Before I started my new job, I brewed a beer. Called it the Free Man Stout as a way to celebrate my time unemployed. It has a chocolate liquor nose but with a nice level of carbonation, the beer feels pretty light. I did well with this one.
While it is true that I don’t like to go out on St. Patrick’s Day, I still really enjoy stouts. As a matter of fact the last stout I made has shown a marked improvement on my previous efforts, as it has the mouthfeel I’d expect from the style; creamy and easy drinking with very little of the coffee bitterness, just the coffee flavor. A definite winner for me.
Still no (or very low) carbonation but that can be forgiven in this case. What I’m really looking at is the use of the C-20 malts, as I think that may’ve contributed to the moutfeel. Recipe is as follows:
Grains steeped for about an hour
1 lb chocolate malt
.5 lb C-20
1 lb Black Patent
7 Light Malt Extract
1 oz Nugget @70
.75 oz mystery pellets @ 40 (I used to know the name and then the marker on the bag rubbed off)
1 1.8th oz Ginger @ 30
Wyeast American Ale 1272
Initial Gravity was 1.07
Terminal Gravity 1.02
Personal Notes: I added the fermentable sugars late to the boil and it dropped the temperature so I ended up waiting for the wort to come back up to about 170 degrees (or so). This meant I boiled the ginger for longer than I meant to. The wort was starting to smell just a bit vegetal and I was starting to worry. Luckily, everything came out great.
After a year of making IPAs with the same ingredient list, I have been mixing it up a little. My goal here was to use ESB malts coupled with the hoppiness of an IPA. I was looking for a balanced beer overall that was a child of both styles. I think I could’ve used more ESB malts though. I mean if I’m going to marry styles, why not go for broke?
It mostly worked. Mostly. There’s a metallic tang at the veeeeery end of the beer. Shiny-metal, not rusty-metal. I believe what this means is that the beer may have been oxidized during the process. A bummer, yes but not the end of the world. This ISB is still pretty good and when served cold the tang at the end isn’t really noteworthy. It comes across as a dryness instead which encourages the next sip.
Maybe I’m spinning this; in these cases it’s usually best to give the beer to someone else for evaluation and I think I’ll be giving it to some friends to see what they think. Recipe as follows:
Well, pretty good actually. The cinnamon is a bit overpowering though; the drink is still too sweet and lacks the nuttier qualities of allspice or nutmeg. This is partly because I put in too much cinnamon and partly because it sat in the bottle a lot longer than it usually does. Spices tend to be the first thing that fades out in a beer, so at worst I’ve got a cinnamony-sweet amber. At best, I’ve got a winter warmer that’s come late to the party.
Sometimes things work out better than expected. Although we lost part of the garden this year-notably, the part of the garden where the hops grew-I was able to use some of them in an IPA.
The beer in the picture is a little bit more effervescent than most of the bottles I open but it’s not an extreme exaggeration. This beer is a touch sweeter than is appropriate for the style but the sweetness comes from a different angle; there’s a green quality to it that I can only presume comes from the Galena (and touches of Willamette) hops that I picked and used that day. They generally say that hop plants won’t produce much in the first year but I got quite a few from the Galena. Maybe the hops don’t produce much in the way of bitterness their first year: I just don’t know enough botany to say. I can tell you that this IPA doesn’t have the strong bitterness qualities that are typically associated with NW IPAs, so it might make a good ‘gateway’ beer. The malts are a little overpowering though, so it might be too sweet for some people.
The nose is a soft one; this IPA is probably closer to a pale and maybe should be drank as such. A solid beer though and one that makes me wish I had more hops to look forward to next year. As it stands, I’ll have to take stock of the condition of the garden before making any plans.
Recipe for Fresh Hop IPA, 9/7/09 Steeping Grains
6 oz Munich 100
6 oz Munich
11 oz Caramel 80 Fermenting Sugars
7 lb Light malt extract- dry Hops
3.5 oz Galena (fresh) @ 60
5 oz Santitam pellets @20 Yeast
2 packets Rogue Pacman (new packets)
Put into secondary 9/17, bottled 10/8. From my notes:
8.38% ABV! Wow. Be careful with this one.
Indeed. What about that IPA. Did time give it the carbonation that it needed? Let’s take a look.
As you can see there is no head on this beer. So where does that leave me?
Well, it’s actually fairly tasty. There’s a strong nose to the beer, despite having no head to it. Although it’s flat this IPA does taste pretty good overall. But because there’s no fizz, there isn’t any effect to offset the bitterness of the beer or clear it away. Unfortunate, but there does seem to be a solution: Potato chips.
That’s right. What other snack so rewards having another right after you’ve drank some beer to wash the salt out of your mouth?
That said, I am adding bottling sugar to my recipe checklist to ensure that I add that to the beers. I’m not sure if I forgot to put in the bottling sugar in this batch, but better safe than sorry and if it improves future beers, the small reminder is worth it..
Readers may’ve noticed that I do try to include images with my postings to help break things up. Sadly, my camera has broken and I do not currently have the funds to replace it. So there will be, for the time being, some photoless (or poorly taken compy photos) entries. Sorry about that.
Let me get to the beer I made most recently, an India Red Ale. It was this beer that caused me to miss posting a few weeks back. I put it into secondary yesterday along with some Mt Rainier and Sterling hops, and am going to be making a mild (of some kind) today but so far so good.
Here’s the recipe.
Steeping Grains (at about 160 degrees)
6 oz Roasted Barley
6 oz Caramel 140
12 oz Caramel 40, which I added because it had a wonderful biscuity smell, which I’m hoping will add to the beer.
6 lb Pale malt extract (dry)
1 lb Light malt extract (dry)
1 lb Amber malt extract (dry)
These malts took a bit of time to dissolve, so I gave them the time to do so. That’s a lot of malt for three and a half gallons of water to absorb.
1 oz Newport at 60
1 oz Sterling at 35
.5 oz Newport at 5
.5 tsp of Irish Moss at 5
The original gravity was 1.086, and one of these days I’m going to find out what that means. Perhaps later today.
Finally, I added two packs of Wyeast 1084 when the beer was in the low 80’s, high 70’s, thermally. Should be ready to drink by the end of the month.
The story goes like this: About three years ago the OBC had a contest for the right to have a beer served at the Horsebrass pub. It was the pub’s 25 anniversary, and they’d asked for beers from many local brewers, but had also worked out a deal for the winner of the OBC contest to have their beer brewed with the people at Laurelwood, and served.
So I joined a team of people and we made a wit beer with chamomile tea. And it won. Triumphs all around, we had our beer brewed with professionals and served to the public, a great day was had by all, right?
Well actually, yes. But it has led to the most commonly asked question by my friends; When are you going to make that beer again?
It was a good beer. Why not try to repeat the success? Except I have been unable to re-brew this beer. Or I have, but the beer has been undrinkable to the point where I have had to pour out five gallons of beer because it tasted like swampwater. Twice.
Granted, my first time brewing this beer was with some people who were far more experienced and certainly their knowledge and skills helped a great deal. I’ve made a few beers since then though, I ought to be able to make this beer again. Or at least come close, right?
So into the breech once more.
These were my steeping grains:
1.25 lb Flaked Oats
1 lb Gambrious Pils
When I strained them out of the wort, they looked like this:
Does anyone want to drink something made from this? I’d already stared having misgivings and the yeast wasn’t even in.
Next in was:
6.67 lb of Wheat malt
.5 lb Dry dark malt
At the boil, I added the following:
1 1/8ths oz Golding @ 60
1/4 th oz Hallertauer @ 35
just under 1/8th tsp Grains of Paradise
1/4th tsp crushed coriander seeds
1/4th tsp dried orange
less than 1/8th tsp bitter orange
zest of one orange–all @ 5
Finally, I added two packs of Wyeast 3974. What I got was a beer that initially looked like this:
This…this also does not look promising. I mean really; what the fuck is going on there? Two days later, the yeast would tell me what was going on there.
Yup, the thing blew the airlock.
After two weeks the beer has settled down a bit, and I put it into secondary yesterday. It smelled quite yeasty with a slight citrus undertone, so I’m actually hopeful this will turn out well.
I don’t exactly know why, but I ended up buying a whole lot of very high alpha acid hops. For my non-homebrewer readers, the higher the alpha acid in a hop variety, the more bitterness you can boil out of it to flavor your beer. As a general rule, these hops also have more intense scents to them as well which make them excellent for dry hopping purposes, but when adding them to a boil it’s usually a good idea to err on the side of caution, or else the beer becomes overhopped and resiny. Which is fine for most NW styles of IPAs, but there’s an art to making a proper one that’s hoppy and drinkable and I’m going to try to work that angle for once.
In order to get some sweetness in this beer, I steeped a quarter pound of honey malt, and half a pound of caramunich belgian malt for about thirty minutes. I did this not only for sweetness, but also so I could get a more amber color in the beer. Next up I added 7.34 pounds of light malt extract which seems like a lot, but doesn’t do a lot for impacting the color of beer because it’s so light. I could have used an amber or even dark malt extract, but I’ve been told that light malt extract is the ‘cleanest’ when it comes to its flavor profile, allowing the other ingredients to come through, so unless a recipe calls for it I always try to use that.
With 60 minutes to boil I added one ounce of Autanum hops, which contain 8% alpha acids. These went in first because my pouch of hops was already open, and because much stronger hops were going to be added later and I don’t want the bitterness of this beer to be overwhelming.
At 30 minutes in the boil, I put in about half an ounce of Newport hop which come in at 11.2% AA. I went a bit easy on the Newport for two reasons; first there’s only so much you can get out of hops in a boil like this, and second I wanted to use the majority of them for the dry hopping when this beer goes into secondary.
I re-used the yeast that I made the amber from, and this beer has taken off. I can smell the hop aromas coming out of the carboy’s airlock, so adding hops in secondary will come next.
Nine days later I transfered this beer into secondary and added 3/4th an ounce of Newport hops. A month later the beer was bottled, and now all I have to do is give it a couple weeks in the bottle and all will be revealed.
For easy reading the recipe list is as follows:
.25 lb Honey malt
.5 ln Caramunich malt
steeped at about 150 for thirty minutes.
7.34 lb light malt extract
1 oz. Autaunam hops at 60 minutes.
.5 oz. Newport hops at 30 minutes.