Monday, January 22, 2018

American Oat Ale: Brew-Day Dry Hop Experiment

When we open sometime this summer, Sapwood Cellars' clean beer program will be focused on
hops... but don't mistake that to mean we'll have eight IPAs on tap at all times! One recipe-concept I'm working on is a hoppy beer for people who don't like IPAs. The idea of low bitterness, a little extra yeast character, and integrated citrusy aromatics from the hops. A gateway hoppy beer for the sort of craft beer drinker that usually orders a wit or shandy.

We'd like to keep our yeast situation simple to start. I'm a big fan of Allagash Hoppy Table Beer, which is fermented with their house wit strain. While that is appealing (and I've brewed a few delicious hoppy wits before) we likely wouldn't get enough use of a liquid yeast to justify it. There isn't a dried wit strain available, but I was inspired by a post about a supposed blend of dry yeasts used by Tree House (big shout-out to HBT's Isomerization): S-04, T-58, and WB-06. I kept the fermentation temperature at 60F ambient to restrain the yeast expression; I just want subtle fruitiness mingling with the hops... no banana-boat. Although I have had good luck with hoppy hefeweizens as well...

For the rest of the recipe I revisited an old favorite, Simpsons Golden Naked Oats, in hopes of providing a creamy mouthfeel in this moderate-gravity beer. For hopping, I opted for partial-chilling to 185F before the whirlpool addition to reduce alpha acid isomerization imparting more hop aromatics with less bitterness. I used Citra and Amarillo through-out, a callback to one of my all-time favorite recipes that I helped develop: Modern Times Fortunate Islands!

The big question I wanted to answer with the a split-batch was: how valuable is a brew-day dry hop compared to a now-standard late-fermentation addition? I added 2 oz of Citra and 1 oz of Amarillo to one fermentor immediately following the yeast, while the other had to wait for the same dose until day four of fermentation. The resulting difference is relatively subtle, however everyone I served the beers to blind has identified the late-dry hop as more hoppy/aromatic... but that isn't necessarily what I'm looking for in this beer! In terms of measurements, the timing of the dry hop did not appear to have an effect on the FG or pH.

After my first attempt at filling a keg through the dip-tube resulted in a clogged poppet several people suggested adding a Bouncer Filter in-line between my SS Brew Bucket and the liquid-out post. I bought one, and it worked like a charm catching the hop particulate large enough to cause problems. No complaints!

Here's a video of this batch from brewing to drinking!

Sapwood Session

Brew Day Dry Hop

Smell – Fruit salad, banana and melon. Mild toastiness from the oats.

Appearance – Hazy yellow. Not cloudy or murky, but not as hazy as many NEIPAs. The Golden Naked Oats didn’t add much color compared to my standard recipe. Head retention is OK, lacing is better.

Taste – Strikes a good balance between yeast and hops, with fruity flavors mingling from both to create something vaguely tropical. No big phenolic spiciness from the T-58 or WB-06, but I can taste a touch of clove as it warms. Not as bitter as the 40+ calculated IBUs would suggest thanks to the lowered whirlpool temperature.

Mouthfeel – Surprisingly thin considering the chloride, oats, and moderate attenuation. Carbonation is medium, where I like it for hoppy beers.

Drinkability & Notes – Really pleasant blend of styles and flavors. These are my favorite arguments against holding too closely to styles, even relatively new and broad ones.

Changes for Next Time – Still need to find a solution to the body being thin, but otherwise it is pretty close to what I envision for this beer. A good technique for adding more hot-side-type aromatics without additional iso-alpha.

Late Fermentation Dry Hop

Smell – Hops jump out more, vibrant and a little green. The two beers have converged a bit as they’ve sat on tap, but are still distinct to me. The Amarillo helps to temper the Citra, but

Appearance – Similar, although just a hair hazier. White head is the same.

Taste – The yeast is more obscured thanks to the outsized role the hops play, no clove. The Citra and Amarillo really shine: melon, orange, and tropical. The malt is also relegated to the background, preventing the beer from tasting like “hop water” but without a really distinct contribution.

Mouthfeel – The body is similar, although the later hops provide slightly more tannic bite. Identical carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – This one kicked first, but I also shared a few more growlers of it. I enjoyed it a bit more, even though it wasn’t exactly what I was going for!

Changes for Next Time – This is the better timing for a classic hoppy beer. It provides a more vibrant aroma, and there was no issue with oxidation despite being at the tale of fermentation.


Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 5.3
IBU: 41.9
OG: 1.058
FG: 1.017/1.017
ABV: 5.4%
Final pH: 4.33/4.31
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

48.0% - 12 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
25.0% - 6.25 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
17.0 % - 4.25 lbs Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
10.0 % - 2.5 lbs BestMälz Chit

Sacch Rest - 45 min @ 156F

Whole Batch
6.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min 185F Steep/Whirlpool Hop
3.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.20% AA) @ 30 min 185F Steep/Whirlpool Hop

Brew Day Dry Hop Half
2.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 0
1.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.20% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 0

Late Fermentation Dry Hop Half
2.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 4
1.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.20% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 4

17.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
12.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
3.00 tsp 88% Lactic Acid @ Mash


1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins

2.0 pkg SafAle S-04 English Ale
0.2 pkg SafBrew T-58 Specialty Ale
0.2 pkg Safbrew WB-06 Wheat Beer

Brewed 12/17/17

Mash pH measured at 5.2 at mash temperature. Collected 14 gallons of 1.049 runnings.

All 2017 crop hops.

Cooled whirlpool to 185F before adding whirlpool hops. Added heat to maintain that temperature approximately.

Chilled to 64F and pitched the yeast (Each got: 11 g S-04, 1 g each T-58 and WB-06). Half got 2 oz of Citra and 1 oz of Amarillo with the yeast.

Left at 60F ambient to ferment.

12/21/17 Dry hopped the second half with the same amounts. Fermentation appeared nearly finished. Warmed both to 65F.

12/29/17 Kegged both halves, first time using the Bouncer filter. Smooth filling into the purged kegs. Attached to gas in the kegerator. Both measured FG 1.017, Brew Day Dry Hop 4.33, Late Dry Hop 4.31.

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cd said...

It looks like Mangrove Jack's has a dry wit yeast:

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Thanks, haven't tried any of their strains!

Unknown said...

I was curious if you could possibly point out the "page #" of that HBT post you reference regarding the Treehouse yeast blend that zeroes in on the blend of those 3 yeasts...or at least comes to that conclusion?? I could read each and every post on all 41 pages...or defer to the person who might have already come across the particular discussion in this thread! Cheers!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I haven't read the whole mega-thread as well as I probably should have, but here is a post that lays out the suggested strains based on the analysis. I played around with CBC-1 for keg conditioning my first batch with this blend with good results, but didn't seem necessary for serving on draft at home.

Unknown said...

Did you ferment these at atmospheric pressure or close them up to ferment under pressure? I realize homebrewing under pressure can be more difficult than in a commercial brewery, but I’m curious if you have found any major differences. Especially with this early dry hop technique.

Anderson said...

Zachary, I think the S04/T58/WB06 blend is currently leaning towards 80/15/5 right now, still haven't nailed it down. pages 39 to 40.

Unknown said...

Also Gozdawa has a "Classic Belgian Wirbier" yeast which I have used with good results.

Anonymous said...

Brewferm have one called blanche also.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I have tried dry-hopping under pressure (in a keg with a spunding valve), but it isn't part of my usual process.

Glad to hear their are so many dried wit options! Has anyone tried any with good results?

dh said...

How do you know how much beer you've transferred in a closed transfer like this? I've got a brew bucket as well and have wanted to do closed transfers but was not sure how I'd prevent filling too much and getting beer in the gas in post.

Thanks for the great posts as always!

Anonymous said...


FWIW I put my keg on a scale and go by weight...

CRUSADER1612 said...

I second the M21 wit yeast from MJ.
It's surprisingly good.
Its doesn't attenuate as far as it probably should IME, but it works, and its a typical Wit character.
recommend - although I'm not sure they produce it in a commercial size.

JH3 said...

Thanks for post! I was curious what kind of hop spider did you use for this batch. From the pictures you posted it looks like you also used the spider to perhaps catch any small grains or husks when draining the wort from the mash tun into the kettle. Do you mind sharing what equipment you use?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Monitoring by weight is a great idea! Up until now I haven't had enough beer to get a completely full keg so it hasn't been an issue for me.

I've been using this one from AiH for a few months (on sale for $40 at the moment). I do transfer through it to catch any bits of husk on the way over from the mash tun.

Jako said...

I like to use rye for low density beer. In liquid yeast, I love the forbidden fruit from wyeast for hoppy beer

Dani said...

M21 is a great wit yeast.

George said...

Thanks again for the great information! How do you like these beers with the blend of dry yeast strains versus 1318? Are you sold yet?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

For a straight-ahead NEIPA I'm not sold. That said, having a way to add additional dimension/variation to hoppy beers I think it has real promise. If we're going to have up to eight hoppy beers on tap at the same time at Sapwood Cellars, I don't want them to all taste like the same beer with a different dry hop! Varying the yeast and malt will be key to that.

Fer said...

I agree with M21 from MJ being a great wit yeast. I'd also brewed wits with Breferm Blanche, which is also recommended for that style, but in my opinion M21 is much better. Great wit character. Last time I brewed a wit and I divide it in three: one as it was, another one was dry hopped with Cascade and the last one was in a secondary with blackberries. All three were great beers.


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Thanks, all of them sound delicious!

Harold stDacard said...

mj do a pretty good wit... oh wait, thats been said. sounds good, i did something very simmilar using a partigyle with citra and mandarina but just with smaller dose of regular oatmeal which turned out well. never used golden naked oats but was curious. might have to be in my next easy drinker..
big fan of cooler whirlpool hopping for this type of thing

Aaron said...

Glad to see that the bouncer inline filter worked well. I assume the mesh is in the 300-400 µm range and is large enough to not be filtering out any protein from the beer?

This is also unrelated but I was reading your post from years ago comparing your counter pressure bottle filler and beer gun. I was wondering, have you bottled any of your NEIPA's from your kegs with either of these tools? If so, did they oxidize quickly or did they seem stable?


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Considerably coarser than that, the replacement screens are listed at 20 gauge (810 micron). It doesn't even take out the smaller bits of hops.

I haven't used either bottler for anything recently. Scott ran some tests filling purged bottles with NEIPAs. Surprisingly stable when stored cold. It seems like oats are the biggest issue for the color change.

Crown Heights Brewery said...

Hey Mike,

I racked an IPA today (4oz dry hop loose pellets) with the same bouncer filter from my 7 gallon SS Brew bucket. I had purged the empty keg a few times with c02 at 15 psi. I then hooked up the ball lock while connected to tubing to the filter to push out all the air then quickly attaching the other end of tubing to my brew bucket spigot, I then opened the brew bucket spigot.

The transfer went well it did not clog and the filter caught lots of hop bits. I did notice some bubbling in the filter and turbulence, after I tipped the filter upside down and noticed 1/4 inch of dead space (assuming c02? hoping not air). Would it have been better to turn on the spigot to completely to fill the filter before attaching to the keg?

This keg went right into the kegerator to chill and carbonate, hoping oxidation will not be an issue, will know in a few days. Thanks for all the informative great posts.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'm not sure how well the line/filter would fill without a place for the gas to displace. You could always try a test run with water first. I end up tilting the filter to try to get the pocket of gas to flow out when I start running it. Gas wants to rise, so tilt accordingly!

Isaac Morgan said...

Instead of adding so many hops at day 1 of fermentation just add less at the end, save some money on hops!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

You could move all your flame-out hops to 60 minutes to save a bunch of money on hops to get the same bitterness too...

Unknown said...

I have been working on a similar recipe and have had similar feelings about the body. In a 5 gallon batch, I have used 1.5# of GNO. Next batch i am planning to do 1# gno 1# flaked oats. Will probably also up my chloride and mash temp.

Unknown said...

maybe I missed it, but how did you carbonate these beers?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Best of luck, let me know if the flaked oats help!

I force carbonated at serving pressure. I think most hoppy beers benefit from a week or two to settle anyway. I've also used CBC-1 and sugar for a few beers to pick-up any oxygen.