Monthly Archives: November 2012

Brewing and beer tasting on Friday

On Friday I will be brewing my first English Pale Ale / ESB ever. After closer to 30 batches of mostly American-style beers, I will join a couple of friends (Ingemar, Marcus N and Rasmus) over at a friend’s place (Marcus L), where we will be brewing and drinking some nice beer. Marcus L doesn’t have any brewing equipment of his own yet, so we will be brewing a stove-top BIAB, using a mixture of equipment that us guests are bringing with us. I designed the recipe (see below) for 15 litres of ESB hopped with East Kent Goldings, and hopefully it will make a tasty beer. Looking at other recipes online, most ESBs seem to have a simple malt bill with 90-95% pale ale malt and 5-10% Crystal malt, so went with something similar. I used three types of crystal malt for some complexity and a large hop addition late in the boil for some nice hop aroma. I have no idea what kind of efficiency we will be getting, so calculated the ingredients using a pessimistic guess of 55% efficiency.

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The list of beers we will be drinking is nice as well, and it includes 4 of my homebrews, which will all have tasting debuts, and 10 commercial beers. The list is:

I will be posting a report, along with pictures, both over the brewday and with tasting notes. I’m already looking forward to Friday!

By the way, Unexpected Predator (my homebrewed American Strong Ale / IPA) got a great review over at Reittausblogi (unfortunately only in Finnish). I’ve really liked the beer myself (only a couple of bottles left), but it’s sweetening up a bit as it ages, and would maybe have liked a bit more bitterness to back up the sweetness. Otherwise a really nice beer, that I would recommend to anyone wanting to brew a hoppy, bitter and malty strong ale.

Amager Rated XxX

  • Brewery: Amager Bryghus
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 9.0 %
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: Barley Wine, Copenhagen
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

After beginning the evening with an IPA hopped with 10 different hop varieties, its time to up the odds with an Imperial IPA hopped with 30 different hop varieties. Yes, you read that right, 30 different hop varieties. I have no idea what these 30 varieties are, but I assume they have put in every common hop variety around. After the previous muddled mess I’m expecting the worst. I have no information on any other ingredients either, so will have to see how it does! This bottle was from batch #364, which I think was brewed in June this year as the best before date is 06/2013, so the beer should be around 5 months old (hopefully that, and not 17 months old). Let’s see how it does!

[easyreview title=”Amager Rated XxX” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a hazy amber-orange color (slightly darker than the previous Mikkeller 10), and minimal off-white colored head. The surface is oily and the beer leaves minimal patches of lacing along the glass as the surface falls. Not very good looking at least.” cat1rating=”2.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is a strange blend of tropical fruits and herbs, which is backed up by some slight caramel and resiny tones. The aroma is a little on the weak side, but the little that is there is quite pleasant, though a bit hard to pinpoint.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a caramelly maltiness, but before you know it, your taste buds have been attacked by a massive, but muddled, hoppiness. I’m able to pick out some citrus, tropical fruits, resin, berries and herbal tones, but there is a bit too much going on to get a clear picture. The finish is semi-dry and features a huge, dank and mouth-drying bitterness. Balance is definitely towards the hoppy and bitter side, but the maltiness is still there to back it up. Its a shame the hop flavors are as muddled as they are, as otherwise this would be a very nice beer. I love the huge bitterness, coupled with the caramelly sweetness and hoppy flavors. You feel some alcohol as the beer warms up.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-full body and medium-low carbonation level. The beer feels a bit oily in the mouth, and the bitterness is a bit harsh. A slow sipper.” cat4rating=”3″ cat5title=”Overall” cat5detail=”I liked this slightly more than Mikkeller 10, mostly because the stronger hop flavors and bitterness levels. The hop profile was very muddled again though, and its a shame this didn’t contain a tenth of the hop varieties. The crazy bitterness can probably be off-putting to some, but I felt the maltiness and hop flavors managed to keep it on par. These were some interesting experiments, but there is a reason why brewers usually choose to use only a couple of different hop varieties in their brews.” cat5rating=”3.5″ overall=false]

Mikkeller 10

  • Brewery: Mikkeller (Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij)
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 6.9 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Barley Wine, Copenhagen
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

This evening I thought I’d taste through a pair of beers brewed with a large number of different hop varieties. Five different hop varieties is the most I’ve ever added to one beer when homebrewing, and that was already pushing it when looking at the flavor it produced, since more hop varieties lead to a more muddled and generic hop flavor, making it harder to pick out the nuances brought by the different hop varieties (think of it as adding spices to a soup, you have to find a good balance and can’t add everything in your spice cupboard hoping to make a good soup). First up is Mikkeller’s 10, an American IPA brewed with 10 different hop varieties. These ten are (as listed on the bottle): Warrior, Simcoe, Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, Nugget, Tomahawk, and East Kent Goldings. An interesting blend, mostly focusing on the American citrus hops, so am expecting lots of grapefruit, resin, floral tones, exotic fruits, and slight herbal tones. Was not able to find any information on the IBU, but am assuming it is in the 60-100 range. The other ingredients are Pilsner malt, Cara-crystal, Munich malt and Oat flakes (ratios should be 67-11-11-11 % according to this post) and an American-style yeast. Let’s see if this Mikkeller is a magnificent masterpiece or muddled mess!

[easyreview title=”Mikkeller 10″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy amber-orange color and a fluffy cream-colored head is formed, that collapses quite quickly leaving behind oily patches of lacing along the glass. ” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is sweet and fruity, featuring mostly tones of peach, grapefruit, orange and pineapple. You can definitely feel the presence of crystal malt, as it lends a sweet caramelly note to the aroma. Surprisingly little resin and pine, but maybe it is present in the flavor instead?” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is quite similar to the aroma, beginning with a slightly sweet, caramelly and bready maltiness, that is joined by a citrusy and fruity hoppiness, lending mostly tones of citrus, peach, pineapple, and a slight dankness. I would never be able to pick out the individual hops from this if I hadn’t known them before tasting the beer, and having tasted it I feel that 10 different hop varieties is a bit too much, as the hop tones are quite muddled. The beer finishes semi-dry, with a moderate bitter bite, that could perhaps be a little stronger. The flavors are quite balanced, but maybe the hop flavors could be a bit stronger (this beer is about 8 months old, so it has probably lost a bit of potency). Not bad, but nothing spectacular.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth and medium-full body and a medium-low carbonation level. The beer is easy to drink and feels nice in the mouth.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall an interesting beer, but nothing I would buy again. I will also make sure never to use this many hop varieties in any of my own beer, since the large number made a surprisingly muddled and uninteresting hop profile. I’m a bit scared to try the next beer.”]

Homebrew: From Seamless to Shameless – American Pale Ale

Today I brewed up a batch of American Pale Ale for team Seamless. They asked me if I could brew them an easy-to-drink and flavorful ‘team beer’, so I chose to brew an American Pale Ale featuring a simple malt bill and hopped with Cascade. The brewday went quite well, but had some small problems with the pump (which had jammed) in the beginning of the mash. I also didn’t quite reach the intended original gravity of 1.055, as the wort remained at 1.051, but instead gained 1.5 litres of extra wort. Seems like the cold weather (was brewing outdoors) affected the intensity of the boil. The beer will ferment for 2 weeks, after which I will keg it along with dry hops and force carbonate it for 2 more weeks. You can find the recipe and pictures from the brewday below.

The crushed grain along with the salt additions:

Closing in on the mash temperature:

Testing mashing with a nylon bag:

Weighing up the hop additions:

Adding the bittering addition:

Sanitizing the plate chiller during the last 15 minutes of the boil:

A little over 22 liters of wort ended up in the fermenting vessel together with a pouch of US-05:

The custom-designed crown caps with team logo:

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Mikkeller Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas

  • Brewery: Mikkeller (Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij)
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 7.8 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Alko, 5.23€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Christmas beers have made their annual debut at Alko, and you can find the list of this year’s Christmas beers here. I’m usually not that super excited about the Christmas beers, but I bought a couple of bottles from the list. First up is Mikkeller’s Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas, an IPA brewed with ginger and pine needles. Sounds quite interesting and hopefully the spices aren’t overpowering. Have had a couple of ginger-spiced beers before and they are usually a bit over-the-top, but pine needles in beer is new to me. The beer has been brewed with Pale Ale and Melanoidin (these are starting to become one of my favorite malts) malts and hopped with Magnum, Amarillo, Columbus, Centennial and Citra to an IBU of 66. On paper this sounds awesome at least! Let’s see how it does in reality!

[easyreview title=”Mikkeller Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy golden-orange color and a massive white-colored fluffy head is formed, that collapses slowly leaving patches of lacing along the glass. The beer is bottle-conditioned, so the second pours contains some yeast.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by fruity hops, featuring tones of pineapple, mango and citrus, together with resiny pine notes and ginger. The aroma is quite sweet as well, with some caramel notes in the background. A really nice aroma, but you definitely have to like (tropical) fruity hops to enjoy it.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slightly sweet, caramelly and bready maltiness, that is quickly joined by a resiny, citrusy, pineapple-like and dank hoppiness. The hop flavors are strong and they dominate the palate. The taste finishes with a quite dry and bitter finish, giving room for a slight bite of ginger as well. Positively surprised that the ginger has managed to stay in the background, while it still contributes positively to the flavor. The flavors are well balanced for an IPA, with the moderately strong bitterness being coupled with the strong hop flavors and not too weak of a malt backbone.” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and carbonation level, and it is easy to drink. A really enjoyable and well put together beer.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”A very nice ‘spiced’ IPA, where the spices are actually in the background and complement the hop flavors that are very present in this. Lots of tropical fruits, citrus and resin flavors in this, which I really enjoy. Maybe just slightly too much of the fruits if I have to find something to complain about. The bitterness level is good, and it is very well backed up by the maltiness contributed by the melanoidin malts. My kind of Christmas beer!”]

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

Today I bottled the Brett IPA I brewed up three weeks ago. I managed to squeeze 29 bottles (0.33L) out of the 10 liter batch, so am quite happy. Gravity had fallen to 1.012, meaning an apparent attenuation of 80%. This is in the range of the Brett B strain mixture I used (WLP644), though some have reported apparent attenuations up to 85-90%. Hopefully I won’t get any bottle bombs. 1.012 seems perfect for a IPA in this strength. I had a small taste sample, and the reports of tropical and pineappley fruitiness of this strain are true, as it felt like I was drinking juice. This will be very interesting to drink in a couple of weeks!

Homebrew updates

Yesterday I bottled the Kind Kitten Session Ale, which was tasting a bit green and super hoppy. Hopefully this balances out a bit in the upcoming weeks, but nevertheless, this is already a flavor packed beer at only 2.7% ABV. After the bottling, I directly transferred (after a quick cleanup) the Purring Nun Belgian Strong Dark Ale into the keg, where it will bulk age for a couple of months. Gravity had fallen to 1.011, giving the beer an ABV of 9.0%. This was exactly where I wanted the gravity to fall to, and the small taste sample was quite promising as well. A little warm with alcohol and quite estery, but this will diminish slightly with the bulk aging. Finally, I dry-hopped the Brett IPA with 45 g each of Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy. Will be bottling this batch in a week.