Schwarzbier a la Modelo

My adventure in brewing my first lager after all these years got off to a great start.  The homebrew store I ordered from, Austin Homebrew Supply sent along Chocolate Malt instead of Carafa II for my Vienna Lager.  I didn’t notice right away and after a few weeks when I got ready to brew I realized what I had and had to punt.  With my Mexican Lager Yeast finishing up it’s 36th hour on the stir-plate I was all it.

Schwarzbier 2014

Mexican Lager Yeast Taking Off

I went ahead and quickly reformulated my recipe on the fly subbing in a little chocolate malt and a touch of roasted barley for the carafa II knowing it wouldn’t be the same.  I didn’t realize at the time that my recipe became nearly identical to a Schwarzbier recipe in ‘Brewing Classic Styles‘ by Jamil Zainasheff & John Palmer.  So, I am not nearly as disappointed as I originally was when I first noticed and scrambled to pull up ‘BrewMate‘ recipe calculator and put this together.

I also had some challenges with my grain bag (doing this brew in the bag method of course) being a little too fine.  My splendid wife sewed up a grain bag for me with my custom dimensions but when she went to buy the voile she was convinced by a lady at the unnamed fabric store that ‘all the brewers like to use muslin’ for grain bags.  Not true at all.  The muslin material when pulled out of the pot at 150F retained the water and it took at least 5 minutes for a lot of it to drain… not all of it, a lot of it.

Well, other than that it was a good brew day.  I brewed with a co-worker who made a 5 gallon batch of an IPA and because I also forgot my propane and burner, we had to split up our time on his burner… I was on quite a streak.

aluminum kettle

Newly added valve and Thermometer

On to the recipe- 3 gallons like I like to roll!  (works well with the 2.5 gallon kegs)

 

Schwarzbier 2014
Schwarzbier

Recipe Specs
—————-
Batch Size (G): 3.0
Total Grain (lb): 5.913
Total Hops (oz): 0.75
Original Gravity (OG): 1.052 (°P): 12.9
Final Gravity (FG): 1.013 (°P): 3.3
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.11 %
Colour (SRM): 14.7 (EBC): 29.0
Bitterness (IBU): 22.4 (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes): 90

Grain Bill
—————-
2.500 lb Vienna (42.28%)
1.750 lb Pilsner (29.6%)
1.500 lb Munich I (25.37%)
0.100 lb Chocolate (1.69%)
0.063 lb Roasted Barley (1.07%)

Hop Bill
—————-
0.50 oz Hallertau Tradition Pellet (5.7% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
0.25 oz Hallertau Tradition Pellet (5.7% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes (Boil) (0.1 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill
—————-
0.50 oz Whirlfloc Tablet @ 15 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 152°F for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 50°F with WLP940 – Mexican Lager

Notes
—————-
Austin Homebrew sent chocolatee instead of Carafa II, so sub 1oz roasted barley for color and 1.6oz chocolate for the 2 oz carafa. This was going to be a Vienna Lager but the chocolate & roast barley make it a Schwarzbier.

Recipe Generated with BrewMate

 

Schwarzbier Day 4

Schwarzbier Day 4

Mexican Lager Yeast

For my first foray into lagers after all of these years I’ve decided to go with a Vienna Lager ala Negra Modelo so what better yeast than WLP 940 Mexican Lager Yeast.   I have about 1.5l starter going now for my 3 gallon batch which should give me just enough extra yeast to pour off into a tube to refrigerate for later use.  I’ll post my proposed recipe after my brew day this Sunday as well as some pics of finally installing a stainless valve and 2″ thermometer in my cheapo aluminum pot.

stirplate

Settled In & Finally Brewing Again

My move half way across the country back to Texas from Oregon put a damper in my homebrewing.  I did find time to make a few 1 gallon batches of hard cider and have a three gallon Cherry Mead going since it was so successful before, but I’ve finally found the gumption to brew up a batch of beer.  Since it is still truly summer here in Texas and I don’t feel like sweating it outside for hours on end I decided that I would try a one gallon mini-mini batch.

moose drool malt Moose drool boil

For my first go at brewing again I brewed the Moose Drool clone I first brewed back in December 2012, but this time stepped it down to the one gallon size.  The brew day went very well, I milled the grain aggressively as I am wont to do for BIAB, used 2 distilled water (the water is way way too hard) and hit just under 1 gallon into the fermenter.  This batch was exactly the same as previous but just stepped down to the smaller size.

I’ll have a tasting review in three weeks or so after bottle conditioning since I never did follow up with any tasting notes from my first attempt at the Moose Drool clone.

I’ve since brewed up another one gallon batch, a single hop pale ale using the incredible smelling Australian Galaxy hops- I’ll make a short write up later on.

Moose Drool 1 gal – American Brown Ale
================================================================================
Batch Size: 3.038 qt
Boil Size: 1.760 gal
Boil Time: 60.000 min
Efficiency: 70%
OG: 11.8 P
FG: 3.0 P
ABV: 4.6%
Bitterness: 31.5 IBUs (Tinseth)
Color: 11 SRM (Morey)

Fermentables
================================================================================
Name Type Amount Mashed Late Yield Color
American 2-Row Grain 1.750 lb Yes No 80% 2 L
Briess – 2 Row Caramel Malt 60L Grain 1.120 oz Yes No 77% 60 L
Briess – 2 Row Chocolate Malt Grain 0.480 oz Yes No 60% 350 L
Total grain: 1.850 lb

Hops
================================================================================
Name Alpha Amount Use Time Form IBU
Golding 5.0% 0.300 oz Boil 60.000 min Pellet 28.4
Liberty 4.5% 0.100 oz Boil 10.000 min Pellet 3.1
Willamette 5.0% 0.100 oz Boil 0.000 s Pellet 0.0

Yeast
================================================================================
Name Type Form Amount Stage
Safale S-04 Ale Dry 0.388 oz Primary

Mash
================================================================================
Name Type Amount Temp Target Time
Conversion Infusion 2.000 gal 158.000 F 152.000 F 60.000 min

cherry mead bottled

Bottled First Mead – Cherry Mead

Today I put into bottles my first mead, well my first one in over 12 years.   I used 375ml clear bottles for this and love them, I will use these for future meads as well.

This was just a simple 1 gallon recipe using cherry juice from Trader Joe’s.  My overall my goal was to finish dry enough so this didn’t taste like cherry cough syrup.  Success.

  • 2 quarts Trader Joe’s 100% Cherry Juice (15 Brix)
  • 1 quart Trader Joe’s 100% Tart Cherry Juice (14 Brix)
  • 1 lb Clover Honey (Costco) added to obtain 25B (1.100)
  • 1/8 tsp DAP
  • 1/8 tsp yeast energizer
  • 3 grams Lavlin 71B (Narbonne) yeast

This was put together 3/7/13

3/9/13 21B

3/10/13 18B – added 1/16 tsp DAP, 1/16 tsp yeast energizer

3/17/13 11B (1.007 corrected) very slight sweetness and strong alcohol flavor.

3/31/13 Racked over to new bottle, almost completely clear

9/2/13 Bottled in 375ml clear bottles.

Spices for Pumpkin Saison

Pumpkin Saison

 

My fall season beer this year will be different than most brewers offer.  I’m sticking with the Saison theme and taking it up a notch.

 

Test Recipe below:

Pumpkin Spice Saison

Saison by ibrewaletx (13)

  • TypeAll Grain
  • Efficiency75.0%
  • Batch size3.0 gal
  • Boil time60 min

Fermentables

NAME AMOUNT USE PPG
American 2-Row 4.5 lb69 % Mash 38
Pumpkin 10.0 oz9 % Mash 5
Biscuit® MD™calc 5.0 oz4 % Mash 34
Wheat Malt 5.0 oz4 % Mash 38
2-Row Caramel Malt 80L 5.0 oz4 % Mash 34
Piloncillo 6.0 oz5 % 36

Hops

NAME AMOUNT TIME USE FORM AA
Styrian Golding Slovenia 0.6 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 5.2%
Saaz United States 0.3 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 3.8%

Yeasts

NAME LAB ATTENUATION TEMP
Belle Saison  Danstar 82.5% 70°F – 90°F

Extras

NAME AMOUNT TIME USE
Cinnamon Sticks 2.0 each 10.0 min Boil
Nutmeg (Ground) 1.8 tsp 10.0 min Boil
Whole Cloves 3.0 each 10.0 min Boil

Mash steps

STEP HEAT SOURCE TARGET TEMP TIME
Saccharification Rest Direct Heat 148 degF 60 min
Mash-Out Direct Heat 170 degF 10 min
Check out the new Mash Water Calculator

Predicted Stats

1.057 OG
1.010 FG
22 IBU
6.1% ABV
http://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/pumpkin-spice-saison-1Pumpkin Saison BeerXML File

‘Cottage’ Saison

Another recipe I’ve lifted from Homebrewtalk, this one because it is 72F at the lowest in my basement and I don’t want to wait 1-2 months for the cooler weather to come along to brew.

I brewed on 8/4/13 and on 8/8/13 it was already down to 1.003.  I started the fermentation at 72F for 24 hours & then moved it upstairs for a 74F avg temp.

Here is the 3 gallon recipe:

Link to BeerXML and malt.io website

 

Cottage Saison 3gal
Saison

Recipe Specs
—————-
Batch Size (G): 3.0
Total Grain (lb): 6.750
Total Hops (oz): 1.20
Original Gravity (OG): 1.064 (°P): 15.7
Final Gravity (FG): 1.008 (°P): 2.1
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 7.37 %
Colour (SRM): 6.6 (EBC): 13.0
Bitterness (IBU): 31.6 (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 72
Boil Time (Minutes): 60

Grain Bill
—————-
4.500 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (66.67%)
1.000 lb White Wheat Malt (14.81%)
0.750 lb Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (11.11%)
0.250 lb Caramunich Malt (3.7%)
0.250 lb Oats, Flaked (3.7%)

Hop Bill
—————-
0.20 oz Sorachi Ace Leaf (16.7% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (First Wort) (0.1 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Hallertauer Pellet (4.8% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Hallertauer Pellet (4.8% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma) (0.2 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill
—————-
0.17 oz Black Pepper @ 5 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 148°F for 90 Minutes.
Fermented at 67°F with Belle Saison

Milk warming

Simple Greek Yogurt

A recipe in a modern canning book my wife had caught my eye.  Homemade Greek yogurt.  It looked so easy to make, and we love Greek yogurt I had to give it a try.  Here are the simple steps:

  • Heat 1/2 gallon of milk (whole, 2% or fat free) up to 170F, stir occasionally
  • Cool milk to 110F, place in a sink with cool water, stir occasionally
  • Place 2 tablespoons of all natural Greek yogurt (I used Fage) in a bowl and whisk about 1/2 cup of the 110F milk with the yogurt
  • Place this whisked yogurt/milk back into the original pan with 110F milk and mix gently
  • Ladle the milk mixture into prewarmed 1/2 quart mason jars, seal tightly
  • Place the 2 (1/2 qt) jars of milk into a small cooler along with another jar or two of hot water and fill all space with towels.
  • Close up the cooler and set aside untouched for 8-10 hours.
  • After the 8-10 hours, place in a refrigerator to cool.
  • You now have 1/2 gallon of great tasting, cheap Greek yogurt

 

I just finished this process up and am waiting my 8-10 hours. I will report back in the next day on the quality and taste of this yogurt.

 I will report back in the next day on the quality and taste of this yogurt.

UPDATE:  Well, the taste test is in.  After 11.5 hours I put these in the fridge, I could tell they cooled down considerably even though they were in a small cooler wrapped with towels.

After refrigerating overnight I tried this morning and the texture is just slightly thinner than the original yogurt, the taste has just a little less ‘bite’ (sour) to it as well.  I can imagine this could be due to not maintaining a high enough temp for long enough.

Overall, this is very good and I will try it again.  You can’t beat $1.99 for a half gallon of Greek yogurt!

 

canning for a new generation

Pre-warming cooler for home made Greek yogurt

Pre-warming cooler for home made Greek yogurt

sour mash berliner weiss

Sour Mash Berliner Weiss

Following a method outlined by a podcast I listened to last year, BasicBrewingRadio from July 26, 2012 and the link from that show to Sean Coates blog here, I set myself up to brew a sour mash Berliner Weiss.

There seems to be two keys to pulling this off:

  • A way to get a CO2 blanket on top of the souring mash
  • A way to keep the mash around 120F for the length of time you want to sour it (1-3 days)

The basic method is this.

  1. Using a basic wheat beer malt bill, and shooting for a low SG, mash your grain as normal.   I used a cooler and just let my mash sit in it until it reached 120F the next day.  Once it did reach that temp I threw in 1 pound of unmilled 2-row which inoculated the mash with the lactobacillus that naturally is on all malted grain.  Every 6-8 hours or so I added some boiling water to get my mash back to 120F.  My garage was cool at this time, if it is summer and you live in a warm climate you may be able to maintain 120F in a cooler for an extended period of time.
  2. Once I added the boiling hot water, stirred, I then blew a little CO2 on top of the mash as I closed the lid.  This removed the oxygen from the top of the mash which then helped prevent other ‘bugs’ from taking over.  The kind that smell like feces, vomit etc. By doing this, my mash never really ‘stunk’ like others have reported, but it had a STRONG, and I mean strong cooked canned corn smell.
  3. After 36 hours my sample tasted sour / tart enough and I drained the first running’s, and batch sparged as normal.
  4. I boiled for 30 minutes, and added a touch of hops at 15 minutes to get me to around 5-6 IBU’s.
  5. The rest is a normal batch of beer, and the advantage of this method is that I don’t have ‘bugs’ that are on the cold side, so I can treat it like any other brew.  I did my ferment after cooling down with US-05 and let it sit for a few weeks prior to kegging.

 

Recipe: Sour Mash Berliner Weiss
Brewer: Jerry
Asst Brewer:
Style: Berliner Weiss
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Boil Size: 6.12 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.98 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 4.60 gal
Estimated OG: 1.040 SG
Estimated Color: 3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 8.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 82.8 %
Boil Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4 lbs 4.8 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 58.9 %
3 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 41.1 %
1.00 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.60 %] – Boil Hop 3 8.4 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast 4 –
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 7 lbs 4.8 oz
—————————-
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 9.13 qt of water at 163.7 F 149.0 F 60 min

Sparge: Fly sparge with 4.96 gal water at 168.0 F
Notes:
——
Mashed at 1.5qt/lb at 149F, let drop to 120F and then added 1 lb unmilled 2-row.
Let sour for 36 hours, boiled 30 minutes and added hops at 15 minutes
1 pkg US-05 at 63F

Sour Mash

Sour Mash

bottling from keg 1

Bottling From Keg

Now that I am full on into kegging again, I wanted to give bottling a shot from the kegs.  This would allow me to quickly move a batch out (into bottles) and free up kegs for batches waiting.  Also I get the benefit of forced carbonation and hopefully very little at the bottom of the bottles, AND I can give the bottles away immediately (no priming).

Keg Bottling Wand

Keg Bottling Wand

I had seen a post on homebrewtalk from ‘BierMuncher’ several years ago about how he bottled from kegs, and also had seen a brewingTV episode showing the same thing.  I gave it a shot and I am pretty happy.  The main things needed to make the special ‘wand’ are a plastic siphon or bottling wand and a drilled #2 stopper.

Cut the bottom of the wand at an angle to allow filling, and slide the stopper to the length needed given the bottle you are filling (I used 22oz bombers today).

Today I kegged up my Tart Raspberry ale and my disappointing ESB.  Similar to BierMunchers post here are my basic steps, after first chilling my bottles in a freezer:

  1. Shut off the gas to your keg momentarily and open the (keg) relief valve to bleed excess pressure from the the keg.
  2. Turn the PSI on your regulator down to about 5. This needs to be a slow gentle process.
  3. Go ahead and open the tap and drain some beer into a waste bucket. This will prime and cool the lines.
  4. Now place the bottle filler into the bottle with the stopper pushed down snug onto the bottle neck. Open the picnic tap to the locked position.
  5. The bottle will begin filling but slow to a stop as the pressure builds
  6. Gently push the side of the stopper to allow the pressure to “burp” out of the bottle and the beer will begin to flow again.
  7. Continue the fill until beer (not just foam) begins overflowing and turn off the tap.
  8. Quickly move the rig to the next bottle and repeat.
  9. When all the bottles are full, give each one a quick “burst” of beer from the tap to top off.
  10. Move the bottles to your capping bench and place a cap on each bottle.
  11. Before locking down the cap on each bottles…tip the bottle on its side and back (holding the cap on with your finger of course). This will cause the beer to begin to foam.
  12. Place the capper on the cap loosely and as soon as the foam begins to overflow…lock down the cap.
Burping Bottle

Burping Bottle

Flaked Wheat

“Red Louse” Wit Brewday

I have moved away from naming my brews unless it is a recipe I will repeat which has not been very many.  This beer was an exception since hours after ending my brew day my wife, niece and grand niece (who were staying at our house for a while) discovered lice.  What I thought was a long brew day turned into a tortuous delousing night that lasted well past 2:00am.

The good news is the lice are under control and gone for now, I already have short hair and now issues, and the ‘trauma’ has given me a name for this beer.  The ‘Red’ will be 1 oz of hibiscus tea I will add to it at kegging time.

It was again another 3 gallon batch, which I will likely keep doing (with my 2.5 gallon kegs especially) unless it is a repeat sure fire winning recipe I want to hand out and drink again.   This was only my second Belgian Wit attempt, the first last year was wonderful (used Wyeast 3944) and was fairly popular.  But, ever changing, the recipe was different this time, I went with nearly a 50/50 split with 2-row and flaked wheat.  A pinch of Munich added to top it off.  That was it.

Also different in this recipe is my first shot with Wyeast Forbidden Fruit (Wyeat 3463).

  • 2lb 9 oz 2-row
  • 2lb 9 oz Flaked wheat
  • 8 oz Munich (light)
  • 1 oz 4.6% Hallertau for 60 minutes
  • Mashed at 122F for 15 minutes and 154F for 60 minutes
  • Zest of 2 Cara Cara Oranges at 2 minutes
  • 5 grams of crushed Coriander

Pretty simple stuff really.  Except the yeast.

This was my first go with this strain, and only second Wit yeast and I found it was REALLY clumpy during the active part of fermentation.  I also found disturbingly that I have what appear to be chunks of protein from the cold break that have floated to the top, making me originally think I had a serious infection under way once the krausen settled.  But luckily, no.

OG 1.054

IBU: 20

SRM: 4

Four days in I measure 1.011 and it has a nice ‘clean’ grainy flavor.  I’ve lost the orange / coriander taste so at the suggestion of someone on g+ I’ll likely make a new ‘tea’ to add at kegging once I get to that point.