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.”

 

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.