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Topics - erockrph

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Beer Recipes / "Juicy" IPA
« on: April 17, 2016, 01:51:53 PM »
While I haven't tried any of these new "NE IPA" beers, I thought I'd take a stab at something in the ballpark to see if there's anything to it. My typical house IPA isn't that far away in hopping approach, so I'm mainly just adding a large amount of torrified wheat and some flaked oats to my usual IPA. I'll be interested to see what differences I might notice.

Giving 1469 a shot as the yeast, since the NE style seems to be using flavorful English yeast. I love me some TTLL, so I figured what the hey. Shooting for 120ppm Cl, 80 ppm SO4 and 50 ppm Na, to keep the minerality on the moderate side but still goose the fullness a bit. Also trying a 60-60 step mash just for the hell of it. If it really helps dry the finish but boost the mouthfeel in a lager, then that certainly fits this style as well.

Title: Hop Drippins

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: American IPA
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.045
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV (standard): 6.4%
IBU (tinseth): 59.51
SRM (morey): 6.02

3.75 lb - Belgian - Pilsner (63.2%)
6 oz - Belgian - Aromatic (6.3%)
1 lb - Torrified Wheat (16.8%)
5 oz - Flaked Oats (5.3%)
8 oz - Cane Sugar (8.4%)

2 oz - Citra, Type: Pellet, AA: 14.8, Use: Whirlpool for 60 min at 120 °F
1.5 oz - Enigma, Type: Pellet, AA: 18.1, Use: Whirlpool for 60 min at 120 °F
2 oz - Nelson Sauvin, Type: Pellet, AA: 16, Use: Whirlpool for 60 min at 120 °F
1 oz - Citra, Type: Pellet, AA: 14.8, Use: Dry Hop for 4 days
1 oz - Nelson Sauvin, Type: Pellet, AA: 16, Use: Dry Hop for 4 days
1 oz - Enigma, Type: Pellet, AA: 18.1, Use: Dry Hop for 4 days
3.6 oz - Hop Shot, Type: Pellet, AA: 2.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 59.51

1) Infusion, Temp: 145 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 12 qt, Beta rest - 153F strike
2) Infusion, Temp: 162 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 16.5 qt, Alpha rest +4.5 qt @ boiling

Wyeast - West Yorkshire 1469

Na: 50
Cl: 120
SO4: 80

Water Notes:
2 mL Lactic
2.2 g Gypsum
1.7 g NaCl
1.5 g CaCl2

3.6 mL of Hop Shot needed at 60 minutes. Targeting ~60 IBU

Commercial Beer Reviews / Rodenbach Caractere Rouge
« on: April 14, 2016, 07:26:08 PM »
As much as I enjoy bold, aggressively tart and funky sours, every time I have something from Rodenbach I am reminded that you can have an amazing sour beer without going full throttle on everything. Caractere Rouge has a perfect balance between tartness and a touch of malt sweetness that makes a fantastic base for the big berry character it has going on.

On one sip I get raspberry preserves, and on the next I get fresh homemade cranberry sauce. The fruit character is powerful, but doesn't overpower the malt. There is just a bit of Brett character, mostly Orval-like pineapple and cherry pie, but at a background level.

This beer gets it right in every way. The craftsmanship is top notch. If you're looking for something special, this one is well worth the investment.

Yeast and Fermentation / S-189
« on: April 02, 2016, 07:27:37 AM »
I just tapped my first lager using S-189, and I'm not sure what I think of it yet. The fermentation character reminds me more of WY2007 than the German lager strains I've used. I don't know if it's low sulfur or something else, but it's lacking the fermentation character that I seem to get from something like 34/70. That on its own isn't necessarily a bad thing, just different.

What I'm not so sure on is this flavor I'm getting the really reminds me of sake for some reason. It's not quite hot, or sweet, or fruity, but some combination of the three. I don't think it's estery, but maybe it's a low fusel note. It's a low note, but it was unexpected for me. I haven't decided whether I'm OK with it or not yet. I'll come back to it in a week or so and reassess.

This was my challenge extract beer, so I decided to go low-tech on fermentation. I let this run at ambient in my basement (mid 50's). Maybe that's too high for this strain? Any thoughts from someone who has used this yeast? Has anyone gotten this fermentation character before?

3 gallon Recipe FWIW:
3lb Pilsen DME
8oz Munich LME
4oz CaraFoam
20 IBU Hallertau mf @60 min

1.049 OG, 1.010 FG

Other Fermentables / Citrus in meads
« on: March 03, 2016, 09:33:21 AM »
Does anyone have any recommendations for the best way to use citrus in meads? I've always been afraid to drop the pH too low and have the yeast stall out on me. Is it better to wait till secondary to add the fruit? Any suggestions on the best way to add the fruit, and/or how much? I'm planning on a tart, slightly sweet lime mead with a hint of ginger, in the 8-10% abv range. I'm looking for a big lime flavor.

The Pub / Boring 92 beer selection
« on: February 24, 2016, 08:17:44 AM »
I have to admit that I am now officially a spoiled beer snob. Last night I went out with some friends to a pub that heavily promotes their large beer selection. I spent a good 10 minutes going over their beer menu and was really rather disappointed. Ten or fifteen years ago a bar that offered 30 or more beers was generally a place that I'd go out of my way to visit just for the beer selection.

This bar had over 90 beers available, but the choices were primarily the flagship beers and IPA/Session IPA/Specialty IPA's from many big regional and national craft breweries. There were no sour beers, little to no presence from our up and coming local scene, and barely any imports. The only German lager was Warsteiner, they only had 2 English ales, and despite being called "The Abbey", the only trappist beer on the list was "Chimay" (your guess is as good as mine as to which Chimay it is). I normally get a sampler tray or two at a bar like this to try out all of my "want list" from their beer selection. Last night I struggled just to find two different beers that I wanted to drink.

The kicker for me was the sign for the Goose Island Tap Takeover in the men's room. I've come to the realization that "craft beer" is on its way to killing real craft beer.

All that said, the food was excellent and the beer was served properly and in good condition. I really enjoyed Old Speckled Hen on draft. I've only had it in clear bottles and nitro can in the past. On tap with the proper CO2 carbonation it is a really nice beer.

The Pub / Wine bottling mishap
« on: February 18, 2016, 06:29:24 PM »
Just saw this posted on Michael Fairbrother's Facebook feed and laughed by butt off:

Beer Recipes / Low Gravity English IPA
« on: February 17, 2016, 01:15:19 PM »
I saw a few recent articles on Ron Pattinson's blog that discuss some low-gravity IPA's that were available in England in the early-to-mid 20th century. There was a recipe posted for 1957 Whitbread IPA that was brewed down at 1.036/3.9% ABV. It's interesting that Session IPA's have become a big thing in the past few years in the US, when they were apparently no big deal a century ago in the UK.

I think I'll be taking a shot at the recipe in this article:  I'll probably use 1469 or 002/1968 instead of 1099, and I might push the hops closer to the end of the boil to get a bit more flavor/aroma, but otherwise I'll keep it close. Should be interesting.

Yeast and Fermentation / W-34/70 Fermentation Temp exBEERiment
« on: February 15, 2016, 08:17:55 PM »
I noticed that Marshall hasn't been cross-posting new xBmt's here as often, so I went over to Brulosophy to see if anything interesting was posted, when this result really caught my eye:

Summary - a split batch of Pils was fermented with 34/70 at either 50F or 70F. The results were that A) there weren't enough correct tasters to achieve a significant result (although it was close) and B) of the 12 tasters who did identify the correct sample, 10 of them preferred the one that was brewed at warm temps.

I've been fermenting 34/70 at ambient temps in my basement in the winter, but I might be tempted to push that into the spring and fall now. I also feel validated in recommending 34/70 at warm temps over an ale yeast to all the brewers who keep asking about brewing a "Mocktoberfest" every September. This certainly removes several barriers for new brewers who want to brew lagers - you can use dry yeast, and you can ferment at ale temps. If someone can produce a good ale, there's no reason they can't produce a good lager.

The Pub / Chocolate stash
« on: January 21, 2016, 06:35:13 PM »
Not only does the cold weather mean liquid yeast is safe(r) to buy online, but so is chocolate. I'm a huge fan of dark chocolate and I got my semiannual binge order in from Chocosphere today. Great site to order high quality chocolate from in the US.

Ingredients / Cacao Nibs - taking suggestions
« on: January 21, 2016, 06:29:53 PM »
I just got my stash in from Chocosphere in the mail. I figured I'd add some nibs to my order since they had some in stock from one of my favorite chocolate makers (Domori). The thing is, for as much of a chocoholic as I am, I've never brewed with cacao nibs. I now have half a kilo of high quality stuff and I'm taking suggestions for what to do with them.

I'm looking for ideas that will really let the chocolate character show through, so I'm leaning away from the usual Porter/Stout where there are other roast malts in the mix. Some will probably end up in a small batch of mead. Any beer suggestions?

Equipment and Software / Surplus electric heating elements
« on: December 29, 2015, 10:33:29 AM »
I saw this today on AS&S while looking for a molecule kit for my son (I had to explain valence electrons to my 5-year old the other day - figured I'd strike while the iron was hot).

This seems like a good fit for a DIY electric brewing system. Thought I'd share for anyone who might be interested:

Commercial Beer Reviews / Guinness Nitro IPA
« on: December 24, 2015, 10:15:03 PM »
I bought a sixer of this out of curiosity, having never tried a hoppy nitro beer before. Now I need to find 5 other curious drinkers, or one person who actually enjoys flat IPA. Nitro just isn't a good vehicle for American hops. Even at just 44 IBU, the bitterness seemed a bit rough against the smooth nitro body. Just a clash from every angle, as far as I'm concerned. Can't recommend this one.

General Homebrew Discussion / Sanitizer Comparison
« on: November 08, 2015, 08:23:18 AM »
I recently bought some pre-poured agar plates partly for plating some mixed-culture beers to isolate some samples, and partly just to play around. I had a few plates left over that weren't going to be used, so I ran a little experiment.

I streaked 4 nutrient agar plates with dregs from Gueuze Fond Tradition, which was one of the beers I was culturing. I let them sit for about 10 minutes to dry. Then I sprayed each with enough of each test solution to visibly wet the entire surface of the plate. I let each plate sit for 2 minutes, then poured off any residual sanitizer. I then stored the plates upside-down to dry. The plates were stored at ambient room temperature, and the results are from 8 days after plating.

The 4 plates were sprayed with:
-Filtered tap water (control solution, and what I use to mix my Iodophor and Star San)
-Iodophor (12.5ppm)
-Star San
-Bacardi 151 rum (75.5% ethanol)



Star San:


The results are pretty clear. The control (tap water) is the big loser and has a significant amount of growth. The ethanol has a surprising amount of growth. Iodophor has a handful of scattered colonies. And Star San is the big winner in this test with no growth after 8 days.

I have to admit, the results were surprising to me. Coming from a medical background, I am very comfortable with iodophors and ethanol for surface disinfection. Povidone-iodine, aka Betadine, is a very common surgical prep and is an iodophor (iodophors are a class of compounds, by the way). But Star San just is not as broad spectrum (regardless of what my results show), and would never be used in the medical field. It is commonly used in dairy and food-processing, however, and certainly has its benefits.

So what do I think is happening here? First of all, what makes Star-San useful in dairy and food processing is that it doesn't lose its potency in the presence of organic matter the way other sanitizers do. It is also much less volatile than ethanol. That is an important piece, since you need to ensure that your surface stays wet for the entire contact time for the sanitizer in question. And that is what brings me to the last piece - Star San has an added foaming agent. This really helps out in the contact time department.

So what are my personal takeaways from this experiment? The big one is that you can't make up for poor cleaning practices with sanitization. You must have a surface that is clean of all organic materials for your sanitizers to be effective. My second one is that I will continue to use Star San in my brewery, and that I will go back to using it as my preferred spray sanitizer. Iodophor has a 2-minute contact time and no additives to help it cling to surfaces. I think I'll take my chances with Star San. I will still use ethanol when I want broad-spectrum coverage (such as stepping up bottle dregs, where I'm starting from a small cell count), but I will be sure to soak the hell out of any surfaces in question and keep it wet by re-applying if needed.

Edit - finally able to get the images in line

Ingredients / Single-hopped beers 2015 edition
« on: October 30, 2015, 05:56:08 PM »
I just brewed another round of single-hopped beers today. Most of these hops had some really nice aroma to them, and I'm really looking forward to tasting the beers in a month or so. I didn't really like how my last batches came out using steeped CaraHell, so I went back to my original recipe of 13 oz Light DME (2 1/3 cups by volume) and 5 oz Munich LME (1/3 cup by volume) in 1 gallon preboil volume. Hops were between 40-45 IBU (calculated as a 20-minute addition) added after the extract dissolved, 15 minute boil, 0.25 oz flameout hops and each will get 1/2 oz of dry hops.

Here's the list of hops for this series of beers:

Vic Secret - a new hop from NZ Australia
Enigma - another new hop from NZ Australia
Armadillo Experimental - an experimental hop available from Yakima Valley Hops
HBC 438 (aka "Ron Mexico") - a new hop from HBC, that is currently only available to homebrewers.
X-17 - a new experimental hop from The Oregon Hophouse, who were kind enough to send me a sample to review. I am really excited about these.

Here are links to my past years' tasting notes:

Gratuitous hop porn:

Edit - I have a bad habit of assuming all Southern Hemisphere hops come from new Zealand

Commercial Beer Reviews / Mikkeller Spontanbeetroot
« on: October 22, 2015, 07:52:35 PM »
I've had quite a few of Mikkeller's spontaneous fermentation beers in the past year or two. All of them have been at least decent, and the Spontangooseberry is one of the best fruited sours I've ever had. When I saw the beet lambic, I was torn. On the one hand, all of the others have been good so far. On the other hand, this could just be like drinking pickled beets (of which I am not a fan). Curiosity got the better of me, and here I am.

The beer pours a murky orange-red in appearance, with a persistent ring of white foam. It looks strikingly similar to my mother-in-law's borscht. The nose has lactic and citrus tang, with a solid cherry-pie Brett note. I think I'm getting some boiled root vegetable aroma, but it's faint and fleeting.

On the palate, the cherry pie takes the lead, followed by tangy lactic notes. There are some low horsy/barnyard funk notes, and some earthy beet character as well. I get a bit of that boiled root veggies character as well. I think it read more carrot/parsnip than beet, possibly due to the funk/spice/bitter character from the Brett coming along for the ride. That character seems to be at a low enough level where it melds in without sticking out like a sore thumb. But it still seems a bit brothy to me, pushing things over to the savory side a tad. Acidity is quite tart, but not bracingly so. The finish has some lingering low bitterness, with some lactic and sweet vegetable notes.

My verdict? This is about as good as you could possibly do with a beet lambic, but I don't know if that is saying much. It is a solid B- beer. I definitely get the synergy between the beets and Brett. There aren't any acetic notes to speak of, and that is very important here or else the beer would taste like you're drinking ketchup. But that vegetable character just doesn't seem like a good fit to me. It was low enough here not to detract too much from the beer, but I don't feel like it added much, either. Having said that, I think parsnips, or a spicy carrot cultivar would be interesting in a lambic given my experience with this, possibly paired with ginger.

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