Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Satan's Circus Trial

 What a surprise Satan's Circus has turned out to be. It has a huge sweet malt backbone, also a lightly catty nose involved with the sweetness of the malt. The cat disappeared quickly as the carbonation vented off and is replaced with tropical fruits on the malt. Almost crackling on the tongue with citrus fruit, mangoes, chocolate and a bitter zing which has luckily been partially muted by the malt sweetness. The beer stands up well in my memory to Stone Runination IPA, it ain't Stone but they are cousins for sure!
The 6.5% ABV is right on to balance everything else that is going on in this beer By happy co-incidence we seem to have found a good  balance of Malt to Hop BANG to Hop bitterness. The yeast is in there but to be honest it is swamped! :) That chocolate is a real surprise to find but it sits well alongside the malt. I guess it helps that the beer has had three months to blend.

Tomorrows beer is going to be a girlish 3.5% ABV mockery of Satan's Circus named 5pm Saint. I will update as i go, a high Mash temp on a single malt to give some residuals to the Hop Frenzy, are you liking it? :)

blog counter

Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer

Wikio - Top Blogs

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A tribute to Stone Ruination IPA, Satan's Circus.


I recently returned from a bucket list event in Japan. It was a twelve day Father & Son backpacking adventure. I simply have no words to communicate the sheer excellence of our trip. If you have any adventure in you at all, add a Japan trip to your own personal bucket list! Tell them Joe sent you! :)

While in Osaka 'Fukishima ward' we found craftbeerbase A wonderful craft beer paradise smack bang in the shadow of the Umeda Sky building. A wonderful wee haven for the hop afficianado. While trying a couple of draft variants i spotted Stone Runination IPA in their huge beer fridge. I bought a couple of bottles and brought them back to Scotland with us.

A tremendous resionous big beer, right up my street and a wonderful example to hold in my mind while i create Satan's Circus.

In my tribute to the sheer excellenc and WOW of Ruination I am going for a sweet mix of malts with the idea of leaving a nice malt backbone post yeast frenzy to support the hop string. I am also going old school with my yeast and using Burton ale yeast. I am of a mind that too many IPA's these days are brewed using yeasts of no character to allow the hops to have the floor entirely to themselves. This shouldn't be the case and i am hoping for a nice sulphurous note from the Burton yeast(Satan's Circus you see).

The recipe is as follows on a 15 gallon batch 100 minute boil

Satan's Circus
9kg Maris Otter
2kg Wheat malt
1 kg Crystal malt
1 Kg Cara gold malt
1kg Amber malt
2 handfuls chocolate malt
1kg Sucrose
3.5 oz Cascade Mash hops
3.5 oz Topaz Mash hops
3.5oz Coumbus FWH 120 min
3.5oz Chinook 5 min boil
3.5 oz Columbus 5min boil
3.5 oz Topaz 5 min boil
3.5 oz Apollo 5 min boil
6oz Columbus aroma hop 120 min
3.5 oz Pacific Gem aroma hop 120 min
3.5 oz Northdown aroma hop 120 min
3.5 oz Cascade aroma hop 120 min
3.5oz Chinook Dry Hop 1 day
3.5oz Pacific Gem Dry Hop 2 day
1oz Chinook Dry Hop 2 day
7 oz Simcoe Dry Hop 3 day
3.5 oz Cascade Dry Hop 2 days
85 IBU
Burton Ale yeast
O.G 1.060
F.G 1.010
ABV 6.5%

I now use hops in the mash as a part of my process and will continue to do so for their insualtion properties, fine smell and general coolness as a brewing step!

I added a couple of handfuls of chocolate malt during mash tun recirculation as the colour of the 1st wort was slightly weak for the hop profile i have in mind.
1st runnings were duly reduced to boost caramel profile.

I then went for a 100 minute boil and used a good and varied amount of aroma hops.

During the recirculation of the wort through the hop bed i decided to try something a bit different. I reduced the nozzle on my recirc pipe and basically sprayed the returning wort across the floating hop bed to oxygenate the wort for the soon to be pitched yeast and also to scavenge as much hop oil as i could from the floating bed.

This process went on for a full 120 minutes while i slowly cooled the wort. Quite therapeutic! i pitched a 250 ml solution of cleaned Burton ale yeast. Lovely profile on this yeast.

Another bonus of the therapy step was the removal of all cold break material from the wort. The sample below was taken mid volume during transfer to fermentation vessel and has been treated to a drop of the burton yeast so i can monitor yeast performance.
I intend to dry hop with Pacific Gem, Columbus and a huge amount of Simcoe over the next two weeks. I also intend for this to be a caramel malt backboned resinous beast of a beer, basically one where you'd chew the edge of the glass!

We'll see... :)

Edit-16 hours later

As you can see, the yeast has taken off on a flyer. About 3 inch krausen, nose crinkling volumes of CO2. While sterilising Hopthang yesterday i found a crack in the hop bowl :( so a new one on order for this brew :). Good little krausen on the test sample as well.

Further edit 48 hours later
The yeast is ripping through the fermentables and we are at 1.026G, this seems like a good point to start with the dry hopping schedule.
 First up is a nice resinous 3.5 oz bag of Chinook. Also, a bag, a weight, some hops and a length of string.

 Lastly, a liquidiser to blitz the hops down to larger than but not by much herb size to increase contact area with the beer. Will it work, who knows but its got good results in the online forums so why not eh?

Post Dry Hop 16/06/2014

As you can see from the recipe i have tried to add a few layers to the hop aroma. At the moment i can confirm that i caught a whiff of the following. Oranges, gooseberries(cats P), mangoes, lychees, grapefruit and for some reason i'm not sure of powerful dark chocolate! Its all still a bit muddy this early but showing serious promise.
The first 8 or so gallon bottled easily but the remaining volume was experiencing serious tap blockage due to fine hop debris. No big deal as its all part of the process. The solution was a decant into a clean sterilised FV through a doubled over muslin filter, a 12 hour settle then an old school careful siphon above the settled debris. Even a simple 12 hours between bottling sessions and i could smell the difference in hop intensity. Distinct odours really starting to emerge! Looking back i'd like to have added another week onto the brewing timeline but needs must and i've got SO much on at the moment. This beer will be sampled in a totally unclear partially carb'd fashion this weekend before i depart for work in Saudi Arabia. I will post a nice hazy (hop oils not yeast doncherknow old boy) picture of the product but in the meantime i thought you'd like to see the label?


blog counter

Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer

Wikio - Top Blogs

Friday, 20 December 2013

Illustrious IPA, A great Brewday!

Hi all,

As the title says, I had a great brewday yesterday. Brought a couple of new ideas to the brewday and went wild with hops, more about that later.

First thing was a kilo and a half of Maris otter malt baked in the oven at 150 degrees for 30 minutes, what a smell! If you have not tried this then i would suggest you do. A lovely biscuit smell throughout the kitchen and a slight darkening of the grain colour.

Grain in the kitchen

 Pre baking
 Post baking
 Mash tun comparison with the other grains for colour
 Talking of which we are using Wheat,Vienna and Munich malts alongside the MO
The grain baking has been a new departure for me as i wished to impart a bit more depth into the finished product and i like the idea of DIY in all i can do. A further departure was the addition of 100 grms of Chinook hops to the mash tun to see if they would add anything to the finished beer. Also half a handful of Chocolate malt for colour.

 Chinook have a good sized hop cone but it came a s a surprise to see how much they swelled during the mash.
Another surprise was the insulation value of the layer of hops. In my previous post on this beer i said i would be keeping the word  'Sumptuous' in mind while brewing. With this in mind and looking for a big mouthfeel i ran on at 81 degrees which settled for the rest at 72.5 degrees. During a 90 minute rest i lost 0.3 of a degree. Hops rock!

Keeping the S word in mind i also caramelised the first runnings.The first gallon or so out of the tun was reading 1.080 and showing excellent colour.
1st Runnings pre-caramelisation

1st Runnings post caramelisation

Recirculation & main run off started
All went well with the sparge and i continued with a full on 'burner screwed to the max' open lid boil to induce further colouring and caramelisation of the contact area burned sugars.

That S word again in this case in the form of a single Star Anise and a Omani Black smoked lemon. These were added a few minutes before end of the 100 minute boil.
There were a couple of late boil additions of hops but main bulk went in a flame out and through out the cooling period.  Again for that S word i waited two hours for all the hop oils to be transfered to the wort before moving the wort to the FV's
At this point i was feeling rather conflicted, i had imagined this wort being fermented on US-05 but as the brewday went on and my layering of hop additions took on a life of their own i kept hearing a whisper of 'Belgian' at the back of my mind. With scant regard for my sanity or longterm liver prognosis i threw caution to the wind and ran the 1st 5 gallons into a glass FV along with a kilo of sugar and added my faithful Duvel/Chimay/Brett C split
Check out the colour on this beer, dark as my heart!

Huge amount of yeast development going on

Yeast and sugar stratification with an SG of 1.060

Back in the land or normalacy i used my unBrett'd Duvel Chimay on the unaugmented remaining 15 gallons of wort. This had a SG of 1.042. 

I haven't brewed for a few months and this was a cracker of a brewday, heck i even enjoyed the pump swap out at the end for transfer to FV, a nice little surprise from Bacchus! This will be a long cool ferment and i am excited to see what Belgian yeasts bring when fermented cool. I have deliberately left the recipe to the end of the post.

Illustrious IPA
6.5 kgs Maris Otter
1.5 kgs Baked MO
5kgs Wheat Malt
4kgs Munich Malt
2kgs Vienna malt
100 Grms Chinook Mash Hops
100 grms Glacier FWH
100 grms Chinook FWH
!00 grms Challeneger FWH
100 grms Magnum FWH
100 grms Chinook 10 mins
250 grms Columbus 5 mins
750 grms First Gold Aroma hops
300 grms Amarillo Aroma hops
100 grms Simco Aroma hops
100 grms Nelson Sauvin Aroma hops
1 Star Anise
I Omani Black lemon
Theoretical IBU 199.9 :)
SG 1.042
+1kg Sucrose 1.060
Expected abv's of 4% and 7.1% respectively

During the post brew clean up i removed a volume of spent hops sufficient to fill four 2.5 gallon builders bucket. I can in all honesty say that i did not total the hops used until i wrote this blog. I was basically going on nose and 'feeling' it. That's my art and it was nice to break free of the percentages and figures in software brewing.
2.1 kgs is in my book (and if not your book let me know)! an excessive amount of hops for a 20 gallon batch. I may (will) also dry hop this beer. It will be interesting to see how the bitterness comes through particulary in the lower ABV beer as the ratios are wildly out of proportion. I am hoping that the mash and First wort hopping reduce the impact. If not, time will mellow it to something nice i am sure. I see no reason why Sumptuous cannot apply to lower ABV beers, i hope that my grain choice, baking of grain & caramelising along with high mash temperature will balance the hop charge and the lower abv will be incidental. 
The stronger batch will be interesting as an experiment in Brett C's impact on monstorously hopped beers. Its all been a blast and i will update in early 2014 as to the next step for this beer. Once again, Merry Christams and a  Happy New Year to you all. :)


blog counter

Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer

Wikio - Top Blogs

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Illustrious IPA planning

Hi all,

I am currently working onboard a ship in the South China Sea, we have just departed from Hong Kong no beer & no brewery but i can plan! I have been revisiting the wonderful book  'For the love of hops' in my time onboard. Well worth a read if you have not had the pleasure yet. As an aside i was extremely surprised to read that China is the 3rd largest hop producing country. Sadly i  have seen no hops in my time onshore in China but i will now be keeping an eye out for them!

 As we are now well into The Winter brewing Season in Scotland i have decided to take advantage of and go with a long slow old school Scottish IPA ferment on Belgian split of Duvel & Chimay. Most assuredly not a classic IPA yeast but i was intrigued by the smoothness this yeast produced in my last batch of beer and think it can be brought somewhere interesting as a counterpoise to massive hopping!

To continue the off track theme of this IPA i intend to produce the majority of the colour in this beer with the light baking of a couple of kilos of wheat malt to a nutty brown colour. The remaining colour and hopefully toffee overtones will come from some intense early reduction of the 1st runnings during deliberate kettle caramelisation. Darkening my own grain is a new step for me so i look forward to this with anticipation.

In this spirit of new brewing adventure i have also decided to try mash hopping for the first time and will be using a part of a 3/4 kilo of home grown First Gold hops for this purpose, the remainder will in all likelihood be used as a flame out addition. I have a truly excessive amount of hops in storage at the moment and to free up some fridge(s) space i have decided to 'Go in crazy' with the hops. 

As previously stated, i intend to mash hop this beer which is a new technique for me, i will also be using the tried and tested methods of first wort hop and hop bursting in the final 10 minutes. As i am being excessive in the hopping department i will also fire up HopThang once the beer has cool fermented for a month. I will in all likelihood finish this portion of the beer off with a dry hop of Bramling Cross. In this instance i will be resisting the urge to break out the New World hops and will be sticking with European hops to finish the beer.

Anyway, i shall be home on the 16th Dec and should have brewed by the 20th Dec. Look out for an update and abv guesstimate, 6% is feeling about right for this one. My intentions are for deep copper colour, smooth Belgian yeastiness but not too yeast forward, well carbonated with an abiding head and a literally monster smooth hop presence and high bitterness, sound nice eh? I love the word Illustrious but will also be keeping the adjective 'Sumptuous' to the fore of my mind while brewing this beer.

 A 5 Imperial gallon section of the beer will be willingly sacrificed to the God of Brett C on a warmer ferment to encourage side flavours and will in time be dry hopped with something exotic which will have been hop blitzed in a blender and free poured into the fermenter to maximise hop contact along with a 1/2 kilo of dark sugar to kick the beer up to Belgian ABV's. 

Thank you all for reading the blog, as i type this paragraph the blog counter is approaching the 25K mark. Which is nice in a numerical roundness sort of way. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year where ever you are. :) 


blog counter

Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer

Wikio - Top Blogs