Monday, November 30, 2015

Design a Beer Recipe in 10 Steps

Too many homebrewers are overwhelmed by recipe design and as a result stick to kits. While kits can produce solid beers, writing your own recipe means you can tailor the beer to your tastes exactly. Many brewers just don't know where to start, how to select ingredients, and the way everything fits together. This post isn't about ingredients or process (although I'll mention both), each of my recipe posts gives some insight into why I selected particular malts, hops, yeast, and techniques. This is a meta-post about the process I go through each time I write a recipe.

So here are the 10 steps I go through for every batch I brew.

1. Select a Target

Your goal for a batch could be to recreate Russian River Pliny the Younger, brew an award-winning Berliner weisse, learn the flavor profile of various sugars, pack an IPA into a 2.5% ABV package, or concoct a saison inspired by New Zealand. Be careful not to mix goals, pick one priority and stick to it! Drinking similar commercial beers can be especially helpful in formulating your target profile.

Start by identifying those things that you will actually perceive. Be as specific as you can be in terms of appearance, flavor, aroma, balance, and mouthfeel. How much bitterness, sweetness, banana, clove, bready, roasty, citrus, alcohol warmth, carbonation etc. do you want? Then translate those things into analytic targets that you can build a recipe around: ABV, OG, FG, SRMs, IBUs, and final pH (thankfully many craft breweries provide their targets, as do the BJCP Guidelines). While it is helpful to understand how to calculate each of these numbers by hand, I use ProMash for accuracy and convenience.

Parameters can only get you so close though, a German Pilsner and a saison can look nearly identical on paper, as can a schwarzbier and English porter! Researching flavor contributions is essential at this stage. There are informative books, magazine articles, blog posts, forum threads, podcasts etc. covering almost every style, brewery, and flavor.

The best brewers are usually those that are brewing-knowledge sponges, taking the best ideas and refining and combining them into something that works for their palate and system. I'm always amazed to read things like: "I don't need a book to brew sour beer well." I often read and listen to something even tangentially brewing related in the hopes of gleaning some new tidbit or technique. Sure I can brew most styles well, but I'm always looking for ways to improve!

There is no shame in starting with a recipe someone else has perfected and adjusting to your tastes/system! Every once in a while it is even healthy to brew a reputable recipe that doesn’t look like one you’d design; it is easy to get stuck doing things a certain way out of habit, taking cues from someone else breaks you out of that rut!

2. Identify Constraints

As homebrewers, we usually have more freedom than commercial brewers in terms of ingredient selection. We can use any malt, yeast, and hop available without compromise. However, many homebrewers are constrained in other ways: fermentation temperature, water profile, equipment, or timing. Sometimes the correct answer is that the target isn’t achievable given the constraints (e.g., an imperial stout in three weeks, a saison with primary fermentation at 55°F). If you don't have time to make a yeast starter, consider dried yeast (with its higher cell count) a preference. Extract with steeping grains is a constraint as well because it limits both fermentability and grain choices.

Even if you receive the exact recipe from a brewery, hitting the target may require considerably more than simply scaling down their batch size to match yours. Adjust the system efficiency, tweak the hops to account for their greater bitterness extraction (especially from whirlpool), adjust the fermentation temperature to account for the differences in pressure and geometry, and decide how to replace a bourbon barrel, Schaerbeek cherries, or house ale yeast. Converting a recipe from a fellow homebrewer is a bit easier, but requires some similar considerations.

3. Determine Batch Size

Batch size isn’t a single number. Start with how much beer you want going into kegs or bottles and work backwards from there. You’ll need to know your system to accurately predict how much water to start with in order to produce the desired volume of beer. Work in a bit of buffer if you can so you don't need to collect/transfer every drop of liquid.

Use different volumes for different (tasks):
Volume in the bottling bucket or keg (priming sugar)
+ Losses to blow-off, trub, and fermentor dead space =
Volume in fermentor (pitching rate)
+ Losses to hop absorption, break, and kettle dead space =
Volume in kettle at end of boil (IBUs)
+ Losses to boil-off (evaporation) =
Volume in kettle at start of boil (mash efficiency, amount of grain)
+ Losses to grain absorption and mash tun dead space =
Combined mash/sparge water

While you can project targets for all of these volumes, brewing consistent beer requires adjusting as you measure what they actually turn out to be. If you planned the batch to yield five gallons but end up with 4.75 gallons in the bottling bucket, only add enough priming sugar for 4.75 gallons!

4. Deal with Specialty Ingredients

While the base beer is hugely important no matter what weird ingredients you add, I always consider specialty ingredients first (although in an ideal world, you would dial in the base beer before adding less traditional flavorings or fermentables). If there aren’t going to be fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, wood, spirits etc. skip to step #5.

As a general rule, the more I want to taste the “true” flavor of the ingredient the later in the process I add it. If the flavoring doesn't contain significant fermentables (e.g., coffee, citrus zest) I steep it in the ready-to-package beer for a day or two right before kegging or bottling. Infusing directly into the finished beer allows alcohol and water to work together to extract most important aromatics. Exposure to heat and fermentation dull distinct aromatics, giving a more “integrated” character that works well for Belgian-style subtlety. I’d spice a wit at the end of the boil, while I'd dose a pumpkin ale with a spice tea in the bottling bucket.

This is another important chance for research, although this time cookbooks and cocktail recipes are especially helpful. Bloom cocoa powder in hot water, toast chili peppers in a dry pan, and use citrus zest without the pith. The traditional methods used by brewers may not be ideal, so don't limit yourself to them!

With experimental ingredients, a more controlled method is preferred. Spice teas, tinctures (alcohol extracts), blending, slow additions to taste etc. all reduce the risk of an imbalanced beer compared to guessing with an early addition. If you will be aging the beer, the longer you can wait before flavoring, the fresher those flavors will be when the beer is ready to drink.

5. Select Fermentables

The target OG (from step #1), your desired pre-boil volume (from step #3), and projected mash efficiency for your system for similar gravity beers (assume that the lower the total water-to-grain ratio is the lower the mash efficiency will be) are the three essential factors for determining the amount of fermentables required.

If you are adding sugar, determine the amount as a percentage of the gravity it provides (rather than the percentage of the total weight of fermentables). To get a 15% contribution of sucrose by gravity a brewer who achieves 80% mash efficiency would add 10.4% table sugar by weight while to a brewer who hits 60% efficiency would do the same with 8% table sugar. Both would use the same weight of sugar, the percentage changes because the brewer with higher efficiency uses less malt.

You should also consider the timing of aromatic sugars. Honey is best saved for after aroma-scrubbing primary fermentation. All sugars added to beers stronger than 10% ABV are also best withheld until after fermentation peaks to reduce the initial osmotic pressure on the yeast. For pure sugars in moderate gravity beers, add to the kettle as the wort runs in.

Next calculate the total amount of grain needed to reach the target original gravity. Then determine the type and amount of specialty malts. Do this based on weight, rather than a percentage of the grain bill. Lower gravity beers tend to have a higher percentage of specialty malts and adjuncts than stronger beers because they require less base malt. The amount of pale malt in a barleywine provides plenty of maltiness, body, color etc. often without much assistance, while a low alcohol beer can taste thin and bland without some toasted, roasted, or caramelized malts. 15-20% caramel malt in a 1.040 pale ale might be perfect, but the same weight might only account for 5% of the grain in a barleywine. Although I do maintain the grain percentages when scaling for changes in efficiency or volume.

Selecting sugars and malts is one of many areas where your knowledge and research will be key. Brewing and tasting beers brewed with just one-or-two malts, chewing on malts, and reading up on traditional combinations all help. Be specific in your choices and record keeping, not all roasted barley or crystal 60 is created equal; different maltsters' products make unique contributions to the wort.

The newer you are to a style, the simpler the grain bill should be. Too many different malts combined without skill will result in a blander beer all else being equal. While a specific dark malt may lean more coffee, chocolate, or charred, three randomly selected and mixed together in equal parts will taste “brown,” that is to say indistinctly roasty. There are complex grain bills that produce delicious beers, but this type of formulation takes considerable skill and repeated brewing.

With the sugar and specialty malts determined, the only thing left is base malt. Select one that supports the malt flavors, and that contains enough enzymatic power to convert the adjuncts and specialty malts (as well as its own starches) given the percentage of the grain bill. While I love Maris Otter and Munich in dark beers, alone they may not have enough enzymatic power to convert half their own weight in unmalted grain and specialty malts (so you might add in a few pounds of a paler malt higher on the Lintner scale). In some cases the last consideration is a small addition of dehusked roasted malt for color adjustment.

When you are starting out, a simple rule is to source your malts from the country that inspired the recipe. As you gain experience though, you’ll likely think of malts in terms of the flavors they contribute. Some of my favorite less traditional combinations are: Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal in bocks, American pale malt in quads, and German CaraVienna in hoppy American pale ales.

6. Choose the Hop Bill

Start with flame-out (hop-stand) addition and work outwards. Flame-out hops impart some bitterness and aromatics, but their main contribution is a wonderful saturated hop flavor. Dry hopping primarily provides aromatics and comes across one-dimensional without a late hot-side addition (the one exception would be a dry-hopped sour beer), so I almost always pair it with flame-out hops. If I want a softer hop character, I’ll make a 5-15 minute addition the final hops. For hoppy beers with a large hop-stand and dry hop, I don’t find late-boil hops to be beneficial (or at least efficient). By default I usually use the same ratio of hops for all flavor/aroma additions (although I've had good results venturing away from that as well).

I rarely use more than three hop varieties in total between the late-boil and dry hop additions. As with specialty malts, without great skill, adding too many hop varieties produce a generic “green” hoppiness rather than layers of complexity.

The final hop addition to calculate is the bittering addition, enough to hit the target IBUs. This can be a relatively generic moderate-to-high alpha acid variety, no worries about matching the late-boil additions. In most cases I bitter with a 60 minute addition, but a one slightly before or after 60 minutes, or  a first wort addition can work as well. In many beers, especially those with other strong flavors, this is my only hop addition.

7. Plan the Fermentation

Now that we’ve mostly figured out what the wort will be, we need to plan the transformation into beer. This means selecting a yeast strain, pitching rate, and fermentation temperature. Luckily we are now overwhelmed by yeast-strain choice. Fifteen years ago there were really only a couple labs producing liquid yeast for homebrewers, not only have they doubled the strains they produce, but 10 new labs have opened, and dry yeast quality/variety has also greatly improved!

You’ll need to ensure that the alcohol tolerance of the strain you select is above your target ABV from step #1. The strain's fermentation temperature range needs to fall within the range you have available as well. Finally (and most importantly) the flavors produced must match your goals for yeast character. Consider the attenuation, but know that you can tweak that with the mash profile.

Reading the descriptions and reviews for commercial yeast can be helpful, but better to taste beers fermented with the strain to evaluate the results for yourself! Homebrew is especially helpful for this as it allows you to ask the brewer specific questions about pitching rate, temperature, aeration, and timing.

It is helpful to select a strain used in a beer you enjoy and ferment several batches with it to form a relationship. Does it stall out if you don’t raise the temperature over 70°F to finish? Does it go all bubblegum if you don’t pitch enough cells? Does attenuation pause and then resume when it hits 1.020? Does it benefit from post-fermentation fining?

This is also a good time to think about how much carbonation you want. Don't figure out the priming sugar at this stage, but select a target volumes of carbon dioxide based on style and preference. Also decide if extended aging, high alcohol, high flocculation, fining, or lagering will mean reyeasting is required.

8. Calculate the Water Profile

Repeat after me, "Don’t pay attention to water profiles from cities other than your own!" Brewers everywhere treat their water, so mimicking their source water without their adjustments has a good chance of lowering the quality of your beer. Two of my worst batches were brewed with by-the-book water profiles from Burton-on-Trent and Westvleteren.

It is far more effective to treat your water with the specific recipe and a goal in mind. It is good to have at least 50 PPM of calcium for all styles to ensure good starch conversion, break formation, and yeast health. For pale beers, I prefer the carbonate and sodium to be as low as possible. This is the reason I do not normally post my target water profile along with each recipe, I don’t consider it to be ideal. For pale/hoppy beers, my carbonate ends up around 50 PPM, but I don’t want anyone adding more carbonate to their IPAs if their water has less than that. I’m not willing to buy a reverse osmosis system or 20 gallons of distilled water each time I brew, but I’ll often cut my carbon-filtered tap water 50% with distilled to bring the carbonate down from 100 PPM average.

Extract includes the minerals from the water used to produce it. As a result low-mineral water is ideal for these beers.

The flavor ions (sulfate, chloride, and sodium) don’t influence brewing or fermentation, so they can be dosed in at any point, including to taste at packaging. Sulfate adds dryness and increased bitterness perception, chloride increases the fullness of the body and roundness of the flavor, sodium enhances malty-sweetness (but can clash with high sulfate). Don’t worry about being hyper-precise with your targets because the malt contributes the same minerals, and the human palate isn’t precise enough to taste differences of a few parts per million anyway.

You may have a different water profiles for the mash and sparge (in general sparge water should be softer and more acidic than mash water).

You can estimate acid additions (using Bru’n Water or similar), but it is always best to take a pH reading and add only as much as is needed to hit your target. Similarly, if you think you'll need to add carbonate to raise the pH, calculate the amount of baking soda or slaked lime required, but wait to add it until a reading indicates it is needed. I aim for a slightly lower pH for pale beers than I do for dark beers (including mash, boil, and finished beer). Measured at room temperature the medians for me are 5.4 for the mash, 5.2 for the end of the boil, and 4.4 for the beer at packaging.

I'll include yeast nutrient and kettle finings in this step as well. Yeast nutrient generally isn't required, but one with trace minerals is inexpensive insurance (especially if you use a large amount of distilled or RO water). Similarly kettle finings like Irish moss and Whirlfloc are not essential, but combined with whirlpooling/settling they help to leave more break behind in the kettle. The result is more room in the fermentor for beer, and less protein mixed into the yeast for harvesting. I add 1/2 tsp of Wyeast nutrient and 1/2 Whirloc tablet per five gallons with five minutes remaining in the boil for almost all batches.

9. Determine the Mash Profile

The mash rest temperatures are the last brew day lever to pull. Adjustments here allow you to increase or decrease the attenuation of the selected yeast strain. One of the major drawbacks of extract brewing is that you cede this decision to the extract manufacturer.

My rule of thumb is that mashing base malt at 152°F will give about the yeast’s average stated attenuation, raising by 1°F decreases apparent attenuation by about 1%, and lowering by 1°F increases the attenuation by about 1%. This isn’t foolproof, and only applies from 144°F to 160°F, but is a good enough ballpark. Only do this calculation based on the extract obtained from the mash (assume that pure sugars like sucrose/dextrose will not raise the FG, and unfermentable sugars like lactose will add their entire contribution to the FG – most other sugars will be somewhere between).

Adding crystal malt will slightly lower attenuation, but not by as much as many brewers assume. Mashed gelatinized starchy adjuncts (e.g., flaked, torrefied, or pre-boiled raw grains) don’t have a huge impact on fermentablity as their starches are exposed to the same enzymes at work on the starches from the malt itself.

Most malts commonly available do not benefit from a step mash, but as you dial in a recipe in some cases you may want to experiment with a protein, ferulic, beta-glucan, or multiple saccharification rests. Decoction mashes may give some benefit at the margins, but several experiments over the years have suggested that their contributions are not apparent to the average palate.

10. Brew, Taste, and Rebrew

Always do a final review of all of your decisions to make sure the recipe makes sense as a whole before sourcing your ingredients.

Despite your best efforts, in most cases not everything will go to plan. Don’t hesitate to adjust, augment, or reevaluate as the process unfolds. For example, if your mash efficiency is higher than expected, you should identify that pre-hopping with a gravity reading so you can dilute and increase your hop additions to produce more wort, or dilute and draw off wort for another purpose. If your first addition of dry hops doesn’t produce the intense aroma profile you wanted, add a second dose. If the yeast doesn’t attenuate as expected, pitch a more attenuative strain.

The biggest improvements come from critically evaluating the finished beer and starting the whole process over again! Either adjust your recipe to get closer to your target, or adjust your target if you hit it and realize it wasn’t exactly what you wanted.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Updates on the Three "Other" Brett Species

If there are any batches that I’ve gotten the most requests to update it would be the fermentations with the three “other” Brettanomyces species from East Coast Yeast. In 2013 I obtained samples of B. nanus (aka Eeniella nana), B. custersianus, and B. naardenensis from Al. I put each to use in two split batches: one with each Brettanomyces alone, and another where I waited to pitch until bottling.

With six beers to taste through, I’ll forgo the full tasting notes in favor of a 10-word highlight reel for each.

Naardenensis 100% – Small head, tart, white grape juice, cherry, mineral, thyme, effervescent.

Naardenensis Bottle Conditioned – Creamy head, Belgian yeast, peppery, mushy apples, honey, wet paper.

Nanus 100% – Average appearance, ripe orchard fruit, spice, mild tartness, faint urinal.

Nanus Bottle Conditioned – Beautiful lacing, cardamom, black pepper, mild oxidation, earthy, highest bitterness.

Custersianus 100% – Gusher, red grape juice, tropical, Smarties, metallic, perfume, refreshing, prickly.

Custersianus Bottle Conditioned – Bright, airy, spice, stale malt, sweaty, apple-berry, clean ethanol.

I avoided rereading my old notes until I was finished tasting to avoid unduly influencing myself, but I'm happy to see many commonalities in the words used. I should also note that as these ran through my “sour” gear, there is a decent chance that the results are not entirely the work of the single strain pitched. This would especially apply to the acidity in the 100% B. naardenensis fermentation. This is one reason that some breweries (like Russian River) maintain three separate sets of gear: clean, sour, and Brett (no bacteria).

The 100% B. custersianus is my favorite of the bunch at this stage, but sadly none of these strains turned out to shine with extended aging.We think of Brett through a particular lens (Orval, gueuze etc.), but it may be that many of the strains out there don't do well under these conditions. Obviously the species and strains that survive in beer for an extended period will be hardier under those conditions that strains isolated from other sources.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Commonwealth Brewing Collaboration – Sour Brown Brew Day

Barrels prior to filling.Columbus Day was a long day. I was in the car before I would have been awake for work on a normal Monday, trying to beat the notorious DC traffic. My destination was three hours south, Virginia Beach and specifically Commonwealth Brewing Co. The brewery had only opened a month earlier, just in time for Labor Day weekend. I’d been talking to founder/owner Jeramy and head brewer Greg (a Seattle transplant) in the lead up, planning a collaborative batch of barrel-aged brown to inaugurate their souring program!

Luckily traffic was light and I made it to the brewery with the smell of dough-in welcoming me. The grain bill was loaded with specialty malts, including Aromatic, Special B, and Carafa. We’d passed the recipe back-and-forth a few times via email, each providing tweaks and adjustments. Our goal was to brew something substantial (in terms of strength and maltiness) to stand up to the first-use red wine barrels. For microbes, we split the batch between Flemish-type blends from Wyeast, White Labs, and East Coast Yeast. The diversity of microbes will provide variety for future fruiting, blending, and tasting efforts. We currently don't have firm plans on what those will be, the results will dictate that as well as the timing.

A plate filter makes an excellent table for samples when not in use.It was the sort of brew day I love, mostly me standing around, taking photos, drinking samples, talking sour beer, and eating banh-mi! Although they did eventually put me to work milling grain for the second 20 bbl batch, scheduled for the following day.

Commonwealth is housed in a former volunteer fire department in a mostly residential neighborhood just a few blocks from the ocean. The roof is constructed from leftover spans from construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel! They’ve done a great job on the interior to the point I could have believed it was constructed to be a brewery; the three bays are for packaging (with a side-room with an open fermentor), brewing/fermentation, and barrels. The tasting room is also beautifully done with plenty of rough wood, concrete, and big windows looking into the brewhouse (depending on your perspective).

From this perspective the windows offer a nice view of the tasting room from the brew deck.Even the door on the mill room is cool!

Speaking of the tasting room, the beers already on tap were impressive (thank goodness!) for a brewery still serving many of its inaugural batches. Jeramy and Greg have put together a diverse list that mostly stray from the crowded path. My favorite was the intensely-tropical 100% Brett IPA (Wapatoolie), although that may not count as I've been a huge advocate of the concept for years! I was also fond of their hopfen-weisse (Taonga) – a juicy blend of citrusy hops with understated banana and clove from WB-06. Nice range of strengths as well, from a session IPA, up to a blonde quad. Even their pumpkin ale (Pumpkin Juice) had a twist, based on a cream ale with correspondingly light spicing!

In a fitting cap to the day, someone dropped off a mixed four-pack of Modern Times cans and a shirt for Jeramy. Apparently the coasts really get me! Luckily the mid-Atlantic is a bit easier to visit for the day.

As I learned when Nathan and I collaborated with McKenzie Brew House on Irma, it’s always smart to show up with a sanitized keg or carboy (a few growlers never hurt either)! Greg ran off three gallons of wort for me to take home. It had their house ale yeast already and I pitched Omega Lacto Blend when I racked it to a bucket for primary fermentation. I still need to pitch bottle dregs to up the biodiversity now that I've racked it back into the 3 gallon carboy for aging.

End-of-a-three-day-weekend traffic added a couple hours to the drive back, but I still made it home about 13 hours after leaving. A long day, but well worth the trip! I’ll be making that drive a couple more times for blending and release events, hopefully with time to spend the night down there for a bit of exploration. Looking forward to tasting the beer (name TBD), sometime in 2016!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Extract Lambic Recipe

Extract beers get an undeservedly bad rap. Experienced homebrewers who brew with malt extract often sound apologetic: “I work 90 hours a week and have three young kids… what other option do I have?” The truth is that if you use the same process (full-boil, pitch enough healthy yeast, control fermentation temperature etc.) that you would for all-grain, extract can produce some excellent examples of some styles! After I'd switched to all-grain, I've gone back and dabbled with malt extract for both clean (Belgian Single) and sour beers (Sour Stout on Blackberries) with enjoyable results.

Who knew that DME was good for more than starters?The primary issue with malt-extract-based beers is the loss of control. Many extracts includes several malts, in unspecified ratios. The best option is to use paler extracts and build from there with steeping grains (although even with crystal malts, steeping isn’t equivalent to mashing). With both extract and all-grain, it is essential to stick to styles that work with your available ingredients. If you can’t get Vienna or Munich extract (or malt), don’t make an Oktoberfest!

The fermentability is set by the extract producer, taking away the mash temperature lever that all-grain brewers get to pull. Luckily, there are still a couple options to influence the fermentability of the wort. Substituting 5-10% refined sugar or extract will increase the percentage of simple sugars to help dry out a beer that would otherwise finish too full. Maltodextrin will have the opposite effect, adding “unfermentable” dextrins to a wort that would be too thin. Maltodextrin can also be used to increase the amount of complex carbohydrates available for the non-Saccharomyces microbes in an extended mixed-fermentation. I've yet to use maltodextrin in its more "traditional" role for molecular gastronomy.

Soon to find out if you can age hops too long!The recipe below was inspired by two well-known homebrewed extract lambic recipes. The first is from Steve Piatz’s Lambic Brewing article in the October 2004 issue of BYO (the magazine where I'll soon start my second year as Advanced Brewing columnist - Subscribe). Steve is the second highest ranked BJCP judge, and I got to chat with him at Hoppy Halloween in Fargo, ND over the weekend! The second is a multi-award-winning recipe from AmandaK posted on HomebrewTalk. Both called for 4 oz of maltodextrin per 5 gallons. That seemed a bit lower than I would have guessed, adding only .002 to the original gravity. Extract is often on the unfermentable side, but I upped the amount to 6 oz. The nice thing about maltodextrin is that you can always boil up more and dose it into the fermentor if the gravity drops to terminal without adequate lactic acid production (works for all-grain too!). Brett will work its magic without requiring much in the way of residual malt fermentables. You could also add a few tablespoons of flour to the boil if you wanted some starch for the Pediococcus to work on.

Speaking of microbes, I opted for The Yeast Bay’s Mélange ("Two Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates, Saccharomyces fermentati, five Brettanomyces isolates, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus delbreuckii and Pediococcus damnosus"), and nothing but. Usually I’d pitch some additional brewer's yeast and bottle dregs along with a blend, but the vial was directly from Nick, so I though I’d give it a try as he intended. Luckily fermentation started within a day and so far the samples I’ve pulled from the carboy are pleasantly lemon-farm-y. I need to take a gravity reading to decide if it needs more maltodextrin to help increase the acidity!

Golden Boy Lambic

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.75
Total Grain (Lbs): 6.38
OG: 1.051
SRM: 6.4
IBU: 9.8
Wort Boil Time: 120 Minutes

47.1% - 3.00 lbs. Muntons Wheat DME
47.1% - 3.00 lbs. Briess Pilsen DME
5.9% - 0.38 lbs. Maltodextrin

3.00 oz. Mt. Hood (Whole, 1.00% AA) @ First Wort Hop

0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

The Yeast Bay Mélange - Sour Blend

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, DC

Brewed 2/1/15 Super Bowl Sunday!

Hops aged around seven years total. 1.060 Post-boil

Allowed to chill in the barrel room naturally to 75F in the brew pot. Racked to a Better Bottle and shook to aerate. Pitched Yeast Bay Melange directly. 67F ambient. First activity after about 24 hours.

2/6/15 Fermentation slowing, topped off with 3/4 of a gallon of distilled water to bring the gravity down. Left at ambient basement temperature in the primary fermentor.

7/12/16 Racked about 2 gallons onto 8 lbs of "ugly" white peaches from the Takoma Farmers Market. Bottled the remaining 3 gallons aiming for 2.8 volumes of CO2.

9/10/16 Bottled peach half (2.1 gallons) with 55 g of table sugar and a splash of WLP007. FG 1.005.

2/13/17 Tasting notes for the lambic with and without peaches. The Mélange served as a good microbial base, but I would have liked a little more Brett character and acidity.