Flashy Topper IPA

>> Saturday, May 17, 2014

I just wrapped up a rare Friday night brew session. This recipe is mostly based on Green Flash's West Coast IPA, but I'm using Gigayeast's Vermont IPA yeast which is the same yeast that's used in Heady Topper. I also did a hop stand for this beer, something I experimented with last year but decided it was time to revisit now that I have my whirlpool setup.

This is the first time using a Hopshot. I helped out a friend from my brew club with programming his BCS460, and he gave me a HopShot to try out. They're used the same as hops, you just don't get any of the vegetative matter.

The recipe is as follows:
10.0 # Rahr Pale 2-row
0.93 # Crystal 40
0.93 # CaraPils
5ml Hopshot (90min)
14g Simcoe (30 min)
7g Columbus (30 min)
21g Simcoe (15 min)
21g Columbus (15 min)
28.3g Cascade (10 min)
14g Simcoe (Whirlpool)
14g Columbus (Whirlpool)
1/2 Whirlfloc
1/2t Yeast Nutrient
Hopstand #1 @ 190F for 5 min - some isomerization still takes place
Hopstand #2 @ 165F for 30 min - sub-isomerization range
Hopstand #3 @ 140F for 30 min - tepid range
1 package Gigayeast Vermont IPA, no starter

Mash at 152F, 90 minute boil, ferment at 61F ramping up to 65F

Dry Hops
14g Columbus
14g Simcoe
14g Amarillo
14g Cascade
14g Centennial

Update 5/18/2014
Fermentation took a bit longer to get going than I expected. Usually I'll see signs of fermentation in eight hours or less, but this one took closer to 24 hours. I know the cell count is a lot higher in Gigayeast packs and you're supposed to be able direct pitch without a starter, but I think next time I'll opt to make a starter anyway.

Update 5/28/14
I dumped the yeast today, added the dry hops, and bumped the temp up to 68F today. I'm hoping to keg this weekend.

Update 6/2/14
I kegged this beer last night and it smelled amazing. Hopefully it tastes as good as it smells once it's carb'd up.


Big Brew Day 2014 -Berliner Weisse 2014

>> Friday, May 02, 2014

The first Saturday in May is always National Homebrew Day/Big Brew Day and for the third year in a row we're hosting a brew session. This year two of my friends will be brewing as well; one an all-grain 5 gallon batch, and one an all-grain 1 gallon batch. For me, I decided to do a 10 gallon batch of a Berliner Weisse inspired beer. The Berliner I made last year was one of my favorite beers I've ever made. This year will be similar to last year's, lacto gets a head start before pitching yeast. I'm using two different yeast blends this year; half will get White Labs American Farmhouse Blend and half will get a blend I grew up from Jolly Pumpkin La Roja dregs. Both contain some sach (assuming some survived in the La Roja dregs) and brett. The La Roja likely also contains lacto and maybe some pedio.

The recipe is basically the same as last time except scaled up for 10 gallons. I did increase the amount of grain a bit to increase the gravity. Process is more or less the same as well. I'll be using a short-boil (15 min) method and the following process:

  1. I'll be using 1/2 carbon filtered tap water and 1/2 RO water. This should help prevent any weird mineral/lactic acid flavors.
  2. Seven days prior to brew day, add one packet of Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus to 1L of 1.020 starter wort. Do not aerate! No stir plate! In fact, if possible, purge your starter container with CO2. Keep warm, preferably between 80-90F for a week.
  3. On brew day after cooling wort, pitch  the 5335 starter and allow it to ferment for one week at 68F. Again, do not aerate!
  4. After one week, add White Labs WLP670 to half and La Roja blend to the other half. Continue to ferment at 68F until finished.

8.0 # Belgian Pilsner Malt
7.0 # Weyermann Pale Wheat Malt
1.0 # Rice Hulls 
2.0 oz Aged Debittered Hops (Mash hops, 0.0 IBU's)
1 package Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus
1 package WLP670 American Farmhouse
1 La Roja dregs culture

Mash at 150F for 90 minutes. Mashout at 168F. 
Collect 10.5 gallons and boil for 15 min. Chill to 68F and pitch 5335. Ferment at 68F for 7 days before pitching WLP670/La Roja dregs

Update 5/12/2014
My wife and I were out of town for the weekend so I pitched the yeast blends a couple of days early on 5/8/2014. I think that was still plenty of time to get some good tartness.

Update 5/28/2014
Both beers are progressing nicely. The American Farmhouse version has a smallish pellicle while the JP version has a pretty mean and nasty looking one. Both have a noticeable acidic aroma. Both have also dropped pretty clear. I'll probably pull some samples this weekend and see where we're at.

Update 6/2/2014
I ran out of time and didn't get either version kegged this weekend. I'm going to give it a try sometime thes week.  

Update 6/24/2014
I got the JP version bottled last night. The  American Farmhouse version was bottled over a week ago. I had originally planned on kegging these but I didn't have any kegs available and I needed to free up the fermenters.

Update 7/7/2014
We cracked open a bottle of each of these for our Independence Day gathering. I'm really happy with the way both of these have turned out. The Farmhouse Blend version is more of a lemony tartness while the JP version is more of a cherry tartness. The JP version also has a bit more brett character, at least right now.