Another BrewZaster: Feedback Edition

 

I thought it might be fun to share the tasting notes on two of our beers.An Unexpected IPA. It was supposed to be an American Pale Ale.

Last month two of Flogthis Brewing’s home brewed beers were judged as part of the Battle of the Brews home brew competition. We here at Flogthis Brewing want to thank the Sonoma Beercrats for the home brew portion of this event.

The two beers were part of a split batch of our House Pale Ale (recipe here); one batch was pitched with Safale S-05 yeast and dry-hopped with Australian Galaxy hops, and the other with Safale S-33 yeast. The beers were entered as a Pale Ale (BJCP Category 10A) and a Blonde Ale (BJCP Category 6B) respectively. Given the hopping schedule, the Blonde category was a bit of a stretch, but the S-33 yeast does eat a bit of the bitterness.

The Pale took Second Place.

Here is the feedback the beers received from the two sets of judges:

Judge #1 – 10A American Pale Ale entry 45

Aroma                                                                      9/12

Nice hoppy aroma, citrus, floral, piney-good array of American aromas.

Appearance                                                           2/3

Clear, good Golden-Amber color, moderate head falls quickly.

Flavor                                  13/20

Good hop flavor supports aroma. Crisp, refreshing. Good bitterness, not overdone. Malt flavor is a bit neutral; more like a blonde ale.

Mouthfeel                           3/5

Well carbonated, medium-full mouth feel. A bit astringent.

Overall impression                                 8/10

A very nice example of the style. A little more richness from the malt would better support the well-chosen hop profile, maybe a touch of caramel malts?

Total                                                                                                 33/50

Stylistic Accuracy

Classic Example _ _ _ _ _ Not to Style

Technical Merit

Flawless _ _ _ _ _ Not to Style

Intangibles

Wonderful _ _ _ _ _ Lifeless

 

Judge #2 – 10A American Pale Ale entry 45

Aroma                                              8/12

Has hop and malt aromas. light bready aromas from the malt, but distinctly missing the hallmark hop character of an APA. No diacetyl or DMS. Some hops come through as it warms up.

Appearance                                   2/3

Very clean gold color with off-white head that quickly subsides to a thin foamy film.

Flavor                                              13/20

Light vegetal flavor (DMS?) Comes through over the malt flavor. Strong hop bitterness but surprisingly less hop flavor. Malt comes through with bread and crackers. Slightly sour character too. Maybe from grain hull tannins?

Mouthfeel                                                   3/5

Medium light body, a little light on the carbonation and some astringent dryness in the finish.

Overall impression                                 7/10

I see where this beer is going but it seems too bitter, and without enough aroma and flavor. Also there is a little sour/astringency that distracts from the overall character. But, with lesser bittering and more hop flavor/aroma this would be right on track.

Total                                                                                     33/50

Stylistic Accuracy

Classic Example _ _ _ x _ Not to Style

Technical Merit

Flawless _ _ _ _ _ Not to Style

Intangibles

Wonderful _ _ _ x _ Lifeless

 

Judge #3 – 6 B blonde ale entry 46

Aroma                                                                      8/12

Hop-dominated aroma, yet light overall. Vinous, grapefruit-rind, orange-rind combo. Lighter fruits like melon, peach appear. Light malt graininess, no off aromas.

Appearance                                                           3/3

Clear, golden, SRM ~ 5. Thick, long-lasting head and fine white bubbles. Looks great.

Flavor                                  12/20

Balanced flavors of hops and malt, though pushing the upper “west coast” and of the blonde style on hop flavor and bitterness. Appropriate fermentation, no off flavors. Aftertaste.

Mouthfeel                           4/5

Medium body, high carbonation, some astringency. Light warmth from alcohol.

Overall impression                                 6/10

This is a “West Coast” blonde. Although I prefer a less intense blonde with hoppiness, this is mostly to style. My biggest criticism is the lingering bitterness. As this should be an entry-level craft beer, the lingering bitterness reduces over all drinkability.

Total                                                                                                 33/50

Stylistic Accuracy

Classic Example _ x _ _ _ Not to Style

Technical Merit

Flawless _ x _ _ _ Not to Style

Intangibles

Wonderful _ x _ _ _ Lifeless

Judge #4 – 6 B blonde ale entry 46

Aroma                                              7/12

citrus and peach hop aromas-medium, some grainy malt in background, light esters-OK for style

Appearance                                   3/3

deep gold-like copper, clear, light phase, persistent white head

Flavor                                               11/20

light, clean malt flavor, some slight graininess-wheat? Medium hop flavor-American, moderate bitterness

Mouthfeel                                                   3/5

Medium-light body, medium-high carbonation, some alcohol warmth-not to style

Overall impression                                 6/10

This blonde ale is close to crossing the line to pale ale territory. The hop bitterness and alcohol are too high for a blonde ale. The fermentation and execution otherwise is fine; lower your malt and hop bitterness.

Total                                                                                     30/50

Stylistic Accuracy

Classic Example _ _ _ x _ Not to Style

Technical Merit

Flawless _ x _ _ _ Not to Style

Intangibles

Wonderful _ _ x _ _ Lifeless

 

 

 

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Hops chart

Put me in coach I’m ready to play.

I just added a link to Brew Your Owns hops chart. If your looking for a description of a certain type of hop or want to know what you might use as a substitute start with their chart

English: hops in glass

Hops give beer that earthy, piney, cirtrusy or grassy flavor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Speed Brewing Your Six-Pack of Beer

At DFH Rehoboth Brew & Eats. Cheers.

Brew one in less than an hour. Cheers.

James Spencer and Steve Wilkes must be the nicest guys on the web. One of these days I would love to meet them. Their Basic Brewing website and (mostly James but more than occasionally Steve) podcasts are fun and informative. I really recommend the podcasts on toxicology of home brewing.

In this video they show how to brew an India Pale Ale in less than an hour (~45 minutes, not counting fermenting and bottling time). This technique will work fine for a pale ale (less hops) or a blonde (less malt and less hops).

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This Week in BrewZasters – Tasting the Accidental IPA

An Unexpected IPA. It was supposed to be an American Pale Ale.

Accidental IPA. It was supposed to be an American Pale Ale.

When it was brewed two weeks ago, the Accidental IPA was supposed to be an American Pale Ale.  That is, until, due to better efficiency in extracting sugars, the specific gravity was overshot by 12 points and Accidental IPA became an India Pale Ale (American style– though at around 39 IBU it is low on bitterness). The beer was dry-hopped with 1 ounce each of Citra, Falconer’s Flight™, and Centennial hops.

This time, instead of bottling the batch, it was put into a 5 gallon keg and 3 keggettes (Tap-A-Drafts actually, if truth be told).

Appearance

The beer is cloudy, perhaps due to the yeast not having dropped, or from the use of wheat, or the pickup tube pulling yeast in. Its color is about a 3 or 4 SRM (the color of straw,which is lighter than what the picture shows) and has a foamy white head. There is little lacing left on the glass after the beer is gone.

Aroma

The beer’s aroma is subtle, a sweet combination of malt and citrus. As the beer warms a fruity character appears (probably from the Citra dry-hopping).

Taste

My impression is that the beer leans toward the bitter side but not jarringly so and tastes of citrus. The aftertaste is citrus also. There may be an off-note that I can’t quite wrap my tongue around, but then I could be overly critical.

Mouthfeel

It strikes me as a bit on the light side, though not unpleasantly so. The beer is well carbonated and tingles the tongue and adds to the bitterness.

Overall Impression

This is a dangerous beer. It’s 7.5% ABV hides in the carbonation and citrus flavors and will definitely affect your ability to say no to another. It’s a drinkable beer with a good beat that many could dance to. I think it will be a hit at the Northern California Homebrewers Festival in September.

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This Week on BrewZasters: One Gallon Batches

You know that you would like to brew your own beer but:

  • You don’t have time to brew your own beer.
  • You don’t have the space (because you live in an apartment) to brew your own beer.
  • You don’t have the money to brew your own beer. All the extra equipment can really drain the wallet.
  • You live in an apartment, you don’t have room to store all that stuff to be able to brew your own beer.

As Charlie Papazian says, “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew,” perhaps, micro batch brewing may meet your needs. For our purposes, micro batches are one to three gallons in size. And, they can be as simple or complex as you wish to do, and some can be done in under an hour. It’s easy to make beer. People have been brewing their own beer for as long as they have been growing grains (there is evidence that it’s even longer than that). If you can make oatmeal, you can make beer (in beer’s case you’d throw away the oatmeal and keep the liquid). At its most basic, beer is made from water, malted barley, hops, yeast and, sometimes, other stuff.

Making beer involves three or four steps:

  1. You boil the batch
  2. You ferment the batch
  3. You bottle the batch
  4. (Optional) You drink the batch.

I’ve brewed three micro (one-gallon) batches of beer and have had good results using the following recipes:

15-Minute Pale Ale (15 minute Boil That is)

4.3 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
1 lbs 3.1 oz Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
27 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min
11 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 5.0 min
3 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min
0.5 pkg. Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

See Ya Nevada Pale Ale

2.6 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
1 lb. 1.6 oz Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
9.33 g German Perle [6.50 %]
7.01 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min
7.01 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min
9.39 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min
0.5 pkg. Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast

Drying hops.

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard

Hop cone in a commercial  hop yard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zeus hops drying outside on a window screen. Today’s temperatures are in the high 80’s to low 90’s.

I received a call yesterday from a friend. “Would you like to pick some hops today?” You cannot say no to free hops. Though the task took about 3-4 hours from beginning to end–drive over, pick hops, drink a beer, drink another beer (must stay hydrated after all) pack hops into car, drive back, separate hops flower from hopbine, and spread out on screen to dry–it was fun and odorific. It was also completely uneconomical.

While drinking homebrew, we picked individual hops and crushed them between fingers and thumbs to smell the resins and oils. We talked about what we would make with these hops.

I wound up with Zeus, Nugget, and Cascade hops (no telling how much until the hops dry–but less than a pound no doubt). If you figure how much your time is worth (economists call this an opportunity cost) it makes more sense, form an economic point of view, to buy the hops and pay the shipping charges. That said, it was so worth it and I would do it again in a New York heartbeat.

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Gads Zeus!

Gads Zeus! Look at where the Zeus hops are now. They’re on the railing of our second story deck. And, they’ve begun flowering.

This is the  Zeus hop bine ((Humulus lupulus var. whotheheckknowsii), part of the CTZ–Columbus, Tomahawk, Zeus–hops triad) that has grown to the railing of my deck on the second story. And, it has started flowering.

So far, the Zeus are much more aggressive (taller and flowering) than the other hops that I planted. One of those was growing great guns and then died, possibly from a mildew, but it could have been mites or aphids.

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%

Brew Day Notes: Laurel IPA

Today we brewed the ‘House’ India Pale Ale. The wort’s color looks much more like the picture on the right. It looked like an SRM 10 or 11 rather than the 6 that was forecast.

Julian Shrago’s Laurel IPA is the base recipe for our ‘House’ IPA. Of course we here at Flog This Dead Brewing tweaked the original recipe (which is at the bottom of this post). We wouldn’t be homebrewers if we didn’t change something about the recipe, would we? For one thing, Julian “Burtonizes” the water, and that will make the beer seem bitterer than the already mindbogglingly high 96 IBUs. To my taste, the Burtonizing the water for Beachwood BBQ Brewery’s offering gave it a tinge of diesel. And, diesel is a taste I don’t lust after.

Brewday Notes

  • My mash temperature was 8-10F too hot (temp did not drop after adding grain). The rule of thumb for heating water for mashing the milled grain is to heat it 10-12F above the desired mash temperature (e.g. 161-163F for a desired mash temp of 151F). I expected the temperature to when I added the nearly 15 pounds of grain to the heated water. It didn’t. Do you have a similar experience? Is this because of the keggle’s mass holding the heat and the weldless thermometer?
  • The pre-boil gravity calculated by BeerAlchemy is too low (perhaps by 7 points), which means my assumed evaporation is too high.
  • Total time for brew day: 7 hours. That includes set-up and clean-up.
  • Mash at 151F (needed to cool down wort to 151)
  • Measured pre-boil gravity: 1.053
  • Measured Original Gravity: 1.065
  • Target Final Gravity: 1.015
  • Target IBUs: 95
  • Expected ABV: 6.5%
  • Expected Color: 5.8 SRM (looks more in the 10-11 SRM neighborhood)

Today’s House IPA recipe

– 5 gallon batch at 70% efficiency

Grain Bill
13 lbs 15 oz Pale Malt (94.7%)
7.20 oz Carapils (Dextrin) Malt (3.1%)
5.40 oz Crystal 40L Malt (2.3%)

Hops
0.77 oz German Hallertauer Magnum – first wort hop (FWH)
1.85 oz Cascade – 60 minutes from end
0.75 oz Centennial – 30 Min From End
0.30 oz Simcoe – 10 Min From End
0.30 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) – 10 Min From End
0.20 oz Cascade – flame off
0.45 Centennial – flame off
12.12 oz Cascade – Dry-Hopped
1.30 oz Summit – Dry-Hopped
1.30 oz Centennial – Dry-Hopped

Yeast
White labs WLP001- California Ale

Mash at 151F
Target pre-boil gravity: 1.045
Target Original Gravity: 1.064
Target Final Gravity: 1.015
Expected IBUs: 95
Expected ABV: 6.7%
Expected Color: 5.8 SRM

For Extract Brewing

For an extract, try 6.9 lbs of dry light malt extract and steeping 0.4 lbs carapils and 0.3 lbs of caramel 40 at 160F for 30 minutes or so.

Mike “Tasty” McDole’s  Laurel IPA recipe  (12.5 gallon batch)

Last November while on the Brewing Network, Rodger Davis and Julian Shrago announced a Pro/Am collaboration on Julian’s Laurel India Pale Ale. Rodger (then at Triple Rock) and Julian (at Beachwood Brewing ) invited homebrewers to brew the same recipe that they would be brewing at their respective breweries.Then in December came the tasting.  The two brewers made radically different beers. Julian loves first wort hopping and Burtonizing the water. Then Triple Rock brewer, Rodger Davis does not believe in first wort hopping or Burtonizing. There were other differences. The brand of grains was different and the water was different (Berkeley vs. Long Beach).

Julian Shrago’s Laurel IPA recipe:

THE LAUREL IPA
– 5 gallon batch at 75% efficiency –

* 11.5 lbs. American 2-row malt
* 0.4 lbs. Carapils malt
* 0.3 lbs. Crystal 40 malt

Mash @ 151 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.

90 minute boil

* 0.8 oz. Amarillo pellets (9.6% AA) for first wort hop (FWH)
* 0.55 oz. Summit pellets (18% AA) for 60 minutes
* 0.75 oz. Centennial pellets (9.2% AA) for 30 minutes
* 0.3 oz. each Simcoe (12.2) and Columbus pellets (14.0) for 10 minutes
* 0.5 oz. Amarillo pellets (9.6% AA) at flameout/whirlpool
* Dry hops: 1.3oz each Amarillo, Centennial, and Summit pellets for two weeks

Ferment with White Labs California Ale Yeast WLP001 or Wyeast 1056

OG/FG: 1.064/1.010
SRM: 5.2
IBUs: 108