Monthly Archives: August 2012

Willamette / Cascade India Pale Ale

Well there’s a lot happening on the beer front over at my house lately!  The pumpkins are out, as are the fall beers, plus several tasty imperial treats that I just blogged about.  Thus, I’m enjoying the commercial side of things quite a bit as of late.

In addition, I’ve almost completed the construction of my first mash tun, made from a cooler.  I plan to start making all grain beer soon!  I will be starting off with 3.5 gallon batches, mostly due to the fact that I’m using a 5 gallon cooler, and I want to do a full boil without purchasing a new pot.  I will learn and improve my process with 3.5 gallon batches, then upgrade my equipment later.

I have one more extract batch to make, and that’s going to be this post: Willamette / Cascade India Pale Ale.

Also, I just picked up Beersmith II and I’m quite pleased with the software!  The stats for this beer came from Beersmith II.

Now it should be noted that I originally planned this to be a 5 gallon batch, but it’s going to come out more like 4 now, with a little bit of adjustment on the ingredients.  The ratio of grains might be a little off from my original plan, but I have gotten such good results from a full (or nearly full) boil that I’m just going with what works from here on out.

I also kind of decided on this mixture of ingredients partially to get rid of some stragglers that I had in my cupboard and freezer.   Might dry hop it, but if that happens I’m not sure what hops I’ll use (I’ll have to see what I have at the time).

Recipe:

  • 1 lb 2-row
  • 1 lb caramel 40
  • 0.5 lb pale wheat malt
  • 2 lbs extra light dry extract
  • 3.25 lbs pale liquid extract
  • 1 oz cascade 60 min
  • 1 oz willamette 60 min
  • 2.19 oz willamette 5 minutes
  • 2.57 oz cascade 5 minutes
  • US-05 (rehydrated)

Procedure:

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 0.75 gallon spring water to 165 F
  4. add grains
  5. mash for 30 minutes at 155F
  6. Sparge / strain
  7. In main boil pot, pre-boil 3 gallons spring water
  8. when grains are finished mashing, combine wort into boiling pot with pre-heated spring water and bring to boil
  9. add bittering hops, 1 oz each cascade and willamette at 60 minute mark
  10. add the wort chiller at 30 minutes.  make sure wort chiller is pre-filled with hot water
  11. add the DME and LME incrementally during the last 30 minutes of the boil
  12. add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder at 15 minute mark
  13. add 2.19 oz willamette at 5 minute mark
  14. add 2.57 oz cascade at 5 minute mark
  15. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  16. begin cooling with wort chiller at 0 minutes
  17. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  18. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, spoon are sanitized
  19. when wort gets to about 75F, add to fermentation bucket
  20. top to 4 gallons with chilled spring water (if necessary)
  21. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  22. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  23. ensure wort is 75F or a little less before pitching yeast
  24. pitch yeast
  25. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  26. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  27. ferment in closet for 7-9 days at 67F ambient air temp.
  28. after 7-9 days, add dry hops
  29. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 14 days)
  30. use 4 oz corn sugar at bottling

Targets:

  • OG 1.067
  • FG 1.015
  • IBU 50
  • ABV 6.9
  • Actual OG 1.062
  • Actual FG

Please note: these target figures are from Beersmith II.  If anyone who reads this has beersmith and comes up with a different set of numbers, please comment or contact me so we can discuss beersmith!

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Southern Tier Again! Imperial Desserts?

Wow, a slew of new imperial series beers from Southern Tier have just come into my local store, and my taste buds have been exploding left and right!

Right now I’m finishing off a Pumking, a pretty darn amazing pumpkin beer that’s available every fall.

I’ve also got Creme Brulee, Jahva, Mokah, and Back-Burner Barleywine in the fridge!

This post will be created over a few days, highlighting the deliciousness of each of these amazing beers!  To me, these beers all have very dessert like qualities.  Here we go!

Pumking

A pretty damn amazing pumpkin beer.  Appearance is a bit light on head and lacing, but it’s perfectly pumpkin in color and pretty clear, for the most part nice to look at.  It’s got a fantastic aroma, that might be its best quality.  Just like a slice of Grandma’s pie (and my Grandma could bake some serious pies).  Flavor wise it’s very sweet, and very, very spicy.  It’s got bite too, probably a bit from the alcohol, perhaps a bit from being more hopped than other pumpkin brews (?), and definitely from a ton of spices.  I like the aroma more than the flavor, but it’s still quite delicious.  The body is slick, sweet, a little sticky, and plenty thick and rich.  Alcohol is notable but not overwhelming.  I think I’ve had four years worth of Pumking, and this year’s is my favorite yet (the ABV is 8.6% this year, a bit lower than last year’s, maybe that’s why).  I try to get a couple bombers of this every year because it’s so damn festive!

There aren’t that many really good pumpkin beers out there, but from the ones I have tried, I would rate Schlafly’s and Southern Tier’s pumpkin beers at the top.  Actually, Dogfish Head’s pumpkin deserves special mention too, but sadly, I can’t get that one around here.

Mokah

Rating a 92 on beer advocate (with 586 reviews), it’s no slouch.  And American double/imperial stout is a tough category, so that rating is nothing to scoff at either.

Well it’s not that much to look at, kinda flat without a lot of head or lace or carbonation, black as night.  But again, looks don’t make the beer all on their own.

The aroma and flavor are amazing!  Plenty of chocolate: Milk and baker’s chocolate, some cocoa, so many facets of chocolate it’s almost overwhelming.  There’s actually a pretty good hoppiness to it as well, more than I’d expect from the name.  Add to that a nice touch of acrid/burnt malt flavor, plus plenty of sweetness, and you’ve got one tasty imperial stout.

The body is slick, very sweet, and a little syrupy.  The alcohol is well hidden but comes through a bit more as it warms.

You should be aware that this is a very sweet dessert type beer, and be prepared if you open the bomber to drink a lot of very sweet, syrupy beer.  But it’s so worth it!  Delicious stuff!

Jahva

Actually it’s no surprise that this is pretty similar to mokah.  It’s got almost the same appearance and could quite possibly share a good amount of the same ingredients.  However, it does have a distinct and different character that’s quite worth trying.

I detected TONS of chocolate, roasted, and a little burnt malt aroma and flavor, plus plenty of coffee (I would hope so, given the name).  There’s a little vanilla and some dark fruits too.

It’s distinctly different from mokah, but right on the same lines as far as the type of beer and experience you get from drinking it.  Thick, sweet, syrupy, heavily dessert-y, and damn delicious!

Creme Brulee

Again, unimpressive appearance, quite similar to mokah and jahva.

Smells awesome! Although it’s not an especially beer-like smell, more of a dessert like smell. Sweet brown sugar and vanilla aromas dominate, with some roasty dark notes. You can instantly smell it the moment you open up the bottle, and it only smells better and better in the glass as you drink it.

Taste is heavily sweet with tons of vanilla, gobs of brown sugar, almost like drinking a dessert. It truly lives up to its name if a beer ever did.  There’s some dark, roasty notes and some vanilla cappuccino, but nothing at all in the way of hops.

Body is pretty full and very sticky from the sweetness. Carbonation isn’t bad, light but ample, despite the lackluster appearance.

Again, it’s a very thick, very sweet, very dessert-y beer.

Finally, I’m reviewing Back-Burner Imperial Oak Aged Barleywine

Pours cloudy and brown, very typical of a barleywine.  Carbonation is ample and provided a pretty good 2 finger head that lasted a bit, but dissipated into a sheen, leaving pretty good thick, sticky lacing.

Aroma is blastingly malty, with that pungent barley aroma I’m looking for in a barleywine.  Caramel malts are plentiful.  Hops are equally forward, with a nice twang to top off the pungent aromas.

Flavor is very nice.  Caramel malt, brown sugar, dark ripe fruits, some citrus bitterness, and a nice balancing of hops.  This isn’t an overly hopped barleywine, it’s more malt forward and balanced (as compared to say SN Bigfoot ale, which I found to be monstrously hoppy).  There’s a note of oak, but it’s not very forward and certainly not overpowering.

The body is medium to full, with a slick, syrupy finish.

It’s pretty good, not the best barleywine I’ve had but still pretty good.  It’s right on par from what I expect from the Southern Tier Imperial Series.

*******************

Southern Tier.  Definitely a GO at this station!

Just Wingin’ It English CDA

Well this one is coming into being sort of completely by accident.  I had bought a supply of ingredients to last a couple months, mainly to save shipping.  During that time I was using DME out of one of the bags to make yeast starters.  Turns out I didn’t calculate correctly and I’ve actually been using DME from a recipe I originally intended to be an English style mild.

Yeah, I wasn’t that sure about that one in the first place, and now I’m definitely totally unsure.  Plus I’ve been experimenting with making a bit less wort in order to facilitate a complete (or near complete) boil.

Anyway, I used quite a bit of the DME I had intended for the original recipe making starters, and now I’ve got to improvise in order to use it up.  These rather strange circumstances have led me to…
Just Wingin’ It English CDA

Yeah I think there are multiple contradictions just in the title, which may be an oxymoron of sorts in and of itself.

What I’ve decided on is to make an English IPA of sorts.  However, the specialty grains (partial mash) I’ve chosen will make the SRM pretty dark.  So it’s sort of an English IPA mixed with a Black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale.  Or an English CDA.  Or something.  But that’s what I’m naming it, and this is what it will contain…

**NOTE: 4 gallon batch**

  • Briess Pilsen (Extra) Light Dry Extract  2 lbs, 8 oz
    Crisp Pale Ale  3 lbs, 8 oz
    Crisp Crystal Malt 77L  0 lbs, 8 oz
    Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt  0 lbs, 3 oz
    Crisp Black Malt  0 lbs, 2 oz
    Chinook Pellets  0.5 oz @ 60 mins
    Northern Brewer Pellets  1 oz @ 15 mins
    Chinook Pellets 0.5 oz @ 10 mins
    Northern Brewer Pellets  1 oz @ 5 mins
    Bramling Cross Pellets     1 oz @ 0 mins
    Northern Brewer Pellets  2 oz @ Dry
    Wyeast Labs London Ale III

Now I have made one English-ish IPA in the past, and it came out really good.  So this recipe is hereby morphed into something somewhat English-IPA like, but with some dark specialty malts.

This will be a partial mash brew.  I haven’t quite decided on the exact mash technique, but it will be stovetop and batch sparged.

UPDATE: I wound up doing a mini-mash in a pot on the stove.  I kept the temperature at 155F by carefully monitoring and adding a little heat when needed, keeping in mind thermal inertia and adding it VERY CAREFULLY.  I only had to add heat twice, and not very much.  I was able to keep it within about 3 degrees of my target temp for one hour.  Then I used a strainer to remove the grains, just poured it all into a big strainer basically.  Then I “sparged” with 170F water by carefully rinsing the grains a couple times.  Probably not optimal technique, but it worked, as the beer came out good!

Targets:

OG: 1.058     FG:  1.016     IBU: 59.2     SRM: 19.40     ABV: 5.50

Procedure:

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 1.5 gallon spring water to 165 F
  4. add grains
  5. mash for 60 minutes at 155F
  6. Sparge and strain**
  7. In separate pot, pre-boil 2.5 gallons spring water
  8. when grains are finished mashing, combine wort into boiling pot with pre-heated spring water and bring to boil
  9. add bittering hops, 0.5 oz chinook at 60 minute mark
  10. add the wort chiller at 30 minutes.  make sure wort chiller is pre-filled with hot water
  11. add the DME incrementally during the last 30 minutes of the boil
  12. add 1 oz northern brewer at 15 minute mark
  13. add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder at 15 minute mark
  14. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  15. add 0.5 oz chinook at 10 minute mark
  16. add 1 oz northern brewer at 5 minute mark
  17. add 1 oz bramling cross at FO
  18. hop rest 20 minutes
  19. begin cooling with wort chiller
  20. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during hop rest and during cooling
  21. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, spoon are sanitized
  22. when wort gets to about 75F, add to fermentation bucket
  23. top to 4 gallons with chilled spring water (if necessary)
  24. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  25. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  26. ensure wort is 75F or a little less before pitching yeast
  27. pitch yeast
  28. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  29. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  30. ferment in closet for 7-9 days at 67F ambient air temp.
  31. after 7-9 days, add 2 oz northern brewer for dry hopping
  32. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 14 days)
  33. use 4 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG: 1.052

FG: 1.012

Notes:

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