Monday, December 30, 2013

The Making of a Parti-Gyle Style Beer

On Saturday, 28 December, 2013, I racked and bottled a “parti-gyle” style of beer that I brewed back on 15 September, 2013. Parti-gyle is an method that produces two or more beers, the second and all of the following beers are less gravity and therefore less alcohol than the original. Each of the subsequent beer after the first are made from the sugars that are left after the initial sparging has taken place. From an initial “big” beer, usually up to 2 more beers can be made.

The beer that was the original “big” beer was an imperial porter that was being made at Saugatuck Brewing Company. The original beer was a double mash beer, in which the brewers mashed into the mashtun once, lightly sparged to get gravity of the wort that they desired, racked out, and mashed in again to fill the kettle with the rest of the wort, again at the desired gravity. The pre-boil gravity that brewers were shooting for was 21.1°P (1.088 SG).

After sparging was complete on the first mash, I took 7.5 gallons of the running that was left in the mash to make my beer. The wort that was taken from the first mash had a pre-boil gravity of 15.4°P (1.063 SG). Once the wort started to boil in my kettle, I added 0.75 ounces of Northern Brewer (10.6% AA) hops to the kettle. With 20 minutes and 15 minutes left in the boil I added 1.00 ounce of Fuggle (2.5% AA) hops to the kettle. Also at 15 minutes left I added to the boil 0.25 tablespoon of Irish moss, to help clear the beer, and 5.00 ounces of cocoa nibs. A teaspoon of yeast nutrient was added to the kettle with 10 minutes left in the boil. The rest of the hops that I added were 1.00 ounce of Fuggle (2.5% AA) at 5 minutes, 1.00 ounce of Fuggle (2.5 % AA) at 0 minutes, and 0.75 ounce of Willamette (5.5 % AA) at 0 mintes left in the boil. I ended up with a total post-boil volume of 4.5 gallons.

At this point, I took a sample and began to super cool the wort with a immersion heat exchanger. Once in the fermenter, I added WLP-001 Cal Ale Yeast from White Labs. A original gravity of 21.4°P (1.091 SG) was read from the hydrometer and from obtaining this, I was able to back construct a grain bill:

5.5# Brewers 2-Row Malt (29.5%)
5# Pale Malt (27%)
3# Marris Otter (16%)
1# Caramel/Crystal 120L (5.5%)
1# Roasted Barley (5.5%)
1# Rye Malt (5.5%)
0.75# Caramel/Crystal 10L (4%)
0.66# Chocolate Malt (3.5%)
0.66# Midnight Wheat (3.5%)

This beer differed from the imperial porter that was being brewed at Saugatuck Brewing Company in a few ways. First, even though that this beer was still fairly high gravity, it was not as massive as the imperial stout that brewery made (23.6°P or 1.100 SG). Secondly, though similar, my hops were different than the imperial porter that was brewed at the brewery. Finally, I used cocoa nibs as another bittering agent in my beer.

After two months in the fermenter, I was able to make time to bottle the beer that I made. As a primer for the yeast, I boiled 3.4 ounces of corn sugar in 1 cup of water. I then pour this into a sanitized bottling bucket and transferred the beer over it. I also added a packet of US-05 to make up for the yeast that were not alcohol tolerant or died because of all the time in the fermenter. I lost around 0.5 gallons after the transfer. From this volume, I was able to bottle 39 12-ounce bottles.

I cannot wait to taste this fully carbonated, because un-carbonated, it was pretty good (though I may have a slight bias). Currently, I have yet in fermenters the Beligian Quad and a sour that I brewed in December of 2012. I have plans to brew robust porter relatively soon with my new Blichmann kettle that I received as a gift for xmas. You would think that working in a brewery would have a negative affect on the amount of homebrewing that I want to do, but so far so good!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tasting Notes on Burton Baton by Dogfish Head

I went back into my stash of beer to pull out something occupy my palate while I wrap presents for the holiday. After searching through my hoards of beer that I have bought and homebrew and I pulled out something that I stashed back in 2010, Dogfish Head Burton Baton.

Here are the stats:
Brewery: Dogfish Head
Location: Milton, Delaware
Style: Imperial Pale Ale
ABV: 10%
IBU: 70
Malts: Not specified
Hops: Not Specified
Availability: Year Round
Original Release Date: Nov. 2011

Bottle Description: This special ale is a two-threaded blend of young and wood-aged imperial IPA. Please share with love ones and hoard it from non-believers. Lush and enjoyable now, this beer ages with the best of them.

Web Description: For Burton Buton, we brew two "threads," or batches, of beer: an English-style old ale and an imperial IPA. After fementating the beers separately in our stainless tanks, they're transferred and blended together in one of our large oak tanks. Burton Baton sits on the wood for about a month. When enjoying the Burton Baton, you'll find an awesome blend of the citrus notes from Northwestern hops melding with woody, vanilla notes from the oak. The wood also tends to mellow the 10% ABV of Burton, so tread cautiously!

Thoughts: The beer pours a deep copper color with a one-finger off-white head that dies quickly to a lacing around the glass. The clarity of the beer is pristine. Toasted and biscuit malts on the nose with other aromas that include dark caramels, dried dark fruits, wood, and, floral and herbal hops. Subtle hints of vanilla in the back. On the front of the palate dark caramel, toffee, and pitted fruits with an undertone of sweet bready malts. Smooth and creamy as the beer flows over the palate, with plenty of herbal and citrus still present after the years. Subtle suggestions of vanilla and brown sugar present in the beer. The beer finishes dry with a huge herbal and oaky punch, but with a mild alcoholic bite. As the beer is drank, the lacy head sticks to the sides of the glass and when swirled in the glass, the beer has nice legs, slowly trickling down the sides of the snifter. It also has a nice alcoholic warmth on the body at 10% ABV.

I still have 2 more from 2010, and 1 from 2011 and 2012 in my hoards. I think the 2010 maybe at its peak of flavours and may have to be drank soon.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tasting Notes on my homebrewed Chocolate Molé Stout

On 16 August, 2013, I brewed a Chocolate Molé Stout. After fermentation was complete, it was transferred to a secondary fermenter. At that time I seeded and sliced up two Pablano (another common name are Ancho) pepper and oven-roasted them. I also seeded and sliced two addition peppers. After the peppers that I roasted were charred, I removed them from the over. I added the contents of both the fresh and roasted peppers into the secondary fermenter with the beer. A mistake that was made while transferring the beer was I accidentally knocked a water canteen off of my table into the secondary fermenter with the beer. Luckily no infection happened. I've been drinking it on and off the past month, as well as my many other homebrews. I just wanted to provide some notes on the beer for my readers.

As the beer was opened, there was very little gas that escaped from the bottle. The Chocolate Molé Stout pour black and opaque with very little head that dissipates almost completely from the beer only leaving a slight lacing on the glass. Good amounts of earthy aromas (I feel comes from the Fuggle hops and the chili pepper used in the mash), cayenne (hot), and peppery (vegetable or green) spices comes to the nose as well as hints of chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. As the beer hits the palate, a slight cayenne (hot) pepper as well as roasty flavours are present. As the beer rolls over the palate, hints of sweet dark caramels, toffee, dark pitted fruits, and chocolate are present. Off the back the palate, some peppery (vegetable or green) flavours comes forward as well as some warming hot cayanne (hot) peppers. The beer has a medium mouthfeel and body, but a good amount of carbonation, which was strange because the lack of a head. This definitely has a lot going on in it.

Some of the things that I was looking for in this beer was more body, deeper chocolates, and more head. Changes that I may or may not do in this beer are: (i) use lactose to give more body and some sweetness, (ii) not use a hot chocolate mix, and (iii) make my own mole to use in the boil. I like the grain bill for this beer, so I will want to keep this the same. Ideas that I have for the mole in the boil is to add dried Ancho chiles, cocoa nibs, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, ground nutmeg and possibly some ground coriander, cumin, and anise seed (as these might muddy up the flavours). Overall, I am happy aboot this beer, but I also see improvements (as I always do) can be made.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Brewing of a Belgian Quad

Last week I decided to brew one of many beer ideas that I have for a homebrew. This list is compiling and I felt like it was time to test of these out. Since I started working for Saugatuck Brewing Company, I have only brewed two other times as a homebrew, one was a beer that I have done before, slightly modified and secondaried with an added ingrediant (Chocolate Mole Stout secondaried with Poblano Peppers...I will do a review of my thoughts of this beer...mental note). The second beer that I have done in this time is a partigyle style beer from the runnings of a bigger beer done at the brewery (though, the second runnings still came out to be 17°P and the O.G. was 23°P).

This current beer is of a style that I have never attempted before, a Belgian Quad. There is no BJCP style outline for this beer, though there are for a Belgian Dubble and Tripel. In my Beersmith, I entered it as a Belgian Dark Strong Ale. The grain and hop bill is as follows:

15# Belgian Pilsner Malt
2# Munich Malt (Germany)
1/2# Caravienna Malt (Belgium)
1/4# Biscuit Malt (Belgium)
2# Turbinado Sugar (add a pound at a time after 24 and 48 hours of fermentation respectively)
2 oz. Styrian Golding (Celeia from Slovenia, 3.2% AA at 60 min)
1 oz. Fuggle (UK, 4.5% AA at 10 min.)
1 oz. Fuggle (UK, 4.5%AA at Flame Out)

Four days prior to brew day, I ventured to Brewer's Edge Homebrew Shop in Holland, Michigan to pick up a vial of yeast. I knew that since that this was a big beer, that I didn't want to stress my yeast out too much and I needed a big starter. I talked to Tim aboot my options. I was thinking of WLP550 a Belgian Ale yeast from White Labs because of the Phenolic characteristics, though not as fruity and medium to high alcohol tolerance. Tim and I talked a little and I decided to go with his choice of WLP530, a Abby Ale yeast because of more fruitier and earthy characteristics.

Once home I made a 1-L starter for the yeast by boiling 4 oz. of dry malt extract (DME) in 1 L of water for 15 min. I then super cooled it in the sink to room temperature (through feeling the bottom the flask) and added the vial of yeast to it. A rubber stopper was then put on the flask with a airlock. I put it in a closet to build up yeast cells until brew day.

This past Sunday, 30 Nov., was brew day. Since I live in an apartment complex in Holland, MI., I have no access to water outside, where I brew at. I got permission from the CEO of Saugatuck Brewing Company to be able to brew in the production area, with my equipment. That morning, around 11:00, I loaded my car with all of the equipment that I required to brew, as well as a supply of beer. Even though I work at the brewery and I am able to get beer inexpensively, but I have an ample supply of homebrew that I should drink.

Once at the brewery, and everything was unloaded, I began heating up water to boil for storage in my hot liquor tank and mill my grain. I used some of the boiled water to preheat my mashtun, while the rest went into the hot liquor tank. Water was then heated to strike temperature of 160°F. After draining the preheating water from the mashtun, I added 22 quarts of strike water to the mashtun. To this I sifted and stirred in my grains. The temperature of my mash was a little low. To raise the temperature of my mash, I added some of the water that I put into my hot liquor tank to the mash to get it up to mash temperature of 148°F. I held it at mashing temperature for 75 minutes.

Once mashing was completed, 14 quarts of 203°F water was stirred into the mash to raise the temperature to 168°F, which was held for 10 more minutes. After 10 minutes, the wort was drained into a pitcher and recirculated back into the mash by pouring it over a spoon, so not to disturbed the grain bed. This process is called a “vorlauf.”

Once the wort came out clear, with no sediment, it was drained directly into the kettle. After a volume of 7 gallons was reached, a gravity was taken. A pre-boil gravity of 16°P (1.066 SG) was exactly what I was shooting for. The kettle was then heated to a boil. After the boil began, a first hop addition of 2 oz. of Stryian Golding, was done. With 15 minutes left, a teaspoon of Irish Moss was added to the boil as a clearing agent. Eighty minutes later the second hop addition of 1 oz. of Fuggle was done along with a teaspoon of yeast nutirent. During that last ten minutes the wort chiller was set up and sanitation of equipment to transfer the wort to the fermenter was done. At the end of the boil, a final hop addition of 1 oz. of Fuggle hop was done.

After the boil was commenced, the wort chiller was immersed into the wort to rapidly cool the wort. During the cooling process, a sample of the wort was taken and a gravity reading of 19.8°P (1.083 SG) was recorded. This reading was 2°P lower than what was expected. Once the wort was cooled to a temperature of 70°F, it was transferred through a auto siphon to a sanitized fermentation bucket, capped and an airlock was added to the bucket.

Back at my apartment, once fermentation started, the next day a pound of Turbinado sugar was dissolved and boiled for 15 minutes in 2 cups of water. The pan with the solution was cooled in a sink of cold water, then added to the fermentation bucket. This process was done again the next day. I figured the O.G. to be 23.5°P (1.101 SG) after the addition of the sugar.

After 3 more day, I went to check on the fermenter, and the air lock was full of krausen and the lid of the bucket was ajar from the bucket. The fermentation was so strong that it blew the lid right off of the bucket! Hopefully that there was so mush CO2 in a layer on top of the beer that it won't become infected.

I will leave it in the bucket, on top of the yeast cake, for some time before transferring it to a secondary bucket. The reason behind this is two fold; (i) I want to reuse this yeast for another beer in which, once the beer is transfered, I will add the second beer on top of the yeast cake, and (ii) I want to allow this beer to mellow out and any of the fusel alcohol hotness of the beer will subside. The idea for the second beer from this yeast is a Belgian Table Beer that will be around 4.5% ABV and will be simply 2 malts and 2 hops. I am currently working on this recipe and it is almost complete. I'll write another article on the tasting notes once I bottle it and give it plenty of time to bottle condition.