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Hoppy-Spicy Rye Golden Ale

Hoppy-Spicy Rye Golden Ale

Split Test Batch Rye
I have nothing against brewing to-style. You can make magnificent and delicious beers by using ingredients from a single region with the goal of a classic balance. That isn’t who I am as a brewer though. The recipe for Sapwood Cellars‘ False Dragon is the sort that I’m passionate about. We selected ingredients from all over the globe to create a flavors and aromas that aren’t authentic to any one tradition. What I wanted was an earthy-crisp malt flavor, a white-winey hop aroma (for less money than Nelson Sauvin), and a subtle spicy and fruity-boost from the yeast without getting in the way. That required malts from America and England, hops from America and Germany, and yeast from England and Belgium.

Scott adding Centennial hops to the whirlpool
I’d been experimenting with the hop bill for a few months to get the ratio right, and eventually settled on 2:1 in favor of Mosaic. After a few test batches, Scott and I have embraced adding less expensive hops on the hot-side (Cascade, Columbus, Chinook, Centennial etc.) with the more aromatic and expensive varieties saved for the fermentor. I wanted to split my homebrewed test batch to compare S-04 alone against S-04 with 8% T-58. As with Ziparillo, dry yeast is cost-effective especially if you can’t repitch thanks to early or mid-fermentation dry hopping. Belgian strains have shown heightened biotranformation abilities is some studies, so it seemed like a good candidate for double dry-hopping.

Dry yeast pitched into a 10 bbl batch
For the 10 bbl batch we decided to fill-in a gap in our range when the first batch of Rings of Light (our Citra dry-hopped hazy pale ale) came in under-alcohol at 4.8% thanks to lower-than-expected efficiency. In effect the two recipes switched places with False Dragon becoming the “bigger” pale ale at 5.3% rather than the 4.7% of the test batch. Our attenuation has been lower than expected across the board for our first five batches too. We’re still trying to figure out the cause given it has happened with multiple yeast strains – likely mash related. Luckily our hop flavor and aroma have both been wildly better than either Scott or I have been able to achieve at home, I’m sure surface-to-volume ratio plays a role.

Your first chance to try this beer is at the Sapwood Cellars grand opening, Noon-10 PM on Saturday 9/29. We’ll be open Thursday-Friday 4-10 PM and Saturdays Noon-10 PM from then on. Stop in, drink a beer, say hello!

The name False Dragon come from The Wheel of Time series of books by Robert Jordan. My commute has gone from 20 minutes on the subway to my desk job to ~40 minutes by car. Audio books are my new friend. While I’m sure brewing podcasts would be a more productive use of my time, after 12 hours brewing it is nice to have a little escapism.

Test batch False Dragon with S-04
False Dragon S-04

Smell – Had to go for a fresh pour after taking photos as it had gone a hint skunky after five minutes in the sun… Nose is a fresh “true” hop aroma to the Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc. White wine, but also some blueberry and green/herbaceous. Certainly Nelson-reminiscent, but a unique character as well.

Appearance – Pale yellow, pleasantly hazy. Good head and lacing, but the foam itself feels airy on the tongue. I guess I’ve gotten used (and miss) to the contribution of chit malt.

Taste – A firm amount of bitterness in the finish, but it doesn’t linger. Light and bright with the tropical-fruity hops starring. Rye doesn’t really make a strong showing, although I’ve always found it more subtle than some others taste.

Mouthfeel – The rye helps prevent it from being watery, but it is a summery pale ale. Glad we ended up a little higher OG/FG on the big batch. Medium carbonation, nice for a lighter beer.

Drinkability & Notes – A pleasant session IPA. The Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc work better together than apart.

Changes for Next Time – 10% chit in place of the base malt wouldn’t hurt. Could certainly up the rye too for a bigger contribution.

Test batch False Dragon with S-04 and T-58
S-04 and T-58

Smell – More rounded, less grassy-distinct hop aroma. Tropical, juicy, inviting. The green flavors are now more honeydew melon. Impossible to say how much of that is actual hop chemical reaction, or synergistic between the hops and esters. Lightly bready.

Appearance – Looks similar in terms of head, color, and clarity.

Taste – Lower perceived bitterness. A more saturated/integrated fruity hop flavor. Passionfruit especially. I think this is the more approachable and interesting beer, and distinct from the other English-only fermentation we are doing (using RVA Manchester). Slightly elevated phenols, but much lower than from the WB-06 in Ziparillo.

Mouthfeel – Slightly creamier (perhaps just the lower perceived bitterness?), identical carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – I was able to identify these pretty easily in a blind tasting. It is amazing how much impact such a small amount of yeast can make.

Changes for Next Time – We decided to back down the T-58 4.4% of the blend to allow a bit more of that fresh/distinct hop character through. Other than the higher gravity, the recipe was otherwise unchanged for the 315 gallon batch! We’ll probably up the rye for batch #2 now that we know we can handle higher percentages of high beta-glucan huskless grains.

False Dragon – Test Batch

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 4.1
IBU: 30.0
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.012/1.012
ABV: 4.7%
Final pH: 4.43/4.49
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
—————–
75.6% – 17 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer’s Malt
14.4% – 3.25 lbs Briess Rye Malt
10.0 % – 2.25 lbs Crisp Floor Malted Maris Otter

Mash
——-
Mash In – 45 min @ 156F

Hops
——-
8.00 oz Centennial (Pellet, 7.20%) @ 30 min Steep/Whirlpool
6.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ Dry Hop Day 3
3.00 oz Hallertau Blanc (Pellet, 10.50%) @ Dry Hop Day 3
6.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ Dry Hop Day 7
3.00 oz Hallertau Blanc (Pellet, 10.50%) @ Dry Hop Day 7

Other
——-
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins

Water
——-
18 g Calcium Chloride
12 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
6 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10%

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
150
150
150
15
10
90
Yeast
——-
11.5 g SafAle S-04 English Ale
or
11.5 g SafAle S-04 English Ale
1 g SafBrew T-58 Specialty Ale

Notes
——-
Brewed 8/19/18

Mash pH = 5.44 (at mash temp) after acid additions.

Collected 14.5 gallons of 1.046 runnings.

Added heat to maintain a whirlpool temperature of 200F.

Chilled to 64F. Half with 1 g of T-58 and 11 g of S-04, and half with only 11 g of S-04. Left at 62F ambient to begin fermentation after shaking to aerate.

69F internal temperature during peak fermentation.

8/22 Dry hopped each with 3 oz of Mosaic and 1.5 oz of Hallertau Blanc.

8/27 Second dry hop for both.

9/1 Kegged both, 1.012, moved to fridge to chill.

9/2 Hooked up to gas and tapped to remove sludge. S-04 batch clogged poppet a few times.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!

Brite tank sample of False Dragon

Homebrewing Fermenters with Chris Graham – BeerSmith Podcast #177

Homebrewing Fermenters with Chris Graham – BeerSmith Podcast #177

This week Chris Graham from MoreBeer joins me to discuss the wide variety of new fermenter options available to home brewers including everything from a simple bucket to a temperature controlled stainless conical.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (56:38)

  • Today my guest is Chris Graham. Chris is the President of MoreBeer and MoreFlavor Inc, one of the top online suppliers of homebrewing equipment and ingredients. Chris is also an instructor at the World renowned Seibel Brewing Institute.
  • We start with a discussion of beginning fermenter options including the plastic bucket and also the glass carboy.
  • We discuss additional options including the newer foodsafe plastic carboys and plastic bucket style fermenters.
  • Chris shares some of the advantages of a conical fermenter which lets you harvest and separate yeast as well as enhances fermentation activity.
  • We also discuss other shapes including the flat bottomed brew bucket style of fermenter.
  • Chris talks about materials used in homebrew fermenters including glass, plastics and stainless steel and advantages of each.
  • We discuss the new crop of high end fermenters that include conical stainless steel systems for both 5 gal (19 l) and 10 gal (38 l) batch sizes.
  • Some new fermenters also include temperature control options – so we discuss briefly how these systems work.
  • He explains pricing of fermenters which go all the way from a $10-15 bucket to potentially thousands of dollars for a glycol chilled stainless fermenter.
  • Chris shares his closing thoughts.

Sponsors

Thanks to Chris Graham for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
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Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

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How to Back Up and Recover Data in BeerSmith 3

How to Back Up and Recover Data in BeerSmith 3

This week I cover how to back up your data in BeerSmith 3 as well as automatic data storage and archive options. I’ll show you how to recover a large amount of data or even just an older recipe if needed.

Data Storage and Backup in BeerSmith 3

BeerSmith stores most of its data locally on your hard drive in the Documents/BeerSmith3 folder (or ~/.beersmith3 on Linux). All of the recipe data in My Recipes as well as any changes you’ve made to ingredients or profiles as well as your program settings are stored in this folder. The only exception to this is recipes in your cloud folder which are stored on the recipe server at https://beersmithrecipes.com

Since the bulk of your brewing data is locally stored, it could be lost if you have a hard drive crash, stolen computer, hardware failure, fire, or other disaster. This is why I strongly recommend periodically making a backup of your Documents/BeerSmith3 folder. An even better idea is to use backup software that either backs your data up offsite or to a network archive.

If you have a complete copy of your BeerSmith3 data directory it is very easy to copy the entire directory to a new computer or alternately open the BSMX data files within BeerSmith to recover selective data. For example your recipes are stored in a file called Recipe.bsmx which you can easily open using the File->Open command within BeerSmith, and then copy/paste data back to My Recipes to restore recipes. You can do the same for other data like the Equipment.bsmx or Hops.bsmx files.

I do not recommend moving/storing your BeerSmith 3 data on an external or network drive or service like Google Drive or Dropbox for daily use. While a number of users have tried this to share data between machines, there is nothing in BeerSmith that will prevent one copy from overwriting another on the shared drive if you run two copies on two computer. The result in this case will most likely be data loss. Instead, it is best to periocally back up your local BeerSmith3 directory to your backup or network drive for archive purposes.

Automatic Backup Features in BeerSmith 3

In addition to the basic data storage there are a number of automatic backup features in BeerSmith 3 which can help you recover data if needed. For example BeerSmith makes a copy of your recipes after major operations like edits and deletes in the “Recipe Archive” and also has an automatic bulk backup of your recipes and ingredients stored separately for easy recovery if you have significant data issues.

The Recipe Archive

For recovering individual recipes such as one you changed or accidentally deleted you can use the Recipe Archive feature. Go to View->Recipe Archive to view the archive. It stores copies of every major change you make to your recipes for a period of time, so you can easily search by recipe name and see all of the changes you made to a recipe. It also saves recipes before deleting them so you can recover deleted recipes from here.

Within the recipe archive, the recipes are shown by date and folder. To view a recipe just double click on it, and on any viewed recipe you can use the Save a Copy button on the ribbon to recover it. You can control how long recipes are retained in the archive by going to Options->Advanced Options and setting the Keep Archived Recipes for option near the bottom of that dialog.

Bulk Data Recovery

In addition to the recipe archive, BeerSmith also stores bulk backups of your recipes, ingredients and profiles. You can access these complete backup files from the File->Recover from Backup dialog. Five copies of each major file are stored and the older files are rotated more slowly so you can access older data. Also in BeerSmith 3 these files are stored separately from your Documents/BeerSmith3 data so you have some additional insurance if you accidentally delete your Documents/BeerSmith3 directory.

From the recovery dialog you can select the data type as well as any of the data files by selecting them. I recommend using the button to Open File in a New Tab to view the data before doing a full recovery to make sure you are recovering the data you want. You can also use the view in a tab option to view older files where you may want to recover just a few items.

The Recover from Backup Selected button will do a full replacement of your data with the selected file, wiping any data you already have in place so it should only be used after you have verified you have the correct bulk backup file.

Those are some of the new backup and recovery features in BeerSmith 3 as well as the important data to back up to avoid data loss. You can learn more about the features in BeerSmith 3 here or purchase a copy from the main order page here. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

I, Beer: What Goes Into Brewing

I, Beer: What Goes Into Brewing

I, Pencil is a classic economics essay from 1958 by Leonard Read about the complexity of making a pencil. The iconic yellow #2 seems so simple, yet no one person could make it on their own (e.g., harvest the rubber, synthesis the polymers and pigments for the eraser, create the yellow paint, precisely cut the wood and graphite, mine and forge the metal band etc. ). The global economy doesn’t have any person or group coordinating all of this activity, but to earn money people and companies fill niches, specialize, and compete to buy and sell in ways that creates things of immense complexity requiring the sum work of hundreds of people across continents so you can buy a pencil for $.25. This video gives a more hands-on view of what it takes to make a chicken sandwich when you don’t buy anything from a supermarket.

It is tempting to say that beer isn’t like that. After all, each all-grain batch starts with the four basic ingredients and we do the rest… sure it would be a challenge to grow and malt barley, harvest and dry hops, isolate/propagate wild yeast, and haul water from a local stream, but what vessels would you use to boil/ferment? What about sanitizer, minerals, clarifiers, compressed CO2?

What follows is a high-level overview of what is required to brew a single batch of beer at Sapwood Cellars. Obviously, you could keep digging deeper into each one of these, peeling back layer-after-layer to the inputs of each input (e.g., the shoes that the hop harvester was wearing). I’ll arbitrarily stop where I lose interest. Needless to say though, the work of thousands in not millions of people goes into each of our batches. Scott and I just get the credit (or blame) because we’re the ones at the end of the chain!

Ingredients

Water

Our water comes from Liberty Reservoir. From there it goes to Baltimore’s Ashburton water treatment plant. Baltibrew posted a nice series on the Baltimore water system. Luckily for us the existing minerals are mostly beneficial to the character of our beer. The carbonate is a bit higher than we’d like, but not by enough to require the waste of reverse osmosis.

Once pipes take it to the brewery it passes through a carbon filter to remove chlorine, and then an on-demand hot water heater. The fuel is natural gas piped into the brewery by BG&E (by way of fracking or older methods, and then refining). From there the water travels through a hose to our hot liquor tank where an electric element allows us to adjust the temperature. The electricity comes from a mix of fossil fuels, nuclear, and ~5% renewables.

To adjust the mineral content of the water, we add calcium chloride (from limestone-hydrochloric acid reaction or natural brine concentration) and calcium sulfate (harvested and refined from gypsum rock deposits). In addition, we add 75% phosphoric acid to adjust the pH of the water. Phosphoric acid is usually produced by combustion, hydration, and demisted from three ingredients: phosphorus, air, and water.

Grains

The grain we mash is a mixture of barley, wheat, oats, and rye depending on the beer. These are grown primarily on farms in North America and Europe. It is then soaked, sprouted, dried, and kilned by a maltster. The precise equipment required varies by malt and producer. In some cases it is a large industrial operation, in others the malt is still manually turned. The bulk of our base malt is Rahr brewer’s 2-row from Minnesota, but in our first order we also had sacks from Briess, Chateau, Simpsons, Crisp, Best etc. Most of the unmalted flaked grains (steamed and rolled to gelatinize their starches) are from Grain Millers.

We decided to hold-off on buying our own mill, to save the cost at the start… but after a few brews I can say a mill and auger are in our near future. We order our grains from Brewers Supply Group, which pre-mills the grain. We also occasionally add a few sacks to a Maryland Homebrew order from Country Malt.

Once we’re done with the now “spent” grain, they are picked-up by Keith of Porch View Farms. He feeds it to his animals as most of the carbohydrates are extracted into the wort, but proteins remain.

Hops

Our hops are grown throughout the higher latitudes of the globe, primarily the Pacific Northwest of the United States, but also Australia, Germany, and Czech Republic. The hops are first stripped from their bines, dried in an oast, and then baled. After selection, various lots are blended to create a consistent product and the hops are pulverized and pelletized. They are then vacuum-packed in mylar and stored cold to preserve their aromatics. Our hops primarily came from Hop Havoc, but we’re working on getting contracts for the upcoming harvest.

Yeast

Most of the yeast we’re using are the decedents of yeast that have been fermenting beer for hundreds or thousands of years. A couple hundred years ago their ancestors were part of a mixed-culture at breweries in England and Belgium, only to be lucky (and talented) enough to be isolated as a pure culture that gained success. Our Saccharomyces cerevisiae so far has come from RVA, Fermentis, and Lallemand for our “clean” beers. These needed to be isolated, propagated, and in some cases dried.

The sour and wild beers are too complex to track. They come from labs, bottle dregs, and a house culture. They may have come via a barrel, the breeze, an insect, or any number of other vectors into a brewery or labs. For example the Hansenisopra vinea we are fermenting a hoppy sour for Denizen’s Make It Funky festival came from Wild Pitch Yeast which isolated it from tree bark.

Fruit

We don’t have any beers far enough along for fruit, but we’re planning to source as much of it as we can directly from local farms and orchards. Most fruit is at its best when it is picked ripe and used quickly. I’m sure we’ll use dried fruit, aseptic purees, juices, and freeze-dried fruits depending on quality, availability, and desired results as well. The first batch will probably be a tart saison on grape pumace (the pressed skins) from a local natural winery.

Other Consumables

Gas

Carbon dioxide is usually produced as a byproduct of some other activity (e.g., hydrocarbon processing). Our CO2 is stored in a 750 lb tank in a liquid state. We use it to carbonate and serve beer. It isn’t economical at our scale to recapture the CO2 released by fermentation. Our supplier is Robert’s Oxygen.

As the air on Earth is 70% nitrogen it is usually concentrated with the use of a nitrogen generator. These rely on a membrane that allows nitrogen through. We need nitrogen to help push the beer through the long-lines from our walk-in to the tasting room (pure CO2 would lead to over-carbonation at those pressures). As the second most abundant gas in the atmosphere, oxygen generation uses similar technologies. We pump .5L/minute into the wort as it exits the heat exchanger, the yeast quickly uses it to create sterols for healthy cell walls when they bud. We get these two gases in large cylinders that are swapped out.

Chemicals

We need cleaners like caustic (sodium hydroxide) to remove organic deposits, and a phosphoric-nitric acid blend to remove inorganic beer stone and passivate the stainless steel. For sanitation we use iodophor for fittings in buckets, and peracetic acid for the tanks. These are made in a variety of industrial processes that I’m totally unaware of. Our chemicals are provided by Zep/AFCO.

Clarifier

Whirlfloc G helps proteins clump together in the last 15 minutes of the boil to be left behind. It is derived from Irish moss (seaweed) that is dried and granulated. As a vegan brewery, no gelatin or isinglass for us.

Barrels

Oak barrels start as oak trees. They are processed into planks, and then purchased by a cooperage which dries (either in a kiln or naturally). They are then assembled into barrels with metal hops, toasted, and sealed. From there they go to vineyards and distilleries that age their products in them. Beer is best in barrels that have already lost much of their oat character, so we buy them from other producers. A small amount of the wine or spirit is still present in the wood, providing a moderate contribution to the first batch, diminishing with each additional batch.

Equipment

The stainless steal for the vast majority of our equipment comes from China. Our brewhouse was constructed by Forgeworks in Colorado. Our fermentors and bright tank from Apex and DME in China. Our keg washer from Colorado Brewing.

The cooling of the fermentors is accomplished by a glycol chiller from G&D Chillers in Oregon. The ethylene glycol itself comes from ethylene and oxygen. The chiller also assists chilling the wort with our two-stage Thermaline heat exchanger (primarily more stainless steel). The copper pipes that carry the glycol are insulated with Armaflex. The flow of the glycol to individual tanks is controlled by electronic temperature sensors and solenoid valves.

Other equipment includes hydrometer, refractometer, pH meter, hoses, gaskets, and all manner of other valves and fittings.

For the space itself there was already plenty of concrete, bricks and metal. We hired Kolb Electric and B&B Pipefitters to do the installation of the bulk of the wires, pipes, and connections.

There is also everything that goes into serving a beer once it is ready. Kegs (Corny kegs for the sours and infusions, sanke for the standard clean beers), stainless steel fittings, beer lines, glasses (including the printed logo and the glasswasher) etc.

What’s the Point?

I don’t really have one. To me it is just remarkable how much of the complexity of brewing a batch of beer is now hidden in the inputs. I know how to brew beer at my house or a brewery, but if you put me out in the woods even with all the ingredients, I couldn’t brew a batch. Thinking about what is required for each batch makes me appreciate how nice it is to live in a time when I can brew beer as simply as going online and ordering the equipment and ingredients I want. It also shows me how much I still have to learn about making beer.

At the same time, it means that beers everywhere are mostly separated by the choices the brewer makes rather than the availability of ingredients. The exchange of information accelerated by the Internet. I hope there continue to be regional variations, specialties, and preferences. Traveling isn’t as exciting when everyone brews NEIPA and pastry stouts.

Hoppy Wheat: Hop-Stand vs. Quick Chill

Hoppy Wheat: Hop-Stand vs. Quick Chill

There are a lot of IPA drinkers out there, but I get the feeling that there are just as many people who would enjoy the fruity-tropical flavors in New England IPAs, but were scared off by the IBU-arms-race of earlier this decade. I wanted to develop a session beer for Sapwood Cellars that showcases fruit-salad hoppiness without assertive bitterness. Sort of a Belgian white, with hops instead of spices. The result is a beer we’re brewing 10 bbls of today… Zip!

Dry hopping mid-fermentation is a great technique for chasing away raw-green hop aromatics that turn-off some drinkers. The problem is that adding hops early makes harvesting yeast far more difficult. Our solution was to use dried yeast. For a fraction of the price of a liquid pitch (~$60 for 500 g dried) it means we don’t feel bad not cropping and repitching. Dry yeast also allows for easy strain blending by weight. In this case the test batch was 85% S-04 and 15% WB-06. The goal was to support the fruity hops with a little banana from the hefeweizen strain. An idea I first tried in my American Oat Ale.

The grist is a callback to what we developed for Modern Times Fortunate Islands, still my favorite of their regular offerings. The grains were in turn inspired by Three Floyds Gumballhead. We decided to go a bit lighter on the wheat until we get used to how large amounts of huskless grains lauter on our Forgeworks brewhouse. Hot-side hopping is a single dose of Cascade in the whirlpool. A classic variety with a good blend of oils, but without excessive alpha acids (or cost). Despite that, for the up-scale we’re going to lower the whirlpool temperature to ~195F with a barrel of cold water at flame-out to keep the IBUs under 20. Dry hopping with Amarillo for stonefruit aroma.

Hefeweizen yeast, CaraVienna, Cascade, and Amarillo is a combination I tried back in 2010 for this Hoppy Hefeweizen. Not the same intended balance on that batch, but a similar palate of flavors.

The wrinkle in this test batch was that I split it pre-boil. I’ve been editing Scott’s draft for “The New IPA” and the research suggested that many hop oils peak very quickly at higher temperatures and then dissipate. So I split the batch, half with a 20 IBU addition at 60 minutes followed by a flame-out addition immediately after turning on the immersion chiller. The other half I added a hop-stand/whirlpool addition allowing it to sit for 45 minutes before starting the chill. I even left the heat on low to better replicate the slow cooling of a commercial-scale whirlpool.

Going in I was suspicious. I’d changed from quick-chilling to hop-stands a few years ago, and felt that my beers had gotten a better more saturated hop flavor. The beers came out surprisingly similar, but not exactly the same.

Zip – Quick Chill

Smell – Clean yeasty-doughy nose. Banana. Cascade grapefruitiness shines through as the dominant hop character. Certainly reminds me most of hoppy hefeweizens that I’ve brewed previously. Surprising how much yeast character there is from a low percentage of WB-06.

Appearance – Pale-gold, mildly hazy of the standard hefeweizen type. Not milky-haze. Good head retention and cling.

Taste – Bitterness is present, a bit higher than 20 IBUs in my estimate. Crisp finish with some lingering hop resin. Amarillo comes in a bit towards the end, apricot. Odd that I get the kettle hops in the nose and the dry hops in the flavor. The quick chill seems to have imparted a more dry-hop like character. Dry, with a finish that reminds me of some sort of herbal spritzer?

Mouthfeel – Snappy, good firm carbonation, but not as high as a traditional hefe. Dry, slightly tannic finish.

Drinkability & Notes – A nice session beer. The polyphenols from the early-boil addition may be making the bitterness come-across higher than the calculated IBUs would suggest.

Changes for Next Time – Drop the bittering addition to 10 IBUs, and this would be much closer to the balance I was looking for. Nice as is, but likely too bitter for many hop-phobes. Yeast character is a bit distracting.

Zip – Hop Stand

Smell – Similar, but the yeast character comes across as leaning more bubblegum than banana. Slightly more phenolic as well, peppery. Hops are better integrated into the yeast character or maybe just less assertive. I get honeydew melon.

Appearance – Identical. In this case the timing of the boil hops and speed of chilling doesn’t seem to have effected clarity.

Taste – Bitterness seems lower/smoother, and the finish rounder despite the same calculated IBUs. Like the nose the line between fruity yeast and hops is less distinct than the other version. There is more banana than in the nose, but it is still relatively subdued. Hops are bright and citrusy.

Mouthfeel – Smoother, less tannic. Coating compared to the other half. That isn’t a character that necessarily sounds beneficial to a session beer, but in this case it makes it easier and more pleasant to drink.

Drinkability & Notes – Closer to what I was looking for, the hops and yeast meld together into a pleasant fruit salad. Rather than a generic fruitiness throughout the effect is different flavors from nose and mouth, evolving as it warms. One friend noted that it has sort of an Allagash White thing going on, which was exactly my intent.

Changes for Next Time – We’ll be cutting the WB-06 from 15% to 7.5% in the big batch. The taller fermentor should suppress ester production as well. We’ll add a barrel of cold water at the end of the boil to lower the temperature and further smooth the hop bitterness contributed by the whirlpool addition.

Recipe

Batch Size: 12.00 gal
SRM: 4.8
IBU: 18.3
OG: 1.048
FG: 1.008
ABV: 5.25%
Final pH: 4.60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
—————–
68.2 % – 15 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer’s Malt
22.7 % – 5 lbs Briess Red Wheat Malt
6.8 % – 1.5 lbs Briess Caravienne
2.3% – .5 lbs Rice Hulls

Mash
——-
Mash In – 45 min @ 158F

Hops
——-
V1
1.00 oz Cascade (Pellets, 5.5% AA) @ 60 min
3.50 oz Cascade (Pellets, 5.5% AA) @ Flame-Out
2.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.2% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2

V2
3.50 oz Cascade (Pellets, 5.5% AA) @ Whirlpool 45 min
2.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.2% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2

Other
——–
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min

Water
——-
18.00 g Calcium Chloride
5.50 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
9.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10%

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
140
170
100
15
10
90
Yeast
——-
22 g SafAle English Ale S-04
4 g Safbrew Wheat WB-06

Notes
——-
Brewed 8/5/18

5.28 at mash temperature after all additions (~5.5 corrected to room temperature).

Split between two boils:

1. 1 oz of Cascade @60 min, and 3.5 oz of Cascade with a quick chill at flame-out (added hops right after starting IC).

2. 3.5 oz of Cascade with a whirlpool at 212F (with heat) for 45 minutes… mostly stayed 190-200F.

Chilled to 68F, pitched 1 pack of S-04 and 2 g of WB-06 into each (no rehydration). Shook to aerate.

Same fermentation, beer temp 65F.

8/7/15 Dry hopped ~36 hours after pitching. Set beer temp to 68F to continue fermentation.

Kegged 8/16/18

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Post-War British Beer with Ron Pattinson – BeerSmith Podcast #176

Post-War British Beer with Ron Pattinson – BeerSmith Podcast #176

This week Ron Pattinson joins me to discuss his new book called “Austerity!” about British brewing in the post World War II period from roughly 1945 through the 1960’s. Ron shares with us how breweries copied with many shortages in the post-war period.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (47:43)

  • Today my guest is Ron Pattinson. Ron is a historical beer expert focused primarily on brewing in the British Isles. He is the author of some 30 books and also runs a daily blog called Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. His latest book is titled simply “Austerity!”.
  • We start with a discussion of the many mini-books Ron has been working on these past few years about historical beer brewing.
  • Ron explains the title for his newest book about post-WWII brewing called “Austerity!”
  • He shares some of the trends in brewing and breweries in the austere period immediately after WWII.
  • Ron explains how things changed as the British economy started to grow in the 50’s and 60’s.
  • We discuss tax policy and how taxes can have a significant affect on brewing.
  • Ron talks about the shortage of dollars which led to few imports and how beer production became almost entirely domestically sourced.
  • We talk about some of the larger beer producers of the period.
  • Ron shares what a typical English mild recipe might look like.
  • We talk about ingredients including how few breweries had moved to single yeast strains, and many simply reused mixed yeast strains over and over again.
  • Ron shares some of his thoughts on homebrew sized recipes provided in the book and his closing thoughts.

Sponsors

Thanks to Ron Pattinson for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Homegrown Sour Beer: Cherry, Raspberry, Blackberry, and Mulberry

Homegrown Sour Beer: Cherry, Raspberry, Blackberry, and Mulberry

I’ve brewed a surprising number of beers with ingredients grown on our .1 acres of Washington, DC. Including hops, cherries, juniper, ground ivy, mulberries… and recently fermented acorns! Rather than showcase a single ingredient though, I wanted to brew an estate beer with five ingredients grown and harvested on our land!

Aged homegrown Cascade hops in the boil.
The extent of the influence of aged hops on sour beer is still a bit underestimated. While the generally stated goal is preventing rapid souring by Lactobacillus in a traditionally fermented lambic, what they add to the flavor and what particular characteristics of the hops best serve this isn’t widely studied. There are a few studies that oxidation can boost certain fruity aromatics. Which has lead Scott to threaten to use old hops on the hot-side for a NEIPA… he promised to do a test batch before brewing a 10 bbl batch on the new Sapwood Cellars brewhouse.

I thought it would be fun to brew with aged Cascades from the bines in my backyard, especially because fresh they didn’t have a huge aroma. They’d been sitting open in my basement since they were dried a few years before. 

Flour slurry pouring in.
I don’t have the space or effort to grow or malt grain, so I took the easy way out and brewed with wheat malt extract (a blend of 65% wheat malt 35% barley). I’d had good results from extract lambics previously, but this time in addition to maltodextrin I added wheat flour slurry to the boil. Mixing the flour with cold water prevents it from clumping when it touches the boiling wort. A turbid mash pulls starch from the unmalted wheat into the boil, which eventually feeds the various microbes in the late-stages of fermentation. The microbes must have enjoyed it as the resulting beers are completely clear.

All of the frozen berries (cherries, blackberries, raspberries, and mulberries.
Fruit was provided by our four berry trees/bushes. Sour cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and mulberry. To keep things easy I added roughly equal amount of each (other than the raspberries). I briefly froze most of the fruit, but I added the raspberries a small handful at a time as they ripen slower than the rest. I only had enough of each for one gallon of beer, as most of the rest of the fruit was spoken for. The leftover beer went onto local plums!

Video Review

Backyard Berries

Smell – Cherry and raspberry lead, not surprising as they are more distinct than the blackberry and mulberry. There is an underlining wine-iness that likely comes from the rest of the fruit. The base beer behind the fruit doesn’t make itself known other than a subtle maltiness.

Appearance – Clear garnet on the first pour, a little haze when I emptied the bottle into the glass. Alright head retention thanks to the wheat.

Taste – Reminds of the nose with raspberry up front and cherry jam into the finish. Not as bright and fresh as it once was, but still reasonably fresh. The malt and hops don’t add a huge amount of character, but they support the fruit. The Wyeast lambic blend similarly stays mostly out of the way, adding edge complexity without trying to fight through the fruit.

Mouthfeel – Not a thick beer given the relatively low OG, and all of the simple sugars from the fruit. Solid carbonation, CBC-1 did a good job despite the acidity.

Drinkability & Notes – The combination of four berries works surprisingly well to my palate. They play together without becoming generic fruitiness. The base beer is unremarkable, but that’s fine in a beer where the fruit is the star.

Changes for Next Time – Would be nice to brew more than a gallon, but otherwise my only real changes would be to go all-grain.

The finished mixed-berry sour beer.
Plum-Bus

The rest of the batch went onto a two varieties of local plums. I’ve brewed with plums before in a dubbel. I wasn’t sure about plums in a pale beer, but after trying spectacular examples from Tilquin and Casey I was convinced!

Smell – Clear it isn’t a kettle-soured fruit-bomb, lots of lemon pith and mineral along with the moderate fruit contribution. Plums aren’t nearly as aromatic as the more common sour beer fruits, but they add a depth without covering up the base beer.

Appearance – Beer is more rusty-gold than purple. Clear despite the flour. Thin white head, but this bottle appears less carbonated than the last few I’ve opened.

Plum sour beer.
Taste – Tangy plum skin, apricot, and lemon. Beautiful blend of fruit and beer. Wyeast Lambic Blend with dreg-augmentation again does a really nice job. Strong lactic acid without any vinegar or nail polish. Finish is moderate funk, hay, and overripe stone fruit.

Mouthfeel – Light, but not thin. Carbonation is too low, maybe the cap-job on this one wasn’t perfect.

Drinkability & Notes – Delicious. The plum could be a little juicier and fresher, but it works well. Sad I didn’t leave any of this half unfruited for comparison.

Changes for Next Time – I’d like to keep experimenting with other plum varieties in beer. Glad the pale base worked out well. Despite “plum” being a common descriptor for darker Belgians, actual plums don’t shine with all of that malt.

Defrosting plums in a 3 gallon Better Bottle.
Recipe

Batch Size: 10.00 gal
SRM: 5.5
IBU: 5.3
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.006/1.006
ABV: 5.25%
Final pH: 3.45/3.45
Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
—————-
92.3% – 9 lbs Breiss Bavarian Wheat DME
5.1% – .5 lbs Maltodextrin Powder
2.6% – .25 lbs King Arthur All Purpose Flour

Hops
——-
2.50 oz – Homegrown Cascade: Aged 3-4 Years (Whole, ~1.00% AA) @ 90 min

Yeast
——-
Wyeast Belgian Lambic Blend
or
Omega OYL-218 – All The Bretts
Omega OYL-057 – HotHead Ale

Notes
——-
Brewed 1/15/17

Hops were homegrown and aged open over several years.

Fermented and aged in 6 gallon BetterBottle without transfering. Added some various dregs over the course of fermentation.

7/21/17 Filled a 1 gallon jug with the Wyeast half onto 6 oz each homegrown sour cherries, blackberries, and mulberries (plus maybe an ounce of raspberries – maybe 4 oz total over a couple months). The remainder went onto 3 lbs of methly plums.

8/24/17 Added an additional 1.75 lbs of Castleton plums to the plum portion

12/14/17 Bottled the 2.75 gallons of the plum with 61 g of table sugar and rehydrated CBC-1. Bottled the .8 gallons of backyard fruit with 21 g of table sugar and CBC-1.

All the fruit growing in my backyard!

BeerSmith 3 Mobile and Ubuntu Linux Versions Released

BeerSmith 3 Mobile and Ubuntu Linux Versions Released

This week I published the BeerSmith 3.0 update for BeerSmith Mobile on Google Play, iTunes and also the Amazon app store. In addition the Ubuntu Linux versions of BeerSmith 3 are also now available.

BeerSmith Mobile Version 3

BeerSmith Mobile version 3 adds mead, wine and cider support to the mobile platform as well as a number of enhanced beer features. The update is free for existing BeerSmith Mobile version 2 users who previously purchased the full version. As I mentioned in a previous message I am planning to discontinue the “lite” version of BeerSmith mobile in the future so it will not be updated.

The Android and Amazon app store releases are done and available now for purchase from the Google Play or Amazon app stores. The iTunes/iPhone/iPad version has also been released but is being staged over the next few days so it may be a day or two before your device updates. BeerSmith mobile is a separate purchase from the desktop version of BeerSmith as you must buy it through one of the mobile app stores.


BeerSmith on iTunes

BeerSmith on Google Play

BeerSmith on Amazon Apps

The changes to BeerSmith Mobile version 3 match many of the new features available in BeerSmith 3 desktop. These include:

  • Support for mead, wine and cider recipe types and many new ingredients and styles to support them
  • Addition of a new water profile tool (from the edit recipe page) for adjusting water profiles
  • Mash pH estimation and adjustment that is integrated with the recipe builder and water profile used
  • The addition of both local folders and also folder in the BeerSmith cloud
  • New juice, fruit and honey ingredient types to support the use of these ingredients in beer as well as cider, mead and wine
  • Boil adjustments for high altitude brewers
  • Temperature adjustments on a “per hop” basis for whirlpool hop additions
  • An improved interface with pop up menu for recipe editing

If you don’t have BeerSmith 3 mobile you can purchase it from either the iTunes or Google Play store.

BeerSmith 3 for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04

This week I also released BeerSmith 3 builds for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 in a Debian package. BeerSmith 3 for Linux is the full desktop package with all of its features on the Ubuntu Linux platform. BeerSmith 3 may also work on some other Linux platforms though it may require additional dependencies to be downloaded first. You can see a complete list of package dependencies by running “dpkg -I BeerSmith*.deb” against the downloaded debian package.

The desktop version for Linux is available as a free 21 day trial which you can download below.


Download BeerSmith 3

Buy BeerSmith 3

I hope you enjoy using the many new features in BeerSmith 3! Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Session Mead with Steve Piatz- BeerSmith Podcast #175

Session Mead with Steve Piatz- BeerSmith Podcast #175

This week Steve Piatz joins me to discuss how to make a low gravity session mead including mead nutrients, backsweetening and how to spice or accent your mead. Using modern techniques, you can make a great session mead in as little as a few weeks.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (38:57)

  • Today my guest is Steve Piatz. Steve is the 2008 Mead Maker of the Year and also the author of the book The Complete Guide to Mead Making (Amazon affiliate link).
  • We start with a brief update of some of Steve’s mead making activities since his last podcast.
  • Steve explains what a “session mead” is and how it is different than other types of mead.
  • We discuss sweet vs dry finish, and agree that most meads need some sweetness (i.e are not best totally dry) or spices to balance them.
  • We talk about a variety of methods for finishing a mead sweet including cold crashing, halting fermentation through filtration and backsweetening.
  • Steve explains applying potassium sulfite and sulfate at the end of fermentation and also how to backsweeten.
  • We discuss methods for adding fruit, spices, hops and other flavors, including why it is best to blend these in at the end.
  • We talk a bit about the importance of nutrients, aeration and especially regular degassing during active fermentation
  • Steve explains how you can ferment and finish a session mead in just a few weeks using modern nutrients and degassing
  • He speaks for a few minutes at the end about his book on mead making (link above).

Sponsors

Thanks to Robert Keifer for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Brewery Clubs: Both Sides

Brewery Clubs: Both Sides

The first beer club I joined was Lost Abbey’s Patron Sinners in 2008. It was a relatively novel idea at the time, essentially a CSA for beer. It was the easiest way for me to get bottles I’d heard such wonderful things about. Clearly the concept has caught on. For breweries it is an easy win, money months before the beer is ready. For consumers it can be a win, access to limited beers without the need to wake-up early or wait in line.

It’s an easier ask if the beers offered already have a good reputation. Signing up for Lost Abbey’s club meant an opportunity to try “whales” like Cuvee de Tomme for the first time. It also gave me access to their microbes… those Red Poppy dregs colonized our first wine barrel for the group Flanders Red.

For Sapwood Cellars, Scott and I are in a bit of a unique situation. Many more of you have read about our homebrew-exploits, listened to us talk brewing, and brewed recipes based on ours than have actually tasted anything we’ve personally brewed (although you may have tasted something I collaborated or consulted on). Although I’ve been surprised how many people who signed-up mentioned tasting our test batches at festivals as a deciding factor!

Sapwood-Modern Time Collaboration - The Fruitening!
With the barrel program we have planned there is a bunch on money required now: barrels, racks, microbes, equipment, and wort-production. All for beers that we won’t be able to sell until 2019 or even 2020. If you choose to join, your money will go directly to allowing us to get more beer into barrels in the next few months. That will in turn provide a greater variety of stock available for blending, fruiting, and dry hopping. Our goal is to extend our homebrewing roots as long as we can, producing weird and wonderful beers… and dumping beers that aren’t up to our standards!

I completely understand if you don’t want to spend $200-500 to buy beers that we haven’t brewed or even named yet. I don’t want anyone angering a spouse, or blowing their annual beer budget. Most of our beers will be readily available at the taproom, and I’d guess that there will be extra club slots available for 2020. Honestly I see the Wood club as good for someone who lives a less-than convenient trip to the brewery and can only visit a few times a year (but wants to know they can go home with a variety of sour bottles). The Sap club is good for someone local who plans to be a regular and loves fresh hoppy stuff.

We take the trust that people are putting in us seriously. We’ll do our best to make sure that not only do you get beer, but it is the best possible beer we can create. That said, there is certainly a chance timelines will be slower than we expect and I’d rather have the final allocation of great beer in early 2020 than rushed bottles with carbonation issues in late 2019.

If you’d rather an experience over beer, today we launched opportunities to join me for a web chat about our sour beers, blending session, commercial brew day, and homebrewing. Most of these are permanently gone once the stock hits zero. There are also a couple slots for a group or anyone who has recently won the lottery to have us design a sour beer or hoppy batch to your tastes, we’ll likely do a few of those each year. We still have plenty of merch available as well (shirts, glasses, and inscribed copies of American Sour Beers) for people who can’t make it to the brewery!

We should be able to finally brew our first 10 bbl batch in the next few weeks. The last major piece of equipment to arrive is our glycol chiller, scheduled for next Wednesday. All of the piping is run for it already and the concrete pad it will sit on is curing. Other than that, a gas-meter upgrade and a tweak to the usage listed on a 1979 site development plan are the only things between us and opening!

Our first batch is going to be a kitchen-sink brew using the leftover ingredients from the brewery that was previously in the space. It was crushed 18-months ago… we’ll be giving away the wort to anyone interested! Of course, club members will get first dibs… but I’m guessing there will be second and third dibs at least!

I’m shocked at how amazing the response has already been. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has helped give us a little extra cash buffer, the beer (and our sleep) will be the better for it! We started with 50 memberships for our Founders Club… and they are all gone! Still plenty of the two individual clubs available for the time being, and we’ll leave them up until the 2018 (unless they sell-out first).

———————————

Sap Club 2018-2019

Sap Club Membership entitles you to $1/off each full pour or growler at our tasting room with a sweet membership card. It also allows you to purchase growler fills of any fresh hoppy beers, even the special kegs and weird experiments that no one else can bring home – in your club exclusive 1 L growler. Includes admission for two to our annual holiday party (December 2018) and pre-release access to canned IPAs (when that finally happen). This inaugural “year” of the club will run from opening through the end of 2019. First-year members will have right of first refusal for membership in the club’s next year.

Wood Club 2019

The Wood club is for sour and funky folks. Membership grants you two .5L bottles of each of our first eight barrel-aged sour/funky bottle releases. This will include at least two releases exclusive to club members – using fruits and other ingredients too rare or costly for large batches. We won’t have a set release schedule as the beers will tell us when they are ready, but we’ll allow semi-annual pickups. Plus $2 off and priority access to pre-purchase limited sour beers before the unwashed masses! You’ll also receive a Sapwood decanting basket. 2019 members will have right of first refusal for membership in the club’s next year.

———————————

In news closer to the blog, Mad Fermentationist T-shirts are available again, this time print-on-demand style. I’ve also got posters of the updated Brewery Connections graphic… which will feature prominently in the Sapwood Cellars bathroom decor!