Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Frog's Breath APA

Brew Day 2/9/13

With just one bottle of Hella! IPA left in the fridge, I figured it was time for another hop-bomb. I have a lot of different prototype recipes for my upcoming hoppy beers, and for this one I wanted to do one that would be a slight change of pace when compared to Hella! Not a total change of pace, mind you, as Frog’ Breath will still be a completely overwhelmingly hoppy beer, but I shifted the hefty gravity of Hella! down a few notches, and went for a hop blend that will hopefully show fruity/ green/ dank as opposed to the big pine/ tropical/ spice in Hella!
I adjusted the gravity down to 1.054, which puts this well under the IPA weigh-in gravity. I used the same hop qtys as in Hella!, which will put the balance much more off in favor even more of the hops and bitterness, so I compensated with a fairly heavy hand of gooey wheat malt and a splash of light crystal to provide some extra doughy sweetness as a counterpoint to the deadly IBUs. I think I could have doubled the crystal given the low gravity, or mashed a bit higher but there is always next time… Here is a quick breakdown of the recipe:
-90% Clean American 2-Row as the base to stay out of the way.
-Blend of Wheat Malt, C15, and Carapils to boost body and add some doughy sweetness.
-WLP090 San Diego Super yeast because I’ve been told that it is the bees-knees in clean and hoppy beers. Just like the Chico yeast but more flocculent.
-Nelson Sauvin leading the hop charge with their funky/ fruity/ foxy flavors. I have only had a handful of commercial beers that use Nelson hops, and I definitely get a prominent New Zealand white wine flavor with some white grape, skanky grapefruit, and dark resin in the background. These are said to be quite polarizing hops, but I’ve really enjoyed the lighterbeers I’ve had them in.
-Centennials for their great, bright fruitiness to lift the Nelsons up out of the “darkness”. I can’t say enough good about the batch of Centennials I have in the freezer right now!
-A touch of Columbus hops for their green and resiny bite that carries a bit of chive to my palette. I feel like Columbus and Chinook both make for great background hops thanks to their earthy bites—Columbus is more dirt/ weed/ onion (think: dirty hippie) to me and is GREAT along with fruitier hops. (Chinook has a fresher wood/ mushroom/ spice thing that I think goes perfectly with piney and citrusy hops, but that is neither here-nor-there;))
-New water treatment calculated for a moderately bitter finish with 225ppm of Sulfate. This is my first brew using Oakland H2O, so we’ll see how it goes and adjust from there.
-Super heavy hop doses ‘cuz that is how I like it.
Honestly, this may not be my finest effort- I undershot the gravity by quite a bit due to much lower than expected boil-off rates (maybe thanks to the switch from cold and dry Sonora air to balmy Oakland), and therefore wish I had mashed higher, targeted more like 70IBUs, and used more like 5% C15 instead of the 2% each C15/ Carapils split. Next time I guess.
The Recipe (for 6 gal kettle yield to make room of hop losses):

11 lbs Great Western Premium 2-Row~90%
.75 lbs Great Western White Wheat Malt~6%
.25 lbs Crystal15~2%
.25 lbs Carapils~2%

1 oz Columbus @ FWH

1oz Columbus @ 15min
2 oz Nelson @ 15min

2 oz Nelson @ k/o at 180F “whirlpool”
2 oz Centennial @ k/o at 180F “whirlpool”

1 oz Columbus DH for 10 Days
1 oz Nelson DH for 10 Days
2 oz Centennial DH for 10 Days
1 oz Nelson DH in 1 Day in bottling bucket for extra “pop”

24oz starter of WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast pitched at 65F and allowed to free ferment in ambient room temp of 65F

Oakland Tap with 1.5g/gal gypsum for Pale/ Hoppy water

Mash in with 6 gal to hit 145 sac for 1 hour, then infuse 2 gal to hit 156 dex rest for 1 hour, no mash out, no sparge

1 Whirlfloc tablet at k/o

Collect 5.75 gal after trub removal

OG: 1.054= 75% efficiency
FG: 1.010= 5.7%
Calculated SRM: 4
Calculated IBU: Garetz 70, Tinseth 101

2/9- Pitch yeast and put in Miguel’s fermentation room for low-mid 60sF ambient. Never really went crazy.

2/19- Airlock activity has stopped. Added DH. Gravity @1.011. Samples are quite dank.

2/27- Added final 1oz of Nelson 1 day before bottling. Extra brightness I hope?

2/28- Bottled with 4.1oz table sugar at 65F into 5.5 gals for target VOL CO2 2.4. Added sugar directly to primary bucket and gave a gentile swirl and filled bottles directly from primary to minimize O2 uptake. FG@1.010

4/3- Wow hops! Everyone loves it. Dark, moody, skunky, fruity, grassy, citrus. Check it out!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pale Rider Tasting

Reviewed 2/11/13

Very good beer! More of a blond than a pale given its general mellowness, but the big hop aromatics and flavor are too out front to really qualify as a boring blonde. Reckon it is just Xtra Pale. Would be better as a summertime brew, but what ’er you going to do? The 100% Pilsner malt did its’ job of providing a super clean, super easy, balanced backbone for the heaps of late addition hops, and the hop varieties more than delivered on their promises of clean, pleasant, citrusy, slightly spicy, continental-like hoppy goodness. Smooth, crisp, refreshing, balanced, and satisfying. This is about as session as they come.

Appearance: Blonde yellow with a bright white, creamy 3 finger head that falls to a sturdy ¼” layer that stays to the last sip. The yeast didn’t floc out all that well, but that is not a worry. It is bright enough to make your mouth water.

Smell: Orange juice, tangerine rind, and a fairly one dimensional crisp cirtic edge with a tiny hint of yeasty sweetness in the background. Moderately aromatic, but quite crisp and bright. The nose is hop driven, but not in a big fruity IPA way... it’s more like smelling a bag of hops and oranges. Kinda’ weird, very nice.  There is a hint of pizza dough there too.

Taste: Follows the nose with the orange, tangerine, and sweet citrus snap. Round and grainy malt follow the herbal hoppy start. It is so smooth, so crisp. Some spicy/ herbal hop notes but it basically tastes like orange peel, sweet pils malt, and crisp yeast.

Mouthfeel:  Bright, firm carbonation, light/med body, coating hop bite, and very spritzy bubbles. The mouthfeel, like many aspects of this beer, is very similar to a Trumer Pilsner. Firm bitterness that cleans up quickly and makes you thirsty for more. Quite balanced.  

Overall: Blonde, not pale, but still awesome. It’ll be a perfect beer for a sunny day if the winter leaves us soon. I am so sold on the Saphir hops—they are SOOOOO clean, crisp, and sweetly orangey. Water treatment is just right. Beautifully crisp. Drinks like a Pilsner. I’ll probably enter this one in a contest as an American Blonde Ale.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sonorval Tasting

Reviewed 2/1/13

This beer is coming together wonderfully. It’ll be changing quite a bit over time given that I bottled it very early on in the development of the Brett from the Orval and Brux dredges. As it stands it is a very hoppy American Pale with a hint of Brett funk and a giant nose of floral and fruity hops. The Centennial and Calypso dry hop combo is spectacular—something I will be using again I’m sure. Flowers, hay, and lemon with subtle funk. I honestly can’t tell where the hops end and the Brett begins.

Appearance: Sunny golden with moderate haze and the prettiest big, fluffy, pure white meringue head I’ve seen. There are some floaty bits of yeast but it is still a looker.

Smell: Perfume floral nose with bright Meyer lemon skin and a backdrop of Brett funk that is like sweet, wet hay. Super aromatic, with an enchanting rose blossom quality. Slight goat and grainy sweet. The way the hops put up such huge flower and lemon aromas without smelling resinous or “dank” is un-canny… and unexpected. These Centennials are so fruity and smooth! No pine or pith. All hops and Brett in the aroma, with barely a hint of the pils malt or English yeast. It smells exactly like Lemonhead Candies to me.

Taste: Candied lemon peel, smooth Bretty dryness, and a hard candy-like floral note that reminds me of those rose flavored French hard candies. There is some Powdery yeast in the finish with a clean and bready malt palette. Hardly bitter, but super hoppy. There are solid apple skin and pear flesh notes in the taste that are absent in the nose—I’m not sure if they are the Brett or the Calypso hops.

Mouthfeel:  Grainy, with medium carbonation (which will inevitably get bigger with time), and a clean finish that lingers with rose-water and very subtle vanilla tinged tannins from the oak. To me, pilsner malt as the base is most apparent to me in the mouthfeel, and this is no exception. Dry, not bitter, and pleasingly, subtly farmy.

Overall: Crazy good and bound to get better. The oak is hard to pick out but adds some depth, the hops are brilliantly complimentary to the Brett, and the grain bill is well balanced with a pleasing subtle sweetness. The carbonation isn’t quite there yet, but it will come with some more age. It is a little low on the IBUs right now, but as the Brett dries it out more and more I think the balance will be just right.

Pickled Eggs

One of Em and myself's favorite snacks is a pickled egg or two with a beer - preferably a pilsner or kolsch. However, they are pretty tough to get unfortunately. Chuckanut Brewery has them for $1 an egg, which is a fine deal in my opinion but who wants to go out every time to get an egg? I tried my hand at pickling a dozen maybe a month ago and they missed the mark for me. They were down right tasty but the recipe I used had too much sugar in the brine and was just a bit too far on the sweet side for me. So yesterday, with beer in hand, I did a large batch of two dozen with a brine concoction of my own that I felt would be more in tune with our tastes. Riley and Co. are coming up to vist in a couple weeks so I thought it would be nice to have some eggs to go along with the homebrew.

 This is an experimental brine and I am crossing my fingers that it will work out. I simmered about 4 cups white vinegar with 2 cups of water, 5 garlic cloves, 4 jalapeƱos, a tablespoon of mustard seed, 1⁄2 cup of salt, and 1⁄3 cup of sugar. I covered the hardboiled eggs with this and dropped in half of a white onion and 3 dried chilis. And now we wait, we'll see!