Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Temptation Clone

Just pulled a sample from a clone of Russian River's Temptation that I mentioned in my post about Vinnie's bugged wood chips, which I was luck enough to get my hands on. This was a hard clone recipe more for the abundance of information rather than the lack of it. I have read from various reliable sources that Temptation is just pale malt, pils and wheat malt, and pils and unmalted wheat, so either Vinnie has changed the recipe or a some people/books/magazines are wrong. Honestly though I don't think the malt bill is as important as the microbe selection and the oak aging.

The beer is reputed to have only Brettanomyces in the secondary, but I thought it was too sour for that and being in Russian River's barrel room with all those other mega-funky brews and being topped off with Sanctification (Brett/Lacto) I figured some lactic acid bacteria made its way in there. Looks like I was right as a recent issue of BYO, after I brewed this, confirmed that Vinnie suggests adding lacto and pedio in place of what makes its way into the beer and the blending he does with Beatification at bottling.

The beer is doing well now, but I think there was not enough residual sugar for the microbes to really get rolling. If I were to brew this again I would up the mash temperature to 154 from 151 so the gravity after primary would be closer to 1.015 than the 1.010 that we got.

I was lucky to brew it with my friend Seth who worked with wine for the University of Maryland and so had the knowledge to pick the right chardonnay and treat the oak with it.

This one won't be bottled for a few months so it will be awhile before I post a full tasting, but already it has a light tartness and a good contribution from the chardonnay and the oak. I will continue to taste this periodically to ensure that the oak does not become overbearing, something that can easily ruin a beer.

Russian River Temptation Clone

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.00
Anticipated OG: 1.061 Plato: 14.99
Anticipated SRM: 4.0
Anticipated IBU: 25.7
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

10.00 lbs. French Pils
2.00 lbs. Flaked Soft White Wheat

1.00 oz. Sterling @ 75 min.
0.50 oz. Styrian Goldings @ 40 min.
0.25 oz. Styrian Goldings @ 20 min.

1.25 Oz Medium Toast French Oak Beans

WYeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity

Water Profile
Profile: Pale, Low Hop

Calcium(Ca): 65.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 7.5 ppm
Sodium(Na): 15.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 50.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 96.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 23.0 ppm
pH: 8.25

Mash Schedule
60 minutes @ 151

10/31/07 Made a funky starter. 4 oz DME 8 oz of water and 8 oz of rye mild added at flameout to give alcohol for a bit of protection. Added another 10 oz of water the next day because I thought the gravity was too high. After a few days there was a good fermentation. Took about another 10 days to start seeing bits of pellicle start to form, after that I put an airlock on.

Brewed 11/17/07 with Seth

Used 5 gallons of filtered DC Tap water, diluted with 4 gallons of distilled to cut the bicarbonate. Added 5 grams of CaCl and 1 of epsom salt. Fly sparged with 180 ish degree water.

Collected 7.25 gallons of 1.048 wort. Good strong uncovered boil. Got a bit more than 5 gallons, almost right on the target OG of 1.062. Added about 1/3 of the slurry left over from the hoppy tripel and a cup of the funky starter. Gave it a shake and 45 seconds of pure O2.

11/15/07 Harvested yeast from the Hoppy Tripel, added it to some starter wort with a bit of yeast nutrient and plenty of O2.

11/18/07 Added a blowoff tube, rapid fermentation and krausen nearly at the top.

Solid Blowoff for 24 hours, very rapid fermentation at ambient temp in the low 70s.

11/23/07 Seems like fermentation is almost done, krausen is falling.

11/25/07 Down to around 1.010, considerably lower than the expected 1.015.

12/08/07 Racked to secondary (5 g better bottle) with 1 oz of oak that Seth soaked in a change of Chardonnay. The second dose of chardonnay also went in with the oak, probably 1/4 cup.

1/21/07 Down to 1.006, very clear with a light funky note, similar to a realatively fresh Orval.

2/27/08 Down to 1.004, still very clear, the oak and wine are begginng to get more assertive. A low sourness is developing as well but not much more Brett character than a month ago. Despite the low gravity it still has a nice mild sweetness.

5/7/08 Bottled with 4 oz of table sugar. Gravity is still about 1.004, so I don't think there is much chance of overcarbonation. The Brett aroma is getting to where I wanted it to be and the oak adds a good complexity.

5/10/08 Passed off the slurry from this batch to a brewer at Old Dominion, hopefully it will result in something fun by next winter.

7/31/08 First Tasting

4/6/11 Final Tasting, solid beer, but still not as sour.  Next time mash hotter and adding more bugs at the start of fermentation
Per Wild Brews the original is fermented with WL510 @ 72 degrees for 5 days, then cut loose. Then is fined and stored for 3 weeks at 32 before barrel aging.

Looking for 1.015 (76% AA) after primary and 1.006 (90% AA) after secondary.

Commercial Description:
Is it beer, or is it wine? "Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak" sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is a Blonde Ale Fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces. The "Bret" gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation--a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.

Single Temp Infusion @ 151 per Vinnie's NHC Speech

Drew Beechum was told by Vinnie that there was no wheat of any kind in this one.

From B Y O:
OG 1.064
FG 1.012 into barrel
IBU 28

ABV 6.7%
12 lbs 6 oz Pale 2-row or Pils
10 oz Wheat malt
Mash at 154

.76 oz Styrian
Goldings 90 min
.56 oz Sterling 30 min
.56 oz Sterling 0 min

Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale

Wyeast 5112 Brett B
Wyeast 5335 Lacto
Wyeast 5733 Pedio
Boil 90 min.

Add 1 pint Brett B starter, .5 pint Lacto, and .5 pint Pedio starter.

Age 12-15 months

3 oz French Oak, Medium Toast soaked in Chardonnay added to secondary.

The lacto and pedio additon take the place of blending Beatification to Temptation post barrel aging to bring up the acidity per Vinnie.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cider 2007

Not my best effort, but here is the recipe and tasting notes for this fall's batch of hard cider.

Despite the failings of the final product, it did show the apparent limit of the alcohol tolerance of Fleishman's bread yeast, a shocking 8.3%


Appearance – Honey yellow with a slight haze. When I first tappped the mini-keg a few hours ago it put up a momentary white head, but now it appears almost still.

Smell – Big apple nose with a strong whiff of alcohol. The alcohol has a bit of a floral character, similar to that of a mead. No sign of the spices from the apple butter. A pretty good nose overall for a big cider.

Taste – Ultra dry, with a bit of tannic astringency. There is some apple there as well, but it doesn't have enough sweetness to back it up. There is some acidity and alcohol presence as well. The lack of sweetness just throws the balance off of all the other components making them seem out of balance. The bread yeast seems to have been relatively neutral again.

Mouthfeel – Very thin, with only mild carbonation. It needs more of one or the other, as it is I think its too watery.

Drinkability & Notes – I should have back sweetened with apple juice concentrate and left it still. Many people at my homebrew club seemed to enjoy this one, but it just isn't what I am looking for in a cider. On the plus side the mini-keg seemed to work very well, I'll be putting beers into it on a regular basis from now on.

Apple Cider 2007

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 2.10
Anticipated OG: 1.063
Anticipated SRM: 12.8
Anticipated IBU: 0.0

2.0 gal Cider
0.50 lbs. Muscovodo
0.44 lbs. Apple Butter

0.50 Tsp Yeast Nutrient

Generic Bread Yeast

Brewed 10/14/07 by myself

Dissolved muscovado in 1/2 cup of filtered water, added the apple butter when the mixture reached a boil. Mixed this slurry with 2 gallons of good fresh cider from a local farm stand. Added 2 grams of Fleishman's Dried highly active bread yeast and placed in a 65 degree freezer.

Mild fermentation by 18 hours, thin krausen.

10/21/07 Gravity down to 1.004 (7.8% ABV), fermentation seemed to last about 5 days.

10/28/07 Bottled with 1.25 oz of corn sugar. Gravity down to a shocking .996 (8.3% ABV)

After about 2 weeks in the bottle a lot of sediment dropped in each bottle.

After a few months in the bottles I got sick of dealing with the sediment and the lack of carbonation, so I dumped all of the bottles into a 5L mini-keg with a bit of sugar and some lager yeast. Sadly, I knocked the pressure pin into the keg and ended up having to dump the cider out to get the pin back, probably causing massing oxidation in the process.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Have you had an unintentionally "infected" beer?

Yes, and have never brewed an intentionally sour beer
16 (21%)
Yes, and have brewed an intentionally sour beer
20 (27%)
No, and have never brewed an intentionally sour beer
28 (37%)
No, and have brewed an intentionally sour beer
9 (12%)
Never brewed beer
1 (1%)

I haven't done studied statistics in a couple years, but that looks like a no questions asked positive correlation to me. Out of the people who have brewed a sour beer 69% have had an infection, while it has only happened to 36% of people who have not brewed a sour beer.

Granted this is probably a correlation that is partly based on the fact that people who have brewed sour beers probably have been brewing longer and thus have had more chances for infections... but I doubt that is enough to explain nearly twice the percentage of people reporting an infection.

Just let this being a warning that you do have to take some extra precautions if you want to bring, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, or Pediococcus into contact with your equipment. It also shows why so many pro-brewers don't brew sour beers, even if they (secretly) want to.

I have had one unintentional funky beer, but since then I have tightened up my process and have been running a clean ship. The only item I have segregated is my post-boil tubing, everything else gets used for both funky and clean beers (I just don't have the room to do otherwise in a small apartment). In my general cleaning/sanitation routine I use an extended generic OxiClean and hot water soak to get the "gunk" off a used piece of equipment, then I soak it in Star San before storing it. I then re-sanitize before the next use, this way everything gets sanitized twice in between every use, even if the previous beer was clean. If you keep two sets of all your post-boil equipment you might not need to be this diligent, but it wouldn't hurt as even a significant number of "clean" brewers have had unwelcome guests in their beer.

If anyone wants to add a comment with their preferred cleaning routine feel free, and make sure to include how effective it has been.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Berliner Weiss

I've got another sour beer going, a Berliner Weiss. Wyeast has a limited edition Berliner Weiss blend out from January until March 2008. After the great results I got from the Roeselare Blend (FYI its supposed to be re-released this April) in my Flanders Red I decided to give this one a try. 3191 Berliner Weiss is a mix of lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, and a "special" Brett strain as well. The Brett is rumored to come from a Berliner Weiss brewery that has recently gone bankrupt, not sure what brewery or how the Brett strain compares to the other commercially available strains, but how could I resist?

The hops and alcohol are kept low to keep the sensitive lacto happy and putting out acid, unlike Pediococcus lacto will not do an effective job souring a beer after primary fermentation. Even in optimal conditions, lacto will be inhibited by its own acids at only 50% the level that pedio can live in (meaning that lacto on its own will never make a beer as sour as a Lambic).

The kink in my recipe was to add the hops to the mash and preform a decoction to get from the protein rest to the saccharification rest. At least that was the plan, but my decoction didn't raise the temperature enough so I had to resort to adding more hot water. After the sparge I heated the wort until it just barely came to a boil, then chilled it and pitched the blend. Without a boil remember that your efficiency will take a tumble because you can't collect extra wort to concentrate down in the boil.

The number of IBUs mash hops are purported give a beer varies widely between the different hop utilization formulas, but I doubt any accurately account for mash hops that go through a decoction, but no wort boil. It is safe to say that this beer is low in bitterness, 4 or 5 IBUs wouldn't surprise me.

So far I am underwhelmed by the sourness of the beer which should be bright and firmly acidic. I have my doubts about the blend, many people suggest adding the lacto a day or so before the Saccharomyces because the lacto likes simple sugars (which Saccharomyces also likes to eat first) and low alcohol, but this blend is so easy (and cheap compared to buying multiple strains) that it was hard to resit.

The picture to the right is a time lapse, one photo taken every 12 hours for the first 7 days of fermentation (starting 12 hours after I pitched). Nothing particularly exciting, but you can see the krasusen grow, stay in high krausen, then begin to fall.

It will be a few months before this beer is finished, but i thought I would put my recipe and notes up since the yeast/bacteria blend is only available for another 6 weeks or so.

No -Boil Berliner Weiss

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 3.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 5.00
Anticipated OG: 1.032
Anticipated SRM: 2.4
Anticipated IBU: 0.5 (No idea how accurate this is)
Brewhouse Efficiency: 59 %
Wort Boil Time: 1 Minutes

3.50 lbs. Pilsener
1.50 lbs. Wheat Malt

0.50 oz. Willamette

WYeast 3191 Berliner-Weisse

Water Profile
Profile: Pale, Low Hop

Calcium(Ca): 65.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 7.5 ppm
Sodium(Na): 15.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 50.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 96.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 23.0 ppm

pH: 8.25

Mash Schedule
10 min @ 123 Infuse
10 min @ 136 Decoc (Thick 2 qrts)
45 min @ 146 Infuse
20 min @ 154 Infuse

Brewed 1/19/08 with James

Water was 50/50 DC Tap and Distilled water

Added hops to the mash right after dough in. Both malts were from Weyermann.

Pulled a thick decoction 5 minutes after the protein rest started. Brought up to a boil in 10 minutes, then held there for about 12 more.

Batch sparged to collect about 3.5 gallons. Brought to a boil, skimmed, then immediately chilled down to 70. Shook to aerate then pitched a pack of the Berliner Weisse blend, and left it at 70ish

Decent Krausen by 12 hours.

1/27/08 Krausen mostly down, the gravity is down to 1.005. Not much sourness.

1/29/08 Transfered to 3 gallon glass secondary, got just about 3 gallons.

2/11/08 Pulled a sample, gravity still reads 1.005. Still light on the lactic, but increased from last time. Some odd fruitiness as well, hopefully this one will improve with some age.

3/12/08 Finally getting more sourness, another few months and it should be ready to go.

4/16/08 Seems to be getting more sour, pH paper reads below 4.0 (which really isn't that low for a sour beer).

4/19/08 Bottled with 3.5 oz of table sugar. Aiming for around 3.2 volumes of CO2, I'd go higher but I'm concerned about the bottles handling it. The airlock went dry at some point recently, it had water a week previously.

4/25/08 Already pretty good carbonation.

5/10/08 Awarded first in its category at the 2008 Spirit of Free Beer.

5/12/08 Tasted as part of the Alternative Hopping Basic Brewing Radio Episode.

5/27/08 First Tasting, plain, with commercial raspberry, woodruff, and homemade blueberry syrup

8/24/08 Second Tasting, just plain.

7/8/09 Second Berliner Weiss Brew

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mo' Betta Bretta Clone #2 - Tasting

I could have sworn I had done a tasting of my second attempt at Mo Betta Bretta, but it appears I haven't. It was on the Offbeat Yeast Basic Brewing Radio Podcast (a new episode is in the works).

This beer has been bottled for 7 months, but it seems to still be developing nicely.

– Voluminous meringue-like head. The beer has visible carbonation coursing through its burnt orange hazy body. Great lacing and retention, the Carafoam really did its job on this one.

– Strong apple, not green apple like actylaldehyde, more like apple cider. A bit of straight up funk as it warms. It also has a bit of tropical aroma, I have heard the original Mo Betta Bretta described as having a pineapple aroma, but I would say this is more generically fruity.

– Light tartness (thanks to the acid malt), with a bready malt backbone. There is some cherry funk as well, but it is very smooth. No bitterness, and rather dry, so it has good balance. Not particularly complex, and with a hint of clean ethanol in the finish. An example of how clean a 100% Brett beer can be when the fermentation temperature is kept down

– Prickly carbonation, with a medium-thin body. I like the stronger carbonation on this one, more than the first version.

Drinkability & Notes
– Solid drinkability, much less objectionable funk than my first attempt when it was this young. I think the carbonation has increased a bit, but it still very appropriate for a Belgian-y beer.