Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Well, I've opened a bottle of the black ale and it's pretty good. It definitley has some robust hop character and a nice bit plum and molasses character. I still think it will benefit from several weeks of aging.

Speaking of aging, I decided to brew a Biére de Garde the other day and use my Brewjacket for a nice cool ferment in the low- to mid-60s. Well, I've determined that something is wrong with my Brewjacket Immersion as it coudn't keep the temperature from raising once active fermentation really got going. Ambient temperature in the room was about 72 and I set the Immersion at 64. The temperature slowly climbed over a period of 24 hours to a 77 which is still in the acceptable (but not optimal) range for the K-97 yeast that I picthed. The next morning I noticed the temperature was 84. Not good. At this point I removed the fermenter from the jacket. It was very warm inside in the jacket. I verified the surface temperature of the fermenter with an infrared thermometer as being 84. Definitely not good and cause for concern that this batch might turn out to be an estery mess. I removed the immersion from the fermenter and resealed it with sanitized lid and airlock filled with gin from Two Brothers that ended up not liking. The surface temperature of the fermenter has slowly cooled to about 78 after being out of the jacket for about three hours. I'm a tad worried about a stalled fermentation, but I have other this happens. In the meantime, I took the Brewjacket Immersion apart when I noticed a little build up of dust on top of the fan. It really wasn't that bad but I cleaned it anyway. I then set up the Immersion in a bucket of warm (84) degree water and set the temperature to cool it to 74 to get the fan going. The fan sounded bad and I realized I reassembled the unit wrong, putting the screen above the fan in upside down. I fixed this and started my test again. The fan sounded normal but the temperature probe (taped to the side of fermenter) was reading about 10 degrees higher than the reading from my infrared thermometer. This continued to the case about two hours later. When I checked my records to see how long I've been using the Brewjacket Immersion I discovered that I've been using about four years, so perhaps it's just at the end of its life. I decided to purchase the Immersion Pro which is the second generation of the Immersion and we'll see how that works out. Hopefully it lasts at least another four years. Also, all this talk of brewing temperature has me thinking about getting a Tilt hydrometer. It's a good thing I have enough money to throw at my homebrewing hobby...

The recipe for the Biére de Garde is as follows:

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Really bad about updating here...so I tried my hand at a Polish style of beer called Grodziskie. For those that arent' familiar with the style it is made with 100 perent smoked oak-smoked wheat. I used
Styrian Goldings since I couldn't get access to Polish hops. I also fermented with Safale US-05. I was able to keep fermentation temperatures in the upper mid- to upper 60s for this one. It turned out great. Only used four pounds of wheat so the alcohol by volume was below four percent.

After brewing the Grodiziskie (also known as Gratzer) I brewed a Belgian-style hopppy dark ale (a Black IPA is suppose.) For this beer I used six pounds of dark DME, one pound of Special B malt, one pound of dark Belgian candi sugar, one ounce of Chinook (full 60-minute boil) and two ounces of Mosaic Cryo hops. I fermented this with Wyeast French Saison #3711. I bottled this beer today and the hop character was bright with fairly strong hop burn in the finish. Not quite as dark as I expected but we'll see how it is once it clears up.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Brewed awhile back. A simple saison intended to be a Grisette, a lower-alcohol type of saison. I used three pounds of pilsner DME and one pound of Wheat DME along with two ounces of Styrian Goldings boiled for 30 minutes, one ounce boiled for 20 minutes and ounce ounce steeped for 45 minutes. I pitched Omega Saisonstein's Monster yeast which I haven't used before and I have to say I'm impressed. I bottled this beer last night and the gravity was 1.002 down from 1.035, so I'm knocking on the door of 4 percent ABV, which is a little more than I thought but I'm fine with it. Tasted at bottling, this beer had a very pilsner like bitterness and estery nose. I added gypsum which may have accentuated the hop bitterness. It's a spicy, yet not to aggressive bitterness from the Styrians. I brewed this beer back on June 30 and bottled after 15 days in the primary. No secondary. Should be interesting.

Also, the Japanese Sunshine has turned out to be very hoppy....here are my notes:

 4/26/2019 - Bottling day for Japanese sunshine. Very pale appearance. Yellowish. Very herbal and citrusy aroma. Very gentle bittermess, touch of citrus pith, bitter lemon. Dry.
5/18/2019 - Surprisingly hoppy. Hoppier than I recall at bottling time if that's possible. Still a good beer, but a hoppy saison. Somehow almost a Belgian IPA. Should be interesting to see how it ages.
7/14/2019 - This is definitely some hoppy stuff! More of a Belgian IPA than a saison, but not quite big enough for an IPA. More of a hoppy American pale ale with a Saison yeast. The two ounces of Lemondrop really put it over the top. It's also not as dry as I would like a saison to be, but fine for an IPA. Big lemon/dill aroma. Estery and hoppy with slight oily hoppiness. Bitter finish. Drinks more like an American Pale Ale or IPA than a Saison. Hard to believe that is only 5.0 percent ABV, but maybe this is just because it  is so hoppy.

Also: the smoked "bock" from a few months ago seemed to be infected or at least not finished fermenting as the last few bottles have been gushers.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

 Decided to rack the Japanese Sunshine tonight and add two ounces of Lemondrop for aroma. A good call because the hop aroma is barely detectable. So far this beer is quite bitter for the style....almost too bitter, but I suspect that hoppiness will fade. I also goofed in my calculations and the OG is actually 1.056 and 36 IBUs instead of 1.049 and 30 IBUs. A much hoppier beer than I intended but the hydrometer sample tasted good.The hop aroma from Lemondrop should be a nice compliment to the hop bitterness and flavor. This will likely be the hoppiest version of Japanese Sunshine to date.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Took today off of work and decided to brew a warm weather beer -- another version of my recipe that I call Japanese Sunshine. For this version I've kept it basic with three and a half pounds of Briess Golden DME, one and a half pounds of Briess Wheat DME, a pound of rice syrup solids and Sorachi Ace hops. The hops were added at 15 minutes left in the boil and at the end of the boil -- one ounce each. The wort is being fermented with Wyeast 3711 French Saison.  Decided on a four-gallon batch as I shorted myself a bit on DME. (I ended up raiding the pantry for leftover DME.) Chilled the wort to about 90 given the reading on my infrared thermometer. Water from the tap for my chiller was 50 degrees. Wort and water in the fermeter seemed not to mix so gave the fermetner a good shake after pitching the yeast. I have an ounce of Lemon Drop hops that I may dry hop with in the secondary or for a couple days in the primary at the end of fermentation. Also, I've had no problems with the Gigawort since using only DME instead of LME.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

So smoked "bock" got bottled about three weeks after it started fermenting. I didn't bother with two-stage fermentation since I was using an ale yeast afterall. I've tasted the beer after three weeks in the bottle and this point it tastes more bitter than I expected but I think this might have to do with the oak smoked malt accentuating the hop flavors along with the sharp carbonation. In hindsight, I would use just beechwood smoked malt and no oak smoked malt. I would probably also use more smoked malt for more of that bacon and sausage character. That said, I do like the character of the oak smoked malt but I think that's for another beer -- maybe a helles bock or Grodziskie --  and I really want to try brewing a Grodziskie. I tried a Grodziskie for the first time recently and really liked it.

As I'm typing this I'm drinking my dunkelweizen. It comes across drier and a bit thinner than expected but I do like it. It is very carbonated and I think that reinforces the feeling of dryness. I went to a new brewpub last night called Ike and Oak. I really enjoyed their pale ale called Broken Carabiner. I'm not sure if I'll try and brew a clone of that or the Grodziskie next. I really enjoyed the late additions of Mosaic hops in the Carebiner but I think I might still try and get to the Grodziskie...it's just such a delightfully oddball style.