Sunday, October 20, 2013

#12 Dry Cider

Recipe     -     Tasting

Good news everyone!  My friend Ned will have 7 gallons of cider to ferment!

I don't know a whole lot about cider, but it shouldn't be as hard as beer.  There's a lot that goes into brewing--recipe formulation (selecting grains and hops in proper ratios), mashing (managing mash thickness, temperature, and chemistry to produce an appropriately fermentable wort), boiling (I mean, this just takes time, but still)--that we won't have to deal with here.  The juice is a pre-mixed blend of primarily honey crisp, some granny smith and golden delicious, and maybe a few other varieties.  All we have to do is let the yeast do its thing.

Pitched 10/20/14:
Ok, so maybe a bit more complicated than that.  We started by adding campden tablets as soon as the juice was pressed to inhibit bacteria and wild yeast.  Usually campden tablets are added at a ratio of 1 tablet/gallon to wine but apparently the grape juice binds to a portion of this in a way that apple juice does not, so lower concentrations can be used for cider.  Also, some people are sensitive to the sulfite and it can give off sulfurous odors before it eventually dissipates.  We went with half a tablet per gallon and didn't encounter any infections or unpleasantness, so I feel like that route worked.

After waiting 24 hrs, we poured the juice into two carboys, 3 gal in each (lost 1 gal to sediment), and added corn sugar to boost the ABV.  Since corn sugar is primarily simple sugar, it raises the alcohol content without adding significant flavor.  As in beer, it can lighten the mouthfeel if used in large amounts.  We went with .75 lbs per carboy (.25 lbs/gal) to bring the anticipated ABV up to 8.3%.

(EDIT: Looking back on this we used corn sugar because I had seen it strongly recommended for beer.  Some sources identified a disagreeable "cidery" taste in beers fermented with table sugar as opposed to corn sugar.  While "cidery" would not be out of place in a cider, I already had corn sugar on hand, so we figured better safe than sorry.  I later learned that the dextrose in corn sugar is most similar to the dextrose and maltose found in wort. Fruit juice--including apples and grapes--contains primarily fructose.  The sucrose found in table sugar (either from sugar cane or sugar beet) is a disaccharide composed of a fructose and a glucose unit.  While these are all fermentable by ale yeast and (except maltose) by wine yeast, I suspect that the difference in taste is related to that fructose molecule.  Apparently it must be converted to glucose in the yeast cell before it can be consumed, so I'm guessing this process introduces a byproduct characterized as "cidery," but this is only speculation.  I would be curious to know if this is true, how significant the impact is, and how the final flavors compare in different types of fermentations.)

Then we pitched the yeast.  As mentioned earlier, the must (unfermented fruit juice) was split between two carboys so we could try two different yeasts.  The recommendations online strongly favored Danstar Nottingham ale yeast and Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast for cider so we did both.  Both yeasts were rehydrated in cool, boiled water and then pitched at ambient temperature.  The fridge was set to 60F for the duration of active fermentation.

At 3 weeks, I racked to secondary.  I noticed the fermentation fridge had a funky sulfury sour smell like with the lemonade I did during the summer.  The cider was then moved to the closet to free up temperature controlled fermentation space.  It took quite awhile for the lees (Yeast and apple pectin? We didn't use pectinase as recommended.) to settle, and when it did they formed a fluffy sludge atop the yeast.  The wine yeast was noticeably more powdery than the highly flocculant Nottingham.

Bottled 1/4/14
Thanks Ned for coming over to bottle!  It was a long cold day of bottling, but it's always great to have a second pair of (frozen) hands.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

#11 Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout Clone - Brewday

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

So before brewday even started, I needed to toast the oats.  The CloneBrews recipe recommended toasting at 325 for 75 minutes, but I decided to take it conservatively and did 75 minutes at 300F (or rather 275F but with convection on).  Spread out on cookie sheets, they started to turn golden, but not quite toasty, and smelled delicious, but I removed them just as the smell began to turn harsh.  As I was reading the notes on the forum, I noticed they recommended getting the oats off the pans immediately so they don't continue to cook, and letting them sit for 1-2 weeks to let the aroma dissipate.  I was brewing the next morning, so I simply moved them to a shallow tub and hoped the exposure would be enough.

Brewed 10/12/13:
Then when I went to brew, I realized I was out of grain.  After buying the big 55 lb. sack of Gambrinus pale malt I forgot this was even possible!  The original recipe called for English Maris Otter malt, so I had added some Munich to mimic it (read somewhere that US 2-row + Munich = Maris Otter?  A little extra toastiness won't be out of place here.)  I rushed to the homebrew store and wound up dropping the extra change on the sack of Thomas Fawcett Marris Otter, so now the grain bill looks like I just scraped up all my past mistakes.  Time to knit a onesie for it.

Once I actually got brewing everything went pretty well.  I calculated the recipe using 50% efficiency, but I ended with 55%, so I ended up with 8.5 gallons into the fermenters instead of 8.  No complaints there.  I double crushed the MO portion of the base malt to try to improve efficiency, but it doesn't appear to have made a sizable difference.  I need to get that efficiency up to around 75%, so next thing to try is water chemistry, then getting the mash tun running.

PS.  I thought this was one of the most delicious looking beers I've brewed in the kettle.

Fermentation Notes:
Pitched yeast at 60F.  Split batch, half Wyeast Irish Ale and half dry US-05, 4.25 gal in each.  Temp set to 64F.

2 days: Temp to 66F. Irish Ale about .5 to 1 in krausen, US-05 minimal.  I guess this shows why they say to rehydrate the yeast!  Even at 64F the Chico should have been active.

1 week: Racked to secondary and stored in bedroom.  One week is sooner than I planned, but should be fine.  I need the fermentation space for cider!  Based on the krausen scum, the Chico seems to have picked up and had a healthy fermentation.

Bottled 11/10/13 (4 weeks from brewday):
Aimed for 2.5 vol of carbonation, but I calculated priming sugar weight using cold-crash temp (40F).  Residual carbonation levels depend on the maximum temperature after fermentation finished, so recalculating using the max fermentation temp (66F) gives a carbonation level of 1.9 vol before.  This is a bit low for the pillowy head I was aiming for, but will fit perfectly with the classic English style.  I tried to pop the top on a warm bottle and add more sugar, but it foamed over.  Hopefully carbonation is adequate when not overly chilled.

Friday, October 11, 2013

#11 Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout Clone - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

I recently received a raven from Winterfell bearing a message from Lord Stark.  It bore a simple message, "Winter is coming."  Well thanks, dick.  I could have told you that.

But with colder weather on the way, I now have a good excuse to brew something ... darker.  I would love to brew a big imperial stout, but with nothing in the fermenters for the last few weeks, I need to get something quicker going.  I'll definitely get to that shortly though, so in the meantime I'll try a bit softer beer: oatmeal stout.  Hopefully it will be slightly more accessible, and something I can take to share with the family over Christmas vacation.

Oatmeal stout, as the name implies, is a stout brewed with oats, typically up to 30% of the grist.  Though oatmeal stout was popular for its supposed nutritional properties in the late 1800's, it faded from existence after World War II.  (See BeerSmith's blog post for a nice concise overview of the style and it's history.)  Modern oatmeal stouts are descended from the version reintroduce by Samuel Smith's in the late 80's, so it seems logical that, for my first oatmeal stout, I brew a clone of that.

The following recipe is an amalgamation of two clone recipes, one from brew365 and another from HomeBrewTalk that I think was originally included in the CloneBrews book.  On his Brewing With Style Podcast, Jamil Zainasheff recommends toasting the oats to get the rich oatmeal cookie flavor that people expect from the oats, so I'm going to give that a shot.  And since I haven't brewed in awhile, I might as well make this a big batch: 8 gal split into two fermenters so I can test the difference between the Guinness yeast and the Chico yeast I've been using.

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout Clone
Batch Size (fermenter): 8.00 gal
Estimated ABV: 5.5 %
Estimated OG: 1.061 SG
Estimated FG: 1.019 SG
Estimated Color: 40.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 31.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 50.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 56.3 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt           Name                                     %/IBU         
16 lbs        Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)         60.0 %
2 lbs 10.0 oz Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                   9.8 %
2 lbs         Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)             7.5 %
1 lbs 12.8 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           6.7 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz  Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)    4.7 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz  Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM)               4.7 %
1 lbs         Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM)                 3.7 %
12.0 oz       Black Barley (Stout) (500.0 SRM)         2.8 %
2.75 oz       Goldings, East Kent [6.30 %] - Boil 90.0 31.6 IBU
1.00 tsp      Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              -
1.1 pkg       Irish Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP004)     -
1.0 pkg       Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  -

Mash Schedule: BIAB, 156F
Total Grain Weight: 26 lbs 10.8 oz
Estimated Cost: $50.47

This recipe reflects brewday shenanigans.  See the brewday post for the explanation/excuses.

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