Nothing like brewing a summer beer when temperatures are in the high 50’s/low 60’s! Unfortunately that’s the reality in the Chicagoland area this time of year. I’ll be in the 80’s one day and then drop 20 degrees the next.
The goal of this brew day was obviously to brew a nice easy drinking summer beer that has great hop flavor, but a light smooth bitterness. The other goal here was to test out Wyeast 1318 London Ale III. I’ve been a huge fan of Conan yeast, and as of now I intend to use it as a house yeast for the majority of my beers. Before I commit to that plan, I wanted to try out London Ale III and see if it lives up to the good things I’ve read about it. The yeast is supposed to be fairly clean, decent attenuation, lets the hops pop, and lends a creamy mouthfeel. This is also supposedly the yeast Hill Farmstead uses, and if I can get anywhere near their quality and mouthfeel then I’ll be thrilled. I wrote an article about my thoughts on a house yeast, you can read it here for more detail HERE.
This beer is a bit of a departure from my recipe last year. Without knowing what their recipe was, I based the idea of this beer last year on Two Brothers Sidekick Extra Pale Ale. It’s a light, dry APA thats really drinkable and perfect for summer days. I still love that beer, but I had a beer from Treehouse recently that I felt would be an even better summer chugger. Treehouse Eureka (the Citra version) is a cloudy, creamy, hoppy blonde ale that tiptoes the blonde/APA line. As I was drinking it, I thought about how it would be the perfect beer to drink a sixpack worth while sitting on my deck on an 85 degree day. I didn’t set out to brew a clone of this beer, and Treehouse is apparently pretty tight lipped on their recipes anyway. I wanted a ton of tropical and citrusy hop flavor without a lot of bitterness. I used Zythos, Citra, and Galaxy in this beer last year, along with Nelson Sauvin. For this year’s version, I dropped the Nelson hops and focused on achieving a smooth body by using oats and white wheat. I also kept the higher chloride ratio to boost the body of the beer. I loved the impact this had on my 527 DIPA. The hops still popped, but the beer was so smooth, and the bitterness wasn’t harsh. That same approach should work really well in this beer. I used some light caramalt for a hint of sweetness to sit under the hops and to get a bit of color. If all goes to plan, this beer should blend elements of a blonde ale and an APA. I’ll call it a blonde, but this beer definitely won’t fit neatly in the style guidelines.
I was really happy with how this brew day went, and I was determined to have a mistake free day. As usual, we had our friends and neighbors over, but I laid out my ingredients on a table beforehand and kept my process tight. I hit my temps and numbers, coming up just one point high on my OG, winding up with 1.050. I did a 30 minute hop stand at 180 degrees after my 60 minute boil, then chilled to 70 and pitched my yeast. It’s been fermenting away for a week, and I’ll give it a few more days before transferring to the keg for dry hopping!
Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2 HCO
141.9 0.0 0.0 180.9 95.1 0.000
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated FG: 1.014 FG
Estimated Color: 4.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 35.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 78.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
6 lbs 12.0 oz Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 71.5 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 2 10.6 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 10.6 %
8.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.3 %
3.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.0 %
0.13 oz Apollo [17.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 8.3 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 7 9.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 10.5 IBUs
1.00 oz Zythos [10.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 7.5 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Zythos [10.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 15 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Zythos [10.90 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 16 0.0 IBUs
2.0 pkg London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124. Yeast 13 –
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 7.0 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 11.79 qt of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F 60 min
Update 06/12/15: I transferred this beer onto the dry hops in the keg last night. The FG came in at 1.011, a bit drier than I had wanted, but the beer should have a nice light body for summer drinking. The other downside of the beer drying out was the abv comes in at 5.1 now, rather than the 4.7 I was shooting for. It’s not quite the low abv session beer I was aiming for, but this thing should still be light and chuggable. It’ll sit on the hops for a few days and then I’ll start carbing it!
Tasting Update 06/22/15: I’m thrilled with the way this beer turned out! The beer is so smooth with great hop flavor and a nice light malt body.
Appearance: The beer pours a bright gold with hints of orange. The beer is hazy and unfiltered just like Eureka from Treehouse Brewing. It pours with a nice creamy head and sticky lacing that hangs around. A really nice looking beer if you enjoy the unfiltered look (I do!).
Smell: Nice fruity aroma consisting of orange, grapefruit, and some pineapple. There are hints of yeast esters. The hop aroma isn’t overpowering and goes well in this beer.
Taste: Very mild bitterness gives way to bright citrus hop flavor. There’s some orange and grapefruit, but aside from the citrus there’s also passion fruit and mango notes. The malt base here is pretty light and grainy with just a bit of sweetness in the finish. There’s a hint of English yeast esters, but they compliment the flavors in this beer really well. Overall the yeast profile was pretty clean.
Mouthfeel: This is one of the ways this beer shines. I really like the silky smooth body that the Wyeast 1318 leaves. The beer is light in body, but this yeast keeps it from ever seeming thin or watery. The beer still finished dry enough to be really refreshing and drinkable.
Overall: I really could not beer more pleased with this beer. I’d be interested to see what this beer would be like with Conan yeast, but I really like what the 1318 brings to the table here. This was a great trial run for me with 1318, but I’d like to use it in a DIPA or something a bit bigger before I come to a final opinion on it. I will say that it lived up to my expectations! I would maybe add some carapils in place of some basemalt to keep a bit more body in the beer, but I’m kinda nit picking. I’d like to keep the abv down just a bit more, somewhere around 4.5 to 4.7 or so, but again, that’s a pretty small complaint here. I’m very satisfied with this beer, and any recipe tweeking will be minor!