Friday, March 5, 2010

#25 GxSA (Galaxy Summer Ale)

Brewed: 3rd December, 2009

Another catch up post. This next beer in my series of Summer Ales was the second one that used Galaxy Hops. The change between this one and the last one was that instead of using Torrified Wheat, I used Carapils malt. I am assuming that the wheat content in the original recipe is used to aid head retention, and as Carapils is also used for that, I thought I would see if I could notice any difference between the two. I'm actually planning on doing the side-by-side test later on today, and I'll report the results back here in the near future.

The brewday didn't go entirely to plan. It was the first time I had a boil-over in the full size kettle, resulting in quite a mess in the brewery. I also made a note that the final volume appeared to be lower than usual, which I put down to the extra vigorous boiling at the start (which is what overflowed the kettle!). Aside from that, I came close to my target numbers, and more importantly, the numbers were consistent with similar recipes done previously.

The recipe:

Australian Pale Malt: 4500g
Carapils: 400g

Galaxy pellets (13.4% AA): 12g @ -80 mins ~18 IBU
Galaxy pellets (13.4% AA): 12g @-20 mins ~10 IBU
Galaxy pellets (13.4% AA): 16g @ -5 mins ~4 IBU
Galaxy pellets (13.4% AA): 23g in no-chill cube < 1 IBU

Mash time: 60 minutes
Target mash temperature: 64C
Start: 64C End: 61.5C

Run-off: 30L

Pre-boil SG: 1041
Boil Time: 90 minutes

Target OG: 1047
Actual OG: 1046

Volume in fermenter: 21L
Yeast: WLP001 - California Ale (harvested from #24 GBSA)
Ferment temperature: 19C

FG: 1011
ABV: 4.6%

#24 GBSA (Green Bullet Summer Ale)

Brewed: 25th November, 2009

Time for a catch up post. I had used Green Bullet hops before with great success in a couple of New Zealand Pale Ales and wanted to see how the hops worked in the Summer Ale hop schedule, ie, with more late additions. The first time I tried the first of my NZPAs, it immediately brought back memories of some beers from previous trips to NZ, even though at the time I didn't think that NZ beers had any particular common flavour/aroma traits. I've since heard that this hop is used by a few commercial breweries in NZ, which probably explains the association I made.

I actually brewed this on the same day as the #23 German "Eis Pale Ale", mashing in at the same time that the German ale was in the kettle, and it's the only time so far that I've done two brews in a day. Mind you, the German ale was already in sweet-wort form, so I only needed to do the one mash on the day. In any case, I don't think it added too much time to the whole day, which is good to know if I ever want to do multiple batches in the future.

Although I had another beer in mind to take to Mackay over the xmas period, it hadn't finished carbonating in time so a keg of this one went up instead. It turned out to be a good choice, as it was more interesting than a lot of mega-swill beers out there, but not over the top in terms of flavour and aroma so you could enjoy a few in a sitting (and that we did!). I've since been told that this would also be a good "gateway beer", to show those who are not as adventurous with trying different beers that there is a whole other world of flavour out there!

The recipe:

Australian Pale Malt: 4500g
Torrified Wheat: 400g

Green Bullet pellets (13% AA): 13g @ -80 mins ~18 IBU
Green Bullet pellets (13% AA): 12g @-20 mins ~10 IBU
Green Bullet pellets (13% AA): 16g @ -5 mins ~4 IBU
Green Bullet pellets (13% AA): 22g in no-chill cube < 1 IBU

Mash time: 60 minutes
Target mash temperature: 64C
Start: 64C End: 62C

Run-off: 30L

Pre-boil SG: 1040
Boil Time: 90 minutes

Target OG: 1047 Actual: 1046

Volume in fermenter: 22L
Yeast: WLP001 - California Ale (harvested from #22 GxSA)
Ferment temperature: 19C

FG: 1013
ABV: 4.4%

Thursday, March 4, 2010

#35 RP (Chocolate Porter/Stout)

Brewed: 25th February, 2010

I've brewed this recipe a couple of times before, and with St. Patrick's day not far away, I thought I'd brew it up again for that occasion. Unfortunately, the Wild Brew is still chugging away in the fermenter, so I haven't been able to get this one fermenting yet and I'll be pushing it to get it ready in time! Luckily I've still got a few bottles from the last batch if it's not ready in time.

The last time I brewed the beer, it came out a little more roasty than I was expecting it, pushing it more into Stout territory, hence the slight naming confusion in the title. I had to substitute a smaller quantity of Chocolate malt for some of the Carafa Special grain this time, as I didn't have enough of the latter for the recipe. I also added a little more cocoa this time (150g instead of 100g) and added it to the no-chill cube instead of the kettle in the hope of pushing the beer back into Porter territory. The experiment on the last batch with using late citrus style hops didn't have the desired effect of adding a noticeable citrus taste to the beer, but the flavour worked out well, so I went with a similar late hop schedule. I substituted Fuggles for East Kent Goldings as the bittering addition due to stock levels.

The brew day went completely to plan - all target numbers were hit and no mistakes were made. I was joined for part of the day by my sister's friend, Aaron, who currently makes beer from Kits & Bits. He wanted to see the process involved at this level, which I was happy to show.

The recipe (based on the previous batch):

Australian Pale Malt: 4500g
Light Munich: 1000g
Crystal 135: 500g
Chocolate Malt: 250g
Carafa Special II: 100g
Roast Barley: 100g
Cocoa powder: 150g (added to no-chill cube)

Fuggles pellets (4.5% AA): 51g @ -45 mins ~21 IBU
Cascade pellets (6.6% AA): 18g @ -5 mins ~2 IBU
Cascade pellets (6.8% AA): 10g in no-chill cube <1 IBU

Mash time: 60 minutes
Target mash temperature: 68C
Start: 68C End: 66.4C

Run-off: 28L

Pre-boil SG: 1052
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Post-boil volume (hot): 24L
Target OG: 1057 Actual: 1058

Yeast: Re-cultured Coopers yeast (harvested from #31 CSA)
Ferment temperature: 18C

February mini-comp results

Last Thursday's BABBs meeting included the first mini-competition of the year. The selected styles for the competition were Australian Pale Ale and English Bitters. At the mini-competitions, you can enter up to two beers, but only one can count towards points that are accumulated over the year, and the other is just for feedback. To make things more interesting, you have to choose which is which at the time of entering.

I did a tasting of my three contenders a couple of days before and I decided to enter my Coopers Sparkling Ale clone as my "points" entry, and my English Best Bitter for feedback. The Australian Pale Ale that missed out was starting to show some signs of aging, and wasn't tasting nearly as good as the other two beers. Once that was decided, it was also easy for me to choose the Sparkling Ale clone as the better beer, as the Best Bitter had an unexpected slightly dirty/ashy flavour to it. I'm still not sure where that came from, but am happy to say that it is starting to fade away now.

In the end it didn't matter, as both of my beers scored 36/50. The winning beer of the night scored 39, but there were at least four others that scored higher, as I wasn't mentioned in the top 5. Out of 31 entries in total though, I am still happy with the two results.

I've transcribed the scoresheets below. Unfortunately, I didn't get a whole lot of feedback on the Best Bitter - I was mainly hoping that someone might have an insight as to where the unexpected flavour was coming from. As for the Sparkling Ale, it turns out that it was judged by our table, so I inadvertently received even more feedback than we recorded on the scoresheet. It was the last beer we judged though, and after the four other beers (three ordinary bitters and another Australian pale ale), I didn't recognise it from the flavour! The lack of carbonation that we marked it down for was possibly from the way I filled the bottles. I'll make sure that it's slightly over carbonated next time I fill it from the keg.

#31 CSA Category 3A (Australian Pale Ale)
Aroma: 10/12
Good fruit & ester
Bready aroma coming through
Slight solvent aroma?
Apple aroma coming through

Appearance: 2/3
Carbonation a bit low

Flavour: 14/20
Bitterness is too strong for malt

Mouthfeel: 3/5
Lacking carbonation
Not finishing dry enough

Overall Impression: 7/10

Good drinking beer
Needs more carbonation

#32 EBB Category 3C (English Best Bitter)

Aroma: 9/12
Fruity and malty aroma

Appearance: 2/3
Some cloudiness

Flavour: 15/20

Mouthfeel: 3/5

Overall Impression: 7/10
Typical of style