2018 New Zealand Pilsner

>> Sunday, September 16, 2018

I've recently been drawn more and more to lagers, so today I'm brewing a New Zealand Pilsner inspired by NZED Pilsner from Salt Fire Brewing. This isn't a clone, just something in the same vein.

This beer is basically a German Pilsner base featuring New Zealand hops. I'm shooting for a bit more hop character than a typical German Pils. Here's the beer as I'm brewing it today.

6.75# Weyermann Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner
1.0# Avangard German Pale
14g Green Bullet (60 min)
14g Pacific Jade (5 min)
14g Waimea (5 min)
7g Green Bullet (Whirlpool @170F)
7g Pacific Jade (Whirlpool @170F)
7g Waimea (Whirlpool @170F)
Imperial Global Yeast
Yeast Nutrient
Dry hops TBD

Mash at 151F, 90 min boil, start fermentation at 46F, ramp up to 52F over 6 days, diacetyl rest when gravity ~1.016.

Water Profile
I'm using the same water profile I used for a German Pils I made a couple years ago. To 10 gallons of distilled water, add:

  • 4.0g Gypsum
  • 2.8g Epsom Salt
  • 4.8g Calcium Chloride
Brewing Notes
No issues. Mash pH measured 5.25. Post-boil pH measured 5.36. OG measured 12 brix (1.047). I only got the temp down to ~70F, so I won't be pitching the yeast until it gets down closer to 46F, likely tomorrow morning.

Update 9/17/2018
I pitched the yeast tonight, about 24 hours after transferring into the fermenter. I noticed my Czech Pils had an acetaldehyde problem and I'm thinking it's most likely due to under-pitching or oxygen exposure post-fermentation. To be safe, I pitched a second pouch of Global in addition to the one I've been stepping up.


The Tramp About Burger

>> Sunday, August 19, 2018

Burgers...they pair well with beer, they're a great summertime grilling option, and because everyone in my family likes them, we tend make them fairly often. A while back, New Belgium's blog had a burger recipe courtesy of one of their favorite food trucks, The  Tramp About. I made this recipe a while back and everyone loved it. The only thing I ended up changing a bit was I reduced the size of the patties because 7oz was a little too big for most of our kids. I have some nice big heirloom tomatoes ripening on the vine, so I figure it's a good time to make this recipe again. In my opinion, the tomato bacon jam and jalapeno aioli are what make this burger so great. A nice homegrown heirloom tomato doesn't hurt.


JalapeƱo Aioli
4 cloves garlic
2T cilantro
2 jalapeƱos, deseeded
1T honey
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 egg yolks
2C canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to food processor except for egg yolks, oil, salt and pepper. Process for 30-ish seconds. Add eggs and continue to process while slowly adding oil. Process until fully emulsified, then gently stir in salt and pepper.

Tomato Bacon Jam
0.5# bacon, preferably apple-smoked
2.0# canned diced tomato
1 yellow onion, diced
1C sugar
1C apple cider vinegar
1T salt
1T pepper

Cut bacon into 1/4" strips and cook on medium heat in a medium saucepan until fat is rendered. Add diced onion and cook until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Assemble Burger
It's not rocket science here...patty + aioli + Romaine lettuce + slice of tomato + jam. The aioli and jam are kind off like crack...prepare to be addicted.


Peruvian-inspired Corn Beer

>> Friday, August 03, 2018

In prior posts, I mentioned I was malting my own corn in order to brew a beer inspired by fermented beverages native to the Americas. I found a few examples of people trying something similar, and the results were mixed at best. A few people said several of their attempts were just plain gross and it took multiple tries to come up with a recipe that was even worth brewing a second time. So it's definitely a little challenging.

I stumbled across an article about Dr. Patrick Ryan Williams' research into the Wari people of Peru and their ancient corn beer. That led me to Off Color Brewing, who brewed a chicha-inspired beer based on Dr. Williams' findings. I reached out to Off Color Brewing for a little help, and the following is the recipe I came up with based on their tips. 

A couple of disclaimers first about some general assumptions that I made. First, I  think it's probably safe to assume these fermented beverages would have been sour or at least slightly tart due to the limited understanding of microbiology and sanitation in ancient times. Second, these beverages were likely fermented without temperature control, so they probably had some fruity esters similar to a Saison and other farmhouse styles. I also want to make it clear, this is a Chicha-inspired beer, and is not intended to be an authentic recreation of the ancient style.

PSA: Pink Peppercorns are in the cashew family, so you may want to steer clear of these if you have any nut allergies. 

Target OG 1.045

5.0# 7oz Castle Chateau Pilsner malt (65%)
2.5# Malted Purple Corn (30%)
7oz Honey Malt (5%)
8g pink peppercorns (5 min)
Kettle sour with GoodBelly SuperShots
Blend of US-05 and Belle Saison

Brew Day 1 - 8/3/2018
  • Mash at 150F, mashout at 168F for 10 minutes. 
  • Collect about 7 gallons and bring to 175F for about 15 minutes.
  • Chill to 100F and acidify to a pH of 4.5 before pitching GoodBelly.
  • Leave it to sour for a few days.

Brew Day 2 - 8/7/2018
  • 90 min boil
  • No hops in this recipe. 
  • Add pink peppercorns at 5 min left in the boil. 
  • Chill to 65F and pitch a combination of US-05 and Belle Saison. Start fermentation at 65F, and allow to rise to 69F over 4 days.
Brewing Notes
No real issues with this brew. Pre-boil pH came in at 3.38, so this will likely have quite a bit of acidity once fermented. The post-boil pH read 3.35. OG is 12.3P (1.048) so just a little higher than planned. I had a pretty vigorous boil going, so the extra gravity points are likely due to extra boil off. I tasted a small sample and it's really nice with tons of berry character. I was a little worried when I first added the pink peppercorns because the aroma was super peppery/spicey. I was afraid that combined with pepper notes from the yeast might throw it out of balance, but I really dig how the sample tasted.

Update 8/9/2018
Fermentation is progressing without any problems. I made some blow-off tubes using 1/2" stainless tubing. This is the first time using one and it's working great, much better than my old plastic/silicone tubing blowoffs. They're easy to clean, they don't flop around, just a nice simple design. I'll post a picture later. Gravity is down to ~1.027 and it's currently chugging along at 65F, ramping up to 66F today.

Update 8/11/2018
Gravity is down to ~ 1.006. No blow-off of yeast/krausen and my stainless blow-off tube has worked great. I'm probably going to make a few more of these and use them from now on.  They're easy to sanitize and they can even be boiled. In the event of a blow-off, they'll help contain the mess (assuming the little container doesn't overflow).