Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quick Sour Update

If you don't remember, I recently brewed up a quick sour that I soured with Omega's Lacto blend to try to get a more consistent, clean beer than the one that I do with grain.  There's nothing wrong with souring with a handful of grain and I will continue to do it in the future, but I wanted something I could really dial in.  Omega's lacto blend is a mix of different strains and from what I had read, could sour quickly, without heat and do it consistently.

I gave it a whirl and it was very successful, taking my quick sour down to pH 3.1 in ~60 hours at 80F.  I then pitched boiled and pitched Wyeast 1056 to get a clean ferment and it was time to split this batch to try a few things out.

I split the 3 gallons 3 ways:
  • 24 oz frozen raspberries and ~1 c cold steeped midnight wheat for a Dark Raspberry Berliner
  • 3/4 of a bag of passionfruit puree for a Passionfruit Berliner
  • 4.2 g coriander and 5.2 g sea salt for a Gose
I bottled the gose immediately and the other two gallon experiments have been in my fermenter for about 48 hours before I got impatient and tried a sample.

The passionfruit berliner is very passionfruit forward.  The fruit lends some additional tartness and this beer is very in your face.

The dark raspberry berliner beer isn't dark anymore because the raspberries have totally saturated the beer.  It's a brilliant red and the nose is liquid raspberries.  By far the most fruit forward beer I've made.  I really am looking forward to trying this once it's bottled although I will definitely need to steep more midnight wheat.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Scrappy Hound House Saison #2

My first iteration of my quest for a house saison turned out pretty good.  It's a little more phenolic than I'd like, but it's drinkable, clean and pretty tasty.  I think that to get a beer that's closer to what I envision in my head, I need to split yeasts.  Wyeast 3711 is an absolute monster and will take the beer down to 1.000 no problem, but the flavor profile isn't exactly what I want.  I'm going to look into splitting yeasts, going with a more belgian yeast up front and finishing it with 3711.  Unfortunately, that won't be until batch #3.

In the mean time, I'm going to do another batch with 3711 and play around with salts.  I posted a brewing water summary and I'm going to push some of these ions to their upper thresholds.  I read so much about ranges of Calcium, Sodium, Sulfate, Bicarbonate that I want to see what happens when you go over the upper limit in these ranges.  I don't care if the beer doesn't turn out perfect, I'd rather see what I like and don't like about high ion concentrations in beer and then adjust accordingly.  Plus, at the end of the day I'll only be out 10 bottles if it's truly undrinkable (which I suspect it won't be).

My process will be as follows.  Brew up 3 gallons of saison wort.  I'm going to add some salts to hit my mash pH of 5.2-3 and establish a base line of:

Ca 80 | Mg 1 | Na 47 | Cl 55 | SO4 95 | HCO3 134

I'm then going to ferment the beer with Wyeast 3711 as normal.  Post fermentation, I'm going to split the batch three ways and dose each with a concentration (ppm) of either CaSO4, CaCl2 or NaHCO3 to obtain the following concentrations:

Adding CaSO4
Ca 197 | Mg 1 | Na 47 | Cl 55 | SO4 375 | HCO3 134

Adding NaHCO3
Ca 80 | Mg 1 | Na 162 | Cl 55 | SO4 95 | HCO3 441

Adding CaCl2
Ca 185 | Mg 1 | Na 47 | Cl 241 | SO4 95 | HCO3 134

I'm gong big instead of going home.  These elevated levels push conventional reported limits where the beer starts to taste a little off.  I'm ok with that and I think this will be valuable in the future.  What if I make the perfect beer by adding 440 ppm of bicarbonate!?  Won't know until I try.  Also, once these are bottled, I'm going to blend a little and create super beers with elevated levels of everything


Scrappy Hound House Saison #2

3 gallons
75% efficiency
60 min boil

4 lb Belgian Pils (80%)
0.5 lb White Wheat (10%)
0.5 lb Vienna (10%)

0.5 oz Tettnang (60 min)
0.5 oz Tettnang (15 min)

Wyeast 3711 @ 62F ambient.  mash at 152F. 

OG 1.046 | FG 1.006 | ABV 5.3% | IBU 24

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bottling Funky Golden Brett

Back in October I talked about brewing up 5 gallons of a golden style beer to help in blending for my solera inspired beers.  After I topped off the solera and blended, I put the rest of the wort (~3 gallons) into a better bottle.  I had read that The Mad Fermentationist had been looking into the effect high phenols had on Brett funkiness.  I had this wort which was super phenol-y, so I figured this was my time to try to produce a beer similar to Wicked Weed's Serenity, which is a brett bomb and absolutely one of my favorites.

I pitched some The Yeast Bay's Brussels Brett that I had lying around, threw in the dregs from a Hill Farmstead saison and added some oak cubes.  Three months later it was ready to be bottled.  Using my sour bottling bucket, I got to work.

I like to use a variety of bottles to bottle sours.  I keep all thick glass bottles, but also wanted to bottle a few in normal 12 oz bottles in case this turns out good for competitions.

My main secret to bottling is to do it over the dish washer.  You don't have to worry about any drips because they land on the door and once you're done, just close it up and forget about it!  The next time you run the dishwasher it'll be as good as new.

I only got about 2.2 gallons from this batch.  I didn't top off the carboy to the full 3 gallon capacity.

All finished and labeled.  I'll give this a few weeks to make sure the brett does it's thing before cracking one open.  

The uncarbed sample was pretty delicious.  A little sweet, but the dregs and brett really did it's thing and ate away at the phenols.  This beer tastes nothing like a simple golden wort fermented with Abbey ale yeast.  That beer is hugely Belgian-y and this is a funky bomb. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Scrappy Hound House Quick Sour #1

Next up in my ‘house beer’ quest is a sour and I’ve  just finished finalizing the recipe/process and ordering the grain for a 3 gallon batch of Berliner.  When I say Berliner, I mean a low ABV pretty aggressively tart beer that I can then do treatments on if I want (passionfruit, gose, blackberry?).  I’ve riffed this recipe many times before and the only difference this time will be the inclusion of a commercial lacto culture.  My reasoning in choosing Omega’s brand is because I’ve heard it sours quickly and cleanly and hopefully will mean more reproducible products in the future.

The plan for this beer will be to sour wort.  I’ll mash and sparge as usual, then let the beer come down to 120F and pitch a 2L starter of Omega Lacto blend into the kettle, seal with saran and put the lid on.  I’ll keep it warm with a heating pad.  I’ll take samples 2x daily until the sourness is at a level I like then boil 15 minutes, cool and pitch the yeast.

Scrappy Hound Berliner #1

3 gallons
80% efficiency

2.5 lb German Pils (56%)
2 lb White Wheat (44%)

0.25 oz Tettnang (15 min)

Sour the wort with Omega Lacto blend.  Ferment with Wyeast 1056 @ 62F ambient.  Mash at 148F for 60 min.

OG 1.045 | FG 1.010 | ABV 4.6% | IBU 4

Ca 45 | Mg 1 | Na 0 | Cl 64 | SO4 0 | HCO3 35 | Mash pH 5.32

1/15/15: Mashed and sparged.  Preboil OG 1.042.  Brought it down to 110F and pitched a 1L starter of the Omega Lacto blend that had been going for 24 hours.  Covered the top of the wort with saran wrap, put the lid on the kettle and put a blanket around it.
1/16/15: Beer was down to 83F.  Put a heating pad on low inside the towel.

1/17/15: Boiled for 15 mins to kill lacto.  Added a few hop pellets.  Pitched starter of Wyeast 1056.
1/25/15: Split the batch 3 ways.  Added 24 oz raspberries and ~1 c cold steeped midnight wheat for dark raspberry berliner.  Added passionfruit puree for passionfruit berliner to another ~1 gallon.  Boiled 4.38 g crushed coriander and 5.16 g sea salt, cooled and added to another gallon.