Last week, I attended the online AHA HomeBrewCon event. During the event, I listened to talks on water chemistry, hop blending, biotransformation, and Kveik yeasts. I decided to synthesize all this learning into what I hope will be a very citrus-forward Pale Ale.
The main hop addition will take place at 10 minutes left in the boil, and will include a mix of Cascade, Lemondrop, and Mandarina Bavaria hops. At whirlpool, a smaller amount of these hops will be added gradually as the wort cools from 179F to 144F over a period of 15 minutes or so. Finally after about 24-36 hours of fermentation with the Kveik yeast, I'll dry hop the beer with a blend of Cascade, Lemondrop, Simcoe, and Mandarina Bavaria. Cascade and Lemondrop in a 4:1 ratio will provide something vaguely Citra-like, I'm told, and both Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria will "enhance" those hops and improve on their flavor and aroma. The Kveik yeast I'm using (Voss Kveik from Lallemand) should provide orange and citrus notes that should pair well with the hops. The Kveik should also allow me to ferment this beer well above 95F and achieve final gravity very quickly. We'll see...
5 pounds, 3 ounces Viking Pale Ale Malt
6 ounces Briess Vienna Malt
4 ounces Briess Carapils Malt
3 ounces Briess Caramel/Crystal 20L Malt
1 ounce Cascade hops pellets @ 5.9% AA (10 min.)
0.25 ounces Lemondrop hops pellets @ 5.2% AA (10 min.)
0.10 ounces Mandarina Bavaria hops pellets @ 10.1% AA (10 min.)
0.60 ounces Cascade hops pellets @ 5.9% AA (whirlpool)
0.15 ounces Lemondrop hops pellets @ 5.9% AA (whirlpool)
0.25 ounces Mandarina Bavaria hops pellets @ 10.1% AA (whirlpool)
1.00 ounces Cascade hops pellets for 2 days during primary fermentation
0.25 ounces Lemondrop hops pellets for 2 days during primary fermentation
0.25 ounces Mandarina Bavaria hops pellets for 2 days during primary fermentation
0.25 ounces Simcoe hops pellets for 2 days during primary fermentation
0.75 teaspoons yeast nutrient
3 gallons of RO mash water treated with 0.4 grams baking soda, 1.3 grams calcium chloride, 0.4 grams canning salt, 2 grams Epsom salt, 7 grams Gypsum
1.1 gallons of RO sparge water, untreated
Note: If' you're used to "regular" yeast, you'll notice some differences here with the Kveik. I pitched only a quarter teaspoon from the packet, and I could probably have pitched even less. Kveik yeasts deliver more flavor and aroma when extremely underpitched. I am also adding more yeast nutrient than normal, as Kveik yeast strains need more than most normal yeast. Last, but not yeast, I'm fermenting at 95F because the yeast likes very hot temperatures.
Brewfather estimates the beer will have the following qualities:
- Batch Size: 2.5 gallons (2.4 actual)
- BJCP Category: 18A American Pale Ale
- Original Gravity: 1.060 SG estimated, 1.057 SG actual
- Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.048 SG estimated, 1.043 SG actual
- Final Gravity: 1.015 SG estimated (1.010 SG actual)
- SRM: 6
- Boil Time: 60 minutes
- IBUs: 31
- BU/GU: 0.52
- ABV: 6.1%
- 25 minutes at 120F (Beta Glucan rest for clarity)
- 25 minutes at 140F (fermentability rest)
- 25 minutes at 156F (body rest)
- 10 minutes at 168F (mash out)
- Sparge with room temp water (1.1 gallons)
- 60 minutes: No additions
- 10 minutes: Yeast nutrient, hops
- 0 minutes: Chill to 176F and begin whirlpooling. Every 30 seconds, add some of the pellet hop mix until all of it's gone, over a period of 10 minutes. In my case, the wort chilled down to about 140F during that time, with an occasional bump downward from the counter flow chiller.
- Wort entered the fermenter at 74F
- This Kveik strain's optimal range is around 95-104F, so my plan is to heat it to 98F before pitching in the yeast. Since Kveik contributes more flavor best when underpitched, I plan to pitch only a part of the package in the wort and save the rest for other batches.
- Ferment for 1-3 days at 98F until the attenuation reaches about 70% or more. At that point, drop hop with the blend of Cascade, Simcoe, Mandarina Bavaria, and Lemondrop. This should allow the yeast to engage in some biotransformation and deliver some good flavors and aromas. Per more than one presented at HomeBrewCon, the dry hops will pretty much max out their flavor and aroma contributions at 2 days, so I don't plan to leave them in the fermenter longer than 4 days.
- Once final gravity is reached, per the Tilt Hydrometer, I'll look to see if the beer could benefit from cold crashing and gelatin finings. I'm hoping that won't be necessary, but we'll see.
- I'll bottle 3-4 days after final gravity is reached, unless fining.
Post-Brew Notes and Observations
06/25/2020: The brew went pretty smoothly with no major issues. I used the distilling lid for the first 50 minutes of the boil, which resulted in a massively foamy boil that went all the way up the sides of the Grainfather and out the lid a little bit. The last 10 minutes of the boil were done without the lid. Hops pellets were added directly into the kettle without a bag or spider... and left quite a mess in the kettle at the end, and on the kettle filter.
I ended up with about 2.4 gallons in the fermenter at a gravity a few points below what I expected. The Grainfather folks suggest that this is most likely caused by an improper grain crush. This is something I will need to address soon.
06/26/2020: I pitched the yeast last night when the wort reached 86F, which was about 9:30pm. It is now almost 10am (13 hours later, approximately), and the beer is 54% attenuated! It appears that fermentation started around 3am, so you could argue that seven hours into fermentation it's attenuated 36%. That's the Kveik yeast for you. I'm going to be monitoring fermenation throughout the day because I plan to add the dry hops when the attenuation reaches about 90%. This will give the yeast a chance to biotransform some of the hop compounds. The temperature now reads 98F and the gravity is 1.036.
06/27/2020: I dry-hopped the beer last night when fermentation was about 91% complete. Today, the gravity seems to be holding at 1.017 SG, which is only 69% attenuation according to Brewfather, but 93% of the way to finished. ABV is 5.3%. I'm expecting to bottle this Monday or Tuesday.
As you can see in the chart above. the temperature got as high as 100F before I got it settled down to 96F later in the fermentation. This was well within the yeast's tolerance, and it was only about 2-3 days before the yeast reached what appears to be final gravity. I'm expecting it could drop a point or two more in the next few days as "hop creep" sets in and causes some additional fermenation - but we'll see.
06/29/2020: Gravity is reading 1.012 SG today, and has been since about 8am. This suggests that there is still some fermentation going on, which I'll have to watch so that I can find the right time to bottle the beer.
07/03/2020: Bottled the beer today with 3 small Brewer's Best carbonation tablets per bottle. Final gravity was 1.010 SG, representing about 6.1% ABV.