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matt76

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AG#45 Citra SMASH

Mash it...
20200510_083930.jpg

Drain it...
20200510_091105.jpg


Boil it...
20200510_092646.jpg


Whirlpool...
20200510_095713.jpg


Chill it.
20200510_095657.jpg

45 all-grain brews and you know what - I'm pretty darn certain this is my first ever SMASH! I've done SM and I've done SH but never SMASH.

Anyway, I mysteriously got a free pack of Citra leaf hops in my delayed Brew UK order so time to turn them into beer. I don't plan to dry hop as this hasn't worked to well for me with leaf hops but hopefully the late 5min addition and the whirlpool will do it justice.

15L tap water, 10ml CRS, 2g gypsum, half a Campden tablet.

2.5kg Maris Otter

60min full-volume no-sparge mash @ 66degC

Boil 30mins:
15g Citra leaf 14.27% 30mins
15g Citra leaf 14.27% 5mins
1.6g (1/4tsp) Irish Moss powder 5mins
Whirlpool: Citra leaf 14.27% @ 90degC for 5 mins

8L crystal clear wort into the FV + 4L more crud in bottles to settle out and top up the FV, expect to end up with 10-11L in total. Weirdly the hot/cold break material seems reluctant to settle as readily as normal.

Pitched ~1-2tbsp MJ M36 thick yeast slurry harvested from AG#43. I was really on the fence about using this but, well, the die is cast now so mind the gap and stand clear of the closing doors.

5.0 SRM - Nice pale golden colour
44 IBUs Rager
OG 1.047, should end up around 4.8% ABV - efficiency slightly higher than normal so OG a couple of points higher than expected.
 
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pilgrimhudd

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Sounds nice! I've just finished my 'nearly' Chinook Smash which ended up very nice, especially on a hot afternoon so i'm going to have to get on with another one.

I've given up on the inner tube thingy, it wasn't big enough for brewing the Clansman I did a month or so ago and I found it a pain to clean especially now i've gone mostly pellet hops now.
 

matt76

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Sounds nice! I've just finished my 'nearly' Chinook Smash which ended up very nice, especially on a hot afternoon so i'm going to have to get on with another one.

I've given up on the inner tube thingy, it wasn't big enough for brewing the Clansman I did a month or so ago and I found it a pain to clean especially now i've gone mostly pellet hops now.
Oh so you just stick the grain bag directly in the kettle?

I always use it for the mash but only with leaf hops in the boil - pellets just go straight through. I have to admit though, the immersion chiller is a bit of a squeeze!
 

pilgrimhudd

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Oh so you just stick the grain bag directly in the kettle?

I always use it for the mash but only with leaf hops in the boil - pellets just go straight through. I have to admit though, the immersion chiller is a bit of a squeeze!
Yeah straight in, just like the other boiler I have.

It was quite handy picking up the hops!

And that's the other problem, my chiller is too big and won't fit with it in too!
 

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Bottling: AG#44 "Podium" IPA

I'm still going with my Scott Janish inspired approach to dry hopping - I cold crashed for a few days, then added my dry hop (15g Cascade + 30g Amarillo) yesterday morning and went ahead with bottling this evening, so about 36 hours contact time. Unfortunately AG#43 is still conditioning so I've not yet had the chance to sample the outcome of this technique. I'm about 3/4 of the way through his IPA book - it's heavy going but if you can keep following it there are lots of interesting ideas like this to try. Turns out there are a lot more chemical changes going on during brewing and fermentation than just directly extracting flavours from the hops.....

FG = 1.012
ABV = 5.9%
SRM = 9
IBU = 50

Yield = 31 x 330ml bottles
1.95 vols CO2

Colour = Amber
Aroma = Certainly getting orange aromas while bottling!
Taste = It seems more bitter now but I'll reserve judgement until it's carbonated in a few weeks.

Once it's ready to drink I'm curious to see what the addition of Munich and crystal malts have compared to the two previous incarnations of this beer. After my recent spate of APA/IPA type beers I think I might be inclined to back the crystal off a bit, say from 250g to 125g in my 10L-ish batches. I'm wondering if the sweetness is a tiny bit too dominating over the fruity hoppiness. But we'll see.....

One thing I'm really noticing these days is how much less sediment I'm getting in the bottles these days. I think it's a combination of less crud in the FV, cold crashing and the hop spider filtering technique outlined above. The latter is superb at keeping hop bits out of the bottling bucket, highly recommended! athumb..
 

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First Tasting: AG#43 APA

20200520_204121.jpg


Bit early as it's only been in the bottle two weeks, but, well.....

So this is a 4.6% Cascade & Centennial hopped session beer...

Colour = Amber

Aroma = Toffee, fudge... wait, what?! Seriously - maybe I'm imagining it, maybe it's a bit of diacetyl, but that's what I'm getting :laugh8:

Taste = It's not mega hoppy or bitter, but very pleasant. It starts off with a toffee maltiness, but not sweet. Then it gets a bit floral before finishing off with a refreshing " go on, have another sip" almost grapefruit bitterness :beer1:

It's certainly not what I expected, or what I think I set out to make. But it's certainly a very pleasant and drinkable beer!

I went a bit easier on the priming sugar for this one - it's fizzy enough but without the dense foam I'm used to with my hoppy beers (probably the result of hop creep). Maybe it'll carb up a bit more yet but so far I'm encouraged that this small tweak had had the expected effect.

acheers.
 

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AG#46 Saaz Golden Ale

So today we're going to be using wine yeast. No, no, stick with me here... I had an idea anyway to make something IPA-ish but rather than using mega-hoppy hops why not see what happens with Saaz? But I've also been reading Scott Janish's IPA book and I've tried to incorporate several ideas into this experimental brew.

The main one is that certain wine yeasts have super powers that ale/lager yeasts don't with regard to bio-transformation and also thiols - hopefully this will transform some of the hop compounds from "mmm, that's nice" to "wowsers, it's so fruity!".

A couple of other ideas are simply to whirlpool at bit longer than I've been doing up to now, and also the addition of Carapils for head retention. There's also a focus on hopping later so I've reduced the boil time from my normal 30mins down to just 15mins -fingers crossed!

Truth be told, it's also a bit of a user-upper for a few odds & sods of hops I had left over that needed using up so there's a lot more than just Saaz - I thought El Dorado could be interesting for bittering and I also wanted to try out dome Styrian Goldings.

It's a split batch and bigger than my normal 10-12L-ish brews - so I should at least end up with a few litres of drinkable beer fermented with US-05 - that's the "control" batch. For the "experimental" batch I pitched a mixture of US-05 and Lalvin QA23 wine yeast (not decided yet, but I may also end up pitching a bit more QA23 towards the end of fermentation).

20L tap water, 5ml Lactic Acid 80%, 2g gypsum, half a Campden tablet.

2.5kg Maris Otter
500g Vienna
300g Carapils
100g Victory
3.4kg TOTAL

60min full-volume no-sparge mash @ 67degC - on the one hand I overshot my target of 65degC but on the other hand my efficiency was better than I expected.

Boil 15mins:
15g Citra leaf 14.27% 15mins
23g El Dorado leaf 11% 15mins
12g H.M.Fruh leaf 3.9 10mins
40g Saaz leaf 4.52% 10mins
30g Saaz leaf 2.5% 5mins
30g Styrian Goldings 2.5% 5mins

then whirlpool 15mins @ 90-85degC:
30g Saaz leaf 2.5% 5mins
30g Styrian Goldings 2.5% 5mins

6L crystal clear wort into each FV + 4.5L more crud in bottle to settle out and top up the FV, expect to end up with ~8L in total in each FV.

Into the control FV I pitched 5.8g US-05, and for the experiment I pitched 6g US-05 + 0.5g Lalvin QA23 - I'm really curious to see what difference, if any, this makes.

6.0 SRM - Nice pale golden colour
47 IBUs Rager
OG 1.047, should end up around 5% ABV
 

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Update: AG#46 Experimental Golden Ale

20200604_164959.jpg

On the left is the experimental sample... On the right is the control sample...

After 9 days in the FV I checked the gravity of my control and experimental batches and of course had a little taste. Unfortunately the results are not great, though quite interesting nevertheless.

Both FV's contained the same amount of wort at pitching (about 7.0-7.5L) and have been fermented side by side at room temperature around 22degC. Based on airlock activity I didn't notice any significant difference in fermentation behavior or duration.

The control, inoculated with 5.8g US-05, was down to 1.007. It's looking quite hazy which isn't too surprising with US-05 and I'd expect it to clear up quite a bit with a cold crash and sufficient conditioning time. It tastes fine although nothing spectacular - pretty much what I'd expect, a gentle fruity hoppiness, maybe a hint of pineapple and grapefruit, also a bit yeasty (I expect that'll be the yeast still in suspension causing the haze).

The experiment however it's very different. This was inoculated with 6g US-05 + 0.5g Lalvin QA23 wine yeast. First of all it's very clear but much to my surprise the gravity was only down to 1.013 - very strange. Unfortunately the taste was very disappointing - very strong phenolic taste, like a really bad Belgian beer or German Weizen.

Now in his book Scott Janish noted a couple of things: Firstly when fermenting using a pure wine strain he also got this overpowering phenolic flavour; secondly the wine strains (including QA23 specifically) tended to finish a few points higher than we might expect from an ale or lager strain.

All this leads me to speculate - the expectation was that by pitching 92% ale yeast / 8% wine yeast the ale yeast would dominate and the wine yeast would make a more subtle contribution. I just wonder whether somehow despite being a far smaller pitch the wine yeast has totally outcompeted the US-05, hence the phenolic flavours, marked difference in clarity and difference in FG (US-05 is well known as a high attenuator afterall).

So what to do next? Honestly I don't see any point in even bottling the experimental batch, but at least I can make bread with the yeast! However, Janish does also mention that it's worth experimenting with adding wine yeast post-fermentation. So now I have a choice - I can bottle 6-7L of okay-ish beer (the control batch), or I can roll the dice and and add some wine yeast to see what it does. Considering the investment in time and effort required to repeat the experiment from scratch and I don't have much to lose I'm inclined to go ahead and roll the dice.
 

cushyno

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Good experiment. For me it raises the question: Which yeast produced the phenols? You don't know if it was the QA23 being stressed because there weren't enough simple sugars to ferment, after all wine yeasts have evolved to operate only on grape must. Or was it the US-05 stressed from competing with the QA23? While there was significantly more of the US-05, which of these is fastest to act in the growth phase? Whichever grows fastest will outperform the other.

I think there's value in pitching the Lalvin after the US-05 has finished. That'll probably clear it up quicker, but there won't be much for the Lalvin to eat. What about adding a little dextrose or cane sugar for it to work on?
 

matt76

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Good experiment. For me it raises the question: Which yeast produced the phenols? You don't know if it was the QA23 being stressed because there weren't enough simple sugars to ferment, after all wine yeasts have evolved to operate only on grape must. Or was it the US-05 stressed from competing with the QA23? While there was significantly more of the US-05, which of these is fastest to act in the growth phase? Whichever grows fastest will outperform the other.

I think there's value in pitching the Lalvin after the US-05 has finished. That'll probably clear it up quicker, but there won't be much for the Lalvin to eat. What about adding a little dextrose or cane sugar for it to work on?
Thanks @cushyno , those are some interesting comments. IIRC, the section in the book where Janish talks about adding wine yeast post-fermentation is about bottle conditioning and it refers to some work comparing adding yeast with and without sugar. So your suggestion may not be far wide of the mark at all.

Any suggestions how many grams of sugar per litre I should add? When I bottle my normal ~10L batches I typically boil & dissolve ~50g sugar in about 250ml water - in the absence of any better ideas I would proceed along these lines and add the cooled sugar solution to the FV along with the wine yeast (maybe 2.5g).
 

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I was shootin' from the hip with the sugar suggestion, though there's a bit of logic in it. I would imagine 2.5g of the Lalvin QA23 is a decent pitch for bottle carbing. You'd have to hope it gets to work faster than the remaining US-05 in suspension and hope that the US-05 has reached its alcohol tolerance. Just use the same amount of sugar as usual though as you don't want bottle bombs.
 

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AG#47 "Get Even" IPA

I'm brewing angry! I had an idea in my mind to do a hoppy Simcoe & Chinook beer but it hadn't really taken shape yet. Then the other night I ended up feeling angry with myself that my AIPA/APA's of late hadn't quite lived up to expectations, partly I think due to my use of various crystal malts.

Well as they say, don't get mad, get even! Time to make things right - there's no subtlety here, no nuance or "balance", and definitely no weird experiments! It's a big load of base malt, the right yeast, and hops - lot's of hops and high alpha acid at that. When I taste this beer I want a big bitter smack in the chops! (and to be honest I dialled it back a bit from my original plan)

(OK, truth be told there's a small experiment - I bought some Munich 2 on a whim as I've never used it before. As much as I've abandoned the crystal malt I thought I'd bump up the Munich malt instead to see what happens.)

16L tap water, 10ml CRS, 2g gypsum, half a Campden tablet.

3.0kg Maris Otter
500g Munich 2
3.5kg Total

90min full-volume no-sparge mash @ 65degC

Boil 30mins:
10g Chinook leaf 11.9% 30mins
10g Simcoe 11.2% 30mins
10g Chinook leaf 11.9% 10mins
10g Simcoe 11.2% 10mins
10g Chinook leaf 11.9% 5mins
10g Simcoe 11.2% 5mins
1/4tsp Irish Moss powder 5mins

Whirlpool 10mins @ 90degC:
15g Chinook leaf 11.9% 30mins
20g Simcoe 11.2% 30mins

Plan to dry hop with 30g each Chinook & Simcoe at the end of fermentation

11.5L into the FV. Pitched 5g CML "Pia" leftover from AG#44. I've never bothered rehydrating dried yeast before but decided to give it a whirl this time.

8.0 SRM - Nice dark gold colour but not quite amber.
58 IBUs Rager
OG 1.053, should end up around 5.5% ABV - efficiency a bit lower than expected probably because I didn't stir the mash now and then as I normally do, but this will do me just fine.
 

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Update: AG#46 Experimental Golden Ale

As discussed the other day I decided to roll the dice and add some wine yeast to my control batch: 2.5g Lalvin QA23 along with 50g table sugar.

Fast forward a few days and I checked the gravity again and had a little taste:

The original experimental batch was steady at 1.013. To be fair the taste had mellowed a bit but I still don't want to drink it!

The "control" batch (now inoculated with wine yeast added post-fermentation) was also steady at 1.007. I noted a bit of krausen on the surface so will leave it a bit longer before bottling.

It's actually quite fruity (in a good way!) - but really hard to say if this is down to the wine yeast or something that was already there (from the Citra or El Dorado maybe) and it's just that some of the US-05 has settled out and it's less yeasty tasting. Nice dry finish, and certainly much more fruity then I'd expect from all the Saaz and Styrian Goldings alone. It does make me curious to keep experimenting...

Fast forward again to this morning - I decided to dump the experimental batch, no point in bottling 6L that tastes like &+%*! But it was really weird...

Upon opening FV I got a strong fizzy whiff of CO2 and noticed a bit of krausen on the surface. The beer had gone from pretty clear to cloudy - odd. Gravity had dropped to 1.011 - it had been steady at 1.013 so it's like fermentation had kicked off again - so strange.

I had been planning to keep a couple of bottles, just to see, but decided against it in the end as it's not worth the risk of bottle bombs. As I poured it away I also noticed there was no yeast cake on the bottom of the FV either which you really would expect after this long in the FV - just a bit of very liquid yeasty sediment in suspension but nothing that had flocculated out. Really bizarre!
 

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Update: AG#47 "Get Even" IPA

Still been noticing the odd bubble now and then from the airlock. Think I've seen this before with this yeast (CML Pia) where it seems to have a really long tail. Gravity 1.011.

Colour dark gold verging into amber. Slightly fruity aroma. Substantial mouthfeel - kinda slick, almost oily (though in a good way), then gives way to a dry finish. Firm bitterness but not over the top. Tastes piney resiney with a gentle fruity background. Check gravity again in a few days before beginning cold crash and dry hop. Very pleased how it seems so far.
 

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AG#48 Baltic Porter

I've made the GH version before, which was excellent. This one is based on a Josh Weikert recipe from beerandbrewing.com.

I decided last moment to drop the Carafa 2 and just use chocolate rye, which I really like, as the sole dark malt. I also swapped his suggested crystal malts for dark crystal which has worked well for me in porters before. Likewise I was pleased with the Northdown hops I used in the porters I made a few months back.

The Klarstein was really creaking at the seems with over 5kg grain and 15L water. I did away with the grain basket but even so it was still a squeeze.

In hindsight I wonder in the future whether a reiterated mash would be the way forward for such a big beer. I reckon I'd get better efficiency from squeezing out 2 x 2.5kg grain bags compared with, say, 2L more water and a longer boil.

15L tap water, 5ml lactic acid 80%, 1g CaCl, half a Campden tablet.

3.0kg Munich
1.5kg Lager malt
150g Briess Extra Special Malt
150g Dark Crystal
250g Chocolate Rye Malt
5.05kg Total

3 hour full-volume no-sparge mash @ 67degC

Boil 45mins:
15g Northdown 7.5% 45mins
15g Northdown 7.5% 10mins
1/4tsp Irish Moss powder 10mins

Long mash while I walked away and did other stuff. I checked the BG (which I wouldn't normally) which was a tad low so I extended the boil from my normal 30mins to 45. Except dummy forgot to correct the BG for temperature so it probably wasn't quite as low as I thought!

About 9.5L wort in the FV in the fridge - but unfortunately looks like lots of crud in there too, probably a side effect of the large grist.

Pitched a full pack of CML "Hell" somewhere around 18degC while the temp was coming down. Not used this yeast before but CML advised me one pack should be OK.

29 SRM - guess what, it's dark!
32 IBUs Rager
OG somewhere around 1.080-1.082 but it's so thick and dark I couldn't actually get a precise reading! Depending how well it attenuates it should end up somewhere in the 8-9% ABV zone as hoped.
 
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