Russian River Consecration Kit from MoreBeer

>> Sunday, April 23, 2017

While I do brew a fair amount of beers based on commercial examples, I don't do kit beers all that often. Well, that's changing today, at least for this brew session. MoreBeer recently had a sale on their clone of Russian River's Consecration, one I've definitely been wanting to try. The recipe is out there and if you go through my posts you can see that we did a version in my brew club's barrel a while back. The recipe for today's version is slightly different than the one my club used, but it's not too far off. One cool thing about this kit, it includes barrel chunks from Russian River. Here are instructions from MoreBeer's site:
Vinnie recommends fermenting down to around a 1.016-1.018 with Abbey Ale yeast. He recommends the temperature to be 72°F during the first few days of fermentation, and then lets it free rise to 76°F until the target gravity of 1.016 is reached.
After hitting this target gravity, he'll transfer to barrels to start the aging and souring process (a secondary fermenter will be necessary - a barrel would be preferred!) Currants and Brettanomyces are added at this point.
After approximately 7-8 weeks, you'll want to add your Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. To kill two birds with one stone, we recommend pitching Roeselare (WY3763) which contains both bacterium.
The souring process can take anywhere from four to twelve months. Once the desired sourness level is achieved, you'll want to add the Consecration barrel oak chunk(s) until desired oak character is achieved.
Vinnie uses Belgian bottles when bottling Consecration, and bottle conditions using wine yeast. He mentions that he'll never bottle if the gravity is over 1.008.
 I made some minor changes compared to the recipe sheet from MoreBeer, but it's pretty much the same. Here's the recipe as I made it today.

11.0 # Rahr 2-row
0,5 # Weyermann Acidulated Malt
0,25 # Castle Special B
0,25 # Weyermann Carafa Special II
1.0 # Corn Sugar
1.0 # D-90 Candi Syrup - I'll be adding this in secondary rather than during the boil
14g Styrian Goldings (90 min)
28g Sterling (30 min)
28g Sterling (1 min)
Yeast Nutrient
WLP530 Abbey Ale - Primary fermentation
Wyeast 3763 Roeselare - Secondary fermentation
Russian River barrel chunks - Secondary
2.0 # Bob's Red Mill brand Black Currants - Secondary

Mash at 160F, 90 boil, ferment at room temp.

Brewing Notes
No issues with this batch. OG minus the Candi Syrup came in at 1.069.

Update 4/25/2017
Fermentation was very active yesterday morning and by late afternoon I had to hook up a blowoff tube.

Update 6/8/2017
I racked to secondary on top of black currants and the Candi Syrup then pitched Roeselare. I have a bottle of Consecration in the fridge, so the dregs will go in here at some point.


Gose 2017

>> Saturday, April 22, 2017

Today I'm brewing a Gose, basically the same recipe I brewed a couple yeas ago. The biggest difference this round is I'm kettle-souring rather than souring post-boil. The souring culture and process is basically the same as my recent Sour IPA. Here's the recipe as I brewed it today:

3.0# Avangard Pilsner Malt
4.5# Weyermann Pale Wheat Malt
0.5# Weyermann Acidulated Malt
0.5# Rice Hulls
1.3ml Hop shot (60 min)
28g Coriander (whirlpool)
21g Trader Joes Himalayan Sea Salt (whirlpool)
Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
GoodBelly SuperShot
WLP029 German Ale/ K├Âlsch Yeast

Mash at 149F for 60 minutes, collect 6.75-7 gallons and heat to 170F for 10 minutes.  Chill to 100F, pitch lactobacillus culture and sour until desired pH is reached. On boil day, 90 minute boil. Ferment at 67F.

Brewing Notes
No issues. Pre-sour gravity was 9P (1.035).

Update 4/30/2017
I finished the boil on this beer yesterday. Everything went smoothly. pH was down to about 3.48.


Experimental IPA 2017

>> Sunday, April 09, 2017

Today I'm doing a little bit of an experimental IPA. I got some hop hash a while back from Yakima Valley hops and I also picked up a used Blichmann HopRocket off the local classifieds.

For anyone that don't know, hop hash comes from what is essentially residue that builds up on the hammer mills during pelletization. It has a high concentration of lupulin glands and contains very low concentrations of vegetal matter. There isn't a ton of information out there regarding brewing with hop hash, but it seems most are using it for late additions and for dry hopping. I've read that some have had better results creating a tincture which was added at bottling time. I decided I'm going to try mash hopping with it and see how that goes (more on that below). I should mention, the hop variety wasn't specified when I ordered the hop hash, but allegedly it's Centennial.

In a recent The Session podcast featuring Julian Shrago of Beachwood Brewing, Julian talks about how for their IPAs, they add hops just about every chance they get during the brewing process. He talked a bit about mash hopping and how (due to the environmental conditions in the mash) it tends to lock in hop flavor that survives through the boil without adding hop bitterness. In other words, the acids from mash hopping are not isomerized during the boil and somehow they are bound in a way that volatile flavor compounds are retained. I decided this sounded like a good experiment for the hop hash. Assuming this works, I think the Centennial character will work well with the hop blend I'm using in this beer.

As I indicated above, the next part of the experiment involves using the Blichmann hop rocket. If you can't tell, I'm shooting for a very hop-focused American IPA. I had a hopback from Morebeer and while I liked the results I got from using it, I didn't use it very often. It wasn't a fully sealed hopback like the HopRocket, so you had to be very careful matching the inflow with the outflow so that you didn't overflow and lose wort out of the hopback. It required a lot of monitoring so it was kind of a pain to use. The HopRocket is fully sealed so matching flows isn't a concern. It is another piece of equipment to clean and sanitize, so I probably won't use it all the time. I'm going to use it inline between my pump and plate chiller. I'm also doing a smaller sized batch, approx 3 gallons and I'm still planning on whirlpooling. Some may say that whilpooling kind of defeats the purpose of using a hopback because you're returning the cooled wort to a hot boil kettle. With a small batch size, I'm able to drop the temps below isomerization temps very fast (hop stand range) so I'm thinking I won't lose much volatile flavor and aroma compounds before the temps drop.

Today's recipe is as follows:

This is for a 3 gallon batch
6# 5 oz Rahr 2-row
3 oz Crisp Crystal 60
2 oz Gambrinus Honey Malt
15.3g Hop Hash (mash hops)
1ml Hop extract (60 min) - I'm keeping this low in case the mash hops contribute bitterness.
30.8g Hop blend (15 minutes) - The hop blend consists of 7.7g of each of the following: Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe pellets)
Yeast Nutrient
69.2g Hop blend (HopRocket, 0 minutes) - Same hop blend but in cone/leaf form, 17.3g of each
WLP001 California Ale
69.2g Hop blend (Dry hopping after primary) 17.3g of each

Mash at 150F, 90 min boil, ferment at 64F.

Water Profile - Tasty's

Brewing Notes
Just getting started but the mash smells amazing.
No real problems with this brew. My hop/trub filter got a little bit clogged with hop debris. Normally I would use my hop spider but I figured the hop rocket would filter out all the hop debris; I was wrong. Next time I'll use the hop spider to contain the pellet hop debris. The aroma coming off the wort is pretty nice. I really hope this carries through to the finished beer.

Hop Hash for Mash Hops
Update 4/30/2017
This beer was kegged yesterday and is currently conditioning.

Update 5/7/2017
I,m still evaluating this beer. I think it needs a bit more carbonation but I am liking it. Hop bitterness is about right, firm but not overpowering. I'd like a bit more aroma and flavor, but that might be aided by more carbonation.