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. :)


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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. :) 


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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Rebate Belgian IPA follow up

Hi all,

Well i've had a bit of a result with this IPA! I have been trying to lower the ABV of my beers to a more suitable level (44 you see). The hoped for goal has been to keep the flavour and mouthfeel high as per a good strong IPA while achieving 'the balance' and not getting that watery background thing.

Here's the visual result.

Nice colour eh? I put that down to the Vienna malt. The mouthfeel side of this beer is a smooth lightly sweet malt profile balanced out by an acceptable bitterness. On the nose i am experiencing a nice typical mainstream Belgian yeast profile, not disimilar to a well cellared draft Stella Artois, tres smooth and Wheat present.The hops are there in a citrus style but not all the way up to Limes in the initial tasting with tropical notes intermingling well with the juicy malt at the end. Basically this is bang on quaffable, flavoursome beer which doesn't nail too hard! I LOVE the Chimay/Duvel split. It must be about gen 10 or 12 now and keeps getting better (or i am understanding it more).

Anyway, that's enough bragging, any brewers out there could do a lot worse than to give my recipe a whirl, no downside to this one! That's not the whole story though...

 I do like to experiment with my beers and as you may remember i brought a couple of kilos of bitter cherries back from Turkey in July with Wild ideas?

WELL Jings, they have worked their magic and i am now the proud owner of 40+ bottles of pink beer!

Allowing for the extra few points consumed by the Brett C and a touch of fermentables from the cherries i have named this as Wild Cherry Belgian IPA at 4.8%. I carb'd it slightly higher than its standard sibling and look forward to trying it on my return to Scotland in Oct. :)

Lower ABV massively flavoursome beers seem to be the way forward, who'd a thunk it?

 Edit 27/10/2013

Bugger! This is fantastic beer, a touch tart from the Brett but easily balanced by the residual malt sweetness. A proper moreish Belgian delight. Oh aye, and it's Pink! :)

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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Rebate Belgian IPA

Hi all,
Its been a while since i posted anything new on the blog. Been working in China and busy at home. On the China front i do enjoy Tsing Tao beer, first time i have seen a commercial beer with no ABV displayed! At home i did manage to get a brew on, a wee 20 gallon batch of a 50 IBU 4.5% Belgian style IPA. Here's the recipe.
Rebate IPA
8 kgs maris Otter
4 kgs Wheat malt
2 kgs Vienna malt
1 kg Munich malt
2 kgs sucrose
10.5 oz Cascade FWH
17.5 oz homegrown First Gold FWH
2 oz Nelsons 90 min steep
3.5 oz Amarillo 90 min steep
3.5 oz Summit 90 min steep
3.5 oz Simcoe 90 min steep
Duvel & Chimay split yeasts
Nothing fancy in the brew day. It all went well and i decided to risk it all by pitching at 30 degrees and maintaining in the mid 20's through the fermentation cycle. I did something similar in my early days of brewing and ended up with insanely phenol laden beer that was of no use to man nor beast.
In this case i have higher expectations, certainly the beer was smelling very nice indeed during bottling, sadly no photos from the brewday but TBH there was nothing you haven't seen before. Instead here are a few photos from China!

After i set the brew to ferment i went galivanting to Turkey and while in MidGala i picked up 2 kilos of small bitter cherries (its a Brussels thing). I have had previous success with cherry wild beers and in this case i drew off 5 imp gallons of the unfermented IPA and ran it on a split of Saison,Brett C, Duvel & Chimay. This is a truly unique split and puts out a beautifully scented beer. On my return with the cherries i destalked and set them to work in the fermented beer

No gravity readings, it is what it is. How Belgian is that? :).

Fermented with cherries freshly introduced
Next day, can you see a slight red tinge?

  Today the third day, can you see it now?

I am off to China again in a couple of days. If i can avoid the Tsing Tao i may go and find a spice market and see what's good for us! The wild cherry version of the IPA will be ready in a couple of months i am in anticipation! :)

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Bonus shot of my Cascade hop which is doing rather well for itself.

Bramling Cross

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Cafetiere Beer II

Hi all,
Thanks for all the views you guys have been making, a couple of hundred over the past day or so! Did you all try your own version of Cafetiere Beer? I hope so! One of the viewers mentioned that i had made a good decarbonation device. This hadn't really registered as an issue as we have a culture in the UK of Non carbonated ales. The rest of the world likes a bit of gas in their brew.
In the search for further meaning and use of Cafetiere beer i tried the following.
The cafeteire has sat in this state in a fridge for approx 10 hours. Its flat Hop Synergy 44 beer with honking amounts of surpressed cold hop goodness.

 A quick press of the plunger and a bit of a head has popped up, not long to last i would think.

I decanted into a 2 pint jug and as you can see the head collapsed.
I then added a chilled Hop Synergy 44 on a bit of a waterfall pour.I had a nice jug of carbonated mega hopped IPA which was dutifully poured.
The head remained for 4/5ths of the wheat beer glass and i haven't been belching so its about where i like my carbonation to be. Aesthetically pleasing while not being a lager!
The hops used this time are the same from last night, i don't mean the same Genus i mean the same hops flowers! A much mellower hop aroma this time, very sweet, blackcurrant, and a touch of green. Again, its a simple way to get to that Hop Head well loved dry hopped flavour/texture into a beer. I'd be happy for anyone to try these bad boys, no risk of embarassment, these rock! :) Thanks for reading.

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