Friday, December 30, 2011

#56: Light Lager

I've become very interested in creating a pale lager that I will like (as craft pilsners and pale lagers have become some of my current favorites), but also one that my non-craft friends would appreciate. Here goes the latest attempt. This started as the BYO Schlitz (60's/Gusto/current) recipe, but my grain balance is a touch different, and my hop selections were different (they called for Cluster and Fuggles for 60 min and no flavor addition), as I wanted to clear out some leftover hops.

I harvested the lager yeast from my Oktoberfest. Of course, this harvest is kind of backwards, as I should be harvesting from a pale to use in an oktoberfest just in case I impart some Oktoberfest characteristics into the pale. I really don't care if this occurs, to be quite honest, but I washed the yeast well and figure I'll be OK. If the harvest was unsuccessful, I picked up some dry lager yeast as a backup, but the starter was active, so I'm pretty sure I'm OK.

Pale Lager
Standard American Lager

Type: All Grain
Date: 12/31/2011
Batch Size: 2.40 gal
Brewer: Swenocha
Boil Size: 3 gal
Boil Time: 90 min
Equipment: Brew Pot (4 Gallon)


Amount Item Type % or IBU
2.00 lb 2-Row (2.0 SRM) Grain 42.64 %
1.69 lb Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) Grain 36.03 %
1.00 lb Pale Malt (6 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 21.32 %
0.10 oz Mt. Hood [6.00 %] (60 min) Hops 4.5 IBU
0.10 oz Pearle [7.70 %] (60 min) Hops 5.7 IBU
0.25 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (5 min) Hops 1.5 IBU
0.25 tsp Calcium Chloride (Mash 90.0 min) Misc
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs German Bock Lager (White Labs #WLP833) Yeast-Lager

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.053 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.09 %
Bitterness: 11.7 IBU
Est Color: 3.5 SRM

EDIT: Well, a mostly successful brew day other than missing my OG wildly. I lost a bunch more volume to the flaked corn than I thought I would and thus my volume was only about 1.5 gallon. Since this is pale lager, I thought 4% would work as well as 5%, so I topped off with water and moved on. My only concern is that this is two brew days in a row where I've missed my mark after never really having that issue before. I suppose my efficiency could be not where it was on previous runs, but I really think that this one can be accounted for by the massive swelling of the corn. And I don't think I really accounted for the extra boil-off due to the 90 min boil that the recipe called for (instead of my normal 60). Ah, well. Live and learn... Pitched and hopefully things will be rockin' soon...

EDIT: 50 degrees in the fermenting fridge, and a nice layer of trub.

EDIT (3/12):  Five weeks in the bottle at this point, and this thing is exactly what it is supposed to be...  essentially what normal folks call light beer...  Tasty and pretty...

Perfectly carbed and very clean.  Aroma is corn, grain, and a bit of hop.  Next go-around I'll likely hop a bit more, but this really shows promise.  Flavor is pretty solid, though not strong in any way.  Clean, a bit of bitter, a bit of corn, a bit of saaz.  Very pleasant.  Should be even better in another month.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1st attempt at dog biscuits

Post brew session, I decided to try my hand at spent grain dog biscuits.  Here's the recipe I used:

4 cups spent grain
2 cups flour
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Press down into a dense layer on a large cookie sheet. Score almost all the way through into the shapes you want. Bake for about half an hour at 350 F to solidify them. Loosen them from the sheet, break the biscuits apart and return them, loosely spread out on the cookie sheet, to the oven at 225 F for 3 to 4 hours (or until they are really dry) to prevent mold growth. Store in an airtight container to keep them dry and mold-free.

The second bake just commencing.  I pulled a couple to let the doggies (and me) test them.  Pretty tasty, and the dogs are hovering to see if I drop any.  Appears to be a success story...

#55: Two Hearted IPA clone

Wow...  it's been a while since I brewed.  It's been even longer since I brewed an IPA.  One of my favorite IPAs is Two Hearted from Bell's Brewery.  I've wanted to brew one of the countless recipes related to this brew for some time, and I have 2oz of Centennial staring at me in the freezer every time I open it, so here goes.  This is pretty much the BYO recipe, though I am using Notty because it is what I have on hand...

Midway through the hop boil at this point.  Minor catastrophe with a split grain bag (I was experimenting with  a new tool to keep my bag off of the bottom of the pot, and it apparently caught on the bag...  back to the drawing board), but another grain bag as a filter clipped to the top of another brew pot strained things real nice.  Didn't get my usual sparge and lost some wort to the accident, but RDWHAHB...

EDIT:  Well...  with the volume lost with the bag split and the subsequent lack of sparge, my volume was way off.  I figured I could either a) make only a gallon or so of beer that hit my hydro reading pretty well, or b) add water to the wort to reach my volume and make this a light IPA.  I went for option B.  Thus, I am looking at a 4% abv beer.  I also lost a metal binder clip I use to hold the hops bag into the wort and had to fish it out after realizing several minutes later.  Assuming no ill effects from that either.  I tasted the last hydro pull just to make sure there were no off-flavors, but didn't detect any.

Alas, I have a session IPA.  I hope the bitter is not off the chart for this OG...

Again...  RDWHAHB...

EDIT x2:  I have had a day and a half of no activity, which in theory isn't the end of the world, but since this beer has already had issues, I decided to experiment a touch to see if I could get things going, and also to give the ABV a bump. So, I followed normal yeast starter procedures with 1 cup DME and some boiling water, and I also added a pack of booster. Once boiled and cooled, I added an additional pack of Notty, aerated the snot out of it, then added to the fermenter. I ended up mid-Q, so my level is in the 2.4 to 2.5 gallon level. I took a new hydro reading, knowing it wouldn't be 100% accurate with the yeast already added, but it should be close enough. Success on my estimates, as I got it to 6.5%, which was my target. Recipe below adjusted. I see activity already.

Two Hearted                                                         
American IPA

Type: All Grain Date: 12/27/2011
Batch Size: 2.40 gal

Amount       Item          Type             % or IBU
0.50 lb Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM) Dry Extract 7.08 %
4.50 lb Malteurop 2-Row (2.0 SRM) Grain 63.74 %
0.75 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 10.62 %
0.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 3.54 %
0.25 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 3.54 %
0.66 oz Centennial [8.80 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops -
0.41 oz Centennial [8.80 %] (60 min) Hops 22.3 IBU
0.20 oz Centennial [8.80 %] (45 min) Hops 10.2 IBU
0.20 oz Centennial [8.80 %] (30 min) Hops 8.6 IBU
0.20 oz Centennial [8.80 %] (15 min) Hops 5.5 IBU
0.20 oz Centennial [8.80 %] (0 min) Hops -
0.81 lb Booster (0.0 SRM) Sugar 11.47 %
1 Pkgs Nottingham (Danstar #-) Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.089 SG Revised Est Original Gravity: 1.066 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.021 SG Revised Est Final Gravity: 1.016 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.91 % Revised Est Alcohol by Vol: 6.53 %
Bitterness: 46.6 IBU Calories: 298 cal/pint
Est Color: 5.5 SRM


Wow... two weeks in the bottle, and this is great!

EDIT:  Fast-forward to 4.5 months in the bottle.  Still very, very tasty.  Acquired a Two Hearted this weekend, so I did a little side-by-side...  Mine is a bit more pale than theirs and clearer.  Aroma is spot on.  Flavor is pretty darn close as well, though their carries a bit more malt character, which isn't surprising considering the challenges on brew day.  Really, really happy with this attempt.  I hope to have a cleaner brew day next time, but I will definitely roll with this recipe again.