Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Party Beer Descriptions

For several years now, I have brewed multiple batches of beer for a good friend's summer party.  The party is a definite highlight of the summer for me, with an opportunity to see old friends and to enjoy fresh seafood and good beer.  John and I have a good deal of fun picking out the beer styles and brewing them together.  I am also tasked with writing some tasting notes that get posted behind the tap handles.  I took a slightly historical bent in writing this years descriptions and I thought that our readers might enjoy seeing them.

Cheers,

TW

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Havana Flower Cedar-Aged India Pale Ale – American-style India Pale Ales (IPA) exist solely to push as much hop flavor and aroma into a glass as is humanly possible.  They were historically brewed to resist degradation over the long sea voyage between Britain and India.  They fell out of favor with British brewers until the style was saved and rejuvenated in the American Craft Beer industry.  While this IPA features the strong citrus characters found in American hops, it also contains another twist – it was aged on Spanish cedar wood.  Cedar has a wonderful aromatic quality and is usually associated with cigars and hope chests.  The alcohol in the beer extracts those aromas, as well as interesting sandalwood and cinnamon flavors.  We hope you enjoy the marriage between the wood of Havana and the flowers of the hop – Havana Flower IPA.
6.4% alcohol     IBU: 64     OG: 1.060     FG: 1.012

Rainy Day Robust Porter – Porter was once the most popular beer style brewed in the United Kingdom.  The style originated in and around London in the 18th Century and was a dark strong ale manufactured exclusively from brown, highly-kilned malts.  These malts were dried over wood fires and likely had a strong smoky flavor.  Porter was highly hopped for the time and was blended between new batches and older soured batches, resulting in a complex flavor profile favored by the British.  The blending took place in large vats, which were associated with one devastating industrial accident that flooded Giles Parish, London in 1814 with 125,000 gallons of beer in a 15 foot tidal wave, injuring many.  Modern day porters are divided into three sub styles, with robust porter containing a roast character that puts it halfway to a stout.  Robust porters also feature a balancing dark chocolate flavor and smooth aftertaste.  Our example was brewed during a thunderstorm that broke on top of us as the boil ended.  Rainy Day Robust Porter is sure to sooth your rainy day worries away.
7.1% alcohol     IBU: 37     OG: 1.069    FG: 1.016

Last Minute Rush Belgian Pale Ale – Belgium was once described by the famous beer writer, Michael Jackson, as the “Disneyland of Beer.”  The small nation has an expansive beer history, ranging from beer brewed in monasteries for Lenten fasting to beer brewed for thirsty farmhands in the heat of summer.  Flavor profiles range all over the spectrum, from fruity, to spicy, to smooth and clean.  Some of the more famous Belgian Pale Ales are associated with the City of Antwerp.  They feature a wonderful balance of Belgian yeast spiciness and smooth drinkability.  The style has much to offer the Maryland crab connoisseur, with the slightly spicy aroma complimenting the Old Bay spice on the crab, but the smooth aftertaste washing some of the heat away.  The recipe was associated with a last minute dash brew day to get the beer on tap and we hope that you will not rush through its complex but clean flavor profile.
4.9% alcohol     IBU: 25     OG: 1.047     FG: 1.010

Tater Tots Vienna Lager – Germany is arguably the originator of almost all recognized lager beer styles.  Lager, which translates roughly to “cold storage,” occurred because of the invention of different malting processes that produced pale malt, and by extension, pale beer.  A mutated ale yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus, thrived in the colder temperatures that the pale beers were stored and produced a beverage with a cleaner and drier flavor than the dark ales of the time.  The light clear beer, when viewed through glass mugs that were also becoming more available, made lager an instant phenomenon.  The malt produced around the City of Vienna had a bready and slightly sweet flavor and was kilned darker than the malt in other areas.  The resulting lager beer was amber in color and featured a wonderful malt grainy softness, making it an excellent companion to food.  Our Vienna lager’s name has nothing to do with the beer, the brewday, or any significant event.  It is rumored to have this name because John thinks it is the beer that his girlfriend Mary will like the most.  Since Mary has done a little Tater Tot bashing on her blog (http://www.allweatherfriend.com/blog/?p=348 - oh and you can also buy her book through the main site), John decided he would really like to hear her say "I really like Tater Tots the best, I would like some more and give some to my friends."  Again, this is just a rumor.
5.6% alcohol     IBU: 26    OG: 1.056     FG: 1.014

Monday, June 25, 2012

Freeze Condensing the Eisbock - Photos and Video

After a month of primary fermentation and a month of lagering, it was time to perform a critical process step in the brewing of our collaborative Eisbock – freeze condensing the beer. We have the Kulmback region of German to thank for originated this beer style, wherein a portion of water in the beer is frozen off and removed in order to intensity the beer’s maltiness, body, and alcohol. On a homebrew scale, this freezing process can be accomplished with two corny kegs, a beer line jumper, and a freezer, which is exactly what I did.

Given that this was the first time I had attempted to freeze condense a beer, I kept my camera close by to photo-document how I implemented the process.  While I was planning out what I would do, I did spend some time searching the web for examples of how other homebrews had implemented the freezing steps.  Sadly, I found several generalized descriptions about making eisbocks, but very few descriptive or image intensive sources to help an eisbock newbie.  So below I am sharing the step-by-step photo log of how I did it along with some commentary.  Whether it is correct or incorrect, I felt the need to leave behind a little more information than what I was able to find in the chance that someone, someday may find it useful.

Step 1: Obviously before a beer can be freeze consensed, a good base base beer is requiremed.  Our beer (comically named Frosty Fool) has been sitting in a keg (i.e. the "original" keg) at 38 degrees F for almost a month at this point. 


Step 2: A second keg (i.e. the "recieving" keg) has been cleaned, sanitized, and CO2 purged in order to recieve the beer after the freezing process. 


Step 3: In order to transfer the condensed beer from one keg to the next, a jumper line is needed.  You can purchase one from a homebrew store (such as this one), or one can just as easily be assembled from some beverage tubing, two beer line quick-connects, and a pair of hose clamps.


Step 4: Make sure to sanitize the jumper line prior to any transfers.  After sanitizing the recieving keg, I left about a half gallon of sanitizer in the keg and pressurized it.  With the jumper line was connected, depressing the inner pin on the unused quick-connect allowed the sanitizer to get pushed through the jumper line.  The nice part about this was that after all the sanitizer was run out, CO2 was blown through the line clearing it of any liquid.


Step 5: The freezing process.  The original keg was placed into my small, tempurature-regulated chest freezer (as seen in Step 1) and I dropped the tempurature down to 0 dgrees F.  Even though the beer was just above freezing tempuratures at the start, it took approximately ten hours in the chest freezer before it was ready to move onto the next step.    

During the freezing process, I kept shaking the keg to listen for ice crystals forming in the beer.  When the "slushing sound" gets more and more noticable, the freezing process is almost done.  However, defining when the process is complete is very subjective.  Given I had no experience with this, determining when the sound was "slushy" enough certainly tried my confidence.  In all honesty, the only reason I stopped the freezing at ten hours was due to the fact that it was 1 AM, I was tired, and I wanted to get to bed (and leaving the keg in the freezer for another 6 hours was not an option).  Luckily it turned out to be the right decision, as the amount of beer that was frozen was close to what I was targetting.

Below are two videos I snapped as I was hoping the audio would pick up what the slush sounded like when I called it done.  (Make sure your sound it turned on before playing.) 

video
Calibration Sound - this is the beer when it was just placed in the freezer (i.e. 100% liquid).

video
The slush sound at the end of the process (after ten hours in the freezer).

Step 6: After the freezing was deemed complete, the beer was transfered from the oringial keg to the recieving keg via the jumper line and the application of gas pressure to the original keg.  I was concerned that the freezing process might have frozen the original keg's dip tube or connector post, but the beer flowed smoothly as soon as the gas was turned on.


Step 7: Once all the liquid was run out of the original keg, I did let the gas continue to push through the line for an extra 10-20 second to make sure everything that I could got pushed through.  When the gas was turned off and the jumper line was disconnected, the recieving keg (and the eisbock inside) was finished.  The beer was moved back into fridge at 38 degrees F for another month of lagering before it will be ready for any type of consumption.

In order to determine how much was removed through the freeze condensing process, I opened the original keg and looked inside.  The beer slush would need to be measured so I could calculate the consensing ratio which would allow me to recompute the beers FG and ABV.


Step 8: The nice part of the corny kegs is that their stainless steel walls are great conductors of heat.  To quickly melt all the beer slush, the original keg was placed in a hot water bath with the water only touching the bottom 6 inches of the keg (where the slush was residing).  It only took about 15-20 minutes for the heat to penetrate the keg and completely melt the beer slush.

Keg in a warm water bath
Going....

Going...

Gone.

Step 9: Once everything in the keg was melted, I closed up the keg and applied gas to it,  This allowed for the beer to be carefully poured through a cobra tap into a measuring pitcher to be measured.  A total of three quarts were left behind, or 15% of the total volume.  Sources had suggested to target about 1 gallon of liquid to remove from a 5 gallon batch, so while I was a little under the target, I was quite pleased I got as close as I did just by listening to the slush in the keg.

One surprise, however, was the amount of color that was left behind in the melted slush.  If I was able to extract just the frozen water, the melt should have been clear or incredibly light colored.  But the color was much darker, indicating that other components of the beer got trapped in the ice crystals and were removed.


Step 10: With the freeze condensing completed, I had to do a side-by-side comparison of the beer.  Prior to placing the original keg into the freezer at Step 1, I poured 3-4 oz into a glass and covered it.  After the freezing and transfer, I poured another 3-4 oz from the condensed beer into seperate glass.  I had expected the condensed beer to be a little darker, but they were visually about the same in terms of color.  Upon tasting the two (both at room temperature), the condensed beer had a noticable higher intensity (both maltiness and sweet alcohol presence) as compared to the base beer - a result that was expected, but relieving at the same time. 

Pre-condensed on left; Post-condensed on right

*   *   *

New approches and processes always seem more involved/complicated when someone has never tried them before.  When the readers had selected the eisbock style for us to brew, I was pumped that I would get to explore the freeze conditioning process for the first time.  But the excitement was coupled with a little anxiety - nothing ever goes as planned and I didn't want to flub our collaborative beer if things went awry.  Despite the trepidations, the two unexpected elements were minor and easily items that could be planned for the next time around.  

Now it is back to the waiting game.  The condensed eisbock is back in cold storage for several more weeks to help mellow and meld the beer's components together.  Tom and I have a family function together in late July, so I would expect that will be the first time we'll be able to taste the finished product.

Given I am a bit of a feedback junky, please leave us a comment if you've brewed an eisbock and let us know how your freeze condensing process compares with how we did it.  

Slainte!

-JW


"There are two reasons for drinking: one is when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it."
-Thomas Love Peacock 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Brewing TV Drinking Game

Several members of Northern Brewer put together a side project called Brewing TV a few years ago.  The general idea of the project is to document the culture and people surrounding homebrewing and the larger craft brewing movement.  Chip, Jake, and Dawson interview the people and businesses that define the craft and seek to discover what motivates them and how their inspiration can be translated to the rest of us.  Brewing TV episodes come out every two weeks and are well put together and entertaining.  If you have not seen them yet, I suggest you check them out.

Brewing TV's 64th episode introduced a new and very novel concept - a drinking game.  The crew traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to visit Tallgrass Brewing Company.  Tallgrass is the product of owner Jeff Gill's homebrew passion and has developed some very interesting branding.  My favorite branding is their 8-Bit Pale Ale, who's logo and back story surrounds the old 8-bit arcade games of my youth (the Brewing TV episode has great coverage of this).  The video portion provides some other interesting facts about the brewery, including that they named their fermenters after famous American Gladiators.

But, at the very beginning of the episode, Jake and Dawson introduce the Tallgrass drinking game.  Tallgrass's head brewer, Andrew Hood, is from California and still uses a substantial amount of lingo from the area.  His favorite word is "critical" and he uses it with great abandon.  The drinking game is simply to take a drink every time someone says "critical," which happens often (more than 20 times by my count).  This game was completely unexpected and I literally burst out laughing when they introduced it.

I recommend watching the Tallgrass episode and participating in the game.  It will put a smile on your face and is more fun and informative than playing beer pong.

Cheers,

TW

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father’s Day Lambic – A New Tradition?

Yesterday, here in the US, was Father’s Day where the patriarchs of the family get lauded with gifts and attention from the family. It is somewhat of a Hallmark Holiday, but I can live with that if I’m the one getting the attention. For me, other than a breakfast with the extended family and some morning activities, I intended to stay home with the family and get some relaxation in.

For a long time, I have had an itch to brew a lambic beer. One of my homebrewery limitations is the limited number of taps and serving space for kegs. An unintended motivations of the above constraints is that I have found myself planning beers that won’t spend time on tap and are destined to be bottled once they are ready. In this light, I had pick up a sour beer yeast culture (Wyeast’s Roeselare Ale Blend) with the intent of giving the lambic style a try in the near future. The lambic could ferment outside my fermentation fridge (i.e. not take up space) and after the 8-16 month fermentation, it could be bottled up with a long shelf life.

Getting back to Father’s Day, a great piece of advice I had read about lambic brewing was to brew the sour ale on the same day of the year, every year to build up a stable of beers for consumption and blending. Thinking of Father's Day, what other day occurs every year and gives me carte blance to brew with minimal risk of family obligations steam-rolling my plans? What other day can I ignore what everyone else wants me to brew and just brew what I want? It all just lined up perfectly – Father’s Day would be a lambic brew day. Plus on this day dedicated to Dads, I would have two little “helpers” who want to help Dad with his hobby.

With the bulk of the day reserved for brewing, I assembled the ingredients and planned out the recipe, which is listed below for reference. This recipe called for a multi-rest mash schedule, which was the only trouble I had throughout the brew day. The multi-rest mash could have been bypassed, but I wanted to include it to deal with the extra protein in all the wheat as well as enhance fermentability for the lambic bugs that will take hold. Plus, it made the brew session a bit more involved and “special”.


Drained out mash tun - the protien rest did its job!
 Using a new, high-capacity mash tun (which was used for our Eisbock), I was able to plan out multiple hot water infusions for each of the different rests without having all the infusions overflow the vessle. Of course, all the calculations went smoothly on paper, but in reality, the infusion mashing proved quite a bit more cumbersome than envisioned. From the very beginning, I missed my dough-in temperature and had to compensate by adding cold water. This, in turn, altered the volume of the mash, which then threw off all my subsequent infusion volumes (since the infusion calculations use the mash volume and mash temperature to determine how much boiling water is needed to bring the total volume up to a specified temperature). When all my subsequent infusions resulted in lower-than-expected temperatures, I had to ladle in more boiling water than planned to get to the targeted temp. Thankfully, the mash tun had the capacity to hold the 8+ gallons of water that were added in order to accomplish the mash schedule (other than the final mash out, which I gave up on).  When the tun was drained out for the first runnings, I had very little need to sparge as I was just about at my pre-boil volume already.

When the mash complete, the rest of the brew day was a snap – a 90 minute boil with one hop addition meant I had lots of down time to enjoy the day on the back porch or watching the kids tool around on their bikes. It made for a very enjoyable and memorable Father’s Day (or Vaderdag in Flemish).  Next year will demonstrate whether all the effort was worthwhile, but the day was deemed a success at its closing. Plus, it would give me great pleasure to return to the style and brew another example as part of a new Father’s Day tradition - assuming I have the discipline to see it through.

Vaderdag Lambic '12
Style: Striaght (Unblended) Lambic
(recipe modified from Jamil Zainasheff's Brewing Classic Styles)

Recipe Specifications
----------------------
Batch Size: 6.0 gal
Boil Size: 7.0 gal
Measured OG: 1.054
Measured FG: ???
Estimated SRM: 3.8
Estimated IBU: 5 (Rager)
ABV: ???%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 90 Min

Grain / Extract / Sugar
-----------------------
7.50 lb Weyerman Bohemian Pilsner Malt (60%)
5.00 lb Torrified Wheat (40%)

Hops
------
1.0 oz Tettnang (2.5% alpha) at 60 min - Note: these hops are from the 2006 harvest had have been in a freezer since.  Based on the condition, it is estimated that the alpha acid is now in the 1.0-1.4% range.  The hops certainly had a bit of a cheesy smell to them when the bag was opened.

Extras
------
30 drops of Foam Control in the boil

Yeast
------
1 Pack of Wyeast 3763 (Roeselare Ale Blend)

Mash Schedule
---------------
Protein rest at 122 F for 15 minutes
Saccharification I rest at 147 F for 45 minutes (target was 149 F)
Saccharification II rest at 157 F for 30 minutes (target was 158 F)
Mash Out rest at 162 F for 15 minutes (target was 169 F)
Batch sparged with 1 gallon to bring the total volume in the kettle up to 7 gallons.

Notes
--------
Brewed on 6/17/2012 by JW

The multi-rest infusions were carried out by having a 6+ gallon kettle full of boiling water and a 1quart pot for ladling boiling water into the mash.  Each infusion took considerable more boiling water volume than was calculated with BeerSmith.

90 minute boil because of all the Pilsner malt in the grist.

Oxygenation was accomplished with an O2 system and diffusion stone, run for 60 seconds.

June 17, 2012 - Lambic blend culture was pitched out of the smackpack directly into the oxygenated wort.  And airlock was secured and the carboy was placed in a corner of my basement without any temperature control.

Feb 27, 2013 - Pulled a sample of the lambic after 8 months of fermentation.  The tasting notes and impressions of the beer at this point can be found here.


*  *  *

Slainte!

-JW


“It’s not your father’s Budweiser!”
-Anonymous

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Difficulty with Step Mashes

Last Monday night was a late night, a very late night.  Members of our local homebrewing club, the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale, are preparing to refill the club's bourbon barrel.  Some readers may remember that our barrel soured unexpectedly on the first batch, an Imperial Porter (click here for posts about the bourbon barrel project).  There was not nearly the interest in the project now that the barrel was sour and for a while I feared it would become a planter.  But a few determined sour beer fans banded together, including one member who is brewing 20 gallons to hit the quota, and we are working towards the second fill.

The group selected the Flanders Red recipe out of the book, Wild Brews, by Jeff Sparrow.  If you look at the recipe, which is listed at the end of the post, you will note that it involves a multi-step mash.  Step mashing is a process that involves increasing the temperature of the mash in steps and holding each step for short periods of time.  Historically, step mashing was used because mash tuns were wooden vessels that could not be heated directly.  The temperature would be raised by adding specific volumes of boiling water and the process allowed brewers to consistently hit temperature ranges before the invention of the thermometer.  Step mashes can be very efficient when done properly, as they target specific enzyme sets and result in greater sugar extraction from the grains.  The can also set specific fermentability profiles for worts, though they are not required with today's highly modified malts.

The Flanders Red recipe listed a step mashing process that is based on the Rodenbach methodology.  It involves four steps (122 F, 145 F, 162 F, and 169 F) if flake maize is used.  I had never done so complex of a step mash before, so I joined forces with another brewer who had a kettle with a false bottom.  The plan was to use his kettle as a direct-fired mash tun and run the wort through a recirculation loop with my wort pump.  Then the mash could be heated to hit and maintain each mash step for the period required, all with little work on the part of the brewers.  Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.  The wort under the false bottom ended up boiling, which slowed the pull through to the wort pump and suddenly, we smelled the unmistakable aroma of scorched wort.  After dumping the mash out, and scrubbing the kettle vigorously, we elected to heat slower and stir constantly, which was more reliable.

In the end, we brewed 20 gallons of beer that night and it was a very memorable experience.  Even starting in the very early afternoon, we still got done after 1:00am in the morning, but it was the only day brewing could fit in both of our calendars.  The group is hoping to gather to fill the barrel with Flanders Red wort at the beginning of July.

If you ever find that you need to do a multi-step mash with a direct fired kettle, take the low-tech approach and stir while heating.  It provides a good arm workout and will avoid scorching if you stir diligently.

Cheers,

TW


Wild Brews Flanders Red recipe
50% Vienna
9% Carahell
9% Caravienna
9% Aromatic
3% Special "B"
20% Maize

Mash Schedule
Similar to Rodenbach
When using flaked maize, you can omit steps 1 and 3.
Assume 1.33 qts H2O/lb grain
1. Mash corn and 10% malted barley at 145 for 15 minutes.
2. Dough in grains and H2O to hit 122, and hold for 20 minutes.
3. Add adjunct mash to main mash.
4. Raise to 145 for 40 minutes.
5. Raise to 162 for 30 minutes.
6. Raise to 169 for 10 minutes.
7. Sparge with 176 H2O

Boiling Time: 2 hours

Bittering Hop addition: 10-12 IBUs.
Suggested hops: Hallertaur, Styrian goldings, E.K. Goldings
OG: 1.048 - 1.057
Fermentation: Wyeast 3763, Roeselare, at 68 for 1 week
Secondary: 80 for 8 weeks, or cellar for up to 3 years

Monday, June 11, 2012

Poll: How Many Entries Did You Have for NHC '12?

Like all our prior poll posts, this post takes a moment to memorialize the results we recieved on the most recent blog poll.  The readers' responses to the question " How many entries did you place in the 2012 National Homebrewing Competition?" are presented below.

Total Votes: 11

As much as I am a supporter of the National Homebrewing Competition, I am certainly not much of a participant.  In the last 3-4 years, I believe I have sent in only one entry to be included in the first round judging.   My interest always seems to be after the fact: prior to the deadline, I find myself too distracted to get together the registration and entry.  After the first round results have been released, my interest level skyrockets, but at that point, all I can do is kick myself and mumble "next year....next year". 

What I found compelling about this month's poll is that it looks like I am not alone.  Taking aside those that made the choice not to participate, nearly twice as many folks have an interest in the competition but just can't seem to get their regstration/entries in on time.  Why is that?  Is it just the procrastinator in all of us, or something else?

With regards to the large population that do not participate in NHC, I'm sure there is a multitude of reasons behind their motivations.  Many people are not into "style-based" competitions and would rather brew unabashed by the constraints of styles.  Kudos to you folks.  Others, I am sure, believe the NHC is too large of a venue and wonder why bother.  With ~750 entries in each region, its too easy to get lossed in the crowd.

Let us know what you think, or if you did particpate in NHC, how were your first round results?  And if you are reading this, our next blog poll is up and awaiting your participation.

Slainte!

-JW


"Everybody has to believe in something.....I believe I'll have another drink."
-W.C. Fields

Friday, June 8, 2012

Iron Brewer - Batch 3

This year's Iron Brewer competition, labeled Batch 3, began last night.  The Iron Brewer competition has been discussed here in the past and is one of my favorite events that has spun out of the recent spike of interest in homebrewing.  The competition organizer,  Peter Kennedy, selects three, somewhat atypical, ingredients to challenge the brewers for a given round (the ingredients for the first round are: rosemary, strisselspalt hops, and medium toast American oak chips).  Upon announcing the ingredients, the selected brewers have 8 weeks to produce a beer that highlights the ingredients while being drinkable and well-received.

Several months ago, Peter sent a survey around to those of us who had participated in Iron Brewer in the past to gauge responses for potential changes to the system.  Based on the questions he asked, I surmised that there were three main areas for potential improvement with the system:

  • Expand participation - Iron Brewer has grown in popularity since its inception.  Consequently, under the current format, rounds fill up in a matter of minutes and leave many brewers out of the competition.  However, if the current system remains the same, increasing the number of people per round also increases each participant's costs (see below).  The other option would be to increase the number of rounds, which has logistical concerns.
  • Cost of shipping - Under the current system, Iron Brewer participants ship two bottles of beer to each of the round's other participants and to the judges.  In the round I participated in last year, that meant shipping eight packages of beer, which resulted in shipping costs around $100.  These costs could be decreased by lowering the number of round participants, which is in contrast to Iron Brewer's increasing popularity, or to change how the program is structured.  Potential changes could include sending samples into one location like a normal homebrewing competition or eliminating the group tasting activity.
  • Increased prize distribution - Iron Brewer has some generous sponsors that provide prizes to be given out to the competition winners.  Under the current system, those prizes are provided to the winner of the championship round only.  Providing prizes to the winners of the normal rounds, while still keeping a substantial grand prize, would be more difficult, given the number of rounds.
The email to participate in the first round of Batch 3 went out last night and closed within minutes, based on the Iron Brewer Twitter feed.  It looks like there will be six normal rounds in Batch 3 and there were seven selected participants in the first round.  When combined with the rules listed on the Iron Brewer website, it looks like the competition remains the same as last year.  Personally, I feel this is for the best, as it leaves in place the group tasting event and keeps the rounds small.  I loved the tasting event last year and felt that it brought a lot to experience to taste my competitors' beers and hear what other people thought about them.  While this means fewer can participate and the costs are higher, I think the experience is worth it.

If you want to participate in Iron Brewer, make sure that you register with the email list.  Also, be prepared to reply almost instantly to the email invitation for a round, as it fills up very quickly.

Cheers,

TW

Monday, June 4, 2012

Specialty Grains/Sugars Used In Brewing Classic Styles

Below is the second Ingredients Chart in the series that visually compares the amount of ingredients (base malt, specialty grains and sugars, hops, and yeast strains) used in recipes of Jamil's veritable book "Brewing Classic Styles" (BCS).  As mentioned in the first Ingredient Chart posting, this project came about as I tried to identify the most frequently used brewing ingredients in order to stock my brewing inventory accordingly.

If a brewer were to brew all 80+ recipes in BCS, it would take 1,197 lbs of grains and sugars, 207 ounces (~13 lbs) of hops, and 88 vials of yeast. With regards to specialty grains and sugars, the chart below illustrates the top 20 grains/sugars that are used in highest quantity.  It became immediately apparent the importance of keeping Crystal 40 on hand, as it is used in 27 different recipes (keeping Crystal 80 and 120 may also not be a bad idea either).  Flaked wheat, on the other hand, is the only top ingredient that is a little deceiving.  It is ranked 5th on the list, but it is only called for in Witbiers and Lambics (5 lbs each), which minimizes the neccessity to stock it (unless those are your favorite styles).


In addition to the above chart, several other charts were generated for other BCS ingredients.  The links for each chart will be updated as they are published.
This project is a bit open-ended, so please let me know what you think or if there are other ways in which this data can be useful to fellow homebrewers.

Slainte!

-JW


"He was a wise man who invented beer."
-Plato

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