Milk Stout 2014

>> Sunday, September 14, 2014

Today I'm brewing a Milk Stout that I'm hoping will turn out close to Left Hand 's Milk Stout. 825 State Stout from Epic Brewing used to be my favorite commercial stout. Last year at GABF I got to try Left Hand's Milk Stout Nitro and Wake Up Dead Nitro (RIS). I absolutely love these beers and try to stock up on them whenever I can find them. They are so smooth and so easy drinking with just the right amount of sweetness, chocolate, and roast. 825 State Stout is still up there for me, but I love LHMS.

This recipe is based on one I found on HBT. I tried to go back and find the author to give him/her credit but for some reason I can't find it.  One thing I'm doing today that I haven't done for a long while...I'm using dry yeast. Here's the recipe as I'm making it:

4.75# Muntons Pearl
2.25# Rarh 2 row
1.0# Pearl Malt
1.0# Briess Roasted Barley
.75# Briess Caramel 60L
.75# Briess Chocolate Malt
.75# Weyermann Munich II
0.5# Flaked Oats
0.63# Flaked Barley
10g Magnum (60 min)
28g US Goldings (10 min)
1.0# Lactose (10 min)
Safale S-05
Yeast Nutrient (5 min)

Mash at 151F for 75 minutes. 90 minute boil. Ferment at 63F then raise to 68F over several days.

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Super Juice Solution - Trinity Brewing

Not too long ago I brewed a sour IPA inspired by Red Swingline from Trinity Brewing. It turned out to be a nice beer, but it's not anywhere close to Swingline. It has some really nice hop flavor and aroma plus a mild tartness in the finish, but no question, I missed the intended target.

To my surprise, I received an email from Jason Yester, "Captain of the Pirate Ship" (that has to be the coolest job title ever), aka Trinity's head brewer. He mentioned he saw my post and said to contact him if I needed any help with the recipe. Jason is putting out some awesome beers so I would have been a fool not to accept his generous offer. We exchanged a few emails and he graciously shared his recipe and some process information for one of their newer beers, Super Juice Solution. Jason also gave me permission to post the recipe, which goes to show not only does he make great beer, he's also an incredibly cool guy. 

Super Juice Solution is similar to, but a little different than Swingline (e.g. no aging in Chardonnay barrels). It's a sour session IPA and it involves a method of souring and a malt that I've never used before.

  • Kettle/Wort souring - Usually when I brew a sour beer, I'll either pitch bugs early in the primary to give them a head start on yeast (see my Berliner Weiss posts) or I'll pitch a blend like Roeselare and try to be patient for up to a year while the souring microbes do their thing. This time I'll be kettle souring before the boil with lactobacillus then boiling, and finally fermenting with brett brux. After the mash, I'll collect 6.75 gallons of wort and take it up to a quick boil to kill off any unknowns before I pitch the lacto.  Next, I'll chill to around 114F then hold it at 114.5F for 22-23 hours until the pH drops to around 3.2-3.4. After that, I'll proceed with the boil. In order to maintain the temp during the souring process, I ordered a 60 watt car battery heater/warmer. This is controlled by my BCS-460. It probably wouldn't work that well in the garage in the middle of winter, but my garage is pretty warm in the summer so it's having no trouble maintaining the temp.
  • Chit malt - I've never used this malt before and it was a bit challenging to find a source. Fortunately the guys at Salt City Brew Supply managed to track some down for me. It's basically a very undermodified malt somewhere between raw barley and more common well-modified base malts. I asked Jason if I could use any undermodified malt in this recipe (e.g. Briess' Under-modified Pilsner Malt) and he said no, Chit malt is essential and the key to sour beer. This malt is also commonly used in decoction mashes for German lagers (e.g. Rogue Farms Good Chit Pilsner).
Jason gave me the recipe based on their 12.2 barrel brew system which I scaled down for five gallons. Here's the recipe as I made it. 

5# 12oz Weyermann Pilsner Malt
1# 8.6oz Best Malz Chit Malt
12.3oz Weyermann Vienna Malt
12.3oz Weyermann Acidulated Malt
5.3oz Crisp C77
6oz Rice Hulls
WLP677 Lactobacillus Delbrueckii 
WLP650 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
14g Summit (60 min)
5.6g Corriander (15 min)
131g Amarillo (10 min)
120g Amarillo (Dry hop @3 months)
20g Willamette (Dry hop @3 months)
10g EK Goldings (Dry hop @3 months)

Mash at 145.4 for 35 minutes. Collect 6.75 gallons and boil for 15 minutes**. Chill to 114F and pitch lactobacillus. Hold at 114F for 23 hours (pH should be down near 3.2) then boil. 90 minute boil. Ferment in the low 70's then ramp temps up into the mid 80's. Age for 3 months then dry hop. 

**Jason doesn't recommend boiling for 15 minutes. Something got into my first attempt at making this beer. I'm not sure what it was (microbes and/or yeast) but it was horrible smelling and tasting. I ended up dumping it before the boil. So just for my own piece of mind, I decided to do a short boil on the second attempt to kill off any unknowns. 

Brewing Notes
So I brewed this beer a little while ago. I was debating whether or not to post about it until I found out if I successfully made a decent sour IPA, but I figured I might as well post anyway. 

Things went well although I left it to sour a lot longer than 23 hours. I tasted the sample after 23 hours and I could detect some tartness but it was masked by residual sweetness in the wort. I tried pH test strips and they didn't measure a change, so I decided to let it go a bit longer. Well, life got in the way and before I knew it, an entire week had passed. I tasted it before boiling and there was noticeable tartness, but it still seemed to be masked. I went ahead with the boil thinking that once the brett ferments out the sugars, the sourness should come out. Time will tell if that theory is correct.

P.S. Even if I manage to screw up this beer, buy a couple bottles of anything you can find from Trinity. You won't be disappointed.  


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Robust Porter 2014

>> Monday, June 30, 2014

I brewed up a Robust Porter over the weekend. The recipe was somewhat of a mix between the last two smoked porters minus the smoked malt. BJCP guidelines describe this style as A substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavorful roasty character. 

Here's the recipe is I made it:

3.25 # Crisp Maris Otter
3.25 # Muntons Pearl Malt
0.75 # Crisp Medium Crystal
0.75 # Crisp Light Crystal
0.50 # Crisp Chocolate Malt
0.25 # Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt
0.75 # Weyermann Munich II
0.30 # Briess Black Patent (added to the mash right before the sparge)
28g Chinook (60 min)
28g Willamette (20 min)
14g US Goldings (10 min)
1/2 Whirlfloc
1/2t Wyeast yeast nutrient
WLP862 Cry Havoc in 1L starter

Mash at 153F for 60 min. Ferment at 58F

Brewing Notes
No issues other than the gravity was a touch higher than I anticipated. Target was 1.061 and measured was 1.065. This brew smelled amazing during the mash. Looking forward to giving it a try when it's ready.

Update 7/2/2014

I was able to chill this beer down to the low 60's and put it in the fermentation chamber overnight to get it down to 58F before pitching. Fermentation took off fairly quickly. There's quite a bit of hop aroma coming off the fermentation. Hopefully I didn't overdo it for the style. I'm sure I'll like it, but I was planning on entering this one in a competition so hopefully the judges will like it too.

Update 7/7/2914
The krausen seems to be dropping but there's still a fair amount of activity. The fermentation chamber smells awesome.

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