Friday, April 25, 2014

Possum Sweat CaliCommon

Finished drinking dregs of a CaliCommon with a rich and ample base of Vienna Malt to go up against a wall of Northern Brewer hops.

Possum Sweat was fairly simple to brew. A single infusion mash at 152. Eight pounds Vienna, 1 pound Flaked Maize, 1 pound Caramel/Crystal 60l. 3 equal additions of Northern Brewer Hops of 1 ounce @60, .5 @30, .5 @5, and 1 @0.

 3 ounces of Northern Brewer hops is, like, a LOT of hops, for me. 

Used Saflager yeast that I washed out of the yeast cake of the superior deliciousness of my recent Vienna Lager. Fermented fairly hot, a room temp of 75 degrees, it is very fruity, but the high hops really cut it on the back of the tongue and leave mint and pine in the aftertaste.

A sweet and fruit nose full of apricot and candy malt, that gives way to a massive, cleansing bitterness of hop. The beer is right on that edge of too hoppy, and too sweet. Any less of the sweetness or the hoppiness, the balance would shift. Good mouthfeel, leaving a thick fruit and mint in the aftertaste.

The dregs of the beer suggest it would be great with bison burgers, Salmon, and mushroom dishes. We shall see how it ages and settles down in the bottle. I am curious to see what happens when the different aromatics arrive after carbonation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What to do with 8 pounds of red wheat malt?

Leftover bulk grains are a thing that make me no longer want bulk grains, and grateful a good homebrew shop expanded into the Valley out on my side of town. I had some grain to pound through before it got stale.

Since I brew in a bag, I have been able to make beers nearly entirely with wheat malt without a problem. It is interesting how each method of brewing makes certain different things possible, in the process. Every brewer can come up with their own little twist.

Bagman is a twist, then, on what I can do.

8 pounds of red wheat malt
2 pounds of dark munich malt
6 ounces crystal 120l
6 ounces chocolate malt
1/2 an ounce of German Pearle @60 for 20 IBU
Danstar Munich yeast
Step mashing slow and long all the way up to 151 for an hour saccharification rest.

Brew day was crazy. I rushed home from work to try and pound through before sunset. During my mash, I ran out of gas! I had thought I had enough for one more round, but not so. I had to stop and run out to the corner store to trade my empty in. I managed to do so without hurt in my mash much. If it had to happen, that was the best time for it!

But, sunset happened. I was out in the dark like a madman. My wife, annoyed inside, had prepared an amazing feast. I rushed through it to get back to brewing.
After dark, I finished a long boil.

My old final gravity spectrometer thingum busted bad. Time for a new one. I had to rely on tasting the wort to tell if it was converting. 

An exciting brewday! Pictures soon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I had a dream about a beer recipe

Last night I had a dream about a recipe that tastes of the sea, and of the old gods. Three weird sisters, with one hop for each of the fates. Six row as a base malt, at 9 pounds, and 4 ounces of Blackprinz and sea salt at a minimum.

The recipe would be strong and sturdy, and a reddish color. It would have crystal malts and more specialty grains of some sort, with a forceful field of hops. Some sort of cascadia dark ale, perhaps? An imperial IPA? An old ale or scottish ale? It was to taste of viking sailers and the three weaving women who knit our days to the end of them.

It is not next on my brewing line up. Next is bottling the steam beer, and brewing something corona-like do the summer, light and Lager.

But I dreamed of a recipe. I write it down.

You know the limitations of the recipe. What do you add? What hops? What other grains? What style should it be?

3 weird sisters

9 pounds Six-Row Malt
4 ounces Blackprinz
Sea salt
3 different hops @60, @30, @15

Fill in the gaps. My dream did not reveal more than this.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Vienna Dark Lager, on bottling day


On bottling day, the Vienna Lager is supremely tasty. It's a little smoky, a little sweet, a little herbal, and a little spicy, but not quite, yet, smoothed out in flavor. In a couple weeks, I expect the flavors to merge a little more. I hope the strong and prominent vanilla flavor remains present in the brew when it's settled down. It tastes like it has vanilla in it, at bottling. And, it doesn't.

It is a beer that would be perfect with barbecue, or in barbecue sauces. The sweet and smoky notes, balanced by the spicy hops, are reminiscent of good barbecue sauce. With spicy food, the beer really shined. The hard hit of spicy, Mexican bean soup was cut by the mouth-filling vienna malts.

Next time, what I would do differently? Well, give it a couple weeks to age and I'll speculate more, but, for now, maybe cutting down the honey malt to 6 ounces instead of 8, maybe. Maybe, a little stronger hop - Magnum, or Tradition, or somesuch. Maybe reducing the Vienna Malt half a pound and putting in a little more flaked maize for a lighter body in the depths of Texas heat. But, for 18.50, this is a fantastic beer, on bottling day.

The saflager yeast is not a popular one, but, in this case, I see no reason to hate. The cheapness of the yeast is exacerbated by its unpopularity, and the results are quite pleasant. It is hard to imagine a tastier batch for less than .40 cents per 12 ounces! I may have discovered my favorite new cheap beer! Depths of complexity, easy-to-drink 4% ABV, and perfect for Tex-Mex, I could have kept going after sipping through the dregs!

7 pounds American Vienna Malt
1 pound flaked maize
8 ounces Gambrinus Honey Malt
4 ounces Caraffa I
1 ounce Santiam at about 6 IBUs @60minutes
Saflager s-23, fermented cold, followed by a rest to warm to room temperature, then into the secondary with a couple weeks to lager close to freezing.

The mas schedule was fairly simple, as well. A beta-glucan rest at about 110 for fifteen minutes, followed by a saccharification rest at about 153-154 for an hour.

The depth and complexity of a fairly simple grain bill and hop schedule is very surprising to anyone accustomed to Negro Modelo's clean and watery mouthfeel. This one really fills the mouth with malt sweetness, without being cloying. Initially, it has the clean flavor of a good Negro Modelo, but as it passes over the palatte, all these notes rise up, carried underneath smoke and vanilla. At bottling, there was so much aroma of vanilla, that it was hard not to picture the pleasure of pouring it over ice cream. It tastes like a Tex-Mex beer. It feels rich and sweet like a Mexican Mercado. I want to grab a bunch of barbecue fajitas, horchatas and Mexican street food and throw back my dark lagers one after another with good friends!

I'm calling it either Possum Stomp, or Ochociento. Probably Ochociento. It tastes like 800 pesos well spent.

I am pleased.