Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Porter Brew Day

It has been a couple weeks since I posted.  I apologize for the delay but I took a wonderful vacation with my family.  Once I got back and settled, I started on the Pumpkin Porter that you all voted for and you can see the recipe here.  There were a couple of modifications, most notably I used 58oz of pumpkin as it came in 29oz cans.  I figured that this was close enough to the 60oz that I called for in the original recipe.  Also I was able to get some great local and organic cascade hops that I wanted to use so I substituted them in.  Here is how my bred day went.

Pumpkin Porter Brew Day
The first part of the process for me was to roast the pumpkin.  I spread the two cans of pumpkin out on a backing sheet and placed it in a 400 degree oven.  After 45 minutes of my house smelling deliciously of pumpkin I removed the pumpkin and took a look.  To be honest I was looking for more of a roast on top.  The sides and the bottom got a bit roasty but I would have liked some more.  If I was not a little pressed for time I would have put it back in on broil to increase the roasty character but I really had to get this brew done.

After the pumpkin was done I brought 2.5 gallons of water to 150 and began to steep my grains.  Thirty minutes later I had some nice dark and roasty wort that smelled fantastic.  I cranked up the heat and added my 7lbs of light malt extract slowly while stirring.  Next came the pumpkin.  This was my first time using pumpkin an I have to say it took a bit of work to get it to incorporate well.  It tended to stay all globed up.  The best method I found was to mush the globs with the back of the spoon on the side of the pot to break them up.

Once the boil started I added 1oz Kent Golding pellet hops and continued the boil for another 45 minutes.  At the 15 minute mark I added 1oz of the organic hole leaf Cascades and 1Tsp of pumpkin pie spice.  After some further reading I should have added the spice later possibly at flame out to get the most out of the spices but I can always add more in the secondary if it needs it.  The last hop addition was another 1oz of the leaf Cascades at the 5 minute mark.

The wort was chilled and transferred to the fermenter where the additional 2.5 gallons of water were waiting.  After a quick stir I pulled a sample for a gravity reading and taste.  The gravity reading came out a little higher than expected at 1.059 vs the expected value of 1.056.  I was expecting this as ibrewmaster did not adjust the gravity to account for the additional sugars in the pumpkin.  The wort tasted pretty darn good, obviously very sweet, but with a nice pumpkin and spice flavor.  I have good hopes that this will turn out pretty well and my become my annual fall beer.  I will update more on the as it progresses and let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weekend Fresh Pressed Cider

Apples for Cider
Sometime last week our brew club, the Indian Peak Alers, was approached by someone in our local community with an apple orchard on his property.  He had attempted to make a cider last year with the apples but it did not turn out to his liking.  After a brief conversation with a few club members the first, and hopefully annual ,"Indian Peak Alers Cider Festival" was born.  The word went out to the club and on Sunday we had amassed around twenty people to help pick apples and press cider.  It was a great day and and an absolutely beautiful setting.  We ended up pressing around thirty gallons of fresh delicious cider.  I believe that we will be aging this to enjoy at next years festival and there was also talk of getting a fresh rum barrel to age in next year.  It was truly a fantastic time.  I know that I speak for everyone in attendance in expressing our thanks to Bill and Sarah for allowing us to come to there home for this fantastic day.  Here are some pictures of the event.

Making Cider

Making CiderMaking CiderMaking Cider

Making Cider

Making Cider

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Yeast Charts Page

I have received a very good response from the yeast charts that I have put together.  I have added a new page dedicated to these charts to make it a bit easier to find them all on one place.  You will see a new link on the top left of this page where you can access all of the completed charts.  I just uploaded the finished Wyeast Ale charts this morning.  I will post the future just to let everyone know when there is something new.  Also feel free to comment on that page if you would like charts for other yeasts that I do not have listed

Friday, August 31, 2012

White Labs Specialty and Belgians Yeast charts

I received quite a response from my previous post providing a link to the Ale yeast charts I created.  I was asked to create similar charts for the other categories of the White Labs yeast strains.  I have just finished up charts for the "Specialty/Belgian" strains that I thought I would share.  You may see an extra file which includes the notes on each strain.  I thought this would be of great importance especially with the Belgian strains as specific ester production and flavors are an important factor in selecting yeast strains for Belgian styles.  I will try and get charts up here for the Lager yeast strains soon and please leave a comment if you would like similar charts for the Wyeast strains.

White Labs Specialty/Belgian Yeast charts

Please let me know if there are any errors and I will get them corrected.  I hope these are as useful to others as they are for me.

You can find the link to the Ale yeast Charts Here

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

White Labs Ale Yeast Charts

As a follow on to my previous post on Yeast selection, I have created some charts that show the yeast strain attributes and how they compare to each other.  The charts show White Labs Ale yeast strains mainly because that is what I use most.  I find that these are a nice way to compare yeast strains quickly and find the one with the attributes that I am looking for.  I Just wanted to share in the hope that these are useful for others.  I will also be creating similar charts for the other White Labs yeast strains, lager and ect.  Feel free to subscribe if you want to be notified when these are posted.  

Here is an example of my attenuation chart.

 You can download all of the charts here

Monday, August 27, 2012

Smoken Blond Ale Final Tasting

Smokin Dirty Blond Ale in a glass
My Smoken Dirty Blond Ale is finally carbonated and ready for the final verdict.    After about two and a half weeks bottle conditioning I pulled one under the pretense of a carbonation test, the real reason being I just couldn't wait anymore.  The pour showed that it is mostly done carbonating, it should be fully carbonated in the next few days.  The color is still around 8 SRM although the picture on the makes it look a bit darker than it is in real life.

The Nose
This has a very traditional English ale smell.  I am not getting the vanilla aroma that I noted in the previous tasting.  There is a slight hint of the smoked malt which is pleasing but very faint.  Over all there is a very nice, lightly sweet, malt smell that mixes very nicely with the earthy hop aroma of the kent goldings.

The Taste
This is a very nicely balanced beer I am actually pretty amazed that it tastes almost nothing like it did two and a half weeks ago.  The distinct vanilla and bourbon flavors that were there when bottling are now gone.  These have been replaced with a nice balance of sweet malt and earthy hops.  The flavors that were very distinct at bottling have now blended and flow nicely from one to another.   If I had to compare it to something I would actually say it tastes like a lighter version of Newcastle.   

The Verdict
If you ask anyone they would say that I am my own worst critic especially when it comes to my beers.  Most beers I make to me are just "OK", while others say they really like them.  That being said, I really like this beer.   This one turned out well and may be my best beer to date.  It is light and easy to drink but still has a distinctive malt character that I find lacking from many lighter beers.   I will defiantly make this recipe again soon and I would encourage others to do so also.  I give this an easy 4 out of 5 stars.  The only bad thing is two cases will not last long at all.

You can find the recipe here
You can also find the previous tasting while bottling here

Thursday, August 23, 2012

You Voted, I Brew

The poles are closed and all the votes have been tabulated.  The voting really came down to the wire.  It was a dog fight between the Saison and the Pumpkin ale but in the last few days of voting the Pumpkin ale pulled ahead and took home the checkered flag.

It was really fun watching and trying to formulate recipes for what ever was in the lead at the time.  I will defiantly let everyone vote on what I brew again in the future.  I hope others enjoyed it as well. I spent an hour or so formulating my recipe yesterday.  I wanted to do something a little different than your run of the mill Pumpkin ale, and with my somewhat unhealthy love affair with dark beers,  my Pumpkin Porter recipe was born.  Here is my first draft so there might be some minor changes down the road, stay tuned...

Pumpkin Porter 

Grain Bill
7.0lb Light Liquid extract
0.5lb Crystal Malt -60L
0.75lb Chocolate Malt
0.15lb Black Patent Malt
0.5lb Smoked Malt
60 oz Canned Pumpkin