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Showing posts from December, 2017

The Last Tripel of 2017 (Tripel Turbinado)

I've been trying much of the year to find a Belgian Tripel recipe that matches up to my ideal. What I'm looking for would be mildly sweet, balanced slightly toward the malt, with a touch of citrus flavor, fruity/spicy notes, and a nice effervescence.  So far, all I seem to have managed are dry versions that are not terribly flavorful or aromatic.  Today I decided to give it one more try for 2017.  I'm not entirely sure of the origins of this recipe, other than that it probably started as one of the recipes on the American Homebrewing Association web site - with modifications by me.  It was another opportunity to work with the Picobrew Zymatic, too.

Ingredients
6 pounds Belgian Pilsen Malt
0.25 pounds Cara-Pils/Dextrine Malt
2 ounces Biscuit Malt
2 ounces Aromatic Malt
2 ounces Honey Malt
18 ounces of Turbinado Sugar
0.55 ounces of Styrian Goldings hops @ 6.3% AA (60 min.)
1.00 ounces of Tettnanger hops @ 3.4% AA (15 min.)
0.35 ounces of Czech Saaz hops @ 3.0% AA (10 min.)

Olde Fortran Malt Liquor

I've been a fan of the now-defunct (again) series Futurama since it first aired. In that series, the alcohol-fueled robot Bender B. Rodriguez was often seen guzzling bottles of a beer named Olde Fortran Malt Liquor.

While there is no way to know what a fictional cartoon beer might taste like, the name of the brew is similar to Olde English, an American Malt Liquor that is produced by the Miller Brewing Company.

The American Homebrewers Association lists a recipe for a hypothetical clone of Olde English.  I decided to brew that with the Zymatic and see how it turned out.  I scaled the recipe down to 1.2 gallons to match one of my small glass fermenters and got to work...

Ingredients
15 ounces 2-row Pale Malt
14 ounces 6-row Pale Malt
13 ounces Flaked Corn
0.1 ounces of Cluster hops @ 7.7% AA (105 min.)
0.1 ounces of Nugget whole hops @ 14% AA est. (10 minutes)
1/4 Whirlfloc tablet
1/2 packet Safale K-97 dry yeast

1.5 gallons plus 13 ounces of water were placed in the Zymatic keg, t…

Maximizing Mash Efficiency

Given that the Picobrew Zymatic is less efficient than some other brewing setups, I began doing some research into how to get the most out of it.  The Braukaiser web site has a very detailed discussion of their experiments into maximizing the attenuation of a beer.  A by-product of this experiment is a series of parameters that can improve mash efficiency.

Specifically, the following things are believed to positively increase brew house efficiency based on their experiments:

A mash length of 66 minutes yielded the highest efficiency, with efficiency dropping off above 66 minutesAttenuation maxed out at an average mash temperature of 150-151F, but efficiency maxed out around a mash temp of 173FEfficiency maxed out at a pH of 5.2Efficiency of thinner mashes was higher than thicker, with 2.4 quarts per pound delivering the highest efficiency
With respect to the Zymatic, there is nothing you can really do about thinning the mash.  However, there are some things you can do to get more out o…

Late-Hopped Blonde Ale

Earlier this year, I built from scratch a recipe designed to be a vehicle to deliver orange flavor in a beer. I created a blonde ale recipe, adding sweet and bitter orange peel, orange blossom honey, and hopping with Mandarina Bavaria hops - known to impart a mandarin orange flavor.  That beer took second place in the 2017 Ohio State Fair's Fruit Beer category.  The judge mentioned in the notes that the base beer probably tasted great, too.  I decided to find that out.

I stripped the recipe down to the malts, hops, water, and yeast, then scaled it to a 1.2 gallon batch for the Zymatic.

At right, you see a glass of the finished beer. It's a slightly hazy gold color with thick, white, long-lasting head that leaves behind tiny clouds of lacing. Aroma is mildly hoppy. The flavor is malty with a moderate bitterness with hints of orange and grapefruit.

Ingredients
1 pound plus 14 ounces of 2-row Brewer's Malt
9 ounces of Munich Malt
2 ounces of Cara-Pils/Dextrine Malt
0.5 ounces…

Belgian Dubbel v4.0

After brewing the Pico Pale Ale in the Zymatic on Wednesday, I decided to try another recipe today.  There is a clone recipe for Chimay Red (a Belgian Dubbel) on the American Homebrewing Association web site that I've wanted to try.  The thing I've always disliked about Chimay lies in the hop flavor it has.  The clone recipe used East Kent Goldings, which rarely agrees with my palate. I decided to substitute Styrian Celeia for the EKG and finish with Czech Saaz.  I like that combination in Belgian ales.  At brew time, I discovered I did not have any Crystal 100L but did have Crystal 80L, so I decided to use that instead.

Ingredients
5 pounds, 2 ounces Belgian Pale Ale Malt
9 ounces Aromatic Malt
5 ounces Crystal 80L
5 ounces Corn Sugar dissolved into mash water
0.70 ounces Styrian Celeia hops @ 2.8% AA (60 min.)
0.50 ounces Styrian Celeia hops @ 2.8% AA (30 min.)
0.25 ounces Czech Saaz hops @ 3% AA (10 min.)
1/8 tsp. Yeast Nutrient added with Saaz
1/4 Whirlfloc tablet added wi…

Picobrew Zymatic and Pico Pale Ale

I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a new Picobrew Zymatic automated brewing machine a few weeks ago for myself.  Today, I unboxed it and began brewing the sample kit included with it.  The sample recipe, Pico Pale Ale, was one of the easiest brews I've had in years.

The machine shipped in four boxes.  Two of the boxes contained 5-gallon Cornelius kegs.  One contained the plastic tray, hoses, power cord, and other items, along with the recipe kit.  The last box contained the machine itself.

Setup was fairly easy.  Remove everything from the boxes and confirm that it's all there.  Remove the plastic film covering the stainless steel parts of the Zymatic.  Attach the in and out liquid hoses to the correct fittings on the side of the unit, after inserting a nylon washer.  Attach the ball lock connectors to the appropriate posts on the keg.  Assemble the tray and insert it into the unit.  Register the device on the Zymatic web site, then turn it on.  Connect it to your …

Things I've Learned Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 3

In the previous posts, I've talked about The Grainfather in general, then about mashing and sparging with it. This time, I'm going to talk about the boil and post-boil steps.

The boil process in all-grain brewing is intended to accomplish several things:
Extract the bittering, flavor, and aroma compounds from the hopsSterilize the wort by destroying any bacteria or wild yeast that may be in itConcentrate the wort to original gravity levelRemove dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from the wort, which would impart a cooked corn, cauliflower, or parsnip aroma and flavor in the beerStop the enzyme activity that converts starches to sugars during the mashRemove proteins that can cause a chill haze to form when the beer is cooled to serving temperatureDarken the beer to the level required by the style though the caramelization or Maillard reaction of sugars The least you should boil a beer to ensure sterilization is ten minutes. Typical boil times are 60-90 minutes, depending on the recipe.
The …

Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre Clone v1.0

Back in 2010, Raison D'Etre was reportedly Dogfish Head's best-selling (or at least one of its best-selling) beers.  Today, you rarely see it on store shelves. It was one of my favorite beers they made, so I decided to see if I could brew a clone of it.  Fortunately, what is purportedly the real recipe appears in one of Sam Calagione's books.

I was able to find all the ingredients, except for Vanguard hops.  I substituted Czech Saaz for those, as they're similar.  I also substituted regular raisins for the golden raisins the recipe called for.

Ingredients
12 pounds Belgian Pale Malt
8 ounces Crystal/Caramel 60L Malt
4 ounces Chocolate Malt
8 ounces Clear Candi Syrup
6 ounces Raisins
0.65 ounces Magnum hops pellets @ 13.2% AA (60 min.)
0.55 ounces Czech Saaz hops pellets @ 3.0% AA (20 min. Whirlpool)
1 package Wyeast Belgian Ardennes
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1/2 Whirlfloc tablet
1 tsp. Gypsum

BeerSmith estimates the following characteristics for this recipe:
Batch Size: 5…

Boardwalk Belgian Quad v3.0

One of my personal favorites of all the beers I've brewed is the first version of the Boardwalk Belgian Quadrupel I made some time ago. I made a second version for competition earlier this year and was extremely disappointed with it. Despite that, it took third place at Barley's Ale House's annual homebrew competition and received very favorable comments from the judges.

For this version, I reversed a choice I made in version 2.0 (using some high-alpha hops to improve head retention) and dramatically increased the amount of fruit used in the beer. The original version used 4 ounces of chopped raisins. This version uses 6 ounces of raisins and 8 ounces of prunes, pureed with some wort and added to the hop spider.  I also swapped out some of the Belgian Pilsen Malt for Cara-Pils/Dextrine Malt and Melanoidin malt to improve head retention.

Ingredients
10 pounds Belgian Pilsen Malt
1 pound Cara-Pils/Dextrine Malt
1 pound Melanoidin Malt
1 pound Caramel Munich Malt (Belgian 60L)