Friday, April 22, 2011

Roosevelt Franklin Rye Stout

I am not a big fan of stouts.  While I think the style is good, for the most part, I don’t really care for that burnt or roasted flavor in my beer, or at the level the stouts I encountered earlier in my life.  I always felt challenged in a way that I did not want to be challenged from beverages I drank.  Having said that, I would have to say that I’ve had many stouts in recent years that are not as roasty, but more balanced, or even have a nice chocolate overtone to them.

About a year ago, one of my friends brought me a Bell’s Rye Stout.  It sounded interesting enough.  I was completely blown away when I smelled the beer.  It smelled like toasted dark bread.  It was only the second beer in my life that I wanted to walk around smelling all day, rather than lose that aroma by drinking the beer.  The beer had a nice, dry finish, and more of a chocolate flavor rather than a roasted flavor.

I decided that I wanted to brew something like this.  I contacted Bell’s, but only asked if they actually toasted any of the malts in the beer.  They replied, saying that they did not toast any of the malts, only the combination of the malts resulted in the toastiness of the beer.

I went to the Northern Brewer forum to inquire if anyone had any ideas on how to modify a recipe that I had fashioned.  I was given a nice recipe to try, that was similar to what I had, and rolled with it. 

The beer has turned out well.  It is a good stout, balanced with roastiness and chocolate flavors.  It doesn’t have quite the toasted aroma I want though.

As luck would have it, I was listening to an old Jamil Show podcast about California Common.  Jamil uses a small amount of pale chocolate malt in his California Common recipe to give it a “toastiness”.  He was asked by his co-host on the show if there were any other malts he knew of that would impart a similar flavor.  He stated that for the style of toastiness he was going for, that pale chocolate malt was the only one he was aware of.  Therefore, I have modified my recipe to cut back half the amount of chocolate rye, and in it’s place, use a quarter pound of pale chocolate malt.

Batch Size (Gal): 5.50
Anticipated OG:1.069
Anticipated SRM: 30.0
Anticipated IBU: 51.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 60    Minutes

10.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)       
2.00 lbs. Rye Malt             
1.00 lbs. Flaked Rye                  
0.50 lbs. Roasted Barley
0.25 lbs. Chocolate Rye
0.25 lbs. Pale Chocolate Malt

0.50 oz.    Magnum @ 60 min.
0.50 oz.    Nugget @ 60 min.

WYeast 1028 London Ale

Friday, April 15, 2011

Re-Using Yeast Cake

You may have heard of the process of moving your beer off of the yeast either to bottle or keg, or put into secondary fermentation and then using the yeast at the bottom of that fermenter to ferment another beer.  I have done this 3 times and have had successful results.

Mind you, my methods might be a little unorthodox.  Here are the steps that I take:

1)      Plan the brew day for the second beer based on when the yeast is done.

The second time I did this, I brewed a Vienna lager and figured in two weeks, it would be done fermenting.  I began brewing the second beer, a Maerzen, exactly 2 weeks after the first.  Unfortunately, while the second beer was boiling, I took a gravity sample and found that the first beer was far from done (gravity reading was 1.030).  Luckily, I had enough vessels that I was able to move that beer to a secondary fermenter, use half the yeast cake for the new beer, and then return the Vienna into the original fermenter.  Both beers turned out great.

2)      Sanitize two vessels

One vessel will be for your fresh beer, the second vessel will either be your bottling bucket, keg, or secondary fermenter for your first beer.

3)      Sanitize the path

I use a fresh rag and sanitized water and gently clean the top of one side of the first fermenter to get rid of any chunks of kreuzen or gunk left behind during the fermentation.  This is probably very unorthodox, so get some other opinions.  This is how I’ve done it, and it works well for me.

4)      Put the yeast cake into the second beer

Go through your normal methods of infusing oxygen into the new beer (shake the fermenter, use an oxygen stone and tank or aquarium pump, etc.) and pitch the yeast.

You should see fermentation rather quickly with this method.  And you just saved some money on yeast.

Good luck!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Magic Hat #9 Revisited

I've been thinking a little bit more than I should about Magic Hat's #9 lately.  I don't plan on brewing this beer anytime soon, although I wouldn't mind having 5 gallons of this in my house.  I've brewed a clone of Magic Hat #9 before with some success.

Two things have brought me back to thinking of this beer.  The first was an email that I get from Magic Hat (in fact, I signed up on BOTH of my email addresses to get this newsletter/email) that suggested making a drink called Black Magic, a Black and Tan style drink with Magic Hat #9 and "your favorite stout".  I have just brewed a Rye Stout that I call "Roosevelt Franklin" that I should have a post about next week.  I just had one of these beers last night, and it is finally ready.

In case you were wondering, the Magic Hat #9 would go in first.  You don't need the special spoon, you can just bend one, but here's a nice video courtesy of the Brooklyn Brew Shop, who have some pretty interesting sounding recipe kits you can buy:

I also found an old Can You Brew It podcast where they cloned the Magic Hat #9. I based my original recipe on a recipe from the book Clone Brews. My recipe used Marris Otter, and a half pound of Crystal 60L, Cascade and Columbus hop additions exactly opposite of what was suggested by the head brewer of Magic Hat on the podcast.  Still, I thought the beer was very close to the original, and I enjoyed it.  The recipe they came up with on the show was something like:

Magic Hat #9

6 gallons
OG: 1.045
IBU: ~20
SRM: 6

9.92 lbs pale malt (Marris Otter)
0.20 lbs Crystal 80

¼ oz Columbus @ 60 min
½ oz Cascade @ 30 min

White Labs WLP002 Yeast or Wyeast 1098 British Ale 

Mash temp 152*F

Ferment @ 68*F

On the podcast, they used 5 oz of Apricot flavoring in 5 gallons of beer, or the keg.  If you're bottling, you can't just add more to each bottle once the caps are on.  However, you buy the Brewer's Best Apricot extract in 4 oz bottles, and having made 5 gallons of the beer and adding 4 oz of the Apricot extract to the bottling bucket, I can verify that it was not enough.  Brewer's Best suggests 5 oz in 5 gallons, the guys at Can You Brew It also suggested this, so I think that this should be the correct amount.

I should also note that on Magic Hat's web site, they are now using Cascade and Apollo hops in the #9.  At around 20 IBU, this probably won't matter, although Jamil says in another podcast that you can taste the difference between 1 IBU. (I'm rolling my eyes at that.  This is as bad as the stereo-philes in the 80s saying they could tell the difference between a clean record and a CD.  Maybe you can, Jamil, but the average beer drinker, I assure you, can NOT).

In my recipe, I'm upping the malts to 10 lbs Marris Otter and .25 lbs of Crystal 80, because of my efficiency. I'm showing an OG of 1.053 in Promash, so if I hit anything between 1.045 and 1.053, I'll be happy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Samhain - Version 4

Just as there are many kinds of beer, there are also many kinds of home brewers. When I got into this, I never made the same recipe twice. Then, while visiting in-laws in Syracuse, New York, I discovered Magic Hat beers for the first time. From what I’ve observed, Magic Hat tends to be a polarizing brewery for home brewers. It seems like people either love them or hate them, and I think a lot of it has to do with their flagship beer, #9, a not-quite-so pale ale with a hint of apricot.

Personally, I like #9. I don’t go out of my way to load up on it, but I enjoy having one or two every now or then. My wife also likes #9, which is also helpful.

However, while on the trip I mentioned above (and also here before), I also discovered Magic Hat’s Jinx. I really liked this beer. So much that I went on a quest to clone it. That beer turned out to be a lot bigger than it needed to be. Again, I liked the aroma of this beer, and I even enjoyed what a malt bomb it was, much to the chagrin of just about everyone else who drank it. I mean, Magic Hat made it with only 20 IBUs. So, yeah, it’s going to be malty. But earlier versions were much too sweet, I’ll admit.

So as I traveled down the path of learning about Scottish ales, which I discovered was sort of the base recipe of the Jinx in a far-reaching manner, I heard that you’re not supposed to put peated malt in Scottish ales, but rather derive that taste from longer boils and darker crystal malts.

The other thing I liked about this recipe is that I grow Zeus hops in my backyard, and I could use them for this beer. However, this year, I just put all 18 oz of my hops in my chest freezer/kegerator instead of freezing them (I didn’t really have the room in my basement beer fridge/freezer due to there being food in there; you gotta eat, you know). After a couple of months, all the hops had turned brown. And I dried them for 16 hours. Perhaps I didn’t bag them well enough. Next year, I’ll try and use a vacuum sealer. I had to use what I had on hand, since I didn’t plan on the hops being bad, and wasn’t paying attention. So I had half an ounce of Perle, and a whole bunch of Nugget and Summit hops (of which a little of the latter goes a looooong way), so I decided to make a different version.

I’ve been dickering with the malt bill every brew, the last time I used a pound each of Crystal 40 and Crystal 120, which kept me up at night. Again, that might have been a better beer had I hopped it heavier. Still, like I said, I enjoyed it. While the color of the current year’s (I believe I’ve brewed this beer 4 times now in my 3 years of brewing) beer a lot, it still doesn’t have that “purplish” hue (actually, when I poured the beer for the photo tonight, I think the color is spot on) but I think if I increased the boil 30 minutes, I could achieve this. That would be okay, anyway, since I ended up with 6 gallons this year instead of 5.5, so my OG was 1.060. I should also note that this year, I added the pound of brown sugar after 3 days of fermentation to dry it out. It still ended up finishing at 1.013, but for this kind of beer, that is okay with me. It finishes dry and there is a tart hop punch.

I think the malt bill is good. The hop schedule will change to 3 additions of Zeus hops, likely a third of an ounce at 60, a whole ounce at 10 minutes, and another ounce at 0 minutes. While, it won’t exactly be the malt bomb it was intended to be, it will be a more balanced beer, and one I will enjoy. Perhaps in version 6, I’ll tone those down a bit, because I don’t know what the alpha acid is on my Zeus hops. I am assuming 11% AA, while Fresh Hops, where I got the rhizome, are selling Zeus hops are 14.2% AA. It’s a great journey, and I’ve enjoyed each version.


Batch Size (Gal): 5.50
Anticipated OG: 1.067
Anticipated SRM: 19.0
Anticipated IBU: 25.3
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

9.00 lbs. Golden Promise
1.50 lbs. Munich Malt(dark)
1.00 lbs. Brown Sugar (dark)
1.00 lbs. Crystal 40L
0.25 lbs. Crystal 120L
0.13 lbs. Chocolate Malt

0.5 oz. Perle (Pellet - 7.8% AA) @ 60 min.
1.0 oz. Nugget (Pellet - 11.2% AA) @ 10 min.
1.0 oz. Summit (Pellet - 18.5% AA) @ 0 min.

WYeast 1028 London Ale – 2 quart starter