Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 Dubbel 3.0

I've brewed plenty of Belgian-style Dubbels over the years, from a variety of recipe sources. None of them has ever really blown me away. If you've ever had a cellared bottle of Bornem's "Double" then you know what my ideal Belgian Dubbel is like. If I could brew something close to that, I'd be happy and have my "house" Dubbel recipe.

My goal is a deep ruby color with a lingering whipped-creamy head. The aroma should suggest noble hops, a touch of caramel, and dark fruit. The flavor should be slightly sweet, a pilsner malt backbone with hints of chocolate and plenty of prune, raisin, and plum flavors. It should finish clean with no lingering cloying sweetness and no lingering hop bitterness.

With these goals in mind, I've started from the ground up for this recipe. I'm using a base of Pilsner malt and Munich to provide some sweetness. To that, I'm adding Special B malt and Dark Candi Sugar rocks to provide the dark fruit flavors, Caramunich for some caramel, and Belgian Chocolate malt to darken it and add the chocolate notes. The Ardennes yeast strain will hopefully bring in some fruity and spicy notes. The Clarity Ferm is something I typically add to ensure that a friend of ours who is gluten-intolerant can enjoy the beers I brew.

Ingredients

4 pounds Belgian Pilsner Malt
2 pounds Munich I Malt
6 ounces Special B Malt
6 ounces Dark Candi Sugar rocks (dissolved in starting water)
4 ounces Caramunich Malt
1 ounce Belgian Chocolate Malt
1 ounce Styrian Celeia hops pellets @ 2.8% AA (60 min.)
0.51 ounces Czech Saaz hops pellets @ 3.0% AA (15 min.)
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1/2 vial White Labs Clarity Ferm
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the boil (15 min.)
1 packet Wyeast Belgian Ardennes 3522 yeast
3 gallons plus 32 ounces starting water in the keg

According to the PicoBrew recipe crafter, the beer should have the following characteristics:
  • BJCP Style: 26.B Belgian Dubbel
  • Batch Size: 2.5 gallons
  • Original Gravity: 1.068 SG (1.071 SG actual)
  • Final Gravity: 1.018 SG
  • IBUs: 20
  • SRM: 29
  • ABV: 6.6%
The mash schedule will be:
  • Dough In at 102F for 20 minutes
  • Mash at 120F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 159F for 60 minutes
  • Mash Out at 175F for 10 minutes
The boil schedule will be:
  • 90 minutes: No additions
  • 60 minutes: Styrian Celeia hops added
  • 15 minutes: Czech Saaz hops, yeast nutrient, and Brewtan B added
The wort will then be chilled to a yeast-safe temperature and the yeast pitched into it. The Ardennes yeast likes temperatures in the 65F to 76F range, but I've heard stories that it does well even up into the lower 80's. My plan is to let it free-rise and only to introduce cooling if the beer climbs into the 80F range.

Post-Brewing Notes and Observations

10/20/2018: The brew finished 3 SG points higher than anticipated. It came out of the chiller at 82F, which was a bit high for the yeast, so I left it to cool a while before I was comfortable pitching the yeast. The yeast packages were a bit old and didn't seem to be swelling anyway, so waiting a while would give the yeast a chance to "wake up" if it was going to. I set aside some dry yeast to use if the liquid yeast didn't make it. I plan to give the yeast at least 24 hours to become active before pitching an alternative yeast.


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Scofflaw Basement IPA Clone 1.0

At the BrewDog Annual General Mayhem (AGM) event in Columbus this year, I had the opportunity to meet the brewers from Scofflaw Brewing in Atlanta. I enjoyed all of their beers I tried, but one that stuck with me was their "Basement IPA", due to its sweetness and intense fruit flavors. The Scofflaw representatives said they brewed a sweet IPA because the market in Atlanta seemed to prefer it, as it was reminiscent of sweet tea. I reached out to ask if they'd share their recipe, but got no response.

I decided to take a shot at cloning it myself, just for fun. From their web site, I knew that it contained 2-row Pale Malt, Acidulated Malt, and Carafoam Malt. It is hopped with Chinook and Citra hops. It's a 7.5% ABV beer with a reported 40 IBUs. Given that the bitterness in Basement isn't particularly intense or harsh, I suspect it's late-hopped more like a New England IPA than a traditional West Coast IPA. For that reason, I'm not starting my hops additions until the last 30 minutes of the boil. This should provide a smoother bitterness and intensify the fruit flavors from the hops. I'll mash for 90 minutes, half at 152F for fermentability and half at 156F for some residual sweetness (hopefully). I doubt it will be a perfect clone, but will serve more as a starting point for trying to dial in a better recipe.

Ingredients

6 pounds Rahr 2-Row Malt (82.7%)
1 pound Carafoam Malt (13.8%)
4 ounces Acidulated Malt (3.5%)
0.20 ounces Chinook hops @ 12% AA (30 min.)
0.55 ounces Citra hops @ 13% AA (15 min.)
0.45 ounces Citra hops @ 13% AA (10 min.)
0.05 ounces Chinook hops @ 12% AA (10 min.)
1/8 tsp. Brewtan B in the mash water
1/4 tsp. Gypsum in the mash water
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the boil with the first Citra addition
1 packet Safale S-04 English Ale yeast
1/2 vial White Labs Clarity Ferm (for gluten reduction)
3 gallons filtered starting water plus 30 ounces *
(* If you brew this, I recommend reducing the starting water to 8 ounces more than the recipe crafter recommends. 3 gallons plus 30 ounces was way too much.)

(If you're wondering why the small amount of Chinook in the 10-minute addition, that's because I didn't want to open another ounce of Citra just to hit my planned 0.50 ounce final addition amount.)

The PicoBrew recipe crafter estimates the beer will have the following characteristics:
  • BJCP Style: 21.A American IPA
  • Original Gravity: 1.074 SG (1.069 SG actual)
  • Final Gravity: 1.015 SG (1.007 SG actual)
  • IBUs: 39
  • SRM: 5
  • Estimated ABV: 7.6% (8.2% actual)
  • Batch Size: 2.5 gallons (actual ended up less, see below)
Mash Schedule:
  • Dough In at 102F for 20 minutes
  • Rest at 120F for 15 minutes
  • Heat to 152F
  • Mash at 152F for 45 minutes
  • Mash at 156F for 45 minutes
  • Heat to 175F
  • Mash out at 175F for 10 minutes
A 75-minute boil is used,with this schedule:
  • 75 minutes: No additions
  • 30 minutes: Chinook
  • 15 minutes: Citra and Brewtan B
  • 10 minutes: Citra plus Chinook
The wort will be pumped through a counterflow chiller and then cooled to 66F before yeast is pitched.

I plan to let the beer free-ferment in a 68F basement, which is within the yeast's range.

I plan to bottle it with 4 small carbonation drops (medium carbonation) per bottle and hold it at 70F until the beer is carbonated.

Post-Brew Notes and Observations

10/05/2018:  It seems like there was too much water added again, as the mash compartment of the step filter was full to the lid. I'll need to reduce starting water next time around.

There was a fair amount of foaming near the end of Dough In and during the mash, but no spilling outside the drip tray.

As the Zymatic was heating the wort to boiling, it generated a Fatal Error #1 (heat loop inconsistency). After some diagnosis, I learned that the grain compartment overflow apparently clogged the duck valve and prevented the system from pulling wort out of the tray. I unclogged the valve and drained the tray, then removed the hops cages and cleaned the grain and remaining wort out of the tray. I then restarted the brew from the Mash Out step (although there was no grain in it). Next time I need to reduce the amount of starting water, perhaps to only 3-4 ounces more than the recipe software calculates.

Volume was probably low. I didn't measure it, but I'm estimating 2 gallons. Original Gravity came out at 1.069 SG instead of the expected 1.074. Yeast was pitched once the wort cooled to 75F, which was around midnight.

10/06/2018: This morning, I noticed the gravity had already dropped to about 1.060 SG and the temperature had only dropped to 73F, which is near the upper end of the yeast's optimum range. I moved the entire fermenter into my mini-fridge for 2-3 hours to cool it back down into the lower end of the yeast's range to avoid stressing it and introducing off flavors.

10/07/2018: The temperature climbed to 74F overnight, so I moved the fermenter back into the mini-fridge to cool down. I removed it when the beer was at 66F and the gravity had dropped to 1.012 SG, which is lower than the expected final gravity. That puts the current ABV at 7.5% and the apparent attenuation at over than 81%. By midnight, the gravity was still holding at 1.012 SG and the temperature was holding at 69F. A taste of the beer from the fermenter showed a mild sweetness and strong hoppy fruit notes which reminded me of the actual Scofflaw beer. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

10/08/2018: The temperature is now up to 70F. Gravity is reading 1.009 SG today, well below the estimated 1.015 final gravity.

10/09/2018: The temperature is holding at 70F. Gravity has bounced back and forth between 1.008 SG and 1.009 for the last day or two.

10/13/2018: I bloomed and heated a teaspoon of gelatin in distilled water, added it to the fermenter, and placed the fermenter in the mini-fridge to cold crash. I'll bottle in a week or so when it's cleared up a bit.

10/20/2018: The beer was bottled today, using four small carbonation drops per bottle (medium carbonation). Yield was 18 total bottles, owing to losses from the issues during brewing. Final gravity was reported as 1.007 SG by the Tilt Hydrometer.