Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baby's Barleywine Ale


My wife and I recently welcomed a new addition to our family, a beautiful little girl. In celebration of her birth I brewed a Barleywine to share with friends and family and a few extra to age for when she is older. I based the beer on a past recipe "Barley Wine 2012" which turned out fantastic. It was so good in fact that the bottles I intended to age ended up in my belly before the year was out. Using this recipe as a guideline I decided to up the roast, toffee, and chocolate and dial back on the hops to make it more of an English Style Barleywine. I also wanted to test out a yeast blend that I had acquired to the Brewing Science Institute labeled BSI-85. The blend includes a variety of English ale strains to create a diverse ester profile and California Ale Yeast to make sure that the fermentation does not stall out.

This is the recipe that I settled on:

Grain Bill:
71% Maris Otter
11.5 % Malted Wheat
7% Caramel 60
7% Caramel 80
3.5% Special "B"

90 minutes  Magnum 32 IBU
30 minutes Magnum 21 IBU
5 minutes Challenger 5.5 IBU

I mashed at 148 F for an hour to create a highly digestible wort
Starting Gravity 1.088
Final Gravity 1.020
ABV ~10%

Pitched BSI-85
Primary Fermentation 2 weeks
Seconday 3 months at 65 F
Aged 3 months at 50 F
Bottled with table sugar and fresh yeast

Tasting Notes:
Beer turned out great, carbonation is subtle which really lets all the flavors come through the beer as well as the body. Sweet and warming, well balanced at the finish. The roast really comes through as does the caramel, toffee, and chocolate.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rocky Mountain Microbrewing Sympossium 2014

It is that time of year again!

For the past 4 years I have been lucky enough to attend the Rocky Mountain Microbrewing Sympossium. It is a get together for any brewers in the Rocky Mountain region and the day is spent listening to presentations from leaders in the industry, drinking beer, and net working.

This year presentations were given about malting, setting up a sensory analysis program, marketing, Crafting A Nation, brewing lager beer, and hop utilization. I thought I would share a couple of the tips I picked up this year from two of the presentations.

1) Brewing Lager Beer: The Slow and Expensive Way -Ashleigh Carter

  • Ashleigh is an experienced brewer who has worked at both Dry Dock and Prost. She travels regularly to Germany and knows more about German beer than almost anyone I know. Her talk focused on brewing Lager beer in a traditional fashion. She recommended a few things...
    • All Lager beer can be made with 5 malts and 2 hops, but for any one beer in the style you should only be using 3 malts and 1 hop at most.
    • pH is very, very important, and here are her recommendations. Mash (5.2-5.5), Begin Boil (5.2-5.5), End Boil (5.0-5.2), End Fermentation (4.2-4.4)
    • A thinner mash is better (in particular for decocting), she recommended 4:1 to 5:1 liters:kilograms
    • Mash long and low (temp 145-148)
    • Boil no less than 90 minutes (Colorado Altitude)
    • Knockout cold
    • If you need to make a water adjustment add CaCl2 at 50-100 ppm
2) A Look at Hop Utilization - Jeff Nickel, Jason Mehberg, Jason zumBrunnen

  • I have gotten to hear several talks from the folks at AC Golden in the past. They always do a great job of presenting data to back up what they are saying. They also have all the cool toys to analyze their beer and the opportunity to play around with recipes and ingredients. The topic this year was hop utilization and how perceived bitterness relates to measured IBUs.
    • The rule that we have all been taught is that you have to boil hops in order to isomerize the Alpha Acids and add any bitterness to your beer. The guys from AC Golden blew that out of the water with their presentation. They tested different conditions and how they effected IBUs measured by HPLC or Spectophotometery. According to their results IBUs were increased in the whirl pool, mash hopping, and first wort hopping. All times when hops should not have been able to isomerize. This shakes the very foundation of hopping!
    • The second half of the presentation looks at increasing IBUs in homebrews that were dry hopped. They tested three sets of homebrewed beer before and after dry hopping. Each time the IAA (Isomerized Alpha Acids) increased, some by 25%, just through dry hopping. The data is still preliminary but I am going to follow up with Jason when he has all the results in.
Yet another great year at RMMS drinking beer with the people who brewed it and learning about new developments in the state of craft beer!