Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hoppy American Wheat #3 Tasting

Third Version of the Modern Times Hoppy Citra Amarillo Wheat. One of the really fun aspects of brewing and re-brewing the recipes we are developing for Modern Times is seeing how subtle tweaks can so profoundly change the character of a beer. For example Jacob and I agreed on three subtle recipe changes to the mash/grain of the Hoppy American Wheat that transformed the overly-thin second batch into this nearly-there third batch. For this iteration we increased the CaraVienna (5.6% to 7.1%), the original gravity (1.040 to 1.048), and the mash temperature (153F to 155F).

I'm ready to call this recipe just about where I was hoping, but I'm still waiting for feedback from Jacob on the counter-pressure bottles I shipped west on Monday.

Citra Amarillo Wheat #3

Appearance – Slightly hazy, gilded yellow. The head is terrific, rocky/sticky white. Retention is alright, but the head is down to a thin covering by the time I’m half-way through my glass.

Smell – Beautiful fresh citrus leads, orange especially. The Citra hops dominate, but the Amarillo keeps it in check, preventing it from being overbearing. There is a bit of something tropical in there, mango maybe. The hops don’t let much of the malt come through other than a faint cracker, not that it needs more. Clean otherwise.

All of that wheat malt created a beautiful head!
Taste – Starts out citrusy like the nose, gets doughy in the middle, and finishes a bit more resiny. Bitterness lingers in the finish, but not in a very aggressive way. Despite the changes made to the malt-side, it is in no way sweet. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel – The body is really wonderfully substantial, without being sticky/chewy. Medium carbonation is about right for me, but it could probably be boosted to make it a bit lighter. Hoping the bottles areabout right.

Drinkability & Notes – A real beer-nerd session beer. Layers of hop flavor in a package you could drink a few of. Not much I would change on this one!

14 comments:

O.Kristian said...

Looks and sounds amazing!

Anonymous said...

After reading the BYO article about how much filtering improves/changes your beer. I was wondering if you will filter any of these beers when they are brewed commercially and are you going to filter the test batch.

cheers
-a

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I’m not a fan of filtering beer because no matter how you do it you’ll be removing some delicious compounds (especially hoppiness) along with the yeast and haze. Flavor and aroma always take priority over appearance when I brew, so I have never really considered filtration. The beers we are planning on brewing for Modern Times (with the possible exception of the hoppy cream ale) aren’t “styles” where perfect clarity is expected (wheat, Amber IPA, saison, oatmeal stout etc.).

Jacob isn’t a proponent of filtration either, but we’ve discussed getting a centrifuge as our best option down the road. Until then we’ll most likely be fining with BioFine Clear (our best option to keep the beer vegan friendly). I have a bottle of it in the fridge, but haven’t tried it out yet. At home the relatively short distance the sediment needs to fall makes a few weeks in the keg (while force carbonating) adequate to mostly clear my homebrews.

Anonymous said...

are you worried about being able to get citra and amarillo since they are in such high demand?

Benson Dana said...

Any reaction to the home made home brew beer carrier on my web site? You'll find it under Extracurricular Activities. I'd be interested in any comments you might have. Thanks.

www.internalcontrolfreak.com

pcameron92 said...

Hi, Thanks for the blog really interesting topics. Also, the excel sheet link does not work. Could you re-post?

PC

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Not sure what the issue was, but I'm not able to link directly to the file. You can follow the link (in the IPA post) and just download the .xlsx file.

Jacob already has contracts for most of the hard-to-get hops we need. However, we are also trying to develop some hoppy beers (like the cream ale) that rely on hops that can be easily obtained in greater quantity and for less money. The goal is to brew something that doesn't taste like we're sacrificing though.

Mark said...

I would love to know how you think your malt profile of this beer compares to the actual 3 Floyds Gumball Head. All the clone recipes I see lean toward a very malty outcome (002 WLP, Munich/Melanoidin). I see that you upped malt backbone by increasing mash temp and caravienne. The frustration with the plethora of "clone" recipes is that there is very little follow up and analysis of their brew and I really appreciate your more analytical approach.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The malt is pretty subtle in both cases. Seems like a good chance that Gumball Head has a touch of melanoidin in it (given that they seem to use it in every recipe), but in a really hoppy beer I don't think subtle malt choices have much impact on what you taste in the glass.

We were really looking to increase body, not necessarily malt character. Melanoidin would be a better choice for malt flavor.

Greg said...

Mike - Thanks for developing and posting this recipe. I made a 5.75 gallon batch with two subtle changes (no hoprocket, more late hops). The results are fantastic and mirror your tasting notes.

Because I brew using a simple BIAB single vessel system, I don't have a pump or hop rocket. To account for this I intended to up the 0 minute hop addition by an ounce of both citra and amarillo. However I accidentally added more citra at 5 minutes. Anyway here's my hop schedule - it works great:
60 1oz Amarillo
5 4oz Citra
5 1oz Amarillo
0 1oz Amarillo

The estimated IBU is 70, however the perceived bitterness is much less. Oh, and flavor and aroma are outrageous.

FWIW I used a healthy amount of Wyeast American Ale II (1272), OG 1058, FG 1012.

Bottom line, don't be afraid to do this beer without a hoprocket and, again, thanks for the great recipe and website.

Cheers.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Cheers! Glad it worked out so well for you!

AnthonyB said...

I was wondering whether you really intend on using the same volume of hops for the pro versions. You add 10 oz of hops for 5 gallons of beer. For a 20 barrel batch that works out to almost 80 lbs of hops. Even for very hoppy professional recipes I'm accustomed to seeing more like 20-30 lbs for that sort of volume. Certainly there are double IPAs like Pliny that have higher hop volumes, but I'm curious about how you decide how much is enough/or too little for a recipe to be brewed on a professional scale. Where does cost/availability come into play?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Translating hop aromatics from my system to the commercial scale is one of the big mysteries for us at this stage. The vague answer is that we'll use enough hops to replicate the character we've achieved in this batch. Given techniques like continuous agitation, we should be able to reduce the amount of dry hops, without sacrificing the character of the beer in the glass. We'll probably start high, and see what (if anything) we can subtract without sacrificing quality.

One pound of hops per barrel is lower than I've seen for a great hoppy beer. I know Sam Adams says Boston Lager is around that level (granted they are using much lower oil/AA hops). I've seen great beers like Ballast Point Sculpin at 2+ lbs/bbl for just the dry hops. The concept of this beer is to have the nose of an IPA/DIPA, so the aroma additions will most likely be in line with something like Pliny.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I brewed this for the second time with a few changes with great results. Mash temp, yeast, fermentation time.

Again I did not use a hopback, nor did I dry hop. My first batch was fantastic, but according to my notes the one thing I would change is mash lower to clean/dry it up a bit (contrasting the rich wheat and tropical fruity hop flavors). I mashed this batch at 150. I think it dried it out too much. I'll shoot for 152 next time.

For yeast I used US-05. I was pressed for time. Last time I used Wyeast American II. I don't think this changed the beer...

The final change is that I served it to about 100 people (home brew event) 6 days after brewing it. It was very popular and people were shocked that it was six... days... old.

FYI: 1.059 to 1.009.

Thanks again for the great recipe!

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