Tag Archives: ale

Simplicity

I’m on a simplicity kick.  Nothing for a total of ten beers (only successfully completed and drank beers) can be in any way complicated.  My reasons for this are a few in a row of very so-so beers that were also too complicated to be able to accurately trouble shoot without doubt.  So it’s KISS only from here to a while from now.

My lager came out good, that’s one.  It was merely golden promise plus cascade, and it’s damn tasty.

I’ve got a couple Munich SMaSH beers going too.  One’s a petite saison smash with munich and citra, one’s a regular old
US-05 munich/cascade smash beer.  Also got a super simple stout planned with 90% 2-row, 10% roasted barley, and Irish ale yeast, for a super simple dry Irish stout.

Also got a blonde ale that came out fantastic (again!)  Reasonably simple beers that I’ve done before successfully are IN as far as my simplicity kick goes. Elderberry wheat may be repeated shortly too.

When you realize that your simplest beers are usually your best, then you should consider going on a simplicity kick.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

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Munich-Citra Petite Saison Smash

Decided to try a new twist on an old recipe, new in a couple of ways.  Petite saison smash – but with 100% Munich malt.  Also in some ways similar to Citra-Bomb-From-Hell, but with less of a citra blast, and lower bitterness.

I added 10 grams of citra as the bittering addition.  Please, no whinin’ over using citra for bittering, that’s a debate I don’t particularly care when you’re talking ten friggin’ grams.  Then I dumped in the remainder of the pound of citra I bought a while ago, 72 grams, at flameout.  Should leave plenty of citra flavor, but not quite be so over the top as the citra bomb.

The wild card is my choice of Danstar Belle Saison yeast.  Haven’t tried this one yet, but chatter online seems positive.  Actually, I picked this one on a whim, asking the guy in my LHBS “got any good saison yeast?” at which point he pulled out a box from the fridge, started digging, and came up with this. Screw it, I’ll try anything once!

In addition, I’m using 62F as the fermentation temperature, same as with my first petite saison yeast.

So we’ll see how it comes out.  I suspect it will come out really good!

Sam Adams Summer Ale Clone

4.5 lbs 2 Row Malt

4.5 lbs Wheat Malt

1 oz lemon peel at 5 min

3 g grains of paradise at 5 min

Mash temp 153°

I’ve wanted to try brewing with grains of paradise, so I’ve finally gotten my chance.

Now there was a bit of a mixup between this brew and my quadro-smash, and this may have been dry-hopped with the hops from that one!  Oh well, we’ll find out when the time comes.  Although I didn’t mean for this to be dry hopped, if ti was, it should merely be “extra tssty.”  The quadro-smash will just be more like any other IPA that’s not dry hopped, so no biggie there. Can’t wait to taste them!

Munich and Caramunich Sorta Smash

Decided to break from my relatively long streak of not using crystal malts (except in the stout) and try something I’ve been interested in for some time.  I’m going to make a beer with all Munich I and Munich II base malt, and all three kinds of Caramunich:

  • 7.75 lbs Munich I (10 SRM)
  • 4.25 lbs Munich II (20 SRM)
  • 0.25 lbs Caramunich III
  • 0.25 lbs Caramunich II
  • 0.5 lbs Caramunich I

Hops wise, I haven’t decided yet.  The grist is already bagged, so that won’t change. However, any suggestions on the hops bill will be considered!  I will edit / update when the hops bill has been finalized.  I am thinking something noble-ish, leaving a maltier, less IPA-ish final beer, but if the eureka moment presents itself, I will go with just about anything that is highly likely to kick ass!

Yeast wise I haven’t decided yet either.  Something that will highlight the Munich and caramunich, perhaps Irish ale yeast?  WLP029?  Again, suggestions welcome.

A new and different IPA, plus some unsolicited beer philosophy

Well this one will be sorta smash-like, in that I’m not using any specialty malts, just base malts.  It’s going to have 6 lbs pilsner malt, 6 lbs golden promise, and 2 lbs Munich malt, 14 lbs total.  That’s a little bit bigger than I usually make my beers, but hey, I’m experimenting, so I can do what I want!

Here’s what I planned to do with the hops:

0.5 oz magnum at 60
0.25 oz each magnum, bravo at 15
0.5 oz tettnanger at 15
0.25 oz each magnum, bravo at 10
0.5 oz tettnanger at 10
0.25 oz each magnum, bravo at 5
0.5 oz tettnanger at 5
0.5 oz each magnum, bravo at FO
2 oz tettnanger at FO

Here’s my thinking: I’ve seen some cases where other people have experimented with magnum hops NOT solely at the 60 minute mark, but as late additions, flameout additions, or even dry hopping..  None have had anything bad to say about their beers, so I figure I’ll step outside the box a little and try some magnum late in the boil.  Now I’m also going with a little bravo, which I already know works fine at any stage of the boil.  If you recall that far back, my Munich / Bravo SMaSH had half an ounce bravo early, 1 oz at 5 minutes, and two ounces at flameout, and that’s one of my favorite SMaSH beers I’ve ever made.  Purely delicious.  So to me, that’s a tried and true hop.  It should offer support to the magnum, which is a little unknown, but I have no worries.  Then I’m tossing in tettnanger, in approximately double-ish the amounts of the two higher AA hops.  I really don’t know what I’m going to get out of this, but I bet it will be tasty!  Well of course I think it will be tasty, or I wouldn’t bother making it!

Oh, and probably US-05 yeast.

In the near future I’m going to be brewing with some Irish Ale yeast, and some 3711.  I think the 3711 will go with the next weird extract experimental two gallon batch I’m planning.  Can’t wait to see how EXTRA DARK extract goes with 3711!  Hey, the last one worked out great, so who knows!

Now also in the spirit of trying new things, if this one comes out really good, I may have to try a smash beer with all magnum.  I know one guy who’s tried just such a beast, and it came out tasty beer.  Who says you can’t use magnum late?  Sure, it’s a great bittering hop, and I have no plans to take anything away from it in that respect.  But is it being unfairly relegated to the background, when it deserves some time center stage?

Well let me just say this – if it’s generic, commonly spewed forth advice that seems regurgitated and taken for granted “just because,” then I’m willing to challenge that notion.  I’m already challenging the standard advice with extracts, and now maybe even a little bit with magnum, and maybe a lot more with magnum soon.  I encourage everyone to do the same, challenge the norms, try stuff that maybe doesn’t seem like the obvious thing to do.

And when it comes to giving out advice… Yeah, you can always say “sanitation is important,” and you’ll never be wrong.  But if you say “don’t use amber extract, use light, then add specialty grains bla bla bla…”  Have you actually TRIED amber or dark extract?  Is this advice universal and unchanging, etched in stone from cradle to grave?

I say no.  There are times when amber or dark extract will be perfect for the beer you intend to make.  If that’s the case, just use them!  Taint no big deal!!  Now other times, it may be better to use light extract, and adjust the finer points of your beer with specialty grains.  There’s no doubt that there are many times when this advice is also the best advice, so again, I’m not trying to take away from this approach.  But there should be a reason why the light extract+steeping grains is superior in the particular instance at hand.  Conversely, if amber (or even dark) extract is appropriate for the beer at hand, at least try it once.

I recently had an email exchange with a representative from Munton’s about their extracts.  While he didn’t hand over the manufacturer’s specifications to me, he did indicate that the notion that extracts are “chock full of crystal malt” was simply not the case.  If they were, then extracts would not have the versatility that they do.  instead, they would consistently produce cloying, overly sweet, overly thick beer (just like if you put too much crystal malt in a beer!  Imagine that!).  And of course he believes that the quality of extracts (particularly Munton’s, lol) is very high, and the quality of beer you can make from extracts is also very high, including for the amber and dark or extra dark varieties.  I tend to agree, at least so far.  I know I’m brewing all grain now, but my extract brews  were very tasty too.  That’s part of why I keep experimenting with small extract batches.

So anyway, I’ve digressed into pointless rambling.  I tend to do that sometimes.  Make of it what you will, or just grab a beer and go watch reruns of your favorite TV show (as a means of ignoring my ramblings)*.

Anyway, I need a beer.  Cheers!

*wouldn’t be the first time that happened, lol

EDIT: Brewed 11-23-13

Changes to the Double-Smash Beer

Well I finally got around to actually brewing the Double-SMaSH, with Vienna/Munich, BUT – I forgot the cascade hops on brew day.  Since I have to drive a ways to get to where I brew, I wasn’t going back.  However, I had some hops there, so I just changed the hops schedule around completely.  So now it’s a double-TRIPLE-SMaSH.  Yes, I realize that’s one hell of a misnomer.  But hey, it’s my beer, and I can change it up if I want to!  Plus I was never that good at keeping to the strict interpretation of literary meanings or definitions of words.   I do what I want!!

Still 6 lbs each Vienna / Munich malts.

Here’s the new hops schedule:

0.25 each at 60 bravo/belma
0.25 each at 15 bravo/belma/centennial
0.25 each at 10 bravo/belma
0.5 centennial at 10
0.25 each at 5 bravo/belma
0.75 centennial at 5
1 oz each belma/bravo at FO
DH one ounce each belma/bravo

From past experience, it’ll at least make beer, and probably tasty beer.  Maybe it’ll be the new sensation, who knows?  But as long as it makes tasty beer, I’ll be happy.

Classic American Cream Ale

Well I’ve made a Classic American creme ale, based on recipe info found around the web and on threads on BeerAdvocate.com homebrew forum.  I’ve gone with an older interpretation of the style, a little hoppier, dry hopped, and using six-row and corn for the grist.  The grist is quite simple:

  • 9 lbs 6-row
  • 3 lbs flaked corn

Now hops wise I had planned to use tettnanger, but there was a bit of a failboat moment when I forgot the hops when I went to where I brew (my bro’s house).  So given the fail, I winged it on the hops:

  • 10 grams centennial at 60
  • 15 grams centennial at 10
  • 15 grams centennial at 5
  • 15 grams centennial at 0
  • 14 grams citra at 0
  • hop stand ten minutes
  • 2 oz centennial dry hop
  • 26.5  IBU
  • 5.5 ABV
  • 3.6 SRM
  • 1.056 OG

It sure was light when it was done boiling, so the SRM estimation should be pretty close.   I’m interested how this hop combo will go with the body of what will presumably be a light, easy drinking beer.  We’ll find out in about a month!

Oh, Nottingham yeast!

UPDATE: bottled 10-26.  very clear, perhaps my clearest beer yet.  sweet, corn like taste (to be expected).  All signs point to a good batch.

 

UPDATE 2: drinking GREAT!  Completely clear, lots of rising bubbles, light corn sweetness yet still quite dry, light, thirst quenching body, lightly fruity/corn sweet aroma, I dare say a very fine creme ale.  Flavor and aroma aren’t super high, but this is not a beer that’s supposed to be super high on flavor and aroma.  I’m quite pleased with this beer.

Fresh Hops are in!!

Just picked up three bags of fresh hops, 8 oz each:

  • cascade
  • citra
  • simcoe

Gonna make a fresh hop pale ale today!  No idea what the IBUs will be, not even sure what the OG is going to be either.  I’m going to use 17 lbs of Golden Promise as the grist, so basically it’s a smash (one grain, fresh hops, a loose definition, lol).  OG should be about 1.060, but I’m making seven gallons, not my usual five, so not sure what the exact efficiency is going to be.

All the fresh hops will be added at flameout and hopstand.  A tiny bittering charge of pellet hops will be added at 60 minutes to ensure enough bitterness.

I’ll dry hop with something.  Probably cascade, but I’ll decide when the time comes.

Can’t wait to see how it comes out!!

Double SMaSH – Two Malts, Two Hops?

EDIT: This beer got changed, the hops schedule at least.  New version is here.

Got this idea from Beer Advocate Homebrew forum – making a SMaSH, but making it with TWO base balts and two types of hops.  Actually we were discussing smash beers, and I was noting some of my results. and the idea just kind of evolved, so I figured I’d try it.  Here’s the recipe I came up with:

Munich/Vienna+Belma/Cascade Double SMaSH

  • 6 lbs Munich malt
  • 6 lbs Vienna malt
  • 0.5 oz Belma at 60
  • 0.5 oz Cascade at 60
  • 0.5 oz Belma at 10
  • 0.5 oz Cascade at 10
  • 0.5 oz Belma at 5
  • 0.5 oz Cascade at 5
  • 1.5 oz Belma at FO
  • 1.5 oz Belma at FO
  • 1 oz Belma dry hop
  • 1 oz Cascade dry hop

Targets:

  • OG 1.046
  • IBU 48
  • SRM 9
  • ABV 6.2%

I’ve really liked making SMaSH beers.  Some have come out great, some have come out OK (but quite drinkable!), but they’re all interesting to make, and I learn a lot from each one about various types of malts and hops.  Between the results of my Munich/Bravo SMaSH and my Vienna/Cascade SMaSH, plus the results of the Belma IPA, I think this might make for a real tasty beer.  Only way to find out for sure is to brew it!

I also plan to try something with just Munich and Cara-Munich in the near future, just for the heck of  it!   I realized I haven’t been making anything with much (or any) crystal malt in it lately, and would like to try cara-munich, so perhaps I’ll give it a try.  I’ll search around a little for the appropriate amounts of cara-munich to use, then add that to some munich malt, add hops, yeast —-> Beer!

Citra / Munich SMaSH – Citra Bomb From Hell?

EDIT 2: After some discussion on beer advocate homebrew forum, I’m going to UP the citra to EVEN MOAR.  So this recipe will be different than when I first published it.  Slightly edited hops schedule again.  This is the final version that is actually in the fermenter right now.  Toned back just a touch on the extreme overkill so I could have reasonable quantities of my pound of citra leftover, and available for other beers.  I can probably get two more pretty citra beers from what’s left, or perhaps two pale-ale strength brews.    I’m not super crazed over citra, and this will probably be the largest citra addition I’ll use in a beer.  Beyond this one, I’ll probably choose a more balanced hop approach.  This one is intended to be off-balance tho, heavy on the hops, and heavy on the citra.  I just want to see what a super citra-bomb tastes like!   Anyway, enough of the edit, here’s the original post, modified to fit the actual recipe…

Gonna make a SMaSH with Munich malt again, this time with citra hops.  And yes, I’m going to hop the living hell out of it, knowing that I’ll probably create a citra bomb from hell!  Everybody has to over-do it at least once in their lifetime with citra hops, right?  So let’s just do it and see what happens!  I know I will drink every last one, no matter how citra it comes out.  It will technically not be a perfect smash beer, because I’ll use a tiny bit of Belma as the 60 minute bittering charge.  Also, I don’t really think this is over-doing it on the citra, but we shall find out just how wrong I am in a month or so.

  • 12 lbs Munich
  • S-04/US-05 yeast (50/50 mix)
  • 0.5 oz Belma at 60
  • 1 oz citra at 15
  • 1 oz citra at 10
  • 1 oz citra at 5
  • 1.5 oz citra at FO, then cool to 170F and let stand 15 minutes
  • 1.5 oz citra after 15 minute hop stand, while wort is still hot,  let stand another 15 minutes
  • 2 oz citra DH
  • 1.061 OG
  • 47  IBU
  • 12 SRM
  • 6.4% ABV
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