#1 Summer Jam IPA

#1 Summer Jam IPALately Gregory and I have been honing recipes for a few different “house” IPAs.  I recently wrote a New Zealand/Australian hop-heavy session IPA recipe for the spruce tips Gregory and I foraged this past spring.  We liked the resulting beer so Gregory tweaked the recipe and brewed a version of it for the wedding of a friend.  I tried that version and liked it as well, but I decided to go back to the grain bill of the original recipe for inspiration, and make a third, PNW hop-forward beer.

I wanted to create a beer of “normal” strength that showcases the intense tropical, floral, and citrus notes of the new classic American hop varietals while remaining smooth, crisp and quaffable.  I stuck to a grain bill of pale malts with a touch of flaked oats for a silky mouthfeel and appreciable body, and rye to provide head retention and subtle grainy-spicy complexity.

I’ve also been looking forward to experimenting with blending different clean yeasts to create a more complex and flavorful ester profile, so I used two different saccharomyces strains in this brew.  I wanted to use Imperial’s A24 Dry Hop yeast, but the homebrew store was out so I opted for their A20 Citrus strain.  I pitched this first and then pitched a starter of yeast slurry 33 hours into primary from the wedding IPA — which utilized Imperial’s English A09 Pub yeast strain.

The resulting beer turned out great and the methods used to create it highlight our continual striving to craft better and better beer.  Unfortunately, I bumped the keg shortly before the photo was taken, so some hop particles were stirred up (I would have waited and taken another photo, but the beer was already almost gone)!

Below is the recipe and process that we used, as well as tasting notes:

#1 Summer Jam IPA

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.00
Anticipated OG: 1.065
Anticipated SRM: 4.0
Anticipated IBU: 58
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

Grain

46.15% — 6.00 Lbs. 2-Row
23.08% — 3.00 Lbs. Maris Otter
15.38% — 2.00 Lbs. White Wheat
07.69% — 1.00 Lbs. Golden Naked Oats
07.69% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Rye

Hops

0.25 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 75 min. (First Wort)
0.25 oz. Sorachi Ace (Pellet, 9.1% AA) @ 75 min. (First Wort)
0.25 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 75 min. (First Wort)
0.50 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 15 min.
0.25 oz. HBC 438 (Pellet, 16.6% AA) @ 15 min.
0.75 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 05 min.
0.75 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 05 min.
1.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 0 min.
1.50 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 7.6% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. HBC 438 (Pellet, 16.6% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 7.6% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 14.1% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
0.75 oz. HBC 438 (Pellet, 16.6% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
0.75 oz. Sorachi Ace (Pellet, 9.1% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.

Yeast

Imperial A20 Citrus
Imperial A09 Pub (Slurry)

Water Profile

Seattle
2.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 153F
Mash out — 20 min @ 170F

Notes

07.20.16 — Made a starter of A09 Pub yeast from slurry

Brewed on 07.20.16

07.20.16 — 20 minute hop stand after flame out with 2 minute whirlpool

07.20.16 — Chilled to 72F and pitched can of A20 Citrus

07.20.16 — Signs of light fermentation 9 hours after pitch

07.21.16 — Vigorous fermentation 18 hours after pitch

07.22.16 — Added A09 Pub yeast slurry 33 hours after initial pitch

07.23.16 — Added half of the dry hops in primary in PM

07.31.16 — Transferred into secondary with remainder of dry hops

08.04.16 — Kegged entire batch and began force carbonating @ 30 PSI for 40 hours

08.06.16 — Purged CO2 and set at serving PSI

Tasting Notes — 08.16.16 (poured off tap)

Hazy yellow-orange with a moderate white head stand which laces nicely.  Aromas of pineapple with a spicy-herbal/tropical note reminiscent of mango salsa, hints of lime and dill.  Herbal and fruity flavors dominate the palate with notes of grapefruit and orange as well as pineapple, cedar and pine.  Body is lush and juicy, but crisp and finishes with a dry and resinous spicy-floral bitterness.

Calculated OG: 1.065
Calculated FG: 1.008
Approx. ABV: 7.5%

Spring Saisons

Flower Saison 02This post will detail two recent saisons that we brewed for and/or during spring here in the PNW.  The first is a version of our pink peppercorn saison that we added wisteria and lilac flowers to and heavily hopped with Chinook (we had a bunch laying around and had to use them up).  The second is a fir tip table saison we brewed using fir tips Gregory foraged in Leavenworth, WA.

I’ve wanted to use lilac in a beer for a while now and figured it would marry well with the floral peppercorns and Chinook’s earthy-spicy notes.  While Nate, a longtime friend of mine, was visiting I brought this up to him and he recalled that he had success using wisteria in a saison.  In West Seattle both lilac and wisteria grow abundantly and were available early as we’ve had a very warm season, so I decided to use them both.

FlowersGregory and I wanted to experiment with ester and phenol production as they relate to fermentation temperature with our go-to saison yeast — we usually use the brewbelt with Wyeast’s French Saison strain, which sometimes produces more bubblegum/banana notes than we desire — so we opted to let the yeast “free-rise.”  We used the same grain bill as our previously brewed pink peppercorn petite saison, but got better mash efficiency and attenuation so we ended up with a higher ABV and a drier beer.  The absence of the brewbelt almost eliminated the esters/phenols associated with saisons, resulting in a beer that is more akin to a pale ale than a saison.

For the fir tip table saison, we wanted something very light, dry, and easy-drinking.  We simplified both the grain bill and the hop additions, using classic European hop varietals.  Knowing we usually get better efficiency/attenuation than what Brewtoad calculates for session beers, we crafted a recipe that they determined would only be about 2.9% ABV to arrive at our desired 3.5% ABV.  We used White Labs’ Belgian Style Saison Blend and used the brewbelt for a shorter amount of time than we normally do (3 days as opposed to a week) to continue experimenting with ester/phenol production.  We added the fir tips from Leavenworth twice in the boil.

Read on for recipes, processes, tasting notes, and additional photos:

Kitchen Sink Saison With Pink Peppercorn, Lilac, & Wisteria

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.00
Anticipated OG: 1.039
Anticipated SRM: 2.0
Anticipated IBU: 33
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

50.00% — 4.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
25.00% — 2.00 Lbs. Vienna
12.50% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
12.50% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat

Hops

0.30 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 oz. Horizon (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 10 min.
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 01 min.
0.80 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3.2% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 4 days (dry hop)
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 7 days (dry hop)

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
7.0g Pink Peppercorns (ground) @ 5 min.
1.60 oz. Fresh Lilac Flowers @ 5 days (in keg)
3.15 oz. Fresh Wisteria Flowers @ 5 days (in keg)

Yeast

Wyeast 3711 — French Saison

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 155F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F

Notes

03.31.16 — Made a starter of French Saison

Brewed on 04.12.16 with Gregory

04.12.16 — Chilled wort to 77F & pitched the yeast

04.14.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

04.16.16 — Added half of the dry hops to primary as fermentation slows

04.20.16 — Transferred to secondary and added remaining dry hop additions

04.27.16 — Split the batch and bottled two gallons with 2 oz. corn sugar for 2.6 volumes CO2, and kegged the remaining three gallons, adding the flowers in the keg for 5 days before removing them.

Flower Saison 01Tasting Notes — 06.08.16 (poured off tap)

Yellow-straw color and clear with a large fluffy white head stand that dissipates slowly and laces thick.  Big floral notes and a hint of peppercorn on the nose.  Hardly any saison esters/phenols detected.  Body is very dry and crisp with the herbal, grassy and spicy notes of Chinook dominating the palate.  Finishes with vivid and lingering earthy bitterness, and some peppercorn spice.

 

Calculated OG: 1.045
Calculated FG: 1.002
Approx. ABV: 5.6%

Fir Tip Table Saison

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 6.00
Anticipated OG: 1.030
Anticipated SRM: 1.0
Anticipated IBU: 22
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

66.67% — 4.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
16.67% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
16.67% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat

Hops

0.75 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 5 min.
1.00 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 1 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.80 oz. Fir Tips @ 5 min.
1.80 oz. Fir Tips @ 1 min.

Yeast

White Labs WLP568 — Belgian Style Saison Yeast Blend

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 70 min @ 154F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F

Notes

Brewed on 05.12.16 with Gregory

05.12.16 — Chilled wort to 70F, pitched the yeast & put onto brewbelt

05.14.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

05.15.16 — Removed brewbelt

05.22.16 — After 10 day primary, kegged the batch and began force carbonating

Fir Tip Table SaisonTasting Notes — 06.08.16 (poured off tap)

Pale-straw color with large fluffy white head stand that dissipates quickly and laces medium.  Light grainy pils malt and a hint of bubblegum on the nose.  Citrus and pine form the fir is mellow but center stage on the palate.  Light and creamy mouthfeel with a round and smooth bitter flourish on the dry finish.

Calculated OG: 1.030
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 3.4%

Lactarius Rubidus Belgian Style Dark Strong Ale

Candy Cap Quad 01Lactarius Rubidus is the mushroom commonly known as the Candy Cap.  I first encountered these curiosities in November 2014 when I attended a lecture and tasting event hosted by Slow Food Seattle featuring two Seattle authors, Becky Selengut (also a chef) and Langdon Cook.  The Candy Caps were both prepared as a drinking tonic, and dried so attendees could indulge in their intense bouquet — unmistakable, pungent maple syrup.  That’s correct, these mushrooms smell exactly like maple syrup (with a faint earthiness in the background).

SolaceAs soon as I smelled them I began thinking about how they could be used in the brewing process and I soon told Gregory about them.  Gregory was able to find some dried mushrooms for purchase and we began devising a recipe that could incorporate them in a similar fashion to the previous Chanterelle beer we brewed.

After some inventive discussion, we decided that we wanted to rehydrate the mushrooms in red wine first and then add them to a Belgian style strong dark ale.  We brewed the base beer to BJCP style guidelines and used a freshly opened bottle of Solace (the Finger Lakes region’s Inspire Moore Winery’s 2009 dessert wine) to restore the fungi.  The results are an intense and tasty sipper of a dessert beer; the recipe, process, and tasting notes are below:

Lactarius Rubidus Belgian Style Dark Strong Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 21.00
Anticipated OG: 1.098
Anticipated SRM: 21.0
Anticipated IBU: 23
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

61.90% — 13.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
19.05% — 4.00 Lbs. Munich (BE)
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. American White Wheat
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Aromatic Barley Malt
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
02.38% — 0.50 Lbs. CaraMunich (BE)
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Malt
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Special B (BE)

Hops

0.70 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 14.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.60 oz. Styrian Golding (Pellet, 5.4% AA) @ 2 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
27g Red wine rehydrated Candy Cap mushrooms @ 32 days

Yeast

Wyeast 1762 — Belgian Abbey II

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride

Mash Schedule

Saccharification rest – 80 min @ 152F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F

Notes

01.17.16 — Made a large starter of Belgian Abbey II

Brewed on 01.20.16 with Gregory

01.20.16 — Chilled wort to 68F, pitched the yeast and put onto brewbelt

01.21.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity after 18 hours of pitching yeast

01.25.16 — Removed brewbelt

02.03.16 — Transferred to secondary after two week primary

02.17.16 — Split the batch and bottled two gallons for 2.5 volumes CO2; added 27g candy cap mushrooms to one cup of dessert port wine and one cup water, added rehydrated mushrooms & one cup juices to remaining 3 gallons of beer after 2 hour rehydration period.

03.21.16 — Took FG of mushroom portion (1.010) and kegged the remaining 3 gallons of beer.

Candy Cap Quad 02Tasting Notes — 05.01.16 (poured off tap) 

Russet brown-red with great clarity and a moderate white head stand.  Nose is dominated by notes of maple syrup backed with rich Munich malt signifiers — toasted bread and caramel.  Light dark fruit esters akin to fig and rose pedal-like alcohol notes.  Some faint berry and spice from the dessert wine evident.  Big, lush body with flavors following the nose.  Getting a hint of cola.  Very smooth finish leaning on the malty side but with enough alcohol to balance.

Calculated OG: 1.098
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 11.55%

Wild Blackberry Sour Ale

Blackberry Flanders 01This beer’s story began almost two years ago, brewed on 06.12.14 (detailed here: Barrel Project #02).  I took a five gallon portion of that beer and aged it longer still, on 4 LBS, 12.6 OZ of blackberries (mostly wild berries I foraged) and 12.3 OZ of raspberries (store bought, fresh) for the final two months.  Now after nearly 6 months in the bottle, this beer has just hit its stride; it is my favorite beer that I’ve made.

This beer earned me and Gregory a bronze medal in the Specialty Beer category at a local homebrew competition (the new sour categories had not yet gone into effect), and received a score of 41 (excellent) in the Mixed Fermentation category at this year’s annual AHA (American Homebrewers Association) sponsored National Homebrewer’s Competition.

The actual brewing process and recipe can be found in the linked post above.  Below I will only detail the berry additions and bottling date.  However, as usual, the tasting notes will follow those details.

Foraged BlackberriesWild Blackberry Sour Ale

Notes

08.16.15 — After a couple separate additions, a couple days apart, all fruit added to Flanders Style Red (4 LBS, 12.6 OZ blackberries, 12.3 OZ raspberries)

10.19.15 — Bottled beer with champagne yeast & corn sugar for approximately 2.5 volumes CO2

Blackberry Flanders 02Tasting Notes — 04.14.16 (Bottle Pour)

Gorgeous burgundy color with an off-white head which dissipates quickly and laces thin.  Aromas of jammy blackberry, raspberry, and cherry with background notes of wood and acidity.  The berries dominate the palate, followed by some drying oak tannin in the middle with a hint of vanilla and barrel char.  Finishes with a clean and strong lactic sourness, no vinegar notes detected.

Saison Bretta Prunus — Experimental Fruit Saison

Saison Bretta PrunusI was reading Michael Tonsmeire’s American Sour Beers and I got to thinking we should experiment a little — ie: “what if we reversed the usual brett. beer protocol and pitched the brett. first and the regular yeast afterwards?”  I knew that big pitches of brett. may act as a normal yeast and complete primary fermentation rather quickly (2-3 weeks), and that brett. will eat left over nutrients from dead yeast cells, creating interesting and complex esters.  So we disregarded the fact that the saison yeast would probably have few (if any) sugars left to work with and would probably die, and went ahead with the experiment to see what would happen.

We pitched the saison yeast a week after the brett. and decided to use local foraged plums that Eric picked for us, adding them about a month after a long primary for an additional two month secondary before kegging.   Recipe, process and tasting notes below:

Saison Bretta Prunus

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.50
Anticipated OG: 1.066
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 36
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

66.67% — 9.00 Lbs. Pilsner
14.81% — 2.00 Lbs. Munich Dark 20L
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. White Wheat
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Acidulated Malt
03.70% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt

Hops

1.00 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 7.5% AA) @ 30 min.
1.00 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 7.5% AA) @ 5 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
5 Lbs. 5 oz. wild plums (60 days)

Yeast

Wyeast 3711 — French Saison
Wyeast 5112 — Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
White Labs WLP653 — Brettanomyces Lambicus

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 155F

Notes

08.11.15 — Made a large starter of Brett. B and a normal starter of Brett. L

Brewed on 08.17.15 with Gregory

08.17.15 — Chilled wort to 75F and pitched the brett. starters

08.18.15 — Put onto brewbelt

08.19.15 — Signs of vigorous brett. fermentation activity

08.24.15 — Pitched the French Saison yeast

08.26.15 — Removed the brewbelt

09.14.15 — After long primary fermentation, transferred to secondary (bucket) and added the 5 Lbs. 5 oz. of plums (thawed with their juices)

09.25.15 — Gravity at 1.010

11.13.15 — Gnarly Brett. pellicle & Gravity stable at 1.008

Saison Bretta Prunus PellicleTasting Notes — 02.12.16 (poured off tap) 

A hazy beer despite the long maturation period.  Long lasting head that laces nicely with each sip.  Lush and sweet fruit on the nose akin to over-ripe apricots and nectarines, almost Starburst candy-like, with an underlying funk that reminded me of parmesan cheese when the beer was young.  The plums are front and center on the palate where their sweetness is carried along by the carbonation, and a slow decay into a round tartness occurs, bringing a less saccharine Sweet Tarts candy vibe to mind.  A quick herbal tea note announces itself if you warm the beer in your mouth.  It has a tart and tannic stone fruit-skin finish that lingers, eventually drying the palate.

Calculated OG: 1.061
Calculated FG: 1.008
Approx. ABV: 6.9%

PAPA SLUDGE! American Double India Pale Ale

PAPA SLUDGE!Shortly after we brewed our HOP SLUDGE! IPA, Gregory and I opted to brew our first collaborative Double IPA.  We wanted to make something big in body and ABV and bold in flavor while retaining an easy drinkability.  In order to do so we mashed at 150F, stuck to a simple malt bill, and added some corn sugar to the boil.

We also wanted to use a newer American hop varietal in tandem with some of our favorites, so we went heavy on Azacca hops and we’re happy with the results!  Recipe and tasting notes below:

PAPA SLUDGE! American Double IPA

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 16.50
Anticipated OG: 1.091
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 91
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

85.71% — 15.00 Lbs. 2-Row Pale
05.71% — 1.00 Lbs. Munich Light
02.86% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt

Hops

0.75 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.3% AA) @ 90 min. (first wort)
1.00 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.3% AA) @ 30 min.
1.50 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 9.0% AA) @ 15 min.
1.50 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 15 min.
1.00 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.3% AA) @ 01 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 9.0% AA) @ 01 min.
1.50 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 0 min.
1.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.3% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 9.0% AA) @ 0 min.
0.50 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.3% AA) @ 3 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 9.0% AA) @ 3 days (dry hop)
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 3 days (dry hop)
1.40 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 3 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 9.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.3% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
1.00 Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
1.00 Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 Lb. Dextrose (corn sugar) @ 90 min.

Yeast

Imperial Organic A18 Joystick (Pacman Yeast)

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 150F

Notes

11.16.15 — Made yeast starter

Brewed on 11.18.15 with Gregory

11.18.15 — Chilled wort to 60F and pitched the starter

11.19.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

11.24.15 — After six days of primary, as fermentation began to slow visibly, we added half of our dry hop addition for a 3 day dry hop

11.27.15 — Transferred to secondary after 10 day primary and added the rest of our hops for an additional 5 day dry hop

12.02.15 — Kegged and began force carbonating the beer

12.09.15 — Took the first pull from the keg after a week, still quite cloudy but tasting good

Tasting Notes (poured off tap 12.22.15) 

Clear with a deep orange color, moderate head stand, and clingy lacing.  Massive juicy fruit notes of satsuma oranges, ripe mango and pineapple on the nose with underlying hints of pine and spicy alcohol.  Intense and full-bodied on the palate with the fruit melding with a hint of sweet maltiness.  Spicy-herbal notes of Sweet Woodruff arrive in the middle and dissolve into a dry finish full of sticky pine resin and booze.

Calculated OG: 1.091
Calculated FG: 1.015
Approx. ABV: 10.0%

HOP SLUDGE! American India Pale Ale

HOP SLUDGE! In A GlassIn May 2015, Gregory and I entered three different IPAs into the Greater Everett Brewers League (GEBL) IPA Bracket Challenge.  We brewed an English style IPA, an American style IPA and an American style rye IPA (this last with Johnny Bus Tickets).  Sadly, none of these beers placed in the competition (although the rye IPA was bumped out of its bracket in the last heat).

When we got our score sheets back from the judges, we noticed that each stated they thought our American IPA (which is a recipe we’ve been tweaking since Gregory first brewed it for a friend’s wedding) was a great example of an XPA (extra, or hoppy, pale ale); what they wanted was more bitterness.  So we went back to the drawing board, made some adjustments, added more hops to our bittering additions, and thus HOP SLUDGE! was born.

HOP SLUDGE! 02We jokingly named the beer while we were brewing it because the massive amounts of late addition hops created a sludge of hop particulate in the kettle, and subsequently took up about a fifth of the space in our carboy.  The beer crystallized the name itself when fermentation took off so quickly and aggressively that the rubber stopper and blow-off tube were shot out of the carboy and delicious, tropical-smelling wort metamorphosing into beer was showered across the basement floor.  Luckily I caught the problem shortly after fermentation started and was able to get everything cleaned, re-sanitised and proper before any bacteria could settle in.

HOP SLUDGE! 01I’m convinced this is the finest IPA we’ve made yet, but we’re already thinking of changes that can be made and new recipes entirely.  See our recipe and tasting notes below:

HOP SLUDGE! American IPA

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.50
Anticipated OG: 1.067
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 67
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

81.48% — 11.00 Lbs. Great Western Full-Pint 2Row
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Crystal 40L
03.07% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt

Hops

0.75 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 90 min. (first wort)
0.40 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.75 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 15 min.
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 10 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 5 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 1 min.
1.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 1 min.
1.00 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 6 days (dry hop)
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
0.50 oz. Equinox (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.

Yeast

Imperial A01 House Yeast

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 150F

Notes

Brewed on 11.05.15 with Gregory

11.05.15 — Chilled wort to 60F and pitched the ale yeast (no starter as ran out of time before brew day)

11.06.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity (see description above)

11.09.15 — After four days of primary, as fermentation began to slow visibly, we added half of our dry hop addition for a 6 day dry hop

11.15.15 — Transferred to secondary after 10 day primary and added the rest of our hops for an additional 5 day dry hop

11.20.15 — Kegged and began force carbonating the beer

11.27.15 — Took the first pull from the keg after a week, still quite cloudy but tasting good

HOP SLUDGE! 03Tasting Notes — 12.14.15 (poured off tap)

Although much clearer than the first pull from the keg, it has remained a little hazy (probably due to the amount of late addition and dry hops we added without filtering afterwards).  Intense tropical fruitiness on the nose, bringing papaya and mango to mind, with notes of lush pink grapefruit, some honeyed malt sweetness, and a hint of resinous evergreen akin to fir or pine.  The palate follows the nose, but the tropical notes are more muted at first, allowing the Chinook’s earthy spiciness to shine through.  The resin and evergreen hit the sides of the tongue toward the finish and a crescendo of fruitiness briefly re-emerges right before the substantial herbal-spicy bitterness takes hold for a dry, lingering finale.

Calculated OG: 1.067
Calculated FG: 1.016
Approx. ABV: 6.7%

Saison Achillea — Gruitbier inspired saison

Yarrow LifeGregory and I brewed this saison back in June 2015 and we ended up bottling a few gallons and kegging the rest.  Though we thoroughly enjoy hoppy beers, we also love brewing experimental hop-less brews that take their inspiration from historical beer styles and bygone brewing techniques.

The name Saison Achillea is a reference to the binomial name of the flowering plant widely known as common yarrow, Achillea Millefolium.  We used foraged yarrow as well as a small amount of foraged local lavender (another plant traditionally found in gruit) in the production of this beer and pitched our go to saison yeast, Wyeast 3711 French Saison.

Yarrow & LavenderYarrow has a varied history and mythology, including being revered as a healing herb and magical plant in ancient Greece.  In China, the I-Ching is traditionally cast with yarrow stalks which represent the Yin and Yang forces of the universe.  In Native America, yarrow was used as a medicinal herb by tribes across the continent.  In beer, yarrow imparts a sweet floral fragrance but acts as a bittering component and imparts tartness on the palate.  I consider this a sour beer, although we didn’t pitch any bacteria; all the tartness comes from the yarrow.

Check out our recipe and complete tasting notes below:

Saison Achillea

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.25
Anticipated OG: 1.059
Anticipated SRM: 9.0
Anticipated IBU: N/A
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

81.63% — 10.00 Lbs. Vienna
08.16% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat Malt
06.12% — 0.75 Lbs. Caravienna
04.08% — 0.50 Lbs. Crystal 40L

Hops

N/A

Extras

6.00 oz. Yarrow @ 60 min.
4.00 oz. Yarrow @ 5 min.
0.50 oz. Lavender @ 5 min.
0.50 oz. Lavender @ 0 min.
0.75 oz. Yarrow @ 0 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.

Yeast

Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 150F

Notes

06.08.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Wyeast 3711 French Saison smack pack.  Brewtoad suggests 224 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 06.10.15 with Gregory

06.10.15 — Chilled wort to 70F and pitched the French Saison yeast

06.12.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

06.20.15 — Transferred two gallons into bottling bucket after 10 day primary fermentation

06.22.15 — Kegged the rest of the beer and began force carbonating

Tasting Notes — 11. 01.15 (poured from bottle)

This beer is quite clear now that it has had time to bottle condition for over four months.  The aroma is floral and herbal-sweet like tea with a hint of lavender.  Surprisingly, there’s not much in the way of spicy saison yeast phenolics or fruity esters (though I don’t recall if we utilized the brewbelt this time around).  The yarrow dominates the palate, starting as an herbal, sweeter ginger-like note before it melds into the malt backbone which is reminiscent of wild honey.  There is a hint of lavender sweetness before the yarrow returns to dry out the finish with some balancing astringency and acidic tartness that pierces the sides of the tongue and lingers on.

Calculated OG: 1.059
Calculated FG: 1.006
Approx. ABV: 6.9%

The Return of the Rain — 100% Homegrown Fresh Hop Ale

Hops 2015 02

Return of the Rain 03Thus far, it has been the most productive year for my homegrown Centennial and Willamette hops.  The bines grew up to the second floor window and then I trained them to move outwards horizontally, yielding 2.77 pounds total.  I was able to make my first 100% fresh hop ale using all of these hops in a single brew.  Since I brewed it during the week that saw the most precipitation in Seattle since April, I decided to call it The Return of The Rain Fresh Hop Ale.

Fresh Hops Second 03If this recipe had been brewed with regular hop pellets or whole leaf hops, it would have resulted in an extremely bitter (probably unpleasantly so) IPA.  I contemplated using prepared hops for my bittering addition as some brewers do to save the fresh hops for the latter flavor and aroma additions, but I had enough space in my kettle (and enough hops in general) to double up my usual bittering amount — so I opted to use all fresh hops.  The resulting beer is hop forward with a restrained bitterness and a decidedly dry finish.

Hops 2015 01When the beer was young it had a very interesting and not unpleasant umami-like note reminiscent of roasted peanuts; after conditioning in the keg for three weeks this “green” note transitioned into the more immediately recognizable herbal/spicy characteristics associated with Willamette hops.  This beer also displays incredible clarity akin to that of a lager (I couldn’t quite capture this in the photo above due to the condensation on the glass).  Though I like this beer, I’ll probably use packaged hops for the bittering and dry-hop additions in my next fresh hop ale.  See the recipe and tasting notes below:

The Return of the Rain Fresh Hop Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.80
Anticipated OG: 1.054
Anticipated SRM: 3.0
Anticipated IBU: N/A
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

61.22% — 6.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
15.31% — 1.50 Lbs. Golden Promise
10.20% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
10.20% — 1.00 Lbs. Rye Malt
03.06% — 0.30 Lbs. Acidulated Malt

Hops

2.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 45 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 30 min.
3.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 15 min.
6.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 10 min.
9.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 min.
4.00 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 min.
7.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 0 min.
4.00 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 0 min.
4.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 days (dry-hop).
3.40 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 days (dry-hop).

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.

Yeast

Whitelabs WLP051 – California V Ale Yeast

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 100 min @ 152F

Notes

08.29.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Whitelabs WLP051 vial.  Brewtoad suggests 187 billion cells to ferment 5.0 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 08.31.15

08.31.15 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the California V Ale yeast

09.02.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

09.07.15 — Transferred into secondary after 7 day primary fermentation, added the dry-hop additions which were also fresh hops kept cold and covered in the refrigerator since picking them on the morning of 08.31.15

09.12.15 — Kegged the beer and began force carbonating

Return of the Rain 04Tasting Notes — 10. 20.15 (poured off tap)

As stated, this beer is crystal clear now that it has had time to condition in the keg.  Big herbal/spicy notes on the nose reminiscent of forest, earth and flowers with just a hint of that earthy peanut-like aroma.  The palate follows the nose but the Centennials offer some hints of citrusy lemon pith and a firm but round bitterness akin to, but not exactly like, chewing on pine needles and Nasturtium flower petals.  There are also some grassy notes on the back end.   Quick, refreshing finish that ends dry.

Calculated OG: 1.044
Calculated FG: 1.007
Approx. ABV: 4.8%

Altar of Light Summer Ale

Altar of LightI wanted to brew something light and refreshing for the long hot summer we’ve been experiencing here in Seattle, and I wanted to brew it on the longest day of the year: summer solstice.  Attempting to make something similar to Boulevard Brewing’s Ginger Lemon Radler without actually blending a beer with soda, I decided to add lemon flesh, lemon zest, coriander, and fresh ginger to an otherwise basic American wheat ale recipe I wrote.  I was originally going to sour it with wild bacteria that I’ve been culturing, but decided I would make a clean version first and sour a second batch if I liked the resulting beer.

Conflicts in scheduling presented themselves so I ended up missing the solstice by a day and brewed it on 22 June 2015.  The beer turned out well but I have some tweaks in mind for a future version, namely, less lemon zest, more ginger, and perhaps the addition of fresh lemon juice in secondary.

Altar of Light Summer Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.10
Anticipated OG: 1.056
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 26.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

36% — 4.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
34% — 3.80 Lbs. Wheat Malt
09% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
09% — 1.00 Lbs. Honey Malt
07% — 0.80 Lbs. White Wheat
4.5% — 0.50 Lbs. Flaked Wheat

Hops

1.00 oz. Mount Hood (Pellet, 6.5% AA) @ 45 min.
1.00 oz. Cascade (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 10 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.3% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop).

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
0.50 each Lemon Flesh @ 5 min.
1.00 tbs Coriander Seed @ 5 min.
0.85 oz. Lemon Zest @ 5 min.
1.35 oz. Lemon Zest @ 5 days (secondary).
2.00 oz. Fresh Ginger Tea @ 5 days (secondary).
1.00 oz. Fresh Ginger Root @ 5 days (secondary).

Yeast

Wyeast 1010 – American Wheat

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 153F

Notes

06.20.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Wyeast 1010 packet.  Brewtoad suggests 215 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 06.22.15

06.22.15 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the American Wheat yeast

06.24.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

07.02.15 — Transferred into secondary after 10 day primary fermentation, added 2.00 oz. fresh ginger as a tea and 1.00 oz. chopped fresh ginger root

07.07.15 — Kegged most of batch and began carbonating; bottled 1 gallon with 1.20 oz. corn sugar for 3.5 volumes of CO2

Tasting Notes — 09. 06.15 (poured off tap)

I didn’t use any Whirfloc with this beer to maintain the classic cloudiness that wheat beer is renowned for.  Generous white fluffy head.  The lemon zest dominates the nose with light floral notes from the coriander melding nicely with the tropical and citrus, mango-like Azacca aromatics.  Subtle hints of ginger spice are present as well.  Palate follows the nose but I don’t get much ginger out of the beer.  Body is crisp and dry but not overly thin.  Lemon and wheat acidity linger on a long dry finish that has a wonderfully balanced bitterness.  If I let this beer sit on my tongue and warm in my mouth I get more of the lush lemon juice quality I want this beer to present (hence my idea to add some lemon juice in secondary in an attempt to capture that sensation).  Good summer beer.

Calculated OG: 1.047
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 5.6%