Monday, July 17, 2017

Ruby Red Grapefruit NEIPA

I’m a pretty unenthusiastic BJCP judge. I passed the test in 2008 with a "national" score and over the last nine years I’ve managed to earn a paltry nine judging points; 3.5 of which came at Hoppy Halloween Challenge 2015 - where I got to judge Best of Show with BJCP's top-ranked judge, Grand Master VIII, Steve Piatz. That was a treat, but usually I don’t love waking up early in the morning to drive somewhere to drink a variety too often oxidized IPAs, fusel Belgians, and over-carbonated stouts. Sometimes though it works out and I get lucky and taste an inspiring entry.

Dosing a sample of IPA with hibiscus.That happened in 2012, while judging the DC Homebrewer’s Cherry Blossom competition, when I judged a fantastic hoppy-hibiscus beer. I’ve been thinking about brewing one since. It tasted and looked like ruby red grapefruit juice, bitter and aromatic, citrus and floral, finishing with a hint of tart brightness. Delicious and unique.

I took the other half of the Citra-Mosaic NEIPA I posted about last week and finally made it happen! It was the same wort through pitching the yeast. I used different dry hops, Ekuanot and Eureka, selected out of convenience rather than intention. Northern Brewer describes Ekuanot (formerly Equinox) as "In the midst of the bright citrus and melon there is a ribbon of green pepper. Or something like green pepper. It’s not green pepper in the eat-it-with-hummus-use-it-on-a-fajita sense of green pepper." Not exactly appealing. I was hoping that the mid-fermentation addition paired with the fruitiness of grapefruit zest 48 hours before kegging and a dose of hibiscus tea in the keg would lead to a fruity impression. Those are ingredient techniques I had used separately in a Grapefruit APA and a Hibiscus Wit (among others).

After brewing the batch I decided I should track down the brewers of the original "Pink Hoppy Bunny." I reached out to former DC Homebrewers President Josh Hubner and he revealed the brewers to be Pete Jones (of Lost Lagers) and Cody Gabbard. They responded that the base was a wit hopped with loads of Citra, with hibiscus and rose petals added directly to the fermentor. Turned out that batch won the category!

Ruby Red NEIPA

Smell – Mostly hops, dank, resiny, borderline green onion. Occasional tropical mango notes. Like Simcoe and Summit had a baby, and they pumped it full of steroids. Blocks out the citrus and hibiscus, but they help to temper it... a little.

Hibiscus NEIPA next to our "wild" pumpkin patch.Appearance – Red NEIPA! Oddly clearer than the other half of the batch, especially considering the beers looked similar before infusion/kegging. Maybe an effect of the lower pH? Nice slightly pink head, sticky lacing.

Taste – Really dank, Pacific-Northwest, resiny, fresh nose-in-the-hop-bag hoppiness. Firm bitterness, considerably higher than the NEIPA half. Likely a result of the lower final pH (4.05 compared to 4.57). Finally, in the finish a touch of grapefruit and cranberry-hibiscus comes through. Luckily what I don’t get is the green pepper that is a common descriptor for Ekuanot, a flavor I tasted in several beers brewed with the lupulin powder.

Mouthfeel – Thinner, crisper than the straight NEIPA. Not as rounded. The higher acidity again. Similar medium carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – I'd hoped hibiscus and grapefruit would balance the dank hops, but they get trampled. I may try dumping in a bottle of grapefruit juice into the keg before it kicks. It isn’t a bad beer, just discordant with what I was trying to brew and how it looks.

Changes for Next Time – Fruitier, more grapefruity hops. Cascade, Chinook... Citra. Surprised that the early dry hop addition didn't "soften" the aromatics more. The vague memory of that two ounces of beer from the competition will continue to haunt me until I try this one again… luckily now I have the recipe! A 50/50 blend with the New Englandier half of the batch gets pretty close to what I wanted.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 67.7
OG: 1.059
FG: 1.013
ABV: 6.0%
Final pH: 4.05
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Fermentables
-----------------
58.8 % - 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
20.6% - 2.625 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
20.6% - 2.625 lbs 365 Old Fashion Rolled Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 155F

Hops
-------
Whirlpooling the NEIPA.1.25 oz Columbus (Whole, 15.5% AA) @ 15 min
2.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ 30 min Whirlpool
4.00 oz Eureka (Pellet, 18.00% AA) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
4.00 oz Ekuanot (Pellet, 15.00%) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
0.50 oz Ekuanot Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg
2.00 oz Eureka (Pellets, 18.00% AA) @ Keg

Other
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
1.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
.50 tsp Lactic Acid @ Mash

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
150
150
150
10
5
40

Yeast
-------
Omega British Ale V (OYL-011)

Notes
-------
Recipe was originally 11 gallons, split with a standard NEIPA. Values represent the batch tasted here.

Brewed 6/18/17

24 hours before pitching fed a cup of harvested slurry (~1 month old) from, 2.3% IPA ~2.5L of starter wort.

Mashed in with 4.5 gallons filtered DC diluted with 3 gallons of distilled.

pH of mash originally read 5.51 at Mash temperature (~5.7 at room temperature) with salts and phosphoric. Rest of phosphoric down to 5.36. Lactic (ran put of phosphoric) got down to 5.26/5.46.

Sparged with 1.75 gallons of distilled, cold. Collected 7.00 gallons @ 1.053.

Chilled to 75F left at 65F to cool for a few hours to 70F before pitching.

Fermenting well after 12 hours. 67F internal.

6/20/17 Down to 1.026, dry hopped FV2 with 4 oz each of Eureka and Ekuanot.

6/26/17 Added the zest from two ruby red grapefruits loose to the fermentor. Dunked in StarSan, zest removed with a vegetable peeler, and pith scraped off with a spoon.

6/28/17 Kegged with bagged hops, purged. .5 oz of Ekuanot Lupulin powder, plus 1 cup of hibiscus concentrate (5 min soak with 1.5 cups off-boiling water and 1 oz of hibiscus from TPSS Coop). Attached to gas and left in the kegerator.

6/30/17 Added an additional 2 cups of hibiscus tea made with 2 oz of hibiscus, color and flavor weren't there.

Ruby Red Grapefruit NEIPA.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cryo Lupulin NEIPA: Citra-Mosaic

Trillium Stilling Street vs. my Citra-Mosaic NEIPA.
A few weeks ago someone asked on my Facebook how I’d stack NEIPAs against commercial versions, I prefer my best to all comers, save Tree House Julius and Trillium Double-Dry-Hopped Fort Point. For my palate, across their lineup Trillium is close to perfect. The lack of a line to buy cans is a bonus. I also have a bias for the brewery that is open with their process, not to mention that JC is a former homebrew blogger and someone I've shared a few beers with. What is remarkable is that he has increased quality and scale, despite having to adjust process (including yeast).

I’ve learned that putting my one-off attempts head-to-head with my favorite commercial examples of a style are often an exercise in humility. As a homebrewer I don’t have the reps to dial in a recipe the way a brewery does, I don’t have the equipment, or the resources. So, when I grabbed a four-pack of Trillium Stillings Street IPA (their Nelson Sauvin showcase) at the Boston brewery on my way to Logan last week, I was already looking for excuses for why the carbonating IPA I was returning home to wouldn’t be as good.

This recipe is the culmination of three years of attempts at cloudy-juicy IPAs. Most of it will be familiar from previous batches, but as always a few tweaks. Water treatment was pretty much my standard, just a little more heavy handed up to 150 PPM for calcium, chloride, and sulfate. The grist was heavy on both flaked oats and Carafoam. I added a small dose of Columbus at 15 minutes to slightly elevate the bitterness over my NE Australian IPA, Columbus is rich in thiols which make it a good (inexpensive) choice for hot-side additions. Fermented with Omega British V, their answer to London III, harvested from my 2.3% NEIPA. A big dose of Mosaic and Citra pellets for a hop-stand, and another massive charge (8 oz in 5 gallons) 48 hours into fermentation once the yeast passed 50% apparent attenuation.

A traditional pellet on the left, a lupulin pellet on the right.When I was ready to keg I brought in a ringer, Yakima Chief Cryo Hops "LupuLN2" lupulin powder. I picked up samples at CBC, and ordered extra now that it is available to homebrewers. This is the alpha acids and oils roughly double-concentrated with much of the green plant material removed. The big advantage is that the plant material absorbs iso-alpha and other compounds from the wort (not to mention wort itself). While this may sound similar to T45 pellets, the improvement here is using nitrogen to reduce oxidation and temperature. The more concentrated the oils become, the more aromatic-volatilizing heat that is generated. See Scott’s fantastic post and Stan's summary for more details.

NEIPA: Lupulin Edition


Smell – Mix of big tropical fruit (mango especially), melon, pineapple, with that certain dank-fruitiness I get from Mosaic (even more from Nelson, and a bit less from Hallertau Blanc likely 3S4MP). While it has fruit flavor, it still has the telltale notes of hops. I enjoyed the aroma of the Mosaic Cryo, the Citra was so concentrated it was almost offensively dank, luckily upon dilution the contribution is delicious! The hop nose jumps out of the glass, even more so than the Stillings Street.

Appearance – Glowing yellow body, a shade and a half lighter than the Stillings Street thanks to lots of oats and no C10. A couple flecks of particulate. Nice white head, great structure, but I wouldn’t mind if it lasted a little longer.

Taste – Totally saturated juicy hops with just enough bitterness. Citra and Mosaic are punchy and can carry an IPA along, but together they have a wonderful synergy. Pineapple, orange, Sauvignion blanc, and mango. A little drier than Stillings Street, the sweetness enhances the “juice” character. Bitterness is perfect, just there without lingering.

Mouthfeel – Smooth, coating hop oiliness, soft. Medium carbonation, or almost, perfect.

Drinkability & Notes – A beer that is difficult not to have a second pour. Some IPAs grate on the palate, this one soothes the bitterness without being sugary. The combination of huge hop aroma, saturated hop flavor, restrained bitterness, and fluffy body is what I want to drink.

Changes for Next Time – This is my dream IPA, the best NEIPA I have brewed. In comparison, the Trillium I bought four days before the tasting isn't as fresh and vibrant. Not their fault, how can you compete against beer that was in contact with dry hops 30 seconds ago? Might as well take advantage of every trick I have to make up for the lack for hop contracts, a centrifuge, and some of the best brewers in the country!

The small amount of grain the hop filter caught on the wort's way to the kettle.Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 67.7
OG: 1.059
FG: 1.012
ABV: 6.2%
Final pH: 4.57
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

Fermentables
-----------------
58.8 % - 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
20.6% - 2.625 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
20.6% - 2.625 lbs 365 Old Fashion Rolled Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 155F

Hops
-------
1.25 oz Columbus (Whole, 15.5% AA) @ 15 min
2.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ 30 min Whirlpool
4.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
4.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
1.00 oz Citra Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg
1.00 oz Mosaic Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg

Other
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
1.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
.50 tsp Lactic Acid @ Mash

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
150
150
150
10
5
40

Yeast
-------
Omega British Ale V (OYL-011)

Notes
-------
Still no trouble with hot break clogging up the hop screen.
Recipe was originally 11 gallons, split with a Hibiscus-Grapefruit IPA. Values represent the batch tasted here.

Brewed 6/18/17

24 hours before pitching fed a cup of harvested slurry (~1 month old) from, 2.3% IPA ~2.5L of starter wort.

Mashed in with 4.5 gallons filtered DC diluted with 3 gallons of distilled.

pH of mash originally read 5.51 at Mash temperature (~5.7 at room temperature) with salts and phosphoric. Rest of phosphoric down to 5.36. Lactic (ran put of phosphoric) got down to 5.26/5.46.

Sparged with 1.75 gallons of distilled, cold. Collected 7.00 gallons @ 1.053.

Chilled to 75F left at 65F to cool for a few hours to 70F before pitching.

Fermenting well after 12 hours. 67F internal.

6/20/17 Down to 1.026, dry hopped FV1 with 4 oz each of Citra/Mosaic.

6/28/17 Kegged with bagged hops, purged, in each (1 oz each Citra and Mosaic Lupulin Pellets from Farmhouse Brewing).

NEIPAs are fantastically sensitive to oxygen, even compared to standard IPAs, here's what my gravity sample looked like after 24 hours exposed to the air compared to a fresh pour. The best guess at why this happens is the transformation of phenols into quinones via oxidation and perhaps polyphenol oxidase (a similar process is responsible for browning in avocados, tea, and cocoa). I suspect the color change looks more dramatic than clear IPAs given the low starting SRM and haze.

Fresh pour compared to a 24 hour old oxidized sample.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dark Brett Saison: Date and Pomegranate

What started as an annual tradition in 2007 is coming up on its tenth anniversary. That's right, Alex and I have been brewing dark saisons together since the year the first iPhone was released! We've managed to fall a year behind though. We’re just now planning Dark Funky Saison #9, by next year we might be brewing a big batch of #10 at Sapwood Cellars?! I'd love to create similar series of seasonal beers at the brewery, the same concept but continually evolving the base beer and additions. Rich-ponderous beers for the winter, fresh-floral for the spring, and bright-fruity in the summer.

Taking a step back a year to when we brewed Dark Funky Saison #8. It was a “what’s on hand” batch. I had sacks of Weyermann Bohemian malts on hand for Pilsner and Tmave, my House Brett Saison Culture, and Mandarina Bavaria hops. Bootleg Biology is taking pre-orders for the second release of their version of my Brett-Lacto-saison culture this week, 7/5-7/10. Lots of good reports from the first release in this thread.

Rather than the usual dried fruit we added pomegranate molasses and date syrup. I’d brewed an Easter Quad with pomegranate molasses, and my split batch sugar experiment included date sugar. Anytime water is removed from fruit whether by drying or boiling it takes some of the subtle aromatics with it, but the resulting concentrated flavors tend to be more complimentary to dark malts.

We decided to keep the starting gravity low, much lower than Dark Saison 7's 1.071. With the high attenuation even the seemingly session-strength original gravity of 1.045 resulted in 5.6% ABV.

Dark Funky Saison Eight

Smell – Rich aroma of dark fruit, pumpernickel toast, and clay or steel. I don’t get dates or pomegranate specifically, but I don’t think a beer at 1.045 could have that nose without them.

Appearance – The brown color of a brown ale, with rich red highlights. Clear. Pours with a voluminous tan head that sinks over a couple minutes receding to a ring.

Taste – The fruits add an rich, dark, authentic flavor that I usually associate with Belgian dubbels and oud bruins. A combination of date and CaraMunich? Slight cherry or plum, some from the house culture. Mild tartness and funk even after all of this time between the fermentor and bottle. Finishes with a bright fruitiness I take to be the pomegranate.

Mouthfeel – Rounded, firm carbonation at first but it seems to leave the beer quickly.

Drinkability & Notes – Drinks like a bigger beer than it is, in a good way. Reminds me of a less-sour, less-cherry version of Russian River Supplication. Not a wow beer, but it works. The date and pomegranate play supporting roles that could have been taking by candi syrup or another adjunct. My house culture did well, staying restrained despite the age compared to its usual duty.

Changes for Next Time – I can't think of much to change on this beer, maybe pull back on the IBUs to allow a little more lactic acid production from the bacteria. Although the strain in the blend seems to be getting more hop-tolerant with time.

Recipe

Batch Size: 12.00 gal
SRM: 21.7
IBU: 14.2
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.002
ABV: 5.6%
Final pH: 3.91
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78%
Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
38.1% - 7.00 lbs. Weyermann Floor-Malted Bohemian Pilsner
38.1% - 7.00 lbs. Weyermann Floor-Malted Bohemian Dark
5.4% - 1.00 lbs. Briess Caramel Munich
5.4% - 1.00 lbs. Weyermann Carafa II
8.2% - 1.50 lbs. Alwadi Date Syrup
4.8% - .875 lbs. Alwadi Pomegranate Molasses

Hops
-------
1.00 oz. Mandarina Bavaria (Pellet, 6.50% AA) @ 75 min.
2.25 oz. Mandarina Bavaria (Pellet, 6.50% AA) @ 0 min.

Extras
---------
5 g Calcium Chloride @ mash
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 5 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 5 min.

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
70
70
50
20
10
90

Yeast
-------
Mad Fermentationist House Saison Blend

Mash Schedule
-------------------
Sacch Rest 45 min @ 154F

Notes
---------
Brewed 3/12/16 with Alex

16 gallons filtered DC tap water. 5 g of CaCl.

Heated to 165 slowly over 15 minutes. No sparge.

Date syrup added at the start of the boil, pomegranate molasses added at the end. Chilled to 65F. Shook to aerate. Pitched decanted House Saison culture.

1/2/17 Bottled 5 gallons with 4 oz of table sugar and Champagne yeast.

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