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:

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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.

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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:

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Be well and prosper y’all.

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1st Attempt at Gumballhead Clone and Other Beerdonkulousness

I like to think of myself as a man of the masses. A people pleaser if you will. My blog post that gets the most views and by far the most search engine hits is the one on throwing together a 3 Floyds Gumballhead clone. Guard De Gumball has been bottled for 5 days now (and is plenty well carbed), so I thought I would share my impressions (and recipe).

First of all, I ran this beer on WLP072 French Ale yeast. I believe the clone called for WLP002 English Ale, or something similar. The wisdom of that choice is debatable. Interestingly enough, part of the reason I ended up using French Ale yeast was my friends at UBottleIt (my local homebrew store) have trouble getting rid of the Platinum aka seasonal yeast strains AND I like all things farmhouse related.

With all that said, I have a drinkable little beer on my hands here. It came in at 6.17% ABV (1.064-1.017). The original version is 5.6% ABV. The pleasant little grapefruity note of Amarillo is definitely in the mix, but not dominant. I suspect a cleaner yeast like WLP001 Cali Ale would allow the hops to shine considerably more.

It’s tough for me to put my finger on exactly how I feel about it otherwise. It feels a little bit like a beer torn between being an easy drinking late hopped pale & a pleasantly maltier style. I suspect it will meld together a little better once it’s been bottled for a couple weeks. Right now I’d give Guard De Gumball a 3 out of 5 bottle caps on Untappd (and I just did).

So far, I think my next attempt will be on WLP002 or 007 and I’ll dry hop a little bigger & longer. At any rate, here’s the recipe (and as you can see I’m more of a ‘convey the message’ guy than a ‘present things nicely’ guy):

Since we’re sampling 5 day old beer, I thought I’d update everyone on how the session IPAs were progressing as well. Session IPA 1 aka Purring Kitten is very promising. It has a gorgeous tangy grapefruity aroma, good body, & an interesting malty/bready taste with a lingering satay sauce finish (which I enjoy).

Session IPA 2 aka Snoozing Kitten is the same beer but with a blend of Munich malts in place of the Vienna in version 1, different hops at the same times & IBU levels, and WLP009 Australian Ale yeast in place of WLP006 Bedford British. So far Session 2 is not quite as good as the first attempt. The Vienna malt appears crucial. Session IPA 3 on WLP540 Abbey IV got bottled a couple days ago, so I’m waiting to sample it.

My other news to report is that I left the limes in too long for the Lime Saison. The samples taste like Mr. Clean’s fruity genitals now. Heather at UBottleIt was kind enough to give me an expired package of Wyeast 3278 Lambic Blend, so in that went! We’ll check back with Lime Saison in 6-12 months.

Speaking of wild things, the Belgian Dubbel wildin’ out with Jolly Pumpkin dregs smells great and looks wilder every time I check on it. I’ll probably bottle it up for the next competition, since I can’t sneak it in for the 10/20 SNAFU Memorial at this point.

I’m also working on putting together a collaborative hoppy beer with my fellow Las Vegas blogging Cicerones for the Montelago Beerfest on 11/10. Regardless of the results, Luis from Hooked On Hops & Aaron from The HopHead Report are good dudes, and you’ll probably enjoy their stuff as well. On that note, I’ll also be contributing for Hooked On Hops from time to time so go ahead and bookmark that shizzle!

Also, my most recent order from Amazon (using thebrewingnetwork.com affiliate link) was the new IPA book from Mitch Steele and a scale that measures grams much more accurately for my brewing salt additions. The IPA book was somewhat useful for some recipes and recipe formulation perspective, but unless you want to geek out on the history of the style, I wouldn’t bother. The scale should prove quite useful.

Finally, please feel free to shoot me an email or leave a message if you’d like any help/tips for preparing to take the Cicerone test. I’d be happy to oblige. Alright, time to enjoy my Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine over by the pool.

Proost y’all!

Cooking up a 3 Floyds Gumballhead Clone

12/20/2013 EDIT: If you’d like to see some of my more recent Gumball-esque efforts try here and here too.

I don’t often shoot for exactly cloning a beer, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gumballhead and BeerAdvocate rates it a 96. Plus I’ve never tried it!

In this case, I may end up looking to bend it a little to fit into the BJCP 6D American Wheat category (3 Floyds supposedly uses a UK yeast strain) and “clean American ale yeast” is the first thing mentioned in the style guidelines.

It’s also possible that I may brew 2 versions: the clone (as best I can make it) & the version to try to win my bad self an award in 6D.

In the course of my Homebrewtalk searching for a reasonable clone I found most recipes to be over 50% wheat: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3. While perusing those, someone mentioned there was good recipe guidance in Brewing With Wheat by Stan Hieronymous, a book I happen to own. Here’s what I found:

The page you can only read some of states that the grain bill is 25% wheat with English ale yeast. My other Homebrewtalk surfing on 3 Floyds’ house yeast strain led me to Wyeast 1968 London ESB. Then I checked with Mr. Malty and found that the White Labs equivalent is WLP002 English ale and the commercial origin is Fuller’s.

The problem with this knowledge being that I may end up brewing an American wheat beer with gorgeous American Amarillo & Simcoe hops and then not quite manage to squeeze into category 6D because of my English yeast. Maybe I’d enter it in American Wheat AND Specialty Ale to see where it would fly. I’d love to try a Belgian version as well. Brett too, of course. You know me.

The other problem being that I cannot come ANYWHERE close to holding this beer at 32 degrees for 3 weeks. I’ll either have to phone a friend or roll the dice at room temp/swamp coolered. I imagine all that lagering makes it come out quite a bit cleaner and clearer than I’ll be able to pull off. I can probably clear it with fining agents. But at my room temps of 70-75, a clone it shall not entirely be.

Regardless, here’s what I’ve got going on BeerSmith so far:

My Aromatic malt percentage is based on keeping the SRM (color) within the style guidelines. Brewing With Wheat says the beer comes out lighter than their hef too, so the lighter the better.

12/11/13 EDIT: I’ve recently tried Gumball-esque beers with more like 3 or 4 oz of Aromatic. You can find those recipes and discussion here.

There may still be some tweaks here and there. There’s a good Jamil Show on No Recipe Cloning, but no tasting with only recipes cloning is a little different ballgame.

With all that said, I thought it might be interesting to show how I end up throwing together clones and recipes similar to commercial beers I enjoy.

Sleep tight world!