Coffee Stuff

>> Sunday, February 24, 2019

I've really gotten into coffee the past year-ish, so I decided to add a coffee section to my site. I'll be the first to admit, I'm still a bit of a coffee newbie, and my coffee knowledge isn't anywhere near the level of my brewing knowledge. I found with my homebrewing hobby that it really helped to document recipes, notes, mishaps, etc. So I'm thinking a similar approach should help as I work towards increasing my coffee knowledge.

The story of how I got interested in coffee is kind of silly, but keep in mind I was raised in the Mormon church where coffee is just as, if not more taboo than beer. One time when I was a kid, my mom accidentally bought coffee ice cream. I remember telling my mom that the ice cream tasted funny, kind of burnt. Fast forward to adulthood and I never really had an interest in trying coffee (still clinging to my Mormon upbringing) but my lovely never-Mormon wife drank it all the time. Fast forward a little more to when I started getting into beer, I'd often comment to my wife about how I really enjoyed the roasty toasty notes in stouts and porters, and she'd always point out that those flavors were very similar to coffee. On a trip to SoCal about three or four years ago, I ordered a pint of Naughty Sauce from Noble Ale Works. Naughty Sauce is a golden milk stout infused with coffee and I absolutely love it. So long story short, beer kind of gets credit for getting me into coffee.

For Christmas in 2017, my wife bought me a Whirly-Pop coffee roasting kit from Morebeer. Kind of like with homebrewing, I was hooked and I was able to roast some really tasty coffee. Now I should mention, I prefer iced coffee with milk and some sweet cream. My daughters like to tease me that I drink "white girl coffee". I don't like it too sweet, but I definitely do like a touch of creamer. And it doesn't matter if it's the middle of summer or the middle of winter, I prefer my coffee iced.

As I said, my wife bought me a Whirly-Pop coffee roaster and they work great, plus they're a relatively cheap way to get into coffee roasting; kind off the equivalent of the starter beer brewing kits. There are some downsides though, such as it can be challenging to get consistent repeatable results. Also, you have to crank the handle during the entire roast so as not to scorch the beans. Being the geeky guy I am, I motorized mine which improved the experience quite a bit and let me focus on the roasting process rather than cranking the handle.

Fast forward to Christmas 2018, and my wife surprised me with a Behmor 1600 Plus coffee roaster. I've roasted a couple batches so far and I'm super pleased with the consistency of the roast between batches, and how evenly the beans in a single run are roasted. This got me to thinking, I should document the process for each batch so that I can hopefully repeat the results on a regular basis.
Here's my first documented "roasting profile" for the Behmor 1600. This one is a Full City Roast based on one outlined on Sweet Mariah's website. I just used the following roast for Sumatra Wet Process Gunung Tujuh.

This variety is described as follows:
City+ yields a sweet foundation of burned sugar and caramel/toffee, a yellow custard note, dried apple, tamarind, a basil hint, and a vibrant rindy orange flavor. A clean, wet processed Sumatran coffee. City to Full City. Good for espresso.
Here's the roast process I used:

# Description Time Behmor Button(s)
1 Pre-heat without drum for 1 minute 1:00 1 > P1 > Start
2 Install drum loaded with 8 ounces of green coffee
3 Begin Roast 20:15 1 > Start > P1 > D > P5
Press + button to max time
4 Reduce power to maintain temps around 310F
Fully yellowing
13:45 P2
5 Increase power to maintain temps around 320F
Barely tan
12:45 P5
6 Reduce power and slow drum 10:00 P3 > D
7 Cool at end of first crack
First crack started ~7:30
4:30 Cool


Wild Red 2019

>> Sunday, February 17, 2019

Another wild red today. I managed to get my hands on some 30 gallon barrels a ways back. I'm considering brewing this recipe 3xs, in order to fill one of these barrels, effectively starting a new solera project. Here's the recipe I'm planning on brewing today.

10 Gallon Recipe
11.0# California Select
3.0# Weyermann Vienna
3.25# Spelt
14oz Crisp Crystal 77L
14oz Flaked Oats
14oz Special Aromatic
4oz Carafa Special III
28g Aged Hops (60 min)
Wyeast Nutrient
Inland Island Brett Barrel III (Primary)
Bootleg Biology - Sour Solera Blend - Fall 2018 (Secondary)

Mash at 160F for 60 mins, 90 min boil, primary and secondary at room temp.

Brewing Notes
No issues. Gravity came in at 14.4P (1.057). 

Update 2/19/2019
Fermentation has slowed down quite bit and the krausen has started dropping. There's still quite a bit of yeast in suspension. As expected, the aroma coming off the fermenters is kind of fruity.

Update 2/24/2019
As I indicated on 2/19, fermentation has slowed. It's still plugging along with a thin film of bubbles and a burp in the airlock about once every 20 seconds.

Update 4/14/2019
I finally got around to brewing the second third (10 gallons) for the barrel today. I temporarily transferred the first 10 gallons to kegs then racked right on top of the yeast cake. No issues other than a little but if a boil over when I wasn't paying attention.

Update 4/15/2019
Batch #2 is actively fermenting this morning. Currently, it has a couple of inches of Krausen. I'll double check it before I leave for work, just in case I need to add a blow-off.

Update 1/12/2020
Batch #3 was brewed on 12/23/2019 while my buddy Ryan was in town, and it was officially transferred into the barrel today, along with the two earlier batches.

I've been collecting more barrels, so I've started numbering them. This one is #04 and is a 30 gallon whiskey barrel originally from Sugarhouse Distillery. The 2nd fill was a stout at Kiitos Brewing. It took me a lot longer to finish brewing the 30 gallons than I'd hoped. By the time I'd finished, I had to do a bunch of rehydrating to get it to seal. This included steaming sessions, French Method sessions, and holding solution.

Update 8/17/2020
7 months in - I pulled a small sample today. It still has a ways to go, but I'm really liking things so far. There's a pleasant sourness right now, but nothing too crazy. Aroma is reminiscent of tart cherry juice and a hint of oak. There's some leather character and dark stone fruit as well. It's super drinkable right now but personally I'd like more assertive acidity. Considering it's only been in the barrel ~7 months, it's tasting great. No noticeable issues/off flavors. Overall I'd say the barrel character is very mild, so it seems my efforts to neutralize the barrel have paid off. I'm really looking forward to this one.


New Zealand Pilsner 2019

>> Saturday, February 02, 2019

I loved the way my first take on a New Zealand Pilsner turned out, enough to brew another one. I'm making a couple tweaks to try to get it closer to the BJCP style description. The first version's color was a bit on the light side, and I felt it could definitely use more of the classic NZ hop flavor and aroma characteristics. The bitterness seemed pretty much on point, so the only thing I'm going different there is to swap out pellet hops for hop resin. This gives you bitterness without adding a bunch of debris to the boil. I'm switching up the late addition hops to try to get more of the fruity, citrusy, flavors and aromas associated with NZ hops. Here's the recipe as I'm making it today:

6.75# Weyermann Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner
0.75# Avangard German Pale
0.3125# Weyermann Cara Red
0.25# Pale Wheat Malt
3ml Hopshot (60 min)
21g Motueka (1 min)
21g Rakau (1 min)
21g Waimea (1 min)
14g Motueka (Whirlpool @170F)
14g Rakau (Whirlpool @170F)
14g Waimea (Whirlpool @170F)
Imperial Global Yeast - I got my hands on a very fresh pack. I decided to try splitting it in half and doing (2) 1L starters on my shaker table. On the first round, I pitched two packs.
Yeast Nutrient
28g Motueka (Dryhop)
28g Rakau (Dryhop)
28g Waimea (Dryhop)

Mash at 151F, 90 min boil, start fermentation at 46F, ramp up to 52F over 6 days, diacetyl rest when gravity ~1.016.

Water Profile
I'm using the same ratio of salts as last time, but slightly more diluted. To 11 gallons of distilled water, add:

  • 4.0g Gypsum
  • 2.8g Epsom Salt
  • 4.8g Calcium Chloride

Brewing Notes
No issues. This beer is the first one to go into my new ferm chamber. OG came in at 13.9 brix (1.055). I was able to chill down to about 51F before moving it into the ferm chamber.

Update 2/5/2019
Fermentation was fairly active the morning after pitching and is still chugging along. As of this evening, the gravity is down to ~1.027. I may be ramping the temp up for the diacetyl rest in the next 24-ish hours.

Update 2/6/2019
Gravity is down to 1.019 tonight, so I'm starting to ramp the temp up for the diacetyl rest.

Update 2/10/2019
Dry hops went in this morning. I'll leave them in for a few days before cold crashing, then kegging and fining.

Update 2/13/2019
I started cold crashing tonight. I'm not sure how fast these new ferm fridges will be able to chill, so this is a little bit of an experiment. I usually prefer to drop the temps, maybe 5F at a time, over a few days time. This is based on advice from Jamil, I believe in either a Brew Strong or Brewing With Style podcast. Regardless, Jamil indicated the yeast will sometimes release compounds that can lead to off flavors and flaws in the finished beer if the temps drop too rapidly. I'm also using the Mylar balloon filled with CO2 as it should help reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen in the finished beer.

Update 2/19/2019
I kegged this beer tonight. Gelatin was added to the keg, then the beer was racked on top. I have a low O2 transfer kit I've assembled that I'm using for the first time. I also tried a small sample and it definitely seems to have noticeably more hop flavor and aroma than batch #1 ever did.

Update 5/20/2019
This keg kicked last night. It's so nice and easy drinking, that it's turned into a favorite if mine. I submitted this one to NHC and it scored well including going to Mini-BOS for experimental beers, although it didn't advance to the final round of the competition. This beer is definitely going into my standard rotation and I'm interested to see how it will do once NZ Pils is a recognized category.