Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Milkshake IPA: Mango Vanilla Hopsicle

Despite the excessive amount of homebrew I have on tap and in bottles, I still drink commercial beer. It’s been years since I lined up at for a bottle release or bought a case of anything, but I buy singles and flights frequently. Rarely do I go out of my way for a hyped bourbon barrel Russian imperial stout or a classic double IPA. The code has largely been cracked for both of these. Made well they are delicious, but it is rare that I have one that is better than any I have had before. Not saying there aren't similar beers like a Spanish brandy barrel RIS or honey DIPA that aren't deliciously unique! What gets me excited is the interesting takes, surprising ingredient combinations, and passionate focus on a neglected style or process. If the results aren’t to my tastes, nothing lost, but sometimes I get to enjoy something that I wouldn't have brewed.

The “milkshake” IPA concept pioneered by Omnipollo and Tired Hands is just such an idea. NEIPA taken to the logical extreme with fruit and vanilla. The water treatment, hop varieties, yeast strains, and resulting biotransformation used for NEIPAs often produces a flavor and appearance reminiscent of juice. Occasionally a hint of vanilla from the yeast too (RVA 132 Manchester especially). That said, the concept seemed silly, luckily a sample of Tired Hands Mango Double Milkshake IPA at a tasting suggested otherwise. The fruit and hops worked together beautifully with a lingering tail of vanilla.

For the base beer I didn’t stray too far from my usual NEIPA routine, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to add honey malt. It was featured in an IPA recipe from Tree House head brewer Nate Lanie, and in this case the added sweetness and malty-oomph seemed like a match. I went up higher than I ever have on chloride (~200 PPM) to push body.

For hops I opted for Experimental Stone Fruit, which were hanging out in my freezer courtesy of Yakima Valley Hops. They didn’t provide a spec sheet, but the name and aroma both suggested peach and apricot (without that aspirin thing that often comes with Amarillo). I repitched Omega HotHead (from Summer Kveik) for orange aromatics, but tried to temper it by lowering the fermentation temperature. Fruit was frozen mango, the selection owing to my split batch on fresh and frozen. Finally half of a split vanilla bean three days before kegging. I debated adding a whole bean but I didn't want to overwhelm the other flavors.

I skipped flour and green apple puree in the boil. I have no issue with haze when it is created as part of the brewing process in the search for aroma/flavor/mouthfeel, but I didn't want to go out of my way to create murk. The original Milkshake was a tongue-in-cheek response to this review by Jason Alström.

Lactose is a common addition to this emerging style for mild sweetness and creamy body, but I wanted to share my creation with a couple vegan friends. I’d also been scared off by the intense sweetness of Aslin Mind the Hop with Passionfruit and Vanilla, one of the best aromas of any beer I've tried, but the flavor was too saccharine for me. If you want lactose, save it to add to taste at kegging. To replace the lost creaminess I’m pouring it on beer gas! Here's a homebrewed Orange Milkshake IPA with a pound of lactose from the fantastic Meek Brewing Co. blog.

The other half of this batch fell off a cliff, so I won't subject you to a full write-up/tasting. It was identical through run-off, but received WLP007 and three 2 oz dose BRU-1 for dry hops. The color darkened compared to this one and tasted stale two weeks after brewing. It was the first batch fermented in my SS Brew Bucket. I glazed over the fact that the “periodic” passivation was supposed to include before the first use... "[I]ron ions can catalytically promote oxidative reactions.Brulosophy had a positive assessment of BRU-1, so I'm not totally writing the variety off! I have my second batch fermenting in the fermentor now with loads of Galaxy and Vic Secret after performing their prescribed acid treatment and air drying.

Mango Hopsicle

Smell – Mango and hops are balanced, more a hoppy fruit beer than a fruited IPA. Mango creamsicle nose. The fruit and citrus from the hops and yeast keep it from being mango alone. Glad I didn’t add a third dose of dry hops in the keg, it doesn’t need the final hit of raw/green hop aroma.

Appearance – Of course it turned out nearly clear. This is the first pale beer I’ve served on beer gas with the stout faucet. The cascading bubbles don't pop like they do against a dark background, sort of goes from hazy to clear. Nice dense white head.

Taste – Plenty of mango, with the vanilla giving it an almost sherbet flavor. Hops and yeast are somewhat tame, peach and orange. Lingering bitterness, might be better balanced if there were lactose. The vanilla adds some perceived sweetness, but it still comes across as a pretty dry beer.

Mouthfeel – A bit light after the creamy head disappears, not the rich-full body that some other examples of the style have. Light carbonation, no surprise. Happy with carbonating and serving on beer gas alone at 20 PSI.

Drinkability & Notes – It’s a fun beer. Despite skipping the lactose the vanilla plays surprisingly well with the fruity character. I’ll be revisiting something like this again eventually!

Changes for Next Time – Add lactose, up the vanilla bean (time or amount), and reduce or eliminate the bittering hop addition.


Batch Size: 5.5 gal
SRM: 5.4
IBU: 74
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.012
ABV: 6.3%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 100 Mins

79.2% - 10 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
13.9% - 1.75 lbs Briess Red Wheat Malt
4.0% - .50 lbs Gambrinus Honey Malt
2.0 % - .25 lbs Bairds Carastan
1.0 % - .125 lbs Weyermann Acidulated

Sacch Rest - 45 min @ 157F

.50 oz - Columbus (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ 60 min.
.50 oz - Galena (Pellets, 11.00% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz - BRU-1 (Pellets, 16.00% AA) @ Whirlpool (30 min)
1.00 oz  - Experimental Stone Fruit (Pellets, 13.3% AA) @ Whirlpool (30 min)
2.00 oz  - Experimental Stone Fruit (Pellets, 13.3% AA) @ Dry Hop (Brew Day)
2.00 oz  - Experimental Stone Fruit (Pellets, 13.3% AA) @ Dry Hop (Day 3)

5 lbs Frozen Mangoes @ Primary (Day 6)
.50 Vanilla Bean @ Primary (Day 17)

OYL-057 Omega HotHead

Brewed 1/21/17

Extended boil because my gravity was a bit lower than expected.

Chilled to 63F

1.5 L decanted starter of Omega Hothead pitched into half with 2 oz of Experimental Stone Fruit hops. Left at 67F ambient to ferment.

1/24/17 Added second dose of dry hops.

1/27/17 Added 5 lbs of frozen 365 non-organic frozen mangoes to the Hothead half.

2/7/17 Added half of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise.

2/10/17 Kegged the Milkshake half.

Monday, March 6, 2017

HotHead, Juniper, and Right Proper Hyperborea

Closeup on Easter Red CedarI hope that people get something from my talks at homebrew festivals around the world, because I certainly benefit from the arrangement! My trip to Norway for the 2016 Homebrewers Weekend in Drammen was enlightening on many fronts, but it was the introduction to kveik that has proved the most valuable. Kveik is true farmhouse yeast, with the now commercially available strains passed between local brewers up until only a few years ago. While I enjoyed the test batch with the cultures I brought back, I wanted to try the traditional combination of kveik with juniper and smoke. With the light acidity of those test batches, I decided to buy a fresh pitch of the orange-scented heat-loving Stranda culture from Omega Labs, HotHead.

Traditionally (as Lars Garshol extensively documented) juniper branches, not just the berries, were an indispensable and underappreciated component of traditional brewing across Europe. This is annoying as berries are easy to buy and store, while branches are not. As fate would have it the Eastern Red Cedar in my backyard is in actuality Juniperus virginiana, Virginia juniper! Not the first time I've turned to one of the four trees on our property (mulberry, the others are oak and sour cherry).

I loosely based the amount of Eastern Red Cedar tips on the Sahti recipe in Homebrewer's Almanac (written by the brewers and foragers of Scratch Brewing). It is one of the most inspiring brewing books I've read in years! I enjoyed samples of their beers at GABF a few years ago enough that I'm considering making the four hour drive down to Ava, Illinois when I visit Indianapolis for the next BYO Boot Camp in November 2017. I backed down on their flame-out addition to leave room for the yeast and smoke.

It got pretty steamy in Blane's garage.Anytime you forage for brewing ingredients (or anything) make a positive identification of what you are harvesting. I contacted a local arborist to confirm what I had growing. Given the pictures and ranges I saw online I was pretty sure, but pretty sure isn't something to risk your health on!

I'd been looking for an excuse to hang out with Blane, who is opening Sinistral Brewing in Manassas, Virginia. We brewed on the 15 gallon electric system in his garage. He was into the weird idea despite not loving smoked beers, and luckily enjoyed the results. We'll see if it was enough for him to ever brew something like it commercially! We were joined by his friend Carlos, who had foraged for local juniper before to brew sahti (not to mention malted quinoa, and had strong opinions on brewing with corn and chiles - someone I need to brew with again!).

Summer Kveik

Smell – When it was young, orange from the yeast was the primary aroma. Over the last couple months stonefruit has overtaken with the citrus. "Peach gummy rings" as a couple friends described it. Fresh juniper has a less singular more green aroma than the berries, a little more spruce than gin. Smoke is smooth and woody, not phenolic or sharp.

Summer Kveik tastingAppearance – I’ve been jokingly calling this one New England Kveik given the glowing cloudy orange-juice body. Head retention is decent, not great. Given some experiments with juniper teas I was expecting more color, but the lower ratio of tree to liquid prevented that.

Taste – Zesty orange, apricot, and fresher herbaceous juniper. I was going for a winter beer… clearly I missed on that! The smoke is firm but fleeting, which works well with the bright fruity flavors. Balanced, smooth, minimal bitterness, but enough to keep it from tasting candied (like my Spruce-Grapefruit India Pale Gruit). I don’t pick anything distinctly rye, but it has a rounded malt flavor likely contributing. Mellow sweetness in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Lighter body than I intended, partly because we undershot the gravity by .010. Medium carbonation keeps things moving.

Drinkability & Notes – It is weird for a smoked tree-flavored beer to be quenching and crushable, but it is! One of the strangest and most intriguing beers I’ve brewed. Authentic? Likely not, but I enjoy adapting flavors and ingredients rather than slavishly recreating.

Changes for Next Time – For a more authentic result I’d move all of the juniper to the HLT and do a longer infusion. I’d opt for a Bohemian Dark (or Munich) for the entire base in place of the Golden Promise. I would also go darker on the Carared maybe CaraMunich II, and add a touch of Carafa as I was originally planning. Not that it would be a better beer, just more in line with my original target. Also makes an interesting blend is the citrusy gose with smoked sea salt on tap next to it.

Jacob smelling the overnight juniper-infused hot liquor.I brewed Kodachrome Dream(ing) with my friend Nathan at the Right Proper brewpub in Shaw a couple years ago. For our second collaboration (and the first at the Brookland production house) we wanted to brew something in the same vane, although more inspired by Alu by Norse (a small amount makes it to the US). Jacob McKean the founder of Modern Times was planning a trip to DC, so we roped him into the plan.

After tasting my batch, Nathan wanted to tone down the assertive fruit flavors from the yeast. As a result he blended the HotHead (harvested from my batch - strangely trusting) with US-05 and lowered the fermentation temperature to 70F. In search of increased maltiness and color, he added CaraAroma and Carafa. He also wanted a more traditional juniper flavor, so we added juniper berries near the end of the boil in addition to 15 lbs of juniper branches at 190F in the HLT overnight for 24 bbls.

Nathan named the resulting beer after a mythical people of the article circle, the Hyperborea. Kegs will be available in DC, Virginia, Maryland, and New York! If you try it, let me know what you think! Sunday March 12 Nathan will be brewing a Nordic IPA with Stone, Pen Druid, and metal band Sunn O))), feel free to stop by the brewery around 1 PM and say hello! Both beers should be on tap through CBC next month!

Hyperboarea next to my juniper tree.Right Proper Hyperborea

Smell – Brighter than you’d expect for a dark/smoked beer. Mild generic citrus and green-herbal. Light phenolic smoke, the Briess Cherrywood Smoked gives it some sharpness. Touch of toast. Not distinctly juniper from the berries.

Appearance – Fantastic head retention, at least partly thanks to the flaked oats. Really dense, off-white. The body is reddish-brown, and pretty cloudy… likely again partly thanks to the oats.

Taste – Balanced depth between the combination of toasty-smoke and yeasty-juniper fruit. The Munich and dark malts serve as a malty bridge between the smoke and the fruit in a way that my beer is missing. Minimal hop bitterness. Nice lingering herbal-smoke melding.

Mouthfeel – Medium body, light tannic drying. Carbonation seemed a bit higher in the growler than it was on tap at the brewery.

Drinkability & Notes – For a beer with so many components it really falls into place. Doesn’t quite hit the oomph and richness of Alu, but not far off! Nathan was right to temper the Hothead with US-05 to prevent it from crushing the malt and juniper.

Summer Kveik Recipe

Batch Size: 16.00 gallons
SRM: 5.6
IBU: 14.5
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.3%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Boil Time: 60 mins

32.3% - 10 lbs Simpsons Golden Promise
16.1% - 5 lbs Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Dark
16.1% - 5 lbs Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat
16.1% - 5 lbs Weyermann Rye Malt
16.1% - 5 lbs Weyermann Beech Smoked Barley Malt
3.2% - 1 lbs Weyermann Carared

Sacch Rest - 50 min @ 156F

60 g Juniper Tips @ Hot Liquor Tank
60 g Juniper Tips @ Mash
60 g Juniper Tips @ 60 min
2.25 oz Mixture (Pellets, ~4.50% AA) @ 60 min
60 g Juniper Tips @ 30 min
1.00 oz Hallertau (Pellets, 4.50% AA) @ 15 min
90 g Juniper Tips @ 0 min

Run-off from Blane's electric brewing systemOther

OYL-057 Omega HotHead

12/14/16 4 L stir-plate starter with 3 month old HotHead.

12/16/16 Crashed starter. Harvested Eastern Red Cedar from the tree in my backyard.

12/17/16 Brewed with Blane on his electric system. Dosed 60 g (three 12" twigs) into the HLT and then again into the mash, 60 min, and 30 min. 50% extra at flameout. Hops @ 60 min were a variety (Hallertau Tradition, EKG, Tett, Hallertau).

Chilled to ~95F and pitched half of the decanted starter into 5 gallons (my share). 5 gallons additional for Carlos, 5 gallons with the Voss culture from Norway (slightly lactic) for Blane.

Fermentation by 6 hours on the radiator insulated in a sweatshirt.

1/3/17 Kegged with 3.5 oz of table sugar into flushed keg.

Blane's version tested at 5.68% ABV.

I get a commission if you click the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Love2Brew and buy something!

My first glass of Hyperborea at Right Proper BrooklandBack-lit sight glass at Right Proper

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bootleg Biology: Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

Bootleg Biology Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend logo.I love my House Brett-Saison culture, and for $10 now you can try Bootleg Biology's The Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend at your house (or brewery)! It's a good deal for me as I get a small cut, and the knowledge that if I kill my mother culture I have off-site backup: Order

I met Jeff Mello (Bootleg Biology's founder) while he was living in the Arlington, VA. Shortly after, he moved to Nashville where he moved his small yeast lab to a commercial space. Jeff sent me a few isolates to grow for the Modern Times souring program. In 2014 he floated the idea of isolating and packaging a blend for me, but at the time I didn't have any microbes that I thought of as mine. We could have pulled something out of a solera barrel, but honestly I never loved the fermentation character of either of them. After running a cobbled together saison blend through my sour gear 10 times over two years, sometimes harvesting from kicked-kegs, I don't know which yeast and bacteria thrived or mutated, but it makes great beer!

It has been interesting to have Bootleg Biology pull out the component microbes and put them back together. I've brewed a couple test batches with pre-release cultures with promising results (see below), that were good enough to release it and see what other brewers think! If you do buy a pack, please leave a comment here to let me know what you brewed, fermentation temperature, and the results!

You can use the blend in any saison recipe, but here are my three of my favorite batches to get you started:

Saison 'Merican
Nu Zuland
Alsatian Saison


Culture streaked on a plate.Bootleg Biology is proud to announce: The First Official Mad Fermentationist Culture!

Fine tuned over two years, this blend morphed over time to become an elegant powerhouse of classic Saison spice, stone-fruit Brett, lactic tartness and a dry but well-rounded body. The final master blend consists of Saison yeast, wild Saccharomyces, rare Brettanomyces and an opportunistic Lactobacillus culture.

At temperatures as low as 68F (20C) The Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend exhibits a relatively clean primary fermentation profile and high attenuation. Traditional saison temperatures (around 80F/27C) bring out citrus and elevated phenols (pepper and clove). The Brett character shifts depending on wort composition, as maltier beers emphasize cherry and stone fruit qualities.

This blend integrates beautifully with fruity and tropical hops, with the unique Brett culture keeping hop aromatics crisp and bright for an extended time. For best results use a highly fermentable wort, dry hopping during the tail of active fermentation, and carbonating naturally.


Here are the tasting notes and recipe from the batch I brewed with the second test-pitch from Bootleg Biology. I bottled it more than three months ago, just three weeks after brewing. One of my favorite things about this blend is that it dries out beers quickly, leaving little for the low-attenuating Brett to ferment. The result is a beer that you can bottle young and enjoy as it morphs from bright saison into wild ale!

This batch was actually Audrey's first on the big system after a couple 2.5 gallon batches. I acted as assistant brewer. She was aiming for, "a dark Belgian wheat, with maltiness between a dunkelweiss and an English dark mild." She used an experimental hop supplied by Yakima Valley, ADHA-527, which they describe as: "floral, citrus, huge mint, herbal, mellow spice, thyme, Saaz-like, cucumber, sage, touch of lemon." Seemed like some good and bad, a nice pairing with funk!

Finished beer, on my microbe shelf.Europa Lander

Smell – Fermentation leads with toasty malt following. Still has some underlying Belgian spice and pear, but Brett is beginning to takeover. It is a really approachable leather-cherry funk though. Nothing over-the-top or too animalistic. Maybe a hint of anise and a little clay, hard to place the source.

Appearance – Clear, perfectly not a hint of haze. Pretty light-brown beer-bottle color. White head exhibits solid retention.

Taste – The caramel malt plays with the funk. Chocolate rye provides more toasted bready than harsh roast. Still a fresh maltiness despite the layer of leather and cherry from the Brett. No acidity thanks to the hint of hop bitterness. Dry, but with enough left to support the malt. Subdued hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel – Firm carbonation, nothing excessive. Glad this blend retained the ability to dry out a beer quickly and stabilize. Doesn’t taste as thin as the FG would suggest, but it’s no milkshake!

Drinkability & Notes – I can’t think of a beer to compare this to. Really balanced between malt, hops, and fermentation in a Belgian sort-of-way, but not in a combination I’ve tasted from a Belgian or Belgian-style beer.

Changes for Next Time – Not a blow-you-away beer, but I can’t think of a tweak to suggest that wouldn’t changing what it is: a unique malty, funky, subtle, drinkable beer!

That is one clear beer.Recipe

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 16.5
IBU: 25.4
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.002
ABV: 6.8%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
Boil Time: 65 Mins

46.0% - 10 lbs Briess White Wheat Malt
32.2% - 7 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
13.8% - 3 lbs Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner
4.6% - 1 lbs Briess Caramel Malt - 60L
3.4% - .75 lbs Weyermann Chocolate Rye

Sacch Rest - 45 min @ 148F

0.5 oz ADHA-527 (Pellets, 15.80% AA) @ 30 min
2.0 oz ADHA-527 (Pellets, 15.80% AA) @ 20 min Hop-Stand

1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 5 min

Bootleg Biology The Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

Brewed 10/23/16

Filtered DC tap water, no other treatments. 3 gallon cold sparge.

Chilled to 70F with IC.

Half fermented with WLP510, four month old pack, no starter.

Half fermented with Bootleg Biology Mad Blend #2, super-fresh, no starter.

11/12/16 Kegged the WLP510 half. Down to 1.011.

Bottled the "Mad Blend" half (4.25 gallons at 1.003) with 3 5/8 oz of table sugar. Looking for 2.6 volumes of CO2.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Extract Lambic Tasting (Plus Peaches)

Drinking malt-extract-based lambic outside.Over my first 10 years of brewing "lambic-inspired" pale sours, I found that the more authentic my process became, the more authentic the flavors produced. The balance and aromatics improved as I turbid mashedaged hops, introduced local wild microbes with gueuze bottle dregs, etc. I wondered what the beer would be like if I stripped back the sugar-extraction to the basics? I'd brewed sour beers from malt extact before (but with beach plums, blackberries, and dark malts). This lambic recipe was nothing but dry malt extract (Pils and wheat) and maltodextrin to provide carbohydrates brewer's yeast is unable to ferment.

Brewed the day of Super Bowl 49, I opened the last bottle of the base lambic right before kickoff of Super Bowl 51. Didn't look like it had much luck in it for Tom Brady until a couple hours later... I served most of the batch at the BYO Burlington Boot Camp, the folks at the Santa Rosa edition in two weeks will be tasting and blending homebrewed dark sours. Not sure what beers we'll be using in Indianapolis this fall!

Golden Boy Lambic

Tom Brady deserves a beer.Smell – Overripe fruit, mild Brett funk comes across as hay (or is that the aged hops?). Overall mellow, but nothing off (e.g., vinegar, nail polish). At two-years-old it is still bright and vibrant.

Appearance – Crystal clear gold. Towards the darker end of gueuze, but not outside the range. White head stays around for a couple minutes, before falling completely.

Taste – Nice little lemon brightness. Mellow lactic acidity. Brett is similar to the nose, hay, mineral, and fresh soil. Relatively clean and approachable. Not much depth.

Mouthfeel – Medium carbonation, mouthfeel is fuller than usual, maybe the lack of oak tannins.

Drinkability & Notes – A lambic with training wheels both in terms of production and flavor. Not convinced those two are correlated.

Changes for Next Time – One of the nicer straight lambic blends I’ve used. Closest to Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René, very approachable. Like many other blends Yeast Bay Mélange would benefit from some dregs from whatever “fresh” lambic you enjoy.

I love splitting batches, so when the above was ready to bottle summer 2016, I racked 2.5 gallons onto peaches... lots of local white peaches from the farmer's market. They were "ugly," so I was able to get 8 lbs for $8. There is something about peaches that translates so perfectly to sour beer (as I've found previously). While the aroma is delicate compared to most berries, peaches doesn't require nearly the rate I used to shine through.

White Peach Lambic on my new 24mm lens.White Peach Lambic

Smell – White peaches, unsurprisingly. Bold, fresh, juicy. Little hits of lemon and hay underneath, but stonefruit is first, second, and third.

Appearance – Similar color to the base beer, but not as clear. A few particles of peach flesh in the glass. Head is low and doesn’t last long, a sign of lacking carbonation in this case.

Taste – Snappier acidity than the base, thanks to the acids and nutritive sugars contributed by the fruit. Has a malic acidity, brighter and sharper than lactic. Lingering in the finish are the clearest signs of lambic, earthy, citrus, mild yeastiness, and maybe a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel – Light body, carbonation is low even for my preferences. It allows the peach to linger though. Glad it's gotten here, I was considering reyeasting the bottles a few months ago.

Drinkability & Notes – It is amazing that peaches purchased last summer and allowed a controlled rot rather than preserved (canned or frozen) can still taste so fresh! Fantastic true-peach flavor and aroma, but the base beer wasn’t up to the challenge in assertiveness. Delicious as a peach beer, a letdown as a peach lambic. Still a good fruit choice over cherry or raspberry that would have completely dominated the delicate Brett character.

Changes for Next Time – This one didn't carbonate as quickly as I would have liked, my fault for reyeasting with ale yeast rather than wine yeast. Similar to the notes on the base beer, a more assertive culture would create potent flavors to poke through the peaches.

Not as ugly as you’d expect for $1/lb at the farmer’s market!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Gose: NEIPA Principles for Coriander

Hot-dog-water, celery, hammy… these are all descriptors I’ve heard for coriander-flavored beers. Nearly essential for wits, sometimes an accent in other Belgian beers (like those from Rochefort). Coriander, the seeds of cilantro, sometimes seem more at home in a taco than a beer, but there are two things brewers can do to ensure it imparts more pleasant aromatics like lemon, lime, and floral.

Close-up of Indian coriander.First is one I’ve touched on in previous gose recipes, use Indian coriander. It has a slightly oblong (i.e., more football than basketball) shape than the typical supermarket variety and a much fruitier aroma – Fruity Pebbles. Indian markets are also inexpensive compared to supermarkets and specialty spice stores, a 7 oz bag set me back $1.99 (compared to Amazon for $10).

Second allow coriander-yeast interaction. Glycosides and biotransformation are hot topics in hoppy beers, but they may be even more interesting for beers with fruit and spice. Coriander contains linalool and geraniol, compounds also found in hops. While unexciting in its standard form (floral and rose), yeast activity converts geraniol to B-citronellol which provides a flavor similar to lemon or lime.

"From the screening of various hop cultivars, Citra hop was selected as a geraniol-rich cultivar. In addition, it was observed that coriander seed, which can be used in beer production as a flavourant, contained not only linalool but also geraniol at high levels." The Contribution of Geraniol Metabolism to the Citrus Flavour of Beer

Wellfleet Smoked Sea Salt In the past I’ve added crushed coriander near the end of the boil or to the whirlpool, allowing it to infuse into the hot wort. That is also what was done in the study linked above. However, for this batch I drew off wort for this beer pre-boil, adding the coriander directly to the fermentor at the same time as the yeast. The rest of this batch became Loral-Hopped Funky Saison. I've found that dry hopping during fermentation is essential to the "NEIPA" character. I was hoping the same might apply to coriander!

I pitched the Right Proper house lactic culture harvested from my Quinoa Grapefruit Hoppy Sour. I didn’t have access to the high temperatures (October vs. July), and as a result sourness didn’t kick in until keg conditioning. I was recently at Right Proper brewing a collaborative smoked, juniper-infused, Norwegian farmhouse ale with Modern Times! More on that batch later...

Sodium chloride is sodium chloride, but there is nothing wrong with a story. I grew up spending summers on Cape Cod (where I still have a crate of Cranberry-Orange mead buried). Originally I’d planned to make the trip to collect bay water to dose in for salinity… but the timing didn’t work out. I had a jar of smoked sea salt from Wellfleet from my mother, close enough! Between the low dosage and low smoke-intensity I wasn’t expecting a perceptible smoke character in the beer, but sub-threshold complexity can’t hurt.

Golden Gose

Smell – Bright zesty citrus aroma. Mild graininess. Slight sulfur. I don't detect anything I would identify as coriander.

Appearance – Cloudy golden yellow. White head disperses rapidly. Not intentional, but it could pass for a NEIPA (other than the poor head retention).

Taste – Zippy lactic acidity, without the funkiness of Brett. Lots of bright fresh citrus, especially lemon (without being artificial or furniture polish). The finish has a little no-boil grainy-wortiness that I don’t mind, but it may not be for everyone. Maltiness from the Munich isn't as pronounced as I expected.

Mouthfeel – Slightly fuller than the classic versions thanks to the oats.

Drinkability & Notes – The best gose I've brewed! Refreshing and unique. The citrus from the coriander is outstanding! Sulfur aroma is the only detractor.

Changes for Next Time – Seems like this mixed culture really benefits the warmer fermentation temperature. The acidity hit its mark with extra time, but the fermentation wasn't vigorous enough to blow-off the sulfur. With the maltier grist the no-boil flavor was more assertive when young than similar all Pils/wheat beers that I've brewed - I might go for a 60 minute boil.

Golden Gose, finished beer


Batch Size: 6.00 gal
SRM: 5.3
IBU: 0
OG: 1.041
FG: 1.005
ABV: 4.7%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74%
Boil Time: 0 Mins

65.9 % - 7.5 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
27.5 % - 3.12 lbs Weyermann Munich I
6.6 % - .75 lbs Simpsons Golden Naked Oats

Sacch Rest - 30 min @ 152 F


0.5 oz Indian Coriander Seed - Fermenter

Right Proper House Lacto Blend

Recipe adjusted so this can be brewed as a single batch.

Brewed 10/10/16

Water was all filtered DC tap with 2 g of CaCl and 1.5 g of gypsum. Added 1 tsp of lactic acid. Mash pH measured at 5.12.

Ran off 5.5 gallons of 1.041 wort once the wort hit 180F. No hops or whirlfloc. Chilled to 95F with the plate chiller. Added .5 oz of crushed Indian coriander to the wort. Pitched Right Proper house culture, woken up with 1 L of wort 24 hours prior. Added 2 tsp of lactic acid to lower pH to 4.5. Left at 70F to ferment.

10/23/16 Kegged (still no salt) with 3.25 oz of table sugar.

1/7/17 Dissolved .5 oz of Wellfleet smoked sea salt and added to the keg.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

LODO Festbier: Split Batch Experiment

Running off the HighDO wort.My first attempt at low dissolved oxygen (LODO) brewing was lackluster... generously (I dumped the last gallon of that Pilsner). I wanted to try the intensive process again, replicating both wort production and fermentation as close as I could to what is prescribed in the second version of On Brewing Bavarian Helles. Rather than brew ten gallons of LODO festbier, I split the batch pre-boil aerating half of the wort as a control. I boiled this "HighDO" wort harder and with a copper immersion chiller. The LODO half I gently simmered and then chilled through a stainless-steel Blichmann plate chiller (although it was brazed with copper). Post-chilling I treated the beers identically from cold fermentation through spunding.

At the start of the January meeting I roped 20 members of DC Homebrewers into a blind triangle tasting of these two beers (poured from growlers I had counter-pressure filled 90 minutes prior). Only 7 of 20 (P=.52) correctly selected the odd (LODO) beer out of the three samples. That is a number perfectly consistent with random chance, suggesting that my LODO and HighDO beers were indistinguishable to the average beer nerd. Of the seven who correctly identified the aberrant sample, only one preferred it (four preferred the HighDO, and two had no preference).

After a month of drinking the two beers, I was able to select and identify the beers in my single attempted triangle test. They are similar, but the LODO does have an ever-so-slightly maltier aroma to my nose. Flavors are nearly identical.

As a disclaimer, I intended this test to explore whether my kluged-process LODO made an incremental improvement to this pale lager. I'll say "yes" if you know what to look for, but in the barest of terms. What I’d love to see is someone with a dialed-in system try the same experiment!

A single experiment can’t prove or disprove anything. That's why replication is an essential (if unsexy) part of science. Even under rigorously controlled conditions statistics like this only provide a confidence interval that suggests that the results are not due to chance. Compound this with variability introduced by brewer, brew house, tasters, conditions etc. and you sometimes produce false positive and negatives. That said, blind taste tests are the best way to insulate results from expectation and bias. Triangle tests are a pain to conduct, and put a target on you from people who can swear they can taste the difference. I have a lot of respect for what the Brulosophy folks put themselves through for data (especially after participating a couple times)! Looking forward to hanging out with Marshall in New Zealand in a couple months between talks at NZHC 2017!

Tube ringer for White Labs.As a side note, Audrey got me this tube wringer for toothpaste, but it works perfectly to extract the last few billion cells from PurePitch packages. White Labs should probably license it and sell an official version!

LODO Festbier

Smell – Clean bready malt aroma. Pleasant waft of sulfur, although a few tasters felt it considerably stronger than I do. Faint grassiness of noble hops.

Appearance – Slightly-hazy deep yellow. Dense white head sticks around until the bottom leaving patches of lacing down the sides of the glass.

Taste – Malt flavor is well rounded. Crisp, but the 5% crystal malt adds a mild honey-like sweetness. Pleasant herbal hop flavor in the finish. Clean balancing bitterness. Retro-nasal brings the appropriate lager-light-egginess back. It had a flavor that reminded me of the doughiness of a no-boil Berliner weisse when it was young, but that has faded.

Mouthfeel – Medium body with moderately prickly carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – One of the better lagers I’ve brewed. Malty without being heavy. The sulfur is at the top of the my range, likely a result of the cold fermentation and spunding rather than the sulfite.

Changes for Next Time – Unlike my first attempt where the primary issue was double-dosing metabisulfite, this is a pleasant beer! Next time I’d reduce or eliminate the Carahell, and save the effort and brew it with the standard wort production (and warm up the fermentation towards the end)!

The LODO FestbierFestbier Recipe

Batch Size: 10.00 gal
SRM: 5.3 SRM
IBU: 17.5 IBUs
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.5%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65%
Boil Time: 65 Mins

75.5 % - 17.1 lbs Weyermann Pilsner
17.5 % - 4 lbs Weyermann Vienna
5.4 % - 1.2 lbs Weyermann Carahell
1.7 % - .4 lbs Weyermann Acidulated

Sacch Rest - 30 min @ 152F

4.40 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh (Pellets, 2.00 % AA) @ 60 min
1.60 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh (Pellets, 2.00 % AA) @ 10 min

White Labs WLP833 German Bock Lager

Brewed 11/14/16

Recipe above is the ingredients for the entire 10 gallon batch.

Made a 5L stir-plate starter. Fermented at room temperature for 36 hours, then crash chilled.

Boiled 18 gallons of water (8 distilled, 10 filtered DC) added 12 g of CaCl. Preboiled water, then added 7 crushed sodium campden tablets. Underlet mash after purging with CO2.

Mash pH 5.28.

Collected 7.5 gallons of wort as is, 4.5 aerated and left in an aluminum pot until the remainder came to a boil.

Adjusted 2.4% AA hop pellets down to 2%. Bagged.

LODO, 2.75 oz @ 60 min. 1 oz @ 10 min. Plate chiller. 1.056. Slightly sweeter, maybe could pass for maltier. A shade lighter.

Aerated, 1.65 oz @ 60 min. .6 oz @ 10 min. Immersion chiller. 1.054.

Chilled both to 46F, shook to aerate, pitched the decanted starter. Left at 48F to ferment.

11/20/16 Down to 1.032 (43% AA).

11/21/16 Started dropping 1F per day. Until it reached 43F.

11/24/16 1.024, still pretty yeasty with a small krausen.

11/27/16 1.019 (66% AA). Kegged into quadruple-purged kegs. Purged and pressurized head space. Left at 48F to carbonate. Both have some sweetness, so hopefully drops below 1.015 (73% AA).

12/3/16 Good pressure on both, 15 PSI. Removed spunding valve and began dropping 2F per day.

12/18/16 Attached to gas and dumped yeast from both. FG 1.013 (76.8% attenuation) on the LODO, 1.012 (77.8%) on the HighDO.

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