Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Small Beer - Biscuit

Kicking of a round of ales on American Ale 1056 with a big batch of small beer. Last year's small beers turned me on to the simple taste of simply made beer. At low alcohol levels, these super clean and easy drinking ales were even easier to drink. I'm not so into alcohol anymore, and much more prefer to have the taste of quality beer along side a meal or while I write a post like this. So these small beers have become my favorite to brew and drink.

In this version, I wanted to push the toasted malt flavors and reduce the amount of crystal malt sweetness. I'm interested in obtaining a more dry/biscuit, sort-of English, taste to this small beer. After analyzing the taste and smell of Maris Otter and Golden Promise pale malts, I chose Golden Promise because it's smell was more earthy, and the taste more dry/toasted. Maris Otter is more clean it smell and has a more basic sweet pale malt taste. Also, in this recipe, Biscuit malt has a larger role than the pale crystal malt.

Once again, hops are simply added for bitterness. The OG came in one point under target at 1.034, so 25 IBU's will give it a solid clean bitter balance.

Small Beer - Biscuit

9.75 lbs. Golden Promise 2-Row
1.00 lbs. Belg. Biscuit
1.00 lbs. Belg. Cara 8
0.40 lbs. Fawcett Crystal 25L

2.5 oz. Willamette T-90, 4.8%, pellet, 60min

Wyeast 1056: American Ale 1.5qt decanted starter

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 2/9/10

Water Adjustment
4 gallons RO
Strike: 1.25tsp Gypsum, 1.2g Epsom, .75 tsp Acid Blend
2nd Sparge: 1.25tsp Gypsum, 1.2g Epsom, .25 tsp Acid Blend

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.6 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.3
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 169.5°F/
1st Batch Vol/SG: 6.63gal/1.048

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 175°F/169°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 6.37/1.016

Pre-Boil Vol: 13 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.030
Boil Time: 60min
Post-Boil Vol: 11 gallons
Mash Efficiency:

OG: 1.034
IBU: 25
Color/SRM: Pale Gold/5
Ferment Temp: 68-74°F

FG: 1.011
ABW: 2.4%
ABV: 3%

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Copper Lager 4

It's time for yet another favorite of mine, an annual tradition of sorts. The Copper Lager is a beer that originated by using up all old ingredients from earlier in the year. In its 4th incarnation, the recipe has changed, but critical elements remain...color, IBU's, ABV, and yeast choice.

This time, I'm using grains from bulk ordered sacks of grain. So since there's plenty of Pils malt available, I decided to use it as the malt bill base. In years past, American pale ale malt was used, and I really like the solid malt flavor it gives the beer. Munich, and Crystal 20L will lend some sweetness and foundational orange hues. Wheat has always been in the recipe because it really adds the the tight foam head, and here its up a few percentage points. Special B is added for a shade of color.

Hopping is kept pretty much the same. In the first recipe, 4 different hops were used (UK & German). Here I stuck with another bulk purchase, Hallertau T-90. Hop bitterness being moderate to balance the richer malt notes with two flavor additions, the overall hop character is balanced.

As an experiment, this batch has been split over 2 yeast strains. Traditionally, Wyeast Bohemian Lager is used, and always makes a great beer. Being a little under pitched, I hope it comes out clean enough. The other half is fermenting on yeast cake of Wyeast Pilsen Lager. Having more than enough yeast, this half fermented in only a week, with pleasant and clean airlock blurps.

Copper Lager #4

15. lbs. Franco-Belges Pils
2.0 lbs. Ger. Munich
1.25 lbs. UK Crystal 25L
1.5 lbs. Belgian Wheat
.25 lbs. Special B

3.4 oz. Hallertau, 3%, pellet, 60min
1.0 oz. Hallertau, 3%, pellet, 30min
1.5 oz. Hallertau, 3%, pellet, 15min

Wyeast 2208: Bavarian Lager 22oz starter
Wyeast 2007: Pilsen Lager yeast cake

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 1/31/10

Water Adjustment
Nearly 1:1 ratio RO & Distilled to Chicago
Strike: .75 tsp Gypsum, .75 tsp CaCl, 1 tsp Acid Blend
2nd Sparge: .75 tsp Gypsum, .75 tsp CaCl, .25 Epsom

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.1 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 151°F/75min

Boil Time: 70min
Post-Boil Vol: 10.25 gallons

OG: 1.056
IBU: 29
Color/SRM: Orange-Copper/8
Ferment Temp: 50°F