Monday, July 16, 2012

Citrusy (Hopped) American Wheat Rebrew

With all of the recipe formulation work I’ve been doing for the impending opening of Modern Times, I may sound like I'm repeating myself more often than usual. In the past I rarely brewed the same style twice in one year, let alone one month. However, the second batches of both the Dank Amber IPA and Coffee Oatmeal Stout are pretty close to the vision that Jacob and I have for these beers. In some ways it makes me regret that I’ve never concentrated my efforts into dialing in recipes before. However, I think the range of ingredients and techniques that I’ve used over the last seven years has given me the tools to make quick work of these adjustments.

There is only so close that we will be able to get to the target for any of these beers before we know exactly what we will and won’t be capable of in terms of process and ingredients commercially. Jacob is selecting a brewing systems at the moment. Most of the manufacturers indicate that takes about six months from order to delivery. Hop contracts for pretty much every variety are still available for the 2013 harvest, but some suppliers are asking for three-year deals. A commitment like that would be close to six figures, just for the scarcer varieties we want. Hard to pull the trigger on something like that based on just a couple homebrew test batches, especially because we’d rather let consumers decide what is good enough to sell year-round.

Hoppy wheat 48 hours into fermentation.This re-brewed Hoppy American Wheat didn’t fall far from the first batch. I replaced the Honey and CaraMunich malts from the original with CaraVienna to bring a more singular light-caramel flavor. The primary hops are the same (Citra and Amarillo), but I dropped the Calypso dry hop because I didn’t love the ripe-pear aromatics it contributed. I'm also thinking of doing a short/warm dry hopping (as opposed to a long/cold keg hopping) to keep the hop aromatics as bright as possible. Especially because adding dry hops to a packaged beer on the commercial scale isn't a viable option any place other than the tasting room.

This batch was the second using the hop-back and plate chiller. I’ve read several threads full of complaints about a lack of flow through HopRockets. Based on that advice I've been opening the valve from the pump slowly, allowing the system to gradually fill over a couple minutes to avoid compacting the hops against the top screen. So far my only issue with my configuration has been the lack of a quick-disconnect after the pump, which makes draining the residual half gallon of wort from the system a hassle once the kettle is empty.

In the next few weeks I’m brewing several test batches for new recipes. I'll be pitching the yeast cake from the wheat into a spicy-hopped red-rye IPA, and a toasty pale ale hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe, and Columbus (a smaller variant of one of my favorite batches of all time). In August I’ll brew a light, summer saison with spelt and a smidgen of corn, which I’m thinking of splitting between White Lab’s Saison II and the new Saison III. Finally I’ll be brewing a hoppy k├Âlsch, sort of a quick version of a Czech Pils, a more aromatic version of my German Bitter from a few years ago.

Fortunate Islands #2

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.00
Anticipated OG: 1.040
Anticipated SRM: 4.5
Anticipated IBU: 46.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

55.6% - 5.00 lbs. German Wheat Malt
38.9% - 3.50 lbs. American Pale "2-row"
5.6% - 0.50 lbs. CaraVienna

5 ml HopShot (Extract) @ 45 min.
1.25 oz. Citra  (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Citra  (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Hop-Back
1.00 oz. Amarillo  (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Hop-Back
2.00 oz. Citra  (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Amarillo  (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Dry Hop

0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

White Labs WLP001 California Ale

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, Hoppy

Calcium(Ca): 103.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 4.4 ppm
Sodium(Na): 10.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 174.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 57.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 83.0 ppm

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 153 F

7/13/12 Made a .6 L starter with the tube of 001 on my stir plate.

7/14/12 Brewed with Scott and Bill

Filtered tap water cut with 4 gallons of distilled. 3.5 g of CaCl, and 7 g of gypsum split between the mash and batch sparge. Sparged with 175 F water.

Collected 7.25 gallons of 1.035 wot.

Despite using 15 lbs of ice for the pre-chiller, the combined temperature was 75 at knock-out. Put into cool room for four hours at 66 F to get down to 70 F where I pitched the starter. Shook 60 seconds to aerate.

Gravity was a bit short of what I expected post-boil despite being on target pre-boil. Maybe just a misreading on one other other?

Good fermentation by the next morning.

 7/22/12 Boosted temperature to 75 F to ensure a complete fermentation.

7/25/12 Returned to 66 F, and added bagged dry hops to the primary fermentor for a short/cellar dry hop. FG 1.009 (78% AA).

728/12 Racked into a flushed keg. About 1/3 of the hop bag was floating above the surface of the wort.

8/16/12  Tasting notes, turned out really well. Soft citrusy hops, nice doughy wheat character. Just about there.

10/26/12 Brewed a third iteration of this recipe.


Brian said...

It's been fun reading the thought process you've been going through in formulating recipes for a commercial operation. Your comments on long hop contracts and repitching your yeast cake got me thinking: have you been thinking about ingredient reuse from outset? Or is that something you will refine once you have recipes you are happy with? thanks, Brian

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Our initial goal with these test batches has been to make the best beer possible, without restrictions. Once we get there then we'll deal with adjusting the yeast/malts to be the easiest to deal with commercially without losing too much. At the moment the variety of base malts and stains isn't sustainable. The next batch of the Coffee Oatmeal Stout will swap American Pale for the Maris Otter, and 001/1056 for the English yeast.

Lowell Brewing Co. said...

Have you had a chance to taste this one yet?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Still just 9 days old, so not yet. Planning to dry hop later tonight an keg this weekend since I need the yeast for the pale ale I'm brewing Saturday.

mattspent said...

I have been using a lot of citra lately. your dry hopping schedule looks a lot like the kern brewing citra dipa from can you brew it which i was intrigued by also.

Helgibelgi said...

I'm planning something similar to this one. My plan is to add lemon-zest (alot!) in the last 5 minutes of the boil. Also, I'm probably going for late hops only, no 60 minute addition. I was curious to get your opinion on the lemon-zest addition, do you think it's a good idea for this beer?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

While I was out at Modern Times last summer, we did a version of this beer (Fortunate Islands) with citrus zest. By weight it was mostly grapefruit added to the keg, but the small amount of lemon zest really came through. Certainly a fun combination, but I think more than one or two lemons worth of zest could be overpowering.