White Death (Version 7) New England Style DIPA

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White Death was brewed on 10/10/16.  Well well well, here we go again!  I knew I wanted to brew another batch of this beer before long, and there wasn’t much I wanted to change about it.  Since the last time I brewed this beer, Chicago has had a few breweries come out with some truly great examples of the New England IPA style.  Breweries like Mikerphone and their Special Sauce beers, Hop Butcher’s Galaxy Bowl, and The RAM’s Juicy have all been stellar beers that I just couldn’t get enough of.  The more I had these beers, the more things I realized that I needed to tweak to get White Death to be 100% where I want it.

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A couple tools of the trade

One thing I wanted to improve was just the overall saturation of hop flavors and aromas.  Sadly for my wallet, this just meant more hops.  There’s basically a pound of hops in this recipe, and the vast majority of those are in the hop stand and dry hop.  I’m not sure if this is overkill or not, I’ll have to see once this is done and see if there’s anywhere I can scale the hops back a bit without losing any flavor or aroma.

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Me, giving the mash a good stir

Looking back, I love how I said I wouldn’t change much if anything with that recipe last time, and just look above.  What can I say, I love tinkering with my recipes, but I really think this will get me where I want to be!

As for the brew day itself, it went about as perfect as it gets.  I was with my friends Jason and Dave, so I had plenty of help when I needed it.  I hit my mash temp right on the dot.  I mashed for an hour and then sparged.  Once the boil got going, I had some time to relax and have a couple beers with the guys.

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Jason stirring the mash

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A nice fall day for brewing some DIPA

Below you’ll see my hop additions, and that’s without the dry hop!  I added Citra and Mosaic at 10 minutes left, and got my chiller going at flameout.  I brought the beer down to 180 degrees and added a hopstand charge.  I let those hops steep for 45 minutes, chilled down to pitching temperature, and took my OG reading.  Right on the money at 1.075!  I swear, this brew day went too good to be true, I’m waiting on some disaster with the yeast or I’ll drop the carboy at kegging or something.

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The boil and hopstand hops…there’s anoth 8oz for the dry hop!

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My brew assistants Jason and Dave

I’ve said it before that this is my favorite beer that I brew, and this is the most excited I think I’ve ever been about a batch that I brewed.  I really think this recipe nailed the style, and I executed everything on brew day.  Hopefully the repitched slurry of Wyeast London Ale III yeast do their job, and I minimize any oxygen pickup during dry hopping and kegging.

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Pale Malt (2 Row)
Oats, Flaked
White Wheat Malt
Carapils
Honey Malt
Corn Sugar

Apollo
Citra
Galaxy
Mosaic

Keg Update 10/18/16:  The beer was kegged on the second round of dry hops.  The FG came in at 1.014, right on target to get my 8% ABV!  The sample I took was absolutely fantastic tasting, tons of juicy hop flavor.  I can’t wait to see what another four ounces of dry hops does!

Tasting Notes 11/3/16:

Appearance:  White Death pours a deep golden orange color with a beautiful haze.  If you you dig New England IPAs, you’ll love this.  The beer beer looks like its glows under a light source, its really a beautiful beer.  The appearance really enhances the juicy feel of the beer.  The head is fluffy and white and maintained by lively tiny bubbles.  The head eventually dissipates and fades to the side of the glass where it clings as nice, sticky lacing.

Smell:  So, so juicy smelling.  Its like opening a blended bag of hops and putting your nose in.  It smells like a smoothie made of orange and a bit of generic citrus, pineapple, peach, berry, passion fruit and mango.  It’s just very juicy!  I feel like I’m overusing that term, but it’s really the best descriptor.  I love how the Galaxy hops really amped up that peach and tropical fruit aspect.  The yeast esters further compliment the fruitiness of the hops.  If you want floral notes or piney resin, look elsewhere.  This beer is like a glass of carbonated fruit juice blend with some alcohol.

Taste:  The bitterness is very mild and so smooth, but its enough to keep the beer from being too sweet.  The taste follow the nose with predominant flavors of orange, pineapple, mango, and peach.  There’s lighter hints of passion fruit, lemon zest, and a bit of berry.  Malt definitely takes a back seat here, but I love the way the sweetness and slight fruitiness of the honey malt compliments the hops.  The 1318 yeast provides a wonderful profile that really enhances everything else going on with this beer.

Mouthfeel:  Silky smooth from the wheat and oats.  The body is on the fuller side of medium, with lighter medium carbonation that enhances the creamy body.  Even the body of this beer is juice like, and it really enhances the aromas and flavors.  I feel like I’ve gotten close with previous beers in terms of mouthfeel, this is the first time I’m really nailed it on the head.

Overall:  Yes!  Yes yes yes!  This is truly the beer I’ve been trying to make!  The almost pound of hops I put in this beer truly turned out to be worth it.  This beer is so saturated with hop flavor and aroma, I’ve never brewed anything quite to this level.  The addition of Galaxy rather than Amarillo really played well with the Citra and Mosaic.  It was an improvement for sure with what I was going for.  I think the higher percentage of oats and wheat really made the body perfect on this one.  The dry hop is right on the money.  I’d love to shave a couple ounces of hops off somewhere if I could to keep the cost down, but I don’t want to lose anything from this spectacular beer.  I might up the Apollo at 60 to .5 oz, then do an ounce of Apollo at 10 and save all my flavor and aroma hops for flameout and dry hops.  I also might be around the end of this pitch of 1318, though that doesn’t factor into the actual recipe design.  I’ve never had this beer even get close to clearing at all until the very end of the keg on my last batches.  I just harvest slurry from my fermentor without washing it, and I’m thinking I’m getting more and more flocculant pitches.  Every three or four days I need to agitate the keg a bit to get more of those hop oils and yeast back into suspension.  That seems to be the key with beers like this.  It loses some flavor when it clears since there isn’t much going on behind all those wonderful hop oils.  This beer is the best beer I’ve made…..period.

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Hop Harvest IPA 2016

dsc_1148Hop Harvest IPA was brewed on 09/18/16.  This beer marks the first time I’ve had access to freshly picked hops!  A coworker of mine, Steve, is a fellow homebrewer who happens to also grow his own hops.  I showed up to work and found a bag of about three and a half ounces each of freshly picked and dried Nugget and Cascade hops!
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I brought the hops home that night, measured them out in 1 ounce bags, flushed with Co2, and then put them in the freezer until brew day a few days later.  The flavor fresh hops impart is supposed to be unique and intense when compared to using pellet hops.  I had about 6 and a half ounces to work with here, so that’s not a ton given that whole cone hops have more plant material that doesn’t impart anything to the beer than pellets do.  I figured to get the most out of this beer I needed to both do a smaller batch to make the amount of fresh hops I had go further, and I needed to supplement them with some pellets.

I bought two ounces each of Cascade and Nugget pellets to use during the boil and first round of dry hops, saving all my fresh hops for the hopstand and keg dry hops.  If you read my blog, you know I make my pale ales in the New England/Northeast style.  I always do a round of dry hops in the fermenter while primary fermentation is still active.  I used an ounce each of Nugget and Cascade pellets in the fermenter just for ease of removal.  Getting bagged whole cone hops out of the carboy would be awful, and not bagging them would make yeast harvesting difficult.  So pellets it was.  An ounce and a half each of my freshies were saved for hopping in the keg.

Cascade and Nugget are not the trendiest types of hops, and I’ll be interested to see what these classic American hops do in the new school NE hoppy style.  Cascades are still citrusy, and I can see Nugget fitting in here too.  Nugget can lean more towards the herbal, pine and spice side of things, but I’ve had strictly Nugget hopped beers that were fruity as well. Cascade and Nugget aren’t the Citras and Mosaics of the IPA world anymore, but that’s kind of appealing here, combining old and new.  I’ll also be excited to see what using fresh hops brings to the table as far as flavor and aroma intensity goes.  In reality, 6 ounces of fresh cones isn’t a lot by today’s pale ale standards, so I’m hopping that by doing a smaller batch I was able to stretch them a bit further.

Brew day was a madhouse, but in a fun way.  I was given two one gallon brew kits by my friend Andy, and I decided to put them to good use.  While I was brewing my fresh hopped pale ale, I had two batches of one gallon all grain beers going on the stove.  Needeless to say, I had my hands full.  Things were pretty hectic, but everything turned out well for the most part.  The Hop Harvest ale went really well, I hit all my numbers.  I mashed in at 152 for 60 minutes, sparged, and got my 60 minute boil going.  I used some of my Cascade and Nugget pellets in the boil, and saved a bit for a flameout addition.  I had a big addition of fresh hops go in right at flameout, and I steeped the hops in a hopstand for 45 minutes to let those freshies really soak in.  After the hopstand I chilled to about 70 degrees, took my hydrometer sample, and poured through my strainer into the carboy.  My hydrometer sample came in at 1.058.  The beer fermented at 68 degrees for 4 days.  I hit it with the first round of dry hops on day 4 and ramped the temp up to 72 to help the yeast finish out.

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Recipe Specifications
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Batch Size (fermenter): 4.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 6.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt, Golden Promise (Thomas Fawcet Grain 1 64.5 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 11.7 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 11.7 %
6.0 oz Honey Malt (Gambrinus) (25.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.4 %
4.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 5 2.9 %
4.0 oz Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.9 %
2.5 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 7 1.8 %

0.25 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 15.3 IBUs
0.75 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 16.6 IBUs
0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 10 4.7 IBUs
2.50 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

1 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 1
1 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 1

1.75 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 2
1.5 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 2

London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318)

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 8.5 oz
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Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 10.66 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Keg Update 09/29/16:  I kegged this beer last night on 2.25 oz of fresh Nugget and Cascade hops.  I used some stainless steel washers to help keep the bag weighted down.  I took my final hydrometer sample and it came in at 1.012, giving me an abv of 6%!  The sample tasted nice already, with citrus and some herbal and pine notes.  I’ll be anxious to see jhow this turns out!

Tasting Notes 10/12/16:

Appearance:  Hop Harvest pours a cloudy orange color with gold highlights.  This beer started with the usual level of juice like haze I get in my New England style beers, but as the keg has gone, it’s begun to settle out a bit.  Its still hazy, but not turbid.  The beer has a nice white head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell:  I’ve never used Nugget hops, and its been a while since I’ve used Cascade, so I’m not sure how much the fresh hops differ from the usual pellets, but this beer has a unique smell.  The dominant smell almost reminds me of being in a forest after a rain shower.  Its a very fresh floral and herbal note I think, with citrus and a bit of peach underneath that.  I’m guessing the peach comes from the 1318 esters, while the citrus should be the Cascade.  I’m thinking the herbal and floral notes are from the Nugget hops.

Taste:  This beer benefits from the stirring the keg up periodically, otherwise its a bit bland for a NE style pale.  The bitterness would be mild in a more flavorful beer, but there’s not a ton of hop flavor, so the bitterness sticks out a bit more.  There’s a spicy herbal flavor, with just a hint of grapefruit and peach beneath that.  The Golden Promise and honey malt add a bit of complexity to keep the beer from seeming boring, but there’s a bit of harsher bitterness in the finish.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent beer, but its pretty balanced and certainly not a hop bomb.  Its just a bit bland.

Mouthfeel:  Pretty nice body on this,  but nothing special.  Medium carbonation.  The bitterness in the finish creates a drier feeling on the tongue that interferes with what would otherwise be a smooth finish.

Overall:  I can’t say I’m necessarily let down here since I didn’t really have any expectations for this beer, but I’m certainly not impressed with it either.  I think the issue comes down to the amount of hops used.  The fresh whole cone hops have a lot more plant material by ounce, and while the aroma and flavor they provided was raw and pretty cool, I just didn’t have enough.  I should have done an even smaller batch to really make the most of them, but oh well.  I’d love to try another fresh hop beer though, and it was cool getting to use some varieties that I don’t use much if any of.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a forgettable beer.  I’ve brewed plenty worse, but I’ve certainly brewed better IPA’s.

 

Kangaroo Scallywag – New England Style IPA With Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy Hops

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This beer was brewed on 07/10/16.  Kangaroo Scallywag is another in my series of New England/Northeast style beers.  This one is an American IPA.  It’s been a year since I’ve brewed one.  I tend towards brewing doubles in the 8% range or going lighter with APA’s so I figured a standard IPA brew day was about due.

The original plan for this beer was to use Azzaca hops rather than Galaxy, and the beer’s name would have been different.  I’d been reading about Azzaca hops and they sound like they’d be great in this type of beer.  I’d never used them so it would have been fun to try them out alongside the Nelson hops for a super fruity IPA.  When I got to my LHBS I saw they were out.  I still got a bunch of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand and I wanted another fruity hop to go with it so I figured I may as well just make this a Southern Hemisphere IPA and go with Australian Galaxy, hence the Kangaroo part in the name.  While I’ve only used Nelson once prior, I know plenty of commercial beers that pair it with Galaxy, so I know I’m in for a delicious hoppy treat.

There were a few aspects of this beer that were new to me, but let’s start with what’s the same.  I went with my usual 2 Row base, I used both White Wheat and flaked to give it that smooth creamy body, some carapils for the same, and my hop schedule is my usual for this type of beer.  I kept my water chemistry treatment in line with what I usualy do for this style of beer which is heavier on the chloride and lighter on the sulfate to help achieve that smooth easy bitterness that this style of IPA is known for.

As for the differences, there were a couple.  This is my first time using honey malt in a hoppy beer, though I’ve seen plenty of recipes that have so I’m hardly doing anything outside of the ordinary.  I’m interested to see how it compares to the light caramalt I usually use for color and a hint of sweetness in my hoppy beers.  If it adds a little extra complexity I might have to sub honey malt into some of my other recipes.  The other new factor in this beer wasn’t a new ingredient, but rather a new method for me.  I’d never wanted to go through the hassle of harvesting and washing yeast.  It seemed like more work and risk of infection than I wanted to deal with.  By just buying a couple packs of yeast on brew day and just pitching those, I felt like I eliminated one extra variable where something could go wrong.  While that’s a safe way to do things, it gets expensive.  Yes the ease of just pitching a couple packs of yeast is nice, but it adds up money wise.  I read an article on one of my favorite blogs, Ales of the Riverwards,  about just harvesting the slurry from the fermenter and directly pitching that slurry into another batch without going through a washing process.  It sounded interesting, so I harvested the Wyeast 1318 London Ale III from my Serrated Summer Ale in mason jars and kept it in the fridge.  As the article I linked to describes, its good to keep as much trub and hop matter out of the harvested slurry as possible, and I think I did a good job of that.  I was excited to try harvested slurry for the first time here.

Sorry for the lack of brew day pictures, I didn’t bother with the camera for this one.  The brew day itself was the usual processes and procedures.  It was just my friend Steve and me, so it was a pretty quiet day.  I mashed in at 150 for an hour, did my usual batch/dunk sparge with the grain bag, and boiled for 60.  I had to cut my hopstand from 30 minutes to 20 as I was up against the clock trying to get this done before leaving to go play in my hockey league.  I chilled the beer down to about 95 degrees before I had to leave, so I put the beer in my fermentation fridge and set it to run while I was gone.  I came home and the beer was around 70 degrees so I took my hydrometer sample and then I measured out about 200 ml of 1318 slurry and pitched it.  They hydrometer sample came in right at my expected 1.064 after I adjusted for temperature.

It took until the next evening before I saw signs of fermentation, but it took off like a rocket at that point.  I added an ounce of Nelson and Galaxy after 4 days of active fermentation, and I’ll post an update when the beer is kegged.

Recipe Specifications
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Boil Size: 7.00 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.064 SG
Estimated Color: 5.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 63.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 74.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 76.0 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 7.2 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 7.2 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 %
8.0 oz Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.6 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.3 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 48.1 IBUs
0.50 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 8.1 IBUs
0.50 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 7.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpoo Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 1

1.5 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 2
1.5 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 2

London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318)  200 ml slurry repitched from previous batch

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 13.0 oz
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Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 17.27 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.84gal, 3.50gal) of 168.0 F water

Water Profile:

Ca+2                  Mg+2                  Na+                    Cl-                  SO4-2               HCO
139.2                  12.0                   10.0                   151.9               96.4                 120.571

Kegging Update 07/19/19:  I kegged this beer to sit on another round of dry hops for the next five days.  I took my hydrometer sample and was thoroughly disappointed.  For whatever reason, this beer only got down to 1.020.  It was fermenting like crazy, almost requiring a blowoff tube, so I’m really surprised.  1318 is a quick fermenter, so I’m guessing its done.  Maybe my pitch rate was off if I had more trub in the pitch than I expected?  I’m not sure.  I’m hesitant to use any yeast harvested from this batch since it didn’t really perform.  My ABV is only 5.8 on this one, more of a pale ale than IPA, but the flavor was still nice.  Can’t win them all I suppose.  UPDATE 07/24/16:  I removed the dry hops and noticed that there was a ton of foam in the keg when I opened it.  I wondered if I had roused the yeast when I transferred so I figured why not take another hydrometer sample and see.  It got down to 1.015!  Hell yes.  So my final ABV on this beer is 6.5%, right in line with what I wanted!  The hydrometer sample tasted great, I have high hopes for this one.

Tasting Notes 08/15/16

Appearance:  Kangaroo Scallywag pours a glowing orange color with golden hues mixed in.  A typical looking New England style IPA, this beer is very hazy and juice like in appearance.  The beer pours with a sift white head that sticks around then clings to the side of the glass.  A pretty beer for sure if you dig this style like I do!

Smell:  This beer has a huge bouquet of fruity aromas.  In my opinion, the Nelson sticks out over the Galaxy, but both are evident.  The classic vineyard grape aromas from the Nelson blend with notes of mango and pineapple.  There’s more tropical fruit and not much in the way of citrus in the aroma.  There’s a aroma that Southern Hemisphere hops tend to have in common and its evident here.  I wish I could put my finger on the exact quality they have, but I can’t.  There’s an almost Belgian ester aroma to the aroma, but it doesn’t carry to the flavor.

Taste:  The bitterness in this one is so smooth.  It quickly gives way to  beautifully saturated hop flavors.  Again, I feel the Nelson shines through a bit more with its grape like fruitiness, but the mango and pineapple from the Galaxy are close behind.  This beer is like tropical fruit juice, its so tasty!  There’s a pleasant sweetness in the finish without coming across as malty.  I’m sure its a mixture of hop flavors and sweetness from the malt bill, specifically the honey malt.

Mouthfeel:  This beer is very soft on the palate, with what could be described as a pillowy mouthfeel.  The beer still finishes dry enough that it leaves you anxious for another sip and remains very drinkable.  The carbonation is medium and the beer leaves sticky lacing on the glass.

Overall:  I was worried about this beer when it went into the keg due to what seemed to be the yeast crapping out on me.  Either they were still working or the transfer to the keg woke them back up, but either way, they got the job done and I’m very happy with these results!  I really like Nelson and Galaxy together, they produce so much fruit flavor in a beer like this.  I’m a big fan of the subtle sweetness of the honey malt in this type of IPA when used in the right amount, and I’ll be interested to use more of it going forward.  I’m not sure of anything I’d want to change if I was to brew this one again.  I’m sure it’ll be a while if I do just because there are always new hop combos I want to try and other beers I’d like to revisit first, but put this beer firmly in the “Would brew again” category!

Serrated Summer Ale 3.0 – Hoppy Blonde

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Serrated Summer Ale (1)

Brewed 06/12/16.  Finally, I get to brew a summer beer while its warm enough to feel like summer outside!!!  My Munich Helles required jeans and long sleeves and I brewed that in May.  Oh well.  Anyway, this is my third time brewing my main summer beer, Serrated Summer Ale.  The first time I brewed this ale, it was basically a different beer.  It was essentially a knockoff of Two Brothers Sidekick extra pale ale.  Its a very light pale ale with a big tropical and citrus kick, but its definitely West Coast.  The beer is crisp, dry, and clear.  If that appeals to you more, check it out here.

The second version of this beer, as well as this version, are more modeled after a beer called Eureka by TreeHouse.  Eureka is a blonde ale, but not in the traditional sense.  When most people think of a blonde ale, they think of an entry level craft ale that isn’t a drastic departure from the macro lagers that many enjoy.  The beer is typically crystal clear, subtle, and crisp.  There usually isn’t much going on in the way of hops or any sort of yeast profile.  I dare say that blonde ales are a bit boring.  I enjoy them from time to time, and have even brewed several, one I really liked, but if I want crisp, refreshing with not a lot going on, I’ll usually take a lager like a Helles.  Eureka, and my Serrated Summer Ale, are not blonde ales of this traditional variety.   The beer is cloudy in the New England/Northeast IPA style of beers.  The soft mouthfeel is there.  And so are those beautiful citrus and tropical hop flavors.  The beer is still super light and easy drinking, and I’ve only tried Eureka once, but I imagine I could guzzle those by the dozen during the summer.

That brings my to this summer ale.  I wanted something similar to Eureka, but I’m not really into doing clones.  Given what I know about brewing New England style beers, I figured I could brew something close to Eureka without knowing really anything specific about it, and I succeeded last year in that effort.  This year’s Serrated Summer Ale really isn’t much of a departure from last years batch.  I kept the OG down a little bit just to make this one even lighter and more sessionable.  I’m shooting for an ABV between 4% and 4.5%, last year was about 5%.  I simplified the hop bill a bit, cutting out Zythos hops and strictly focusing on equal parts Citra and Galaxy.  This beer should be packed with citrus and tropical fruit flavors that should be perfect in the summer months coming up.  I subbed flaked wheat in place of oats from last years, I just prefer the body they provide over the oats.  As usual, my yeast of choice is Wyeast 1318 London Ale III.  Last years version of this ale was the first time I used London Ale III and I haven’t looked back.  I love this yeast and have written about it in great detail in a number of other articles here, but its just so damn good.

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Cheers! I finally got to wear some short sleeves on brew day this time!

This was a fairly quiet brew day.  I play in an ice hockey league and I had a 8:00 pm game on the night of brew day, so I wasn’t able to partake in my usual shenanigans.  Don’t get me wrong, beers were had, but I kept things pretty low key.  Steve came ove rto help me out which was very much appreciated.  I brew a modified version of BIAB, where I still do typical mash volumes, and I fill another pot with the full sparge volume and basically soak the grains in that for another 15 minutes.  This method usually gets me between 70 to 78% efficiency.  The downside is it can be a pain to brew alone.  I like to squeeze the grain bag to get all the sugars I can out, and that’s hard to do alone.  Long story short, thanks Steve!

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Steve contemplating

I was having some thermometer difficulties on this one, the digital reading seemed to jump around a lot even after I changed the battery, but I think I got my mash temp around 154, a bit shy of the 156 I was aiming for.  I really don’t want this one drying out too much.  Around the half hour mark I went to stir and found that I had lost four degrees which is not typical.  I’m guessing it was from their being less volume in the mash, so there was more headroom in the kettle for heat to escape, even when covered by my usual pile of blankets.  I heated it back up to 156, stirred and covered again.

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The rest of the brew day was fine.  I boiled for 60, hit all my hop additions, and chilled to 180 for a 30 minute hopstand.  I did run out of propane once with about 15 minutes in the boil, but I always have an extra on hand to that was a quick fix.  After the hopstand, I chilled the rest of the way down.  My hydrometer sample was right on the money at 1.045.  I pitched my yeast and into the ferm chamber it went.  As always, I’ll post a kegging update and tasting notes as I go.  Here’s the recipe and water profile.

Recipe Specifications

————————–
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.045 SG
Estimated Color: 4.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 32.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
6 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 65.3 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 10.9 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 10.9 %
8.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.4 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 5 5.4 %
3.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.0 %

0.25 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 14.3 IBUs
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 8.3 IBUs
0.50 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 9.6 IBUs
1.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.50 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs

2.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs

2.0 pkg London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124. Yeast 12 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 3.0 oz
—————————-
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 11.48 qt of water at 168.2 F 156.0 F 60 min

Ca+2                  Mg+2               Na+                   Cl-                 SO4-2                     HCO
126.9                  7.4                   4.9                  140.1               92.0                        16.260

Keg Update:  The FG of this beer came in at 1.015, giving me an abv of 4% which is perfect for summer drinking sessions!  The aroma and hop flavor were great going into the keg for more dry hops, so I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

Tasting Notes 07/18/16:

Appearance:  Serrated Summer Ale pours a hazy gold with hints of orange and a fluffy white head.  If you’re a fan of New England style pales, this should appeal to you.  As stated above, this doesn’t look like your typical blonde ale.

Smell:  This beer has a very fruit forward aroma.  There’s a ton of passion fruit, citrus, pineapple, mango, and some lemon zest.  The aroma is really pleasing on this one.  Blending with the hop aroma is some nice fruity esters from the yeast.

Taste:  This beers is saturated with hop flavor without the bitterness of a pale ale.  The hop flavor is mostly citrus and pineapple.  There is a light sweetness, but not much malt flavor to speak of.  Still, for a 4% beer this one has some nice flavor to it.

Mouthfeel:  Light bodied without feeling thin.  Dry and refreshing but there’s still enough body to maintain a smooth texture.  This beer is really juice like in mouthfeel, it really enhances the drinking experience.

Overall:  Another successful attempt at this beer.  I’d be ok bumping this up to 4.5 percent, but I like keeping this light and mild.  The hop flavor is exactly where I want it.  I’d consider subbing some of the 2 Row for Golden Promise to add a bit more malt flavor to this, maybe even dropping the caramalt and doing all Golden Promise as the base.  We’ll see, that’s next summer’s dilemma!  For now, I’ve been enjoying this one for a few weeks now and I’m very pleased with the result!

Reinvention – New England Style American Pale Ale

DSC_1051This beer was brewed on 04/30/16.  This is a new recipe that I’m trying for what will become something of a house pale ale I may brew whenever the need for a easy drinking hoppy beer may arise.  This beer should be light, but not thin.  It should lean towards hop forward without being hop juice.  And it should sessionable without being a light beer.   Though its a recipe I’ve never tried, its certainly not a departure from my wheelhouse of New England Pale ales.  I titled this beer Reinvention.  My personal life has seen a number of changes lately, so I figured this would be an appropriate name for this beer!  Beyond my personal reasons, I feel like these new breeds of New England style hoppy beers are reinventing what American hoppy beers can be like.  Gone is the focus on clarity and assertive bitterness, instead focusing on hop saturation in the flavor and aroma along smooth drinkability.  I’ve grown so bored with the typical copper colored IPA, the standard West Coast version.  Ok, so maybe reinventing hoppy beers is a stretch, but they’ve certainly rejuvenated my interest in them.

This beer is a New England style take on an American Pale Ale.  Think something along the lines of Trillium’s Fort Point Pale Ale, but scaled down a bit and with some different hops, or Hill Farmstead’s Edward .  I’m not going into detail about the New England style of APA/IPA/DIPA, I feel like I’ve covered it at length in some other blog posts on here, but this beer should certainly fit right into that style.

The base of this one is good old 2 Row, with some White Wheat to add some body and mouthfeel to the beer.  I added some carapils to enhance that effect.  I went with a higher dose of Light Caramalt in this one than I typically do with my IPAs and DIPAs to add a level of balance to this one.  It’s going to be a juicy, hop forward beer for sure, but I want there to be a nice malty sweetness to act as a good backbone.

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Mashing in!

 

 

 

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Enjoying a Surly during brew day, need to stay hydrated after all!

The hop bill on this beer should wind up fairly fruity.  Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo all play well together.  The Simcoe should take on a pineapple, citrus, and a bit of pine when paired with the more citrus forward Amarillo.  The Citra should add even more citrus, a bit more tropical fruit, and maybe some dankness.  I’m excited to use more Simcoe here, I’ve phased it out of my latest take on my DIPA, White Death, but its still a hop I enjoy, especially when paired with even more fruit forward varieties.

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The boil!

This was the second half of my 4/30/16 brew day, I started this one immediately after completing my latest batch of White Death.  I had a little more company for this batch, and had a bunch of fun with my friends while I brewed.  It was a couple of their first times at a brew day, and it was fun to show them the process, though I could see the life draining from their eyes as I explained the ins and outs of the process in painful detail to them, I’m sure they’ll never be back!  Oh well, I’ll just bribe them with beer!  Anyway, despite the friendly distractions,  I was on my game the second batch of the day as well as the first.  I mashed at 153, just a degree short of my intended goal of 154.  I sparged and got my boil going with no issues.  I hit all my hop additions, and then cooled the beer to 180.  I did a 30 minute hopstand at 180, and then chilled the rest of the way down and pitched the London Ale III yeast at about 70 degrees.

I was just one gravity point shy of my intended SG of 1.056, coming in at 1.055.  I’ll take that any day, especially the first time brewing a recipe!  I filtered out as mush hop sludge as I could and into the carboy it went.

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White Death on the left, Reinvention on the right

This will ferment next to its stronger, older, brew day brother at 68 degrees.  The first round of dry hops will be at day five, the second will come when I transfer to kegs at day ten.

 

 

Ingredients:
————

Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain
Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain
Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain

Warrior
Citra
Simcoe
Amarillo
 

Kegging Update:  This beer was transferred to the keg onto the second round of dry hops on 05/11/16.  The FG of the beer was 1.013, giving me an ABV of 5.5%, right around what I was hoping for with this beer!  The hydrometer sample tasted really good, there was nice balance to it, and I’m very anxious to try this carbed up!

Tasting Notes 05/27/16:

Appearance:  This beer pours deep gold with hints of orange.  This one’s hazy, but not quite at the level of some of my other beers that use Wyeast 1318 and a bunch of hops.  The head is white and sticks around the edges of the glass, leaving a good amount of lacing.  A really nice looking brew.

Smell:  Pineapple, papaya, citrus, and a hint of pine, floral, and berry are the predominant aromas I pick up in this one.  I love the pineapple and candied fruit aromas that Simcoe takes on in addition to the pine when used with other fruity hops.  There a pleasant undertone of sweet malt just barely perceptible under the hops.

Taste:  Very mild bitterness, but nice hop flavor.  Its not as saturated with hops as some other pales I’ve brewed, and I’m not sure why.  I’m being picky though, this is a fine beer and I’m really happy with the flavors.  I get a lot of citrus, some orange and grapefruit, some pineapple, and some grainy sweetness from the balanced malt profile.  While hop forward, its not hop juice.  A hint of resiny pine in the flavor as well.

Mouthfeel:  medium bodied and medium carbonation.  Its smooth, but it still finishes dry and crisp.  This one is very easy drinking, and is really nice as the weather is FINALLY warming up around here!

Overall:  A really nice pale ale.  Not sure how much I can really improve upon it.  The recipe is mostly sound, I did well on brew day, and the only hiccup I had was some keg sealing issues that I got sorted.  I don’t think I detect any oxidized hop flavors, but I thought the hops might pop just a bit more.  I think upon re-brewing this I’ll cut the caramalt down to a half pound.  I’m wondering if the sweetness is whats keeping the hops from popping more.  I’m not trying to be negative though, I’m still pretty damn pleased with this, and will certainly come back to it again!

White Death Version 6- New England Style DIPA

DSC_1048White Death 2

Here we go again!!!  This is the sixth version of this beer, and I’m confident after brew day that this will be the final recipe version.  We’ll see if that prophecy comes true when I taste this beer, but brew day went very smooth, I was on the money for the most part with my ingredients and my process.  The only hiccup on brew day was I accidentally put an extra teaspoon of gypsum in the mash.  It shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the final beer, but I figured it worth mentioning.

If this is your first time reading this blog then let me introduce you to White Death.  White Death is my favorite beer that I make.  It’s my house DIPA recipe that I intend on coming back to with regularity.  If I was ever to start a brewery, this would be my flagship.  Its the beer that I want as close to perfect as it gets.  White Death is a New England or Northeast style DIPA.  Think beers in the style of Treehouse, Trillium, Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist and so on.  If you’re unfamiliar with this style of IPA, the characteristics of these beers are a soft mouthfeel, a typically golden orange color, higher levels of haze, and an often juice like hop profile, huge on aroma and flavor while having restrained bitterness.  I’ve become obsessed with this style of pale ale, but sadly there are few examples around Chicago.  That means I just have to brew my own!

Like I said, this is version 6.  This beer began as a Heady Topper rip off using Conan yeast and a similar grist, just a hop bill tailored more to my taste.  Every subsequent recipe has gotten less like Heady specifically, and more tailored to my taste in this particular style.  This latest and hopefully final version of the recipe leans more towards Trillium and Treehouse beers.  Super juicy, super hazy, and super smooth.  I eliminated Columbus and Simcoe from this version, and subbed in Amarillo to compliment the Citra and Mosaic.  These three hops are all very citrus forward, more orange than grapefruit, and the three have tropical notes as well.  The Citra and Mosaic should even lend some pungent dank notes in addition to the fruit.  While this beer began with Conan yeast, I used Wyeast 1318 London Ale III in the last batch and it was my preferred yeast so that came back here.  I cut the sugar down to a half pound here down from 12 oz to try and keep more in the body.  I also upped the wheat in the grist to two pounds.  I’m really pleased with the design of this recipe and I can’t wait to see how this pans out.

DSC_0810

Me on the left, Steve doing the bag squeezing!

The beer was brewed on 04/30/16.  The brew day itself was really smooth aside from the one water chemistry hiccup mentioned above.  I mashed in at 152 for an hour.  I was a couple degrees above my target of 150, but I figured I usually lose a degree or two over the hour.  I did my version of a batch sparge for 15 minutes, and got my boil going.  This batch was boiled for 60 minutes, and I added the first round of hop stand hops right at flame out.  DSC_0812

DSC_0813

My helpers for batch one of my two part brew day!  Steve, Jason, and Brie!

I let those hops sit for 15 minutes and then chilled the wort down to 180 degrees.  I then added the remaining hopstand hops and let those soak in for an additional 30 minutes.  I then chilled the beer down to 65 degrees, filtered the beer through a strainer going into the carboy to get the hop sludge out, took a hydrometer sample and pitched my 1318 yeast.  My OG came in right on the money at 1.074.  Don’t you just love it when that happens!

The beer will ferment at 68 degrees.  Here’s my water profile for this after the extra addition of gypsum I accidentally added:

Ca+2        Mg+2          Na+          Cl-          SO4-2         HCO
167.5        5.7             4.0            157.0        168.4           0.5

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Boil Size: 7.00 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.074 SG
Estimated Color: 5.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 60.0 IBUs
Est Mash Efficiency: 73.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
12 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 76.8 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 6.4 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 6.4 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 4 3.2 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.0 %
5.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.0 %
8.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 7 3.2 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 44.8 IBUs
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 12.0 min Hop 8 7.5 IBUs
0.50 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Boil 12.0 m Hop 9 7.7 IBUs

1.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.50 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Steep/Whirl Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Amarillo [9.20 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

Dry Hop 1:  1 oz each of Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo added at day 5

Dry Hop 2: 1 oz each of Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo added at day 10 when beer is kegged

2.0 pkg London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124. Yeast 13 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs 10.0 oz
—————————-
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 18.90 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 60 min

 

As always, I’ll keep this post updated when I transfer it to the kegs and then another for tasting notes!

Kegging Update:  This beer was transferred onto the second round of dry hops in the keg on 05/11/16.  The hydrometer sample showed an FG of 1.014.  That gives me an ABV of 7.9%, right in line with my usual 8%.  I’d have liked this to have gotten down to 1.013, but I doubt the difference would be noticeable.  The sample already tasted great, a ton of hop flavor without a lot of bitterness.  Even without carbonation, I can tell this beer will have a nice mouthfeel.  I can’t wait to see what the additional dry hops will do.  I’ll post the tasting notes when this beer is carbed up and ready to go!

Tasting Notes 05/27/16:

Appearance:  Golden/orange hazy beauty!  If you are a fan of hazy IPAs, this is a gorgeous beer.  I love the color of this style when held to the light, this beer practically glows!  A thin white head that sticks around and nice lacing that clings to the sides of the glass with each sip.

Smell:  Loads of juicy citrus and pineapple.  Notes of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, and papaya.  This beer smells amazing!  The juicy aroma just begs you to dive in to drink this one.  The large amount of hopstand and dryhops make this an expensive one to brew, but its so worth it.

Taste:  A soft initial bitterness, just enough to let you know its an American Double IPA.  In line with what you’d expect from the New England Pales.  The bitterness gives way to huge orange citrus, pineapple, mango, and passion fruit like flavors from the hops.  There’s just a hint of pleasant graininess from the malts in the finish.  As usual, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III adds some pleasant fruit esters that perfectly compliment the American hops.

Mouthfeel:  Really smooth and soft.  Medium carbonation.  This beer drinks smooth and almost creamy, but it still finishes dry enough that it leaves you craving another sip.  Way more drinkable and refreshing than an 8% beer has any right to be and I love it!

Overall:  My favorite beer I brew finally came together EXACTLY how I wanted to!  The extra gypsum in the mash didn’t negatively impact the beer in any perceptible way, and the brew day and fermentation came together exactly as planned.  I’m thrilled with this beer.  I honestly cannot think of a single thing I’d change.  I feel like I say that with a lot of the beers I wind up pleased with, but I’m a tinkerer.  This is finally a beer I’ve fine tuned enough that there is nothing I’d change at all here.  This brings me to an exciting new challenge, and that’s being able to re-brew this beer with consistency.  I’ll make this beer again and again, and my goal now is to maintain the quality of this brew and keep my process consistent!  If you’re reading this blog and are looking for ideas, try this out.  Like I said, its my favorite beer I brew and this is the best batch to date.  Consider this recipe locked in!

Sungazer-Northeast DIPA Featuring Pilsner Malt, Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic Hops

DSC_0794DSC_0798

 

FINALLY!!!!!!!  The dreary Chicago winter relented enough for me to get back outside and get brewing again.  This beer was brewed on 02/20/16.  It was in the low 60’s outside and it felt great, like…… unbelievably great.  I took a moment to just sit in a chair in my driveway in the sun, look at the bright sky, and think about how much I can’t wait for spring and temperatures consistently like this.  Hence the name of this beer.  This was part one of a two batch brew day.

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The calm before the storm…

While I had still been playing around with my recipe for my “flagship” DIPA, White Death, I wanted to do a DIPA that was an unapologetic fruit juice bomb.  As it turns out, White Death’s hopefully final version will likely be a juice bomb too, so I needed to differentiate this beer.  One of my favorite breweries on the east coast is Trillium in Boston, and I’ve noticed that their DIPA’s are all brewed with a Pilsner malt base.  I’ve used Pils malt for half the base grain in an IPA before, but never the majority of the grist, so I thought this would be a fun way to set this beer apart.  Pilsner malt has a nice crisp grainy flavor, so it should work pretty nice in an IPA.  Citra and Mosaic will be the key players in the newest batch of White Death, and while they factor in prominently here, Galaxy hops are the fun new addition.  This beer should have a nice grainy light colored base for all those juicy hops to play on.

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Draining the grain bag with my buddy Jason

This beer isn’t a departure from my usual pale ales though, so I’m expecting a smooth, creamy body, restrained hop bitterness, and loads of juicy hop flavor.  This should be another great example of a Northeast IPA.  If you’re reading my blog for the first time and don’t know what I mean by that, think IPA’s that are hazy juice bombs, not the more resiny and bitter versions more typical to the west coast style.  I’ve grown pretty bored with the typical west coast IPA’s, but unfortunately there aren’t many breweries around the Chicago area that make beer resembling the beers coming from Trillium, Treehouse, Hill Farmstead, and so on, so I brew my own!

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IMG_20160220_130919116_HDR (1)

As I stated, Pilsner made up the majority of the grist here.  I bumped up the white wheat from the levels in some of my other pale ales, dropped the oats I often use, and added carapils.  Oats can leave a slick sort of mouthfeel which I’m trying to avoid, so I’m hoping the higher percentage of wheat and carapils do great things for the body here.  I added a bit of light caramalt for a hint of color.  I also added some dextrose to bump the abv up a bit and keep the sweetness down.  Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic make up the hop bill with Warrior for bittering.  All three of these hops together should produce an absolute juice bomb, which is the goal here!  As usual, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III is the yeast of choice.  I’m shooting for 8% abv, which to me is kind of the IPA/DIPA sweet spot.  Its enough that youre drinking a bigger beer packed with a ton of flavor, but it lacks some of the syrupy malt sweetness that DIPA’s can sometimes get once they pass that 9% mark or so.  This will be the first crack at this recipe, but its definitely not a departure from my usual, so barring anything unexpected happening, this should be right at home in my “Northeast” pale ale line up.

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The food spread!!!!

The brew day for this one was pretty straight forward.  I got started at about noon.  This was a party of a brew day for sure.  This being the first brew of the season combined with gorgeous weather meant everyone had their drinking shoes on!  We probably had about a dozen family, friends, and neighbors come over.  Everyone brought a Mexican dish to share, so we had a bit of a fiesta.  The feast got into full swing during the second batch, but this one was still a ton of fun.  The beer itself went smoothly.  I hit my mash temp of 152, boiled 90 minutes for the Pils base, did a 45 minute hopstand, and chilled.  The nice thing about brewing after winter is how cold the ground water still is, so this chilled to 70 degrees in no time.  I filtered the hop sludge out, pitched the yeast, and stuck this in my fermenting chamber.

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Me sanitizing the carboy

Here’s the water for this brew:

Ca+2           Mg+2          Na+         Cl-          SO4-2          HCO
127.3           7.5              25.3         201.9      92.0             0.116

Here’s the recipe!

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.75 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal
OG: 1.074 SG
Estimated Color: 4.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 76.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 75.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs 4.0 oz Pilsner (2 row) (Gambrinus) (1.6 SRM) Grain 1 74.4 %
2 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 13.2 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 3 3.3 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.1 %
5.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.0 %
12.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 6 5.0 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 7 48.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 13.1 IBUs
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 15.3 IBUs
2.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Boil 0.0 mi Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] Dry Hop 1

1.00 oz Mosaic Dry Hop 2
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 2
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 2

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs 2.0 oz
—————————-
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 17.97 qt of water at 165.9 F 152.0 F 60 min

UPDATE: This beer went into the kegs for the second round of dry hops last night on March 2nd.  I did my usual closed system transfer under Co2.  The beer’s FG came in at 1.013, right on the money giving me the 8% abv I was shooting for.  The hydrometer sample tasted amazing, and as of now it seems that the Pils malt base added enough to set it apart from my other IPAs.  We’ll see how this continues to come together in the next couple weeks!

Tasting Notes 03/29/16:

Appearance:  This is a beautiful beer if hazy hop milkshakes are your thing!  Its golden/light orange in color and practically glows when held to the light.  Very similar in appearance to a glass of orange juice.  The beer pours with a white head and good lacing.

Smell:  Huge hop aroma on this one.  Very juicy citrus comes to mind, more orange than grapefruit.  There’s also a fair amount of pineapple aroma in this as well, wit hints of mango too.  This is one of the best smelling beers I’ve brewed.  No malt aroma is detectable underneath the hops, and maybe just a hint of aroma from the yeast.

Taste:  The bitterness hits with a nice punch but mostly fades quickly.  It’s the slightest bit more bitter than I expected, but its still very smooth and super drinkable.  This beer is a fruit juice bomb.  There’s a ton of juicy citrus in the flavor of this.  A lot more orange that grapefruit in the flavor.  As in the aroma, there’s a good amount of pineapple flavor along with notes of mango and papaya in the background.  The 1318 lends a light fruity ester profile that nicely compliments the hops.  No real malt flavor, just a light sweetness that compliments the hops.

Mouthfeel:  Medium body and carbonation.  Typical mouthfeel that I love in the New England style pales.  The body is smooth and silky.  For an 8% beer, I feel like this is refreshing and almost chuggable.

Overall:  I’m thrilled with the way this turned out, and will absolutely brew it again at some point.  This thing is so juicy, I can’t imagine anything I’d do to change the recipe.  If I was to do anything, I’d maybe make the Galaxy more the star of the show just to make it stand apart from my other DIPA, White Death.

Doodle Face 3.0

DSC_0646Doodle Face 2

Another batch of one of my favorite beers is done!  Doodle Face is a tribute to the White Pointer brewhouse Goldendoodle, Whiskey.  Doodle face is a Citra hopped APA and I absolutely loved the last batch.    This one is just basically a full sized batch of my Doodle Face 2.0 recipe with a couple changes.

The doodle

The doodle

The malt and hop bill are more or less the same as the last batch, just scaled up.  This beer is almost entirely Citra, minus Warrior for bittering.  My inspirations for this beers are Zombie Dust, Pseudo Sue, and Hill Farmstead Citra.  As per usual, this beer isn’t a clone attempt at any of those, just where I drew some ideas from.  I love Citra hops, and last time I brewed this beer it was just dripping with that citrus and slightly tropical flavor.  I also really like the Golden Promise base in this beer, it adds a really nice bready base for the hops to play on.  The wheat, oats, and carapils are all to help get that smooth, creamy body reminiscent of Hill Farmstead that I strive for in my pale ales.

The first change comes from the yeast.  I used Wyeast 1318 London Ale III in this batch vs the WLP 007 Dry English ale in the last one.  If you’ve been reading this blog you know I’ve been pretty big on 1318 and Conan as two candidates as a house yeast.  I figured 1318 would be better suited to this beer and would allow the Citra character to be the star of the show.  I also went with what it becoming my standard pale ale water profile,  going with a higher chloride to gypsum ratio once again with this batch since I’ve really enjoyed what it does for the mouthfeel.  I loved the balance of this beer last time I brewed it, and the way the Golden Promise base and Citra hops played together was fantastic.

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The brew day for this beer was amazing.  It was brewed on 07/26/15.  We had the neighbors over as usual, and our neighbors Jeremy and Sara did a shrimp boil alongside the beer.  We used some Old Bay seasoning, shrimp, Italian sausage, potatoes, carrots, corn, and garlic clove.  Good God it was fantastic!  We times the shrimp boil to be done right as I was waiting for my hour long mash rest, so that was the perfect way to fill that time.  The brew day also ended in a drunk dance party, so really there was no way it could have not been a great day.  Despite the great food and revelry (I love that I just got to use that word), I was spot on in my brew game.  I hit my numbers almost on the dot for everything.  My OG came up just one point short at 1.056.  I did a 30 minute massive hop stand on this beer, so the nose and flavor on this should be incredible.

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The shrimp boil! No, this was not in the beer.

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Me, mixing up some sanitizer

This is a pretty short post I realize, I just don’t have much new in this beer to elaborate on.  I’m just trying to dial this one in, but there was so little from the last batch I’d change so I feel pretty confident in this one.  This brew day was one of the most fun I’ve had though, so if the beer lives up to the fun I had brewing it, I’ll be thrilled!

Here’s the water profile on this one:

Ca+2       Mg+2       Na+        Cl-         SO4-2            HCO
149.5       0.0           0.0        185.3        107.2            0.000

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated FG: 1.015
Estimated Color: 5.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 50.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8 lbs Pale Malt, Golden Promise (Thomas Fawcet Grain 1 71.1 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (Briess) (1.4 SRM) Grain 2 8.9 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 8.9 %
8.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.4 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 5 4.4 %
4.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.2 %

0.50 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 25.8 IBUs
3.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 24.6 IBUs

5.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 9 0.0 IBUs

5.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 11 0.0 IBUs

2.0 pkg London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124. Yeast 10 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 11 lbs 4.0 oz
—————————-
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 14.06 qt of water at 164.8 F 153.0 F 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.47gal, 3.64gal) of 168.0 F water

Update 08/08/15:  This beer has been in the keg on a second round of dry hops for a couple days.  I’ll remove those and start carbing this one tomorrow.  The FG came in at 1.012, giving me an ABV of 5.8% for this batch.  The sample was already fantastic!

Tasting Notes 08/24/15:  

Appearance:  This beer pours a golden/light orange color, and has the look of a glass of fruit juice!  Its a beautiful hazy brew, and while some people may be off put by this murky beauty, I love the appearance of beers like this!  The head sticks around nicely as well.

Smell:  Like putting your nose into a bag of Citra hops!  Kegging did wonders for this beer!  There’s tons of orange and grapefruit citrus aroma along with a bit of mango and passion fruit.  There’s a slight fruity ester note from the yeast in the aroma as well that compliments the hops well.

Taste:  The bitterness on this one is pretty mild and is made softer by the roundness that the London Ale III yeast provides.  The Citra flavor on this beer is huge!  There’s tons of citrus flavor, as well as some tropical fruit like mango, passion fruit, and pineapple.  The London Ale III really works well in this beer, and this just solidifies my intentions to use this as a house yeast of sorts.  The Golden Promise malt lends some nice sweetness in the finish.

Mouthfeel:  I love what the combination of the London Ale, water chem, and grain bill does for this beers body.  Its so smooth and juice-like.  It drinks like a medium bodied beer with a dry finish, but the body is smooth and creamy.

Overall:  This is one of those beers that just makes you smile when you drink it.  I’ll probably add another half pound of Golden Promise just to bump the ABV up to 6%, but that’s about it.  There’s really nothing else I’d change about this one, its one of my favorites that I brew!

Serrated Summer Ale 2.0

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Serrated Summer Ale (1)

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.

Givin' the ol grain bag a squeeze

Givin’ the ol grain bag a squeeze.  I’m holding the bag, my neighbor Phil is doing the squeezing

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!

Water profile:

Ca+2       Mg+2       Na+        Cl-        SO4-2         HCO
141.9       0.0           0.0         180.9      95.1           0.000

Recipe Specifications
————————–
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

Ingredients:
————
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!