Saturday, August 29, 2015

Scrappy Hound House Pale Ale #3

It's no secret that I hate homebrewing hoppy beers.  I'm convinced that it's very, very difficult to brew good hoppy beers at home if you don't keg, and even then I'm still skeptical that they're ever at a near-commercial level.  I have yet to have a good hoppy homebrew from anybody.  Regardless, I still foolishly brew them because it's one of my fiance's favorite styles and, well, I'm just stubborn.

Most of my hoppy beers fall flat.  They're muted and kind of blah even when they're young.  I've tried water adjustments, yeast, hops, and just about everything else I can think of.  This time I did a few things.  First off, I found a talk from this year's NHC by Kelsey McNair who, if you don't know, has won something like 3 NHC gold medals for his IPA, Hop Fu!.  He's going pro and this talk was about how to brew the perfect hoppy beer.  I specifically focused on two things, the water profile he recommends and eliminating O2 which I think might be hurting my beers.  The water profile was easy to hit with salts but eliminating O2 as much as possible took some thinking.  I am planning on a post soon with my new (and probably crazy and unnecessary) method, but I did buy this portable CO2 cartridge dispenser to help me to purge headspace with CO2 when I sampled and bottled.

This recipe I came up with is pretty simple and focuses on two awesome hops, Citra and Nelson.  I was hoping for a juicy pale ale that's crushable and really bright.  I used late hopping, a hop stand and some super fresh hops from Farmhouse Supply to really drive the aroma.  I like the idea of wheat in the grain bill to provide some softness.  I'm not optimistic because I have yet to brew a great hoppy beer, but hopefully I'll be surprised!

Pale Ale #3

3 Gallons
74% Efficiency

5 lb 2 Row
1 lb White wheat

0.5 oz Chinook (15 min)
0.5 oz Nelson (Flameout)
0.5 oz Citra (Flameout)
0.5 oz Nelson (180F)
0.5 oz Citra (180F)
1 oz Nelson (Dry Hop)
1 oz Citra (Dry Hop)

US05 at 66F ambient.  Mashed at 150F.

OG 1.054 | FG 1.011 | ABV 5.8% | IBU 59

Ca 127 | Mg 2 | Na 0 | Cl 44 | SO4 227 | HCO3 38

8/15/15:  Brewed.  OG 1.049.

8/20/15: Sampled for gravity, purged headspace with CO2 cartridge and added Nelson and Citra dryhop.

8/26/15: Bottled with new O2 free bottling system.

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Quick Sours!

It's been awhile since I've posted but that doesn't mean I haven't been brewing.  I've been consistently been at it and now that I've got some time I plan to catch up on the blog.

I was running low on berliners/quick sours, so I fired up a 3 gallon batch with the intention of splitting it 3 ways.  I followed the kettle sour method I've been using for years to make a pretty low gravity (~4%) beer that's nicely tart and clean.

For this batch, once it fermented out, I chose to split 2 gallons on fruit and 1 gallon as a gose experiment.

The first gallon was split on pineapple for an upcoming competition in my area that I actually took first and second BOS in last year (humblebrag).  This pineapple berliner might not be the most overwhelmingly crazy fruited berliner that I do, but it scored a 43 on Dr. Homebrew and a buddy took my tips on this beer to the final round of NHC in the fruit beer category.  I think that 1 chopped pineapple/gallon is perfect for this style.  The key to a BJCP competition fruit beer is balance with the base style and at this rate, the pineapple is there, but it's definitely a berliner first and foremost.  It's a really elegant blend.  I have high hopes for this at the competition.

I split another gallon onto peach puree.  These local peaches went on sale for 50 cents a pound so I snatched up 10 pounds.  ( let them get really ripe, then took the pits out and pureed them in a food processor and froze them in 2 pound increments.  I put one gallon onto 2 lbs of pureed peach.  When it came time to rack off the fruit, it was an absolute mess.  I left behind a lot of sludge and I'm not sure how well the peach flavor is going to present itself.  

The last gallon I made into a Margarita gose.  I highly salted it (6 g sea salt/gallon) and then added the zest of 2 limes in secondary.  I took a sample to see how it was coming and I was BLOWN away.  The flavor is absolutely nailed.  I haven't been this excited with a beer in awhile.  At bottling the flavor was still there so I'm really excited to try it properly carbed.

I always love making berliners because they're so easy to make (mash one day which takes an hour, then boil the next day for 15 mins, and they are low OG so they ferment quickly) and fun to experiment with.  I actually have a 5 gallon batch planned for this upcoming beer fest which I plan on fruiting (tropical fruit: dragonfruit, passionfruit, mango, guava) and serving during the people's choice portion of the fest.