Friday, 10 December 2010

Dry Hopping - Found my marbles

I checked the remaining Krausen on the Kingland Black IPA this morning. It turns out that my hopbag and hops were floating.

To aid the hopbag descent i added an extra pound of marbles to another 2oz hop bag.

This bag was then boiled for 15 minutes with the marbles inside to sterilise all.

After that it was ran down the line connected to the 'in use' hopbag in the fermenter. I didn't tie a knot it in so at best it will stop the 'in use' hop bag bobbing completely out of the wort.

So there we have it, how i sink my hops when dryhopping. I made this little post as it hit me today that the way i do things is 'The Norm' in my mind. That of course means nothing as my 'Norm' isn't your normal and why would it be? Certainly going by the broad coverage across the planet of people who read this blog 'The Norm' has the be laid out for all to see and then agree (or disagree which is the best bit). I'm interested in the methods you guys 'n' gals use as brewers to achieve your dream beer for that days particular beer.

The Kinglsland Black IPA is at its terminal gravity of 1.014 (4.6%ABV). There is a pleasant smell of Licourice and coffee coming off the beer mixed with a variety of Hop aromas. It smells great but i know this is only the beginning and the changes in the bottle will be huge. I also finished the labels for this beer. What do you think? 

I have been thinking about classic 3/4ltr bottles, corks, cages and wax. Stay calm now, i'm still talking about beer(boom-boom). I haver no idea if this beer would be good enough to put into such fancy delivery devices. Only time will tell and i'm sure that the MkII version will be worthy somewhere down the road. God, this way lies madness....

Edit 13th December 2010

I bottled the Black IPA this morning. All went smoothly. Each bottle was primed with 10ml sucrose solution at a ratio to give 2.8 carbonation volumes. I look forward to seeing if the Oats will have any effect on the head retention.

The smell as i bottled was outstanding. Licourice, sweet malt and tropical hops. Nothing from the Simcoe yet so we'll see what a couple of weeks (Xmas eve) do to change the beer. I think this beer is going to be a winner. Straight away its strange (in a good way) to smell such sweetness in a black beer and a large hop profile. I guess i'm programmed by the Dublin brewers to expect a Guiness signature when i see a Black Beer! I bottled a couple of clear bottles. I do this with all my beers to allow monitoring of Clarity(not this time though) and yeast layer depth.

Myself and Mrs I will try this on Christams Eve. I am off to the Persian Gulf on the 27th December for a while. This stops the consumption of beer but doesn't stop the idea of beer! I plan to work on my MkIII version of White Star IPA while there. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year where ever you are on the world. All the best to you and your families.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Kingsland Black IPA Brewday Prt II

I don't know where you guys 'n gals are in the world so i'll state the obvious. Scotland gets quite cold in the Winter. Here in the N.E of the country we have been experiencing temperatures of -15 through the night and average during the day is around -2. At the moment i don't want to spend any money on a cooling/ heating system for the fermenter.

My low tech and cheap approach is to use bubble wrap and Duct tape to insulate and stick a 20W wine heater plate to the sloping side of the conical. I know it doesn't look great but with the three layers of bubble wrap and the duct tape there is no heat loss outwards, it all goes inwards into the beer
(all magnificent 20 watts of it)!

I then add 5 layers of blankets and sheets to insulate the whole fermenter. I know this doesn't seem much in the face of the temperatures here but it has kept the beer at 10 degrees for the past week!

I checked a sample of the beer this afternoon and it is down 20 points on the O.G, this will be a long slow ferment. I carried out some tests last year and US-05 yeast will continue to ferment out a beer at 6 degrees C. I am interested to hear if any of you have had sucess at low temperatures with US-05?

Today is also the day for the beginning of the dry hopping.

Minus the packaging we have 1.5 Oz of Simcoe hops and 1oz of Amarillo hops for dry hopping. I am using glass marbles(1/2 lb) to weigh down the hops. The bag, marbles and plastic string were boiled for 10 minutes to sterilise before adding to the fermentation vessel. They will be in the FV for the next 2 weeks.

I also dumped 400ml's of dross out of the bottom of the FV and will continue to do so as the fermentation progresses. This facility to remove heavy dead matter from the beer as it ferments is one fo the great bonuses of fermenting in a conical.

So there we have it people. A mid brew progress report on an unclassified beer.

Looks like a stout.
Has the body(nearly) of a Porter.
Mouthfeel North of an IPA but South of a Stout.
Brewed with Belgian Candi Sugar & Orange peel (How Whit is that)?
Bitterness levels of an IPA
Fermented at lagerring temperatures with an ale yeast.
Dryhopped with American West Coast Hops.
Will be carbonated at upwards of Ale levels.
Head retention of a German Whit.

That should be just about my perfect beer(if it all works), what's yours and why aren't you making it or planning it right now? :)

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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Kingsland Black IPA Brewday

I approached this brewday with some trepidation. Underlying currents tell me that the beer i wanted to brew might turn out to be too close to Porter for comfort. Another part of me speaks out about the mouthfeel of massive RIS's and how exactly do i go about balancing Roast Barley against Big Hops.

At this point i realised that 'It's only beer' so i chilled out and cracked on with the final recipe tweaks. I'd love to claim that there is an underlying subtlety going on within this recipe. Sadly there isn't! The recipe has been driven by my experience of darker grains & Mouthfeel within RIS's and experience of hopping regimes within IPA's Anthing else is either luck, blithe disregard for brewing tradition & style or possibly the fact that on opening my grain bins the realisation hit that i was short on Munich & Wheat malt.........

Kingsland Black IPA

Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 9.00 gal
Boil Size: 10.75 gal 
Boil Time: 110 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00
20ltrs mash liquor @79 degrees followed by 39ltrs sparge liquor @ 85 deg
Total Grain Weight: 7.05 kg


2.25 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 28.30 %
1.50 kg Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 18.87 %
1.00 kg Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 12.58 %
1.00 kg Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM) Grain 12.58 %
0.50 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 6.29 %
0.20 kg Black Barley (Stout) (500.0 SRM) Grain 2.52 %
0.20 kg Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 2.52 %
0.20 kg Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 2.52 %
0.20 kg Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 2.52 %
50 grmms Gypsum

4.00 oz Hallertauer [6.80 %] (90 min) (First Wort Hop 66.0 IBU
2.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (120 minutes) (Aroma Hop-Steep) 
2.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] (120 minutes) (Aroma Hop-Steep) 
0.90 kg Candi Sugar, Amber 11.32 %
3rd generation repitch US-05
Measured Original Gravity: 1.050 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol  4.95 %

1.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] (Dry Hop 14 days)
1.50 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (Dry Hop 14 days)

Bitterness: 66.0 IBU
Est Color: 37.0 SRM 

I have excluded one ingredient from the list. While checking the fridge/freezer unit this morning i found a 9oz weight frozen box of chinook/simcoe,amarillo hops. My guess is that these hops would be around 4 oz when dry. They have been used as a dry hop for a few days(5) and then removed and frozen. I know of no way to calculate what they bring to the party but since we are going off piste with regard to beer style anyway i thought we'd bring them along for the ride.

Rather chilly in the garage this morning with 5 degrees showing on the HLT after running the elements for a couple of minutes.

I made up a stein full of Black, Choc & Roast Malt

This was added to a collection of lighter grains in the mash tun for no more reason that the photogenic opportunity that it offered!

It really is Baltic today, had to up the Liquor temp to a shade under 80 degrees to settle at 65ish for the rest.

I went for 65 degree mash to try and thin the body out slightly, this has been offset by my schizo grain bill but should come back into line with the use of Belgian Candi Sugar!

While waiting for the 90 minute rest to complete i weighed out the 4oz of Hallertau bittering hops.

These along with the frozen Chinook,Amarillo & Simcoe hops went into the kettle as the first wort hops

The recirculation of the first runnings went well with a Jet black hydro sample taken.

Love the smell off of these Hallertau Tradition Hops, i will have to use them in a single hop lager through the Winter.
I finished the sparge and run off quite quickly(45 minutes).

I then brought the wort up to the boil for 110 minutes. Sadly no pictures, too much steam as i go for a hard rolling lid off boil in dark beers. In the last fifteen minutes i pitched in two protafloc tablets and the Belgian Candi. I hope to retain some of the orange zest through to the finished product by minimising boil time on the candi.

I pitched in the 4 oz of steep hops and left to cool/settle for two hours. After that i transfered to the Conical.

I noticed an immediate difference in the head retention generated by the drop to the FV. The head dropped back into the wort quickly. This is i assume caused by the Oats fats. This is the first time i have used oats, we will see how it goes. Mouthfeel will have to be outstanding or this is their last time in this brewhouse!

Last thing to do was a yeast pitch. I have used a 3rd generation US-05 yeast. This is my favourite yeast as it consistently hits 1.012FG at 70deg mash temp. Pretty neutral in character but does bring a small something to the table. Drops out of suspension quickly and can be clear within 10 days in the bottle.

I'll leave it here until i can get a picture of the yeast in action in the morning. I enjoyed the brewday and think this beer will work out well. I could smell liqourice and coffee off of the wort so that's a good start. I'll leave you with a picture from the brewhouse this morning.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Belgian Candi Sugar at home.

I am continuing to plan my Kingsland Black IPA. In the pursuit of a lighter mouthfeel & body in this dark beer i have decided to make up a batch of Belgian Candi Sugar to supply some of the fermentable sugars.

 Enter stage left Home made Belgian style Candi sugar supplied by 2 kgs of Cane sugar, a dash of Lemon juice and a couple of oranges for a twist.

2kgs of T&L cane sugar in a pan.

 A small volume of preboiled water added to liquify the sugar. The heat is applied along with a few squirts from a Lemon to supply the Glucose & Fructose debonding acid.

While the sugar/water/acid solution is heating i cut and squeezed the juice from a couple of oranges.

I obtained a decent cup of fresh OJ. That wasn't quite enough zing for me, i also grated a good amount of orange peel zest off of the squeezed oranges.

Both were added to the heating and liquifying sugar solution.

Preboil, there was a nice colour change imparted by the orange juice and zest.

After that it was full steam ahead to a rolling boil at 200 Deg F.

I then increased the heat to 300 Deg F quickly to achieve full 'Hard Crack' with minimal colouring.

 I poured off the first 900ml into a baking tray and placed it outside to set in the very early Scottish Winter.

I returned the pan to the boil for 5 minutes to further darken the fermentables and then poured it into a tray for Winter cooling.

I returned the final few hundred Ml's to the heat for a further 5 minutes. Sadly this remainder took on a burnt flavour(too little liquid and too much heat). I won't use it as the caramelisation is too extreme in flavour for my next couple of beers.

So there we have it. A one hour candy sugar session that has supplied me with a shade under 2 kg's of candy aimed directly at two of the beers circling in my head. The light one below will go into my future Lager type beer which is next on the cards after Kingsland Black IPA.

The Darker Brother is heading towards Kingsland Black IPA.

Overcooked brother is there only to show just how much difference a couple of minutes makes at 300 deg!

I really enjoyed making this today and i am very happy with the taste layer added from the orange juice and zest. A good way to be brewing without brewing if you see what i mean.

Boring cost bit
2kg's cane sugar £1.38
2 oranges £0.60
Gas £1.00
Total 1.49 per Kilo

Graham Sanders over at Franklinbrew has put together a nice guide to making various Belgian fermentable products. I won't reiterate his well written guide.

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