|This was one I thought might be yeast. Note to self: that's not what yeast looks like on an agar plate.|
Monday, September 9, 2013
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Step 1: Gather Supplies
Dry malt extract x 1 oz
Petri dishes x 1-10
Agar-agar x 1 tbsp
Container for sanitizer water
Step 2: Prepare Sanitizer
Should be pretty straightforward. Follow mixing directions on the bottle of sanitizer.
Step 3: Measure out DME and Agar-agar
I used 1 oz of DME in 2 cups of water for an approximate wort gravity of 1.020. As stated earlier, I used 1 tbsp of agar-agar.
Step 4: Heat Water and Add Ingredients
After bringing the water to a boil add the DME and mix thoroughly. Be very careful to avoid boil overs at this point. I had a hard time getting the boil to settle down after adding the DME. Once the DME is fully mixed in, add the agar-agar. The agar-agar will clump up a lot, but enough should be immediately dissolved to set properly once the temperature comes down. I would still try to get as much dissolved as possible, though. Continue boiling for about 5 minutes after adding the agar-agar.
Step 5: Transfer to Petri Dishes
Remove the mixture from the heat and use the sanitized turkey baster to transfer the mixture to the sanitized petri dishes. I used plastic petri dishes so I was able to transfer straight away without the need for cooling the mixture. If you're using glass petri dishes, make sure the mixture is sufficiently cooled. You don't want it too cool, though, since agar-agar will set at room temperature. At this point I placed my petri dishes on a cookie sheet and into the refrigerator so they would set faster. Even in the fridge I was surprised they had set within 15 minutes.
Step 6: Try to Catch Some Yeast
I placed my petri dishes next to an open window to minimize the chance of a bug getting in there and messing things up, but you could set them outside if you wanted to. Just be sure to make some sort of protective barrier that will allow air (and therefore yeast) in but keep bugs out. I left the dishes by the window for 2.5 hours.
Step 7: Incubate
The last step is to place the sanitized lids on top of the dishes and place them in area that will have temperatures suitable for incubating anything that landed on your dishes. I have a tool box in my garage where it gets to around 80-90 F during the day so I set my dishes on top to wait for a week or so.
Hopefully this works since my last attempt at local yeast wrangling went horribly awry. We'll find out soon and I will report back when I start seeing some growth. Until then, happy brewing and happy drinking!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
1. Mash Temperature
A great IPA, American or otherwise, is quite dry. American IPAs are very dry while English and Imperial IPAs have a bit more body, albeit for different reasons. When I first started brewing IPAs I was scared that I would make the beer too dry so I would mash at somewhere around 152 F, but the reality is that a lower temperature is required to get the appropriate level of dryness. 149 F is a much better temperature to mash at, but anywhere in the 148 - 151 F range should get you where you need to be.
Obviously, hops are the showcase of the IPA style and there are a myriad of factors to account for. Most brewing texts will tell you that the beer needs to be hop forward, but balanced by a supporting malt character, which is true, but it's not the whole story. There also needs to be a balance within the hop profile itself. The bitterness can't be too harsh or strong, otherwise the beer will be intensely grassy and unenjoyable. Too much hop flavor will drown out the supporting maltiness. Fortunately it's quite easy to achieve the proper balance with some alternatives to the traditional hopping schedule. For IPAs first wort hopping is great technique to get a smooth bitterness and a pleasant flavor/aroma component. Combined with late and dry hopping it creates a complex hop profile with several layers of depth to explore.
There are other topics that will help contribute to a great IPA, but I believe these two things are the keys. For a more in depth analysis of the IPA style check out IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale. Cheers and happy brewing!
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
13 lbs American 2-row
.5 lbs Rye malt
.75 lbs Crystal Malt 20°L
.5 lbs Crystal Malt 40°L
.5 lbs Cara-Pils® Malt; Briess
.6 oz Warrior (Pellets, 16.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
.5 oz Cascade (Pellets, 5.50 %AA) boiled 20 min.
1 oz Cascade (Pellets, 5.50 %AA) boiled 5 min.
1 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 %AA) boiled 1 min.
Yeast :WYeast 1056 American Ale from slurry (2nd Gen.)
Ferment at 64F for 21 days then dry hop
1.00 oz Simcoe [Pellets 13 %] (Dry Hop 7 days)
1.00 oz Summit [Pellets 17.60 %] (Dry Hop 7 days)
1.00 oz Chinook[Pellets 10.00 %] (Dry Hop 7 days)
Mash Temp; 151F
Batch Size; 6 gal
Volume Boiled; 7.2 gal
Measured Brewhouse Efficiency; 71%
Measured OG; 1.068
Measured FG; 1.006
Measured ABV; 8.1%
I can't make you brew this, but all I can say is that if you're a hop head you won't be disappointed by this brew. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Well, it's that time of year folks. The National Homebrew Competition is just around the corner, the perfect time to start thinking about brewing those recipes that depend on freshness for maximum quality. I myself am brewing eight beers for the NHC, one of which (Old Ale) has already been brewed. The rest are fairly to highly dependent on freshness for success. They are:
American Pale Ale
American Amber Ale
American Brown Ale
With the NHC first round in late March and early April it's about time get to brewing. The stout and wiezenbock will be up first as I feel they will benefit from that little extra conditioning period prior to the competition. The rest will be brewed sometime in mid to late February to give the beer ample opportunity to condition properly but still be at their respective peaks of freshness for the competition.
This will be my first NHC so I would love to hear any tips from you veterans or just hear what you're brewing, veteran or not. Good luck to everyone who's entering the competition and I hope to see you at the second round because I plan on going whether any of my beers advance or not.If you want to take your brewing to the next level and maximize your chances of medaling in the NHC, take Gordon Strong's advice which can be found in his new book Brewing Better Beer: Master Lessons for Advanced Homebrewers
Saturday, January 19, 2013
For an excellent introduction to the finer points of tasting beer along with a bit of history check out Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Dan and a few of his buddies have taken on the monumental task of cloning Heady Topper and with 6 different hops the hop bill possibilities alone are endless, not to mention the grain bill. I truly hope they get it down and I believe they will, but with so little to go on for a recipe, my guess is that the first try won't be the winner. Having a healthy culture of Conan is going to go a long way toward helping them achieve their goal, though.
After reading about their goal of cloning Heady it dawned on me that I could do the same thing with Surly Abrasive. This will be my first time cloning a beer, but unlike my Heady cloning friends, I have a relative wealth of information to go on. The Surly website lists everything that goes into Abrasive, but not the proportions, so that is what I'll be guessing at for the first go around.
I have developed a first try recipe that I will be using later this week or early next week:
10.5 lbs Pale 2-row
4 lbs Golden Promise
1 lb Flaked Oats
.75 lbs Crystal 40L
6.4 oz Corn Sugar
1 oz Citra (14.1%) FWH
1 oz Warrior (16.7%) 60 min
2 oz Citra (14.1%) 10 min
2 oz Citra (14.1%) 5 min
2 oz Citra (14.1%) 0 min
Ferment at 62 F with Wyeast 1335 British Ale II yeast
3 oz Citra (14.1%) Dry Hop for 7 days
I will keep making posts as developments occur. Until then, get your self some Heady or Abrasive if you can and enjoy it. Otherwise, find your favorite hop bomb and wait for your turn at Heady or Abrasive. Cheers!
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
My next post should be a detailed report of my experience at my BJCP tasting exam on Saturday Jan. 19. I'm incredibly excited and nervous about this exam. Throughout my life, for any given exam, I never feel like I've prepared enough, but there's not much I can do with so little except study the guidelines, so I will just have to have faith in my palate. I will report my experience for everyone to learn from.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
"A very clean hop, with a very orange, slight grapefruit, tropical (but not mango/guava, more like pineapple), strawberry, and melon."
Excited by release of the new hop and the $5.25 per pound price I bought myself a pound to try out. In an effort to get sense for its characteristics I brewed a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) IPA. Here is the breakdown of how I think the hop performs:
Aroma - The aroma was quite pleasant with subtle fruit notes. I say subtle because even though I got a big hop aroma in my beer it took five ounces worth of hop bursting and two ounces of dry hopping to get there. There other similarly fruity hops that will get you that kind of character for fewer ounces. As for the components of the aroma I got mostly pineapple and strawberry with some soft citrus notes as well.
Flavor - The flavor is where this hop falls flat, I think. Even with the previously mentioned hop bill there was very little flavor to speak of. Among what flavor there was it was hard discern any prominent flavor components.
Bittering - I made the mistake of using a completely hop bursted and dry hopped beer with no bittering charge, so I don't have a good idea of how Belma performs as a bittering hop. What I can say is that even with no bittering charge the bitterness that was there was somewhat harsh, so I believe that would be exacerbated by a 60 minute boil.
All in all I think this is a poor hop to use by itself, but I think it would be a good dry hop for it's nice fruity aromas when paired with other hops with more aggressive aroma and flavor characteristics.