Monthly Archives: October 2012

Beer Here Kama Citra

  • Brewery: Beer Here (Brewed at Søgaards Bryghus)
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: American Brown Ale
  • ABV: 7.0 %
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: Barley Wine, Copenhagen
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

It’s been some time since I’ve last posted a review, so thought I’d try to drink through some of the beers left from my shopping spree in Copenhagen in August. Today I decided to try Beer Here’s Kama Citra, an American Brown Ale which has been hopped with Citra. I brewed a really hoppy Brown Ale in April that turned out really nice, so I think the combination of hoppiness and a malty and slightly roasted body work well. Citra has been one of the trendiest hop varieties the last couple of years, and in general I like Citra, though I’m getting a little tired of its massive fruitiness. Hopefully it works well in this beer. Kama Citra has been brewed with pale ale, chocolate and crystal malts, and hopped only with Citra. Let’s see how it does!

[easyreview title=”Beer Here Kama Citra” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a murky dark brown color, and when held against the light you notice some ruby red tones. Almost no head is formed, even though the pour was quite vigorous. The beer has a slightly oily texture as well, so I guess this is quite hoppy.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is interesting and I find it really nice. At first a citrusy hoppiness was dominating the aroma, but as you close in on the glass aromas of coffee and chocolate enter the nose. Behind all this there are some tones of caramel and tropical fruits hiding as well. The aroma makes me think of a Black IPA or a hoppy Porter. I like it!” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a toasty and nutty maltiness, featuring lots of roasted coffee and slight ash-like tones as well. The hoppiness from the aroma is much more subdued in the flavor, with slight citrusy and fruity hop tones joining the malt. Can’t really recognize any typical Citra tones, as the hoppiness is more in the general American citrus-hop direction (think Cascade or Centennial). The flavor ends quite dry and with a moderate bitter finish. No flavors dominate, so in that way one can say that the beer is quite balanced, but feel there is a bit too much roastiness and that the beer is a little lacking in the caramel department. Nothing spectacular in the flavor.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and medium-low carbonation level. The beer feels a little watery, but it is quite easy to drink, if not for the slightly biting and astringent finish. As mentioned earlier, I think this would benefit from a little caramelly sweetness.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”Overall an okay beer, that failed to impress me. The flavor was a bit too bland and roasty, and when combined with the slightly biting finish and watery mouthfeel, you get a strange brew. The aroma promised a lot, but the rest of the brew didn’t really hold up. The Citra hops could have been more present as well. Still an interesting brew, though to be honest I liked my own Brown Ale more. Plus points for the interesting label.”]

Alko Christmas Beers 2012

Name Volume Price RateBeer Score
St Martin Cuvée de Noël   0,33L 4,48 € 63
Liefmans Glühkriek   0,75L 7,99 €  91
Westmalle Trappist Dubbel   0,75L 9,98 €  99
Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer   0,75L 11,53 € 100
Fuller’s Old Winter Ale  0,5L 3,70 €  83
Ridgeway Insanely Bad Elf   0,33L 3,98 €  60
St. Peter’s Winter Ale   0,5L 4,38 €  91
La Trappe Bockbier   0,33L 3,69 €  93
Haandbryggeriet Nissefar   0,5L 6,59 €  96
Weltenburger Kloster Winter-Traum  0,5L 3,69 €  69
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock   0,5L 3,77 €  99
Ayinger Winter-Bock  0,5L 3,98 €  100
Kapuziner Winter-Weissbier  0,5L 3,99 €  54
Erdinger Pikantus   0,5L 4,18 €  89
BrewDog Hoppy Xmas   0,33L 4,98 €  71
Sinebrychoff Jouluolut   0,33L 1,82 €  18
Stallhagen Pilsner Christmas Edition  0,33L 2,78 €  –
Stadin Panimo Ultimator Doppelbock  0,33L 4,95 €  67
Suomenlinnan Helsinki Portteri   0,5L 4,96 €  66
Mikkeller Happy Lovin’ Christmas   0,33L 5,23 €  97
Svaneke Choko Stout   0,5L 5,74 €  76
Mikkeller Red/White Christmas   0,75L 10,87 €  97
Saku Porter   0,5L 3,49 €  84
Samuel Adams Winter Lager  0,355L 3,69 €  70
Anchor Our Special Ale  0,355L 3,79 € 95

Source: Olutopas forum

 

Homegrown Hop Harvest 2012

I planted two Cascade and Chinook rhizomes in early June this year, and they have grown surprisingly well during the summer. I wasn’t expecting any harvest the first year, but to my great surprise, both produced a small amount of hop flowers and cones. I harvested the cones today and spread them out on the heated floor to dry. The wet weight of the cones was 48 grams, so not that much, but still better than nothing, which I had expected. Will probably use these to aroma hop a small batch of Pale Ale.

 

Homebrew: Kegging the Kind Kitten

Today I transferred the majority of the Kind Kitten batch (which has been in the primary for 9 days, and dry hopping for 6 days with 40 g Centennial) to a keg together with 40 g of Simcoe and 40 g of Citra. Gravity had dropped to 1.014, giving the beer an ABV of 2.7%. Perfect! The beer had a quite bitter taste, but this will most likely lessen with a couple of weeks of maturation. This should make a really nice session beer, as long as the flavors mesh together and the hoppiness remains fresh. The Purring Nun Belgian Dark Strong Ale was still fermenting along nicely, and I placed a heat pad against the fermenter to keep temperatures at around 25° C. Will be kegging this one in a week. I had a small sample of the Meowing Monk Belgian Blond, which has been hooked to CO2 for a week, and it was tasting quite promising, with a combination of yeast phenolics, spices, floral hops and a honey-like maltiness. This should be ready for bottling in about a week.

Homebrew: BSDA fermentation update

I’ve not had many blow-offs before (only krausen coming out through the airlock when fermenting the Weisse Katze hefeweizen), but the Purring Nun Belgian Strong Dark Ale I brewed on Saturday is fermenting like crazy and when I came from work to have a look at it, I first noticed that the airlock was full of dried up krausen, and then I realized that the pressure inside the bucket had lifted the lid up a couple of centimeters, letting a thick and yeasty goo run down the sides of the bucket. I changed out the airlock to another sanitized one I had lying around (didn’t have any material for a blow-off tube) and cleaned up the mess. Luckily I had the fermenter wrapped in a wet towel to keep the temperatures inside somewhat intact, which meant that no krausen/beer had spilled on the floor or walls. Hopefully I didn’t lose all too much yeast and hopefully nothing unwanted (bacteria etc.) entered the bucket. Wyeast 3787 seems to be one heck of a monster. I’m trying to keep the fermentation temperatures high (around 25° C), to make sure it finishes dry and with the correct ester profile. Hopefully the low pitching temperature (around 15° C) suppressed some fusel alcohol formation. Hopefully there won’t be anymore blow-offs. I guess the lesson learned is not to put 23 litres of high gravity wort in a 30 litre bucket without a blow-off tube or use of a foam suppressant.

Homebrew: Purring Nun – Belgian Dark Strong Ale, kegging and bottling

Today was a busy day, with lots of homebrew activity, as I brewed up a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, racked the Meowing Monk Belgian Blonde to a keg (used the yeast cake for the Dark Strong Ale), and finally bottled the Czech Mate Pilsner. The brewday went quite well, but ended up with 23 liters of 1.081 wort instead of the planned 20 liters of 1.090 wort. I should have boiled a bit longer, but hopefully the beer will taste great anyways. I used 1.35 kg of Dark Candi Syrup, together with a variety of malts and the hops left over from the Meowing Monk brewday (you can find the recipe below). About 2 hours after pitching on the yeast cake, I could already see pressure building up in the fermenting bucket, as the levels in the airlock were uneven. I guess this should be fermenting like crazy by tomorrow morning. The gravity of Meowing Monk had dropped to 1.011 from 1.050, giving it an ABV of 5.0%. The warm and flat sample I had from the fermenter was really tasty, so am really looking forward to getting this one carbonated. The Brett IPA I brewed up yesterday was fermenting like crazy, and the airlock was bubbling about once a second. The Kind Kitten Session Ale had also started fermenting. The fermenting room was filled with tropical fruit, citrus and hop aromas, which made me very happy. I also bottled the Czech Mate Pilsner, which I’m not entirely satisfied with. The beer forms almost no head when poured (the image below is an exception, and it is actually the first time I see it with decent head), which I find very strange since I used a dose of wheat malt in the mash. Also, the flavors are quite malty (there is also a slight amount of diacetyl present), and it lacks the fresh and crisp hoppiness I like in Pilsners. Will see if age does anything to it. Below is a picture of the beer and the bottle, complete with label and a custom-made crown cap.

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Homebrew: Bret, you’ve got it going on – 100% Brett B IPA

Another brewday behind, and today it was time to brew a small batch of an American IPA hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy, and fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois (WLP 644). The brewday was very smooth, and am already very eager to taste the results, as the wort was tasting fantastic, and even the yeast starter was drinkable. Hoping to get a fruit bomb, as many have reported that using this strain as the primary fermenter results in pineapple and passion fruit aromas, while the hops should lend their share as well. Hit a gravity of 1.064 (16.2 brix), so guessing this will end up at 6-7% ABV depending on how dry this ferments. I tried using a quite high mash temperature (68° C) and some oats in the mash, as the yeast strain is quite attenuative and it produces no glycerol, which results in a thinner body and mouthfeel. It will be really interesting to taste the results! Recipe below:

 

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Homebrew: Kind Kitten – Session IPA

Today we brewed up a 25 liter batch of a session IPA. We were aiming for below 3% ABV, but we will see how dry it ferments. The techniques we employed for getting a full flavor and low alcohol level were:

  • A high mash temperature of 70° C
  • The use of flavorful base malt (Vienna, Maris Otter, Munich and Rye) together with 10% Crystal malts and 5% each of Melanoidin and Biscuit malt.
  • A poorly attenuating yeast (WLP002)
  • Low levels of bittering hops, but huge amounts of late hops

The brewday went quite smoothly, and we ended up with about 28 litres of 1.035 wort. Didn’t dare fill the fermentation vessel that full, so 2 litres went down the drain unfortunately. Will let this ferment for about a week, after which I’ll dry hop for a week and then keg (with keg hops!). I will be force carbonating this one, to ensure there will be no extra alcohol from the priming sugar. I’m hoping this one stays at about 1.014, with all the speciality malt and the high mash temperature, which would give it an alcohol content of around 2.7% ABV. The small taste sample I had was quite promising, but it is always hard to say prior to fermentation how a batch will turn out. My biggest fear is that the mixture of speciality malt will make this a muddled and watery mess. Stay tuned for updates! Tomorrow it is time for the 100% Brett IPA.

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Why the final gravity of beer doesn’t tell the whole truth about sweetness

For brewers it’s usually standard measures to take gravity readings of the wort prior to pitching, after fermentation is complete, and why not even during fermentation to monitor the progress of fermentation. This is of course done to measure the sugar contents of the wort, and will help the brewer approximate what kind of alcohol levels to expect in the finished beer, and to see whether there still remains sugar to ferment. What is actually happening when one is taking a gravity reading, is that one is measuring the density of the wort or beer. The density is then usually expressed in specific gravity (SG), which is the density of the wort corrected against (divided with) the density of water (0.9982071 g/ml at 20° C), or in degrees Plato, which compares the density of the wort with that of a sucrose solution with the same percentage of dissolved sucrose by weight (so a 10° Plato wort has the same density as a 10% (w/w) sucrose solution). The amount of dissolved sugar in the wort (g / 100g wort) is also called the extract of the wort, and it is usually expressed in degrees Plato.

 

There is not a linear relationship between degrees Plato and specific gravity, but a very simple approximation is (1):

Eqn001

A much better approximation is the one given by Lincoln (1987) (2):

Eqn002

If we test these out with a specific gravity of 1.048, the first equation gives 12° Plato, while the second gives 11.91° Plato. Close, but not exactly the same. The further from 1 we go, the less accurate the first equation will be. A specific gravity of 1.092 will give 23° Plato with the first equation, but 22° Plato with the second. Of course the second equation isn’t perfect either, and it will also give better approximations closer to one.  Other approximations can be found in e.g. Siebert (1980).

 

So now we know we are actually measuring the density of the wort, and then using it to approximate the sugar content of the wort. This approximation is then expressed as Specific Gravity, degrees Plato, or whatever other unit you wish. But what happens with the density of the wort/beer after fermentation has produced ethanol out of the fermentable sugars? Ethanol has a density of 0.78945 g/ml at 20° C, quite much lower than water, and hence it will skew the scale. Take for example a 1.048 or ~12° Plato wort, containing no ethanol, and a 1.048 or ~12° Plato beer, with 12% ethanol (let’s say it’s a sweet and strong Imperial Stout). Will these to solutions contain the same amount of dissolved sugar? No! But, both have the same specific gravity you might argue? Yes, they do have the same specific gravity, but the 12% ethanol content of the beer will skew the measured gravity value, and the actual extract of the beer is much higher. This allows us to introduce two new terms, apparent extract and real extract. Apparent extract is the measured extract value (be it in specific gravity, degrees Plato or as density in g/ml), while real extract is the actual amount of dissolved sugars in the beer/wort. By simply measuring the density, it is impossible to estimate the real extract accurately. One should either know the original extract of the wort (i.e. the extract before fermentation began) and preferably the ethanol content as well. The real extract can of course be measured directly by the likes of liquid chromatography or similar, but is usually overkill, since the approximations are quite good.

 

By taking into account the lower density of ethanol, one can approximate the actual amount of sugars dissolved in beer, i.e. the real extract (from now on RE). One simple approximation used by many brewers is one derived from data by Karl Balling during the 19th century (3):

Eqn003

This requires only a measurement of the apparent extract (in degrees Plato; from now on AE) and information on the original extract (in degrees Plato; from now on OE), which usually is measured prior to pitching. Another slightly more accurate approximation can also be made from assumption presented by Karl Balling (that for each 2.0665 g of carbohydrate consumed by the yeast, 1 g of ethanol is produced together with 0.11 g of biomass and 0.9565 g of carbon dioxide) (4):

Eqn004

This approximation requires information on the ethanol content by weight. The problem with these approximations is again that they are only accurate within a range of input values. Pawlowski & Doemens (1932) built upon these approximations by correcting them to various OE values. The following approximation can thus be used (5):

Eqn005

q is a coefficient dependent on the OE, and it can be obtained from the following table:

[table id=4 /]

If we want to get even more accurate, we can use the following response surface-type function proposed by Hackbarth (2009) which he derived from measured values (6):

Eqn006

This function is accurate within ±0.0015° P for AABW 0-7% and AE 0-10° Plato.

Let’s test out these functions on some actual fermentation data I measured during the week. The density of the wort prior to pitching was 1.059392 g/ml, equaling to a specific gravity of 1.061295. Converting to degrees Plato with Lincoln’s approximation (2) gives 15.04° Plato. This wort fermented down to a density of 1.01144 g/ml, equaling to a specific gravity of 1.013263. Converting this to degrees Plato with Lincoln’s approximation gives us an Apparent Extract of 3.38° Plato. The measured ethanol content was 6.39% ABV. We can convert this to ABW with the following equation using data from Weissler (1995) and the International Bureau of Legal Metrology (1975) (7):

Eqn007

Using this formula gives us an ABW of 4.99%. So what is the real extract? Using the different equations presented, we get the following values:

(3) 5.60° P

(4) 5.54° P

(5) 5.60° P (q = 0.235)

(6) 5.67° P

Quite close to each other, but also quite a bit higher than the Apparent Extract. So the sugar content of this fermented beer is the same as the sugar content of a ~5.6° P unfermented wort. This is also the reason why a 10% Imperial Stout with an FG of 1.020 is much sweeter than a 3.5% Pale Ale with an FG of 1.020. Of course other factors influence sweetness as well, such as ethanol content (can give a sweet flavor), types of malts used, any spices used, and bitterness. So, don’t blindly trust your hydrometer as a measure of sweetness! Refractometers are of course a whole other story, that I won’t be getting in to, instead have a look at this and this.

References:

  • Cutaia, A., Reid, A., Speers, R., Examination of the Relationships Between Original, Real and Apparent Extracts, and Alcohol in Pilot Plant and Commercially Produced Beers. Journal of the Institute of Brewing  115 (2009) 318-327
  • Hackbarth, J., The effect of ethanol-sucrose interactions on specific gravity. Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists 67 (2009) 146-151
  • International Bureau of Legal Metrology, 1975. International Alcoholometric Tables, The Society: Partis
  • Lincoln, R., Computer compatible parametric equations for basic brewing computation. Master Brewers Association of the Americas Technical Quarterly 24 (1987) 129-132
  • Pawlowski, R., Doemens, A., 1932. Die Brautechnischen Untersuchunds-Methoden, Verlag von R: Oldenburg, Munich.
  • Siebert, K., Routine use of a programmable calculator for computing alcohol, real extract, original gravity and calories in beer. Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists 38 (1980) 27-33
  • Weissler, H., 1995. Brewing calculations. In: Handbook of Brewing. W. Hardwick Ed. Marcel Decker Inc: New York. pp 643-706

Homebrew: More starters and failed bottling

Today I had planned to bottle the Czech Mate Pilsner, that has been lagering for 1.5 months, but the taste sample I had of it was quite flat, so I decided to leave it connected to the CO2 bottle for another week. I guess an extra week of lagering won’t hurt it. I’m not completely happy with its taste, since its quite malty (I guess its from the aromatic malt) and the hoppiness is not as fresh and floral as I had hoped. Also, there is a slight alcohol bite, even though this is just over 5% ABV. Hope I haven’t lagered it for too long.

I also made two 1-liter yeast starters today: one of WLP002 (English Ale), for a session IPA we’ll be brewing next Thursday, and one of WLP644 (Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois), for a Brett IPA I’ll be brewing next Friday. The Brett IPA recipe will be pretty much the same as I originally planned, but will be switching in Galaxy for Citra and will be using Maris Otter as base malt. The session IPA recipe is still under construction, but will most likely contain a bunch of different specialty malts, loads of late hops, and a high mash temperature. To complete next week’s brewing weekend, I’ll be brewing up a Belgian Quad to pitch on the Belgian Blond‘s yeast cake. The Quad will feature mostly Pilsner malt, with slight amounts of crystal, biscuit and special B. At the end of the boil I’ll throw in a hefty amount of dark candi syrup. Aiming for 10% ABV. More on these next weekend!