Thursday, April 25, 2013

Recipe: BANGARANG Rufio (Imperial Red IPA)

In continuing with my BANGARANG series, I have to move to many people's favorite Lost Boy, and mine as well, RUFIO.  I am currently sitting on a large volume of hops in my freezer, including Chinook, Simcoe, and a new 1# of CTZ.  Sounds perfect for a big, bold, dank, piney Red IPA.  I have also been meaning to use Vienna as a base malt to get a feel for it some.  I realize a big hoppy red is not the best place to get a feel for a malt, but that's what I am doing.  Added in a touch of Munich, a sprinkle of Black Malt for color and dryness, and a hefty dose of sugar to increase drinkability, up the fermentability, drop the FG, and up the OG, perfect for an Imperial IPA.

This beer was also done as an overnight mash for 10.5 gallons, split before the boil into 2 seperate batches.  This batch received a steep of the Black Malt and the addition of sugar while awaiting the boil.  This will also be my first run with my new hop strainer for the ball valve (replacing all the failed hop tacos).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Becca's Bavarian

Nice, crisp, fruity, bready, snappy, light, refreshing.  The Hefeweisse that my wife brewed with me as a gift for Valentine's Day was a quick ferment and carb for the half that didn't get infected, and turned out quite nice.

Pours almost clear gold without the yeast.  I invert the bottle and gently swirl it around in circles breaking up the yeast sediment and putting it back into suspension for the pour.  With the yeast it is a nice cloudy gold with thick white/beige head that clings to the sides all the way down, and stays a good finger thick to the last drop.

Smells of over ripe bananas, crackers, light vanilla, and a little spice.  No off aromas, no DMS, diacetyl, or acetaldehyde.  Banana dominates.

Tastes of bananas, cloves, bread crust, dry crackers, cereal, slightly sweet (Pils malt).  Clean, dominated by bananas, cloves to the background.

Refreshing snap on the finish, light tartness, semi dry, restrained bitterness to balance, medium body, lots of prickly carbonation.

Were I blind, it would be spot on for a true Hefe.  The clarity at only 2 months is annoying, but I got the same issue with the first rendition of this recipe as well.  Next time I will be skipping the step mash and going for a single infusion, maybe the protein rest is the problem with the lack of haze.  As far as smell and flavor go, spot on, heavy banana, clove to the back, dry crackers, slightly tart and highly carbed with billowing head.  With out the haze issue it would be spot on.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Recipe: The Becca 2013: My Bruin Eyed Girl (Cherry Oud Bruin)

I was able to score a small slurry of Brett L and Lacto from a primary ferment of an unnamed source.  I immediately threw it into a starter of 500ml of 1.037 wort and 300 ml apple juice and put it on the stir plate for 2 weeks.  I thought about what I would brew, and came upon Oud Bruin.  Nice lactic twang, no vinegar, sweet and sour, big dark fruits, no Brett funk from a secondary ferment, no oak, not super attenuated.  Quite different from many of the sour, funky, bold, dry, oaky sours I normally do.  Though Brett as the primary strain would not be traditional, it would still work well as it will throw off big fruits, and Brett L should give a lot of cherry.  

Speaking of non traditional for Oud Bruin, neither is the grain bill.  I had been planning on doing a single mash split boil Munich Dunkel with the Oud Bruin, but decided 3 days prior that I didn't want a Dunkel for the Summer.  I switched it up and went with a big hoppy Imperial West Coast Red with a base of Vienna and touch of Munich (for rich maltiness w/o caramel).  I still wanted the Oud Bruin, and went with the same here - 26# of Vienna, 2# Munich II, maxed out mash tun for an overnight mash.  Of course, Vienna is not the traditional base malt for an Oud Bruin, Pilsner is, so this beer will be richer than a standard Oud Bruin would be, which I think will be good.  I added Caramunich 120 and Special B for dark fruits, raisins, plums, cherries, and Carafa III Special for color and a light chocolate background.  Give it 6+ months in the garage post primary through the Summer heat and it should make for a great beer this upcoming Fall and Winter (especially on a cold night @ ~8% ABV).

New Weldless Ball Valve, Pick Up, and Hop Filter

When I first got my keggle, it came pre fit with a 1/2" OD nipple welded to the outside that the ball valve was threaded onto.  The weld on the inside is very rough, and getting 3/8" fittings to thread into it has always proved to be a pain.  With the addition of the larger chiller I got for Christmas, I had to change the pick up configuration from straight out into the middle to an angle to the side (the chiller would sit directly on top of the old pick up and push it down as well as tilt the chiller back).  When I pulled the old straight fitting and tried to put the 45 degree fitting in its place, it wouldn't hold, which caused me to lose suction at that joint (leaving nearly 3 quarts in the bottom).  It also makes for a difficult clean up since I have nearly 5 brass and copper parts in place to make the angles as well as to have the option of removal.

Compound this with all the failed attempts to filter out the hops and trub from my beers (a small hop taco and a large hop taco both clogged on 10 gallon hoppy batches), and I have been set for a change.  I was thinking about having a 90 SS street elbow welded to the inside to flow into the nipple and ball valve, but then I thought there might be a better option, especially with some of the infection issues I have had. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Recipe: BANGARANG - The Twins (3rd Place - German Pilsner & Saison)

Last year I started a category of beers for my brewing called the BANGARANG series.  Of course BANGARANG is from the movie Hook and this term expresses delight and enjoyment.  As the second and third beers in this installment, I went with the twins.  It seemed fitting since I was brewing up a 10 gallon batch and splitting it into 2 fermenters with two separate yeasts.  Same wort, different fermentations.  After brewing my Dopplebock I wanted to continue using the lager yeast while the weather was still fitting for it.  I have tried a few Pilsners lately and have really enjoyed them so I decided to brew one up (but failed).  I can't see why I would just brew 5 gallons of beer when I can easily brew 2, so I decided to do a 10 gallon batch and ferment the other 5 on a different yeast.  I don't have any Saisons right now, and I love them, and warmer weather will be here in a few months, so I thought this would be the best way to split it.  Both beers work well with a Pilsner Malt base, a firm bitterness, and a medium Noble hopping.  So that's exactly what I did.