American Amber 2014

>> Sunday, March 16, 2014

Today I brewed an American Amber. This recipe is based on the one from the CYBI episode for AVBC Boont Amber. The BJCP guidelines describe this style as, "Like an American pale ale with more body, more caramel richness, and a balance more towards malt than hops (although hop rates can be significant)." This is a good "gateway craft beer" that can be appreciated by just about anyone. Here's the recipe as I made it.

8 # Rahr Pale Malt (2 Row)
1 # Briess Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L
1 # Briess Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L
7.00 g Magnum - Boil 90.0 min
5.00 g Horizon - Boil 60.0 min
7.00 g Palisade - Boil 20.0 min
62.00 g Cascade - Hopback
English Ale (White Labs #WLP002)
1/2t Wyeast yeast nutrient
1/2 Whirlfloc

Mash at 152F. 90 minute boil. Ferment at 65F and allow to rise to 68F.

Brewing Notes
No real issues on this brew. The gravity came in at about 14.4P (1.058).

Update 4/30/14
I put this on tap a little while ago. Good beer but next time I think I'll try to increase the all around hop profile a bit. I'd prefer a few more IBU's as well as more flavor and aroma hops.


Canadian Bacon

>> Sunday, March 09, 2014

Today I fired up the smoker and made some homemade Canadian Bacon. This is my second time making this recipe. The first time I picked up the wrong kind of pork loin; they were really small so I had to tie two together in order to increase the diameter. It worked out but didn't slice up as nicely as it would have if it was one piece of larger diameter loin. Regardless, I made my wife a birthday breakfast of Eggs Benedict with the homemade Canadian Bacon and homemade hollandaise sauce. Not to toot my own horn, but it was pretty awesome. I also used some in sandwiches and such.

This recipe is based on one found in Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman. Like a lot of the recipes in the book, this is really simple and yields excellent results. Not everything homemade is better than store bought, but in my opinion this Canadian bacon is heads and shoulders above what you'll find in your local deli.

For the Canadian bacon, you need one 4-5 pound pork loin. The pork loin was brined for about 48 hours then hot-smoked until it reached an internal temp of 150F. The recipe for the brine is as follows:

1.0 gallon water
350 grams Kosher salt
225 grams sugar
42 grams pink salt (Prague powder #1)
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
2 cloves garlic

Combine all brine ingredients in a stockpot. Bring to a simmer and stir until salt and sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temp then chill. Once chilled, add the pork loin (with a plate to keep it submerged) and allow it to brine in the fridge for 48 hours. 

After 48 hours, remove the loin from the brine and rinse well with cold water. Pat dry then place on a wire rack in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 12 hours. This forms a pellicle on the outside of the loin and helps improve the smoking process. Take the loin out of the fridge and allow it to warm to room temp while you get your smoker ready.

As for smoking wood, it really comes down to personal taste. For both batches, I used a blend of hickory, oak, and cherry and really liked the results. That's really about all there is to it. Like I said before, it's pretty simple but very tasty.


Witbier 2014

>> Sunday, March 02, 2014

It's been a while since I've done a Witbier. Blanche de Chambly from Unibroue is one of my wife's favorite summertime beers. Not to rub it in for those in the Midwest that are dealing with another polar vortex, but the weather in Utah has been pretty nice the past week. Today it's 54F but a couple days ago it was up in the mid-60's. Given the nicer weather, I've started thinking about warm weather beers. Witbiers are refreshing with their citrus and spice notes so they're a great choice as the weather warms.

This recipe is based on the one from Brewing Classic Styles. I'm using Wyeast's Canadian/Belgian Ale Yeast which is the yeast from Unibroue.

5.0 # Dingmans Pilsner
4.125 # Flaked Wheat
1.0 # Rolled Oats
0.25 # Weyerman Munich I
Rice hulls as necessary
40.0g Hallertauer  (60 min)
1.0g Dry Chamomile Flowers (5 min)
12.8g Coriander (5 min)
21.0g Bitter Orange Peel  (5 min)
21.0g Sweet Orange Peel (5 min)
Wyeast 3864 Canadian/Belgian Ale

Mash at 122F for 15 min. Mash at 154F for 60 min. 90 min boil. Ferment at 68F.

Brewing Notes
This is the first batch using my new whirlpool setup. Everything went well but the flow was a little lower than I'd hoped. The hop/trub filter was relatively clean, so I think the bottleneck was the pickup tube. I'm going to try using a hop sack on the next brew and run the pickup tube without a scrubby. Everything else went fine for this brew session and the fermenter was happily bubbling away the next morning.