New Addition 2011

I recently had my last brew day as a father of one child. The beer was brewed to mark the very closely approaching arrival of child number 2 (I’ll have to think of a better name than Child Number 2). When the first lil’ Smokey was born I brewed New Addition 2008. Not only was  “New Addition” a nod to my baby but also the first time I had added any wild bugs to my beer. The idea was to brew something between a Porter, a Flanders Red and an Oud Bruin. A Flanders Oud Porter? For New Addition 2011 I needed to find another interesting ingredient that I had never used, but always wanted to. This time it’s Belgian cocoa powder. The base recipe has also been altered, but the “feeling” is the same. I want the New Addition beers to feel like they come from the same family but each one has its own distinct personality.

Knowing that I am not always the most patient person, and fearing the possible heart-attack caused by two children that won’t listen to me and just get into the car so I can buckle their seatbelts and get out of the rain, I’m trying to be more “zen.” With that in mind I decided that coming into brew day I wouldn’t have a fixed recipe. I did have a clear idea of what I was going to do but I wanted to just wing it a bit and go with the flow. It seemed to go well because the wort sample tasted great!

The cocoa powder was added with 10 minutes to go in the boil. With 15 minutes to go I tapped off a little of the hot wort to mix with the cocoa powder and make a paste. I thought that it would be a little easier to incorporate into the boil without clumping up.

On the yeast side, I am again adding some critters on top of the normal brewers yeast. In primary I pitched a mixed starter of Wyeast1762 Belgian Abbey II and Wyeast Roeselare Blend. This will hopefully kick up the funk a bit more than in New Addition 2008. Those Belgian yeasts are great, but since my babies are half Belgian and half American it needs some American Funk too. For that I will be adding (into the aging vessel) part of a starter of Jolly Pumpkin’s Lambicus Dexterius (batch 1), their 100% spontaneously fermented beer. It also has the nice bonus that Dexter, where Jolly Pumpkin is located, is very close to where my parents live so the beasties in the Lambicus Dexterius will literally add a touch of home.

New Addition 2011:
  • Volume: 20 liters
  • OG: 1.064
  • FG: we’ll see but I hope around 1.008
  • ABV: should be around 7.3% – 7.5%
  • IBU: 22 (rager formula)
Fermentables:
  • 66% Pale Ale
  • 13.5% Munich
  • 9% Aromatic
  • 5.3% Flaked Oats
  • 3.5% Chocolate Malt (900 EBC)
  • 2.7% Roasted Barley
Mash:
  • single temp infusion @ 68C (154F)
Hops:
  • 30g East Kent Goldings for 22 IBU (60min from end)
Extra:
  • 75g Belgian Cocoa Powder (10min from end)
Yeast:
  • Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II (in primary)
  • Wyeast Roeselare Blend (in primary)
  • a bit of a starter made from the dregs of Jolly Pumpkin’s Lambicus Dexterius (during aging)

Notes:

June 13th 2011 – Brew day was very smooth. First time using my drill with the Barley Crusher… man thats quick!

June 15th 2011 – Fermentation was rather slow to kick off. I think the Roeselare blend may have lowered the starters pH too quickly for the somewhat old WY1762 and that didn’t grow as much as it should have. Fermentation is going though.

Rebel without a clue

After a week delay, thanks to my not-so-local homebrew shop, I brewed up another fun experiment. This time I am bringing the funk to a darker level. A stout fermented with Brettanomyces Lambicus and Lactobacillus. A stout with a beat you can dance to. Road Runner, Rebel Stout.

Ever since I took a slight step back, as I mentioned last time, brewing has become easier and even more enjoyable. This brew day was smooth even though I was introducing a new piece of equipment (an electric HLT) and the process with this beer was a little different. I hit all my numbers and had amazingly clear and quick run-off. In the boil is where this brew day was different than usual. Since the beer is intended to be partially fermented by Lactobacillus, the IBU’s from the hops would be a problem. Lactobacillus rolls over and dies at the mere mention of hops. To get around that I ran off 5 liters of beer after 15 minutes of boiling and before the first hop addition. This was then chilled and had Wyeast Lactobacillus thrown in. The rest of the wort continued to boil and receive two additions of East Kent Goldings before being chilled and pitched with a good starter of Wyeast Brettanomyces Lambicus. If my hillbilly math works out the OG should be 1.058 after blending (5 liters @ OG 1.050 + 15 liters @ OG 1.060).

One of the things I wanted to accomplish here is to see what a real lactobacillus fermentation will produce compared to the lactic acid laden Acid malt I used in the last beer. Obviously this stout will have a bunch of other flavors in the way but I still think I should be able to pick up on the complexity of the lactic character and be able to compare that aspect. We’ll see.

Road Runner – Rebel Stout
  • beer after blending: 20 liters
  • OG of total blend: 1.058
  • Expected FG: 1.012??
  • Expected ABV: 6.1%
  • Expected IBU: 27
  • Expected Color: 69.5 EBC (35 SRM)
  • Boil duration: 60 minutes
Fermentables
  • 40% Pale Ale
  • 40% Munich
  • 8% Aroma
  • 6% Roasted Barley
  • 6% Dehusked Chocolate (800 EBC)
Hops
  • 30g East Kent Goldings @ 45 minutes
  • 20g East Kent Goldings @ 10 minutes
Mash
  • Single infusion mash @ 68°C (154°F)

Yeast

  • 5 liters un-hopped wort – Wyeast Lactobacillus
  • 15 liters –  Wyeast Brettanomyces Lambicus
If it doesn’t turn out well I may have to change the name to Dead Duck – Drain Pour Stout

Brewed on April 3, 2011

Update April 8, 2011: Despite pitching a large amount of brett L and Lacto, there was no sign of activity for the first three days. After 72 hours there was some positive pressure in the airlocks but no real sign of fermentation. Now almost 5 days later there is still no krausen and not much activity in the airlock. Getting worried.

Update May 4, 2011: pretty much right after my last update the beer really took off. That was the longest lag time I’ve had on a brett beer. Fermented nicely and the two are now blended together. The brett portion was at 1.020 but will continue to slowly come down (I expect it to stop around 1.014). The Lacto portion is not so easy to measure since the lactic acid it produces is actually denser than water so a hydrometer is useless (I should have taken pH readings before and after). The sourness developed very nicely on the nose and in taste. A bit of appley balsamic flavor with a bright crispness underneath and slight vegetal. Went well with the chocoalte notes in the beer. Tasted different ratios of the two portions but surprisingly enough 1/4 lacto portion to 3/4 brett portion tasted the best. So all 5liters of lacto portion went into the brett batch. Now the beer needs to sit a couple-few months.

a duck on my calendar

Imagine if there was a sort of chart with all the days of the year listed in order. Now imagine that you could plan future events and then note these events on this list of days.  Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, much to my surprise this magical list already exists and there is even one hanging on the wall in my kitchen! All, joking aside, I am trying to get over my fear/lack of planning. Last year I had a serious problem of having to ditch brewing and barbecuing days because they weren’t planned far enough ahead for life to comply. It seems to be going better now. In fact I just had a  brewday this past Sunday, and there is a serious pork smoking session planned in a couple weeks, and the next brewday is planned in March.

Enter the Ugly Duckling:

If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, but smells a bit funky, then it must be the Ugly Duckling American Sour. Sunday’s brewday was another venture into sour beers. A funky and tart sessionable beer with citrus hop notes. Well, that is the idea anyways.

There are several ways to get lactic tartness in your brew (Lactobacilus, pediococcus, sour mash, pure lactic acid) but I decided to try something simple I had heard about from a few pro-brewers, a relatively high percentage of Acidulated Malt (or Acid Malt). This malt is a Reinheitsgebot way of controlling your mash pH but using higher ammounts will also give you some lactic flavor (see this link for some more info.. scroll down to “Berliner Weisse from Weyermann Acidulated Malt”). It won’t be as complex a lactic character as some other methods, but for what I want in this beer it should be good. Especially when considering this will be a 100% brett fermented beer. Oh, and brett favors a lowered pH to do its thing, so win win.

Ugly Duckling American Sour:

  • Wort volume after boil : 20 liters
  • OG: 1.048
  • Expected FG: 1.010 – 1.012?
  • Expected ABV: 4.8% – 5%
  • Expected IBU: the math says 36 but with mash hopping my experience says it will seem lower
  • Expected color: 11 EBC (4.6 SRM)
  • mash efficiency: 76%
  • Boil duration: 60 minutes

Fermentables:

  • 56.5% Pale – 2.2kg (4.85 lb.)
  • 30.5% Munich – 1.2kg (2.65 lb.)
  • 9% Acid malt – 350g (.77 lb.)
  • 4% flaked oats – 160g (.35 lb.)

Hops:

  • 35g (1.2 oz) Amarillo – mash hop

No kettle additions. After aging for a while I will dry hop this with more Amarillo.

Mash:

  • single infusion mash at 67C (153F) for 60 minutes

Yeast:

Ugly Duckling was also a bit of a process re-working for me. Over the years I have tried playing with my process  to raise efficiency, cut time, or just look cool. In the end I wasn’t happy with the stuck or slow sparges, the running around and the extra worry. This time I re-evaluated my technique. I even turned back the adjustment on my grain mill a bit. In return I had a great brew day! It was very easy and relaxed and I was even able to pull off a brew in less time than before. My efficiency was slightly lower (76% instead of 80%), but I was expecting that.

Notes:

February 13th 2011 – brewed: Brew day went very well. It was perhaps my most relaxed brew day to date.

March 15th 2011 – racked this over to secondary so it can age a while before dry-hopping. It was sitting at 1.010 SG. I’m finding these all brett beers are best after about 5 months or so.

July 17th 2011 – dry hopped this beer with 30g Amarillo whole leaf hops. The aroma before dry hopping was quite funky. Good barn-yardy notes!

July 29th 2011 – The duck is in the bottle! FG went a bit lower than expected 1.006! Bottled 17 liters (damn dry hops soaked up my beer) primed to get me 2.7 vol CO2 carbonation. Beer is tasting quite nice. Big orange notes. A good lactic  sourness with big fruity brett and amarillo all combining to a sort of orange and lemon juice combo.

feeling the funk

funkadelicNo, not that funk. Just a quick brewing update. I have probably mentioned before that I want to get more experimental with my homebrew and walk on the wild side of fermentation. From now on most of my brews will be fermented, at least in part, by critters such as Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus rather than traditional Sacchromyces strains. To start this new love affair off, back at the end of April I racked batch one of New Addition to secondary and added a smack pack of Wyeast Lambic Blend . Being impatient, I popped it open and took a sample. It’s now at 1.014 and has a very light brett character with hints of sour cherry and some cola, but overall the bugs have not had too much influence yet. It definitely is going down the right path, but the path seems to be long. At least a pellicle just started to form. That will be fun to watch (for a beer geek like me).

baby_brewer090913Hop Nest batch #2 was brewed last Sunday. The recipe was modified from the original test batch. Rather than 100% Munich I added a touch of Aroma malt. The hopping schedule stayed the same but I slighlty lowered the amount of Amarillo and upped the amount of Nelson Sauvin. So where’s the funk? Well I split the batch into two fermenters. One received the same US-05 yeast as the original recipe but the second fermenter received a large pitch of Wyeast Brettanomyces Clausenii. This is supposed to be the “cleanest”, and possibly fastest of the Bretts. I hope it will give me some of the pineapple aroma that is can produce, although the reported success of this seems to be spotty. After 48 hours I wasn’t seeing any activity in the Brett fermenter. I read from several people that they were seeing lag times of 3 days, but I was still worried. Thankfully I was greeted by an enthousiasticly bubbly airlock when I came home from work on the third day. Reports say that this brett can ferment out a beer in 5 weeks. I hope thats true because I intend on serving this beer at the Alvinne International Homebrew happening on Nov 7th, next to the “normal” version.

Further, I plan on starting with the Grand Funk… Lambics. I figure each year I will try to brew one Lambic and then in a few years I can start to play with blending a Geuze. Also in the pipes is a series of 100% Brett beers with all the other Brett strains I received from Chad. Maybe my imperial stout will also get the funky beat with some critters and oak thrown in after primary fermentation.

– The Funk Soul Brewer

Plans can change

rockin_babyPlans can change, especially when you have a baby. I didn’t get to brew last Sunday but that was not necessarily a bad thing. Instead we spent some quality family time together. We introduced our baby daughter to the wonderful world of music festivals, and she loved it! There was a family-friendly music festival and the sun was shining so the brew kettle stayed in the shed.

This past week was pretty fruitful even without brewing or grilling. Noskos over at BBQ-NL sent me a bottle of Plowboy’s Yardbird rub that I won in a BBQ lotto of sorts. I am looking forward to trying it out. Now I just have to figure out what I want to try it out with. So many things I’d like to throw on the smoker. I also received some hops I ordered from the people at the hopshopUK. They are hop varieties which I can not find in mainland Europe. 100 grams of Amarillo (USA) and 100 grams of Nelson Sauvin (NZ). I am very interested in both these varieties. Amarillo for its citrussy orange and grapefruit and Nelson Sauvin for its supposed grapey, sauvignon-blanc aroma. Also on the beer front,  I talked with Chad over at The Brettanomyces Master Project Blog (who is working with Brettanomyces at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, and has a fascinatining blog for beer geeks interested in Brett). Chad has graciously offered to send over a sampler of some pure brett strains he’s been culturing up. Some commercially available and some not. I have been itching to play with more funky yeasts and bacteria in my beers. Now I hope the beers turn out well so I can repay Chad with tasty samples!

The new plan: The experimental brew I was going to do last Sunday has been changed to a not so experimental IPA (not a west-coast hop-bomb, I’m looking for balance). It is made with only Munich malt though, so that is new for me. I will be hopping it with a combination of Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin hops and doing a split ferment with US-05 and S-04. Should be tasty!

Toer de Geuze 2009

barrels TDG2009Sunday was the Toer de Geuze. a wonderful event that I have missed every year since I moved to Belgium. I had planned on joining one of the official tour busses but due to my laziness I was too late. All available seats on the buses I preferred were taken (each bus had a different route). Another year without being able to enjoy this event. Or so I thought. As I mentioned on here before, “Beery people are good people” Don S (from the Babblebelt and Celebrator Beer news) and his wife offered to let me join them in their rental car. Great people! While the buses are nice, I think that this may be the way to go. We were able to see more breweries and do them as quickly or as slowly as we wanted. My day started at 6am so I could hop on the train and try to get to Lembeek just before 10am. There I met my two fellow travelers for the day. From the station in Lembeek you could literally fall into Brouwerij Boon. You know its going to be a good day when you start your first brewery tour at 10am! I won’t go into a ton of detail about each brewery, I’ll let the badly taken photos do that, all I need to say is that all these breweries have something great to offer. Us beergeeks sometimes passover some of these breweries because of some of the products they put out. While those products may be lack lustre, the breweries can also make a pretty mean jonge lambic and oude geuze. After Boon we headed up to Hanssens. Then to 3 Fonteinen, Oud Beersel, Lindemans, De Troch and finally Mort Subite. The day ended with a quick Girardin jonge lambic at De Koekoek before being dropped off at the train station in Ternat. It was a quite fantastic day full of tasty surprises! I really can’t complain about any of the beer I had. Of course I only stuck to the traditional products. It was also nice because this event reminded me that there are great events like this that do put better beer into the eyes of the Belgian public. So its not all doom and gloom like in my rant “Beer in the gutter” … but its still partly true 😉

oh, and by the way, the Mega Blend that all the participating breweries helped in creating… really awesome!

click on the photo to see more.

New Addition

label_newaddition1On Monday the 13th I will be getting back onto the homebrewing train. It has been 12 months since my last brew. Man, thats painful to say. I have really been feeling the urge lately and I can’t wait any longer. I will be brewing a recipe I was working on for the birth of my daughter Ellie. I wanted to brew it just before she was born and open up the first bottle on her first birthday. Unfortunately I didn’t get to brew it. Who would have figured that when your wife is 8+ months pregnant it would be hard to find time to brew? Well, I will finally brew it. This beer will also be my first attempt at a sour beer. The idea was for a dark, lightly sour brew with a touch of roast. Something slightly in the vain of Thiriez’s Vieille Brune but more funky. The beer will be fermented with Safbrew T-58 dry yeast in primary for about 2 weeks. I will then rack it and add the Wyeast Lambic Blend. I’ll let it do its thing and just try to forget about it for 5 or 6 months. I’ll then add a small ammount of medium toast french wood chips (that I have boiled for a while to lower the astringency) and let that age for a while. Then bottle and try it on Ellie’s birthday.

It’s really a beer with a lot of firsts. First time with Vienna malt as a base malt, first time using flaked corn, first time with t-58 yeast and first time with any souring organisms. So with that many new variables it could go horribly wrong. But what would be the fun if you know exactly how it’s going to turn out, right?

Expected OG: 1.076 SG
Expected IBU (using Rager): 24.1
Expected Color: 30.9 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

Belgian Vienna Malt 5.000 kg (79.4 %)
Flaked Corn/Maize 0.400 kg (6.3 %)
Belgian Aromatic Malt 0.300 kg (4.8 %)
Belgian Special B 0.250 kg (4.0 %)
Belgian Chocolate Malt Debittered 0.200 kg (3.2 %)
Belgian Debittered Black Malt 0.150 kg (2.4 %)

East Kent Goldings (5.5 % alpha) 30 g Pellet Hops used 60 Min From End

Mash Schedule
Single Step Infusion (68C/154F) for 60 mins

Primary Yeast: DCL T-58-SafBrew Speciality Ale
Secondary Yeast: Wyeast Lambic Blend