Lone Starr Schwarzbier

>> Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pretty schwarz during the mash
Today I'm brewing a Schwarzbier. As I've indicated in previous posts, I don't brew lagers very often, but I do enjoy a good Schwarzbier. I find that the bit of roast makes them much more interesting than other European pilsners, but they're still a very crisp and refreshing beer. I figured it's time to give it a shot. The 2015 BJCP guidelines describe the style as follows:

History: A regional specialty from Thuringia, Saxony and Franconia in Germany. History is a bit sketchy, but is suspected of being originally a top-fermented beer. Popularity grew after German reunification. Served as the inspiration for black lagers brewed in Japan. 
Overall Impression: A dark German lager that balances roasted yet smooth malt flavors with moderate hop bitterness. The lighter body, dryness, and lack of a harsh, burnt, or heavy aftertaste helps make this beer quite drinkable. 
Comments: Literally means “black beer” in German. While sometimes called a “black Pils,” the beer is rarely as dark as black or as bitter as a Pils; don’t expect strongly roasted, porter-like flavors.

Here's the recipe as I'm brewing it today:

Target OG 1.050
IBU 23.1
SRM 25
6.0 # Avangard German Pilsner
2.0 # Avangard Dark Munich
0.5 # Weyermann Melanoidin Malt
0.5 # Weyermann CaraRed
0.5 # Weyermann Carafa II (Dehusked) - half added to the mash, the other half ground fine and added at the beginning of the sparge
0.25 # Briess Roasted Barley - half added to the mash, the other half added at the beginning of the sparge
17g Northern Brewer (60 min)
14g Hallertau (20 min)
14g Hallertau (1 min)
Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
Whirlfloc
Saflager W-34/70 Dry Lager Yeast (2 packets, 1L starter for each)

Mash at 153F, 90 min boil, pitch at 45F, ferment at 48F, diacetyl rest at 65F when 80% attenuated.

Water adjustments:
To 10 gallons of distilled water, I added the following:
1.7g Epsom salt
2.6g Calcium Chloride
3.8g Baking Soda
5.9g Chalk

Brewing Notes
No issues with this session. Gravity came in a couple point's high at 1.052.

Update 5/31/2016
Gravity was down to about 1.020 (reading ~8.2 on the refractometer) so I'm starting the diacetyl rest. I'm letting the fermenter free-rise to about 63F.

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Big Brew Day 2016 - KBS Style

>> Saturday, May 07, 2016

Today is Big Brew Day and we're brewing up what's intended to be a clone of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS). Three of my buddies and I recently acquired a 15 gallon bourbon barrel from Sugar House Distillery. After primary fermentation is complete, this beer will spend a little time in the barrel where it'll pick up some of the bourbon and oak character.

This recipe is based off one that has appeared in both BYO and Zymurgy magazines, and was written with the help of Founders Head Brewer, Jeremy Kosmicki. We're doing three separate mashes. Two of the mashes will be combined into a single boil, and the third will be boiled separately. We're deviating slightly on some of the recipe details. For example, we're making a tincture with the nibs rather than adding them to the boil. This is to help avoid extracting tannins from the nibs. Here's the recipe as we're making it today. The following is for a five gallon size batch.

13.25# Maris Otter
1.5# Flaked Oats
0.75# Crisp Chocolate Malt 340-450L
0.75# Crisp Roasted Barely
0.5# Crisp Crystal 77L
0.5# Carafa III (De-husked)
28g Nugget (60 min)
35g Willamette (25 min)
71g Ghirardelli Bitter Sweet Chocolate (15 min)
49g Willamette (10 min)
57g Jack Mormon Takengon Mandheling, ground (Flameout)
57g TBD Kona coffee toddy, secondary
Yeast Nutrient
Whirlfloc
US-05

Mash at 155F, 90 minute boil, ferment at 65F. Target OG 1.092

Note: I did not adjust the grain bill for my normal system efficiency. Since we're brewing on three different systems, I figured it might be better to risk having a higher OG and adding water to dilute things rather than being too low and needing to add some DME.

Update 5/13/2016
I forgot to post a brewing notes update on this session. Brew day went fairly well although we did run into a few hiccups. First, one third of the batch was done on a keggle BIAB setup, and was the first time it had been used. The gravity came in quite a bit lower than anticipated, so our oveeall gravity post-boil was low (1.077 for 2/3, 1.090 for 1/3). The bad also let a lot of grain bits through. During our whirlpool on the first 10 gallons, the grain bits and bitter-sweet chocolate clogged the filter, so we weren't able to chill as fast as we wanted. We were concerned the hop bitterness may be too high due to the delayed chilling, so we adjusted the hops a little in the last 5 gallons. We also eliminated the bitter-sweet chocolate in favor of increasing the nib tincture. Fermentation kicked off without too much delay and this beer has had a thick krausen all week. This batch got a double dose of O2 before it showed signs of fermentation.

Update 6/15/2016
This beer went into the bourbon barrel tonight. Before filling the barrel, I rehydrated using the French method which consisted of standing the barrel on end, then filling the heads with near boiling water. Next I filled the barrel with about 8 gallons of near boiling water. The barrel was then drained and seasoned with about 2/3 cup of SHD bourbon.

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Golden Java Chocolate Milk Stout - Round 3

>> Friday, April 29, 2016

Today I'm brewing the third and slightly modified version of my Golden Java Chocolate Milk Stout. This version will be donated and poured at the Mountain Brewers Festival in Idaho Falls this June. For details on the previous versions of this recipe, see the original post. This round I'm going a tad higher with the gravity with a target O.G. of 1.065. I'm using Full Pint malt in place of the Fawcett Pearl Malt, and Honey Malt in place of the Crystal 45. I'm also changing the hops a bit as well as the coffee in the coffee toddy. As with the previous attempts, this beer pays homage to Noble Ale Works' Naughty Sauce. Here's the recipe as I'm making it today:

8.75# Great Western Full Pint Malt
0.75# Flaked Oats
0.68 # Gambrinus Honey Malt
1.0 # Lactose (10 min)
12g Magnum (60 min)
14g EKG (10 min)
28g EKG (0 min)
Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
0.5 Whirlfloc
Coffee Toddy (at kegging)
The Bomb Tincture (at kegging)
US-05

Mash at 154F for 80 minutes, 90 minute boil, ferment at 65F.

Brew Water
Nothing fancy here. I filled the HLT with 8 gallons of carbon filtered tap water and diluted it with 3 gallons of RO water.

Brewing Notes
No issues during the brew session. I hit the target O.G. exactly at 1.065. Yeast was re-hydrated and pitched at 61F then gradually warmed to 65F.

Drew Way - The Bomb Cacao Nib & Vanilla Tincture
6 oz Vodka (I use Tito's)
1 Vanilla Bean, split and scraped and chopped into 3/4" lengths
3 oz TCHO Roasted Cacao Nibs
Mix the vodka and vanilla bean (and parts) in a tight sealing jar. Shake every day, several times, for 7 days.
After seven days, add the nibs for another 4 days, continue to shake
Strain out ad discard the nibs and vanilla bean bits.
Place the extract in the freezer overnight.
In the morning, carefully scrape out the fat cap of cocoa butter and discard. I've never really had any fat cap with the TCHO nibs. I'm not sure if the roasting renders out most of the fat or what.

Coffee Toddy
3 oz fresh ground Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
3 cups chilled RO water
Cold brew for 24 hours in the fridge with a French Press. Add at kegging/bottling.

Update 5/24/2016
I started on the coffee toddy last night. The plans are to get it kegged tonight and start carbing things up. This coffee smells amazing; tons of chocolate character. Thanks to my buddy Jeff who suggested and provided the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans for this batch. I went with 3oz in 3c of water this time. I'll probably dose it with 2/3 of the toddy and go from there. The Bomb tincture is also done and is chilling in the freezer. I used a stainless pour over coffee filter to strain out the nibs. My hope was that it would leave behind all the sediment. It did, but it also clogged quite a bit. Seems like a mesh somewhere between the super fine coffee filter and the not so fine kitchen strainer would work better.

Update 5/25/2016
I kegged this beer last night and it's currently chilling under pressure in my keezer.

Update 6/6/2016
This beer turned out really well and was a pretty big hit at the beer fest. It ended up being the first keg to kick, I think with 2 hours left in the fest. I wouldn't mind a little more coffee character. To me, this coffee had a lot of chocolate character, so paired with The Bomb tincture, chocolate was more prominent than coffee.

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