor profiles and everything. Whereas our motto is “When in doubt, hop the bejeezus out of  it.”

 

Third Street Aleworks Takes Two Golds at World Beer Cup

Incredible collaboration and competition at the 12th Annual Brewers Association

Kudos to Third Street Aleworks of Santa Rosa, CA. for garnering two gold medals at the 2012 Brewers Association World Beer Cup.

Third Street topped 32 other entries to grab the Gold in Category 67 (Classic English-Style Pale Ale) for their Annadel Pale Ale. And, they beat 29 other breweries to get the gold in Category 83 (Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout) with their Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company of Paso Robles, CA. whooped 82 other entries to take first and second for the American-Style Pale Ales category with their Pale 31 and Mission Street Pale.

According to the media release from the Brewers Association, “The ninth bi-annual competition boasted the strongest field of entrants on record, with 799 breweries from 54 countries and 45 U.S. states entering 3,921 beers in 95 beer style categories.”

A detailed analysis of the entries and awards can be found in the 2012 World Beer Cup Fact Sheet (PDF).

This Week on Brew Disasters: Off flavors-Banana & Clove in the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ clone

The Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale clone looking very cloney.

Last time on Brew Disasters we were trying to clone Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Al eand had several problems right out of the gate: Instead of a desired mash temp of 150F, the mash temp was 170F! And, the pre-boil specific gravity came in low at 1.043. That was a full 12 points below the 1.055 that was our target.

Well, it’s difficult for us to tell if the cooling of the grain from 170F to 149.5F succeeded. But, the adding of 0.5 pounds of corn sugar and 0.5 pounds of dry malt extract may have created another problem: phenols and esters. Specifically the addition of corn sugar could be the culprit for why there are hints of clove (phenolics) and banana (isoamyl acetate) in the aroma and taste. John Palmer says in How to Brew, that adding sucrose or refined sugar (corn sugar probably meets that criterion) contributes to ester production. The easily digestible sugar could have revved the English yeast (Fermentis’s Safale 04) and they could have been over-stimulated and giving off unwanted phenols and esters.

Given these modest, though real, imperfections, would we throw the whole batch down the drain, as Dogfish Head Brewing did in nearly every episode of Brew Masters?

Sam Calagione has much higher standards than we do. His company has flavor profiles and everything. Whereas our motto is "When in doubt, hop the bejeezus out of it."

Well, we here out Flog This Dead Brewery looked at our flavor profiles and realized we have no flavor profiles. We wondered if our degrees Plato were met, and we had no idea what that meant. Finally, we checked our standards, and realized we had none, well, maybe not none, but extremely low.

So, since we have incredibly low standards (after all, we answer to no one but ourselves) and we have won a gold medal for a previous screw-up, we crossed our fingers and dry-hopped the holy bejeezus out of it with 2.33 oz of cascade hops, 1 oz of simcoe hops, and 0.5 oz of Columbus hops.

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale…the bottling

It’s been nearly a month since we at Flog This Dead Brewing avoided injuring even though we boiled 10 gallons of wort for over 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children and tipsy people. We were able to move the wort into fermenting carboys and added yeast at which point the wort changed (legally at least) into beer. A week later we took a sample (using a wine thief, essentially a long plastic pipette)  and its specific gravity measured 1.023.  Though there were some “dish soap” tastes–probably phenols produced by the yeast.

Hydrometer shows the finishing specific gravity of 1.014

After one month in the primary and secondary combined, and two weeks after dry-hopping with an ounce of cascade hops, the specific gravity has reached its final gravity of 1.014.

So today, the beer will be bottled and set aside for bottle conditioning. Bottle conditioning is the process of adding sugars to the beer to awaken the yeast and get them working again. Their burping of carbon dioxide inside the bottle will carbonate the beer.

But, first we will taste the month-old beer to see how it’s doing so far. The beer has a deep red color with a floral nose and taste (reminiscent of rose petals). The soapiness is gone and hoppiness jumps out at you but it is still slightly sweet. In future batches, I think the malt might use a little more presence. Since this was an extract brew there was not much we could do about that. The yeast ate the extract and left the beer a little drier. In an all-grain batch I might try mashing in the 155F (68C) range which will leave some more unfermentable sugars that the yeast can’t digest.

I’ve decided to experiment  with the flavor profile by bottle conditioning half of the batch with corn sugar (0.46  oz/gal) and half with honey (0.56 oz/gal). I’m interested to see how the honey will play with the already great flavors. It may be too much of a good thing. We will know in a few more weeks which method was the right choice.

Carbonation calculation for a brown ale.

Here’s the recipe for the Big Irish American Red beer:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

This Week on Brew Disasters: Cloning Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Basic beer brewing equipment. Includes four fe...

Nothing like my brewing equipment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Week on Brew Disasters: Cloning Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale.

Note: a pictorial of the brewing process is toward the end of this post.

We here at Flog-This-Dead Brewing are excited to try brewing a new (to us anyway) beer: Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale. The grain bill is 16 pounds; a 50/50 blend of wheat and barley. The beer has minimal brewing hops and, true to the Lagunita’s way, massive dry hopping, 4.5 ounces for a 5 gallon batch.

A huge thank you to the Jamil Zainasheff and Mike “Tasty” McDole of the Brewing Network‘s Can You Brew It and Lagunitas Brewing Company for sharing their Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale recipe with them. And, lastly, thanks to my buddy Paul for pointing me to the recipe and my loving wife for helping at just the right times.

As you may recall, we here at Flog-This-Dead Brewing just supplemented our temperature monitoring from a handheld Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer to a BrewMometer by Blichmann Engineering. So we started the strike water temperature for our mash at 20F above our desired mash temp, because we had found that after adding our grain the water cooled 20F. Apparently, having a thermometer probe further down makes a big difference and the mash temperature did not drop the 20F expected. Yikes, instead of a desired mash temp of 150, the mash temp was 170F! We yanked the bag of grain out of the mash tun and began cooling the watery wort down.

After cooling the mash conversion process started at a temperature of 149.5 and after 60 minutes finished at 137F. A batch sparge was used and the total wort produced was 10.5 gallons with a pre-boil specific gravity of 1.043 (1.033 @ 117F); a full 12 points below the 1.055 that was the target, the addition gallon produced had a lot to do with that (You would think I could subtract 9 from the yield of the first runnings, but no, I muffed it). One-half pound of corn sugar and one-half pound of dry malt extract were added to boost the specific gravity.

It took over about an hour and a half to get the wort to boiling for the 90 minute boil.

Total time for brewing day (including cleanup–that’s why it’s a hobby and not a business): 12 hours.

First impressions:

  • Appearance: 10L hazy-like smoggy LA day
  • Aroma: fruity, sweet,
  • Flavor: Sweet-malty, fruity, a sweetness lingers on the tip of the tongue
  • Mouthfeel: syrupy (it is wort after all)
  • Overall impression: Good start. Slightly maltier than hoppy.

The Flog This Dead Brewing‘s recipe:

Target Wort Volume Before Boil:  8.00 US gals  Actual Wort Volume Before Boil:  10.50 US gals
Target Wort Volume After Boil:  6.00 US gals  Actual Wort Volume After Boil:  7.50 US gals
Target Volume Transferred:  5.25 US gals  Actual Volume Transferred:  5.50 US gals
Target Volume At Pitching:  5.25 US gals  Actual Volume At Pitching:  5.50 US gals
Target Volume Of Finished Beer:  5.00 US gals  Actual Volume Of Finished Beer:  5.00 US gals
Target Pre-Boil Gravity:  1.053 SG  Actual Pre-Boil Gravity:  1.048 SG
Target OG:  1.079 SG  Actual OG:  1.056 SG
Target FG:  1.018 SG  Actual FG:  -No Record-
Target Apparent Attenuation:: 75.50%  Actual Apparent Attenuation: 100.00%
Target ABV: 8.10%  Actual ABV: 7.40%
Target ABW: 6.30%  Actual ABW: 5.90%
Target IBU (using Tinseth):  29.9 IBU  Actual IBU:  31.8 IBU
Target Color (using Morey):  5.3 SRM  Actual Color:  5.3 SRM
Target Mash Efficiency: 70.00%  Actual Mash Efficiency: 82.30%
Target Fermentation Temp:  64 degF  Actual Fermentation Temp:
Fermentables
Ingredient Amount % MCU When
2-Row Malt  8lb 2oz 47.30% 2.4  In Mash/Steeped
White Wheat Malt  6lb 2oz 35.60% 2.5  In Mash/Steeped
Torrified Wheat  1lb 12oz 10.20% 0.6  In Mash/Steeped
Toasted White Wheat  3.12 oz 1.10% 0.5  In Mash/Steeped
Extract – Light Dried Malt Extract  8.00 oz 2.90% 0.3  Start Of Boil
Sugar – Corn Sugar/Dextrose (Dry)  8.00 oz 2.90% 0  Start Of Boil
Hops
Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
Nugget 13.00%  0.39 oz 15.9  Loose Pellet Hops  90 Min From End
Willamette (rhymes with damn it) 5.20%  0.28 oz 3.9  Loose Pellet Hops  45 Min From End
Tettnanger 4.50%  1.18 oz 7.7  Loose Pellet Hops  15 Min From End
Willamette 5.20%  0.32 oz 2.4  Loose Pellet Hops  15 Min From End
Cascade 5.90%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Centennial 9.50%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Chinook 11.50%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Simcoe 12.50%  0.85 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Amarillo 8.50%  0.63 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Columbus 15.50%  0.53 oz 0  Loose Pellet Hops  Dry-Hopped
Other Ingredients
Ingredient Amount When
Irish Moss  1.00 oz  in boil
Yeast
DCL S-04-SafAle

A winning recipe for the Battle of the Brews, but which one?

Oh Well, What the Hell Pale Ale could be a winner

A few weeks back, I entered my “Oh Well, What the HellPale Ale and my House Pale Ale (a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone using Pilsner yeast to ferment due to the cold temperature in my basement) into the tasting competition of the 16th Annual Battle of the Brews .

I don’t know which House Pale Ale it is. It could be this one. But, who knows? Darn it. If you want to get feedback on your brewing you should at least remember which batch it is, so you can know which tweaks might have worked or not. Well, frankly, the House Pale Ale batches I had made tasted pretty similar, but nothing like Sierra Nevada‘s Pale Ale. SNPA has a slightly metallic taste, in my opinion. I like SNPA, but when I tasted the two back-to-back they were quite different. The difference could be the use of Pilsner yeast instead of California Ale yeast.

Well, Gabe Jackson of the Sonoma Beerocrats sent me an email last night letting me know that one of my entries had “placed in our Battle of the Brew/Craft Cup Homebrew Competition!” Cool. But which ones placed, we do not know yet.

Paul, the president of our Lake County Homebrew Club, entered our club’s Bourbon Barrel Stout that we made at the 2011 Big Beer Brew Day. He was told he also placed.

Still, I guess that’s pretty good feedback. I seem to be making decent beer.

The 16th Annual Battle of the Brews is happening on March 31, 2012 at Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma Fairgrounds. And, I’m going. the BOTB is held for charity. According to their website: “For 15 years, the Active 20-30 club of Santa Rosa has held the Battle of the Brews fundraiser. This event has raised nearly $1,000,000 dollars, the proceeds of which have been distributed by our Youth Benevolent Fund to help change the lives of needy children.”

CliffsNotes for the 16th ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE BREWS:

Local charity fundraiser. Beer tasting, food and music. Must be 21 to enter; valid California Driver’s License required at time of entry.

  • Date: Saturday – March 31, 2012
  • Hours: 2:00 – 8:00p.m.
  • Location:Grace Pavilion
  • Admission: Advance Tickets are $40/pp for Main Event & $95/pp for the Craft Tasting
  • Organization: Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa #50
  • Website: www.battleofthebrews.com

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale follow-up/Taste and Specific Gravity

Here's Big Red at 1 week old

Last week in brew disasters at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012, Paul and Norm avoided scalding anyone while producing 10 gallons of Big Irish American Red beer wort in 30 minutes 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children people unaware that we were boiling liquid.

Today, I took my first sample of the wort beer (That’s it on the right ==>). The specific gravity measured at 1.023. That’s after one week in the fermenter at 64F. I tasted it too. It’s okay. Though there are some “dish soap” tastes–probably phenols produced by the yeast. I’m hoping that a week or two longer in the carboy helps. Unless, it really is dish soap then there’s no hope for it.

Should I add more yeast to try to get the specific gravity down to 1.015 and clean up some of those phenol tastes?

Ingredients:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale (after the Rhythm & Brews event)

In this photograph, emergency medical technici...

Fortunately these guys weren't needed. No one got hurt too badly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week in brew disasters:Paul and Norm were up to the challenge of producing 10 gallons of beer wort in 30 minutes 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children and less than sober people who have no idea that we were boiling liquid at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012.

Speaking of no ideas. I have no idea of how many health and safety codes we might have violated. I love brewing. Brew days just stoke me with excitement. But, if we were to do this again, I would like to see: signs to caution people to the dangers of boiling liquids, first aid supplies for burns and emergency medical technicians close by, cordons around the boil kettles, in other words a decent incident action plan (IAP).

Thankfully, no one was injured.

The yeast joined the wort at 6:45pm on Saturday and by 6am on Sunday the beer showed active fermentation.

Ingredients for Big Irish American Ale:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG (Measured 1.060)
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM