Wednesday, May 9, 2018

MC2 IPA with Cargill 2 row

John and I set out to make an ipa using two of our favorite hops and some of our favorite grains... On a week night.  On a stove top.  Yup we brew small batch to.  I know you're all more accustomed to seeing us brew 10 gallons in the garage, but we enjoy brewing and stove top makes it possible to brew any night of the week.  From the time I got there till we were all cleaned up was. Just over 3 hours.   Not too shabby. And we watched basketball, and we tried some sours.  All in all a good week night.

Our goal was to make an ipa with much of the flavors we enjoy from an New England ipa, but with out the cloudy murky appearance of the same.   We wanted a flavorful malt background but The Malt would not be the star of this recipe. We chose a combination of 2 row malt,  Cara/Crystal 40 and a little bit of wheat malt. But not enough wheat malt to make it cloudy or murky. The Malt we chose was all Cargill.  
Cargill Two Row Barley is a blend of Metcalfe and Copeland Barley.   Some Maltsters want you to believe that barley from a single plant (Harrington) species is superior to a blend.  But think that through sports fans.  Harrington is a 22 year old varietal.  Newer and better grains have come along. Metcalfe and Copeland are just as enzymatic and field hardy as Harrington, but they simply taste better.  Harrington is very neutral.  No doubt Harrington is still excellent for producing lager.  But we find that the flavors from Cargill two row are superior and we continue to have fantastic conversion and extraction from the Cargill grains.  Our mash efficiency was excellent.  John got a fancy new gas stove, so we were off on our brew house efficiency, no big deal we added 1 lb of extra light dme, and we ended up with an extra .23 gallons of wort.  Our IBUs will be a little lower, but this thing is 79 IBUs and almost all of it late.   We can afford to give a little there.  The moral? These things happen your first time using new equipment.  But we are experienced and prepared, and we knew what to do.

Here's the recipe. 
Style - 21A American IPA
2.75 Gallons at 75% efficiency
1.058 OG
1.011 FG
9.67   SRM - Morey
79.49 IBUs - Raeger

The grain:
4.00 lbs  Cargill Two Row
0.25 lbs  Cargill Wheat Malt
0.25 lbs  Cargill  Cara 40
10 ounces of Cane Sugar

The Hops
.4 ounces of Columbus at 40 minutes
.5 ounces of Citra at 5 minutes
.5 ounces of Mosaic at 5 minutes
.5 ounces of Citra Whirlpool for 15 minutes starting at 180 F
.65 ounces of Mosaic Whirlpool for 15 minutes starting at 180 F
Yup thats' the super cool small
batch mash tun with a port for
stirring the wort!
.5 ounces of Citra Dry hop for 3 days
.5 ounces of Mosaic Dry hop for 3 days

Brew day starter of Fermentis S04 - 9 g of yeast in .5 liter of water with 50 grams of DME.  Or just rehydrate during brew day with goferm. 

152 F for 60 minutes - stir every 15 minutes
168 F for 10 minutes - stir and let rest for 10 minutes

Ferment at 65 F for 7 days then raise to 70 F to let it finish strong.  Dry hop with 3 days to go!

Fermentis s04
100% of the time, it works
every time!
Small batch is a great way to spend an evening.  Brewing small batch gives you more variety.  Yes, you will need some different equipment, no it isn't expensive. Check back for upcoming posts on Affordable Advanced Home Brewing.  If you haven't tried Cargill, let your home brew shop know they should get some.  If you haven't used Fermentis S04 in a while, give it another try it is excellent stuff.  The dry yeast from Fermentis gives us consistent reliable performance.    

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Make wine... because chicks dig it... Master Vintner Pinot Noir

Happy Big Brew Day 2018... I'll be posting about Big Brew in a subsequent post!

I know most of you come here for beer knowledge.   I know most of you love beer.  Hey, I love beer to.  I've been in this hobby for 28 years.   But this hobby is not really just the beer making hobby.  It is the fermentation hobby.  The skills you have learned making beer apply to other fermentables as well.  With the skills you have learned brewing you can make world class Bread and Pizza,  Fermented Pickles, Cheese, Cider, Mead... and Wine. 

Most of you also make Mead, and Cider... but not Wine.  And I think I know why.   Wine has a certain je ne sais quoi, an unidentifiable aura.   There are entire libraries of books dedicated to wine.   There are people who spend their entire life studying wine.  They enjoy tasting wine and smelling wine and trying to pick out the subtle flavors and aromas.  You can make a fortune, by finding words to describe wine in a way that others have never thought to say.

 If you like to try to pick out the subtle fruit flavors of a NEIPA, you would probably enjoy doing the same with a Pinot Grigio, a Pinot Noir, or a Syrah.  There are so many people who love wine, and who enjoy tasting different wines.  And there are a whole bunch of snobby idiots who think "wine love" is a symbol of refinement, achievement, and fine breeding.  They are quite simply Jerks.

Wine making and trading doesn't have to be snobby.  Making wine doesn't mean you have to join the local snooty patooties at some expensive exclusive club and argue about the merits of the 1961 Petrus vs. the 1982 Latour.    You can still be a beer guy and enjoy wine as well.  The best thing about home brew... there are no rules.   

And there is a benefit.   Chicks dig wine!  It's a fact.   Most chicks (forgive me ladies) enjoy wine more than beer.    In my scientific research (wine tastings) your SWMBO will find you significantly more attractive and even tolerable if you make some wine.  Alas, my SWMBO is gone.  It's my fault, I should have made more wine...

Over the years I have made hundreds of batches of wine and over 800 batches of beer.  I've also made some cider, and some mead, and pickles. I have made wine from fruit, and from grapes.  And it is always fun.   Making wine from grapes is a once a year thing for me.   I go to the LHBS and order 90 - 120 lbs of grapes.  I use their destemmer and crusher.   There are 30 to 40 other wine makers there, there are horderves, and loads of beer and wine to try.   The rest of the year, I make wine from Fruit (frozen berries) and from Kits.   I have used every major manufacturer.   I have settled on two manufacturers.  One by preference (Master Vintner), and one because it is what my LHBS carries (winexpert)  Both make excellent wines.   

My preferred wine Kit manufacturer is Master Vintner.  Every single wine I have made by them has been excellent.  The customer support is fantastic.  If you post a question, Tim (the curator)  will actually get back with you.   The website is great, and loaded with information.  And the prices, are much more reasonable than other manufacturers (about $70 for a basic kit). 

Now compared to most people I am an advanced wine maker.  I have the gear to test for sulfites, and acid (not pH actual acid), I have a pump and filter (somewhere in storage).  I have a large primary fermenter dedicated to wine, big mouth bubblers with spigots, and loads of glass carboys. (you don't need all this stuff it's just fun).  Compared to my sister and brother in law I am a GOD OF WINE...I am Bacchus himself.  But they wanted to learn to make wine and so, being a beneficent wine god... I agreed to teach them.  I contacted Tim at Master Vintner just looking for advice on teaching others to make wine, and he said "why don't I send you a Weekday Wine Pinot Noir. You can make it and tell me what you think."   What do I think?  Free wine and the fun of making wine... hell yeah, that's what I think.  And so the adventure began... teaching my sister and brother in law how to make wine.  I should point out that the Weekday Wines kits are only about $50 bucks.  So they are as affordable as the lesser quality kits that you see on Amazon. 

The kit arrived, we already had all the gear we needed.  But if you need gear to, they have a $99 starter kit,   The kit instructions are easy to read and very straight forward.   Much better than the others I use (although in fairness the other major producer has "reimagined" their instructions recently, and they are now much better).  

There is nothing super difficult about making wine.  It really is easier to do than extract brewing.  If you are reading this you are probably a brewer.  You already know how to be clean and sanitary.  The only difference in the production of wine is that you have to be clean and sanitary from the beginning.   Many wine makers use sulfites to sanitize, but your regular Starsan will work just fine.  Although, with wine I usually rinse it out after it does it's voodoo.

Master Vintner Kits come
with everything you need!
The next step,  Add the bentonite.  Make muddy water.   Yup, the first step in making crystal clear wine is almost always making muddy water.  Bentonite is a gray, clay powder.  It is used in wines as a clarifier. It has a negative electrostatic charge. (static electricity) This negative charge along with hydrogen bonding, causes suspended particles in the wine to cling to it as it settles to the bottom of the fermenter.

After that the process is easy.   You add the juice concentrate, fill to the specified amount with water, add your oak (sawdust), pitch your yeast, add your air lock, and wait.  That is it.   You just made wine.  

Now unlike beer you will need to rack the wine once or twice.   For making wine, I always use fermenter's with spigots.  But a sanitized auto syphon will work as well.   

The instructions tell you when to rack off of the lees (trub for you brewers).  This kit was started at 1.089, we racked the first time at 1.020.  The wine was already clearing up nicely.  Now there is one small change we made,  we wanted an off dry "young pinot" So when the wine hit 1.009 (the next night) we went ahead and stabilized it and began the degassing and clearing (fining).   But again, I am a little more advanced and I knew exactly what to do to get the result we wanted.   The kit instructions tell you to ferment it all the way out (.998) WHEN YOU ARE JUST STARTING IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.  

So I mentioned degassing.  That is one specialty piece of equipment you may need to get.  You have seen them before at your local home brew store.  You just sanitize, and attach them to a drill.   They knock the CO2 out of the wine, which helps it clear up and stabilize.  

We then waited another 2 weeks and bottled.  A corker is included in a basic kit.  I happen to have an italian floor corker, which can do wine or champagne bottles.  It is a minor investment if you make a lot of wine.  Mine was $50 bucks 20 years ago, but you can still get them for about $70.  My niece likes to make and apply labels to our wine.  She called this one "Peace out Pinot".  I call it awesome.  

Testing, recording, and
evaluating is part of
the fun!
The color is garnet to purple, it is ruby to garnet in the light fading to violet at the edge. Beautiful.  The wine would fade to a brick red if it aged, as the blue compounds denatured.  But this wine won't be aged.  Awesome aromas of berry jam (blackberry and ripe raspberry).  The flavor is also vigorous berries, balanced by a nice oak presence and good mouth feel. exactly what you want from a young Pinot Noir.  There is no chocolate or tobacco aroma or flavor in this one, but that is ok, that is what we were going for all along.   It will be perfect for sitting by the lake and watching boats go by.  

So, start making wine.  It is fun, and delicious, and it makes you a much better brewer.  The things you learn making wine apply to brewing more than you probably realize.   And remember chicks dig wine.