Friday, June 29, 2012

Parallel Lines - The Blonde Ale

When I create a recipe, I start with the beer itself, deciding on what malts, hop and yeast to use.  Then I wonder what I should call it.  Once I got a brewing software program, I spent my time actually making up recipes more than actually making them.  I noticed that I had a lot of themes around rock bands or album titles. As I was organizing all these recipes, I made a folder called "Rock and Roll Series".  In this folder resides such recipes as "Rocka Rolla" (the title of a Judas Priest album, inspired by Magic Hat's "Roxy Rolles" amber), and the various Black Sabbath recipes for Imperial Stout.

It was obvious that I would name a blonde ale after the band, Blondie.  It's low-hanging fruit.  Yes, I should try harder.  I did grow up listening to Blondie.  The band was probably not a top five favorite of mine during the grade-school years, but in sixth grade, I did tell people that "Dreaming" was my favorite song.  You can read more about my relationship with this band here.

You could almost lump the blonde ale into a series of beers named by their hue: Blonde, Amber and Brown. Traditionally, all of these beers are English in origin, malty, and have just enough hop character to preserve them for a decent amount of time.  Overall, I appreciate well-made beers.  While the traditional styles of these beers are drinkable, I would only opt for one if I had limited options.  I like a bit more bite when it comes to my beers, unless it's a Belgian-style beer, in which case, I'm mostly interested in the aromas, most of which are produced by the yeast.

They had a sale on a variety pack of hops over at Austin Homebrew Supply earlier in the year.  I decided that I would also add a few ounces of Amarillo and a new hop, Zythos, to my order.  This set me up for brewing all the IPAs and Pale Ales I so enjoy for the 2012 season.

The original Parallel Lines was made from ingredients I bought from Shoreline Brewery.  I was curious about the Sladek hops they had for sale.  I used an ounce of Liberty at 60 minutes, and an ounce of Sladek at 20 minutes.  Overall, I didn't really think this beer was very good.  I thought the hops were more bitter than I would have liked, and weren't as floral. It didn't appear balanced, even though the IBU were within the guidelines for a blonde ale.  Even though I put a pound and a half of Carahell (10*L) in the recipe, the Golden Promise was maybe not the best choice for the base malt.

This time, I decided I would utilize all 3 oz of the Zythos hops plus an ounce of Warrior.  It looks as though I didn't use enough crystal malt in this one either, but, for some reason, the beer finished at 1.022, which appears to have given the beer a slight sweetness to balance the hops.  The Zythos remind me of Amarillo, but just slightly different.

Parallel Lines Blonde Ale

Batch Size (Gal): 5.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.38
Anticipated OG:1.057 (14.15)
Anticipated SRM: 6.1
Anticipated IBU: 42.6
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68 %
Wort Boil Time: 60    Minutes

11.00 lbs. 2-Row Malt
1.13 lbs. Carahell Malt
0.25 lbs. CaraMalt 

0.50 oz.    Warrior @ 60 min.
Whirlfloc & Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
1.00 oz.    Zythos @10 min.
2.00 oz.    Zythos Dry Hop
0.50 oz.    Warrior Dry Hop

WYeast 1056 Amercan Ale/Chico

I don't know what's been up with the 1056 I've been receiving by mail order lately.  It shows up and it looks as though it's already been smacked.  This one slowly started expanding on me, and instead of brewing a Doppelbock with another yeast, I decided to brew this one.  I made a yeast starter, but I am still baffled at how my yeasts are performing lately.  I usually get ales to finish around 1.014-1.016.  I'm hoping for more of a 1.010-1.012, but I just don't get that.  It would upset me if I thought my beers were too sweet, but I even had my friends, Justin and Amy, who are recognized BJCP judges taste one of my beers that finished high and state that it was dry.  So, with this beer, I've created a Session beer, which wasn't what I was going for, but, at 4.4%ABV, I've created a florally, hoppy session beer.  It's rather quite nice.

No comments: