Wednesday, November 16, 2016

East Coast IPA Brew Day... and Vertical Tasting of Boulevard Rye on Rye.

The team gathering in the
garage with Bailey the
On Saturday morning the team gathered for an epic brew day.   We were determined to brew our version of an East Coast IPA.   10 gallons of hoppy deliciousness.   The recipe was set out in the previous post.  Basically a whole lot of Mosaic, Citra, and Cascade, with a touch of Warrior, and Simcoe, to add some bitterness on the front and in the middle.

Beth and Mashy Hoppinton
visited during brew day.  What
a cool mom, notice the beer.
This was a fairly medium gravity brew, only 22.5 lbs of grain.   The base grain was Vienna 20 lbs, and the only other additions are  2.5 lbs of wheat malt, and 1 cup of white flour (to make it murky).  The flour is the wild card,  we have never done that before.  We have never tried to make a beer cloudy before.   It was a real weird feeling, adding something to the mash for the express purpose of making a beer appear cloudy.  All of our grains came from Cargill.   The Vienna from Cargill is amazing stuff.  Malty and bready... gives an awesome back bone for a hoppy beer.  Meussdoerffer Vienna... We have made ECIPAs in the past with pale ale, or two row malt, and they were delicious, but the Vienna adds something that can stand up to all those hops.    

22 lbs of crushed grains about
to go into a 100 quart no sparge
mash tun. 
We crushed the grains fine  (35 mils) the day before at a friends who has a seriously big mill.   Like the kind you see at a home brew shop... But like an idiot, I left the grains in the car overnight, so they were at 51 F as we started the brew day.   We know from experience that when we brew no sparge in our cooler we loose about 7 F.   Even if we pre heat the mash tun.  So our software suggested we should be at 160 F Strike, so we added our grains first and then added 165 F water.    John had treated the water with Camden,  Lactic (2ml) and Calcium Chloride 2 g.   Our pH settled in nicely at 5.2, at temperature, so it was probably closer to 5.4 or 5.5... which is fine with us.

Brew in a bag in a mash tun
our favorite way to brew.
We know that 5 F to 6 F over
strike temperature will hit
our strike temp every time. This
cooler has a door in the lid, so
we can stir during the mash.
The mash went well.  We stirred every 15 minutes.   Our mash tun has a door on the top of the lid that we can open with out losing too much heat.  Our mash temps remained perfect at 149 to 152 F for the entire 60 minutes of the mash.   And we ended up overshooting by .004... which means we got 77% efficiency on a no sparge, brew in a bag, in a cooler... pretty darn cool.  This is by far the easiest and fastest way to brew.  Even with our complex boil schedule.  We were done brewing in 3.5 hours.   Although the brew day was much longer, due to bottling 20 gallons of beer, and the vertical tasting.

East coast IPAs are fun to brew, and relatively easy.  The boil went as planned due in no small part to organization of the ingredients, and preparation.   Jake got the group more disposable plastic cups for measuring hop additions.  The cups were labeled  and set out in order.  There was well over a pound of hops going into this 10 gallon hop monster.

Jaded hydra is the king of
all worth chillers.. pay heed
and homage!
The fun thing about the ECIPA style is so many of the hops go in at the end of the boil, and there are hop additions during the wort chill.  We made our flame out additions and then we used our trusty Jaded Hydra to chill the batch to 180 F.  At 180 F we added more hops and let them whirl pool for 30 minutes.  Then we chilled the batch to pitching temperatures.  The jaded hydra makes chilling the entire batch lightning fast.  It chilled from 212 F to  179 F in under a minute.  Of course cool ground water temperatures helped a lot.

10.5 gallons in the
chamber turning in to awesome
Early in the day, John re hydrated three packs of US05.  They were ready to rock and roll when we pitched.   As of today (Tuesday) Both batches are fermenting well in the fermentation chamber at 65 F.  Tonight Jake and John will add 1 ounce of Mosaic, Citra, and Cascade to the fermenters.   In a couple of days the batch fermentation temperature will be raised to 68 F to encourage complete fermentation, then in a week another charge of dry hops.   The second dose of dry hops will only be exposed to the beer for 3 or 4 days.   Then it will be time for packaging.   We package beer when it is ready.  Well how do you know it is ready.   It is really simple,  take a gravity sample.   Take a sample and when it is at terminal gravity let it sit a couple of days to clean up.  That is all it takes.

We should be drinking this beer in about 2.5 to 3 weeks.   Can't wait.  This one should be great.

At the end of the brew day, after all clean up, we gathered in the house for a vertical tasting of Boulevard Rye on Rye.   2012 through 2016.    If you are not familiar with Boulevard's smoke stack series... Smoke Stack brews from boulevard are made on their smaller original brewing system.  And they are world class.   This is where Boulevard makes their limited release beers.  This is where Boulevard brewers are encouraged to experiment.   This is where Tank 7, and Lovechild, and Tell Tale Tart were born.  And Boulevard Rye on Rye is an outstanding beer.  It is a Rye Beer, aged in Rye Barrels.

We all had different impressions.   My favorite was the 2015.  It still had some of the Spicy Rye character.   I think everyone else preferred the 2014 version.   Love this beer, and I am thankful that my brewing partners can store and save beer.  I don't seem to have that discipline.   If you have never tried it, stop what you are doing and go get some.

Friday, November 11, 2016

How to make a ridiculous IPA - East Coast IPA...

So over the past year we have done a lot of research into what makes an IPA taste the way an IPA taste.   We have talked with experts at BSG and Yakima Valley Hop Union about hops, and hop oils, isomerization, and flavor.  We have shared with you all the technology of Scott Janish's  Hop Oil Calculator.  And we have brewed a whole bunch of IPAs.

But now it is time to really apply what we have learned to an everyday, medium gravity IPA.   Sure, we designed and brewed Hoptonite.  And we are so flattered that so many of you have downloaded this monster and brewed this beast.    And it is an amazing beer.   But you don't always want a high alcohol, extremely high IBU beer.   And that brings us to this weekend's recipe.   "Persuasion IPA"

With Persuasion we are bringing the knowledge we learned in the ridiculous double IPA series and applying it to what we have learned to an East Coast IPA.   Yes, we are the first to acknowledge that ECIPAs are sweeping the brewing world faster than beanie babies swept through the early 1990s.  Yes, we acknowledge that this is the latest brewing fad.  But... who really cares.  The ECIPA is more than a fad it is a delicious beer.   Here is our take on it.  Backed by the research we have done.  Loads of late hops, loads of whirlpool hops.  and two additions of dry hops.   First addition before fermentation (so the yeast can work on the hop oils), second addition after active fermentation (for pure traditional dry hop goodness).

And here is what it will taste like according to Scott Janish.  If you are not using the hop oils calculator on you are missing out.  It is the best way to predict the flavor and aroma of your late hop additions.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Coming soon to Counterbrew

So this is an exciting week at Counterbrew.   John and Beth had a beautiful healthy baby girl who they named... "Hoppy Mash Paddle"... just kidding this is a public blog, did you really think I would give out the child's name. Despite my best efforts, they did not name her "David, Jake, Mark Anthony".  So the writing and the editing is down a little bit this week, hope you all can cut us some slack.

In the brewery.

The KBS clone has been transferred to secondary on oak chips that were soaked in quality bourbon. This beer should be amazing.  Really looking forward to enjoying it by a fire place with snow falling out side.

The golden boy sour - remember the disaster batch from over a year ago?  Well it got hit with brettanomyces dregs from Boulevard Love Child series - it is ready for bottling.  The problem is we need to make a new wort to put on top of it, and life is crazy right now.   I may see if MA can brew on Sunday afternoon. Then we'll just bottle and pitch sometime next week.   We may make a simple partial mash.  (OK we are brewing a celebration batch next weekend.  While we do that I will brew a wort to go on top of the sour. Just a simple heavy adjunct wort with lots of corn and oats to give the brett something to work on over the next 6 months)

The Saison Brett is not quite ready yet - but it is getting close.   We are monitoring it and tasting.  At this point we are just waiting for that perfect flavor to develop.

Mark Anthony was a trooper last night.  He took the time to clean the brewery, and divide up the spoils of brewing.   Here is what we all got from recent brewing activities.

4 bombers each of Bourbon Barrel Quad
6 12 ounce Festbiers
3 bombers, 5 bottles of standard BDSA
10 pumpkin ales
6 bombers two hearted ale clones
4 bombers of  Karma Citra
7 grapefruit Sculpin clone

That is a lot of beer.  Just in time for the holidays.

Coming soon

Here is what is coming up for the blog.   First I am very excited to be doing an advanced series on Malt and mashing.  We will be joined by industry experts from Cargill to take a much deeper look at what makes malt taste the way malt tastes.  So many of you know so much about yeast and hops, but really next to nothing about the chemical composition of malt.  Does it matter?  You bet your mash tun it does.

We will also be doing two more episodes in the actual truth about yeast series with Kevin Lane of Fermentis.  The first one will be on maximizing attenuation, and the second on blending yeasts. Really exciting stuff.  So stay tuned.

We will also be getting back to brewing more beer.  There are some exciting developments on that as well, as we launch our new 10 Gallon BIAB Recirculating system.
So stay tuned, keep on brewing, and remember brewing is 45% Cleaning 45% learning, and 10% brewing.