Tag Archives: brewing

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!

Pilsner and Willamette Petite Saison SMaSH

Lately I haven’t been brewing that much, but yesterday a buddy and me did a big double batch brewday.  We brewed two beers using Willamette hops, because I have a bag of Willamette leaf and I want to use it up to make space in the freezer.  So here’s the first beer we brewed:

12 lbs Belgian Pilsner Malt

approximately 6 oz Willamette hops.  1.5 oz measured FWH, the rest approximated and added over a steady stir for the last 5 minutes of the boil, with a 10 minute hop stand.

Now last time I did petite saison smash I used 3711, this time I used T-58.  The main reason for this was I had a pack of dry T-58 and didn’t feel like making a starter, and didn’t have any 3711 anyway, so the choice was easy.  I’ve used T-58 a number of times now in my small experimental batches, and I’ve liked it.  We’ll see how it performs on this batch.

Fermentation will be at 64F.  I didn’t dry hop the last petite saison, so I might try it on this one, but then again I might not.  We’ll see.

The other beer we brewed will be in another blog, with some pictures too!  That beer is test run #1 of a clone of Texas Big Beer’s Working Stiff Ale.  Much more on that to come!

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.

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

Texas Big Beer Brewery, part 2

I found the first bottle of porter so tasty, I figured I would try the other three types of Texas Big Beer Brewery beers that were available.  Yes, even the scotch ale!  A link to all their beers is here.

I’ll start with the Working Stiff Ale.

Excellent appearance, it was tannish with some orange tint,  a smidge hazy, had plenty of rising bubbles, and had a great sturdy off white head that left a great cap and plenty of sticky lacing.

Aroma is somewhat malty with a good bit of bitterness, not a ton of overly distinct particular hops aromas, but still a notable degree of hops aroma.  The flavor follows right along, being fairly malt forward, but with a crisp and pronounced bitterness.  I like it, I don’t really want tons of mango, pine, citrus etc when I drink an ESB, I just want a good solid bitterness and a solid malt body.  This beer delivers.

The drinkability is pretty high, medium body with a crisp but bitter finish, and a little lingering dry maltiness.

I like it.  Tasty and delicious, interesting and different.  This is my second of four from this brewery, and so far I’m very happy to have another good brewery that’s pretty local.  Definitely try it.

Seriously, the working stiff is some damn fine beer.  I wrote part of this post shortly after I wrote the first one, as I wanted to try some more of their beers as soon as I could.  The working stiff was my second of Texas Big Beer’s brews, and as I finish this blog off, I’m having yet another working stiff ale!  A very fine beer indeed, especially  considering how few ESBs are out there in the US.

The Big Texas Blonde Ale was another really interesting beer.  It really does retain quite a bit of the characteristics of a blonde ale, despite the high ABV.  It’s listed as a Belgian strong pale ale on beer advocate, but it doesn’t really have the same characteristics of those beers, it’s more, well, “blonde,” with less of the pronounced yeasty and spicy flavors of Belgians, and more of the refreshing and light flavors of a blonde ale.  Hard to think of something 10.5% as light or refreshing, but that’s part of the charm of this beer, the fact that it’s somewhat of a paradox in a bottle.  I will certainly be drinking this one again too!

And finally, the Scotch ale, Renaissance Cowboy.  I am not a big fan of this style in general, Scotch ales just don’t do it for me.  However, on the recommendation of several people, I went ahead and tried it.  Excellent!  Probably the best example of this style that I’ve ever had.  There’s enough of a solid, even pronounced bitterness to balance out the sweetness and brown sugary flavors (usually Scotch ales aren’t balanced enough in this respect for my taste).  And it’s not carbonated to such a low degree that it’s nearly-flat, a flaw (IMO) that many Scotch ales have.  This one has enough carbonation to keep me interested.  I found it somewhat barleywine-like (a style I generally much prefer over Scotch ales).  So even with a style that I’m not especially fond of, Texas Big Beer kept me interested.  That’s pretty cool.

Cheers!

Texas Big Beer Brewery – Texas Crude

Stopped at a different liquor store than I usually go to, looking for a sixer or a bomber of something interesting or new.  Turns out this place had beer from a company that I haven’t heard of before, Texas Big Beer Company.  I must say that on the main page of their website, I see this, and I quote:

We are passionate about our beer. All of our beers are Big in Flavor and Style. We love High Alcohol beers, but love Flavor and Style more. We, just brew beer we love and share it.

Our Big Texas Blonde is our “Light Beer” (with tongue in cheek) The law states a light beer is light in color, so our light beer is 10.55% ABV (ROTFLMAO)

I gotta say that I like them already!

The guy behind the counter said that their store just got in four different beers from this brewery, and that they had done a tasting with all of them.  He said he liked them all, even the blonde, which is a style that he normally doesn’t care for.  I saw the blonde, the porter, the working man’s stiff ale, which is an ESB, and renaissance ale, which is a Scotch ale.  At first I had selected the Scotch ale, but that was because I couldn’t quite read the label in that lighting (I’m slowly losing my ability to read things up close, a typical effect of aging, LOL).  I decided against the scotch ale because I’m not a real big fan of scotch ales.  Had I realized that there was an ESB, I would have chosen that one for sure.  I’ll have to go back for it tomorrow.  So anyway, I picked up a bomber of the porter, which I will review shortly.

Price wise, I was more than willing to give this new brewery a shot.  They were all either $4.99 or $6.79 (or something close to that).  When you’re in the mood for a bomber of something new, these are very reasonable prices.  I’m far less likely to try a $10 or $12 bomber than I am a five or seven dollar one!  Now of course style plays a role (big stouts and IIPAs are often more expensive), but still, the price was right, so sold!

Numbers wise, the specs for this beer are as follows:

ABV: 7.00%
OG: 1.072
FG: 1.017
IBU: 59
SRM: 31.71°±

So let’s have a taste!

Appearance was something a bit more like an imperial stout than a porter, although I’m not sure how much that is really going to matter here. The color is jet black without room between any two molecules of inky blackness for light to pass through. The head was about a half a finger and was lightly brown, but didn’t last too long. There was ample lacing in thin sheets as the head went down.

The aroma was initially roasty, with a little burnt malt as an accent, and some subtle dark fruit notes. There was also some sweetness, brown sugar and molasses come to mind.

I think the taste was considerably more bold than the aroma. There’s a real nice dark malt and roasty malt component that’s up front, with side notes of coffee, chocolate, and just a tinge of burnt malt character. Sweetness is also a major component of the flavor, with a real nice brown sugar component, with a touch of blackstrap molasses as an accent. My take is that the chocolate component is more of a milk chocolate one than a dark chocolate one, and I don’t taste much of the semi-sweet baker’s chocolate flavors that I sometimes get from stouts or robust porters.

I rather like the mouthfeel. It’s not real heavy or thick, but isn’t overly watery or too thin either. The medium mouthfeel is well suited for this beer’s flavor and alcohol profile. And by the way, I really can’t taste or smell any alcohol in this beer.

My overall impression is that this is a fine porter, and having tried it, I want to try more beers from this brewery.

The bottom line is that a local brewery has produced a fine and tasty beer which is available for sale in my local area stores (at a reasonable price too!). Anytime someone can buy local beers from local breweries, it’s a good day for us all. Support local breweries and businesses. For me that means picking up another variety of Big Texas Beers next time I’m near the liquor store.  I think I’ll pick up the blonde and the working man’s stiff ESB.  I might still try the scotch ale (if I can get into the mood for a scotch ale, lol, it’s just not a style that I’m real crazy about).

Cheers to Big Texas Beers, I hope your brewery is a big success!  And Keep ’em coming, I’m always looking for new beers and new breweries!

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