Friday, August 2, 2013

Wedding Wheats 3

I finally got time to brew my third and final brew for Matt's Wedding.  The other two brews have turned out fantastic so he is going to have a really hard decision choosing his signature brew.  The hefeweizen is clean with a banana, clove, and malty finish.  The Salt Creek Wheat has a nice bright flavor of citrus with a salty sour finish.  Now it's time to make a brew that has my favorite characteristic, hops.

This beer is a 50/50 weizen/pale ale.  It's a combination of German and English with American hops.  The yeast is a German Alt yeast, which is typically used for cold fermented ales, but I am using this yeast to give the beer an bit of yeasty fruit.  The hops I am using are two of my favorites, Amarillo and Warrior.

5 lbs. White Wheat
5 lbs. 2 Row 
.5 lbs. Carapils

.5 oz. Warrior 30 minutes
1 oz. Amarillo 10 minutes
.5 oz. Warrior 5 minutes
2 oz. Amarillo Dry Hopped 7 Days
Dusseldorf Alt Yeast WL036

I mashed at 148 degrees, but my mash came out a little cool which could account for my original gravity being a little at 1.049.  The ABV should be somewhere around 4.5%.  The brew day went well other than that and I even had time to make some homemade pizza.  I've been looking forward to this new brew the most.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wedding Wheat 2

So my wife and I have had a big week.  We are now parents.  Our first son, Wilder Kirby was born at 8:59 on the morning of July 3rd.  He and his mama are doing great and I couldn't be prouder.  He is a great little boy who loves to eat and sleep.  He also has a ton of blond hair.  I eventually want to make an Imperial IPA in honor of him, but in the mean time, I am making three different wheat beers for my friend Matt's wedding over Labor Day Weekend.
Wilder is about 10 hours old.  The beginning of a great new chapter
My first wheat beer was a Hefeweizen, and it is still fermenting.  I transferred it over to secondary fermentation on Thursday and the airlock keeps bubbling, even today.  I haven't taken the gravity to see if it's finished, but I have some time before I need to rack.

I decided the second wheat beer was going to be my favorite Witbier.  I've made this one a few times before and I always seem to forget to add the acidulated malt after I mash, but I remembered today and got a great original gravity.  I wanted 1.045, and ended up with 1.052!  I named this brew Salt Creek Wheat because of the salt in the recipe, and I also cross Salt Creek everyday on my way to work.  This isn't like your normal Witbier.  It doesn't use bitter orange like most, but it uses acidulated malt to achieve that bright, citrus flavor.   It also uses sea salt to give it a crispness great for summer.  

5 lbs. White Wheat
3 lbs. 7 oz 2 Row
2 lbs. Acidulated Malt

.7 oz Tettnang 60 minutes
1 oz Corriander
.75 oz Sea Salt
Safale S-04 Whitbread

I mashed in the white wheat and the 2-row at 150 for 60 minutes.  I then added the acidulated malt and about half a gallon of water to bring the mash temperature back up to 148.  I sparged and collected about 7 gallons of sweet wort.  I boiled for 60 minutes adding the Tettnang as soon as I saw my first bubble.  I added Irish moss with 15 minutes left, and ended with corriander and sea salt with 10 minutes left.
I was happy to fill my wait time during my brewday with Wilder.  I'm always excited to try a new brew, and sometimes waiting is so hard.  But finally, after waiting 9 months for this one to mature, I get to enjoy this new creation called Wilder.  
Two Wheats down, one to go...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wedding Wheats

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and my brother's roommate, Matt Jones, stopped by and had a proposition.  Matt is like a second little brother to me.  He was my brother's friend in elementary school, and joined cub scouts with him.  We went through Boy Scouts Together, and we both have our Eagle rank.  We've been to many mountain tops, on numerous hiking treks, and we've even shared a few homebrews over the years.

Me (front), Matt (middle), and My Brother (Back) sitting on a boulder half way up Mt. Harvard in Buena Vista, Colo.

Just like every homebrewer in history, I now have the chance to make his "signature" brew for his wedding coming up here over labor day weekend.  It's also a great distraction while I am waiting for the new progeny, my first son, to arrive.  We all know my passion is in IPAs, sweet hop nectar.  But Matt requested something light and summery, again, it's labor day weekend.  So I will make an IPA, because why not?  But I will also make a few different wheat beers and see which Matt will choose.

When crafting a wheat I like a good amount of wheat in my grain bill, over 55%, if it's any less, I am just trying to increase the head retention.  The wheat bill contributes very little to the overall flavor of the beer, but increases the silky, smooth mouthfeel.  This makes it an excellent choice when looking for something to casually sip on all night at, let's say, a wedding reception.

I decided to make three wheat beers and let Matt choose his favorite, the other two i will, sadly, have to consume myself.

My first Wheat will be a Hefeweizen.  Simple grain bill, mellow hop, and bold yeast flavor.  This traditional wheat beer is where it all started, and where I'm starting.  The wheat and barley will give it a subtle malty character with that refreshing smooth mouthfeel.  The Nobel Hop, Tettnang, will balance the sweetness with a little bite, and finally the yeast.  It will impart banana and clove notes, but keep the beer balanced and refreshing.  I love Hefes and I really look forward to this one finishing.

Too bad you can't grow these in a garden
5 lbs. White Wheat
4 lbs. 2-Row Barley
1/2 lbs. Carapils

1 oz Tattnang 60 minutes
White Labs Hefeweizen WLP300

Single Infusion Mash at 152 F
60 Minute Boil
Chill and pitch yeast

Small Boilover, nothing I can't handle... Need a bigger kettle

I thought about doing a protein rest at 122 F for 12 minutes, but decided against it.  I figured I would boil most of the proteins out, and hopefully the Irish Moss and a good secondary fermentation will clarify the beer as much as I need it to.  If I still have some protein cloudiness, I will add some gelatin filings.

I had a great conversion efficiency and my Original Gravity is 1.052, so this should be very drinkable at about   5-5.5% alcohol by volume.  All I can do is wait...
Hochzeit im Sommer Hefeweizen
Update: 7/23/13
I had a glass of the Hochzeit Hefeweizen last night and it was fantastic.  Rebekah, Wilder, Izzy, and I had just come home from a walk.  The cicadas were buzzing their twilight song and the warm, sunset light was slowing fading to night.  We sat on the front porch and I listened to Rebekah sing to Wilder while I sipped on a cold hefeweizen.

The aroma is very nice, malty, with some clove.  The initial flavor is very clean.  Banana and clove finish with a sweetness lingering until the next sip.  As with all wheats, the head lasted thought the entire glass and left a nice lace.  The mouth feel is full, but not thick, very sipable, with a nice carbonation bite.  Great beer for Sommer!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Copper Ale

I first made this ale back when I was a green brewer; however, when I tasted it, it made me feel like I had this "brewing thing" licked.  It was roasty, but not in a brown sort of way.  It was hoppy, but not in an ipa sort of way.  I was malty, but not too sweet.  I was a down the road, middle lane, complex sort of beer.  I could have brewed 50 gallons, and I'd love every taste.  So with all that in mind, I had to make it again.

I ran across the recipe on accident.  I got Midwest's "Bourbon Barrel Ale" recipe from my aunt and uncle for Christmas in 2006.  I but the oak cubes in some bourbon, but I couldn't wait for the beer to mature on them so I never added the cubes.  Instead I just racked the beer to a keg, carbonated, and enjoyed.  I have since modified the recipe and I think it's a little better.

13 lbs. 2-Row
1 lb. Biscuit malt
8 oz Brown malt
8 oz Crystal 60L
8 oz Wheat
4 oz Belgian Aromatic
2 oz Chocolate malt

1 oz Liberty 60 minutes
2 oz Williamette 30 minutes
1oz Fuggles 15 minutes
1oz Williamette 15 mintues

1968 London Ale Yeast

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bad Tastes...

I've been running into a few issues with an off flavor in my beer.  It has a terrible medicine taste and is really astringent.  Almost like a box of band aids.  This has been the downfall of many of my past few brews.  Last year I made an Oktoberfest that had this flavor.  My last two Pilsners have had this flavor and I brewed a copper ale that I am going to have to throw out as well.  Needless to say, throwing away beer makes me a sad homebrewer.

I believe this flavor is coming from the chlorine in my water.  With every beer I make I have used some amount of tap water.  I typically boil the water and add metabisulfite to break up the chloramine as well.  I thought this was getting rid of any chlorine, but I think I'm wrong.

I have been focusing on the water chemistry of my mash water and using Reverse Osmosis water with CaSO4 (gypsum)  and CaCL2 (Calcium Chloride).   I've been trying to his a 5.50 PH on my mash.  I will then use tap water or a combination of RO and tap to sparge my grains.  This is probably where the chlorine is introduced.

There maybe a few more factors going into is such as fermentation temperature or even the crush of my grains, but I'm sure it has to be the chlorine in the water.

Today I am going to make an Oktoberfest, I know it's really late in the year, and use only RO with treatment.  This should give me a chance to see if it is chlorine or if it is a different issues in my brewing process.  I want to eventually filter all my brew water, but this is be best way to insure I have no chlorine in my water.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Citra IPA

Who doesn't love a great India Pale Ale.  It's hoppy, sweet, malty, light in color, you can drink them all day long.  And those amazing little hop cones giving it flavors of citrus, spice, pepper, grass, bubble gum, and grapefruit.  One of the issues of the IPA is the bitterness that can become overwhelming.  Since so many hops are utilized, the beer can become bitter and that can ruin all of the other great flavors.  In my other IPA I remedy this by using Nugget hops which have a great smooth mellow bitterness.  This time around I decided to use no bittering hop, but instead add a bunch of hops at the end of the boil to give it a nice flavor, aroma, and slight bitterness.

I used a fairly traditional grain bill:

11 lbs. 2-row Barley
1 lb. Munich Malt
8oz Crystal 20L
1 lb. Carafoam
(now the fun part)
1oz. Citra 20 minutes
1oz. Citra 15 minutes
1.5oz. Citra 10 mintues
.75oz Citra 5 mintues
.75oz Citra 1 minute
3oz Citra Dry Hop

I had a great brew day and I used my propane burner for the first time a while.  And my gravity is at 1.071 so it should be a nice warming beer.  It's had a fantastic smell coming through the bubbler on the fermenter for the past two weeks as well.  I took the thief and got a sample last night and it has the amazing orange flavor with some other citrus and a good alcohol balance.  It's going to be amazing cold, I just need to get another keg empty...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weed Puller Rye Saison

It's funny how someone can get so far into home brewing and not pay much attention to the most important ingredient.  When you think about Coors, you think about cold Rocky mountian water.  When you think about Hamms, you think about the "land of sky blue" waters.  And yet, I've overlooked the water profile of the water I've been using out of my own tap.  Beer is really just water with a few other amazing things in it.  Brewers use water to convert starches to sugars, rinse the sugars from the grain, isomerize hop acids, coagulate unwanted proteins, the list goes on.  Therefore, it is, arguably, the most important ingredient in beer.

Lincoln, Nebraska has hard water coming out of the tap.  Hard water is good for beer, there are lots of great salts and metals that aid in making good sugars and complex beers.  But when it comes to making something light and easy to drink, sometimes these salts and create off tastes.  Plus bigger cities add chlorine and chloramine in the water and that can give beer a medicinal flavor.  Here is Lincoln's Profile:

Magnesium is about 16ppm
HCO3- is 246.44ppm (alkalinity)
CACo3 is 181ppm

When I'm brewing I add a little Sodium Metabisufite (or a Camden tablet) to eliminate the Chloramine from the water.  Chlorine will eventually evaporate out of the water if you let it sit.  I've never had an issue from there until I try to brew something very light.  I get an off taste, almost medicinal and very off putting.  It ruins the light maltiness and hop of a pilsner or pale ale.  This profile is great for a stout or a porter, but not something light.  I decided to start really paying attention to what style I was brewing and my water profile.  So with this brew, a saison, I decided to go with a 50% Lincoln water, 50% Reverse Osmosis from HyVee.

I am using Rye malt in this beer to add some dryness, a little spiciness, and some peppery notes.  I used pilsner malt to lend some European taste to the body as well.  I am using a Styrian Goldings hop to give it some northern European/Austrian flavor.  I used 1.5 oz for 60 minutes to bitter up the beer and 1 oz to give it some flavor at 10 minutes.  I'm really excited to see how this ones turns out.  My Original Gravity is 1.059 and the ABV should be around 6.5%, a perfect summer beer after mowing the lawn or pulling weeds in the garden.