Archive for January, 2011

Untitled Pale Ale

Or, UPA. Not really untitled, once you think of it.

For the first brew of 2011, I was torn on what to do. I was enjoying the session beer brewing I’d done with the last couple of batches, but I wanted to start using the mountain of leaf hops I got late last year. A hoppy pale ale was the answer, but as I was looking through the recipes, nothing caught my eye. So it was time for a new recipe.

Northern Brewer has a great deal on their stir plate, and I finally took the plunge. I used it to make a one liter starter using Midwest’s new Headwaters ale yeast. Once that was going, I went downstairs to get the recipe in order. Here‘s what I came up with. Using Vienna as a base malt was something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and honestly, the rest of it was open bags of grain I wanted to use up that happened to fit what I had in mind. For hopping, I chose a late-hop schedule of Amarillo for 30 minute bittering, Citra at 15, and Cascade at 5, then an ounce of all three at flameout. It smelled amazing and the hydrometer sample tasted not unlike pineapple-orangeĀ  juice.

I was happy to hit my projected gravity on the nose, and the yeast starter was visibly much more effective than my old method of starters (leave it on the kitchen counter and give it some stir when I am nearby). A few hours after pitching the yeast, a slight layer of krausen appeared, and by the next morning it was a full on, violent, incredibly fragrant and flocculant fermentation. A very happy fermentation.

If this one lives up to its potential, I’ll likely enter it in the Bluff Country Co-op homebrew contest. If not, I’ll just enjoy it myself. :)

New brew year!

Been a while since there was an update, so I’ll get right to it.

Current beers:
I have a bit of a glut of homebrew in the basement right now. In the kegerator right now I have batch #2 of the honey-infused Double IPA and the 3.8% Solstice Session Oatmeal Stout (more on that brew in a bit). Kegged, but sitting outside the kegerator, is the last half of the second keg of Danksgiving and the last half of what was supposed to be the final brew of 2010, Hibernation IPA, which is based on a clone of Cigar City’s excellent Jai Alai IPA that I received in a beer trade. I also have most of a one gallon batch of cider I made in the fall, which turned out quite nicely. Maybe it’s time to host a party??

With all that brew, it gave me the opportunity to show up to January’s homebrew night with four different beers, all of them I am proud of in one way or another. After I brewed the Hibernation, I thought it’d be nice to take a break from brewing all the hop monsters and high gravity beers that seem to put me down after two, and move into a more session-oriented frame of brewing. I had recently received my latest issue of Brew Your Own which highlighted stouts. I had flirted with the idea of making another batch of the Coffee Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, but I put it off after my buddy Mike wanted me to convert the recipe to a extract/partial mash for him to brew. His turned out great! So I went about creating an oatmeal stout recipe that had a bunch of flavor, was easy to drink and enjoy, and it was to be under 4% ABV. Wrote the recipe, brewed the beer, and after seven days, the fermentation was done, the krausen had dropped, and the beer was dark and clear. On the eighth day I kegged it, and I was really happy with how flavorful and drinkable it was. Not to mention the fast turn around time!

My second session brew in a week (I had a bunch of vacation to use by the end of the year) was a try at Sutor and Bryce’s Berliner Weisse. This one was interesting, in that the only ounce of hops was used in the mash, and once I collected the wort, I didn’t boil it (I did bring it up to 170 or so to kill bacteria), and I only chilled it down to around 110, then pitched a Lactobacillus starter to give it some sour. The next day I pitched the Kolsch yeast (which took off like a rocket). The beer is sitting in the basement finished, and the sample I took made me think that I need to get it kegged and cold for a few weeks and carbed up. This is kind of a test run, and if it is enjoyable, it may be something I’ll make again in the summer. With a measly 6lb. grain bill (50% pilsner, 50% wheat), the yeast and lacto were the biggest costs. I may also source some raspberry or woodruff syrup for traditional serving, too. We’ll see.

Looking forward, I’ll continue a few more session beers (I have a pack of British cask ale yeast that I think a mild would be great with), and try brewing a bit more seasonally. I’m working on some electric heat sticks for better indoor brewing, too. I also have a ton of hops to use, so the lupulin-laden IPA’s will come back soon. There’s also a cool brewing class/demo coming up that I am excited to take part in. More on that another time. :)