Juice it Up, Bro! + Going Pro

We like to keep up with trends and fads in the beer world — it helps to keep recipe development skills sharp, it can present a challenge, and it’s down-right fun (especially when you enjoy the styles that come into vogue).  At this moment, so called New England, or juice/smoothie style ales (usually IPAs) are all the rage here in Seattle.

As I understand it, this style is actually a confluence of two different but similar brewing processes that emerged sometime in the last decade but have only recently infiltrated the zeitgeist.  Most beer enthusiasts attribute the style to Vermont’s The Alchemist Brewery and their flagship IPA Heady Topper (hence the “New England” moniker); however, Stockholm’s Omnipollo has been producing juice/smoothie IPAs for quite a while as well.  Regardless of who the progenitor of the style may be, a few key factors have coalesced to help us brewers and imbibers determine what makes a “juice-style” ale.

First and foremost is the water profile.  To aid in achieving a softer mouthfeel, most research recommends a higher ratio of calcium chloride to calcium sulfate (gypsum) in the treatment of your liquor.  Some brewers will also dough in at a higher temperature to accentuate the roundness of body and mouthfeel.  Next is the addition of more flaked grains in the malt bill — this adds body, head retention, and haze to the finished beer.  To get the desired smooth, bright and juicy flavors associated with oranges, pineapple, grapefruit, and mango, it is important to keep early bittering hop additions very low, or to skip them altogether in the hops schedule.  Many brewers choose to first-wort hop and then add the bulk of their additions from five minutes to flame-out, while aggressively dry-hoping the beer in primary and secondary with hops like El Dorado, Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, etc.

Omnipollo regularly adds lactose or oat milk to their juice/smoothie IPAs, while The Alchemist reportedly doesn’t bump their flaked oat content, relying on the massive quantities of late addition hops and abstaining from filtering to achieve the haze in their New England IPAs.

Gregory and I decided to brew a hoppy and sessionable “juice style” pale ale for the PNW summer we’ve been enjoying.  We did slightly bump our usual approximate 1:1 chloride to sulfate ratio, but following Scott Janish’s excellent article Mouthfeel Softness | New England IPAs, we bucked traditional wisdom and decided to slightly accentuate the sulfate content for an approximate 1:1.7 ratio.

Our recipe, process, and tasting notes can be found after this brief and exciting announcement:

Gregory and I, along with partner Chris Richardson are turning our love and passion for beer and brewing into a full-time business venture by opening Best of Hands Barrelhouse in the West Seattle neighborhood!  We will begin operations on a 7BBL direct-fire system and we aim to open our doors winter of this year or early 2018.  We are currently demolishing and making repairs at the space, and awaiting our construction permits.  You can read about the iconic building we’re leasing here, and please follow us on our Facebook page for updates on our progress!

Juice it Up, Bro!

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 15
Total Grain (Lbs): 28.00
Anticipated OG: 1.049
Anticipated SRM: 4.0
Anticipated IBU: 35
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

42.86% — 12.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
28.57% — 8.00 Lbs. Red Wheat
14.29% — 4.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
07.14% — 2.00 Lbs. Flaked Wheat
03.57% — 1.00 Lbs. Honey Malt
03.57% — 1.00 Lbs. Rice Hulls (@10 min.)

Hops

1.00 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 60 min. (First Wort)
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 60 min. (First Wort)
0.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 60 min.
6.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 0 min.
5.00 oz. Mosaic (Pellet, 12.5% AA) @ 0 min.
3.00 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 0 min.
2.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 4 days (Dry Hop)
2.00 oz. Mosaic (Pellet, 12.5% AA) @ 4 days (Dry Hop)
1.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 4 days (Dry Hop)
2.50 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 3 days (Dry Hop)
2.00 oz. Mosaic (Pellet, 12.5% AA) @ 3 days (Dry Hop)
1.50 oz. El Dorado (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 3 days (Dry Hop)

Extras

3.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.

Yeast

Imperial Yeast A24 — Dry Hop

Water Profile

Seattle
9.00g Calcium Chloride
15.00g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 151F
Mash out — 10 min @ 170F

Notes

Brewed on 07.11.17 with Gregory

07.11.17 — Chilled wort to 70F & pitched the yeast into 17 gallon SS Brewtech conical

07.13.17 — Vigorous fermentation activity

07.15.17 — Added half of the dry-hop addition in primary

07.18.17 — Dumped the yeast and added the remainder of the dry-hop addition

07.21.17 — Kegged the batch and began force carbonating

Tasting Notes — 07.27.17 (on draft)

Opaque hazy orange in color with billowy white head stand which persists throughout drinking.  Intense satsuma orange and red grapefruit notes on the nose with a hint of minerality in the background.  The citrus notes dominate the round palate with some hints of pineapple-like tropical fruit juiciness.  Because we mashed at a lower temperature, the beer finishes quite dry with the impression of coarse tannic mango, and a long lingering grapefruit pith bitterness.

Calculated OG: 1.046
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 4.7%

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Salt-N-Peppa Birthday Gose

snp-gose-01This post is about that birthday beer I referenced in my last entry.  I’ve been meaning to brew a gose (pronounced goes-uh) — a traditional tart German wheat beer with sea salt and coriander — with peppercorns (my own twist on the style) for about two years. August 2nd, my birthday, afforded me the opportunity to finally do so as my kegerator’s sour tap became available.

I wrote a basic gose recipe and made a one liter lactobacillus starter five days before brewday, keeping the starter at 114F the entire time with a sous-vide cooker submerged in a camping cooler.  Gregory and I have had great lactic acid production in the past while making starters or sour-worting at around this temperature, but I talked to a fellow homebrewer who thought the temp. sounded a little high (he recommended keep the lacto. between 85-100F).  I proceeded to pitch the lacto. into the post-boil wort and waited 34.5 hours to pitch my ale yeast.  I didn’t bother to take a PH reading, as our PH meter seems to be malfunctioning.

The beer turned out fine, albeit less sour than I would have liked (ideally, it would have attained the level of tartness of Cascade’s or Westbrook’s  goses).  The homebrewer I mentioned above thought that my temp. may have been high enough to kill the lacto., so I’ll try keeping the starter at a lower temp. next time — perhaps then I’ll reach the level of tartness I desire.

All in all it’s a fine beer, and the peppercorns proved a nice addition.  Below you can find my recipe, process, and tasting notes.

Salt-N-Peppa Gose

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.50
Anticipated OG: 1.043
Anticipated SRM: 3.0
Anticipated IBU: 5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

Grain

47.06% — 4.00 Lbs. Wheat Malt
35.29% — 3.00 Lbs. Pilsner
11.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Acid Malt
05.88% — 0.50 Lbs. Rice Hulls

Hops

0.20 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 6.8% AA) @ 75 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.65 oz. Coriander Seed @ 10 min.
6.00 g. Pink Peppercorn @ 5 min.
0.75 oz. Sea Salt @ 10 min.

Yeast

White Labs WLP029 — German Ale/Kolsch Yeast
White Labs WLP672 — Lactobacillus Brevis

Water Profile

Seattle

Mash Schedule

Sacch. Rest – 60 min @ 150F
Acid Malt Addition — 45 min @ 150F
Mash out — 20 min @ 170F

Notes

07.28.16 — Made a 1 liter lacto. starter and kept @ 114F for 5 days

08.02.16 — Made 1 liter starter of German Ale/Kolsch yeast

Brewed on 08.02.16

08.02.16 — Chilled wort to 103F & pitched lacto. starter without aerating, put onto brewbelt

07.27.16 — Chilled to 80F and pitched yeast slurry

08.03.16/08.04.16 — After 34.5 hrs, decanted and pitched German Ale/Kolsch yeast, aerated & took off of brewbelt

08.04.16 — Vigorous fermentation 9.5 hours after pitch

08.12.16 — Kegged entire batch and began carbonating

snp-gose-02Tasting Notes — 09.07.16 (poured off tap)

Pale straw color with a moderate white head which dissipates quickly and laces thin.  Light bready malt aromas with mineral undertones and apparent fruity-floral peppercorn notes as the beer warms.  Sweet stone ground cracker-like notes on the palate accompanied by the floral-nutty flavors of the coriander.  Sea salt salinity emerges mid-palate to balance the malts with a mineral crispness and a savory zing.  Finishes semisweet with notes of cereal grains and a balancing flourish of peppercorn spice.

Calculated OG: 1.045
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 4.6%

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%

The Cherry Ghost – Cherry & Kumquat Berliner Weisse

CKB 04“A sour wort Berliner weisse aged 8 weeks on cherries and kumquats with a ghost of an ABV.”

Berliner weisse is a classic tart German wheat ale that is traditionally fermented with a mixed culture of top-fermenting yeasts and lactobacillus.  Examples of the style can range from mildly tart to bracingly sour with firm acidity and notes of lemon and other citrus fruits.  In Berlin it is available “straight” but is often served with sweet raspberry or woodruff syrups to blunt the acidity and sourness.  At only about 3-4% alcohol by volume this beverage proves to be an excellent thirst quencher and has become quite popular during the summer months in the U.S.A.

There are different methods of souring a berliner weisse, each with its own involved process and merits.  Briefly, you can pitch pure strain lactobacillus, or lacto with an additional yeast culture; or you can do a sour mash with pitched yeast, or a sour mash with pitched yeast and additional lacto.  If you’d like to read more in depth about these methods, Derek Dellinger has done a great job of explaining them on his Homebrew and Beer Blog, Bear Flavored.  Additionally, you can conduct a normal mash and pull some or all of the wort, pitch your lacto starter at this point and perform a sour wort.

The base for this berliner weisse is extremely minimal.  Gregory and I decided to do a four day sour wort with a lactobacillus starter made from yogurt followed by a 15 minute boil after which we pitched Wyeast 1007 German Ale along with Wyeast 5112 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis.

CKB 03

As the tag line that begins this post suggests, not everything went as planned for this brew.  Although some might consider 3-4% a ghost of an ABV already, the base beer only ended up being about 1%!  How did this happen, you ask?  Well I have a few theories though I’d love to hear others if you’ve got them.  First of all, while hot holding the sour wort at around 100F for the four days, it began to ferment creating some alcohol that would later be boiled off (since we only boiled for 15 minutes to kill the lacto/other bacteria I’m unsure if this had much of an affect on the finished product).  Additionally, I forego a starter for the German Ale yeast (this was brewed at a time before I always made a starter) and assume that the PH was too low, disrupting the ale yeast’s fermentation.

Regardless of the reasons for the lower than usual ABV, the beer went through a 16 day primary fermentation followed by a 56 day secondary on cherries and kumquats.  In addition to the final refreshing brew tasting fantastic, the “sessional” aspect of this already session style beer allowed it to be entered into Xbrew — the Mount Si Brewing Society’s annual homebrew competition that accepts session and imperial versions of each traditional BJCP style.  I am honored that this little beer took the silver medal in the fruit beer category.  I plan to brew this recipe again although I haven’t determined which souring method I’ll experiment with.  The recipe is as follows:

Cherry Ghost Berliner Weisse

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.2
Anticipated OG: 1.047
Anticipated SRM: 2.0
Anticipated IBU: 6.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 15 Minutes

Grain

43% – 3.6 Lbs. Belgian 2-Row Pilsner
43% – 3.6 Lbs. White Wheat
12% – 1.0 Lbs. Acidulated Malt

Hops

0.50 oz. US Cascade (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 15 min.
1.00 0z. Columbus (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 3 day dry hop.
0.40 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 14.2% AA) @ 3 day dry hop.
0.25 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.3% AA) @ 3 day dry hop.

Extras

1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
9.00 Lbs. Pie cherries
2.00 Lbs. Kumquats
0.50 Lbs. Rainier Cherries
0.50 Lbs. Red Cherries

Yeast

Wyeast 5112 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
Wyeast 1007 German Ale

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 tsp Calcium Chloride
1.00 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 60 min @ 150F

Notes

04.05.14 – Made a lactobacillus starter from yogurt (but didn’t give it enough time to culture up)

Mash & sour wort 04.07.14 with Gregory

04.07.14 – Hot held wort @ 100F for 4 days

04.09.14 – Temp drop to 80F, pulled some wort, brought it to boil and added back into water cooler mash tun to raise wort back to 100F

04.10.14 – Noticed signs of lacto fermentation

04.11.14 –  Brought wort to boil for 15 minutes to kill lacto/other bacteria

04.11.14 – Chilled wort to 65F before pitching German Ale yeast and Brett.

04.27.14 – Pasteurized 9.0 Lbs. frozen pie cherries by adding them to water and raising to 165F, used StarSan on 2.0 Lbs. kumquats

04.27.14 – Transferred beer to secondary and added the fruits

06.09.14 – Added 0.5 Lbs. Rainier cherries & 0.5 Lbs. red cherries

06.20.14 – Transferred beer into bottling bucket and dry hopped for 3 days

06.23.14 – Bottled Berliner weisse with 6.2 oz. corn sugar @ 3.45 volumes of CO2

Tasting Notes

Great summer quencher — light and crisp with a slight mineral note announcing itself after the tart finish.  The fruit is spot on; big sour cherry flavors and some citrus from the kumquats.  It actually seems that the kumquats have become more apparent over time.  I’m excited to make this one again.

Calculated OG: 1.014
Calculated FG: 1.006
Approx. ABV: 1.05%