Monday, 1 December 2014

5 pm saviour, the verdict

Hi all,
I am departing for the fair Kingdom of Saudi in the morning so thought i should post my thoughts on 5pm Saviour while it is still freshly bottled and all new. Bottling was a week ago but this wee beer is honestly the closest i have ever come to a commercial beer (in a good way).The beer is a single grain (Maris Otter) high mash temperature (80 strike/ 72 deg rest) and fermented on wlp 23 Burton & US05 split yeast. The percentage split in the split of two yeasts is unknown but its around 10th Gen. When i poured the beer the malt/yeast hit me with authority from easily two foot away, that was quite a surprise. If you have tried a well made Polish or Czech Bohemian style lager you will know the smooth vanilla odour that is a part of the best of them?

That is present here although no lager yeast was used. The beer was fermented out over 6 weeks at approx 7 to 10 degrees and i think that is well shown in the smoothness. The Burton snatch is present as well but in a subdued fashion nicely counterpointing the slight hop bitterness from the calculated 40 IBU.
 This beer has a fair charge of hops but the yeast is basically walking all over them unlike in Satans Circus where the same yeast split 9th Gen yeast was crushed below the hop avalanche.

Ah, wait a moment, the beer has been chilling outside on this cold 1st Dec rainy evening and as i approach the bottom 1/4 of the glass i am experiencing the Pacific Gem hop nicely, sweetness and ripe tropical fruit overlaying a very slight touch of caramel and that's close to it.

Okay second beer now and i am tasting toffee and light citrus. This is all still moving around below the yeast, maybe the sweetness is being boosted by the chinook hop which does tend to have a sweetshop profile. Absolutely brilliant to find in what is quite a simple beer, no huge mouthfeel just nicely balanced with a small edge of Hop zing that many commercial do not have.

Anyway there we have it, good head retention, good colour all from one grain and a nice high mash temperature. Hops woven in nicely without screaming out and dominating too much, try the recipe yourself. I am going for the KISS mantra in brewing in 2015. Merry Christmas you crazy cats and a Happy New Year where ever you are.

 P.S custard and pineapple here at the end of the second beer. :)

Thanks, until next time.

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

5 pm Saviour & HopThang Mk II

Hi all,
I have decided to try out a high mash temp average hop (for me) pale ale at low abv as the holy grail for me would be a full on IPA taste experience but at low abv so it can be an ongoing evening thing and nothing to pay the next day!
The recipe for the beer is as follows
5 pm Saviour
14kg maris otter malt mashed in at strike temp of 82 degrees to settle at 71 for those residual long chain sugars.
1 oz Chinook Mash Hop
3.5 oz Magnum 90 min boil hop
10.5 oz Chinook 120 min steep aroma hop
7 oz Simcoe 120 min steep aroma hop
3.5 oz Pacific Gem (seriously under rated hop) 120 min steep aroma hop
Yeast WLP032 & US-05 combo
20 Imp gallon batch with a SG of 1.042 & FG of 1.012 diluted down to a final abv of 3.5% and an IBU of 40. A most normal but hopefully tasty beverage!
Once this was complete i swung into action with my Mk II version of HopThang. Basically it is a slightly larger model to hold more hop and the hole volume in the screen has been increased by approx 50% to achieve a quicker through put and less to zero backpressure on the pump. The inaugural hop ran through was a 1.75 oz shot of Amarillo. See pics & video below. I advise you to mute video as pump is hellish noisy!


I am off to Saudi for a month so the Amarillo will stew in Hopthang MkII at 10 degs or less for the full thirty and then have a replenishment and run before bottlling. The initial volume will be caught and checked for vegative presence before being added or discarded to the main batch, another plus of a HopThang for the time distant brewer! I was pleasantly surprised to see demonvalleybrewing have went the HopThang route and for all the right reasons, best of luck to them! :)
Thanks, until next time.

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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 Saviour. 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? :)

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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?


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