Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting Started: Moving Past the Basics

Now that you have a couple of beers under your belt you are ready to move onto something a little more complicated. The first things that I would suggest is going and picking up a secondary fermentor. This time you want to go big and not just buy another bucket. Pick up either a 5 gallon glass carboy or a plastic one. You are going to be using it for the next brew you make. I think it is also time to introduce a couple of new concepts and allow you to do some recipe manipulation. I want to cover with you the following...

Gravity Calculations
IBU Calculations
Hop Scheduling

Once again, you can take any recipe you want to use for your next beer but I am going to give directions for making an American Ale. I am going to allow you to manipulate the hop schedule and the gravity of the beer to make anything from an American Pale Ale to a Double IPA. First we need to cover those previously mentioned items.

When I start out designing a recipe (a topic for latter discussion) I first ask myself what style I want to brew. Once I have picked that out I look at the style guidelines to get a good idea of what a normal beer in that style would be like. Anything fancy needs to be saved for a latter date.

Since we are going to be using an American Pale Ale as our base I would scroll down to page 12 and look at the vital statistics that are listed.

Vital Statistics:           OG: 1.045 – 1.060
IBUs: 30 – 45              FG: 1.010 – 1.015
SRM: 5 – 14               ABV: 4.5 – 6.2%

This table gives me all the information that I need to get started. The IBUs are the amount of International Bittering Units in the Beer. SRM gives me an indication of the color of the beer. OG is the Original Gravity of the beer, basically how much sugar was in the beer to start. FG is the final gravity, how much sugar was left after the beer was done fermenting. ABV is, as we all know, the Alcohol By Volume of the beer.

Next I decide what I want my OG to be, I am shooting for something that will make a nice summer beer so I am going to stay on the low side at 1.050. I use that number to calculate how much sugar I am going to need to add. For that I figure out how many units of gravity are added from each pound of Liquid Malt Extract (0.038 G/pound/gallon). I want a starting Gravity of 1.050 for my 5 gallons of beer. In order to make the math easier I am going to use just the Gravity units, which is just the number after the 1, in this case 50 Gravity units (1.112 would be 112 Gravity units). However, I need 50 gravity units per gallon of beer, since I am making 5 gallons I really need (50 G x 5) 250 Gravity units. The math for how many pounds of Liquid Malt Extract I need looks like this....

250=(Gravity units provided by 1 pound of Liquid Malt Extract) x (Pounds of Liquid Malt Extract needed)
250= 38 x X
solve for X
X=  6.57 pounds of Liquid Malt Extract

Now that I know how much extract I need, I want to figure out how much hops I am going to need. But first I have to figure out what type of hops that I want in the beer and when to add them. It turns out that boiling hops for different amounts of time changes what they do to the beer (Also a topic for another day). Basically hops boiled for 60 minutes add bitterness, boiling hops for 30 minutes adds more of a bitter flavor, and boiling hops for 0-15 minutes adds aroma (this is a huge oversimplification but be patient). There is also a fourth time slot option, dry hopping, in which the hops are soaked in the beer post fermentation to impart aroma.

Using this information and the style guidelines I can create a hopping schedule for my beer. From the vital statistics, "Usually a moderate to high hop flavor, often showing a citrusy American hop character". Right of the bat I know what type of hops to stick with, American, you can read through a hop variety guide to figure out what you would like to add to get that citrus flavor or look on a breweries website and see what type of hops are used in your favorite America Pale Ale. I am going to use Magnum, Perle, and Cascade. Based on what these hops are most often used for and the information provided on them I am going to use Magnum to bitter the beer, Perle for taste, and Cascade for Aroma.

Now comes the hard part, I need to figure out how much of the hops to add and when. I like to get about 70% of the bitterness from my first "charge" of hops, that would be the 60 minute boil. I first decide how much bitterness I want, I like bitter beer so I am going to shoot for 40 IBUs. If I want to get 70% of the bitterness from my first charge I calculate that I need 28 IBUs from that charge (40 IBUs x 0.7). On every bag of hops in the AA% (Alpha Acid % (Alpha Acids are the bittering compound)), this tells me how much bitterness this packet of hops offers in every ounce. To calculate how many ounces I use the following equation...

IBU = (weight oz x % Alpha Acids) x U x 75 / Vrecipe

Where U is the utilization factor (This changes based on the Gravity of the boiling beer and the time in the boiling beer, a chart can be found here)

and Vreipe is the total volume when the beer is finished (include water you will be adding latter, so 5 gallons for us)

Or I could just use this calculator for IBUs

I am going to repeat the same procedure for the Perle hops and Cascade, which I will be using for flavor and aroma. I want to get 25% of the IBUs from the second charge at 30 minutes (flavor) and the remaining 5% from the final charge at 10 minutes (aroma).

The final thing you need is something to up the color of the beer a little bit, for this you can use about 0.5 pounds of a lighter colored grain for steeping, say 60 L caramel.

Now that I have figure out my hop schedule and how much sugar to add I am ready to brew my beer. All that I need to do is pick up the ingredients and some yeast. If I want to adjust this recipe here is how I would do it. Say I want my beer to be more or less bitter, adjust the IBUs. Say I want more alcohol, adjust the Original Gravity (However, yeast can only eat about 75% of the sugars so if I up the ABV it is going to translate into a sweeter beer due to a higher FG). If I want to make an IPA I would up both amounts. You can also play around with color by adjusting the steeping grain. The key here is a concept created by Ray Daniels in his book Designing Great Beers. He talks about the BU:GU ratio, which is the Bitterness:Gravity ratio. By changing this ratio I can control if I am making a Pale Ale or an India Pale Ale.

That is a ton of information for one post. I started a number of topics here that need to be talked about in more depth but I will do that latter, if all you wanted was a recipe for an American Pale Ale, here you go.

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