Monday, December 08, 2008

Session Ale, once again

Time to play post catch-up and that means starting with the more IPA than Session 4th edition of my session ale. This time it came out to about 5.3% ABV, so really not quite session material. But it'll rock on the Angram. Since I change my recipe every single time, let's get to that first:

Steep, 30min @160F

  • 1# Carapils
  • 1# 10L Crystal

Boil @ 60min

  • 2 oz. Magnum pellets

Boil @ 15 min

  • 6# Light Malt Syrup
  • 1 oz. East Kent Goldings

Boil @ 0 min

  • 1 oz. East Kent Goldings

Pitched with White Labs English Ale Yeast at 80F. Primary lasted for a week, at which time I racked it into secondary with 2 oz. of Simcoe plugs. It's still in secondary now (second week) and I'll let it sit at least the full second week before racking to the keg.

Initial gravity was 1.048 @ 80F or 1.051 adjusted and gravity at secondary fermentation was 1.010 @ 72F or 1.011, which gives it a current ABV of 5.3%.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

OAB @ 12% and new SDPA

I just kegged the Oaked Abstract Bastage and it's gravity had further decreased to 1.034 or 1.035 adjusted which gives it a whopping 12% alcohol by volume. Still has that guava juice taste to. Still very sweet. I'm letting it age some more before tasting it, partially because i don't have room in kegerator. In two weeks it'll probably go in the kegerator and be tapped for a tasting, but i still expect to let it age at least another month or two before drinking it.

In the meantime, I've started a new SDPA. Well, I really started it two weeks ago and today transfered it to secondary for dryhopping. It's got a beautifully light color and a yummy aroma. It's gonna be a bit of a weird one, because i completely screwed up my hop additions. My plan was to use some spare hops for the bittering, since hop prices have shot up and I want to leave the strong aroma hops for flavoring and aroma. Except i kept grabbing the wrong packets. So here's the recipe as it turned out:

Steep (30min @ 160F)

  • 0.5# Victory
  • 1.0# Cara Pils
  • 0.5# 10L Crystal

Boil @ 60 minutes

  • 1 oz. Amarillo Pellets
  • 1 oz. Magnum Pellets
  • 1 oz. Cascade Pellets

Boil @ 15 minutes

  • 7# Light DME
  • 1 oz. Amarillo Pellets
  • 1 oz. Cascade Pellets

Boil @ 0 minutes

  • 2 oz. Perle Pellets


  • White Labs California Ale Yeast

Dry Hop after two weeks

  • 2 oz. Simcoe Plugs

My initial gravity was 1.060 @ 87F or 1.064 adjusted. Today's reading was 1.018 @ 66F or 1.019 adjusted which gives me 6.3% alcohol by volume. That's just about perfect, although I assume it's gonna pick up another 0.3-0.4% by the time i keg it.

The SDPA will be keg-conditioned and replace the guiness on the Angram.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

SDPA gone bad and a new experiment

Well, I just learned that I should trust my nose. When I pitched the yeast I had from the previous SDPA into this batch, I thought it was off. Sure enough, two days later and still nothing. So I got a fresh White Labs California Ale Yeast and it really took off. Today I transfered it to secondary and the smell was just way off. The same chemical sort of smell that made me pitch my Hefeweizen last year. So all those yummy ingredients down the drain. I'm giving it a couple of days in secondary and will taste it again, but that's mostly an act of desperation. Suckage.

Considering it's almost November, I probably won't try another SDPA this year, since I want a Guiness clone on the Angram by the time it gets cold. I was going to start the Steam Beer kit I thought i had kicking around, but I have no idea what happened to it. Did I already brew and consume it? I almost think I did.. I had something else next to the Belgian before I put the Oaked Bitter on.. I bet it was the steam. Now, if i kept better notes in here...

So I decided to go a little crazy today. I still had a couple of cans of Coopers Wheat Extract and it's just too dark for a Paulaner style Hefeweizen. I decided to throw a bunch of Belgian ideas together and just mix something up. I do brew beer the way I cook, never able to stick to recipes.

Here's what I got:

Boil @ 60 minutes

  • 9# Coopers Wheat Malt Extract Syrup
  • 1 oz. Perle
  • 1 oz. Liberty

Boil @ 30 minutes

  • 1 16 oz. can of Cranberry Sauce

Boil @ 5 minutes

  • 1 oz. of Liberty
  • 1 tsp. English Moss

Pitched with White Labs Trappist Ale Yeast. And in a week, I will re-pitch with White Labs Champagne Yeast. A little Trappist, a little Wit, a little Cranberry and enough sugars to give the Champagne yeast something to work on for a high gravity tart Wit variation. Or that's what I imagine it will turn into.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

SDPA: Cask-Conditioned IPA, take 2

As usual, plenty of beer related things have happened since the last post, but I didn't write anything down. The long and short is that the Cask Conditioned IPA I did back July was hooked up to my Angram in August and it was perfect. Right Hop flavor and aroma, right mouth-feel coming out of the hand-pump. Exactly right. Tastes like those tasty San Diego casks at the Liar's club. Now, using only 7 lb. of DME, it's not quite DIPA strengh, but it certainly is fashioned after the San Diego DIPA, or as it ought to be called, SDPA. Maybe it's a light SDPA.

Anyway, that keg is nearing at the bottom and so i'm way overdue to start a replacement, since i want a proper conditioning period. So what I brew today won't be ready for a month. Regardless, I'm doing another batch with the only change is swapping out the Amber DME with more Light DME and moving it to the late addition stage at 15 minutes. This should give me an even lighter color, as is characteristic of SDPAs.

Steep (45min @ 160F)

  • 0.5# Victory
  • 1.0# Cara Pils
  • 0.5# 10L Crystal

Boil @ 60 minutes

  • 3# Light DME
  • 1 oz. Columbus Pellets
  • 1 oz. Centennial Pellets
  • 0.5 oz. Cascade Pellets

Boil @ 15 minutes

  • 4# Light DME
  • 1 oz. Columbus Pellets
  • 0.5 oz. Cacade Pellets

Boil @ 0 minutes

  • 1 oz. Centennial Pellets
  • 1 oz. Cascade Pellets


  • White Labs California Ale Yeast (repitched from last IPA's wort)

This will ferment for a week and then get racked to secondary w/ dry hopping.

Dry Hop

  • 1.5 oz. Cascade Flowers
  • 1 oz. Simcoe Plugs

After another two weeks, I'll rack it to the keg with another 0.5 oz. of Cascade and 1 oz. of Simcoe and sugar for cask conditioning.

I'll need to kick in another batch next weekend that I can get on tap in 2 weeks. I have a Steam beer kit still waiting for me to brew it, and after tasting the San Diego Brewer's Association serious overhopped Steam beer at Home Brew Mart yesterday, I'll probably augment that kit with various hops.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Angram enclosure

When I originally got my Angram pump I just threw together a wood enclosure so i'd have a way to use the beer engine. The way it's supposed to be installed it clamped on the inside of a bar. While we have a kitchen bar, it didn't suit itself and the place where i could have mounted it was too far away from the kegerator. So it was clear from day one that I'd build a custom enclosure and I knew I wanted it to fit visually with the look of the beer engine.

This weekend, my cask conditioned IPA is finally ready and so is the new enclosure.

This is a picture of the quick fix box on the right and the new box, milled from 2" oak on left.

A closer look at the just assembled, unstained enclosure.

Stained, varnished and installed in its final location on top of the wine fridge next to the kegerator.

Detail of the fit of the beer engine in the enclosuse. Because of the clamps protruding from the side of the Angram, I had to cut fairly deep rails to let me slide it into the enclosure.

Detail of the wood grain and finish comparison of the enclosure and the Angram's own wood cap.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Various brew ramblings

Went to the Carlsbad Pizza Port Real Ale festival the other weekend. Beer engine heaven, but I did learn two things:

  • Sparklers are important for that hand pulled mouthfeel. There were no sparklers used as the festival
  • I really only like IPAs from the beer engine. There were a bunch of belgians and the low carbonation did not taste appropriate for them, imho.

A little more on the carbonation. I learned this last year, when I tried putting my Hefeweizen on nitrogen. Tasted horrible. Then I switched it to CO2 (but only about 7 psi, because i had an IPA on the same regulator) and it got better but still not right. Since then I learned that Hefeweizen, like Belgians do better at fizzy carbonation levels. I've now bought a dual regulator for the kegerator, allowing me to run most ale's around 5psi, while my belgians and hefeweizen come out at 13psi. I just put a Belgian Triple on tap and it's perfect at 13psi.

At the same time, I moved my Simcoe IPA to nitrogen. Interesting experiment. Really brings out the hop aroma and has that hand pulled mouthfeel. It basically starts as a pint of head. After about 5 minutes, you have about half a pint of ale, the rest is a head that won't go away. So it's a stand-in for a beer engine, but no replacement.

Ready for summer, I've got yet another Paulaner clone sitting in secondary, waiting for an open slot in my kegerator. This one I did with wheat syrup instead of DME. It's very dark. I guess syrup just makes your ales a lot darker. We'll have to say if that's affected the taste once i finally keg it.

Finally, Alpine finally made Duet again and a friend of mine brought me a growler. It wasn't like I remembered at all. Not sure what was different and I don't know if it's my memory is wrong or if it just came out different this year. The aroma was right, but the taste was more like the Nelson. Strange. At the Real Ale festival I had Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA and I guess, at this point, Sculpin's moved ahead of Duet as my favorite IPA.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Simcoe IPA, part 2

I just kegged the Simcoe IPA I brewed almost a month ago. Two weeks primary, and another two weeks for secondary. The hop aroma profile is exactly what I was hoping for--very strong floral aroma similar to Alpine's Duet. I tasted the sample I took for my specific gravity readings and it was almost ready to drink as is. This would be a perfect ale for cask conditioning. Alas, my endeavours to get a beerengine and cask setup at home have taken a back seat to other projects, so this will be normally force carbonated. I'll give it a week in the kegerator before tasting it.. Ok, I doubt that's what's going to happen. I'll probably take it tonight, but I think it won't truly be ready for another week or so.

The final gravity was 1.010, giving me about 6.14% alcohol.

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