Sunday, June 28, 2009

T-90 Chinook Pale Ale

Chinook...oh Chinook! A lively little hop in deed. A special pack T-90 Chinook pellets from Hop Union found its way into my home as a special gift from my friends at Half Acre. Sample hops are sometimes put in with orders. Since they couldn't use them for any beers they make, Tommy still wanted to know what a beer would be like with these being the showcase. So I finally brewed a strong pale ale.

I decided to keep the malts very light in color, and even substituted some Belgian Pils from the organic 2-row base malt. Bittering hops are Centennial. All the hop flavor and aroma is coming from this special pack of T-90 Chinook.

Breaking open the bag, these hops smelled so green and fresh from the vine. Really, they reminded me of the fresh hops I used in Golden Nugget Harvest Ale last year. I can't wait to taste this beer and see how some of the freshest hops may enhance my pale ale.

I've mentioned before that in my 7th year, I've been dealing with a lot of brewing misfortune. My beers have all turned out great, but small problems have popped up at just about every brewday. This time, my replacement exit hose (regular, thin brewing hose) for the immersion chiller melted again, and a large hole near the copper formed. This happened only a few minutes before knock-out. Luckily I had some unexpected helpers, and we tried to duct tape it, but that didn't work. We tried to duct tape it some more, and some more, and more until a huge mass of duct tape formed, and a number of tiny streams of hot water spraying out in all directions. Eventually, I replaced the hose in time to "sort-of" save the beer. The 2 flavor additions were a bit over extracted, but the late KO addition was put in at its normal time.

T-90 Chinook Pale Ale

7.0 lbs. Organic 2-Row
5.0 lbs. Belg. Pils
.50 lbs. Am. Crystal 10L
.50 lbs. Belg. Aromatic
1.0 lbs. CaraPils

0.75 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 60min
1.25 oz. T-90 Chinook, 11.4%, pellet, 15min
1.25 oz. T-90 Chinook, 11.4%, pellet, 5min
1.00 oz. T-90 Chinook, 11.4%, pellet, KO

Wyeast 1056: American Ale yeast cake

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 6/26/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: .75 tsp Gypsum, 1 tsp Acid Blend
Boil: 1.8 g Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.25 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.3-5.4
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 151-150°F/90min
Mash Out Temp: 167°F
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4.4gal/1.058

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 180°F/168°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3.1gal/1.029

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.5 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.049
Boil Time: 90+min
Post-Boil Vol: 5.9 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 71%

OG: 1.060
IBU: 52
Color/SRM: Pale-Gold/7
Ferment Temp: Fluxing at 68-72°F


Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunburst Pale Ale

I'd like to think I'm becoming a bit more adventurous about naming my beers. This pale ale was named last night while finalizing and printing the recipe. Originally, I chose it because its very pale in color and should be bright in taste. But today's weather almost changed it.

It's been such a cool and mild Spring and early Summer here in Chicago, which is totally fine by me. Today however, we experienced torrential down pours, severe winds, and hail the size of nickels and quarters, followed by intense humid heat. While cloudy all morning and afternoon, rolling and booming thunder preceded around 8 serious downpours with lots of zapping lightning. It was during one passing storm, in the midst of a rolling boil, hail came crashing down, so I grabbed a couple chunks and tossed them in. At this point in the day, I almost changed the name to Hail Stone Pale Ale. But, I was holding out for the slight possibility a true sunburst would shine through. And at last, one did, towards the middle afternoon. What a sweet sight it was!

I'd consider myself somewhat superstitious, and in my 7th year brewing, I'm finding it easier to be so. This year I've had more problems than ever before. Today marks a first in mashing disasters for me. While stirring in the second sparge water, I dislocated the hose/false-bottom connection. I knew that while emptying the tun, the temperature would go way down. Acting quickly, I decided to scoop out a thick and short decoction, while the rest was poured into one kettle. Fixing the problem was easy, and after the mash was in it's rightful place, the temp was sitting nicely at 166°F...not bad.

This beer is one that I've been wanted to brew for a while now. The malt bill is quit simple, with only a touch of very light crystal and aromatic malts. The hops start out with smooth bittering from Sterling, and into more aggressive American "C" citrusy varieties...Centennial, Cascade & Chinook. The wort tasted clean with a clear bitterness and hop flavor, so it should come out quite good and refreshing during hot summer days to come.

Sunburst Pale Ale

Grains & Hail
16 lbs. Organic 2-Row
1. lbs. Amer. Crystal 10L
.5 lbs. Belg. Aromatic
1. lbs. CaraPils
2 Hail Stones in boil

1.8 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 60+min
1.0 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 10min
1.5 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 10min
0.5 oz. Cascade, 6.1%, pellet, 10min
0.5 oz. Chinook, 11.3%, pellet, KO
0.5 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, -KO
0.5 oz. Cascade, 6.1%, pellet, KO

Wyeast 1056: American Ale yeast cakes

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 6/19/09
Racked: just primary
Bottled: 7/5/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 3.8g Gypsum, 1 tsp Acid Blend
Boil: 2.8g Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.2 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.3
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: n/a
1st Batch Vol/SG: 6.2gal/1.028

2nd Batch Sparge MashTemp: 172->166°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 5.5gal/1.028

Pre-Boil Vol: 11.7 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.049
Boil Time: 60+min
Post-Boil Vol: 9.5 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 73%

OG: approx. 1.052
IBU: 39
Color/SRM: Golden/6
Ferment Temp: low 70's

FG: 1.012
ABW: 4.2%
ABV: 5.25%

Monday, June 15, 2009

Split Amber Ales

A good friend has come back yet again to brew some more beer. Originally making a pale ale and then Stout, he wanted to go somewhere in between. Along with a couple other friends, they brewed a massive 9 gallon batch of amber ale. Instead of making one, we split the batch.

The first half is pretty much a straight up American Amber Ale with some common citrus hops Cascade and Centennial. The beer isn't really loaded with a lot of Crystal malts, so it should come out more like a darker pale ale, and the hopping will still allow some good old malt to come through.

The second half has a different blend of hops with some rough & touch Cluster, and to smooth it out, some Sterling in overall profile. Together it will give this beer distinct aromatic qualities. On top of that, at flame-out, we steeped the rind from one whole grapefruit. This beer will also go into a secondary fermenter with crushed pink peppercorns. Since these peppercorns are actually a berries from the Baies rose plant, they are quite floral and fruity. So the brew will get a healthy addition at this stage, and be tasted for it's readiness.

All together, I'm looking forward to the end results. They had a really good time learning the process and getting involved. Teaching the art and science of brewing is truly great when such enthusiastic and fun poeple are doing it.

Split Amber Ales

14. lbs. Organic 2-Row
2.0 lbs. Munich
1.5 lbs. Cara-Pils
.60 lbs. UK Crystal 45L
.50 lbs. Biscuit
.35 lbs. Special B
.31 lbs. Cara-Munich
.13 lbs. Honey Malt

Batch 1 - "Hops"
.30 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 60min
1.0 oz. Cascade, 6%, pellet, 20min
1.0 oz. Cascade, 6%, pellet, 10min
1.0 oz. Cascade, 6%, pellet, KO
.30 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, KO

Batch 2 - "Pink Peppercorn"
.25 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 60min
1.0 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 20min
1.0 oz. Cascade, 6%, pellet, 10min
1.0 Organic Grapefruit Rind, 0min
1.0 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, KO

__ tsp. Pink Peppercorn, crushed, Secondary

Wyeast 1056: American Ale

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 6/7/09

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rhino Rye 2

I really enjoy a beer that takes a few sips, or even a few pints, to get used to. Where, within the first impression, there's obviously some major flavors going on, but they are quite familiar. Then, after getting over it's initial peculiarity, the beer quickly becomes a favorite.

A good beer to me, must be unique in some way. In a commercial standpoint, the beer must be worth it for me to buy it, and this comes down to how unique it is. It's difficult for us to duplicate a commercial beer. But when the quality of our homebrew gets close, then it's more important to come up with a unique style to call our own.

Last year I made Rhino Rye. It had great flavor and clarity and packed a good punch. It was definitely unique and took a few to fall in love with it. So, since it eventually made towards the top of my list of favorites, I had to brew it again.

With only minor alterations, I hope it will come out close to the original. I did decide to darken it a tad by using a malt I've been playing around with...Crystal Rye 75L. This malt has a pretty intense/sharp, but clean sweetness to it and gives a beer a more saturated red color. With the crystal malt being upped to 40L, this will also give the beer more color and sweetness.

The hops are pretty much the same, except Centennial was substituted in the bittering addition. Scaling up to 6 gallons from 5, all the ingredient percentages in the recipe were held very close.

Rhino Rye 2

8.5 lbs. Organic 2-Row Pale
3.0 lbs. Flaked Rye
.50 lbs. Amer. Crystal 40L
.50 lbs. Crystal Rye 75L
.75 lbs. Turbinado

.90 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 50min
.35 oz. Cluster, 7.7%, pellet, 25min
.60 oz. Mt. Hood, 5.2%, pellet, 25min
.50 oz. Cluster, 7.7%, pellet, KO
.50 oz. Mt. Hood, 5.2%, pellet, KO
.35 oz. Cluster, 7.7%, pellet, Dry
.45 oz. Mt. Hood, 5.2%, pellet, Dry

Wyeast 1056: American Ale decanted Starter

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 6/5/09

Water Adjustment
Protein Rest: .25 tsp gypsum, .25 acid blend
Strike: 1 tsp gypsum, .5 tsp cacl, .5 tsp acid blend
2nd Sparge: 1 tsp gypsum, .5 tsp cacl

Protein Rest: 129°F/30min
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 151°F/60min
Mash Ph: 5.4
Mash Out Temp/Time: n/a
1st Batch Vol/SG: n/a

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: n/a
2nd Batch Vol/SG: n/a

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.35 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.049
Boil Time: 75min
Post-Boil Vol: 5.85 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 73%

OG w/ sugar: 1.061
IBU: 42
Color/SRM: Copper-Amber/9-11
Ferment Temp: 68-72°F

FG: 1.008
ABW: 5.6%
ABV: 7%

Monday, June 8, 2009

Belgian Tripel 2 - 'repeat'

After brewing at a high and steady pace for over 3 years, there hasn't been a style I've wanted to reproduce...until now. Last year's was not only my first attempt at a high gravity Belgian Tripel, it was also brewed almost perfectly. I'll still pat myself on the back for that one. But seriously, now I need more of it. So this marks my first reproduction batch.

But, now as I proceed to write the recipe here, it already looks like I goofed. The recipe used was from a printout from TastyBrew. The recipe written on the blog suggests I altered it while brewing. Sometimes these changes happen during the boil. If so, then an additional .5 ounce of Sterling hops were chucked into the KO addition. Only time will tell where the error is. And I'm not worried because Sterling is a forgiving hop, and an extra little accent should be nice.

Otherwise, everything seemed to be on track. Pretty much all the stats came out great. With an OG only 3 points above the original, it should come very close.

Belgian Tripel 2

13. lbs. Belgian Pils
2.0 lbs. German Vienna
1.0 lbs. Belgian Wheat
1.5 lbs. Clear Candy Sugar (boiled & added 6/6)

.80 oz. Magnum, 13.6%, pellet, 60min
.50 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 30min
.50 oz. Saaz, 5.8%, pellet, 10min
.25 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 10min
.50 oz. Saaz, 5.8%, pellet, KO
.25 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, KO

Wyeast 3787: Trappist High Gravity (cake from 1 gal. batch)

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 5/31/09
Racked: just primary
Bottled: 7/5/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 1 tsp. Gypsum, .75 tsp. Acid Blend
2nd Sparge: 1 tsp. Gypsum, .25 tsp Epsom

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.2 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.3
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 150°F/75min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 170°F/10min
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4.25gal/1.077 (left 1 gal in mash for 2nd sparge)

2nd Batch Sparge Vol/H2OTemp/MashTemp: 2/178°F/166°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3gal/1.048

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.25
Pre-Boil SG: 1.061
Boil Time: 75min
Post-Boil Vol: 5.9 gal
Mash Efficiency: 75%

SG: 1.072 (grains only)
OG: 1.087 (w/ sugar)
IBU: approx. 39
Color/SRM: Pale Gold/4
Ferment Temp: 67,71,65,70°F
Bottling Yeast: Safbrew T-58

FG: 1.012
ABW: 7.88
ABV: 9.8%

Sunday, June 7, 2009

3 Brews Last Week!

It's been a busy brewing week over here. Being consumed by planning, prepping, buying ingredients, yeast starters, brewing, and then a job and daily family life on top of that, there hasn't really been time to write about them.

I hope to post about these beers tonight and into the week. So for now, I'll just say I brewed 3 batches (technically 4)...

Belgian Tripel 2
Rhino Rye 2
Split Amber Ales

Thanks for visiting my site. Stay tuned...