Tag Archives: homebrew

Extract Brewing Revisited, Batch Two: Dark-Saison

Well I’m going through my drafts folder and publishing everything that I had forgotten about.  So this one is a bit out-dated but what the hey, let’s post it!

Results:

I just popped a test bottle of this one. it’s a bit odd, but it’s plenty drinkable and even qualifies as tasty beer.

I wanted to prove to myself that there’s nothing wrong with amber or dark or extra dark extracts, so I simply tried making beers using those extracts. I can’t see any reason NOT to use them (not that you’d need them all the time, of course). But if you just want some color and body, the amber and extra dark extracts (munton’s, FWIW) have not imparted excess sweetness, maltiness, or roasty/whatever flavors to these two beers, they seem to have provided more color than anything. So now that I’m not just regurgitating the old standard “use extra light extract, and add specialty grains for color and body” advice, well, what does that mean? Nothing, I suppose. There’s nothing wrong with the old standard advice, but it’s not the only way to make tasty beer. You can also use amber, dark, and even extra-dark extracts and still make fine beer. My new advice would be to consider what your goals are, and how to best accomplish those goals, and use the ingredients that best accomplish those goals.

The T-58 comes out quite a bit like 3711, but my impression is that 3711 comes out dryer. It’s hard to say exactly how much that’s true, because I haven’t brewed the same beer twice and varied only the yeast, but it’s fairly similar at least. Preliminary assessment of T-58 is that I’ll keep using it for these little two gallon extract batches that are brewed without temperature controls*.

*brewed in my room, temperature usually a bit higher than optimal for most yeasts, and fluctuations are higher than optimal for most yeasts too. The T-58 has handled these fluctutations well (admittedly they are fairly MILD fluctions, lol).

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Quadro-Smash! (WTF Al?)

Edited to reflect reality!  And again to reflect reality again!

 

UPDATE: fucked it all up.  Forgot which bucket was which, put the dry hops 68g for this one into the Sam Adams summer ale clone.  This one was quite a bit on the bitter side, but has mellowed as it aged, and is at least drinkable. 

Now the other beer, the Sam Adams Summer Ale clone, it came out really nice!  All that dry hop aroma somehow didn’t mess with the rather delicate and subtle aromas and flavors of the lemon peel and grains of paradise.

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Well I never cared whether I mis-used words or butchered the English Language much, so I can name my beers whatever the heck I want!

Got the idea from a beeradvocate.com thread. Four base malts, equal portions, and four hops, equal portions, in a pale ale or IPA like beer with IBUs about 45-50.

3 lbs maris otter
3 lbs golden promise
3 lbs vienna
3 lbs munich

Hops will be a blend of Cascade, Citra, Willamette, and Bravo!  I gotta check the AA% for the exact numbers,, but the schedule wound up like this:

  • 40g bravo
    100g cascade
    80g willamette
    60g citra
    280g hops total
    28g at 60
    54g at 5
    140g at FO
    68g dry hop

Used Denny’s best yeast.  Wound up being far more of an IPA than I had previously planned.  Still – This one can’t help but be ginormously fantabulous!

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!

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!!

Al’s Oatmeal Stout

Brewed this one last week.  Checked it a couple days ago, looking good!  Will bottle in around a week or so.

  • 10 lbs maris otter
  • 1 lb crystal 60
  • 0.5 lb crystal 120
  • 1 lb chocolate malt
  • 0.5 lb roasted barley
  • 2 lb oatmeal
  • 3 oz serebrianka hops (2.3% AA) at 60
  • 5 oz serebrianka hops (2.3% AA) at 15
  • OG 1.065
  • SRM 36
  • ABV 6.7
  • IBU 35

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

Elderberry wheat IV

Well, 4th time I brewed this one.  Grain bill identical.  Added a little extra hops this time, same kind of hops as last time (serebrianka), just for the heck of it.  I was thinking “maybe a little hoppier, just a touch,” but didn’t want to make a “hoppy wheat” (I’ve not been too impressed with hoppy wheat beers, to be honest).  Also, a touch more hops is good, but with the elderberries I don’t want to produce a huge clash of flavors.  We’ll see what happens!

Also, mixed yeast this time, just for the heck of it (Bavarian wheat yeast mixed with US-05).  Let’s see how this yeast combo goes with this grain and hops profile.  I’ve never mixed yeasts before, and don’t really know what it will do, but… I don’t have any worries… it will be good!

  • 4 lbs, 8 oz pilsner malt
  • 4 lbs wheat malt
  • 1 lb flaked wheat
  • 0.5 lbs 20L crystal malt
  • 1 oz Serebrianka at 30
  • 1.5 oz Serebrianka at 10
  • 1.5 oz Serebrianka at FO
  • 8 oz dried elderberries at 20 minutes
  • Bavarian wheat yeast + US-05
  • OG 1.054
  • IBUs 20
  • SRM ??
  • ABV 5.1%

As usual, 8oz of dried elderberries turned the wort nice and purple.  It’s a really cool thing to have purple beer.

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