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The Saazzy Biatch Pilsner is still cooking along at 1.005. I definitely need to look in to my process a bit more. The last couple of beers have finished fermenting way lower than expected and with ridiculous attenuation. W-34/70 is quoted at 80-84%. My Pilsner is nearing 90%. Lower than expected mash temps are my start point I think.

I was worried it was going to taste a bit thin, but it doesn't seem too. It has a super refreshing taste with a nice balance between the malt and hops. Also has a pleasant finish to it that lingers. Looking forward to cold crashing and lagering this one. Pleased with it thus far for a first attempt at a lager
 
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So the M44 yeast in the Pink Grapefruit IPA has suddenly gone bezerk. From zero visible activity after c.96 hours (but dropping SG) to overflow of krausen in to my blow-off. Weird. SG has dropped to below 1.018 so I have added the 50g dry hops that came with the beer as per the instructions. The fermenting beer tasted ok so I have n concerns on infection. Temp within the FV measured through the thermowell is still at c. 20C so no overheating going on despite the vigorous fermentation.

My Saazzy Biatch Pilsner seems to have reached an FG of 1.004. I am going to give it another 24 hours in d-rest and then crash it. It tastes Epic - so chuffed with it for a first attempt. I hope that it tastes this good after the crash and lagering. I will caveat those last sentences in that I am not a lager drinker so it may be way off what it's meant to be.

Super excited to get cracking on my next recipe and the test run of the Cilla the Zilla. I have a number of options 1) Revisit the Butty Bach clone I made a few years back 2) Re-do the Pliny the Elder clone with Kveik or 3) a Black IPA with Kveik. The third option is my favourite as I am looking forward to the challenge of getting a malt bill that does justice to the IPA style without the beer becoming too stouty. Plus getting the hops right and in balance.
 
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Airlock activity has stopped in my Pink Grapefruit IPA. SG is at 1.012 which is the suggested finishing gravity for this beer. As per the IFU, I will confirm that over the next 48 hours before (the dreaded) bottling.

The Saazzy Biatch is now in cold crash at 4C. I just noticed that I was going to crash at 1-2C so will drop the temp further now.
 
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The Pink grapefruit IPA finished at 1.010 and is now in bottles. The bottling instructions for the kit were quite vague. I transferred off the yeast to a bottling bucket then syphoned into sanitised bottles. I used carbonation drops @ 1 per 500 mL bottle and capped. 1 will keep in the kitchen for 2 weeks and then transfer to my kegorator for 1 - 3 weeks. Bottling is unbearable!!

I also kegged my Saazzy Biatch lager. I haven't perfected the closed transfer process yet and a couple of loose JG connections meant I had a bit of a spilled lager clean up to do. Super happy with the taste of this. I just hope it clears over the 4 weeks at 3C as its pretty cloudy.

Still need to plan my first Cilla the Zilla brew. I want to get that one done next weekend now both my FVs are empty.
 
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London Calling - Strong Bitter Brewday: First on the Brewzilla (03 April 22)

Ok, so I didn't put any thought into this recipe. The main purpose of the brewday was to get the Brewzilla out for the first time. Having been brewing on my 3V system for many years, I was a bit nervous. So this post is a confused mix of recipe/brewday/brewzilla faff.

First thing I did was read the Brewzilla for Dummies thread on this forum and make a dry run with just water. First thing to note is that the volume graduations in the Brewzilla are a bit out. 20 L of water added showed as 19 L in the Brewzilla. This was confirmed by my first brew ending up 1 L short into the FV. I know for next time.

Second thing I did was to make a temperature calibration check as recommended by @foxy (re-circ. off). I compared the temperature read out from the brewzilla (probe near bottom of vessel) with a Thermapen at the top. Generally there was a 4-5ish C difference which reduced as I got above 60C. Above 70, there was 1-2 C difference. I put this reduction in difference down to increased mixing as water heats up. Upshot was, I am confident that I am getting reasonable temp readings from the Zilla where it mattters.

1649068947126.png


Grains

3.0 Kg Maris Otter
1.1 Kg Golden Promise (for no reason other than I didn't have enough MO)
0.4 Kg Crystal (150ish EBC)
0.03 Kg Chocolate Malt
0.23 Kg Rice Hulls

Water Profile (after salt additions)

Alkalinity as HCO3 - 76.25 ppm
Calcium - 60 ppm
Sulphate - 151 ppm
Chloride - 64 ppm


Mash was at 67C for 90 mins. This was my first screw up. I heated my water to 73C (using the 1900 and 500W elements) and started to dough in the grains. It soon became apparent that I had not considered that there was a significant space below the base of the malt pipe and the base of the zilla - and my mash was way to thick. I ended up chucking in about 4 L cold water on top of the initial 12.5 L volume in order to get a decent recirculation. This caused the temp to drop to 55 C. The 500 W heater element was too week to bring the heat back up so I had to use both elements to get back to 67 C. I brew outside so this may have been related to the fact it was bloody cold. The 500 W heater was strong enough to maintain the mash temp once the 67 C was reached however. I checked mash temp periodically over the 90 mins with the Thermapen and saw no difference - 67C was maintained.

Mash pH was 5.52 - I really need to nail down my lactic acid additions (I wanted 5.4).

Mash out was at 76C - again, I needed both the 500 and 1900 W elements to effect the temp. increase. I sparged slowly with 14 L of 76-80C water. I used the top plate as a means to get a good distribution of water poured from my jug. I tried to keep the water above the top plate to 0.5 cm or so.

I ended up needing to add 2 L water to get my pre boil volume to the 26 litres needed. Pre-boil gravity was 1.045 (expected 1.041) and my mash efficiency was allegedly 83% Hmmmmm. The 1900 W element maintained a good rolling boil over the 60 minutes

Hop Additions

15 g Target - 60 mins
9.9 g Northdown - 15 minutes
9.9 g Challenger - 15 minutes
5 g EKG - 5 minutes

I used my own immersion chiller rather than the weedy looking Kegland one and got down to pitching temp within 20 mins. I used the re-circ arm to transfer the wort to my FV and ended up with 19.5 L in my SS brew bucket ( I reckon adding the last runnings from my mash would have got me that additional 1 L I was missing). Overall brewhouse efficiency was 70%.

I pitched with Liberty Bell ale yeast. I am not massively keen on this yeast but I had no S-04 left. As my fermentation fridge still has my Pilsner in it, this is sat in the corner of the kitchen at 19C.

Long ramble over and out
 
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The MJ pink grapefruit IPA is drinking now. I made this extract kit as per the instructions and I am genuinely shocked at how good it is.

There is a tropical /grapefruit aroma to it which carries through to the taste. There is that definite tangy grapefruit there that lingers on the finish. No hint of homebrew twang to it either. My only criticism is that it's a bit thin and could do with a bit more body. I can't see the bottles of this lasting long and it's persuaded me to revisit extract kits from time to time. What kit next.....?

PXL_20220420_205128722.jpg
 
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Trying to catch up on this - I hadn't realised I have done no tasting notes for the Pilsner or the user-upper bitter I brewed. That will have to wait for another day.

American Amber brew day (01 May 2022)

For my next brew, I wanted to start to broaden my brew styles out happened upon the American amber style. I liked the sound of the caramel malty flavour balanced with cascadian hops. I was intrigued by how the citrus, berry, stone fruit flavours and aroma would balance with that malt backbone.

Grain Bill

For my base malt I decided to go with Maris Otter over a pilsner malt to impart a bit of toastiness to the flavour. In American Amber, the base malt is typically 60-85% of the grain bill. I went with 75%. For colour/specialty malt, I was concerned about getting too much sweetness from balancing the rest of the grain bill with crystal so I added 10% Munich. I wanted to get as much caramel flavour as I could in this beer. I added some Crystal 40 (8%) for caramel notes and then some darker Crystal 80 (7%) for raisin and burnt caramel notes. I had read to avoid using Crystal above 15% as it results in an over-sweet, heavy beer. I am right on the limit here.

Hops

Recommendations seem to centre around Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Amarillo although I have also seen Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic mentioned. Essentially its the cascadian varieties in this style. I decided to go with the first two for that pine/citrus/grapefruit/spice flavour and aroma.

I decided to bitter with Centennial due to higher alpha acids. Plus it has lower co-humulone which should make for a smoother bitterness. I don't want a particularly hop forward beer so am going with 60, 30 and flameout additions with no dry hop. Biterness is at a ratio of 0.696 which is at the top of the 0.5-0.7 range.

Yeast

WLP001 Cali Ale

Water

For a balanced profile I am going with a 1:1 ratio of SO4 to Cl- and 100 ppm Ca for medium body.

Final Recipe (for 20.5L)

Grain

3.4 Kg Maris Otter
0.43 Kg Munich
0.38 Kg Crystal 80
0.28 Kg Crystal 40

Hops

9 g Centennial 60 mins
9 g Cascade 30 mins
9 g Centennial 30 mins
9 g Cascade 0 mins
9 g Centennial 0 mins

Water (adjusted)

104 ppm Ca
98 ppm Cl-
99 ppm SO4
89 ppm HCO3

Mash 90 mins at 66C.
Mash pH 5.2 (after addition of 4 mL Lactic acid)
Boil 60 mins

This was the first run of the grainfather grain mill. As suggested by malt miller I used speed setting 4 and gap setting 6. Crushing the grains was a breeze with this.

Stupidly I had forgotten to adjust my mash liquor volume to compensate for the recoverable dead space under the malt pipe in the Brewzilla so my mash was ridiculously thick to start with. I have since added 2.25 L to my equipment profile in Beersmith to enable me to get the mash consistency I want during recirc. Apart from that, the brew day was uneventful.

Mash efficiency 80% (calculated)
Brewhouse efficiency 73.5% (calculated)
Batch size 20.5 L (predicted 20.5 L)
Starting gravity 1.050 (predicted 1.049)
Colour 24 EBC (predicted)
Bitterness 31 IBU (predicted)

Over and out
 
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Just an observation on your NEIPA, I suspect the beer was a little thin and the FG lower than expected because of enzymes in the dry hop additions breaking down the more complex sugars you carefully encouraged by mashing at 68.

You could try moving some of the dry hops to the whirlpool and have a bigger whirlpool addition? In my view dry hops give you more of the volatile aroma but it is just that, volatile, and doesn’t last. The aroma and flavour you get from the whirlpool/hopstand is longer lasting. The other thing that will help is to dry hop at lower temperatures and for a shorter period - it gives those enzymes less time to leach out and do their thing (and they are less effective at lower temperatures).

Eliminating oxygen where you can will help and you could even add some high alpha-acid hops to the mash (1-2g/l). These alpha acids “complex” some of the metal ions coming out of your malt that end up in your finished beer and are pro-oxidative. If you try mash hopping be sure to use leaf hops so you can remove them with the spent grain. Pellet hops disintegrate and then get into the boil where they add bitterness.
 
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Thanks @Hazelwood Brewery, that is a really good point on the dry hopping affecting the FG and body. I will definitely brew this again (or at least a variant of it) because its the closest I've come to a NEIPA that maintains flavour and appearance over the life of the keg. I will have a play around with the whirlpool/dry hop addition timings as you suggest. Perhaps increase the whirlpool and reduce to one dry hop (at a lower temperature). In any case I need to scale back on the citra - it was more prominent than I would have liked. I will likely keep the other two hops in that 1:1 ratio.
 
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Right. Today I kegged the American Amber Ale. Tasted the dregs out of the FV and first impressions are that while the malt backbone is what I was aiming for, the hops may be a little restrained. Tis too early to tell for sure.
 
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Tasting notes for the Saazzy Biatch Czech Pilsner. These are the opinions of another brewer, but they are in line broadly with mine.

Aroma (12)
Rich sweet grainy malt, maybe a touch of diacetyl. Clean lager yeast with no unwanted fruity esters. Restrained herbal / floral hop aroma. 8.

Appearance (3)
Attractive pale golden colour, nice and clear. Fluffy head on pouring, dissipated quite quickly. 2.

Flavour (20)
Again, clean lager yeast without esters. Rich and sweet grainy malt, with some caramel. Some herbal hop flavour and a low to moderate bitterness. Very nice. 14

Mouthfeel (5)

Medium body, but well attenuated. Soft finish without excessive astringency. Moderate carbonation leading to a refreshing lager profile. 3


Overall impression (10)

This was a characterful and relatively complex beer that was evidently well brewed.. Detected a little diacetyl, but this did not detract from the beer excessively. 7.

Total score 34 / 50

Very pleased with how this one turned out for a first attempt at brewing a lager. I will definitely brew again, although will wait for the colder months and leave it to condition outside rather than tie up my brew fridge.
 
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Tasting notes for the Saazzy Biatch Czech Pilsner. These are the opinions of another brewer, but they are in line broadly with mine.

Aroma (12)
Rich sweet grainy malt, maybe a touch of diacetyl. Clean lager yeast with no unwanted fruity esters. Restrained herbal / floral hop aroma. 8.

Appearance (3)
Attractive pale golden colour, nice and clear. Fluffy head on pouring, dissipated quite quickly. 2.

Flavour (20)
Again, clean lager yeast without esters. Rich and sweet grainy malt, with some caramel. Some herbal hop flavour and a low to moderate bitterness. Very nice. 14

Mouthfeel (5)

Medium body, but well attenuated. Soft finish without excessive astringency. Moderate carbonation leading to a refreshing lager profile. 3


Overall impression (10)

This was a characterful and relatively complex beer that was evidently well brewed.. Detected a little diacetyl, but this did not detract from the beer excessively. 7.

Total score 34 / 50

Very pleased with how this one turned out for a first attempt at brewing a lager. I will definitely brew again, although will wait for the colder months and leave it to condition outside rather than tie up my brew fridge.
Sounds a lot like my own and everyone seems to really enjoy it. 👍
 
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I am really pleased with how it turned out. The taste was how imagined it when I designed the recipe. Interestingly, I didn't pick up on the hint of diacetyl. next time I brew it I might need to adjust my d rest slightly.
 
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I am really pleased with how it turned out. The taste was how imagined it when I designed the recipe. Interestingly, I didn't pick up on the hint of diacetyl. next time I brew it I might need to adjust my d rest slightly.
I don’t have the diacetyl thing going on. I use M54 California Lager yeast and ferment relatively warm at about 20C for two weeks.
 
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American Amber Ale taste notes

Not doing a great job of keeping up with this log. The American Amber has been in the keg and drinking for a couple of weeks now. Taste notes:-

Aroma - Pleasant pronounced citrus aroma akin to a pale ale. More hop forward than malt forward but in balance. No esters or off aromas Low maltiness with caramel hints
Appearance - amber coloured with large off white head on pour. The head lessens on standing but there is nice retention. Good clarity
Flavour - Distinct citrus hop flavour with characteristic grapefruit from the Cascadian hops used. Nice balanced bitterness. moderate malt flavour with caramel notes. Sweetness is restrained. Retained malty caramel aftertaste.
Mouthfeel - lighter to medium body. Medium carbonation and a smooth finish
Overall - pleasant drinking experience. Nicely balanced beer. Quaffable.

I think next time I brew it, I will look for slightly more body and possibly more malty profile but otherwise it's bang on as intended.

After a "can't be arsed" brewing hiatus I need to get back to it. A user upper Golden Ale with a Sabro single hop is on the cards for tomorrow. It's a tried and tested recipe. Then I need to get back to researching my next brew. I am keen to do a black IPA and it needs to be more IPA than stout malt profile. A lot of care will need to go into determining the grain bill for that.

Over and Out
 
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The Sky's Gone Out - Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA

Finally dragged myself out of the "can't be arsed" fug I was in. Needless to say the Sabro Golden Ale didn't materialise. So, I decided to take a trip down controversial street and brew a Black IPA. I really struggled to find good points of reference on-line for this. Advice ranged from "brew a stout and add more hops" to make an IPA and chuck some roasted malts in" which wasn't what I was looking for. I want that high hop flavour and aroma you associate with an IPA but also some of those malt characteristics you get from a stout; particularly the caramel and toffee. One thing I was certain on was the use of the Cascadian Hops.

Grain Bill (for 20.5 L)

3.8 Kg Maris Otter (73%) - crisp malt with toastiness
0.7 Kg Munich (13%) - to provide the caramel notes
0.4 Kg Rye (8%) - to provide spice/pepper. * Checking my notes - I should have limited to 1-3% to avoid impacting on style. Not sure how I overlooked that.
0.26 Kg Carafa III (5%) - for coffee, chocolate and roasted flavours. Kept to a light touch so as not to overpower the beer.
0.05 Kg Flaked Barley to impart a slight creaminess to the mouthfeel and aid with head retention

Hops

Cascadian varieties all the way

15 g each Cascade and Centennial @ 60 mins
9 g each Cascade and Centennial @ 15 mins
9 g each Cascade and Centennial @ 5 mins
9 g each Cascade and Centennial @ flameout

IBU:SG ratio was 0.98 which is to style (0.8-1.0 recommended)

I will also dry hop with 28 g each of Cascade and Centennial 3 days before kegging

Water

I used the Palmer and Kaminski bible recommendations for dark beers as my base and went with

Calcium 90 ppm
Chloride 75 ppm
Sulphate 100 ppm
Bicarb 110 ppm

Yeast

US-05

Mash was 90 mins @66 C
Boil was 60 mins


On to the brewday itself. It was the second run out for the grainfather grain mill and it works a treat. I went with the MaltMiller recommended settings of speed 4 for everything, gap setting 6 for the pale and roatsed malts, gap setting 4 for the rye and gap setting 3 for the flaked barley.

The first mistake I made was on mashing in. I forgot to turn off the heating elements on the Zilla while I was stirring in the malt. Second mistake was that I overshot the lactic acid addition to bring my pH down from 5.68 to 5.2. I somehow ended up at 4.95! I rectified this by adding a scientifically calculated smidge of bicarb of soda. I ended up at pH 5.22. Happy days.

I hit all my numbers and ended up with 20 L wort in the FV at an O.G of 1.058 (target 1.056 and 20.5 L in the FV). Mash efficiency was 86% and Brewhouse efficiency was 72.5.

I remembered that my wife had bought me an iSpindel so quickly set that up and chucked it in the FV. I didn't have time to calibrate it but it was reading 1.061 which was close enough for me. I have to say that I didn't understand the notes that came with it (luddite) but I found a great video by Opensource distilling that shows exactly how to set it up. I was able to follow this to the letter.

I messed up on the reading interval setting so I am not able to capture data over a whole day. Ubidots, the software I am using to run the iSpindel only allows you to capture a certain amount of data a day. I need to re-configure the iSpindel with less frequent data capture when I fish it out at the end of fermentation.

It was relatively straightforward to set up a dashboard of the data I am interested in.

Capture.PNG



Overall, a successful brewday

BlackIPA.jpg



Over and Out
 

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