Friday, February 15, 2008

Quinoa Lager

Quinoa is a wonderful little seed. It's flavor is very unique, being earthy, nutty and slightly sweet. I thought it would make an interesting addition in a pale lager. Its presence may act like other adjuncts and lighten this beer to a purely dangerous level of drinkability.

For this unique beer, the majority of the grist will consist of pale lager malts. Pilsner, Munich, and Carapils. Then at almost 20%, a blend of organic golden and red quinoa. Ancient Harvest Red Quinoa is by far the best I've ever had, and it is certified organic. Visit there site for cool photos and more info, especially on its interesting nutrition facts. The high protein content doesn't concern me, and its moderately high fat content might offer a silky effect much like oats do. Other than lightening the flavor of this lager, I'm hoping the grain taste will be and clean, nutty, with a mild grainy sweetness.

The quinoa is precooked in a rice cooker as the strike water is heaed. The barley mash will begin while the temperature of the quinoa is adjusted (with hot water/microwave) to match the mash temperature. Then it gets stirred into the main mash.

The hopping will be kept to a minimum. The overall style is somewhere between a Helles and a Vienna lager. Hop bitterness will come in at about 21. Because the malts are super light, I didn't want a lot of bitterness, nor any imposing late aromatic additions.

Quinoa Lager

5.50 lbs. German Pilsner
1.75 lbs. Golden & Red Quinoa
1.00 lbs. Munich Dark
0.37 lbs. CaraPils
0.25 lbs. Acid Malt

.75 oz. Vanguard, 4.8%, pellets, 60min
.40 oz. Vanguard, 4.8%, pellets, 40min
.30 oz. Vanguard, 4.8%, pellets, 20min

Wyeast Bavarian Lager
Wort poured over a 2nd generation yeast cake

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 2/15/08
Racked: lowered temp in primary, and bottles/keg
Bottled: 3/13/08

Water Adjustment:
1 gram Gypsum/gallon, 2 gal Distilled (Mashout & 2nd sparge),
¼tsp. acid blend in mash & 2nd sparge

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.5qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.7 (5.5 w/ acid blend)
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 153°F/75min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 164°F/10min
1st Batch SG: 1.049

2nd Batch Sparge Vol/Temp: 3.5gal/170°F
2nd Batch SG: 1.020

Pre-Boil Vol: 7 gallons perfect
Pre-Boil SG: 1.037
Boil Time: 90min
Post-Boil Vol: 5.5 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 83.4% (input "rice" for quinoa)

OG: 1.050 1 point above target
IBU: approx. 21
Color/SRM: Straw-yellow/4-5
Ferment Temp: 46-48°F

FG: 1.014
ABW: 3.78%
ABV: 4.7%

Cost: $18.77, .35¢/12oz, $2.09/6-pack

1. Brewday wrapped up by 12noon.
2. Planned for .75 lb Carapils, but didn't find it until later. OG would have been higher if it was in the grain bill.
3. Lautering went smooth and vorlaufed slightly hazy.
4. Fermenting within 2 hours.
5. Fermentation doesn't seem to be as vigorous, with less foam, and much more particulate, but the temp is a couple degrees lower.
6. Just dropped the temp while in primary for a about a week.
7. No extended secondary lagering, but will drop temp after bottle/keg carbonation.

Tasting Notes & Photo
photo coming soon

Appearance: Quite pale, bright golden color, decent clarity with some particulate haze, full white 1-2" head, medium carbonation
Aroma: Clean lager scent, subtle hops
Taste: Clean & balanced Continental lager taste, delicate bittering hops just balances soft sweetness, slightly nutty, light citrus, perhaps a perception of saltiness, attenuated
Mouthfeel: Good body and carbonation
Aftertaste: Little bitter and perhaps from an quinoa induced astringency, some sweetness comes through
Drinkability: Great clean & refreshing lager beer, quinoa definitely did lighten the taste and overall perception of this beer and didn't create any undesirable nor unique flavors or aromas
Changes: Perhaps take to OG down a few points, or alter the mash to make it more fermentable so the FG drops a couple more points, could see the percentage of quinoa rising to at least 50% with a richer barley malt blend (Vienna/Munich)


Adam said...

Now this sounds interesting. You always seem to be pushing the envelope over here. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that quinoa is kosher for passover. It's obviously too late for this year, but any thoughts on whether this recipe would do?

JoeRicco said...

I like your recipe using quinoa. Do you think if you toasted the quinoa first it would give off a more roasty nutty flavor and less of an astringent flavor?