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Cream Ale with Curt Stock- BeerSmith Podcast #162

Cream Ale with Curt Stock- BeerSmith Podcast #162

Curt Stock joins me this week to discuss brewing the perfect Cream Ale and a little bit about fruit meads.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (34:12)

  • Today my guest is Curt Stock. Curt is a former American Homebrewer’s Association Governing Committee member and was also the 2005 mead maker of the year. Curt is a member of the St Paul Homebrewer’s Club and last appeared way back in episode #20.
  • Curt begins with a description of the Cream Ale beer style – it is a very drinkable light ale similar in some ways to a Koelsch.
  • We talk about Genessee Cream Ale from Rochester as well as a few other commercial examples like Spotted Cow.
  • Curt shares his thoughts on the history of Cream Ale and how it evolved as a pre-prohibition response to the rise of light lagers. It was once called “present use” ale and also has some roots back to Koelsch.
  • We talk about the grain bill extensively which includes typically pale ale and as much as 20% corn or rice adjuncts.
  • The corn/rice really don’t add much of a creamy finish (which comes from the yeast) but instead will lighten the beer and add alcohol but not much flavor.
  • Curt tells us his own formula for cream ale which is about 80% pilsner malt and 20% flaked corn.
  • We discuss the best mash schedule. Curt prefers a low temperature mash while I suggest a “lager” mash where you have steps both at low and high temps to maximize fermentability.
  • We talk about hop schedules and the low IBU level (usually around 15 IBUs) for a cream ale, as well as why whirlpool and dry hopping may not be appropriate for this style.
  • We discuss the importance of yeast. Curt recommends Wyeast 1056, while I explain my experiments with White labs Cream Ale yeast in cider.
  • Curt shares his thoughts on fermenting out and finishing a cream ale including a fairly high carbonation level. Curt also likes to filter his cream ales.
  • We talk about bottling/aging a cream ale though it is intended to be consumed quickly after finishing.
  • Curt shares his final thoughts on cream ale.
  • We spend a few minutes talking about big fruit meads as well as how those lessons may be applied to making fruit beers.

Sponsors

Thanks to Curt Stock for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

enter site 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

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Cherry Wine: Flanders Red Recipe

Cherry Wine: Flanders Red Recipe

Spent dried sour cherries in Flemish red.When it comes to adding fruit to sour beer I’ve long advocated waiting, both on the blog (and in American Sour Beers). This serves two purposes. First, it delays the decision point, allowing the brewer to taste the unaugmented beer and decide the optimal treatment for each carboy or barrel (blend, fruit, dry hop, drain etc.). Second, it allows you to drink the packaged sour beer while the fruit aromatics are still fresh and vibrant. But is that approach sacrificing anything?

Talking to Scott about his “two season” peach sour, and hearing the approaches at a few breweries (e.g., Wicked Weed – Red Angel has 1 lb per gallon of raspberries in the barrels at three weeks and then 3 lbs more per gallon at the end) got me thinking. Early fruit allows for yeast-interactions before the pH falls far enough to inhibit those enzymes; theoretically it could produce a richer perhaps “jammy” fruit profile. Reserving a portion of the fruit could adds back those aromatics that would be oxidized or volatilized by the end of aging.

The base beer for my first attempt at the technique was a Flemish red. The recipe is not far from numerous beers I’d brewed before except for two notable tweaks. I used American Munich/Vienna instead of European. I used pre-aged “Lambic” hops from Yakima Valley in hopes of pushing some of the fruity depth they can provide.

Homegrown sour cherries.While I enjoy cherries in pale lambic-type beers, they can easily dominate the subtle malt profile. I’ve had good results with them in sour reds in the past, and wanted to try staggered additions. I opted for Scott Labs 58W3 wine yeast for primary fermentation. A previous Flemish red had done well with another wine strain, and I hoped that given this strain was selected to free aromatics (bound terpenes and glycosides) from wine grapes, it might benefit the cherries. For ease of timing and considering that all of the bright-fresh aromatics are already gone, I added dried sour cherries a month into souring. Russian River adds dried sour cherries to the Pinot Noir barrels for Supplication along with the Brett, so I was in good company. As I usually do, I rinsed the dried fruit briefly in StarSan to remove the oil that prevents them from sticking.

Sour and dark cherries waiting for beer.Souring was provided by dregs from De Garde Saison Facile. And I can say without question they did a much better job than the other half of the batch with Wyeast Roeselare (no tasting today as it has a strong sulfur character).

Once the dried cherries had given their all, I racked onto a 2:1 combination of homegrown sour cherries and farmer’s market sweet/dark cherries. I have read and heard from several reliable sources (Wild Brews and Dave Pyle) that the sour cherries of Belgium are somewhere between sweet and sour cherries in America.

The attendees to my February Sour Beer BYO Boot Camp in San Diego will have a chance to taste this beer (and blend it with several of my other dark and cherry sours) as those in Indianapolis did in November! The early bird $100 discount only runs through 12/15.

Cherry Wine

Finished beer under our cherry tree.Smell – The homegrown sour cherries really shine. It smells like the defrosting bag of fruit. Light spice, almost cinnamon, something I’ve gotten in the past from dried sour cherries. Not much malt coming through.

Appearance – Clear garnet. The base beer without fruit is red, the cherries provide depth and push it more burgundy. Small light-tan head, good retention.

Taste – The fruit flavor is true and saturated… jammy. The various types of cherries adding depth without muddling the overall fruit impression. Firm lactic acidity, with added sharpness from the fruit. The malt doesn’t have the oomph I expect from that amount of Munich and Vienna. Not much Brett character, but it does have more funky-depth than a kettle sour. A touch of perceived sweetness lingering with the fruit and almondy pits.

Mouthfeel – The high FG provides some substance to the otherwise crisp profile. Solid carbonation, not too much.

Drinkability & Notes – A showcase for cherries without being only about the fruit. One of the best cherry sours I’ve brewed. Saturated with fruit, and good balanced acidity. I’ve been enjoying this and it has been going quickly as I’ve been nervous that the gravity finished higher than I expected.

Changes for Next Time –  Maltiness could be firmer, will likely switch back to Weyermann for the Vienna and Munich. I’d get my timing better and add the dried cherries to the carboy before I transfer the beer in.

Recipe

Clear wort pumped into the kettle.Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 13.9
IBU: 13.3
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.018
ABV: 5.8%
Final pH: 3.27
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 90 Mins

Fermentables
—————–
37.0% – 5 lbs Briess Borlander Munich Malt
33.3% – 4.5 lbs Briess Goldpils Vienna Malt
18.5% – 2.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewers malt
7.4% – 1 lbs Weyermann CaraRed
3.7% – .5 lbs Weyermann CaraAroma

Mash
——-
Mash In – 45 min @ 158F

Hops
——-
2.00 oz YVH Lambic (Pellets, 2.00% AA) @ 90.0 min

Water
——-
5.5 g Calcium Chloride
.5 Whirlfloc Tablet

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
90
110
50
15
10
90
Fruit
——-
1 lbs Dried Sour Cherries
3 lbs Sour Cherries
1.5 lbs Dark/Sweet Cherries

Yeast
——-
Scott Labs 58W3
De Garde Saison Facile Dregs

Notes
——-
Recipe adjusted to reflect only half of the batch tasted here.

Brewed 2/19/17

Collected 7 gallons of 1.056 runnings from 8 gallon mash with 5.5 g of CaCl, and 1.5 gallon cold water sparge.

YVH lambic/aged hop pellets.Lambic hops from Yakima Valley Hops. Bagged. No idea on AA%, wort had almost no bitterness.

Chilled to 62F, shook to aerate, pitched 8 g of BM45 in one half, 5 g of 58W3 in the other. No other bugs, yet. Left at 70F to ferment.

3/5/17 Racked both to secondary.

BM45 – 1.026, pitched a pack of Roeselare

58W3 – 1.032, pitched De Garde Saison Facile dregs.

Left at ambient basement temperature, ~60F.

4/8/16 Added 1 lb of dried cherries to the 58W3 half. Rinsed in StarSan to remove any surface oil (more than sanitation).

7/21/17 Racked the 58W3 half onto ~3 lbs of sour cherries (half homegrown) and 1.5 lbs of sweet cherries. Frozen and defrosted, purged with CO2. Left the dried cherries behind.

10/1/17 Bottled both halves with rehydrated Pasteur Champagne. 4.75 gallons of each, 97 g of table sugar, aiming for 2.3 volumes of CO2. The non-cherry half had a slight sulfur aroma and foamed oddly during bottling.

Cherry 3.27 pH and FG of 1.018 (higher than I expected although it did drop considerably from when it was transferred).

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

Imperial Yeast and Starters with Owen Lingley, Jess Caudill – BeerSmith Podcast #161

Imperial Yeast and Starters with Owen Lingley, Jess Caudill – BeerSmith Podcast #161

Owen Lingley and Jess Caudill from Imperial Yeast join me this week to discuss brewing yeast, yeast starters, pitch rates, and caring for your beer yeast.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (43:36)

  • Today my guests are Owen Lingley and Jess Caudill from Imperial Yeast. Owen is co-owner at Imperial yeast and worked at Wyeast and also runs Craft Canning and Bottling company. He started Imperial Yeast about 2-1/2 years ago. Jess is head of the technical services department and has been in the beer industry for 22 years including Wyeast and also “Everybody’s Brewing” head of production.
  • We start with a discussion about the importance of high quality yeast in making great beer.
  • Jess explains how many yeast cells are needed for a typical 5 gal (19 l) batch.
  • We talk about starting gravities and the importance of matching your yeast pitch rate to the batch size and gravity.
  • Owen explains the concept of viable cells and how viability (living cells) decrease as a package of yeast is stored.
  • We discuss dry yeast and why it has a longer shelf life.
  • Jess tells us how to ideally store and preserve yeast to extend its viability over time.
  • We discuss yeast packaging and Owen tells us about his future packaging plans for Imperial yeast.
  • Jess explains why you need more yeast cells when working with a lager.
  • Owen talks about yeast starters and why they are important for many beers.
  • Jess tells us what size a typical homebrew starter might be.
  • We talk about how to make a yeast starter, typical sizes and why you might want to use a stir plate with a starter.
  • Jess explains the limits of starter size growth (typically 2-3x).
  • We discuss multi-stage starters and how to use them.
  • Owen and Jess explain how yeast is grown commercially.
  • Owen talks about Imperial yeast, some of their future plans and also Homebrewcon which is coming to his home town.

Sponsors

Thanks to Owen Lingley and Jess Caudill 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.