Thursday, April 18, 2013


Brewed 3/16/13

the Happy Couple!
Kelly’s sister and long time partner are finally getting hitched this summer! The family couldn’t be more thrilled that they are going to tie the knot, and of course much partying is in order. They are getting married in Vancouver, BC in September, so to kick the summer off we are having a wedding shower at the folk’s house. Kelly is in charge of the party planning, and although she hasn’t solidified all of the plans, she will be partially focusing on beer-tasting related activities. Sigh… what a gal <3

I will be brewing 3 batches of homebrew to take down for “general consumption” and will probably be bringing some extra fancy commercial jobbers for some kind of tasting event.

The first batch I’ve gotten around to brewing for the party is a low gravity honey Blond Ale to serve as the session beer for the day. Low hopping, a hint of grainy sweetness on top of a cracker-like malt base, crisp and refreshing Kolsh yeast, and a tiny addition of apricots to the secondary fermenter should make for the ultimate spring chugger—light and refreshing but not at the expense of being boring.

Kelly played a big part in the recipe formulation for this one. I basically just tried to execute her request for a nice, fresh, easy drinker:

-Thanks to the very simple nature of the recipe and the low percentage of specialty malts, we wanted to make sure the base grain was just right as it would be carrying most of the flavor in this subtle of a beer.  So, we went through the grain bins together and munched on a few grains of all of the bases (PROTIP: malts taste as different dry as they do in wort ) and decided that the Castle Pale Ale malt was exactly what we were going for—dry, without being too toasty. The pils options (German and Belgian) were too grainy/ bready, the Great Western 2-Row was too plain and sweet, and the English was much too toasted and nutty.

-Next, I wanted to add a dash of Honey Malt to give it just a bit of a spring time flair, and Kelly thought that an equally tiny addition of biscuit malt would help with that full-yet-dry effect she was going for.

-WYeast Kolsch was a shoe in for this one as Kolsch was the inspiration.

-The final elements was an oz of floral and spicy noble hops and the secret ingredient of 4 halves of dried apricots in secondary to lend a sneaky little nip of stone fruit and sulfur notes to enhance what is already provided from the yeast. I don’t want either the hops of the apricots to stand out enough to be noticed… they’re just there to buoy the subtle nuances brought to the table by the yeast and malts.

The Recipe (for 4.5 gallons into fermenter)

8.25 lbs Castle Pale Ale Malt~90%
3oz Honey Malt~2.5%
3oz Biscuit Malt~2.5%
.5 lbs Table Sugar **to boost OG to target after boil**

1oz Hallertauer @ 60min
.5oz Hallertauer @ 10min
6(ea) dried apricot halves soaked in vodka for Secondary

Reverse Osmosis Oakland water with .75g/gal Gypsum in mash and .5g/gal Calcium Chloride added to boil (Calcium Chloride added to boil only to maintain appropriate target mash PH5.3, but still up the Calcium in the finished wort) “Malty pale” finished water profile= SO4: 110/ Ca:83

Mashed in with 6 gal at 160F to hit 154F for 45min, NO SPARGE. Collected 4 gal and added 1.5gal tap to top up (and mess-up water treatments—grr!)

60min boil, 1 tab Whirlfloc and 1/4tbsp WYeast nutrient at k/o.

Pitched 12oz starter Wyeast 2562 “Kolsch” at 60F and left to ferment at ambient 60ish F.

Collect 4.5 into bucket  after trub and hops
OG: 1.045= 60%eff
FG: 1.010= 4.6% ABV
Calc SRM: 6ish
Calc IBU: 15 garetz/ 20 tinseth


3/16- Pitched very active starter.

3/29- One pouch gelatin added to primary to help with flocc.

4/2- Transferred to secondary onto 6 halves vodka soaked dried apricots. Gravity @1.012

4/3- Added another packet of gelatin.

4/7- Bottled with .5cup table sugar for 2.6VOL CO2. FG@1.010

8/8/13- Finally got a review up. Came out almost perfectly... nice and crackery with a great subtle yeast profile but just a hint of metalic tang from the biscuit malt.  Next time I'll do it excatly the same but leave it out.

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