Posts Tagged ‘pale ale’

brett pale ale variations

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

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as you may have guessed from my earlier posts, I have a thing for pale ales that have brettanomyces added in secondary.

  • as a result, I was motivated to create something in the same vein as beers like orval, rayon vert, brux, etc.
    – beers that are somewhat sessionable yet earthy and spicy, with a rocky head and a funk that grows over time in the bottle/keg.
  • I was also intrigued by beers such as the historic ballantine IPA that was supposedly aged for a year in oak and aroma hopped with hop extract, and wanted to incorporate some of those unique characteristics as well to create a unique “wood aged brett pale.”
  • I ended up going with a grain bill of maris otter, vienna, crystal 80 and 40, and wheat for a solid malt backbone, with a starting gravity of 1.062.  I bittered with columbus and added late aroma additions of chinook and simcoe for layered pine notes and a smooth bitterness (~55 IBU).
  • for fermentation purposes, I split the batch between ECY17 burton union and WLP510 bastogne.  I had originally planned to go with ECY10 old newark (one of the original ballantine strains) but my starter was so violently active (after less than six hours) the majority of top cropping yeast blew out of my erlenmeyer flask and my leftover pitch didn’t go anywhere.  east coast yeast is the only provider whose vials I will directly pitch into wort without stepping up (the ECY17 vial took off in only an hour or two after pitching).
  • after two weeks in primary at a controlled 65F, the WLP510 fermentor was at 1.01 and the ECY17 fermentor was at 1.013.  I racked both into corny kegs, primed with 2.5oz. sugar, and pitched orval bottle dregs into each.  I was planning on adding an american oak cube to each keg as well, but didn’t have any lying around.  I am also tossing around the idea of dry hopping them before serving (which might be challenging now that I primed the kegs).
  • I’m planning on tapping the kegs after three months and seeing which version works better with brett.  the base beers both tasted great during kegging, so hopefully they’ll keep improving!

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beginning the 2010 hop harvest

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

aside from sampling a few draft homebrews (and discovering that the local elks lodge has quite a few beers on tap, including SN pale ale), the weekend went by without incident. on monday, however, the hop harvest began.

  • after doing some research regarding optimal hop picking indicators, I determined the following: wait until the cones are light and papery, and you can smell significant hop aroma, then wait a week or more for the cones to fully develop before picking.
  • last year, I picked my cones when they felt papery (and when I saw significant lupulin in the cones), but I didn’t really get any significant aroma from them, so I think I picked too early.
  • this time around, my cascade cones were light, papery, and smelled great, and my I ended up with tacky fingers after handling the cones.  I cut down the cascade vine and picked approximately a little less than a pound of wet hops, which will likely result in 4oz. of dried cones.  not bad for first year growth!
  • I spread the hops out in the basement on some mesh and put a fan on them to dry them out.  I plan on stuffing them in a ziploc in a day or two, when they fully dry out.
  • in the future, I plan on planting my rhizomes in the ground to increase output, as the time and effort put in for a 4oz. harvest could get a little frustrating over time.  I will definitely plant the cascade, which showed the best growth potential by far, but other varieties are still up in the air (columbus? amarillo?)

homebrewed vojvodina pale ale tasting

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

vojvodina pale pour

at long last, I finally tapped my fresh-hop single-hop vojvodina pale ale (phew!) and AP poured me up a glass.

  • the crystal and cara-pils specialty malts gave the beer some nice color (its actually pretty dark for a pale ale).
  • I was very satisfied with the head on the beer as well – each pour results in a nice 2-finger head which dissipates over a few minutes.
  • the beer has a slightly bready/malty yeast aroma, with no hop aroma to speak of (probably because the beer was a fresh-hop beer, even though the hop’s lineage indicates aroma and dual purpose characteristics).
  • the flavor is pretty mild, with little perceived bitterness.  it’s not malt or hop-forward, but is a good session beer with a clean finish that probably clocks in at over 6% abv.
  • my goals for next year’s fresh-hop harvest ale? lighten up the malt bill, and double the hops (and perhaps pulverize them) and maybe use a yeast with a more transparent finish to see if I can end up with more of a hoppy profile (maybe a fresh hop IPA?).  hopefully I’ll also have enough zeus next year to have a little fresh hop taste-off…

vojvodina pale in the glass

abstract pour

bear republic hop rod rye

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

hop rod rye in the glass

bear republic’s hop rod rye is a great example of a rye IPA.

  • the rye in this beer complements the IPA hoppiness perfectly, and the result is a brew that is even more drinkable than a straight IPA.
  • I am definitely a fan of rye IPAs, and will order them up whenever I get a chance.  another great examples of a rye IPAs is schmaltz’ bittersweet lenny’s R.I.P.A.
  • I have also brewed denny conn’s rye IPA recipe multiple times, and each batch has gotten rave reviews from everyone who has tried it.
  • in fact, one of my top 5 personal favorite homebrew recipes is based off of a rye bread/kvass and pale ale recipe adapted from a conversation with dave over at healthy spirits.  I will definitely be brewing that one again.
  • bear republic is a great brewery that I have noticed more and more at festivals.  their employees are always super friendly and generous with their pours.  plus, their racer 5 IPA is my go-to pint at many bars around town.  great job guys!

hop rod rye bottle

baby shower kölsch: results

Monday, September 21st, 2009

the setup

quite a few months ago it was brought to my attention that NB and PB were having a baby shower.  I offered to supply a keg for the occasion.

  • oysters and BBQ were on the menu, and the event was being held outside.  I had to figure out a beer that would fit the bill.
  • I chose to brew a kolsch.  not only is kolsch a great session beer, but it is light and crisp, perfect with most foods on a sunny day.
  • I had read somewhere that an initially sweeter kolsch dries out when aged, which is what I wanted.  in order to ensure that the kolsch was light, crisp, and clear, I kegged it in June and cold crashed it in my cool shed for over 3 months.
  • the strategy worked, and the beer came out dry, perfectly carbonated, and super drinkable.
  • in fact, I think “drinkable” was an understatement.  with about 30 people in attendance, and over 20 pouring, the keg was kicked in less than an hour!
  • the couple of bottles of tripel and cider that I brewed up were the next to go.  it’s a good thing I brought a case of lagunitas IPA as backup!
  • thanks again NB and PB, the setup was great!

kolsch pour

oyster shuck

party goers are satisfied

reflecting on the brew, anticipating the future

during the weekend I also managed a couple more beer-related accomplishments.

  • I kegged the single-hop pale on friday.  I’m thinking about letting it sit for a month max, and then breaking it out to enjoy some local hoppyness at its freshest.

single hop fresh hop pale ale

  • I also took down the vojvodina vine on sunday, completing the cycle.  I felt bad stuffing it in the trash, but I knew it would be back even stronger next year!

vojvodina in trash