Brew Day: 3/31/18 – Brown Eye Woke v4.5, bottling day, and Experiments!

We had quite a busy Saturday ™ this past weekend; we bottled our latest IPA, the sample tastes amazing at the moment. The added bittering charge really seems like it made all the difference in this beer. We are really looking forward to cracking one open in the next few days to taste it carbonated. We brewed Brown Eye Woke v4.5 since our last batch didn’t ferment all the way down… or did it?!

Plot twist: the older batch of Brown Eye Woke is sitting at 1.008, which is lower than it normally gets but I’m going to assume that’s because of the extra yeast we pitched. It definitely has a bit of a yeasty aroma so I’m almost certain it was an over pitch. Since we now have some extra beer laying around we have decided to have some fun with it. We are going to separate them into 3 different batches each with different additions. We so far have these laid out;

  • Chocolate, Vanilla, Cinnamon
  • Coffee
  • Apple Brandy oak cubes and Coconut

We’ll see how they come out, but either way it’s fun to experiment with batches. The only way you learn is if you try. Plus, since we are doing a robust porter with Apple Brandy oak and Coconut, this will be a nice trial run for us. I’ll update you all once that is complete, should be in the month or so. We also have some fresh fruit ready for our Gose! Right now we have a Gose planned to be split into four (4) one (1) gallon batches with the following fruits;

  • Kumquats (fresh picked from a coworkers house)
  • Prickly Pear (fresh picked from wild bushes in Tucson, AZ)
  • Key Lime Pie (Fresh Limes, lime leaves, vanilla)
  • Strawberry

That should be a fun batch! Maybe we can even blend some together if they all come out nice. Our hops are starting to sprout up again as well! It’s getting a little hotter so they are about to come out and play, generation two coming up.

Lastly we bottled up our most recent IPA. Hit our FG perfectly and the sample tastes so, so smooth. It’s got some sweetness on it right now that will most likely get cleaned up in the bottle but it’s aroma is bursting with grapefruit, passion fruit, and citrus. It’s got a beautiful color as well. We haven’t thought of a name for it yet, though.

 

Now, on to the brew day! Literally the same exact grain/hop bill as the last batch. Nothing new to see here but I’ll post it here anyway.

Grist: Hops Mash:
8#      Maris Otter 1 oz East Kent Golding @ 60 60 Minutes @ 154F
.8#     Victory 1 oz East Kent Golding @ 15
.8#     Brown Malt Boil:
.75#   Special Malt 60 Minutes
.75#   C-40 Yeast
.5#     Chocolate Malt WLP002 (English Ale Yeast)
Estimated OG: 1.054 Actual OG: 1.058 Extra
Yeast Energizer @ 15
Estimated FG: 1.010 Actual FG:
Age of coffee beans after
Estimated ABV: 5.77% Actual ABV: Fermentation has completed
For two weeks

 

A new theme that we definitely enjoyed was our temperature actually held the entire time and exactly where it needed to be. Holy shit, what a concept! With that said we also increased our efficiency on this batch a bit, we hit 1.058 instead of 1.054. Sometimes, it’s the little things in life.

Before I get too far into this post I want to acknowledge a program. That program is called Bru’n Water (https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/), it’s a fantastic program that every brewer should use. Especially when you start going down the rabbit hole of water additions and how they impact certain styles of beers. Also something nice to have is from my boy Ty (https://www.watersbrewer.com/pages/water-adjustment-sheet), this is a sheet that shows you what type of water you should be aiming for.

Moving on, we collected 7.5 gallons of sweet wort and began our boil. We opted out of using the hop spider for this brew since it was only 2 oz of hops, we just created a whirlpool at the end to dissolve whatever remnants there were.

After our boil concluded we ended up with about 4.7 gallons of wort that was chilled to 68F. We pitched our yeast and tucked it away in the fermentation fridge, after about 22 hours we had activity. We have high hopes for this batch, especially since our last one didn’t work out so well for us (yet…). Competition season is still in full swing, so this will be getting submitted shortly.

Next Brew Day – 4/14/18

West Coast Pilsner & Gose – Double brew day. The Gose only takes 1 ½ hours to be ready so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Upcoming Brews –

Porter – Robust porter with Apple Brandy oak cubes and coconut
Idaho 7 Pale Ale – Idaho 7 New England inspired pale ale
Grant Us Eyes – Nelson and Mosaic New England IPA
Orange Wheat – Wheat beer with Cara-Cara and Blood Oranges

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Grant Us Eyes V3 Taste Test

I just couldn’t wait and had to open up a bottle of “Grant Us Eyes,” our hazy IPA with Nelson & Mosaic hops. It hasn’t quite been two weeks in the bottle, but it is developing very, very nicely. I did a carbonation and taste test yesterday (1/31). Here are the results:

Bottle date: 1/20/2018                  Carbonation: 2.4 Volumes

Aroma: Fruit medley; apricot, mango, and grapes up front with a nice passion fruit and peach aroma on the backend of the smell. It’s very tropical and it’s a very dense smell. A lot going on, but you can definitely smell each distinct hop aroma.

Appearance: A hazy golden orange, really nice color.

Body: Probably the softest or “cloudiest” beer we’ve ever made. I think we nailed the water profile for this one. Incredibly smooth and keeps you coming back for more… or to use one of my favorite words: crushable.

Taste: This is where the beer shines (thankfully). Huge notes of grape (white wine?), apricots, and mango up front. Then on the backend you get this juicy flavor of peaches mixed with berries. There is a distinct grapefruit and passion fruit flavor as you swallow. Very well rounded and you can taste all of these hops upon drinking it.

Overall, extremely pleased with how this beer came out and hopefully everyone else will be when we are serving it our Super Bowl party. Cheers.

Brew Day: 1/6/18 “Grant Us Eyes” V3.0

First brew day of the New Year, so let me get this out of the way and say “Happy Brew Year,” ok, that’s my only terrible pun in this post… maybe… no promises. Anyhow, for our first brew day we are brewing one of more “well-known” beers. “Grant Us Eyes” is a NE style IPA with Nelson and Mosaic hops. This will be the 3rd iteration of the beer and I tweaked the recipe a little bit to hopefully bring out the vibrant character of the hops a little more.

With the start of a new year, it’s good to set goals for yourself. This year we are going to attempt to do a few things we haven’t before:

  1. Blending beers
  2. Water chemistry
  3. Kegging

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that we have been starting our water chemistry with pre-weighted additions. This year, we are going to do away with that and calculate the water profile and mineral additions ourselves. We decided to use this brew as our taking off point.

Mash:                                                                                   Boil:
152F       60 Minutes                                                         60 Minutes

Grain Bill:                                                                             Hops:
11#         2-Row                                                                     6 oz        Nelson
.5#          Cara-pils                                                                 6 oz        Mosaic
.25#       Honey malt
1#           Flaked Oats

Mineral Additions:                                                           Yeast:
3.6g        (CaS04 – Gypsum)                                             Wyeast 1318 London III
7g           (CaCl2 – Calcium Chloride)

Estimated Original Gravity:                                          1.058 – 1.060
Estimated Final Gravity:                                               1.014 – 1.012
Estimated ABV:                                                                 5.96% – 6.29%

Actual Original Gravity:                                                  1.060

Goal: Hazy IPA with notes of grape, grapefruit, and citrus. Soft body that encourages drinkability.

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Perfect day to brew.

It was a beautiful day for a brew day this past Saturday; a brisk 74F with a nice breeze and slightly overcast. You can’t ask for better weather during the first brew day of the year. We started off by heating our strike water up to about ~164F. We have been having trouble with the SS Brewtech Mash Tun holding temperature so we opted to pre-heat it this time, especially with the type of weather outside. It started off at 151F and some change, but eventually heated to 152.3F and held for the full hour. We weighed out our strike water mineral additions and dissolved them in while it was heating up.

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Mineral additions for strike water (ignore the dirty table)

We spraged out at 166F and collected 7 gallons of wort. We did mainly late additions with this batch, which is also a bit different than what we normally do with this beer. We did a 10 minute addition of 1oz Nelson and 2oz Mosaic. Once that was done we did a flameout/hopstand of 2oz Nelson and 1oz Mosaic. We are going to do a dry hop on 1/10/18 of 1 oz Nelson and 2 oz Mosaic, then another dry hop on 1/16 of 2 oz Nelson and 1 oz Mosaic. We got the cryo hop version of our Mosaic hops, so hopefully they pack a bigger punch.

 

Once the boil was over we chilled the wort through our plate chiller and pump (which is a real game changer) to about 77F. Next we added the yeast to the wort and put it in the fermentation chamber that was chilled to 66F. After about 18 hours there was already activity from the yeast, so they were obviously very happy.

Now that we have the inaugural 2018 brew day out of the way, we can start setting up for the next brew day! It will most likely be on 1/20.

Agenda:
Bottle: “Grant Us Eyes” V3.0
Bottle: “Destination: Terror” – Tart Saison with honey and lime zest
Brew:   “One with the Shadows” – Stout*

*Stouts have so far been our Achilles heel. We haven’t brewed one that we were 100% happy with as of yet. We are hoping to rectify that with our next brew day. I’m thinking we are going to make a huge starter this time to avoid stalled fermentation.

NE IPA: The Gathering Storm

New England IPA’s are the latest and greatest craze in the craft beer world and there is no denying it. They were started on the East Coast (as their name would infer) and focus on a different aspect of IPAs; a fruity, or even “juicy” side. Beers like Heady Topper, Sip of Sunshine, and Susan helped bring this style to life. NEIPA’s are typically unfiltered and have yeast that heavily flocculates giving the beer itself a “hazy” appearance. There is still a lot of research to be done regarding these hazy IPA’s, including why are they hazy? Yeast, Hop residue, and additives such as flour have all been cited as reasons for their appearance, and they all hold some merit. There is no “right” way to make a NEIPA, at least before you start dry-hopping.

One thing about NEIPA’s that are so polarizing is the fact that their very appearance goes against what most brewers are taught from the time they first start brewing: clarity is important. Some commercial examples of these beers look like the trub was dumped directly from the fermenter in your can or bottle. They aren’t particularly nice to look at, but they taste great. The typical west coast “dank” that IPA’s are commonly associated with is all but gone with this style. This is because of a ton of late hop additions in the boil to emphasize the hop flavor and not the bitterness. Typically you see NEIPA’s made with Galaxy, Citra, Mosaic, Denali, Huell Melon, and Amarillo hops—hops that are associated with tropical fruit tastes and smells.

That was a very long winded introduction, but I hope it was at least informative. With that said, this past weekend we re-brewed one of our NEIPA recipes “the Gathering Storm.” We changed things up a bit this time and instead of using Simcoe hops we opted for Mosaic. The first two times we brewed this it was a bit too bitter, and I suspect Simcoe was the culprit. We also changed all of our hop additions around—before we were using a half ounce of hops at first wort and then hopping everything else at 20 minutes, 5 minutes, and a whirlpool. For this iteration of this beer we did not use any bittering hops and waiting until 10 minutes left in the boil to start hopping, with much larger quantities.

Grain Bill:
77%        2-Row
10%        White Wheat
10%        Flaked Oats
3%          Honey Malt

Hops:
5 oz        Citra (10 minute 1.5 oz, Flame out 1 oz, First Dry Hop 1.5 oz, Second Dry Hop 1 oz)
5 oz        Galaxy (10 minute 1 oz, Flame out 1.5 oz, First Dry Hop 1 oz, Second Dry Hop 1.5 oz)
4 oz        Mosaic (Flame out 1.5 oz, First Dry Hop 1.5 oz, Second Dry Hop 1 oz)

Yeast:
Wyeast 318         London III

Other:
Yeast Energizer @ 15 minutes

Mash:
152F       60 Minutes

Boil:
60 Minutes

EOG: 1.062-1.066              EFG: 1.014-1.016               EABV:6.29%-6.55%
AOG: 1.064

One other thing I’d like to note: this is the first time we have used WY1318 in any of our NEIPAs. We’ve used it in our Blonde (Dry Hop Naked) but not in the NEIPAs. Why? We always wanted to try something different and see if we can replicate the style with a less “traditional” yeast. We’ve used; WLP090, WLP023, WLP005, WLP644, and WY1335 all of which have had decent results (aside from the WLP023, that was a stinker). So we figured we’d give it a try this time.

IMG-20170805-WA0016
Our new toy… SS Brewtech Mash Tun

We warmed our strike water to 163F and used our BRAND NEW SS BREWTECH MASH TUN. Man, it feels great to say that. We’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on it for so long and with the Cooler mash tun developing a leak (re: I broke it) it was finally time to splurge. It worked like a dream and held a constant 152 for most of the mash time. We had a bit of difficulty with the sparge arm but with a gravity set up it’s to be expected. We are going to do some test runs next time.

I’d say this brew day was pretty boring… I mean that because without any hop additions until nearly the end of the boil it gave us a lot of time to talk about future plans and upgrades. We added our first hop addition with 10 minutes left in the boil and it smelled incredible. We haven’t used Citra or Galaxy in sometime and it’s always a treat when they start boiling and releasing those sweet, sweet tropical fruit notes.

Once the boil was over we added our next hop addition as a hop stand. We dropped the temperature from 210F to about 185F and held it there for 30 minutes. Once that was done we got as much wort out of the hop spider as we could and began to chill the wort to pitching temperature.  The temperature was dropped from 180F to 68F in about 10 minutes, incredibly efficient. We pitched our yeast package (pre-swelled) right after and hit it with 20 seconds of oxygen. Put it in the fermentation fridge and let it rest. Our first dry hop addition will be 8/9 and the second will be 8/15. We are hoping to have this bottled by 8/17, which is the day before we leave to Oregon for the eclipse.

IMG-20170805-WA0012
Some turbid wort, wouldn’t you say?

We are still waiting for our results from the brew competition held by Maltose Falcons, once we get them we will definitely update you! Cheers.