Monthly Archives: April 2013

Brewday: Summer Pale Ale

Yesterday we brewed the Summer Pale Ale mentioned a couple of posts ago. The recipe basically stayed the same, but we upped the 90 minute and 30 minute Chinook additions to 20 g each, in order to get some more bitterness. We managed to boil off a little more wort than expected, so ended up with around 25 liters of 1.055 wort instead of 30 liters of 1.050 wort. Oh well, guess this will be more of a IPA than an APA. We managed to screw up slightly with the flameout hop addition, as normally I always use mesh bags for whole hop cones, but this time I tried adding them freely into the wort. This of course meant that some hop debris made it into the pump, which jammed while we were transferring the wort to the fermenter. Luckily it jammed with just a couple of liters left in the kettle, meaning we didn’t lose much wort. Lesson learned, always use hop bags during the boil. We pitched with a healthy dose of WLP002, and adjusted the ambient temperature to 16 C. Hopefully it won’t be too low for the yeast. We mashed at 62.8 C (145 F) for an hour, follow by 15 minutes at 68.3 C (155 F) and 15 minutes at 76 C (169 F), to produce a highly fermentable wort. Hopefully this will become a tasty brew to drink during the hot summer days! We bottled the Amarillo Hefeweizen as well, and it tasted quite promising. The aroma was dominated by banana and lemon, and the flavor was surprisingly light. Will see how this one turns out in a couple of weeks!

Tasting From Seamless To Shameless 2

  • Brewery: Sly Cat Homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.0 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

Yet another post for today (I should learn to spread the posts out over several days), and now it is time to taste the rebrew of From Seamless To Shameless I brewed for Team Seamless of Aalto’s PDP Course in the beginning of March. The beer has been well received, and compared to the first version, the second version is maybe slightly more bitter. I have one bottle left, so I thought I’d write up a review on it. The malt bill is simple, and consisted of Pale Ale, Vienna and Crystal malt. The beer was hopped with Simcoe and Cascade and IBUs should be around 30. The beer was fermented quite cool with US-05, so it should hopefully be quite clean. I kegged the beer together with a small amount of Simcoe and Cascade about a month ago, and transferred it to bottles about two weeks ago, so the beer should have had a little time to mature, but is still hopefully features some nice hop tones. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”From Seamless To Shameless 2″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a just slightly hazy amber-orange color. A compact white-colored head is formed and the structure of it seems fairly solid. The head collapses quite slowly and it leaves drapes of lacing along the glass. Not a bad appearance.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is quite hoppy, with citrusy and floral tones dominating. There is a slight underlying tropical fruitiness, that brings my thoughts to mango, which could be from the Simcoe dry-hop. The aroma is not all hops though, as there is a slight caramel- and honey-like maltiness hiding in the background. The aroma is not that potent, but that is not a bad thing in a easy-to-drink ‘beer for the public’ like this. No off-aromas or otherwise off-putting smells either. Quite promising!” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”As the beer enters the mouth you are first hit with a caramelly, honey- and biscuit-like maltiness that is reminiscent to what was found in the aroma, but the taste is much more potent. The malt tones work very well, and these are joined by a citrusy and floral hoppiness. You can tell that quite a lot of late hops have been used, as the hop flavor is really present. The finish is slightly bitter, much less so than I had expected, and quite dry. The lower bitterness is not a problem either, as the beer still feels well balanced, and this makes it more drinkable for the larger mass as well. If I would rebrew this solely for my own enjoyment, I would probably up the IBUs by around 10-20 (making it border on IPA territory) as I think it would complement the strong malt and hop flavors better. Still, this is a very tasty brew. When I tasted the beer is connection with bottling it had a slightly sharp/astringent bite, but that is all gone now, and I assume it resulted from over-carbonation in the keg (carbonic acid bite). Quite happy with this one. Not perfect, but really good.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and carbonation level. It is very easy to drink, and the citrusy hop flavors make it really refreshing.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”As I already mentioned, I’m quite happy with how this one turned out. Since it’s quite fresh still, there is a lot of nice hop aroma and flavor left. The bitterness was maybe slightly on the low side, and I think this same recipe would work very well for an APA/IPA hybrid with an IBU around 50. The malty and biscuity flavors were surprisingly strong in this one, despite the quite simple malt bill. I really like using a large fraction of Munich or Vienna malt in my recipes, as I think it brings quite nice tones to the flavor. Hope I can achieve something similar with the beer we’re brewing on Monday!”]

Article on relation between wort amino acids and diacetyl production

I’m really happy to announce that my manuscript entitled ‘Influence of valine and other amino acids on total diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione levels during fermentation of brewer’s wort’ has been accepted for publication in the Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology journal. As soon as it is published or available online I’ll post a link to it here. It is an interesting read if you are interested in how amino acids in wort affect diacetyl production. Here is the abstract:

Undesirable butter-tasting vicinal diketones are produced as by-products of valine and isoleucine biosynthesis during wort fermentation. One promising method of decreasing diacetyl production is through control of wort valine content since valine is involved in feedback inhibition of enzymes controlling the formation of diacetyl precursors. Here, the influence of valine supplementation, wort amino acid profile and free amino nitrogen content on diacetyl formation during wort fermentation with the lager yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus was investigated. Valine supplementation (100 to 300 mg*L-1) resulted in decreased maximum diacetyl concentrations (up to 37% lower) and diacetyl concentrations at the end of fermentation (up to 33% lower) in all trials. Composition of the amino acid spectrum of the wort also had an impact on diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione production during fermentation. No direct correlation between the wort amino acid concentrations and diacetyl production was found, but rather a negative correlation between the uptake rate of valine (and also other branched-chain amino acids) and diacetyl production. Fermentation performance and yeast growth were unaffected by supplementations. Amino acid addition had a minor effect on higher alcohol and ester composition, suggesting that high levels of supplementation could affect the flavour profile of the beer. Modifying amino acid profile of wort, especially with respect to valine and the other branched-chain amino acids, may be an effective way of decreasing the amount of diacetyl formed during fermentation.

  • Krogerus, K., Gibson, B.R., (2013) Influence of valine and other amino acids on total diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione levels during fermentation of brewer’s wort. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. In Press. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-013-4955-1

Homebrew: Summer Pale Ale

Next Monday we will be bottling the first batch of beer we brewed at the new garage brewery (Amarillo Hefeweizen), and while we are there we thought we’d brew up a new batch of beer. Light, refreshing, and hop-forward beers are my favorite to drink during the summer, so the next beer will be a slightly larger batch of American Pale Ale (will still have to think of a better name). The malt bill will be simple, consisting of Pale Ale, Munich and Carapils malt (no Crystal, since I want a dry finish). The beer will be bittered with Chinook, and flame-out hopped with Cascade and Centennial. The same hop combo will be used for dry hopping. The beer will be fermented with my new favorite yeast strain, WLP002 English Ale, which I think works well in most styles of beer. You can get it to attenuate by mashing low.

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Upcoming homebrew plans

Now that the garage brewery is finally up and running I thought I’d brew up a couple of batches for the summer. The Amarillo Hefeweizen is fermenting along slowly but nicely (its fermenting at the cold end of the recommended range, 17C, in order to minimize the production of isoamyl acetate) and I will add the dry hops next Thursday, after which the batch will be bottled Monday 29.04. During the bottling I will also brew a big batch of American Pale Ale (Pale Ale 83%, Munich 12%, Carapils 5%; Chinook, Cascade and Centennial; WLP002) for the summer. The following week, it will be time for an Oak-Aged English Strong Ale / Barleywine (recipe still under development, but will aim for an OG of around 1.100 and a malty flavor profile) and the week after that an Imperial IPA (Pale Ale 84%, Munich 12%, Carapils 2.5%, Crystal 100 1.5%; Hop Extract, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and Simcoe; WLP002). During May I’ll probably brew up a batch of (Imperial) Stout/Porter for next winter as well, but will have to think about a recipe for that one still. Gonna be a good brew summer!

Homebrew: Amarillo Hefeweizen

Today we brewed our first batch of beer in our new brewing garage. The batch was the Amarillo Hefeweizen mentioned in the previous post. Overall, the brewday went quite smoothly, but we had a few hiccups during the mash. The post-boil wort was tasting promising though, so hopefully this will result in a nice and refreshing beer for the summer! We managed to squeeze out 24 liters of 1.049 wort, so efficiency was around 67% (better than usual). Below are some pictures of the garage and the brewday.










Upcoming Brewday: Amarillo Hefeweizen – Brewing Garage Debut

On Friday we will finally brew our first batch of beer in our new brewing garage. Hopefully everything goes smoothly and we don’t suddenly realize we are missing something mid-brewday. I’ll take my camera with me and will try to get as much pictures as possible. I had an expired vial of WLP380 Hefeweizen IV in the fridge, so we decided to brew a refreshing hefeweizen with a twist for the summer. I also have some loads of Amarillo in the fridge, so we thought we’d try out how the fruitiness from Amarillo pairs with the spicy citrusy hefeweizen tones of WLP380. New Glarus Brewing has apparently tried something similar before and people seem to like their beer. Anyways, the recipe is posted below (quite simple). This will be the first time we try a step mash as well. Hoping for slightly better head retention with the short protein rest (as recently the head retention has been really poor for all my beers made with single infusion mashes and Viking Malt’s base malt). Just initiated a 1.5L starter on the stir plate. Can’t wait until Friday!

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Tasting the Eubayanus Blond

  • Brewery: Sly Cat Homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Blonde Ale?
  • ABV: 4.5 %
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

The beer I brewed with Saccharomyces eubaynus has now been in the keg and bottles (I managed to squeeze out three 500 ml bottles that didn’t fit in the keg) for 13 days, so I thought I’d pop one of the bottles for a quick taste. As far as I’m concerned, this is the first time the yeast has been used for (home)brewing beer (outside of research purposes), so it will be very interesting to see what kind of beer it produces. The attenuation was quite low (66%), so hopefully the beer isn’t grossly overcarbonated, as a result of further fermentation in the bottle. The beer appears to have dropped crystal clear, which is surprising, since the yeast showed really poor flocculation properties in the starter and fermentation vessel. Perhaps, similarly to Brettanomyces sp., the yeast flocculates as soon as it is subjected to pressure. Not really sure how to classify this beer (since S. eubayanus is neither an ale or lager yeast), but I guess this is something similar to an American Pale Ale, but without a large amount of late hops. Let’s see how it tastes! PS. Keep in mind that the beer has only been two weeks in the bottle, so the flavor profile will most likely change a bit in the upcoming weeks.

[easyreview title=”Eubayanus Blond” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”A reaffirming pop is heard as I open the cap of the bottle, and the beer pours into the glass with a slightly hazy golden-amber color. The yeast layer at the bottom of the bottle is very loose, and the amount of yeast in suspension rises quickly (quicker than usual) as the pour gets towards the latter half of the bottle. A minimal off-white head is formed, which collapses quite slowly. I’m suspecting that the carbonation level might be quite low. The beer leaves some traces of lacing along the glass as the surface level drops in the glass. Overall, not a bad appearance, but could use a bit larger and more retentive head and a slightly clearer look for my taste.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The first thing that comes to my mind when smelling the beer is a hoppy pilsner, and the aroma is quite ‘lager-like’ (I know, a poor description, but that was honestly what I first thought of as I took the first smell). The aroma is surprisingly clean (no hints of fruity esters, phenolics or funkiness), so the low fermentation temperature probably did its thing. The aroma features some sweet tones of caramel, biscuits and grainy maltiness, coupled with a grassy, citrusy and slightly resiny hoppiness. The overall aroma level is quite low. Not bad at all, and I’m actually looking forward to tasting this one.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”As the beer enters the mouth, you can directly tell that the attenuation level of the fermentation was quite low, as the flavor begins with a sweet biscuit-like maltiness. Even though the beer is quite sweet, I don’t think it’s too sweet. After the initial hit of maltiness, a citrus-like fruitiness joins in, which I assume is from the Simcoe hops. There is a definite hops presence, but it doesn’t take over the flavor, and lets the other components of the beer shine. The finish is also quite sweet and it features a clean, but firm, bitterness, that backs up the sweetness quite well. Glad I aimed for quite high IBUs, as with lower bitterness, this beer would probably have been cloyingly sweet. The beer has a slick mouthfeel and maybe some slight hints of butterscotch, so there may be some diacetyl present, but the levels are so low that I can barely tell if I’m imagining or if they are really present. The flavor is not bad at all, and in fact I quite enjoyed it, being an experimental beer. The sweetness was perhaps slightly too high, but not much to be done against that considering the yeast. It might also have been interesting to use some noble hops for this beer, as they might have worked better than Simcoe.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The mouthfeel is quite slick (feels slightly oily somehow, even though the hop levels are low), and the body is medium-full. The carbonation level is a bit too low, but that is something that either a couple more weeks in the bottle will help against or drinking from the keg.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised about how this one tasted. I had expected a funky and undrinkable mess, as this is basically a ‘wild yeast’, not adapted to brewing environments and purposes, but in fact, the beer tasted and smelled surprisingly clean. The malt and hoppiness really shined through, even though it wasn’t the purpose. The yeast performed well at low temperatures (fermentation fridge set at 12C), so the yeast most likely contributes the cold tolerance and performance to lager yeast. The residual extract level of the beer was quite high, even though I mashed at a very low mash temperatures in order to make the wort as fermentable as possible. The attenuation level of the yeast was only around 66%, so it left quite a bit of sugars left. Looking forward to using this yeast again, perhaps in a low alcohol beer (because of the poor attenuation). Will be interesting to see how this one develops with time.”]

Master’s Thesis done!


My Master’s Thesis, titled Contribution of wort valine to diacetyl levels in wort during brewery fermentation, is finally ready! As soon as it is accepted, I’ll post a link to the pdf version here on the blog. It contains some really interesting results! The Thesis Ale I brewed in the beginning of the year is also featured in the picture above. It’s not as fresh anymore and is losing some of its hop aroma (it was bottled about two months ago), but it is still a nice beer. Tomorrow I will be tasting a bottle of the Eubayanus Blond, which will be very, very interesting. The beer has dropped crystal clear after two weeks in the bottle.