Beers

Brew Days, Recipes, Planning

This is my second lager, a Schwarzbier, and it came out really well. Though if I were to do it again I might pull back the blackprinz just a bit and add a touch of pale chocolate malt. For fun I entered this into the Brew Hut Annual Homebrew Competition. This was well received and took 2nd place with a score of 43.

Possibly even more exciting is that the more experienced judge gave the beer and Outstanding rating of 45! He even left as the final feedback “Delicious & Drinkable! Each element blends harmoniously!”.  Big thanks to Brew Hut for hosting the competition.

Here is a link to recipe

 

11/5:  After trying to change my webpage theme I broke things and had to revert to an older version of the website.  In doing that I lost the original post about this beer and re-typed it best I could remember.

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I’m diving in to sour beers headfirst. Since I don’t have a clue how any method will turn out I figure I might as well try 4 methods on the first attempt. I mean why not? 

Upfront is the plan for the beers (30a, b, c, and d). Below that are various questions or bits of information I ran across when trying to figure out what I’m getting myself into.  Along the way I discovered Milk the Funk and the Mad Fermentationist that have turned out to be invaluable. 

 

Base Recipe

The base recipe is based on the Rare Barrel golden recipe. I’ve upped the OG  to 1.060 so the pre-boil will be 1.051 for the raw beers (30a and 30b), will mash at 148, and will add first wort hops to 3 IBUs.  After 5.5G taken for the raw beers, I’ll will add water to drop actual OG to 1.052 and add ~25 IBUs.   The water profile will be Brewers Friend’s Water Calculator Balanced Profile water.  

I plan to sit on these for about a year before thinking about any blending ideas.  Any thoughts of adding fruit to anything will be determined after sampling and more research (which I’ll have time to do). 

30a & 30b

This will be a raw beer with lacto.  Then 1/2 will be 30a which will be clean fermented and then Brett added . The other 1/2 will be Brett only.

Here are a few more plans for these beers

  • pasteurize in kettle:  155 @ 15 mins
  • transfer out 5.5G and cool to 90
  • pre-acidify drop to 4.5   (est 1mL 88% to drop 0.1 pH)
  • add lacto – goodbelly straightshot
    – Need starter: no need for starter
    – monitor for 2-3 days
  • Add hop tea (~22 IBUs) and wait 24 hours
  • Transfer 1/2 to 2.8G carboy and add Brett (30b)
    • Imperial Yeast W15 Suburban Brett
  • add sacc yeast (US-05) to 30a 
  • Xfer after high krausen to 2.8G carboy and add brett

beer 30c

The third beer will be ~5.5G and will be a Pedio/Brett fermentation 

  • Pedio:  Bootleg Biology Sour Weapon P BBX0089
  • Brett: Bootleg Biolofy Funk Weapon #3 BB0022
  • Create a Brett starter 1.5 weeks out
    • About 500ml starter per 25 liters of wort seems to be the current best practice.
    • Data from Thomas Hübbe supports that the initial pitching rate doesn’t have a great effect on the final cell count in pure Brettanomyces starters or beer, indicating that Brettanomyces is fairly forgiving in regards to small initial cell counts (MTF)
    • An alternative to the second approach is to use a stir plate on a very low setting so that only a very small “dimple” of a vortex is formed (with foil covering the top)
  • Transfer the chilled wort to 5G carboy
  • Expect 3/4″ rise from fermentation
    –need to worry about time on yeast cake?  No.

beer 30d

The fourth beer will be ~5.5G and will be primary fermented Sacc then Brett (I know this isn’t a sour, but should be fun anyhow) 

  • Transfer to 6.5g carboy
  • Add sacc
    — clean or belgain yeast? US-05
  • Just after high krausen tranfer to 5G to secondary
  • Add pedio and Brett

New gear

I’m a bit freaked out about all of these e\new bugs so here is a list of new gear that I think I’ll need.

  • Stoppers
  • Use old autosiphon
  • Bottle bucket And bottle filler
  • Wine thief

Use extra caution cleaning

  • pH meter
  • Hydrometer 
  • Cylindrical beer sampler (hydrometer testing) 
  • Glass carboys
  • Airlocks

Other random notes

 

Here are a few other random notes I captured while looking into this idea.  It isn’t cleaned up.

http://jeffreycrane.blogspot.com/2015/06/blending-calculator-ph-abv-and.html?m=1

 

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/best-cleaning-method-after-sour-beer.529378/

You can try:
a) PBW – to dissolve any particles. Clean before and after with soap and water and a dedicated sponge.
b) 1 gallon of water + 1 ounce bleach + 1 ounce of vinegar (added to the water, not the bleach directly). Let it sit 5 minutes then dump out and air dry. [this is the sanitize concentration, and may not kill all bacteria]
Follow up with 
c) Iodophor – 2 minute contact time, then air dry.

(You can use Hydrogen Peroxide or One Step in addition – it kills with Oxygen).

No need for new bottling equipment, use glass and just clean really good.

 

Raw Beer Notes

Raw beer watch out for DMS creation and pasturize before starting

DMS temp (Milk the Funk):
The primary source for DMS in beer (as well as cooked vegetables) is caused by the decomposition of SMM into DMS. This decomposition is caused by heat above ~80°C.(176°F)
Allow the beer to age longer, particularly if it contains Brettanomyces. Studies in lambic brewing have shown that DMS will volatilize over time if left in the fermenter.

DMS forming temp/time (Homebrew talk)
Conversion happens around 70C. Rapid conversion happens around 80C. I’ve seen information that says the conversion of SMM to DMSO occurs “above 60C.” Brewing: science and practice – Google Books

Anticipated issues to overcome, and how I resolved them (Experimental Brewing)
1) No-boil = DMS
Not necessarily. My understanding is that DMS is produced at 180 degrees, which explains why true no-boil berliner’s don’t have a DMS profile. As long as the mash and mashout stay below 180, it won’t be a problem.

2) No-boil = no sanitation
Again, not necessarily. Pasteurization occurs at 160 degrees in just a few seconds, so as long as the mashout is above 160, no problems.

If need more Beer 1a to blend in with  then this fastest beer to turn around

 
Raw beer watch out for DMS creation and pasturize before starting

Need new bottling equipment.   Glass just clean really good.

 

DMS temp (Milk the Funk):
The primary source for DMS in beer (as well as cooked vegetables) is caused by the decomposition of SMM into DMS. This decomposition is caused by heat above ~80°C.(176°F)
Allow the beer to age longer, particularly if it contains Brettanomyces. Studies in lambic brewing have shown that DMS will volatilize over time if left in the fermenter.

DMS forming temp/time (Homebrew talk)
Conversion happens around 70C. Rapid conversion happens around 80C. I’ve seen information that says the conversion of SMM to DMSO occurs “above 60C.” Brewing: science and practice – Google Books

Anticipated issues to overcome, and how I resolved them (Experimental Brewing)
1) No-boil = DMS
Not necessarily. My understanding is that DMS is produced at 180 degrees, which explains why true no-boil berliner’s don’t have a DMS profile. As long as the mash and mashout stay below 180, it won’t be a problem.

2) No-boil = no sanitation
Again, not necessarily. Pasteurization occurs at 160 degrees in just a few seconds, so as long as the mashout is above 160, no problems.  

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2016 Beers

I’m finding that I don’t have the time to write about each beer. So I think I’ll just start doing an annual post of the beers that year.  If anyone reads this besides me let me know what you think of the format.  

In 2016 I made 933 12 ounce beers though most of it went into kegs.  This is about double from the previous year.  The majority of it was made on a 3 day brewing bender when Lisa took the boys to California.  It was exhausting brewing that much, but well worth it.

 

 

Beer Name Brew Day
#16 – Dapale 4/10/2016
#17 – The Axe v3 5/13/2016
#18 – Kate The Great 5/14/2016
#19- Daddy’s Milk 5/14/2016
#20 – DreWster 5/15/2016
#21 -Persuasion Saison 8/6/2016
#23 – The Backcountry Homebrew Club Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Brown Ale 9/5/2016
#22 – Change Up 11/19/2016

 

Beers

#16 – Dapale  (4/10/2016)

  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • OG/FG:  1.056  / 1.012
  • ABV:6.1%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: 16G / 12G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $0.60  

This was a Dale’s Pale Ale clone.  It wasn’t exactly like DPA, but pretty darn good none-the-less.  One of the main thrust for this beer was that I wanted just an easy drinking hoppy-ish beer, but didn’t want to make an IPA where the hops would fade so fast.  The previous summer DPA was by go to beer so this seemed like a good choice to clone and possible become a regular rotation in my beers.  Also, this was the yeast starter for the next three beers.  

#17 -The Axe v3 (5/13/2016)

  • Style: Cross between an American Red and Irish Red Ale
  • OG/FG:  1.070  / 1.012
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: 11G / 10G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $0.59  

This was the first of 4 beers made in the 3 day brewing spree.  It is also the third variant of this recipe, which is an original recipe by me.  This was pretty close to what I’ve been aiming for.  I don’t think I ever wrote any tasting notes, but I tend to recall that I want to make the next version slightly less bitter.  

#18 – The Empress

  • Style: Russian Imperial Stout
  • OG/FG:  1.099  / 1.022
  • ABV: 11.2%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: 11G / 11G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $1.06  

This is a Kate the Great (KtG) clone beer and the first big beer that I’ve made.  With living in CO, I finally had space to store this beer for ~6 months to let it age out.  I bottled 5G and kegged 5G of this beer.  I tapped the keg on 11/30/2016 and today, 10/17/2017, I still have the same keg going.  You don’t drink a whole lot of an 11% beer at one time.    The real KtG is placed in port barrels so I soaked oak spirals in port.  At one time I looked in the bag and it had spilled so I placed more port on the spirals.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t get any oak out of the spirals. Finally, I poured the port all into the beer.   I think the port is over powering, but the beer is still well received and I like too.

#19 – Daddy’s Milk

  • Style: Sweet/Milk Stout
  • OG/FG:  1.061  / 1.015
  • ABV: 6.3%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: 8.25G / 8.3G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $0.05

This is my first partygyle beer to make.  It was made from the second runnings from #18 – The Empress.  This beer was practically free; the grain came from batch #18 – The Empress, the yeast came from #16 – Dapale, and the water was basic tap water.  The only thing I paid for was the propane and the minuscule 2.6oz of hops. The basis of the beer was to be a Left Hand Milk Stout clone.  With the grain already set from #18, I mimiced the lactose and hops profile to end up with my beer.  I was able to fit the wort in what is normally my HLT and boil this the same time I was chilling down #18.  In the end it only extended my brew day a couple of hours to get a second beer. Ignoring the cost this was a really good beer and definitely made me want to try this again.   

#20 – DreWster

  • Style: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
  • OG/FG:  1.086  / 1.007
  • ABV: 11.1%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: 11G / 11G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $0.73 

This beer has 4 fun stories to it.  The first is that the yeast from this beer comes from the dregs of four North Coast’s PranQster Belgian Golden Strong beer.  I kept the dregs and slowly built up the yeast to get a pitching rate that would support this beer.  The beer fermented down as far as I was hoping making for a really dry beer.  Second part to this beer, it that I transferred this beer to two 5G carboys nearly to the top.  After aging this for a while I transferred 5G to a keg.  The beer tended to pour foamy, but I was trying to get the CO2 volumes high so that it could fit the style.  The beer had a great golden color and tasted pretty nice.  The second 5G I bottled about 3 weeks after I kegged the first 5G.  For some reason the beer had a purple haze to it.  Since this beer was from the same wort and yeast as the other 5G I ruled out many flaws.  With some help from the guys a Brew Hut we concluded that this was likely due to oxygen exposure.  I’m not sure how this would have had more oxygen than the other 5G, but I hesitantly tasted it and it tasted fine.  ).  So I went ahead to bottle it.  Since the CO2 volume on this beer is supposed to be so high I had to use the Belgian corked beers.  I borrowed a corker from a friend in the home brew club and bought several cases of bottles from Craigslist.  Turns out the bottles were really really dirty so I spent a night cleaning them.  In the process of cleaning one bottle I notice a huge amount of mold or something in the bottle as I got the crud out I looked at it a bit closer and almost vomited.  The crud as a decayed mouse.  There was a spinal cord and a fit of fuzz that separated when I poured it into my cleaning water.  Needless to say I threw that bottle out.  I also dumped all my cleaning water, cleaned the container, and finished cleaning the last few beer bottles.  Ugg, what a night of cleaning bottles.  I’ve since called this the Royal DreWster and shared it at a home brew crawl.  I don’t think it is as good as the golden version, but most seem to still like it. Finally, the last story to this is the name.  Most Belgian beers have a demonic name. With all the hard times we had had with Drew (mind you I was waking up for the day a 4:30 everyday with him and hiding in the basement until Lisa and Chase woke up too) I thought DreWster was quite fitting with capitalization having a nod towards the PranQster of which the yeast came from.  Oh, one last thing.  Since I went through so much effort to cultivate this yeast I looked into storing it for a long duration.  I read about freezing yeast in glycol and have done that.  I haven’t yet used the yeast again to see if it worked, but someday I’ll find out.

#21 – Persuasion Saison

  • Style: Saison
  • OG/FG:  1.064  / 1.004
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: 13.4G / 14G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $0.71 

I managed to actually do a separate post on this beer so go there for more info.

#22 – Change Up

  • Style: Kolsch
  • OG/FG:  1.048  / 1.013
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: 16.65G / 16G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $0.49 

This was the 3rd instantiation of this beer.  The I wrote up the first two in #9 – Kolsch and #13 –  Change Kolsch (16G).    I called this one Change Up as I had changed the hops around a bit to use some of things I had laying around in the 60 minute addition.  Therorically this shouldn’t have really changed the flavor.  It seemed like what I did the previous times, but I doubt if I made the same beer back to back it would taste the same anyways.  This started something that I’ve done for a few beer since in that I only wanted 10G for myself so I invited a friend over for the brewday and he took home 5G when it was all fermented out and bottled.  This is certainly  a beer to keep in rotation.

#23 -The Backcountry Homebrew Club Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Brown Ale

  • Style: Imperial Brown Ale, aged in a second use Whisky Barrel
  • OG/FG:  1.077  / 1.016
  • ABV: 8.5%
  • Batch Size / Beer Made: ~60G / 55G
  • Batch cost per 12oz:  $0.89

As the name suggests this beer was made by my homebrew club.  We bought a used Whisky barrel from the Brew Hut / Dry Dock.  After getting the barrel we spun a few ideas around for a style and then iterated on a recipe until we called it good enough.  All the wort was brewed in one day on 3 systems to fill the barrel.  I didn’t get to help this day any only briefly swung by to drop off my carboy and to say thanks.  I think Kyle, Kirk, Jeff, and Dave did all the work.  After the beer fermented out it was transferred to the barrel and kept in Kirk’s basement where he would tease us with tasting notes and photos occasionally.  We kept the beer in the barrel for ~2 months and this split it out 11 ways.  I bottled my 5Gs.  A brown ale was the way to go on the beer as the barrel only contributed a slight whisky note.  Anything stronger that we had been considering like a RIS probably would have over powered the barrel flavors.  Kirk entered this in a competition once,but I forget what they said about it.   

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Beer Name: Kolm Knights – Dusk (first barrel), Twilight (second barrel), Dawn (no barrel)

Style:  Imperal Baltic Porter (Pohjala OO Clone)

Brew Day: 4/21/2104

Alcohol: 9.7% (not including barrel changes)

Color: 81

This beer was a struggle.  Chris from Pohjala Brewing set me up with an amazing recipe.  Since this beer was so big I figured I could get a partygyle off of the second running like I did with my Kate the Great Clone, the Empress.  The plan was for 11G batch, the mash in was packed full, and the boil started as planned.  About 15 mins left in the boil I did a measurement and discovered I had way too much wort.  I did some quick calculations and determined I needed to boil for another 2 hours on top of the planned 1 hour boil.  So 3+ hours later I called the boil complete and did all the normal cold crash, oxygen, and yeast pitch.  The fermentation kicked off like a machine and twice I had to clean the bottom of the fermentation chamber.  Well after about 7 days I measured the FG and it was 1.044 rather than a planned 1.026.  I gave it a few more shots of oxygen, roused the yeast up, left it for a few days… and no changes.  So I assumed that my yeast tuckered out.  Using the yeast from one of the partygyle beers, I did a starter to get things going and re-pitched.  I got a few small bubbles over the next too days, but no real changes.  I think what I saw was the starter fermenting out, but that made me think that the yeast wasn’t the issue.  I started tinkering with the recipe in beersmith to see if I could find any errors. Randomly I selected the muscovado sugar to be non-fermentable (like lactose) and what do you know it predicted the FG to be right where I was at.  So either something was off with the muscovado sugar, I added it to fast and caramelized it, or the 3+ hour boil caramelized it.  Either way this at least eased my mind about what was happening.  To correct for this I make a simple extract porter beer and blended it in at about a 10/4 ratio.  This got the FG down to 1.032 which seemed okay for this large of a beer and kept the ABV in the range that I was aiming for.  So instead of 10G I ended up with about 14G.  I’ve placed 5G in a whisky barrel that my brother had and let that sit for about 2 months.  The taste sample was amazing and I’ve now bottled 5G of the barrel beer (Dusk) and 5 G of the non-barrel beer (Dawn). The other 4G are now sitting in the barrel and will be Twilight whenever I bottle it.  All the bottles were bottled with cask ale yeast and priming sugar.  I haven’t yet cracked a beer yet as I’m waiting until Thanksgiving or so. Updates to come

I spent way too much time coming up with a beer name for this.  The beer name for the original recipe is OO which means night in Estonian.  In trying to be clever I wanted to do a play on words and call this Knight or tie this back to Estonia.  I researched Estonian knights and learned about several famous clans(?) including Order of the Cross which most everyone knows by the cross on the shield.  Since I knew I was ending up with 3 variants of this beer I was looking for a succession class or something that would work nice, but I struck out here. Instead I landed on Kolm which is Estonian for three. I like the way Kolm Knights looks, even if I am probably mispronouncing Kolm, and it translates to 3 Knights, very fitting.  Since OO means night, I’ve named each of the variants a phase of the night.  And there you have it clever beer name that nobody will probably ever get if I didn’t write this down.  I’ve worked the estonian knights onto the beer cap which depicts the Order of the Cross shield on it.  Yes, I spent too much time thinking about this.

PHOTO GALLERY TO COME (after I open the first beer)

My Brew Notes

Execution Notes

  1. Had to boil for 3+ hours.  Later discovered that this was the first beer where I had lids on the kettles when warming the water.  I used to loose about 1G and with 2 kettles I calculated needing 2G more.  With lids I don’t loose any water and have adjusted the spreadsheet for next time
  2. I’m weary of muscovado sugar since it didn’t ferment out.  It was probably me, but I’m still recovering PTSD over this beer
  3. Large beers need a blow off tube.  I had to clean off 2 huge messes. Drew helped me clean (ha)
  4. The blender beer saved this batch.  I think I got this idea from a Session podcast on the Brewing Network

Recipe Info

Recommendations for next time

  • Get the sugar to ferment and try the recipe exactly the same way!

Research

Pohjala OO Info

  • ABV=10.5%
  • FG=1.104
  • OG = 1.026

Pohjala OO website

Pohjala Head Brewer Email

Hey Brian,

This is Chris, Head Brewer at Põhjala. Apologies for the late reply, it’s been a busy week here.

Awesome to hear you’d like to try brewing Öö, it started on the homebrew scale so it’s quite an honour to hear that 🙂

We use:

36% pale malt

39% munich malt (light)

9.75% carafa type 2 special

4.9% dark roasted crystal (Simpsons)

4.9% chocolate malt

4.9% cara 300

And about 10% of the fermentables will come from a dark muscavado sugar – currently we add that at T-60.

We use Viking malt from Finland for the majority of our malts, and they have a  very British style, so 2 row probably wouldn’t be the best substitute for the pale malt, I’d rather try Maris otter if you can get it.

Gravity starts at 24.5° and finishes at 6.5°, and we bitter to approx 65-70 IBU using magnum, with a finishing dose of Northern Brewer at T-00.

In terms of yeast, we ferment this one at cool temps of around 16°c with WLP090, San Diego Super yeast, which we use as our house strain. A cool fermentation helps as you really can’t feel the alcohol.

Water profile helps a lot as well, but that would be harder to give some tips on for me.

Otherwise, that’s about it – hope it helps, and good brewing!

 

Aitäh,

Chris Pilkington

Head Brewer

chris@pohjalabeer.com

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Beer Name: Change Kolsch

Style:  Kosch

Brew Day: 10/10/2015

Alcohol: 5.5%

Color: 4

My idea of a Kolsch.

My Brew Notes

Execution Notes

Second time doing this, but instead of 5G this is scaled up to 15G  (10G for me, 5G for my brother Mark).  My 10G came out crystal clear and tasting great.  Mark’s 5G was cloudy and had a weird flavor.  This difference was odd since the mash and boil was all 5G, they pitched equal amounts of yeast, fermented at the same temp in the fermentation chamber, cold crashed and gelatin at the same time.  The only difference is that Mark’s was kegged about 1 week before mine,  but still had 3 weeks from the brew day. Weird.  Oh well.  This is a pretty good recipe and will likely do it again.

Recipe Info

Recommendations for next time

  • No real notes to recall.
  • First time kegging!

Research

This is just a scaled up version of #9 Change Kolsch

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Beer Name: Persuasion Saison

Style:  Single Hop Saison (Funkwerks Nelson Sauvin Clone)

Brew Day: 8/6/2016

Alcohol: 8.2%

Color: 4

Super good beer.  Kind of a mix of a sauvin blanc and a saison beer.

My Brew Notes

Execution Notes

I had a lot of fun making this and filling in the blanks.  I ended up using a repitch of Belgian Saison and a starter of French Saison for my yeast.  I ended up overshooting my mash efficiency and ended up with 15G rather than my planned 13.2G (calculated batch size for one can of Muscat grape juice)  to keep the OG about where I guessed Funkwerks might start with (~1.063 w 90% attenuation).  I think my lack of quick cooling and less hops per gallon of wort contributed to my beer not being as aromatic (still plenty good and something to aim for next time).  To add to things mine attenuated better than I planned (1.004) and end up being an 8.2% beer.  Finally, since this was a Saison with a good amount of wheat it didn’t occur to me that Funkwerks was filtered in some way until we did a side-by-side comparison.   So in the end Funkwerks looks better, smells better, and taste a bit more crisp than mine, but boy are both still good.

Recipe Info

Recommendations for next time

  • Add hops a bit later to help shine
  • Cold crash and add gelatin

 

Research

Funkwerks Nelson Sauvin Info

  • ABV=7.5%
  • FG=1.006 (estimated)
  • OG = 1.063 (estimated)

Funkwerks Head Brewer Email

Here are some quick tips for cloning Nelson Sauvin. We use very light Pilsner malt, Best Malz Heidelberg or Briess Pils. 20% is light Wheat malt and 12% of fermentables is Muscat grape added at flameout. 0.5oz/5gal Nelson at 10 minutes, 1oz/5gal Nelson at flameout. There is no bittering addition. Ferment with favorite Saison strain.

Let me know how it turns out.

Gordon Schuck

Yeast:

  • For the yeast nerds out there, the Funkwerks house yeast strain comes from Wyeast’s 3711 French Saison varietal*.

Funkwerks Brewery | Nelson Sauvin Saison

Brew Day

  • Mash at 148 to help with attenuation
  • Muscat Grape Sugar Calculation
    • 68 brix /(1 g of water = 8.33lbs) = 8.16 brix per lb

Fermentation Schedule

  • Likely Funkwerks profile is familiar to tropic king: pitch at 65, ramp up to 75 over 48 hours.
  • Maltos Faclons recommendation:
    • Place the wort in a temperature controlled environment at 65F (18.3C) for 3 days before letting ramp (or if you’re like me and don’t have enough space for temp controlling everything – I’ll place the fermenter in an iced water bath and let the heat of the day and the ferment melt the ice and raise the temperature to mid 80’s and 90’s (29-35C). It’s perfectly safe to drive a Saison yeast this hard if you’ve started cooler.
    • https://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/guide-saisons-and-saison-yeasts
  • Only place foil over top (i.e. no airlock) per link below to help attenuation

Under Pressure – Pt. 4: Airlock vs. Foil With Saison Dupont Yeast | exBEERiment Results!

 

Serving

  • Serve at 50°F (10°C) in a tulip glass.”

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Beer Name: The Student

Style:  Pliny the Elder Clone (Double IPA)

Brew Day: 12/24/2014

Alcohol: 8.28%

Color: 5

I am super happy with how this beer came out as it is one of the best beers I’ve made, but it isn’t exactly like Pliny the Elder. I had some process issues that probably altered the beer a bit, but I the recipe wasn’t quite right either. It turns out that a copy of the RRB brew house recipe was posted after I made my beer and did the taste comparisons. Here are my thoughts from my comparison before reading the real recipe.
Color – mine was a bit darker
Taste – level of bitterness and maltiness seemed about right. Mine seemed a bit too citrus, I think maybe too much Amarillo.
Aroma – my certainly didn’t have that dank smell. Not enough Simcoe (either in amounts or utilization)

My Brew Notes

Execution Notes

I’ve always used RO water as I didn’t know what was in my home water for a long time.  When I finally figured out my water I learned that it comes from two sources which are pretty much on the opposite side of the spectrum and there is no way to know what is coming out when.  So I’ve continued to use RO water which is cheap at the filling station next to the grocery store (30 cents per gallon).  This was the first time I tried doing water adjustments from the RO water.  I bought some things last minute, but didn’t have anything to make Chloride adjustments.  I’ll work to get better at this, but was focused on doing too little rather than too much.

Had similar issue with the mashing again where I started hotter than planned and then dropped about 8 degrees over the coarse of the mash.  My numbers came out okay, so nothing to worry about on this batch but certainly something to work on.

I tried using a little pump from ebay to do a whirlpool (not a real whirlpool, but enough to keep the wort moving over the coils when chilling), but clearly wasn’t ready as I fussed with that for about 20-30 mins before giving up and just using a spoon to stir.

Other minor notes.  My measurements don’t seem to be too accurate as I gained wort from the post boil measurement to the fermenter.  Need to get better at that.  I allowed for 30 mins for the trub to settle and then used my filters for the post boil transfer which resulted in a very low sediment in the fermenter. I collected the yeast into a clean spagetti jar as practice for yeast washing.  The yeast came out really clean and if I do things right (sterile jar and water) it seems I can start re-using yeast in the future.

Recipe Info

  • My Recipe: Brewtoad
  • Recipe Source: see my research post
  • Schedule Link: #11

 

Recommendations for next time

  • Mine ended up not being as piney as PTE.
  • Work on limiting oxygen during transfers to make the beer last longer
  • convert this recipe

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Beer Name: Fighting Irish Red

Style:  Irish Red

Alcohol: 6.87%

Color: 28

My second successful all-grain beer!  I decided to make a few adjustments to the original recipe.  I upped the grain bill instead of adding honey to keep the same ABV and replaced the 2 row pale ale with Maris Otter Pale to allow for a thicker mouth feel.  I tried it 2.5 weeks after bottling while home for thanksgiving and it was okay.  After 6 weeks the beer has hit its stride and is pretty nice.  The beer came out smooth, malty, and very tasty.  The head is a little off and collapses pretty fast, but it appears to be carbonated about right.  Definitely worth doing again, but I might make some minor adjustments to the hop schedule.

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My Brew Notes

Execution Notes

I’ve always used RO water as I didn’t know what was in my home water for a long time.  When I finally figured out my water I learned that it comes from two sources which are pretty much on the opposite side of the spectrum and there is no way to know what is coming out when.  So I’ve continued to use RO water which is cheap at the filling station next to the grocery store (30 cents per gallon).  This was the first time I tried doing water adjustments from the RO water.  I bought some things last minute, but didn’t have anything to make Chloride adjustments.  I’ll work to get better at this, but was focused on doing too little rather than too much.

Had similar issue with the mashing again where I started hotter than planned and then dropped about 8 degrees over the coarse of the mash.  My numbers came out okay, so nothing to worry about on this batch but certainly something to work on.

I tried using a little pump from ebay to do a whirlpool (not a real whirlpool, but enough to keep the wort moving over the coils when chilling), but clearly wasn’t ready as I fussed with that for about 20-30 mins before giving up and just using a spoon to stir.

Other minor notes.  My measurements don’t seem to be too accurate as I gained wort from the post boil measurement to the fermenter.  Need to get better at that.  I allowed for 30 mins for the trub to settle and then used my filters for the post boil transfer which resulted in a very low sediment in the fermenter. I collected the yeast into a clean spagetti jar as practice for yeast washing.  The yeast came out really clean and if I do things right (sterile jar and water) it seems I can start re-using yeast in the future.

Schedule

Schedule

Recipe Info

Recipe

Water Adjustment

Water Adjustments

Recommendations for next time

  • When compared to a Red Seal Irish Red mine is more malty and not as hopped.  I think I’ll slightly up my hops a bit next time, but not too much.
  • Get pump to work
  • Take better measurements
  • Try harvesting yeast

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Beer Name: Change

Style:  Kolsch

Alcohol: 4.5%

Color: 4

This is the second all grain beer that I’ve made.  After the last one blew up in my face, literally, my goal for this beer was to pick a simple recipe and really work on producing the clearest beer that I could.  During our summer trip to Denver I had several good Kolsches and decided that this is what I’d brew.  The brew day went well and the final product is a really nice beer.   Its refreshing to have and there is a good chance I do this one again, but maybe as a 10G batch next time since it goes down pretty easy.

My Brew Notes

Recipe Info

 Recipe

Execution Notes

The brew day went pretty well considering that last time I had stuck sparges and all-grain brewing was new.  My mash temps wavered around more than I’d like and will need to refine this.    I tried to use PH strips and iodine to check the mash, but have to say that I have no idea what I saw and will need to work on this more.  I did boil off more than I thought and had to add 2 gallons of water back in.  Though with that the gravity was on target.  Also, my pump broke so chilling took way longer than it should.  My plan to have a coarse bag around the metal screen in the boil kettle  and a fine mesh bag on the output side of the hose really helped me to remove most of the trub prior to going into the fermentor.  I cold crashed twice and used a secondary in addition to Irish moss in the boil and gelatin prior to bottling.  I’m not sure which helped the most, but I have a good beer.

Schedule

 Schedule

Recommendations for next time

  • Try hitting and maintaining the mash temp better
  • Plan for a higher boil off than most other people (try to turn down the burner a bit too)
  • See if I can figure out idodine and PH strips.

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Inspiration

For beer number #11 I decided that I wanted to see who well I can make a beer.  My last couple of beers have come out good to me, but I have no idea if they came out like they were supposed to.  So for beer #11 I’ve decided I’m going to do a clone recipe and then try to do a side by side comparison to see how I have done.  With that decided, I also want the beer to be ready fairly quick and I’ve been thinking about a hoppy beer since #6 Imperial Red IPA.  So what to pick.  I took a look through the beers that I’ve marked on Untappd for some motivation.  I really liked Shipwrecked by Mission Brewery, but after scouring the internet I couldn’t find any recipes for it and I certainly cannot make up one on my own.  When doing this I ran across several links for Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewery (RRB).  I’ve had this a couple of times, once at the brewery and another time at Naja’s, and I think I’ll be able to get this again either at the Store or through a visit to Rollie.

Research

Recipe Notes

So after looking at a few pages I’ve discovered that this is going to take a bit of research as there is no definitive recipe.  I’ve done as much research as I can stand and have looked for articles and interviews about Vinnie Cilurozo (RRB owner and PTE recipe inventor) where he might give hints about the recipe.  Secondly, I’ve also looked for others that have cloned this beer and their direct comparisons to the real Pliny the Elder.  Lastly, I’ve taken some notes from those that do a comparison of their clone to their recollection of the Pliny the Elder which in most cases is probably suspect.  There are a ton of posts about that the recipe is great, which I imagine is the case, but I’m looking to hit PTE on the head if I can.

The starting point for the recipe is from an article from Zymurgy by Vinnie  in 2009.  In this article Vinnie gives a recipe for Pliny the Elder.  Apparently there was a typo in the first release that had the amounts sized for 5G instead of 6G, but the attached PDF is the corrected version.  Also on EC Kraus there is a reference to a recipe in Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff that may have had input by Vinnie.  I can see that the OG is much higher, the grain bill and hop schedule are different.  So at this point I think this recipe is not a clone, but rather just a good DIPA.

There is a rather good interview on the Sunday Session by the Brewing Network.  In this I’ve noted (as many others have reported)

  • generic extract is used, no pellets, for the 90 min and 45 min addition
    • The original recipe used a mix of CTZ and Warrior extract, but is now only generic
    • Sometimes they use pellets to dial in the right amount of hops as only whole cans are used.  Thought this didn’t seem significant
  • When Amarillo was added no other hop additions were reduced
  • All hop additions are pellet hops, ie no whole leaf additions
  • Crystal has been reduced.  No indication of how much

There is also a rather lengthy forum on HomeBrewTalk.com that I’ve gotten a few notes from.  #63 by RichBenn says this is pretty spot on, but maybe the comparison wasn’t side by side since the PTE he has is at a bar.  The quote below is one of the few direct comparisons that I’ve come across.

#431 by D-Train I had the opportunity to try my execution of this clone side by side with a bottle of Pliny tonight. Keep in mind that I’m fairly new to brewing and maybe experience would change the results. They were close, but there are a few things I would change next time.

1. Add Amarillo to the dry/late addition hops. The real Pliny was definitely weighted more to the citrus side. The clone had more dank/pine. I’ve read that Pliny now includes Amarillo.
2. Use only 2 hopshots for the first addition. I used 3 hopshots and the clone was more bitter. Earlier I posted that I was using hop extract for the recipe.
3. Make it lighter in color by reducing the crystal and/or boiling for 60 mins instead of 90 and/or increasing the dextrose. I scaled up the recipe and went with 14lb 2row, 0.6lb carapils, 0.6lb crystal, 12 oz dextrose. The clone was more orange and the Pliny more yellow.
4. Switch to RO water and the additions in the chemistry primer on this site. So far I’ve ignored water chemistry in my brews. I have high pH, high alkalinity tap water with chlorine and I think it’s limiting the full potential of my brews.

All said the above differences were not significant. With a few tweaks I don’t think a blind test would pick the real Pliny. Again it could simply be my execution of the recipe. Caveat emptor.

Some thoughts on this.

For #1, a look at the RRB website of Pliny the Elder and as the Sunday session interview notes that Amarillo is now in the recipe which wasn’t in the original.  Since I’m trying to do a taste comparison I’ve added Amarillo where I think it might go.

#2 shows he used hop shots.  In other articles (#85, 5 tips for better IPAs by Vinnie recommends extracts, and oldschool hints that a Sunday Session recording states the real PTE uses extracts too), it is noted that that the 90 and 45min additions of PTE are extract additions, so this is some good information.  Its also worth pointing out that the Vinnie recipe shows the AA values for each hops.  When looking online it seems that the AA levels are a bit higher that noted by Vinnie.  I don’t think I’m going to adjust for this now except for in the extract additions, but it might be something worth tweaking if I do this again.  Now there is the issue of converting the hops to extract amounts.  To do this I partially used two websites.  The first, from brewer’s friend,  I user to convert the hop additions to an IBU calculation.  The second I use to convert the IBU calculation into an extract amount.  The extract calculation uses a utilization faction which is more or less a function of the amount of time the extract is in contact with boiling wort and the amount of wort it can be in contact with.  I’ve noticed that it doesn’t quite account for the volume right, so I’ve looked at the html source to get the calculations and have made the needed adjustments.  The adjustments are slight and probably won’t make a difference in the end, but being an engineer I wanted to see the math done right.  My calculations show that 18.75mL and 4.34mL of extract is needed for the two additions.  From what D-train recommended 2 hop shots instead of 3 (I’ve translated this to be 10mL instead of 15mL) whereas I’m going to be even higher.  I think I’ll stick to my calculations for now and see what I think too, but it is probably that not only has Amarillo been added, but that the extract has gone down too to please more pallets and/or to reduce the cost (though RRB  does seem to make too many recipe decisions on cost).

#3, color, is interesting.   It seems to have been repeated by VTCCbrewer (#295) though one note on this one is that he mentions is volume is slightly low which would affect the color too. bobbrews (#131) has a similar suspicion as I do that perhaps crystal 40 is used rather than crystal 45 and MMjfan (#161) suggests 1/2 the amount crystal 40 at 0.3lbs.  After adjusting the recipe to this the OG sits at 1.071.  When looking at the PTE website is states an OG of 1.070, but if you look back through the web archives it can be seen that this was 1.071 circa 2005 (and 1.073 circa 2004). So I think this is on the right track and I’ll go with it.  Funny thing is that after making the adjustments I come up with a grain bill almost the same as Scott (bertusbrewery.com) on his PTE 3.0 review.  Aside from the fast that his reviews are a recollection of his tasting it at least feels nice that I’ve ended up with what one person thinks is pretty good after adjusting twice.

Water.  As noted in #4 water should be addressed.  My first attempt at water adjustments was on #10 Irish Red.  I didn’t quite have a handle on things then, nor do I really know what I’ve doing now, but I’ve been reading a lot since then and think I can at least do better.  Another HBT forum discusses PTE water which concludes by saq (#5) that the water profile should be:

  •  Calcium (CA) 76
  • Magnesium (MG) 13
  • Sodium (NA) 9
  • Bicarbonate (HCO3) 26
  • Sulfate (SO4) 133
  • Chloride (CL) 56

 Process Notes

per Vinnie’s article.

  • Mash will be at 151 (or the closest I can do this)
  • Stir in the dextrose at the start of the boil
  • ferment at 67
    • last two days drop to 60F to get yeast out then transfer to secondary
      • I won’t keep the yeast, but think I’ll cool to 52 to help clear things up as best as possible prior to mucking things up again with dry hops.
  • dry hop at 68F
  • Vinnie notes that he does a C02 blast every day or so to keep the hops in suspension.  I don’t have C02 for this, but will swirl like paradoc suggests in this post.
  • last 2 days of dry hopping is at cold crash temps
  • purge with CO2 if you have it….I don’t

In a (need to find link) Vinnie notes that PTE takes 21-24 days.   This is up to kegging so for me I need to add 3 days for fining and 3 weeks for bottle conditioning.  My schedule at 25 days, not counting conditioning, is pretty close to Vinnie’s schedule

  • 8 days fermenting
  • 2 days cool crash to 52
  • 7 days first dry hop, 12-5 days
  • 3 days second dry hop
  • 2 days cold crash
  • 3 days gelatin
  • 21 days conditioning

The yeast, Cal Ale WLP001, normally has an attenuation around 76.5% and according to White Labs attenuation ranges from 73-80%.  With the corn sugar, many people have noted that they can get near the a FG of 1.011 which places the attenuation around 85%. to get to 8.0% with the grain bill I’ve selected I’ll need to get 86.1% which seems within reason.

Finally, the name for my clone.  As is pointed out by RRB and many other sources, Pliny the Elder gave the name or at least recorded the name for hops as he was an author of many books.  From Wikipedia, it notes that:

He (Pliny the Elder) published a three-book, six-volume educational manual on rhetoric, entitled Studiosus, “the Student”

Just maybe my blog has enough rhetoric where you think I have the best plan possible to clone Pliny the Elder.

Rhetoric: the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

With that beer #11 will be called The Student

Links

Here are the list of links I bookmarked while researching this recipe.

 Recipe:  The Student

Ingredients

Grain

  • 13.25 lb Two-Row pale malt
  • 0.3 lb Crystal 40 malt
  • 0.6 lb Carapils (Dextrin) Malt
  • 0.75 lb Dextrose (corn) sugar

Hops

  • 90 min boil
    • 3.5 oz Columbus (US)
    • replaced with 18.75mL of extract
  • 45 min boil
    • 0.75 oz Columbus (US)
    • replaced with 4.34mL of extract
  • 30 min boil
    • 1.0 oz Simcoe (US)
  • 20 min whirlpool
    • 2.5 oz Simcoe (US)
    • 1.0 oz Centennial (US)
  • 12 days Dry Hop
    • 1.0 oz Simcoe (US)
    • 1.0 oz Centennial (US)
    • 1.0 oz Columbus (US)
    • 1.0 oz Amarillo (US)
  • 5 days Dry Hop
    • 0.25 oz Simcoe (US)
    • 0.25 oz Centennial (US)
    • 0.25 oz Columbus (US)
    • 0.25 oz Amarillo (US)
  • *Tomahawk/Zeus can be substituted for Columbus

Yeast

  • White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
    • attenuation at 86.1% due to corn sugar

for 6.0 gallons into primary, Hopefully, net 5 gallons after hop loss

Original Gravity: 1.071
Final Gravity: 1.010
Efficiency: 75 percent
ABV: 8.0%
SRM: 4

Directions (mostly from Vinnie’s article)

  1. Mash grains at 151-152° F (66-67° C) for an hour or until starch conversion is complete.
  2. Mash out at 170° F (77° C) and sparge.
  3. Collect wort, bring to a boil for 90 mins
  4. Stir in dextrose
  5. Add hops as indicated in the recipe.
  6. After a boil and whirlpool, chill wort to 67° F (19° C)
  7. Transfer to fermenter.
  8. Aerate well
  9. Pitch yeast starter
  10. Ferment at 67° F (19° C) until fermentation activity subsides, then rack
    to secondary.
  11. Add first set of dry hops on top of the racked beer and age
  12. Then add the second set and age
  13. Then bottle after adding priming sugar.

 

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