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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West Coast Pilsner + Updates

With our fermentation chamber finally built and operating properly we are finally able to brew lagers & pilsners. Not exactly my favorite style of beer, but a good lager is a benchmark of how well you can actually brew. I say this because a lager doesn’t hide behind adjuncts (mostly) and is supposed to taste clean and simple. Any off-flavors are going to be exaggerated because there isn’t a whole lot going on there. With that said, this isn’t an ordinary pilsner.

This is called a “West Coast” pilsner because it’s brewed with a pilsner grain bill but hopped like an IPA. I wanted to call this “Pilsnear” because it’s nearly a pilsner (hur hur) but I was met with anguish towards the name… sometimes I feel my wit goes unappreciated. Anyway, the idea is to create a moderately hoppy summer crusher with a little backend sweetness that you would get from a more traditional pilsner. We had some issues with our mash tun (I broke it opening the garage) and we had a bit more boil off/evaporation than I had originally accounted for so we overshot our OG by about .10 points. That is with a dip in our usual efficiency as well. Our efficiency was about 73% for this batch, down from 77% and 79% from our last two brew days, respectively.

Overall the brewday was fairly simple and we yielded a little less than we wanted, 4.5 gallons, but it’s not the end of the world.

Grain Bill:
10.75 lbs                               Pilsner
.75      lbs                              Cara-Pils

Hops
2 oz                                        Saaz Hops
2 oz                                        Noble (Tettnang)
2 oz                                        Cascade
2 oz                                        Amarillo (Dry Hop)

Yeast:
3 packages                          Safale S-23

Mash:
60 minutes         @            153F*

Boil:
90 minutes

Expected OG: 1.056 –1.058
Expected FG: 1.012–1.014
Actual OG:1.066
Adjusted FG: 1.015–1.019
Expected ABV: 6.51%–6.7%

*I want to defend my  decision to mash a bit higher than a traditional pilsner for a second. I know the purists hate deviation from the norm, but I feel it is warranted. This is not a traditional pilsner and I want to truly make this a hybrid between an IPA and a pilsner. I will also say this though; because of our cracked mash tun our actual mash temp was about 150F, so I guess it technically worked out…

Semantics aside, it was a very easy brew day. We started at 8:00am and finished by 12:30pm, one of the quickest we’ve had in a long time as well. As noted earlier the mashtun now has a hole in it (that we didn’t notice until about 40 minutes into the mash) so we lost some volume + efficiency on it. We still got 6.9 gallons of wort, though.

We boiled this one for 90 minutes to try and eliminate all the possibilities of producing some DMS in the wort/beer. Granted I don’t think it was 100% necessary I also don’t think it would hurt the beer. We used the hop spider again to get all the nice German hops from clogging our plate chiller. This gave us a really nice cold break and a pretty clear beer, as well.

We brewed this on July 15th and added the dry hops on July 27th. Fermentation was just about done and I raised the temperature from 51F to 66F to get rid of any lingering diacetyl. Once that is done, which I suspect should be by 7/30. I’m going to cold crash and “lager” it for 2 weeks before we bottle.

That’s it when it comes to the brew day, but I have a few more updates I’d like to share.

First would be that we entered another competition. This one is the Maltose Falcons LA county fair homebrew competition. We submitted two beers: The Dark Saison and the SMaSH Volume II. The Dark Saison came out killer. I think it’s the best beer that we have brewed so far. It’s really complex; Caramel, dark fruits, leather, and just enough acidity and funk to keep you wanting more. I have high hopes for it. The SMaSH was entered just to see how well our basics of brewing are. The grain bill is extremely simple (2-Row + African Queen hops) so hopefully if any bad practices/flavors stick out we should be able to fix them relatively quick.

Second would be our hop plants. We planted some Cascade and Centennial hop rhizomes in late May/early June (I forget when exactly) and they are started to sprout some hops. The Centennial bines went crazy and the Cascade bines were lagging behind, looking like a low yield. However over the course of time the exact opposite has happened. The Cascade is full of hops and the Centennial is looking a bit lackluster. Once they are ready to harvest we are going to make Dry Hop Naked 3.0. This is a few months out, but still the thought of brewing with hops we grew is exciting. Cheers.