Beer for bottling

Today’s holiday brew session is another round from the “light and hoppy” styles.  I’m pushing this recipe to pull in more farmhouse than North Eastern IPA.  I ran across a new-to-me hop, Jester, which is of UK origin but exhibiting some American Hop citrus and fruity characteristics.  That sounded really nice for a farmhouse hoppy beer.  Brewing NEIPAs though has definitely affected the hop process I used.  Normally I would include a bittering addition and something late, maybe a step but save most for dry-hopping but now I’m much more happy with using significantly more hops late and after flame-out.

I’ve also been a bit of a mix of bottling and kegging.  Kegging is *so* much easier.  So much so that it does tend to make me a bit lazy and skip the effort of bottling; much to my regret.  Many of the beers I’ve brewed in years past age extremely well so I’m planning on trying to keep more of it around longer.  I’m looking at simplifying my process of bottling with this batch.  I’ve got quite a few items that do help the process:  12 bottle rinsing system, drying racks that stack, a pneumatic bottle capper, and two different bottling wands.  The main effort is the standing and filling part.  I’ve had a Blichmann Beergun for quite some time.  I’ve had few issues with it.  I also picked up a Last Straw.  The Last Straw’s main improvement over the Beergun is how it is held; that helps remove the shoulder ache after filling 15 gallons worth of bottles.  The drawback (for me) is that I tend to bottle condition which means filling uncarbonated beer.  The diameter restrictions on both fillers slows the entire process down.  I recently picked up a wine auto-filler which I’m hoping will make things go a lot faster.  It utilizes a pressure switch to automatically stop the flow into a bottle.  This is quite effective.  My hope is that I’ll be able to hook up two or three of these to a manifold off of the fermentation vessel and then start each bottle which will then stop automatically allowing making it easier to grab the filled bottles, purge with co2 and cap while other bottles continue to fill.

Here’s the recipe for Hoats and Boes:

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
16 gal 60 min 54.5 IBUs 3.2 SRM 1.030 1.006 3.2 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Session IPA 16 1.038 - 1.052 1.008 - 1.014 40 - 55 4 - 12 2.2 - 2.8 3.7 - 5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) 16 lbs 88.89
Barley, Flaked 1 lbs 5.56
Oats, Flaked 1 lbs 5.56

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Centennial 2 oz 5 min Boil Leaf 10
Citra 2 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 25.2
Jester (UK) 2 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 6
Centennial 2 oz 20 min Aroma Leaf 10
Citra 2 oz 20 min Aroma Pellet 25.2
Jester (UK) 2 oz 20 min Aroma Pellet 6
Jester (UK) 4 oz 3 days Dry Hop Pellet 6

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Phosphoric Acid 85% 28.80 ml 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 1.80 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 1.80 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 1.80 g 60 min Mash Water Agent

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
French Saison (3711) Wyeast Labs 80% 65°F - 77°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 152°F 60 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min

Notes

- Lupu

Mosaic IPA v3

Mmm, Yellow Rose

Homebrew Mosaic IPA on the left, Yellow Rose on the right.

Brewing and IPA just the way you want has always proved to be more difficult that I’ve wanted.  The Mosaic IPA is no different.  I’ve had plenty of Lone Pint’s Yellow IPA to know what I really liked about it:  huge amazing Mosaic nose and aromatics, sweet, but light malt flavors, and a solid bitter and dry finish.

V1 was a small batch and didn’t quite attenuate exactly as intended, partly due to learning temps and mashing in the small batch setup but it was in the ballpark for what we wanted in a clone.

V2 was a scaled up to a 6 gallon batch.  When I brewed V2 I did have a slight shortage of Mosaic hops and had to go with a Mosaic/Simcoe blend.  In tasting, this had almost zero impact in aroma and flavor.  That wasn’t too surprising considering Mosaic’s heritage.   Color was spot on as well as clarity.  The real difference was in the taste.  In a side-by-side with a bottle of Yellow Rose, it was clear that my V2 was sweeter than YR; something I knew as I was sampling V2.  V2 finished around 1.016 or so which is much sweeter than my palate enjoys nowadays.  However, beyond the sweeter malt flavors it was lacking some of the hop bite.

The reviews of V2 were all similar: good, but not quite right, needs more hops.  Well, that’s not a problem.  So on to V3!  I wanted to achieve two things.  First, and foremost, the beer needed to finish drier than V2.  Considering the yeast I have, Dry English Ale, which already does a really solid 75 to 80% attenuation, I decided I’d employ some step mashing to maximize beta amylase hoping to reduce the final gravity.  The second goal was to bump up the bitter a bit as well, oh and this time use all Mosaic for sure.

The recipe below includes these changes.  Brewing of V3 was picture perfect.  However, somewhere along the mash, we accidentally bumped the efficiency from 72% to around 93%.  The pre-boil gravity target was to be 1.045 and we ended up with 1.055.  The final O.G ended at 1.083 instead of 1.067 meaning we had a 9% beer bordering on double IPA rather than a solid 6.5% IPA.  Worse things have happened.

Upon tasting V3 though it wasn’t significantly more bitter than V2 and it immediately dawned on me that the additional efficiency was the source of the trouble.  Since the boil gravity was much higher than expected, that resulted in a lower alpha-acid isomerization, and lower IBUs in the final product.  I should have adjusted the amount of hops in the boil to combat the higher gravity wort.  Clearly a V4 will be needed.

V3 finished at 1.016, but considering the starting gravity I don’t think I can expect WLP 007 and mash techniques to get any lower.  80% attenuation is the top end for this ale strain.  But I know some other strains that can go a bit higher.  For V4, I’ll brew another 6 gallons of wort but this time pitch my favorite strain, the Jester King mixed culture.

The Jester King blend attenuates just about anything down to 1.000 SG.  Jester King already produces a number of highly hopped beers, namely Wytchmaker Rye IPA and El Cedro, Cedar IPA.  I’m also interested in their collaborations with many breweries in which they use wort produced by their partners and then pitch the mixed culture and see what sort of beer it becomes.

V4 will use the same recipe as V3, but will use the JK mixed culture instead. Fermentation temperature will change as well, the JK blend tends to produce a more sour wort at cooler temperatures, so a minimum temp of about 75F or higher will be used to encourage the yeast to dominate and keep the bacteria in check (at least for a while).  As a bonus, cold conditioning in bottle will keep hop aroma as the brett is an oxygen consumer and the bacteria like to produce some lactic acid!  Who doesn’t want a hoppy sour beer? =)

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
6 gal 90 min 81.0 IBUs 4.1 SRM 1.066 1.015 6.7 %
Actuals 0 1.01 -75.8 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 14 B 1.056 - 1.075 1.01 - 1.018 40 - 70 6 - 15 2.2 - 2.7 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pilsen (BestMälz) 14.764 lbs 100

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Mosaic 0.99 oz 90 min Boil Pellet 11.6
Mosaic 1.62 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 11.6
Mosaic 1.62 oz 20 min Aroma Pellet 11.6
Mosaic 3.17 oz 5 days Dry Hop Pellet 11.6

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 4.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 2.70 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 1.90 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Whirlfloc Tablet 1.00 Items 15 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Dry English Ale (WLP007) White Labs 75% 65°F - 70°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Beta Rest 140°F 45 min
Saccharification 152°F 20 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min

Notes

Beta Focus for dryer beer:
Mash in 140F, hold 40 mins
Raise to 152, hold for 20 mins