Archive for the ‘beer recipes’ Category

Brewing Furious or Furious Brewing

May 6, 2011

You gotta love May. The apple and plum trees in our yard are in bloom. Spinach is coming up. Orioles, Grosbeaks, and Hummingbirds are all at the feeders. And the temperature’s warm enough to move the brewery outside. So, I’m sitting here with my laptop in the sun as today’s beer boils away.

Northern Brewer in Saint Paul (where I generally get my ingredients) has a “Pro Series” beer that is supposedly THE Surly Furious recipe, straight from Surly. So rather than concoct my own beer, I figured I had to give this a try. The recipe seemed fairly straightforward, a medium body IPA with plenty of hops, bordering on what CBD referred to with one of his recent beers, an “irresponsible” amount of hops. But it wasn’t until I really got into the brewing that I realized what pushed this over the edge into true Surly territory (you’ll see). Here’s the recipe:

Mash:
4.1 gallons of water at 164 degrees in preheated cooler/mash tun.
8.5 lbs Canada malting pale ale malt (this is bumped a little bit higher than the recipe since I’m using a batch sparge)
3.25 lbs Simpsons Golden Promise
.88 lbs Simpsons medium crystal
.63 lbs Belgian aromatic malt
.125 Simpsons roasted barley

Target rest was 153 degrees. I was at about 156 so I added some cool water which lowered it to about 151, not perfect but certainly OK. Note to self: be a little more patient with the mash before adjusting the temperature. I think if I had waited just a little more that 156 would probably have settled out to a perfect 153 or 154 degrees.  At 30 minutes, I heated up about 2 quarts of the mash and added it back which raised the temp to about 155.

Sparge:
4.25 gallons 170 degree water in 2 batches.
Batch 1, added and let sit as a mash out for about 10 minutes.
Proceeded to sparge at full speed until I collected 6 gallons of wort.
I Tbsp of gypsum added to each batch of sparge water.

Boil:
.5 oz Amarillo 8.2%, 60 minutes
1.75 oz Warrior 17.2% 60 minutes
1 oz Amarillo, 8.2% 10 minutes
1 0z Amarillow, end of boil
1 c. malto-dextrin, 10 minutes
1 Tbsp irish moss, 10 minutes

I added 1 Tbsp of calcium carbonate for yeast and pitched a quart starter of Wyeast 1335, British Ale Yeast (this surprised me for an American style IPA, but I’ll do what they say).

O.G. 1.060 (a little light for the recipe, but respectable)

Dry Hop:
Here’s where it gets a little insane. When I read the recipe it simply said dry hop with “furious hop blend” for 7-14 days and I figured this was the part they kept secret. OK, I’ll add an ounce or two of whatever mystery hop they give me. But the package of hops actually lists the ingredients and amounts. This is crazy:

5 oz Simcoe!!
2.5 oz Ahtanum
.5 oz Warrior
.5 oz Amarillo

Are you kidding me?! 8.5 oz of strong hops as a dry hop addition? If it wasn’t listed as Surly’s own recipe, I’d think Northern Brewer had gone crazy. Really. This is a scary amount of dry hops, but then again, Surly is not your everyday beer so it will be fun to see how this goes. I’ll add it to my secondary in about a week.

I’ve previously mentioned the wonders of batch sparging. I did this brew as a batch sparge and it went really well. The gravity is slightly under the recipe, but not bad. Just a slight loss of efficiency. But the gain in time and flexibility is amazing. The traditional sparging used to mean I’d spend almost 6 hours for an all-grain brew. This one took me less than 4 hours. More importantly, I spent far less time with the beer. Traditional sparging demands a lot of attention; with this beer I spent most of my time writing as the beer did its thing. A few flurries of activity and then it would sit some more. Brewing beer and writing, isn’t that what sabbatical should be about?

All Grain Brewing

March 29, 2011

My last beers have been, if I do say so myself, extraordinary. My double IPA is one of my best. My farmhouse is light, fresh and tasty, and my hybrid honey biere de garde is a unique beer. My Belgian Strong Golden is aging nicely and just about ready to bottle. So, my brewing confidence is full force right now; I’ve said for a few brews that the next one would venture back into all grain, but clearly that hasn’t been the case. Until now. My Mount Vernon brewery is well stocked and I’ve got the layout figured out, confidence is high, so today I brewed a medium gravity, moderately hopped all-grain IPA. This is an all-chinook hops ale, an experiment I’m starting to really get to know my different hop varieties (the Mikkeller series of single-hop beers has also helped me with this, but it’s also made me want to brew a similar series).

Grain Bill:
10 lb 2-row
1 lb Belgian pale malt
.75 Belgian caramel pils
.25 Briess caramel 120 degree

In my previous all-grain incarnation, I stuck very firmly to the traditional model of sparging. I have been persuaded in my reading, though, to work with a “batch sparge” method in which the sparge is done at full speed (rather than the slow model in which the brewer maintains the level of water in the mash tun as it drains). The two big pluses to this method are speed and no stuck mashes; the con, of course, is a potential loss of efficiency leading to a lower gravity than a recipe might call for. Most of what I’ve read suggested that the loss of efficiency is not that great and can easily be countered by adding about 5% to the grain bill which is what I’ve done.

Mash:
3.75 gallons mash water
Strike temp of 152 degrees
60 minute rest

Sparge:
4.25 gallons 170 degree water, in two batches.

Boil:
1 oz Chinook hops, 11.2%, 60 minutes
1 oz Chinook hops, 11.2%, 15 minutes
1 cup malto-dextrine, 15 minutes
1 tbsp irish moss, 15 minutes
1 oz Chinook hops, 11.2% 1 minute

Add 1 tsp calcium carbonate and Wyeast 1056, American Ale yeast and aerate.

O.G. = 1.055

Everything went well and the pre-fermented beer tastes pretty good. I’m surprised by the hop character–it’s not that overwhelming a hop profile, or so I thought, but the first taste of it has a pretty spicey burn at the finish. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is surprising to me how strong it seems. We’ll see. My plan is to dry-hop an ounce of Chinook in the secondary, but I’ll sample before then and see what I think.

Belgian Strong Ale

February 21, 2011

I’m trying to clean off my desk before my upcoming travels, get myself as organized as possible instead of this mass of papers, books, and other junk that I call my life. In the midst of one pile I found the scribbled notes of a recipe for a Belgian golden ale that I had not posted here. Since I use this blog as a kind of recipe book for me as much or more than any of my readers, I thought I should jot it down before I leave (and I guess it’s either an appropriate style since we’ll be flying into Brussels on our way to Africa, or perhaps oddly inappropriate since we’ll be flying into Rwanda).  Anyway, here goes:

Grain:
– .25 lbs Dingeman’s Caramel Pils
– .25 lbs Dingeman’s BiscuitGambrinus
steeped  20 minutes in 1 gallon 170 degree water. Sparged with a gallon room temp water.

Boil:
– 7 lbs Pilsen malt syrup
– 2 lbs clear belgian candi sugar
– 1 oz Czech Saaz hops, 3.9% (60 min)
– 1 oz Tettnang hops, 4.9% (60 min)
– 1/2 oz Czech Saaz, 3.9% (30 min)
– 1/2 oz Hersbrucker, 2.4% (30 min)
– 1/2 oz Hersbrucker, 2.4% (10 min)
– 1 oz Czech Saaz, 3.9% (1 min)
– 1 Tbsp Irish moss (15 min)
– 1 cup malto dextrin (15 min)

Yeast:
– Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale.
– 1 oz calcium carbonate for yeast, aerated well.

OG: 1.079

This is another one that can use some aging so it will sit until well after I’m back, hopefully ready for a summer party. See ya then!

Blizzard Brewing

January 31, 2011

I knew if I started brewing toward spring (see my last post) then maybe we’d get some good winter weather. Sure enough, a blizzard is rolling into the state. We may be just on the north edge of real snow accumulations, but this could be a pretty good one. Right now they’re saying about 10-12″ here. That’s not a bad way to start February, a little excitement to help carry us through the winter.  The snow has just started this afternoon and should kick in tomorrow and go through wednesday morning.  But I’m still on a spring brewing kick. I’m off to Africa here in a few weeks, so I’m stocking up on some beers that can benefit from a few weeks of secondary aging so I can bottle when I get back and have beer ready for spring. This one’s a light session beer, a low alcohol farmhouse style that should be great for those warm spring days when I’m getting the garden in shape–I can already smell that wonderful compost and dirt.

For now, here’s today’s recipe:

Grain:
— 0.5 lbs Gambrinus Honey Malt, steeped  20 minutes in 1 gallon 170 degree water. Sparged with a gallon room temp water.

Boil:
— 6.3  lbs Pilsen malt syrup
— 1 lb Pilsen dry malt extract
— 1 oz German Tradition hops, 6.9% (60 min)
— 1 oz French Strisselspalt, 2.9% (15 min)
— 1 Tbsp Irish moss (15 min)
— 1 cup malto dextrin (15 min)
— 1 oz French Strisselspalt, 2.9% (5 min)

Yeast:
— Wyeat 3725 Bier de Garde (special release).
— 1 oz calcium carbonate for yeast, aerated well.

OG: 1.043

I’m pretty excited to try this Wyeast (I tasted my starter and frankly it was yummy just by itself–can’t wait to see what it does with malt and hops in its mix). Might have to save some and do a few brews out of it if it works well.

Enjoy the blizzard everyone!!

Brewing Toward Spring

January 26, 2011

I should say that I generally love winter.  I love snow; I love real cold, snow-crunching days; I love fires and stews and dark beers; I even like shoveling (now that I’ve moved away from my huge, sloped driveway that was a beast to take care of even with a snowblower). But it does tend to get long. So I look forward to exciting weather along the way, the next deep freeze (usually accompanied by one of those brilliantly clear skies that makes everything crystalline) or the next snowstorm. But this year we’re in the deep doldrums. We missed the big snowstorms that hit Missouri recently, and now my friends and family on the East Coast are having yet another huge storm today. Here it’s been gray now with no hint of sunshine or snow (although the gray skies certainly look like impending snow) for weeks, a long stretch of rather depressing gray, raw wet days. Blah. So, with no weather to help make the winter go more quickly, there’s only one thing to do: start thinking about spring. And of course what better way to do that than start to plan what we’ll be drinking in, say, April.

Today’s brewing session is a kind of hybrid beer. I read recently a recipe that was a cross between a biere de garde and a steam beer (the recipe really seemed like a lighter, less hopped steam, but if they want to call it a biere de garde I guess who am I to stop them?). I’ve taken the idea and added a bit of German hop, pilsner profile to it and come up with a recipe I think will be a nice early spring drink–but not really fitting any profile I know. The beer is also designed to age well in my “Beer Room” during my trip to Africa. The temperature should be just about right in there for lagering in March, so I’ll let the beer age a bit, bring out the malt profile, bottle it when I get back and then have it ready for spring drinking.

Here goes:
Steep:
— 0.5 lbs Dingemans Aromatic
— 0.5 lbs Gambrinus Honey Malt
1 1/2 gallon 170 degree water, 20 minutes; sparge with 1 gallon room temp water.

Boil:
— 7 lbs Pilsen dry malt extract (60 min)
— 1 lb honey (15 minutes)

Hops & Additions:
— 1 oz Hersbrucker, 2/4% (60 min)
— 1 oz Czech Saaz, 3.9% (60 min)
— 1 oz Czech Saaz, 3.9% (30 min)
— 1 oz French Strisselspalt, 2.9% (10 min)
— 1 oz French Strisselspalt, 2.9% (1 min)
1 Tbsp Irish Moss, 15 minutes

Yeast
— Wyeast 2112 California Lager
— Add 1 Tbsp Calcium Carbonate and aerate vigorously

We’ll see how it goes. I’ll let you know how it tastes when it’s done. On another note, I bottled my Double IPA yesterday and it tasted damn drinkable before it even got to the bottle. Looking forward to sampling it in about 10 days.

Cheers to spring and beer on the patio!

Sunday’s Dubbel

November 28, 2010

Second brew of the new Mount Vernon Brewery. Enjoyed the garage with doors open as Iowa warmed up to the mid-40s and sunny–a great Sunday afternoon of brewing.

Today’s session was an Abbey-style Dubbel:

1/2 lb. Dingeman’s Caramunich
1/4 lb. Dingeman’s Special B
Steeped grains in 2 gallons water, 170 degrees, 15 minutes.
Sparged grains with 1 gallon cold water then brought to boil.
6.6 lb. Northern Brewer gold extract, 60 minutes
1 lb Briess pale malt extract, 60 minutes
1 oz. Tradition hops, 6.9%, 60 minutes
1/2 oz. Tettnang, 4.5% 45 minutes
1/2 oz. Tettnang, 4.5%, 30 minutes
1/2 lb. light Belgian candy sugar, 15 minutes
1 lb. dark Belgian candy sugar, 15 minutes
1 oz Hallterau, 2.9%, 10 minutes
1 tsp Irish moss, 10 minutes
1 tsp Gypsum, 10 minutes
Cooled wort to 85 degrees then added distilled water to make 5 gallons.
Aerated and added 2 tsp calcium carbonate
Pitched a 1-quart starter of Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey yeast

O.G.: 1.062

I will let this one ferment in our furnace room which stays in the mid-70s since this strain of yeast can tolerate warmer temperatures which will hopefully bring out more of the dark fruit flavors. Brewing went really well and I’m pretty excited about this. The wort tasted great–lots of malt and carmel sugars with a touch of hop spiciness. I’ll let you know how it goes in a month or so. In the meantime, these brewing sessions have helped me figure out how to get the all-grain system up-and-running. There are some technical issues at the new house to be worked through, but I think I’m figuring it all out.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksiving filled with plenty of good beer. Prost!

The New Brewery

November 13, 2010

It took a few months from moving in to get the Freeman home brewery up and running, but just brewed the first batch today. The biggest issue was getting a usable sink in the basement. We just added a double sink to replace the old 1950s shallow sink, but this meant redoing the drain system because the old version was set too high to accommodate a deeper.  sink. More of a job than I hoped when we moved in, but really nice now to have a two bins to work with.

For the moment I’m brewing in the garage, but I have a shed out back that I’ll turn into a brewery.

This was actually my first brewing session since my back surgery, now almost two years ago. I eased back into it with a kit brew, but my goal for this winter–the real goals of my sabbatical which starts in January–is to get a brewery set up so that I can get back into all-grain brewing.

For easing back in, I started with a classic, highly hopped IPA:

Steep 1/2 pound Briess Caramalt 40L and 1/2 pound Simpson’s light Crystal Malt, 15 minutes, 170 degrees.
Strain grains.
Bring to boil with 9 1/2 lb Northern Brewer Gold extract. 60 minute boil.
Boil 1 oz. Yakima Magnum hops, 14.2 alpha, 60 minutes
Boil 1 oz Cascade, 5.7 alpha, 40 minutes
Boil 1/2 oz Warrior, 17.2 alpha, 30 minutes
Boil 1 oz Centennial, 9.6 alpha, 20 minutes
Boil 1/2 oz Warrior,  17.2 alpha 5 minutes
Add 1 oz Warrior, 17.2 alpha at very end of boil
1 tsp Irish Moss and 1 tsp gypsum for final 15 minutes of boil.
Cool to 80 degrees, stir in two tsp calcium carbonate and Wyeast American Ale yeast starter.
Stir vigorously to aerate.
Original Gravity: 1.070

When I tasted this before it began fermenting, the hop profile was pretty intense. My plan had been to add an ounce of Amarillo hops to the secondary fermenter, but I think I’ll see how it’s tasting at that point and decide. I’m always for more hop, but I don’t want it to be unbalanced.


I think next on my brewing list is to go higher gravity and make a double IPA. Stay tuned.

The other nice thing about my brewing set-up in the new house is we have a canning room that is easy to turn into beer and wine storage. At the moment I’ve got lots of other beers and wines stashed there, but it will be great for aging beers. It might even make me interested in using lager yeasts again since the winter temperatures will be pretty cool. I’m not a big lager fan in general, but I’ve always had that dream of creating a recipe that’s close to Paulaner Salvator–one of my all-time favorite beers. We’ll see.