Fermentation log details when we added apples, cinnamon, and dry hopped our oatmeal apple pie cream ale (brew day post).
What is with the funky fermentation profile? To conserve wort, a refractometer was used for the first few days of fermentation. We forgot brewing 101 where the refractometer is only good for wort. The alcohol that is present once fermentation starts throws off the values. Day 5 we used different equipment.
The cinnamon aroma is strong, but it does not come through in the flavor profile. The Pink Lady apples are delicious for eating, but when we brew this again – Honey Crisp is the way to go. This was our original plan, but the apples were neglected on the stove and the sugars went past caramelization to ash. Of the apple varietals the local grocery had, Pink Lady was the choice we made.
The flavor of the beer is close to what we wanted, but not quite there. Because we were low on mash temperature, it is a drier beer than desired. A higher mash temperature would have resulted in a residual sweetness that would better evoke apple pie.
Sent this to cold crash – looking forward to transferring it to a keg, carbonating, and drinking in a couple weeks.
Ah, winter is coming. So it is time to brew before the weather is too cold and the wind is too sharp to monitor our brew kettle outside. The amber we brewed back in July kicked a couple of weeks ago and Jess had to bring a 1/6 home from work to fill the void (The Post Brewing Company, Big Rosie Porter).
This time around we are trying an oatmeal cream-style ale. Adjuncts will be apples and cinnamon added at secondary to provide some traditional apple pie flavors. A slightly higher mash temperature, closer to what one would expect of porters, will provide a sweetness on the palate due to unfermentable sugars.
Check out the brew record linked above for the nitty gritty brew day details.
The mash tun has found a new home – a shop cart. The mash tun is very heavy and we struggled to lift it to the top of the brew tree in July. Better to leave it lower and use the pumps.
We lost more heat than we expected during mash-in. The mash temperature, which was 4 degrees lower than the desired target, will result in more fermentable sugars and a drier beer. Not the end of the world, but there will be some sweetness lost that would help emulate apple pie flavors.
Whirfloc was not added. It listed on the brew sheet, but was completely overlooked.
We also lost more volume to the bottom of the brew kettle – approximately 1 gallon. This is something to keep in mind for our future recipe calculations.
Malt can be used as prop on model train tables.
72.9%, lower than the 75% for the Amber. These are significant drop-offs from what we experienced in Loveland. So what gives? An educated guess points to the water profile, with solid money betting on low calcium (check out this post on why water matters). A water testing kit may be on the to purchase list.
What the future (does not) holds
The brew shed has been postponed. We brewed in the mouth of the garage and kept the door open. The wind issues we experienced when we brewed the amber were eliminated and we were not overcome with propane exhaust fumes (woohoo!). So for the time being, money shall be saved and the brew shed will not be built.
Water analysis. Because if there is a way to be nerdier about home brewing, this is it.
Purchase more valves. Still needs to be done. The requisition department is slow.
With a the vast majority of the house projects started since purchase completed, it is back to brewing beer! We are starting with our tried and true Alex’s Amber Ale. This recipe is dialed in and it is extremely consistent. That being said, some substitutions were made due to sourcing limitations on home brew supply shopping day. Specialty grains and hops were purchased from CO Brew in Denver.
Admittedly, making this many changes to the recipe is not ideal, but combined with the brew equipment changes, this just may be a disastrous day.
Our day started late because we didn’t dry fit any of the equipment. If we had done this, we would have realized we needed some extra parts to make everything work. This set back our day and resulted in the extension of some steps of the process.
The day was also a wee bit windy and the propane burners could not maintain the desired vigorous boil. Evaporation was reduced, resulting in a higher volume of lower gravity wort.
Why the low efficiency? Our sparge was too fast. As seen in the gallery pictures, our brew space is set up under out deck on the some of the rare flat space on our property. We were unable to mount the sparge arm due to the low clearance and sparged through the vorlauf port. The fast sparge likely resulted in poor sugar extraction from the grain bed.
We discovered the thermometer on the HLT reads 4 degrees high and the thermometer on the mash tun reads 4 degrees low. We completely undershot our target mash temp, but not nearly as bad as initially thought.
What the future holds
A brew shed. Currently our brew equipment is buried and it is a fight to set everything up. We could brew on the deck and have sufficient room for our sparge arm, but we would have to disassemble the brew tree to get it up the stairs. It would be nice to have a dedicated space to brewing.
Purchased more valves. Goal was to use the whirlpool port on the boil kettle, but after thinking about the set-up, we realized we failed to purchase a valve that would help prevent the back flow of hot wort. This is a peril of failing to dry fit a new set up at least a week in advance.
With our brown ale cruising along, and the temperatures looking to be warmer, we decided to brew, in all likelihood for the last time in 2016. This time, we are revisiting the disaster that was our white stout.
15 lbs Maris Otter
0.5 lbs Crystal 40L
1 lbs flaked oats
1 lbs flaked barley
Hops (Pellet) and other boil additions:
1 oz Magnum 14.2% alpha acids (60 minutes)
1 oz Crystal 4.8% alpha acids (5 minutes)
3 oz cocoa powder (5 minutes)
1 table Whirlfloc (5 minutes)
Additions at packaging:
Lactose (amount to be determined)
Coffee (much less than our last attempt)
Wyeast 1272 American Ale II (#1058314, 11/09/2016 mfg)
Procedure Highlights: Our first brew with our new 20 gallon mash tun from SS Brewing Technologies! We cleaned manufacturing oils off according to instructions received with the mash tun (take apart that butterfly valve – it is well worth it). Things were going smoothly, until we realized, after we added our striker water, we were forgot to put the false bottom in. DOH! False bottom in place, we proceeded with our mash in.
A cooler day, we lost more heat from the strike water than anticipated on mashing in (part due to temperatures, part due to rectifying our false bottom oversight). We pre-heated our mash tun (as recommended by the manufacturer). Our strike water temperature was 77 degrees Celsius, our target mash in temperature of 69 degrees Celsius. Our actual mash in temperature was 65 degrees Celsius, 4 degrees shy of our target. We brought the mash temperature up by adding more strike water.
The wort was oxygenated for 40 seconds prior to pitching the yeast slurry. The yeast starter culture was cold crashed after approximately 14 hours of growth in 10% DME (w/v) media. The cold crash was to arrest metabolism and settle the yeast so excess liquid could be decanted.
After a eight days in the primary fermentation vessel (Spiedel), the beer was transferred to a metal conical bottom fermentation vessel and kept at approximately 19 degrees Celsius (ambient temperature) for 72 hours. At the time of transfer, the beer was dry hopped with 1 oz of Great Northern Brewer hops (7.6% alpha-acids) in an attempt to increase the aroma profile. The beer was sampled after 72 hours and no acetaldehyde character was detected; there was an improvement in aroma and flavor after the dry hopping. Mouth feel is still thin. Lactose will be added at packaging to determine if this issue can be corrected. The fermentation vessel was then transferred to -2 degrees Celsius freezer for the cold crash.
Sweet wort boil volume was high due to an excessive amount of sparge water used.
Our efficiency was similar to our last two amber ale brews (brew 1 and brew 2).
The wort is darker than anticipated; premature panic set in. Beer turned out to be lighter than feared. Grain bill will be left alone.
If it hasn’t be obvious with our last few posts, WYeast #1272, American Ale II is becoming our go to work horse.
Lower mash in temperature resulted in over attenuation during fermentation. Sampled beer during gravity checks, thin mouth feel and poor hop character. Next time we brew this beer we need to ensure our actual mash in temperature matches our target.
Wyeast 1272 American Ale II (#1001271, mfg 9/27/2016)
Starting gravity: 1.070
Brewhouse efficiency: 73%
Final gravity: 1.002
Approximate %ABV: 8.798
Approximate IBUs: 108.1 (Rager)/109.5 (Tinseth)/11.4(Daniels) as determined using the Hopsteiner and Homebrewing.com IBU calculators.
Procedure Highlights: We transferred our strike water to the mash tun using a silicon hose and lost less heat than we had anticipated. The end result was we mashed in at 73 degrees Celsius. We quickly added ice and brought the temperature down to 67 degrees Celsius, which was lower than our target of 69 degrees Celsius.
The wort was oxygenated for 45 seconds prior to pitching the yeast slurry. The yeast starter culture was cold crashed after approximately 18 hours of growth in 10% DME (w/v) media. The cold crash was to arrest metabolism and settle the yeast so excess liquid could be decanted.
After a week in the primary fermenter (Spiedel), the beer was transferred to a metal conical bottom fermenter and kept at approximately 19 degrees Celsius (ambient temperature) for 48 hours. The beer was sampled and no acetaldehyde character was detected. The fermenter was then transferred to -2 degrees Celsius freezer for the cold crash.
A vigorous boil resulted in a lower volume of sweet wort.
Our efficiency was similar to the last time we brewed our Amber Ale.
The lower volume of sweet wort resulted in a slightly higher original gravity (1.070 vs 1.065). This resulted in an approximately 0.7% increase in ABV.
Wyeast 1272 American Ale II (#1005271, mfg 9/27/2016)
Starting gravity: 1.080
Brewhouse efficiency: 85%
Final gravity: 1.015
Approximate %ABV: 8.316
Approximate IBUs: 39 (Rager)/27 (Tinseth)/38(Daniels) as determined using the Hopsteiner and Homebrewing.com IBU calculators.
The city of Loveland has great water. We will pass the water through an activated charcoal filter to remove any chlorine that may be present.
Procedure: Yeast was propagated in 1.2 L of media (1:10 DME:water) in a 2L flask with stir bar that had been sanitized with Star-San. Media was inoculated from Wyeast Smack Pack. Propagation culture was grown at room temperature with stirring for 16 hours.
Strike temperature was 78 degrees Celsius. A ~2.5:1 water to grist ratio (L:kg) was achieved with 22 liters of water. Mash in temperature was 69 degrees Celsius, 1 degree above target. The mash was fly sparged at 74 degree Celsius until the volume of sweet wort in the boil kettle was approximately 10 gallons. Hydrometer reading of the last wort remaining in the mash tun was 4.0 Brix.
Sweet wort was brought to a vigorous boil and boiled for 90 minutes. All hop addition times are listed as time remaining in the boil. Chinook – 60 minutes; Northern brewer, 1 tablet Whirlfloc – 10 minutes. After whirlpooling and allowing the trub to settle, the hopped wort was cooled to 19 degrees Celsius with a counter-flow plate chiller with a recirculating ice/water slurry. The hopped wort was oxygenated. The yeast starter culture was immediately pitched into hopped wort. The fermenter was placed in an incubator with temperature monitoring only, until 22 degrees Celsius was reached. Temperature control was then set in cooling mode, with 20 degrees Celsius being the maximum temperature.
After a week in the primary fermenter (Spiedel), the beer was transferred to a metal conical bottom fermenter with 5 oz vanilla beans, split and chopped. During fermentation, diacetyl character was noted at time points 28 to 51 hours, but was not present afterwards. The fermenter was kept at ambient temperature (19 Celsius) and was then cold crashed. The beer will be transferred to a keg, where bourbon will be added.
The shorter propagation time resulted in a beautiful profile. Happy, healthy yeast make great beers! We are definitely staying with a shorter propagation time.
We are now tracking temperature. More data!
Our brewhouse efficiency was a whopping 85%. Looking forward to trying to replicate this efficiency.
Our boil was not as vigorous as desired, resulting in a larger fermentation volume. We expect our original gravity would have been higher with a more vigorous boil (more evaporation, less volume, more concentrated sugars).
We cold crashed our White Stout just before we left on our Pacific Northwest adventure. A slower than expected fermentation and a fixed departure date for our trip resulted in us shaving time off of secondary fermentation/beer maturation in order to cold crash the beer before we left. Good things do not come from rushing yeast.
The aroma is overwhelming one of coffee, to the point of a strong chemical profile. There is underlying hint of malt and acetaldehyde (not surprising considering the rushed secondary fermentation). There are no hints of chocolate on the palate or in the aroma profile. For flavor, Dave thought the white stout tasted cidery. Jess picked felt that the coffee profile masked the cider character. It is also quite turbid. After microscopic review, no yeast was observed.
So where to next? We are dumping this beer (our first dump ever). We will remake but with modifications. The coffee will be reduced greatly and the cacao nibs will be allowed to soak longer in alcohol to extract more of the chocolate flavors. We may also add the nibs to the secondary fermentation. Additionally, we will reduce the amount of lactose added to compensate for less bitterness. And we won’t rush the yeast, and may choose a different strain next time. There is a potential good beer here, buried under some mistakes.
All grains Great Western Malting and purchased through More Beer.
10 lbs 2 row domestic (#46080)
1 lb 2 row pale (#45958)
1 lb crystal 75L (#45744)
Hops (Pellet, * Whole cone):
2 oz Magnum 12.4% alpha acids
2 oz Amarillo 8.4% alpha acids
2 oz Cascade* 7.9% alpha acids
Wyeast 1272 American Ale II (#0721160, mfg 6/8/2016)
The city of Loveland has great water. We will pass the water through an activated charcoal filter to remove any chlorine that may be present.
Procedure: Yeast was propagated in 1 L of media (0.5 c DME in 1L/~1qt water, boiled) in a 3L flask with stir bar that had been sanitized with boiling water. Media was inoculated from Wyeast Smack Pack. Propagation culture was grown at room temperature with stirring for 24 hours and was then lowered to 4 degree Celsius for 18 hours.
Strike temperature was 80 degrees Celsius. A ~2:1 water to grist ratio was achieved with 11.5 liters of water. Mash in temperature was 68 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees below target. Mash out was conducted at 77 degrees Celsius. Sparging was a combination fly/batch and was conducted at 75 degree Celsius until the volume of sweet wort in the boil kettle was approximately 9 gallons. Hydrometer reading of the last wort remaining in the mash tun was 4.0 Brix.
Sweet wort was brought to a vigorous boil and boiled for 90 minutes. All hop addition times are listed as time remaining in the boil. Magnum pellets – 60 minutes; Amarillo pellets, Cascade whole cone, and 1/2 tablet Whirlfloc – 5 minutes with 1/2 tablet Whirlfloc. After whirlpooling and allowing the trub to settle, the hopped wort was cooled to 20 degrees Celsius with a counter-flow plate chiller with a recirculating ice/water slurry. Liquid was decanted from the settle yeast culture until a total volume of 500 mL was achieved; the settled yeast was suspended in the remaining liquid and the yeast slurry was pitched into the Speidel fermenter. The fermenter was placed in an incubator that was set to a maximum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.
Primary fermentation was complete after 72 hours and the diacetyl rest was allowed to proceed for 48 hours. The green beer was
then transferred to secondary fermenter and will be allowed to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. The fermenter will then be chilled to -2 degrees Celsius which will help precipitate proteins and any remaining yeast cells. After the cold crash, the beer will be transferred to a 1/3 keg and pressurized to 30 psi, rolled. These steps will be repeated. Tasting notes will follow.
In order to achieve a faster fermentation start, we will likely shorten the propagation time for the yeast. At 24 hours, the yeast has likely entered stationary phase and may be exhausting glycogen stores due to the depletion of fermentable sugars from the media.
We started taking pH readings! Unfortunately, we forgot a reading at time point zero and did not take readings at our last two samplings. We will test the final pH of the beer.
Our brewhouse efficiency increased 10% compared to our last brew day. Possible explanations are the different water profile in Loveland, CO or a larger sparge volume. The water profile could have resulted in improved enzyme activity which increased the amount of fermentable sugars available to the yeast. A larger sparge volume would have extracted more sugars from the mash, increasing efficiency.
The 94 hour time point sample had a strong aroma, best described as ‘cidery’. This is the result of acetaldehyde released by yeast. The yeast, if reasonably healthy, will reabsorb it and scrub the green beer of this off flavor. Happy yeast makes great beer.
The estimated alcohol content takes this out of Amber Ale territory. Maybe a Red IPA? Looking forward to tasting this beer.
Wanted to provide updated tasting notes on the dry-hopped Amber Ales, Amber Ale version 2, Belgian Blond, and the Vanilla Bourbon Imperial Porter (VBIP). The Belgian Blond and VBIP were initially tasted during the height of allergy season and the only thing that could be determined with any certainty was beer was being consumed. The dry-hopped Amber Ale was first tasted in mid-March prior to dry hopping. Under attenuated, under hopped, these beers were almost undrinkable. We combined the kegs and dry-hopped with 2 oz of Amarillo pellets. Finally, the Amber Ale version 2, brew day was discussed here. In a perfect world the tasting notes would have been posted two weeks ago, but clarity issues existed.
VBIP: %ABV – 9.8, IBU – data not captured
Aromas of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Mouth feel is creamy. Roasted flavors with hint of vanilla and bourbon. No alcohol burn despite ABV.
Belgian Blond: %ABV – 4.9, IBU – 10
Aroma is phenolic, reminiscent of cloves. Flavor is dry, slightly astringent, with phenol character. Color is darker than expected, and is very similar to the amber ale in color.
Dry hopped Amber Ale Combination: %ABV – ~4.79, IBU – 41
Aroma is citrus, with orange being prevalent, and malty. Sweet, but not as cloying as it was prior to dry hopping.
Amber Ale, version 2: % ABV – 6.3, IBU – 100
Aroma is citrus and malt. Flavor is sweet, with lingering bitterness that is not unpleasant. Some chill haze. Tasting notes were delayed due to microbiological haze (yeast). During transfer to the keg, some yeast was siphoned off from the secondary fermenter. Took a couple weeks for yeast to settle and to be purged from the fermenter (poured and dumped pints until clarity improved). Remaining haze is chill haze as concluded from the observation that the beer becomes clear as its temperature increases. We are pleased with this beer.
Back to beer! After reliving Abby’s (the RV) mechanical breakdown issues in couple of posts we decided that we needed a drink. So it seemed logical to post about our Amber Ale, version 2.0. The grain bill on this recipe is the same as what our previous amber ale brews, with increased hops, single temperature mash, and a new yeast strain.
Starting gravity: 1.055
Final gravity: 1.007
Approximate %ABV: 6.3
Approximate IBUs: 100
All grains Great Western Malting and purchased through More Beer.
pH of water was determined to be 8.2; 57 g of gypsum was added to 47L of water in the hot liquor tank which decreased the pH to 7.7
Procedure: Yeast was propagated in 1 L of media (0.5 c DME in 1L/~1qt water, boiled) in a 3L flask with stir bar that had been sanitized with boiling water. Media was inoculated from Wyeast Smack Pack. Propagation culture was grown at room temperature with stirring for 72 hours and was then transferred to a 4 degree Celsius for 24 hours.
Strike temperature was 74 degrees Celsius. A ~2:1 water to grist ratio was achieved with 11.5 liters of water. Mash in temperature was 63.3 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees below target. Mash out was conducted at 76 degrees Celsius. Mash was fly sparged at 79 degree Celsius until the volume of sweet wort in the boil kettle was approximately 8 gallons. Hydrometer reading of the last wort remaining in the mash tun was 5.0 Brix.
Sweet wort was brought to a vigorous boil. Magnum hops were added at 60 minutes, Amarillo hops added at 5 minutes with 1/2 tablet Whirlfloc, and the Cascade hops we added at heat off. After the trub settled, the hopped wort was cooled to 20 degrees Celsius with a counter-flow plate chiller with a recirculating ice/water slurry. Cooled wort was aerated with 90 seconds of oxygen through a sinter. Liquid was decanted off the top of the settle yeast, and the yeast slurry was pitched into the Speidel fermenter and left to ferment at room temperature.
Primary fermentation was complete after 72 hours and the diacetyl rest was allowed to proceed for 24 hours. The green beer was then transferred to secondary fermenter and allowed to stand at room temperature for 72 hours. The fermenter was then transferred to -1 degree Celsius for 6 days prior to kegging.
The amber ale was transferred to 1/3 keg and pressurized to 30 psi. The keg was placed on its side and rolled for approximately 2 minutes. The keg was then pressurized to 30 psi again and rolled for 5 minutes. The keg was pressurized once more to 30 psi and placed in the kegerator. We hope to have tasting notes in the next 24 to 48 hours.
We whirlpooled twice. We did not double check the position of the boil kettle outlet, and had to turn the kettle to prevent the hoses from pinching. In turning the kettle, we disturbed the trub and had to repeat the whirlpool. This may result in a DMS problem in our beer.
Vigorous fermentation was observed, complete attenuation reached in 72 hours. We did a much better job collecting well spaced hydrometer readings to determine gravity. For our next batch we will also take pH readings to track the fermentation progress. More DATA!
We discovered that our freezer became unplugged during the cold crash. We don’t know when, the fermenter did feel cold to the touch.
IBU values are higher than anticipated. Unfortunately, we do not have the equipment to perform an accurate assessment. We will have to determine during tasting if we decrease our hop additions.
The microscope is a fun tool. The picture below is yeast at 6 hours post pitching. The yeast looked happy. Happy yeast makes good beer.