Trying to Keep Up!

Wow. It’s been a busy winter for homebrewing. I can’t seem to keep my blogging up to pace with my brewing! My last post talked about my Porter and Lauds, but since then I’ve brewed a table beer, a sour mash (more on that in another post about to come), a cider, a juniper smoke beer, a brett c. pale ale, and an American strong ale. So, more about those below.

Let’s start with the table beer. The idea was just to create a low ABV, Belgian inspired beer something like the Monk’s might have drank. But, well, I also wanted to try brewing with lots and lots of rye with the aim of getting a really full body.

Table Beer (None)

35% Pilsner Malt
30% Rye Malt
30% Wheat Malt
5% Caravienne Malt

Aim for 1.030 (17)

Bittered and flavoured with Styring Goldings

Fermented with WLP550 at 18C, free rise for two weeks, final gravity 1.007

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It turned out well. I tasted it during the fermentation and got the strongest taste of diacetyl I’ve ever tasted in a beer. I tried to wait it out, but even bottling there was a little remaining. Fortunately after a couple of weeks in the bottle it’s come down a lot. The same with some pretty intense phenolic which have started to come into check now. Still, I think I under-pitched the yeast which finally prompted me to buy a proper stir plate.

On to the juniper smoke beer, which was just a 3L batch. Basically, it was 2 lbs of Weyermann smoke malt, bittered with a little Magnum, and then finished with 15g of dried juniper berries which I crushed before adding to the last five minutes of the boil. It tasted good when bottling, so I’m hopeful!

The cider was basically a kit! I bought a one gallon jug of pasteurized, unfiltered, organic apple cider and pitched US-05 dry yeast into it. The jug was the same style that I use for 3L batches, so I just tossed an airlock on and let it ferment. Again, time will tell how it turns out.

The Brett C. Pale Ale. A style I love right now is the Brett IPA. I just love the way the leathery, fruity brett brings out the hops, so I really wanted to brew one of my own. Here’s the run down:

82% Pale, 10% Victory, 3% Carapils, 5% flaked wheat, aiming for 1.054.

Bittered with magnum and then hopped to death.
14g each of Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe at 10 mintues and 5 minutes.
28g each of Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe at 0 mintues.
28g Simcoe dry hop (last 3 days)
14g of each Centennial and Colubus (last 3 days)

Fermented with WLP645, Brett Claussenni for three weeks to FG 1.008.

This had a huge lag time, like four days. It then stalled out at 1.040. I shook it up and it started going strong and fast down to the final 1.008.

Again, I got some strong phenols when bottling, but I’m hoping those go down in conditioning. The bitterness was pretty big, but the gluten free beer I brewed with the same hop bill had the same kind of pre-bottling bittering, so it should work out fine. It tastes almost exactly like grapefruit juice, so if the final beer is anything like that, awesome!

Oh, and it’s going to be called Funk Island.

The American Strong Ale is modelled after Arrogant Bastard and is going to be called Smallwood. It’s a really simple recipe. 92% Pale, 8% Special B to 1.068. 28g charges of cascade at 90, 85, 45, and 0 for a 10L batch (that’d be ~8 oz for a 5 gallon) to 75 IBU. Fermented with US-05.

Smallwood is brewing now and tasting exactly like the kind of beer I would have loved when I was first getting into brewing. Just a hoppy, malty, mess. Looking forward to it!

And, to conclude, here are the brewdays so far in 2014:

Jan 08, Foolish Gommel (All Citra APA) – 10L
Jan 12, Pepperrell Porter (Robust Porter) – 15L
Jan 18, Gluten Free and Summit SMaSH – 6L and 3L
Jan 26 – Lauds (Rye Saison aged on Chardonnay Oak) – 15L
Feb 15 – None (Table Beer) – 15L
Feb 20 – Sour Mash – 3L
Mar 01 – Cider – 3L
Mar 08 – Juniper Smoke – 3L
Mar 16 – Funk Island (Brett Pale Ale) – 15L
Mar 29 – Smallwood (American Strong Ale) – 10L
Apr 05 – Basillica Blonde – 15L

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