Saturday, March 28, 2009

We got the funk - DRB experimental batch #1: Sour Beer

Almost two weeks ago now, I brewed my first experimentation beer. Sure, I've done partial experimental batches in the past, where I've upped a recipes grains or hops, but this batch, I made up completely. Here's the recipe and following are my thoughts on it:

OG: 1.076
31.5 IBU
16.0 SRM

German Pilsner Malt 10.00 lb
UK Pale Ale Malt 2.00 lb
Belgian Caramel Munich Malt 120 0.69 lb
German Munich Malt 0.62 lb
UK Black Malt 0.13 lb

My grain bill started off as an altbier type recipe, but I didn't have enough Munich to balance things out. To replace the Munich, I added a couple pounds of maris otter. The crystal 120 will give the beer a thicker caramel like character and the black I just added for color.

1/2 oz. Magnum 13% hops - I had this leftover from the Maibock batch. I didn't want a huge hop characteristic coming through on this beer, just something subtle in the background.

Yeast: recycled London Ale yeast (from the bitter) - made a starter with 4 oz. of DME - added the yeast cake from the bitter.

Also added Irish moss with 15 mins. left in the boil - as well as Yeast nutrient.

Now, the crazy part. After primary (it's been 10 days and there is still airlock activity), when I transfer to the secondary, I'm going to add a vile of White Labs Belgian Sour yeast (WLP655). This yeast includes Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, and the bacterial strains Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. All bugs that will add some "funk" to my beer. The taste should be a slight acidic sour taste, and potentially over time, will add a stronger sourness to the beer. I'm not sure how long I'm going to let it age, I'll probably let it sit over the summer and check on it once a month to see how the taste is developing. My plan then will probably be to bottle the whole batch, drink a few here and there, but mainly sit on them even longer, to see what happens in the bottle after a year or so.

So that's that! One thing I heard about using these type of yeasts is, to keep equipment separate, otherwise all of my future beers will come out tasting like it. Glass shouldn't be an issue, but anything plastic could pick up the bugs. Luckily, i just scored a bunch of extra equipment from my neighbor, so I'll be able to mark these off and use them just for funk beers.

I'll post back on how this turns out. I'm pretty excited to see what will happen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maibock - my first lager

DRB Maibock
10.5 lbs. German Pilsner
5.5 lbs. Munich
Hops: 1/2 oz. Magnum 14.4% AA
Yeast: Yyeast 2206 - Bavarian Lager

Got this recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. This is my first lager beer. The difference between lager and ales are, lagers need to be cold fermented. They ferment anywhere from 40-50 degrees. And they ferment for at least a month. This Maibock (May Bock) should be ready by May 2009. It's already started fermenting, I'm pretty excited about that. The brewday went pretty well, besides i came out a little high on my mash temps and my OG was off at the end (which I don't quite get, because my pre-boil gravity was perfect. I did lose a lot of wort on the boil, so a day later after much contemplating, I added about a 1/2 gallon of water (per BA's suggestions).
So, I guess we'll see how this turns out. I wanted to do a lager, since this is the perfect time of year to do one. My garage has been holding a steady 40ish degree temp and with the carboy blanket around the carboy, the wort is chilling at a pleasant 45 degrees. I'm not super concerned about holding 45 the whole time, I think I'll have a good couple of weeks to keep it at that temp, and if it warms up a bit, it shouldn't affect it too much.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Updates on St. Pats beer & Imperial Bitter

Been a bit since I posted and I have a few notes to add:

Dry Stout & Irish Red were a hit on St. Pats. Both sat for around a month and carbonated on their own with a small amount of co2 pumped into them. The bit of aging was good for both of them. The color came out awesome on the red - probably a tad on the darker side, but when held up to the sun, it was a deep copper color (I'll try and take a pic and add it to this post later today). The stout turned out a creamy chocolaty flavor with a nice balanced sweet end to it. Very good and at just less than 5%, very drinkable. The head is the most impressive thing - it pours a deep tan caramel looking color that just makes you want to eat the foam off the top. Very good, once again I impressed myself.

Imperial Bitter (or a jacked up English Special Bitter) came out to a 7.2% beer and tastes great. I'm racking it to a secondary now after sitting on the yeast for over 2 weeks. I took a reading early last week and wanted to wait to see if it was going to drop anymore. Same reading today - FG: 1.0260, so it's getting racked and going out to the garage where I'm hoping to cold condition it for a week or two before I keg it.

Another post to come at some point today, it's another brewday, so I've got a recipe to post and maybe even a brewcast.. if I can clean my garage - it's literally trashed!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Brewday Saturday, March 7th @ 9 a.m. - Watch Live!

Live Saturday March 7th @ 9 a.m.
Brewing: English Special Bitter
Web Link:

Recipe: Imperial English Special Bitter (still tweaking, but so far this is the basis)

15 lbs. Maris Otter
.63 lb. Crystal 20
.30 lb. Crystal 120
Hops: Kent Goldings - 2 oz. 60 min / 1 oz. 0 min. (may dry hop too)
Yeast: WL London Ale (made a starter last night)
OG: 1.083 (should turn out to be right around 8% abv.)

See you on brewday!