Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caramel Cider

Last Fall I made 10 gallons of cider which just ran out (good job mel) and needed to brew up another batch.

My goals with this batch were to give it a sweeter undertone, and a bit of spice to it. That led to me using a darker grain for steeping, and adding some cinnamon and dried ginger to the boil.

0.5 lbs c120
2 lbs Amber DME

0.5 oz Fuggles 30 mins

Apple Juice-
3 gallons Treetop 3 apple blend (not from concentrate)
1 gallon Honey Crisp unfiltered juice ( i believe this was a blend also)

1 stick cinnamon added during steeping
1 tsp cracked/dried ginger added with 10 minutes left in the boil.

Wyeast Kolsch yeast

Cooked up the DME and steeped grains for 30 mins with the hops. This should add some nice body to the cider, and definitley had some great caramel smell.

I ended up using a Kolsch yeast for this instead of the English Ale yeast I've used in the past since the lhbs ended up being out of my normal yeast.

I have a feeling that the spice will be a little less potent than i want, and I'm already planning how to add more cinnamon flavor likely at kegging.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Black IPA" or "How I could have Ruined my Ruination"

"A hot mess, I'm hot off the press, you yesterdays news, dude you just not fresh..." MURS "I'm innocent"

And powered by MURS let's talk about the hot new style everyone and their mom is brewing...Black IPA.

I asked the innocent question at work a month or so back of, " I want to brew. What should I make?" A chorus of "RUINATION!" came over the cube walls. Now don't get me wrong, I looove my Ruination clone, but I've already made it three times this year, and I wanted something a bit different...so I pulled up my Ruination recipe and attempted to ruin it.

My version of Ruination is typically very faithful to the original, with a big, but smooth bitterness from magnum, and lots of late centennial. Lately my centennial supply was low, so I've subbed in some amarillo for thbe dryhop, and some of the late additions. It changes it slightly, making it seem slightly sweeter. I'm still up in the air which way I prefer...grapfruit or the slight tangerineness with the amarillo...but I digress...

My typical Ruination recipe is 15lbs 2row, 1 lb munich 10l, 1lb crystal 20. (Note, double check recipe). What I did was simply swap out the munich for debittered carafa II, and change the crystal to a darker crystal 60. I wanted some roastiness, and maybe a bit more crystal flavor to come through in the final product.

Grain -
15 lbs 2row
1lb carafa II
1lb crystal 60

Hops -
0.5oz Magnum
1oz centennial 15mins
1oz amarillo 15 mins
1oz centennial 10 mins
1oz amarillo 10mins
1oz centennial 5 mins
1oz amarillo 5mins
2oz amarillo flameout
1oz centennial flameout

Yeast -

You may be wondering why no dry hops...three reasons really. First of all, I typically just hop in the keg since my IPAs don't last long. This one isn't planned to be drank for a few weeks, so I didn't want to risk any grassy flavors. Secondly, I didn't have the muslin bag I needed for dryhopping. But most importantly, when I tasted it I actually loved that it had minimal hop aroma. if I didn't know it was a BIPA I would have thought it was just another stout, and then there is a huge wallop of hop flavor on that first sip. The roastiness melds close to perfectly with the citrusy hops flavors...even the hop-hating gf really liked it.

It is still not carbed, but the first impression is great. I had a couple small glasses last night, and I was really enjoying this. It won't replace the standard Ruination, but it will definitely be part of the rotation.

German Beer is for Parties

So the other day I decided it was time to start brewing for the party I'm planning on having next month. Aafter a few months of not brewing my pipeline had been almost totally epmty. I've partially corrected that by brewing a brown ale, and a black ipa. More on those later. Todays post is about the beer I decided to brew. One which has been my favorite this year...munich helles style german ale.

Why have I begun to enjoy such a beer when my typical beer purchase starts off with, "what ipas do you have on tap..."?
- low abv% having a beer on tap in the 4-5% range let's me have a couple and not be too drunk
- subtle flavor. While I love being hit over the head with big hops or big malty flavors, sometimes it is nice enjoying the subtle graininess of the pilsner malt almost balanced by the noble hops.
- quick turnaround. Grain to glass in under three weeks? Yes please.

I've brewed three (four if you count the one I dumped after sparging. Ugh.) beers in this style this year, and all have used different recipes. The best to date was actually an extract batch using just a pound of munich and pilsner dme. Very tasty. In fact i had numerous people tell me it had amazing flavor for such a light beer at a tasting event.

My hope is that the one brewed yesterday will match or even surpass that batch. On to the recipe, which was done by guesswork since I couldn't remember my google docs password that day to get my last recipe...

Grain -
9 lbs pilsner malt
0.5 lbs munich 10l
0.5 lbs vienna malt

Hops -
0.75 oz Hallertau 60 mins
0.5 oz tettnanger 60 mins
0.4 oz hallertau flameout (not to style, but the gf liked the smell, which for hops is not common so I though a bit of aroma might not be bad)

Yeast -
Wyeast German Ale (I usually use the Kolsch but there was none at the LHBS)

I mashed at 155 for 90 minutes, then had about a 75 min boil. Cooled to 85ish, and left it in the garage for a few hours before pitching (exacting process control lol). Yeast took off like crazy, and is still sitting in the 65f garage.

Tasting results in a few weeks!