Relentless & Aftershock Bring The Funk

Hello fellow heroes!

Once again it has been far too long, but I have exciting details about our first beer!

I mentioned in my last post that we had been experimenting with a 100% Brett kettle-soured Gose. Well now, I’m happy to report we made 10 bbls (310 gallons) of that bad boy!

The entire funk fiasco originated from a conversation I was having with my buddy Joe Flores, recent GABF Bronze winner and Head Brewer of Aftershock Brewing. I asked if he was interested in brewing something together or wanted to collaboratively funkify a beer he had done before, and he suggested his Gose.

Until that day, I hadn’t really considered taking a stab at putting my own spin on the style. Our water is already pretty salty and I’m a little burned out on coriander. But the gears started turning and over the course of a few emails, We Can’t Stop Here! 100% Brett Gose was born. Here’s a clip from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas for those of you that aren’t the voracious fans of that movie that Joe & I are.

We fired up our Gose on a grain bill of 50% Rahr Pils, 40% Rahr Red Wheat, & 10% Gambrinus Light Munich. Starting gravity was 1.048 and using Omega Lacto Blend we soured to 3.21 pH overnight. We boiled the next day and hopped with 7 IBUs of Lemondrop at 60 minutes. Small additions of Hawaiian Alaea red sea salt and coriander were included, but we weren’t looking for those to be focal points of the beer.

We ended up deciding to ferment at 72 degrees in fairly neutral red wine barrels on 5 different Bretts and Brett blends:

Barrel 1: White Labs Brett Brux Vrai – I’ve never worked with the BSI Drei strain and was excited to try out the new White Labs version; especially after finding out that Brett Brux Trois was not actually Brett. The beer is still in the barrel, but the latest tasting notes are some really nice fruity notes including stone fruit and faint strawberry. It’s certainly hard to completely differentiate between possible wine and Brett contributions.

Barrel 2: Giga Yeast Sweet Flemish – We found this strain to be pretty ready to rock and the Giga guys were great to work with. Interestingly, it had some pretty big fresh cut green apple flavors to it for a while. As it nears 3 months in the barrel, it seems to be morphing towards more grape skin and light funk flavors. That could certainly be the barrel contributing more. We may play around with some wine must in this one.

Barrel 3: Yeast Bay Lochristi Blend – This gorgeous blend was the highlight of our pilot batch, and it shined again for the real thing. It gives off such a fun mix of light fruit, funk, and its own acidity that really can give a kettle sour unbelievable complexity. We pulled this barrel last week and served some at Backyard Bottleshop in Murrieta, CA for their anniversary events this week. We had a great time partying with them and we’ve been really grateful to hear all the kind words (and see the good ratings) for our first release.

Barrel 4: Yeast Bay Brussels Blend – I expected this to be a pretty funky, beer geek only affair and it’s certainly on the right track. The nose is really complex and is starting to get very geuze-like. There’s some mousy funk lingering, but it’s good enough that we debated releasing this one first instead. I’m really excited to see the finished product.

Barrel 5: Yeast Bay Amalgamation Blend – This is the only barrel we pitched with Brett that we had already grown up from subsequent brews. I’ve found this blend to be pretty reliably loaded with funky peach and mandarin orange and some background white winey notes. Early on it seemed like we underpitched it a little, as sulfur and rotten egg were overpowering the notes I’ve come to know and love. They’re just finally fading out, leaving a pretty interestingly funk-forward beer. I can’t guarantee a “pull date” on this one, but it will be fun whenever it comes out. Possibly with some citrus fruit.

This wouldn’t be a typical post for me if I weren’t also sharing my excitement with what else we have coming down the pipeline!

First is an Imperial Oatmeal Amber wort fermenting solely on the Yeast Bay Lochristi Blend. We emptied Barrel 3 for local Gose consumption and went ahead and loaded up another weird project. This too was an Aftershock & Relentless production.

We also have an incredibly potent Tequila barrel filled with 100% Brett Imperial Spelt Gose. I decided to blend White Labs Vrai & Yeast Bay Lochristi Blend, based on the flavors we were getting from the Gose. Unless we blend this bad boy down, you’ll be too focused on the margarita in your glass to know it’s Brett at all. I do expect it to be popular for us and clock in around 10.5%. We also will field any and all billion dollar offers to take it global! In that vein, I found this Modern Times post funny.

Believe it or not, we brewed another beer with Aftershock. This time we did an Imperial Saison and sparged over flaked oats. (Big thanks to Flat Tail for sharing that technique.) Being super hip brewers and all we’re also trying to get the trend of #Mashies started:

20151118_094103

We split that brew into 2 barrels. The first, a fairly mellow and lightly leaky Tequila barrel. We co-pitched Yeast Bay Saison Blend 2 and East Coast Brett Custersianus. On day 3 we added 5.5 lbs of blue agave nectar as well. We’re expecting weird and fruity things.

The second barrel was supposed to be another Tequila, but we quickly found out it was not fit for service and it’s being tended to accordingly:

20151117_160413

Instead we filled a neutral red wine barrel and pitched 21 strains of Brett, including East Coast Dirty Dozen, White Labs Brett L & Vrai, Yeast Bay Lochristi & Brussels, etc. This is all the Brett letting us know that it’s here for the party:

20151120_103817

At this point that barrel is technically some sort of strange Imperial 100% Brett Wild Ale that may or may not get moved into a Tequila or Corn Whiskey barrel. Not to mention it also got 5.5 lbs of agave nectar. Stay tuned, as the direction of beers and the whims of your beloved cellarman are unpredictable.

Also stay tuned for the big Relentless Grand Opening and being able to try all 5 versions of the Gose at once! (Update: The Grand Opening is January 30th!) We’ll have a bunch of other fun goodies including big citrusy IPAs and unique takes on Saison and Oatmeal Stout. Plus, you’ll be able to party with this animal all night:

IMG_1197

Finally, big thanks to the Milk The Funk group on Facebook. I’m continually learning new things and absorbing useful information from the fine funky folks there. I highly recommend it if you find anything that you just read interesting.

Time to cook some steaks and crack something sour. Stay thirsty my friends!

 

 

Getting Started with Relentless Brewing!

Hello heroes!

I apologize profusely (once again) for the 6 month delay in updates. However, I am really excited to be able to tell you, my teaming masses of followers, that I’ve taken a Head Brewer position with Relentless Brewing Company! What’s even more fun is we’re just getting started, so I get to help grow a wonderfully innovative little brewery right out of the gate!

I am really pumped to be working with James & Doris. We have similar beer tastes, visions, and an appreciation for barrels, Belgians, sour, and funk. I’m quite hopeful this opportunity will create a perfect storm of beer awesomeness. Without further ado, I’ll give you a look at the behind the scenes beer awesomeness so far.

Here’s me manning the valves below/ keeping an eye on an R&D brew while James (literally) knocks the dust off of our super sexy 10 bbl brewhouse:

IMG_7194While we’ve been putting the finishing touches on the big brew system (which includes two 10 bbl fermenters, one 20 bbl, & one 20 bbl bright tank), I’ve been steadily knocking out 10 gallon batches on my buddy Ken’s homebrew setup. Thank you Ken! If you’ve seen what my average brew day used to look like, then you know chugger pumps, false bottoms, and a plate chiller are amenities I’m happy to have:

IMG_7156

It’s so much fun to work on R&D batches and collaborate on creating a lineup of brand spanking new beers. So far we’ve been tinkering with a wide variety of beer styles. We’ve played around with 100% Brett kettle soured Gose, numerous IPAs, Oatmeal Spelt Stout, Cherrywood Smoked Dubbel (which you may recall from my homebrewing days), Belgian Session Rye, Lemondrop Dry Hopped Saison, and the list goes on. All fun things. We’re basically just kids in a brewing candy store.

Also, here’s the obligatory ‘brewer stares at beer’ picture. The sweat lets you know it’s authentic:

IMG_7190

So that’s a little bit about what we have going on. I’ll be sure to post about our first brews and when we’re going to allow the public to stare at our beer like I get to. I might even get a selfie stick for work because I enjoy being ridiculous.

Before I go pitch yeast in today’s DIPA brew, I would like to take the time to thank the homebrewing community at large, The Brewing Network, and everybody else along the way that helped me get to where I am today.

Whether you hired me, fired me, or brewed shirtless with me in a sweltering garage, you’ve been a part of my journey here. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around it being a mere 3 years ago that I wasn’t even sure if I could win homebrew awards, let alone go pro.

Because of my experiences in this industry so far, I’m all about paying it forward and helping fellow brewers. If you’re a homebrewer, please know that you should always feel at home in our brewery. Fire as many questions at us as you’d like, bring us good AND questionable homebrews, and remind us that we’re living the dream.

Stay Relentless my friends! Cheers!

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Refuge Gone Wild 2: The Long Overdue Update

Hello again heroes & friends!

Since we’re starting a new year, I thought it might be nice to share more developments regarding all the fun and funky endeavors we have happening at Refuge. I still can’t believe my last update was 6 months ago. Time keeps flying. Anyway, here’s our current funk inventory in all its humble quarantined glory:

funk program

First in funk news, it appears a good number of Refuge’s local fans got to enjoy our Batch 2 anniversary beer as well as Batch 2 with strawberries & Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces blend recently.

The base beer for our 2nd anniversary was our Refugee Tripel with Viognier grape must, aged in red wine barrels. The so-called Batch 2 Berry version (which has the red wax instead of black) still resides in a red wine barrel, due to the solera technique I’ve been experimenting with, and it gets funkier by the day.

batch2brett

The first limited release of bottles sold out the night of the anniversary party, but we still have a keg of the beer on tap at the brewery. As I mentioned, we’ve been trying out a sour beer technique called solera, where you pull only some beer from the barrel and top it back up with fresh beer. In this case, all 3 times that I’ve pulled either a quarter or half of the barrel, I’ve also added more and more fresh pureed strawberries.

It has been fun to watch the flavors as they’ve changed, with the current version on draft having been pulled 2 months ago, the now sold-out bottled version having been pulled 3 weeks ago, and the next keg on deck to go on tap being a part of the 3rd pull a couple days ago. The latest version seems to be getting more and more barrel character and what was once big strawberry shortcake in the nose appears to be morphing towards spicy vanilla tannins & tangy lemon zest notes. In a perfect world, I’d be giving this beer a little more time between pulls, but you guys keep drinking it all!

The most recent pull from the barrel allowed us to top it back up with the base beer, some basic Tripel, & a funky blend of 3 experimental 5 gallon trials that I’ve dubbed ‘Funkapotamus’. That mix contains both the Lochristi Brett blend and White Labs Brett Clausenii, not to mention potential wild yeasts from the added fruits in the trial batches. I’m really excited to pull a keg or two off of the barrel in a couple months (hopefully) and see where things are headed. If it’s anything like the beers in Funkapotamus, it’ll be fruitier and more acidic.

If you’ve been into the brewery lately, you know we’ve started serving more and more funky beers on our barrel-aged reserve taps as well.

ReservesBoard

It’s now not unusual for us to have 3 to 5 Brett influenced beers on tap at any time, not to mention any small experimental 5 gallon batches I might sneak on. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I can funk & fruit beers fairly quickly in rather neutral barrels, versus the aging and barrel needs of our bourbon barrel program.

We currently have 5 Brettanomyces beers on tap. Besides the Batch 2 Berry, we have Bretter Off Red, a Merlot barrel version of our Rampart Red with Brett B Trois, the Lochristi blend, & Brett C. The result after 9 months of barrel aging is a very wine-like creation with big floral and funky Brett notes in the nose and plenty of barrel character right behind it.

We also have Life of Lemons and The Razz Fairy. The base beer is the same for both and I’m using a similar single barrel solera technique in this one as I am in the anniversary beer. The beer is white wine barrel aged Citra Saison with Yeast Bay Beersel Brett blend, Meyer lemon zest, and more recently it has also included raspberries. The raspberries were added after the initial 2 keg pull of Life of Lemons, and more were added after the recent pull of a keg of The Razz Fairy. Here’s The Razz Fairy barrel on the left, still going strong and hungry for more raspberries:

citra+oracle

The other offering currently on tap, that I strongly suspect has a Brett Brux variation in it, is Old Soul. We did not intentionally funkify this particular barrel of Refugee Tripel. We just let it age for 14 months in a pinot noir barrel with plums, pluots, & blueberries added over the last couple months (once Brett character became apparent). Old Soul has been a hit with most of the staff thanks to its smorgasbord of intensely interesting flavors and I’m excited to work with more blueberries (and hopefully pinot barrels) in the future.

That covers what’s on tap, but if you know me you know I’m far more excited about what we have in the works!

As I mentioned above, we still have barrels going of the Batch 2 Berry and the Life of Lemons (that has morphed into The Razz Fairy with the addition of raspberries).

We also have:

– 2 wine barrels of Paint The Town Brown inoculated with White Labs Lacto D & Yeast Bay Amalgamation Brett blend. They’ve been rocking out for about 4 months now and it’s really interesting to taste how different the two are right now.

– 2 wine barrels of Session Citra Saison. One has Yeast Bay Brussels Brett blend, strawberries and Cara Cara oranges. It was delightfully tangy and funky before the fruit went in. The other has Yeast Bay Lochristi Brett blend, White Labs Brett Clausenii, raspberries, and blackberries. Both have healthy pellicles going and I suspect I’ll be pulling a keg or two of one of them soon. One of the aforementioned pellicles:

pellicle fun

– 2 wine barrels of Citra Saison. One has White Labs Brett Brux, passion fruit, and Temecula Ugly tangerines. The other is the same minus the passion fruit. So far Temecula Uglies have shown a fair bit of promise as far as interesting local fruit to add.

– 1 wine barrel of Oracle, an abbey ale with Juniper berries. I recently added plums and Wyeast Brett Lambicus to this (hoping to incorporate some of that sour cherry pie flavor they describe).

– 1 Heaven Hill Corn Whiskey barrel of our IPA of the Day (hopped with Summer, Columbus, & Palisade) with White Labs Brett Clausenii, Temecula Uglies, apricots, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, & plums. This barrel has been quite interesting to sample over the last 4+ months. The IPA already had big white grape and peachy flavors and the whiskey barrel character keeps getting heavier. The last time I tasted it, it was hard to tell there was much fruit or Brett in the mix.

As a result, it has become the recent fruit dumping ground for any pureed fruit that I can’t fit in its intended barrel(s). Usually I’ll top up my barrels every couple of months to make up for evaporation, but in this case we just keep feeding the head space more strange fruit. I have no idea where this particular ride is headed, but whenever we decide to pull Fruit Salad IPA out it should be fun.

In general, I’m getting to play around quite a bit now with single barrels in hopes of finding combinations that can be ramped up, somewhat repeated and bottled. Fruit Salad Brett Corn Whiskey IPA aside of course.

Also, I thought I’d share a couple of Brett pellicle pictures. This one’s just getting going:

peliicle beginning

And this is Yeast Bay Lochristi after 5 months:

Lochristi Pellicle

I also want to take this opportunity to wish a number of my co-workers that have moved on continued success. A toast to you Brett Harwood, as you continue your career at a little known brewery called Ballast Point:

toast to brett

To Jared & Katie, it was awesome rocking out with you guys and I hope our paths cross again soon. Minnesota is cold btw:

jared yeast party

san diego event

And a way overdue shout out to The Manimal, my first Assistant Cellarman man crush, David Leal. In the words of Tupac, Temecula Ain’t Hard To Find:

daveEvent

 

Finally, I want to say a GIGANTIC thanks to Jay Goodwin, of The Rare Barrel, and The Brewing Network. Jay has started a new show with the BN, called the Sour Hour, and the interviews with other sour producers (not to mention Jay’s info) have been a great resource for a newly funked out cellarman like myself. Keep up the good work Jay!

This hero is out!

Refuge Gone Wild: Fun With Brettanomyces!

Hi fellow heroes!

My apologies for the long absence. I have a tendency to get very wrapped up in my work when my work includes fun, funk & barrels.

Today I want to get everybody up to speed on what we’ve been doing at Refuge with Brettanomyces because we’re really excited to be a part of the new wave of American Wild Ales.

 freebird art

Our first foray into the world of Brett beers was Free Bird, a beer pre-determined to pour for our second Summer Nights event on June 21st. I will admit it was rather nerve-racking to promise a potentially slow-fermenting (funky) beer within a 6 week window, but you don’t start making Brett beers unless you like to live dangerously to begin with.

The barrel chosen was a wine barrel that had previously imparted very little character and produced very neutral beer. While that wasn’t great for a lot of what we were doing with our barrel program, it worked just fine for Brett beer.

Free Bird started as simply a barrel fermented 100% WLP 644 Brett B Trois version of our flagship beer, Blood Orange Wit. We filled the barrel right off the brewhouse with wort and let the beer ferment predominantly in our storage space, as there are always concerns of cross-contamination with such a super-attenuating yeast (that can eat wood proteins).

brett note

In this case the term ‘burn’ just means immerse everything in 180 degree water so we limit our chances of ‘clean’ beers getting extra funky flavors and attenuation from Brett.

So with caution Free Bird proceeded. I was a proud father. I photographed some of his first CO2 bubbles:

freebird bubbling

And when he was kegged:

kegging freebird

And finally his first pint:

freebird pint

Along the way Free Bird morphed from a strictly Brett version of our Blood Orange Wit, to include a 5 gallon batch of 100% WLP 645 Brett C Wit & some pineapples and grapefruit blended in for good measure.

I also made a 5 gallon batch of 100% WLP 650 Brett B Wit and that ended up being its own entity with blood oranges and limes, called What The Funk?

The really fun thing about all of this was that we added the Brett C Wit & fruit to a new barrel and transferred all but 5 or so gallons of the Free Bird onto that. We then immediately re-filled the initial barrel full of Brett B Trois with the wort from an Illusion Belgian IPA brew. That new enterprise, now called Delusion, was rocking right away the next morning:

delusion krausen

I’ve never seen a Brett B Trois fermentation take off that fast, but then again this was my first time re-pitching it. At any rate, we dry hopped Delusion with a healthy amount of Galaxy, Columbus, & Centennial and we’re all enjoying its bouquet of danky bubblegum and slightly funky melon notes.

Rest assured funk fans, there’s more in the works. Some upcoming projects include:

– 5 gallons of Refugee Tripel with limes & mangoes on Yeast Bay’s Beersel Brett blend.

– 100% Brett B Trois version of our awesome Shelter 9 IPA dry hopped big with some fun things that may include El Dorado, Mosaic, Huell Melon, etc. This will be released at the August 16th Summer Nights event.

– Sauvignon Blanc barrel aged Citra Saison with kumquats on the Yeast Bay’s Lochristi Brett blend.

– White wine barrel aged Imperial Saison with strawberries and cherries on WLP 645 Brett C.

– All sorts of permutations and experiments using new strains and blends like the ones The Yeast Bay is offering.

I also want to mention, since it will get dragged into Brett territory here and there, that our Citra Saison should be out and about on draft pretty soon. I was so excited to see it pouring at one of my favorite watering holes, Public House, that I took a picture:

citra on public house menu

While we’re veering from the path of funk I should also mention that we were really excited to take 3 medals at this year’s San Diego International Beer Festival!

103871sd fair awards

Finally, I want to say a big thanks to The Mad Fermentationist, Michael Tonsmeire, for always being helpful and assuring me I wouldn’t have to worry about too much oxygen pick up if I fermented Free Bird in a barrel. There’s some beer that’ll be getting bottled and sent your way buddy!

Jester King, as always, deserves a shout out too as they always open their brains for picking about many things farmhouse. They should be expecting beermail too!

That’s all for now. If you find yourself in Southern California, come and drink all this funk so we can make more!

Working For @RefugeBrewery And Moving At The Speed Of Life!

Hi fellow heroes!

My apologies for the delayed update, but things have been a little hectic lately in my world. Between the new job as Lead Cellarman at Refuge in Temecula, CA, getting married in a week, and trying to get our bad selves moved to SoCal, we’re eager for things to calm down a little after all this fun. Or we’ll just keep having fun!

Here’s a pic of me getting down and dirty with my new fleet of kegs:

refuge keg washing

I’m really excited about this opportunity with Refuge and you can expect all sorts of fun barrel beers, one-off dry hopped kegs, cool pilot batches, etc. Not to mention stellar beer like our crowd favorite Blood Orange Wit and our new hop bursted IPA, Shelter 9.

Those of you that know me pretty well (like the SNAFU’ers in Vegas), know that a Belgian-focused brewery is a perfect fit for me. We actually just released an awesome Saison called Trois with pink peppercorns and strawberries! It benefits Breast Cancer Awareness to boot! Pun intended:

trois_saison

Whether local or from far away lands, please feel free to stop by anytime and bring me homebrews to try or just to hang out and have a beer (and put money in the boot). 🙂

Alright, back to last minute wedding planning. I look forward to seeing a lot of my buddies from all over the world at Sunset Park next Saturday afternoon. All blog subscribers welcome!

My Latest IPAs! Full Tasting Notes, Recipes, and Water Profiles.

Hello heroes!

Sorry for the sporadic updates. Rest assured my brewing has been cruising along at anywhere from 1 to 3 brews a week. Lately I’ve been tinkering around with the ideal water profile for an IPA and all sorts of hop combinations, grain bills, & yeasts along the way.

I thought it was about time I put up an update on all the IPAs, recipes, water profiles used, etc.

First up is Water Tweaker IPA (also known as Jamil Says & Like Father Like Son):

Brewed 11/25, Kegged 12/19, Bottled 1/6, Tasted 1/13

Tasting Notes

Nose – Luscious peach, light floral and resin, clean hop punch

Flavor – Interesting dynamic from a drier water profile & maltier (for me) IPA grain bill, good mouthfeel, pleasant finish, light fruit, apricot, resin, delightful rounded fruity flavor

Water Profile (according to Bru ‘N Water) was: 88.4 Calcium, 20.9 Magnesium, 8 Sodium, 152.7 Sulfate, 4 Chloride,  & 83.2 Bicarbonate with an Alkalinity of 69 and a Residual Alkalinity of -7. I mashed at 149 and the mash was 5.45 pH. All of my salt additions went into the mash and I sparged with RO. (Additions: 4.34g Gypsum, 7.2g Epsom, 2.09g Lime, 3mL Lactic Acid)

Recipe

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 9.03 gal
Post Boil Volume: 7.11 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.63 gal
Estimated OG: 1.068 SG
Estimated Color: 6.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 66.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 77.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 87.8 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
12 lbs 12.0 oz        Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        86.4 %        
12.0 oz               Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)             Grain         3        5.1 %         
1 lbs                 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 15L (15.0 SRM)    Grain         2        6.8 %         
4.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)    Grain         4        1.7 %         
2.0 pkg               Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) [35 Yeast         12       -             
30.00 g               Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           5        49.1 IBUs     
12.00 g               Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min         Hop           7        3.9 IBUs      
12.00 g               Mosaic [12.70 %] - Boil 10.0 min         Hop           6        3.8 IBUs      
16.00 g               Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           9        4.4 IBUs      
19.00 g               Mosaic [12.70 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           8        5.1 IBUs      
28.00 g               Mosaic [12.70 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           10       0.0 IBUs      
14.00 g               Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           11       0.0 IBUs      
57.00 g               Mosaic [12.70 %] - Dry Hop 14.0 Days     Hop           13       0.0 IBUs      
33.00 g               Nugget [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 14.0 Days     Hop           14       0.0 IBUs      
27.00 g               Mosaic [12.70 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days      Hop           16       0.0 IBUs      
31.00 g               Nugget [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days      Hop           15       0.0 IBUs      
28.00 g               Mosaic [12.70 %] - Dry Hop 7.0 Days      Hop           17       0.0 IBUs

Next is Citrus Bomb 1 (also known as CB1 and Wayward Citrus Bomb 1):

Brewed 12/3, Kegged 12/25, Bottled 1/6, Tasted 1/13

Tasting Notes

Nose – Dank peach, over-ripe melon, grainy malt, apricot, boozy fruit cocktail

Flavor – Lemony, tangy, mandarin oranges, very light malt presence, finish has some roundness, not a long lingering dryness, not intensely bitter. Very clean with bitter lemon, plum, citrus, & some white grape/winey notes.

Water Profile was: 102.5 Calcium, 21.1 Magnesium, 18.4 Sodium, 231.9 Sulfate, 40.4 Chloride, 28.9 Bicarbonate with an Alkalinity of 24 and a Residual Alkalinity of -62. Mash was 152 and pH was 5.52 and I sparged with all RO. (Additions: 8.98g Gypsum, 7.31 Epsom, .92g NaCl, 1.5g CaCl, 1.01 Lime, 2mL Lactic Acid)

Recipe can be found here.

After Citrus Bomb 1 you must have Citrus Bomb 2! As you’ll recall these were the 2 brews I did for the ‘Average Brewday’ tab.

Brewed 12/3. Kegged 12/30. Bottled 1/6. Tasted 1/13.

Tasting Notes

Nose – Fruit, a little dank fruit cup, tropical with piney forest notes, over-ripe mandarin orange, grassy resin. Side note – I’ve noticed Nelson can add some boozy notes that make you think there are fusels or ‘alcohol burn’.

Flavor – Dry with slightly minerally finish, some rich fruity notes – dries out to very clean finish. Might need slightly more malt backbone for Tasty McDole’s water profile. White grape winey notes with dank undertones.

Water Profile was (very close to what Mike ‘Tasty’ McDole does for all of his water): 110.3 Calcium, 19 Magnesium, 31.9 Sodium, 318.4 Sulfate, 54.9 Chloride with an Alkalinity of -50 and a Residual Alkalinity of -140. Mash was 152 and pH was 5.52 and salts were split evenly on a per gallon basis between the mash and sparge water. (Mash Additions: 8.02 Gypsum, 3.54 Epsom, 1.07 NaCl, .57 CaCl, 2 mL Lactic – Sparge Additions: 6.95 Gypsum, 3.04 Epsom, 1.07 NaCl, .42 CaCl)

Recipe can be found here.

Believe it or not I have more IPAs in my chest freezer! The next one is Thirst For Burst IPA. Both TFB and the Purring Kitten 5 Session IPA were inspired by this recipe in the Nov/Dec 2013 Zymurgy magazine:

20140115_232542

Brewed 12/9, Kegged 1/6, Tasted 1/13

Tasting Notes

Aroma – Rich danky fruit, tropical and floral spicy resin. Light mandarin orange – very Enjoy By-ish with no one signature hop but plenty of hop character. Light pineapple as it warms.

Flavor – Danky spicy resin. Fruit with an immediate dank punch, pleasant but light malt, lingering dryness. No doubt this is an IPA. No ups and down in the flavor wave – just a deliberate hop punch.

Water Profile was: 107.9 Calcium, 21.4 Magnesium, 28.8 Sodium, 321.4 Sulfate, 51.4 Chloride, 16 Bicarbonate with an Alkalinity of 13 and a Residual Alkalinity of -76. Mash was 150 with a pH of 5.31. All salt additions went into the mash. (Mash Additions: 14.48 Gypsum, 7.43 Epsom, 1.81 NaCl, 1.11 CaCl)

Recipe

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 9.03 gal
Post Boil Volume: 7.11 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.63 gal
Estimated OG: 1.061 SG
Estimated Color: 5.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 56.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.4 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
8 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        61.5 %        
2 lbs                 GW Pale Malt (2.0 SRM)                   Grain         2        15.4 %        
1 lbs                 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 15L (15.0 SRM)    Grain         3        7.7 %         
8.0 oz                Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)             Grain         4        3.8 %         
2.0 pkg               California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35. Yeast         14       -             
35.00 g               Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.30 %] - Boil 15. Hop           8        18.1 IBUs     
40.00 g               Galaxy [15.40 %] - Boil 15.0 min         Hop           6        20.9 IBUs     
40.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 15.0 min  Hop           7        17.1 IBUs     
35.00 g               Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.30 %] - Boil 0.0 Hop           10       0.0 IBUs      
30.00 g               Galaxy [15.40 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           12       0.0 IBUs      
30.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 0.0 min   Hop           13       0.0 IBUs      
31.00 g               Centennial [8.90 %] - Boil 0.0 min       Hop           11       0.0 IBUs      
38.00 g               Motueka [7.50 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           9        0.0 IBUs      
1 lbs 8.0 oz          Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM)          Sugar         5        11.5 %        
31.00 g               Motueka [7.00 %] - Dry Hop 17.0 Days     Hop           15       0.0 IBUs      
30.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 17.0 D Hop           16       0.0 IBUs      
28.00 g               Galaxy [14.00 %] - Dry Hop 17.0 Days     Hop           17       0.0 IBUs      
20.00 g               Centennial [10.00 %] - Dry Hop 17.0 Days Hop           18       0.0 IBUs      
23.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Da Hop           20       0.0 IBUs      
25.00 g               Galaxy [14.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days      Hop           19       0.0 IBUs      
21.00 g               Centennial [10.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days  Hop           21       0.0 IBUs      
18.00 g               Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days       Hop           22       0.0 IBUs

Purring Kitten 5 Session IPA should also get a mention because it’s delicious.

Brewed 12/9. Kegged 1/6. Tasted 1/13.

Tasting Notes

Aroma – Rich pineapple, cherry, complementary malt – like a bright fruit cocktail. Some plum, nose is big and bold. Carbonation level makes a big difference on how well this one pops.

Flavor – Balanced hoppy finish. Doesn’t taste 4%. Light bodied with a clean finish & not terribly long dryness. A lingering slight biscuit note with strong hop flavor.

Water Profile was: 103.2 Calcium, 18.8 Magnesium, 19.4 Sodium, 222.6 Sulfate, 38.2 Chloride, 74.6 Bicarbonate with an Alkalinity of 62 and Residual Alkalinity of -23. Mash was 149 with a pH of 5.32. All salts went into mash. (Mash Additions: 9.03 Gypsum, 6.51 Epsom, .95 NaCl, 1.19 CaCl, 1.11 Lime, 1 mL Lactic Acid)

Recipe

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 8.51 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.59 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.13 gal
Estimated OG: 1.043 SG
Estimated Color: 7.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 48.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.8 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
6 lbs                 Great Western Pale Malt (2.0 SRM)        Grain         1        64.7 %        
1 lbs 4.0 oz          Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)                    Grain         2        13.5 %        
8.0 oz                White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         3        5.4 %         
5.1 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM)    Grain         5        3.5 %         
5.1 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)    Grain         6        3.5 %         
4.0 oz                Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)                 Grain         7        2.7 %         
6.1 oz                Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)             Grain         4        4.1 %         
4.0 oz                Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                  Grain         8        2.7 %         
2.0 pkg               East Coast Ale (White Labs #WLP008) [35. Yeast         15       -             
41.00 g               Citra [11.70 %] - Boil 15.0 min          Hop           9        17.5 IBUs     
30.00 g               Galaxy [15.40 %] - Boil 15.0 min         Hop           10       16.9 IBUs     
29.00 g               Simcoe [13.20 %] - Boil 15.0 min         Hop           11       14.0 IBUs     
51.00 g               Citra [11.70 %] - Boil 0.0 min           Hop           12       0.0 IBUs      
40.00 g               Galaxy [15.40 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           13       0.0 IBUs      
30.00 g               Simcoe [13.20 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           14       0.0 IBUs      
30.00 g               Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 17.0 Days      Hop           16       0.0 IBUs      
25.00 g               Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 17.0 Days     Hop           18       0.0 IBUs      
34.00 g               Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days       Hop           20       0.0 IBUs      
37.00 g               Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days      Hop           19       0.0 IBUs      
33.00 g               Galaxy [14.00 %] - Dry Hop 9.0 Days      Hop           21       0.0 IBUs      
30.00 g               Galaxy [14.00 %] - Dry Hop 17.0 Days     Hop           17       0.0 IBUs

The fruits of all of this brewing labor have been wonderful and intoxicating. I sent a few of these beers off to competitions and I’ll be sending more soon. I’ll be sure to update on how everything does.

For the sake of water profile comparison here’s an excel sheet: WaterProfiles01-15-14. At this point, if you put a gun to my head and made me take one of these water profiles for IPA brewing eternity, I’d take the ‘Safe Play IPA’ water I put together for Citrus Bomb 1. I think it’s well-geared for IPAs but I get the impression it would stand up better to both West Coast hop bombs and a little more malt-forward takes on the style.

The Tasty McDole profile with higher sulfates was quite nice on Thirst For Burst but a little over the top (it seemed) on Citrus Bomb 2. Obviously grain bill, hopping, mash pH, yeast, etc can play huge roles as well….and probably did. Dialing in a water for the specific beer you’re crafting looks like the ideal way to go to me.

I’ve already re-brewed Water Tweaker with slightly more aggressive water, slight grain bill tweaks and Simcoe in the mix with the Mosaic & Nugget. I also plan to continue pursuing hop bursted IPAs like Thirst For Burst, as I’m a big fan of Stone’s brand of hop bomb and I think that immediately ushers you into the ballpark.

Time to keep scouring the interwebs for more water knowledge. Until next time friends.

Tasting The Spirited Gumballs

A little over a month ago I took a few shots at another two 3 Floyds Gumball-esque beers. I wasn’t going for dead ringer clones necessarily, but for beers that captured the overall spirit of the beer. That’s how they affectionately became known as the Spirited Gumballs.

I’ve had both on tap for a little over a week now and had a few friends over to try them. I wanted to get input from others because I feel that all too often you’re relying on the impressions of the brewer alone on these things.

Here’s my buddy Mike (a hardcore beer aficionado) sampling the two and writing tasting notes:

20131216_154338

Right off the bat I can see why they lager this beer for 3 weeks. It comes out fairly cloudy with 25% wheat. I added Biofine to mine when I kegged them. Both of my brews came in right around 5% ABV, so they were a shade lower than the 5.5 or 5.6% you’ll see on theirs.

All that said, I’ll go ahead and give the tasting notes & recipes.

The first Spirited Gumball on WLP 051 (Cal V) started at 1.048 & finished out at 1.010. Here were my tasting notes:

– Light tangy white grape, bubblegummy with creamy finish, some sweet wheaty notes with a touch of nut, a little floral/soapy finish, some hop spice and resin, pH might be a hair low.

Here were my buddy Mike’s thoughts from a blind tasting:

– Banana and kiwi aroma, typical Grant farmhousey-ness, Belgian wheat notes, no hops in nose, nutty & wheaty, good mouthfeel, delicious all day drinker, maybe a touch of booze heat, smooths out as it warms.

Even though Spirited 051 is my least favorite of the two, it’s still finding itself endangered after a short stint on the kegerator. I think Mike was picking up Belgian notes and heat from some of the Nelson Sauvin characteristics. I thought it went a little winey with some spicy resiny notes, partially because of its dance partner being Chinook. Also, Mike recently had Prairie Ales Merica, which is a farmhouse beer with Nelson.

I should also mention that the grain bill seemed pretty solid and probably rather close to what 3 Floyds is doing if their advice in Brewing With Wheat can be trusted.

Anyway, here’s the BeerSmith report on Spirited 051:

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 8.51 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.59 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.13 gal
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 3.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 83.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        70.4 %        
2 lbs 8.0 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        25.2 %        
4.0 oz                Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)             Grain         3        2.5 %         
3.0 oz                Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)                 Grain         4        1.9 %         
2.0 pkg               California Ale V (White Labs #WLP051) [3 Yeast         12       -             
9.00 g                Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           5        16.0 IBUs     
10.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 10.0 min  Hop           7        3.5 IBUs      
10.00 g               Chinook [11.40 %] - Boil 10.0 min        Hop           6        3.1 IBUs      
15.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 5.0 min   Hop           8        4.3 IBUs      
10.00 g               Chinook [11.40 %] - Boil 5.0 min         Hop           9        2.6 IBUs      
28.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 0.0 min   Hop           10       0.0 IBUs      
14.00 g               Chinook [11.40 %] - Boil 0.0 min         Hop           11       0.0 IBUs      
43.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Dry Hop 8.0 Da Hop           14       0.0 IBUs      
47.00 g               Chinook [11.40 %] - Dry Hop 8.0 Days     Hop           13       0.0 IBUs

Next up was Spirited Gumball 028 on White Labs Edinburgh. I used this yeast because I’m a little burned out on Union Jack IPA and beers done on the usual English Ale 002. The beer went from 1.050 to 1.012 and I was quite happy with the results. My tasting notes were:

– Lime, tangerine, lemon front with nutty back, a little sweet & sour mandarin orange, drinks drier than the first beer despite flaked oats & higher finishing gravity. Similar wheaty notes, flows better, seems better constructed as a beer. Creamy citrus with a light fruit juicy nose.

Mike’s take on it was:

– Lemony nose & taste, clean crisp dry wheat, subtle farmhouse as it warms, & citrus that fades as it warms.

I believe he also mentioned it reminding him of drinking Pyramid Hef coming up as a young buck on the ruthless streets of Portland.

Out of the initial 4 side by side samplers, Spirited 028 has won every time. With that said, I’m on my 3rd pint of Spirited 051 right now and it is also a lovely beer. Hopefully I’ll get around to entering both in upcoming January competitions.

1/23/14 EDIT: Spirited 028 took 2nd place in Winterbrew 2014 in Chicago.

Here are the BeerSmith stats for Spirited 028:

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 8.51 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.59 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.13 gal
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 4.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 27.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        69.2 %        
2 lbs 8.0 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        24.7 %        
4.0 oz                Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)                 Grain         3        2.5 %         
1.9 oz                Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                  Grain         5        1.2 %         
4.0 oz                Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                   Grain         4        2.5 %         
2.0 pkg               Edinburgh Ale (White Labs #WLP028) [35.4 Yeast         14       -             
9.00 g                Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           6        16.0 IBUs     
10.00 g               Citra [14.10 %] - Boil 10.0 min          Hop           8        3.9 IBUs      
15.00 g               Motueka [6.70 %] - Boil 10.0 min         Hop           7        2.8 IBUs      
12.00 g               Motueka [6.70 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           10       1.8 IBUs      
12.00 g               Mosaic [11.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           9        3.2 IBUs      
10.00 g               Citra [14.10 %] - Boil 0.0 min           Hop           11       0.0 IBUs      
10.00 g               Motueka [6.70 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           13       0.0 IBUs      
10.00 g               Mosaic [11.50 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           12       0.0 IBUs      
29.00 g               Citra [14.10 %] - Dry Hop 8.0 Days       Hop           15       0.0 IBUs      
28.00 g               Motueka [6.70 %] - Dry Hop 8.0 Days      Hop           17       0.0 IBUs      
28.00 g               Mosaic [11.50 %] - Dry Hop 8.0 Days      Hop           16       0.0 IBUs

All in all, I think I will continue down this road with Edinburgh 028 yeast and various citrusy hops. I should have some Azacca & El Dorado in my possession tomorrow, so hoppy shenanigans will likely ensue.

Sooner or later I’ll give a broader update on everything else I have going on. Here’s a picture of Purring Kitten 4, the French Saison Wine, & Water Tweaker IPA all waiting for transfer.

20131219_212323

Purring Kitten Session IPA on WLP 862 Cry Havoc smelled incredible. I can’t wait to try it in the coming days.

Alright friends, I’ll leave you with something that still cracks me up everyday when I get to work. My hairy face on a popular product:

20131119_185612

Be well and prosper y’all.

Capturing The Spirit Of 3 Floyds Gumballhead

Hi fellow heroes!

I have been planning on taking more runs at 3 Floyds Gumballhead cloning because I never really did it properly and my post on cloning Gumballhead is by far my most popular. My blog has a total of 11,745 hits to date and that single post has been responsible for 1,404 of them. Almost 12%.

However, I’m here to tell you that I am not an absolute cloner of beers. I’m much more into capturing the spirit of a beer but putting my own personal twist on it. My latest 3 Gumball-esque endeavors all demonstrate that very well. The 3 Floyds guys wanted a summer wheat beer that didn’t suck with great hop character and that’s my mission too. With that said, I am happy to share my recipes and thoughts.

Here’s the guidance Brewing With Wheat gives:

2012-07-24 13.27.21

It appears Gumballhead may have changed over time as 3 Floyds’ site now says it’s 5.6%, 35 IBUs, and only mentions Amarillo hops. Having worked in a professional brewery, I can confirm that beers can change based on ingredient availability, new supply channels, a brewer’s whims, etc.

Fortunately I only want to make nice hop-forward American Wheat beers that capture the spirit of Gumballhead, so I won’t agonize over IBUs or hop selection.

With that said, on 10/7 I brewed Grant’s Golden Gumball. I was trying to nail down the Gumball malt bill but because I couldn’t get any Amarillo at the time, I played around with some other hops I liked and/or found potentially intriguing.

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 9 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.5 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.13 gal
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 4.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 79.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 91.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        71.2 %        
2 lbs 8.0 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        25.4 %        
5.3 oz                Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)                 Grain         3        3.4 %         
28.00 g               Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.30 %] - Boil  Hop           4        16.5 IBUs     
27.00 g               German Brewer's Gold [6.20 %] - Boil 10. Hop           5        4.6 IBUs      
28.00 g               German Brewer's Gold [6.20 %] - Boil 0.0 Hop           8        0.0 IBUs      
29.00 g               Galaxy [13.70 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           7        0.0 IBUs      
28.00 g               German Brewer's Gold [6.20 %] - Boil 5.0 Hop           6        4.0 IBUs      
2.0 pkg               California Ale V (White Labs #WLP051) [3 Yeast         9        -             
28.00 g               Citra [14.10 %] - Dry Hop 12.0 Days      Hop           10       0.0 IBUs      
28.00 g               Galaxy [13.70 %] - Dry Hop 12.0 Days     Hop           11       0.0 IBUs

German Brewer’s Gold did deliver on some of the spicy black currant notes, but it was fairly mellow and balanced. The additional Galaxy & Citra were nice, but I think I’ll mull over the BJCP guidelines for 6D American Wheat and consider a more aggressive dry hop than 2 oz on future versions. I thought California V WLP 051 did just fine.

My biggest complaint was there was a strange lingering slightly nutty note in the finish, which almost has to have been the Aromatic. Mind you, I love Aromatic and use 4-6 oz of it in many of my recipes, but even the 5.3 oz in this recipe seemed too much. Perhaps it melds a little better if you use the WLP 002 English Ale that Gumball uses. Yeast can play a huge factor in whether or not a grain bill works.

The water additions to 5 gallons of RO in the mash were: 2mL Lactic Acid, 4.5g Gypsum, 7.2g Epsom, 1.4g Canning Salt, 3.2g Calcium Chloride, & 1g Pickling Lime and the mash pH was 5.6. I sparged with 4 gallons of un-altered RO. (I am indeed starting to read up on whether or not I should acidify my RO sparge water by the way.) Mash temp was 149.

Anyway, Grant’s Golden Gumball turned out pretty nicely overall. Apparently fest-goers at Brew’s Best at Lake Las Vegas tore through 5 gallons of it and 2 other kegs of mine. Here’s a pic of it (in the middle):

brews best beers

On a side note, I know a couple of brewers that I’ve turned onto German Brewer’s Gold have had good results. My buddy Clyde took 3rd (behind me :P) in the Nevada State Championship with his Belgian Pale featuring Brewer’s Gold. (Interestingly enough, we brewed those at his house on the same day.) Speaking of the NV Championship, here is the cover sheet for my score sheets:

nv champ scores

I’ll put up pics of my bad self acting ridiculous with all 6 NV State Championship medals soon. I put them all on when they were awarded to me at the SNAFU meeting last Friday. I felt like a fat, bearded Mark Spitz. Here’s the link to a pic of him for those that don’t understand.

Anyway, based on thinking even 5.3 oz of Aromatic was a touch overboard I brewed 2 more versions of Spirited Gumball two days ago. The first was also on Cal V WLP 051 but with 3 oz Aromatic and 4 oz Carapils. I hopped it with Nelson & Chinook. I was going to do a Nelson & Chinook beer at Big Dog’s on a Belgo IPA, so I thought it’d be fun to see how that combo turned out in this arena.

I added 2.5mL Lactic Acid, 4.5g Gypsum, 4g Calcium Chloride, 7.2g Epsom, 1g Pickling Lime, 1.4g Canning Salt to the 5 gallon RO mash. Sparged with 4 gal RO un-altered. Mash came in a touch low at 5.2 ish. Mash temp was 149. I ended up dry hopping with 43g Nelson & 47g Chinook for 8 days before kegging.

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 9 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.5 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.13 gal
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 3.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 83.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        70.4 %        
2 lbs 8.0 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        25.2 %        
4.0 oz                Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)             Grain         3        2.5 %         
3.0 oz                Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)                 Grain         4        1.9 %         
2.0 pkg               California Ale V (White Labs #WLP051) [3 Yeast         12       -             
9.00 g                Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           5        16.0 IBUs     
10.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 10.0 min  Hop           7        3.5 IBUs      
10.00 g               Chinook [11.40 %] - Boil 10.0 min        Hop           6        3.1 IBUs      
15.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 5.0 min   Hop           8        4.3 IBUs      
10.00 g               Chinook [11.40 %] - Boil 5.0 min         Hop           9        2.6 IBUs      
28.00 g               Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] - Boil 0.0 min   Hop           10       0.0 IBUs      
14.00 g               Chinook [11.40 %] - Boil 0.0 min         Hop           11       0.0 IBUs

That same day I started straying away from pure Gumball-ishness towards something in my wheelhouse. I went with 4 oz of Aromatic but added 4 oz Flaked Oats and 2 oz Victory malt. I also ran it on WLP 028 Edinburgh and hopped it with Citra, Motueka, & Mosaic. This version especially starts to encapsulate how I will take a beer as inspiration and then make it into my own animal.

In this beer I had to tweak additions a little because I was out of Calcium Chloride. In the 5 gallon RO mash I put 3 mL Lactic Acid, 4.5g Gypsum, 7.2g Epsom, 2.3g Canning Salt, & 1.5g Pickling Lime. Mash pH was 5.26. Mash temp was 150. I dry hopped this one with 29g Citra, 28g Motueka, 28g Mosaic for 8 days as well.

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 9 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.5 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.13 gal
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 4.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 27.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        69.2 %        
2 lbs 8.0 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        24.7 %        
4.0 oz                Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)                 Grain         3        2.5 %         
1.9 oz                Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                  Grain         5        1.2 %         
4.0 oz                Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                   Grain         4        2.5 %         
2.0 pkg               Edinburgh Ale (White Labs #WLP028) [35.4 Yeast         14       -             
9.00 g                Nugget [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           6        16.0 IBUs     
10.00 g               Citra [14.10 %] - Boil 10.0 min          Hop           8        3.9 IBUs      
15.00 g               Motueka [6.70 %] - Boil 10.0 min         Hop           7        2.8 IBUs      
12.00 g               Motueka [6.70 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           10       1.8 IBUs      
12.00 g               Mosaic [11.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           9        3.2 IBUs      
10.00 g               Citra [14.10 %] - Boil 0.0 min           Hop           11       0.0 IBUs      
10.00 g               Motueka [6.70 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           13       0.0 IBUs      
10.00 g               Mosaic [11.50 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           12       0.0 IBUs

Based on how those 2 beers turn out, I should have a better feel for what yeast and hops work best. Regardless, I strongly suspect both of those last two brews will be very tasty beers.

Besides all of those shenanigans, I recommend checking out Mad Fermentationist’s latest post on mash pH and the latest Brewing Network Brew Strong’s Water Q&A with Jamil & John Palmer. 

Purring Kitten Version 3 off of the kegerator is quite nice, so I should probably go ahead and brew the next batch soon. Breakfast In Antwerp Oatmeal Saison is on the docket to be brewed soon too. I should be kegging up my Ordinary Bitters & Attack Of The Blends IPA in the next few days.

Come to think of it, I don’t know if I ever mentioned that I attended the Modern Times grand opening…but Mad Fermentationist AKA my homeboy Mikey T was a great guy to talk to. Really smart, humble, super friendly, etc. A seeker and sharer of truth and goodness.

Seriously guys, my crew was fairly in the bag (as this was our 4th brewery stop) and he and I were discussing random Brett strains as the bouncer was kicking us out (at the end of the night), but he walked us to the door – not missing a beat. Great guy and the beers were awesome. Shortly after our encounter I noticed my blog was getting hits from a link he provided on his.

In short, nothing but love for guys like Mad Fermentationist & Jamil & John on The Brewing Network. I keep trying my best to follow in their footsteps.

Alright, that’s all for tonight. Be well and brew even better my brewing brothers and sisters!

10 Awards In One Night & French Saison Wine!

Yep. Saturday was obviously a good night. To celebrate I brewed an Amber with Chinook & Motueka hops and drank beer with friends. Although I would’ve done the same with no awards. It’s always a celebration when you’re a homebrewer!

Oh, I also sent my good buddy Weston Barkley a big thank you because he helped shape me into an award-winning homebrewer and not just a talented yet wayward smoke particle.

Anyway, here were all my winners:

Helles Too Good For You took 1st in both the Nevada State Homebrew Championship and Novembeerfest 2013 in WA. I knew I’d drank enough Weihenstephaner Original Premium to know a good Helles when I made one. The bottles I sent to Reno were a little flat from the beer gun, while the bottles that went to Washington should’ve been pretty dead on.

Dortmund! Borussia Dortmund! Dortmunder Export took 2nd in Novembeerfest for light lager. If you’ve been following along, that was the over-sized Helles 2 on WLP 830 from Big Dog’s. It was my only entry to fall short at the NV Championship and those bottles were also a little flat.

Wag The Dog Northern English Brown won the English Brown category at Novembeerfest. I would like to give it a little more chocolately, biscuity, malt backbone if I make it again, but it turned out nicely.

Mr. Bubbles Russian Imperial Stout (despite its smaller stature and weird minty hopping) got 3rd in Stouts at the NV competition. Sadly I only have one bottle left.

U Bottle It’s U Hop It IPA got 2nd in IPAs in Reno and the winner of the IPA category took Best In Show, so I feel really good about that result!

Breakfast In Antwerp Oatmeal Saison got 2nd in Belgian & French and my buddy Clyde got 3rd for his Belgian Pale in Reno! I’m drinking the re-brewed version of that beer right now in fact! Nelson & Mosaic are a wonderful combo!

It’s A Celebration Bitches! Smoked Dubbel took 1st in Wood-aged & Other smoked beers in Reno! I was waiting for the Best Of Show results and really hoping against all hope that a smoked beer had a shot. I was correct in thinking it didn’t.

Purring Kitten Session IPA (on WLP 006) & Unwanted Kitten (on WLP 002) both took 2nd in category 23 Specialty in Reno & WA. It is kind of a cool feeling to win the same award with a batch split on 2 different yeasts. As you can tell from the naming, I much prefer the beer on WLP 006 British Bedford. It adds a malty less hollow dimension that California Ale & English Ale have trouble providing.

I’ll try to get more of the recipes up on the Homebrewtalk forums, but anyone is free to leave a comment or email me and ask.

In other news, I’ve now brewed a Pale on WLP 041 Pacific Ale with Nelson & Citra, an Amber on a blend of WLP 041 & WLP 007 Dry English, & a Brown with Nugget, Chinook, & Galaxy hops on WLP 039 East Midlands (which apparently used to be called Nottingham). All of those beers fall in Category 10 American Ale, so if I can’t win something in 10 I’ll really have to go back to the drawing board.

My next 2 ‘brews’ will be a Kolsch with Calypso hops and a Petit Sirah red wine on Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast. My plan is to age this weird wine on French oak chips and then age beers on those used chips. Who knows how it will turn out. All I have right now is a can & 3 smacked packs of glory (the can mentions mixing in an acid blend at the start so I’ll get that tomorrow):

wine adventure

I’m sure I’m doing something horribly ill-advised, but I can always sour it and/or add Brett right? Or maybe I can find a competition for wines done with ale yeast. Sky is the limit!

I’m tired. Time to go to bed. Brew on brewing brothers and sisters. Because you know I will!

2 More Awards + Many Beer Updates

Hello again everybody!

Version 2 of my Purring Kitten Session IPA has won awards in Redmond, Washington and here in Vegas over the last two weekends!

XBrew 2013 in Redmond, WA had a separate category for Session IPAs and then it somehow ended up lumped in with 35 other entries in category 14 India Pale Ale. I still haven’t gotten the score sheets back, but Purring Kitten got 2nd to some lucky bastard’s IPA. Presumably that means it won their made up category 56A Session IPA.

In SNAFU’s 2013 Memorial Competition we were only competing for best beer with a starting gravity over 1.060 aka Best Big Beer or Best Use Of Hops. My Mr. Bubbles Russian Imperial Stout won its mini Best Of Show round at its table, but got 5th or 6th in the overall Best Big Beer judging. Big time congratulations to my buddies Clyde & Tom as they took 2nd & 3rd for a delicious fruit mead and a very nice Rye IPA respectively.

Best Use Of Hops aka The Sheldon Jackson Award was where Purring Kitten picked up another 2nd place showing out of 26 entries. U Bottle It‘s U Hop It IPA partial mash kit beer also took Honorable Mention, so I was proud of that effort.

Prepare for more news as I have 7 entries in this weekend’s Nevada State Championship in Reno, 4 entries in this weekend’s Novembeerfest in Washington, and 4 entries in next weekend’s Land Of The Muddy Waters Competition in the Quad Cities aka Iowa/Illinois.

Unfortunately I found my first experience with the beer gun to result in some under-carbed beers, so 3 or 4 of my entries that went to Reno will get dinged pretty heavily for that. You live you learn.

The real fun this weekend will be when the Purring Kitten run on WLP 006 Bedford British competes in Reno and the other half of the batch run on WLP 002 English Ale, aka Unwanted Kitten, competes in Washington.

In other news, we had a lot of fun doing a demonstration brew in U Bottle It’s parking lot this last Saturday. I re-brewed Purring Kitten with a few tweaks and my buddies Tom, John, & Jeff all brewed and talked to anyone interested about their processes etc. I continue to greatly enjoy working for Gary & Heather and interacting with our lovely little homebrewing community on a daily basis. Here’s a pic of some of the early crew:

ubottleitbrewday1013

Thanks to all my buddies and new friends that came out for that event. Hopefully you all went home and brewed great beer!

Otherwise I thought I’d post updates on how all of my latest brews are progressing:

7/28 Helles – I ended up dry hopping this with 1oz Falconer’s Flight and 1oz Motueka since 8/15 Helles came out so well and this bad boy was weighing in in the low 6’s. Now I have a strange dry hopped Dortmunder Export on my hands. This should be pouring at the upcoming Brew’s Best Lake Las Vegas Festival at the SNAFU booth.

8/4 Helles aka Dortmund! Borussia Dortmund! – Coming in around 6.4% so this is definitely a heavy Helles. I just entered it in a couple competitions as a Dortmunder Export and it drinks quite a bit like one. I drank some of this tonight alongside Ayinger’s Jahrhundert (a very nice beer), and while my beer is fairly different I think it might fit the BJCP style description a little better. The only thing I might get dinged on are some of the citrus notes. We shall see.

8/15 Helles aka Helles Too Good For You – This beer drank super money right out of the fermenter. Very similar to Weihenstephaner Original Premium. Carbonation has made a few notes a little sharper, but I still think it has a very good shot in the next few competitions it’s in. Regardless, I’m going to re-brew it because I thought it was amazing to put in my face hole.

8/19 Mr Bubbles Russian Imperial Stout – As I mentioned, it had a fairly good showing in the SNAFU Memorial. It’s been quite popular with my beer geek crew and it’s competing this weekend in Reno. Unfortunately I only have 1 bottle left.

8/23 Purring Kitten Session IPA – Kicking ass and taking names. I thought the split side on WLP 002 English Ale ended a little bitter and didn’t bring the same pleasant malty finish to the party as the WLP 006 Bedford. Version 3 in U Bottle It’s parking lot is on WLP 041 Pacific Ale for a little more fruit & body. I also snuck in a couple ounces of Special Roast for some light biscuit notes in the finish.

9/11 Wit IPA – I tasted both of these (it was split on WLP 400 & 410) and thought I went a little overboard on the hops. It smelled absolutely heavenly though, so I’m on the right track. I decided to blend the 2 and add WLP 644 Brett B Trois but had a small mishap during transferring:

carboy disaster

So all I ended up with was that little bit of the WLP 410 side. I went ahead and ran that on top of the Brett B & L side of Fuzzy Bunny Slippers IPA. Because why not?

9/12 – Fuzzy Bunny Slippers IPA – Burtonizing one’s water is ever so slightly insane for an IPA with little malt base. The mineral/salt flavors linger on your tongue minutes after you’ve taken a sip. Just way over the top. Good cautionary tale for new water builders. 🙂

9/15 Smoked Dubbel – I’ve sent the side on WLP 575 to a couple competitions now and it hasn’t done well in terms of ribbons. I’ll have to get together with Kyle from Joseph James soon and talk to him about tweaking it. It turned out almost exactly how I wanted it, but it may need more smoke to win any hardware.

9/16 Kohatu Pale – The sweaty pineapple is strong in this hop. Not impressed. Base recipe with WLP 006 Bedford works though. I used the cake today for a new IPA.

9/17 Wag The Dog Northern English Brown – Just sent this off to a couple competitions. The flavors are really starting to come together. Nice notes of toffee, caramel, a little butterscotch & chocolate. Drinking this while looking at the BJCP guidelines makes me optimistic about its chances.

9/17 U Bottle It U Hop It IPA – The kit is selling well at the store and just got Honorable Mention for Best Use Of Hops! I’ll be doing a few tweaks on it for the new kits I make, but for the first partial mash beer I’ve made in years, I’m calling it a success.

9/19 Berliner Weiss – I just bottled this the other day. The lacto was starting to kick in but not yet quite where I want it. Unfortunately I only took a gravity towards the end of bottling, so I bottled a bunch of Berliner at 1.013. Easily 4 or 5 points high. I figured 5 weeks was plenty, but I guess not. I added a little strawberry extract to a couple gallons and I find that quite pleasant. Have to watch for bottle bombs. Lesson learned.

9/22 Hoppy Oatmeal Saison – Was trying to make an Oatmeal Blond, but the spicy citrus notes from the French Saison 3711 and the Mosaic & Nelson made it much more of a strange and wonderful Saison-ish beer. I re-brewed this on 10/21 with only tiny tweaks. It’s entered in the Reno competition but that bottling run was on the low side for carbonation.

10/2 Best By Yesterday Double IPA – I split the batch on WLP 001 Cal Ale & WLP 500 Trappist. It’s got some experimental hops, rice, & a pile of Simcoe & Citra. I’ll probably have the Belgian side pouring at the Brew’s Best fest.

10/7 Grant’s Golden Gumball – I get a ton of hits with people looking for 3 Floyd’s Gumballhead clone recipes so I thought I’d finally take another crack at my spin on it. I hopped it with German Brewer’s Gold, Galaxy, & Citra and ran it on WLP 051 Cal V yeast. I dry hopped it a week ago, so a post with tasting notes shouldn’t be too far off.

10/8 Lacto Wit/Belgian Shenanigans – I took the Oatmeal Saison recipe, hopped it to 9 IBUs, and gave a single vial of WLP 677 Lacto a crack at it warm for 2 days. Then I pitched Wyeast Forbidden Fruit. Still haven’t sampled it. Should be weird.

10/13 Black Wit – I brewed this because more dark beers were requested for the upcoming Brew’s Best fest. I’ll be zesting oranges, lemons, limes, & a grapefruit in the next few days to add to the keg. I used de-husked Carafa II for color.

10/21 Hoppy Oatmeal Saison re-brew – Going to dry hop this bad boy tomorrow! Can’t wait to have it back on tap!

10/23 Ordinary Bitter – I was inspired to brew this by one of the new Brewing With Style Shows on The Brewing Network. I used Liberty & Aussie Pride of Ringwood hops and split the batch on Wyeast Ringwood & WLP 013 London Ale. I’ll probably dry hop the least competition-worthy of the two.

10/26 Purring Kitten re-brew – Went down fairly well considering it’s hard to field 20 questions and brew a beer. I tweaked the water, put some Special Roast in, simplified the hop bill, and ended up letting the hops steep after the boil for over an hour (while waiting for a chiller). It seemed to come out a little dark. Should be interesting.

10/28 Attack Of The Blends IPA – Brewed this today. Used Zythos, Falconer’s Flight, & Falconer’s 7C’s. Also had to sneak in a little Mosaic & Citra at flameout. Very stripped down grain bill and pitched part of WLP 006 cake. I was going to run it on WLP 090 San Diego Super but my starter wort tasted like I picked up some wild yeast or lacto.

If anybody would like recipes, more detailed notes on process or results, or for me to send them a bottle or two just let me know. Here’s what I’ve become very acquainted with lately: Entry forms and bubble wrap!

mailing entries

Be well my brewing brothers and sisters. Hero out!