Category Archives: Home Brewing

Munich Dunkel

With summer coming to an end I am looking for a darker winter beer to drink that is an easy quaff. Sticking with my recent history of German styles I bought a couple of commercial Dunkels and liked what I tasted. So Dunkel it is. The Dunkel is a dark, transparent lager brewed with darker Munich malts and sometimes some pilsner malt. It is supposed to have a sweeter dark malt profile with a moderate spicy hop aroma. I surfed around various beer recipe sites before settling on a simple recipe that I thought would suit my palate. I adapted the recipe using the trusty BIAB recipe spreadsheet tweaking it for my usual no chill / 30 minute technique.

13 February 2017

Munich Dunkel

12.5L BIAB
1.052OG
1.014FG
44.3BC
18.6IBU

Munich 1 Malt 1.4kg (11.29EBC)
Pilsner Malt 1.4kg (4.56EBC)
CaraAmber 0.25kg (9.96EBC)
Carafa 2 0.1kg (35.15EBC)

Pitch onto Fermentis SAFLAGER 34/70 yeast cake from a previous Bohemian Pilsner brew.

15L strike water at 72C with 69C target mash temp. Stir every 20 minutes of mash. The temperature at the start of the mash was 67.6C and at the end of the mash the temperature was 65.2C. At that point I squeezed the bag and sparged it with 4L of cold water. This resulted in 17.5L of pre-boil wort with an SG of 1.036 at 50C. Temperature corrected to 1.045.

30 minute boil

6g Nugget 15.5%AA @ 30 minutes
20g Saaz 4.4%AA @ 10 minutes
1/4 of a Whirlfloc tablet @ 10 minutes.

This hop schedule gave a projected bitterness right at the bottom limit of the style. Because I no chill I’ve perceived that a lot of my beers have been too bitter even when counting flameout and 5 minute additions as 10 minute additions. So when devising this recipe I used those allowances AND aimed for IBU’s at the bottom limit of the style hoping it would end up right on target.

As usual when the boil was done I stuck the whole pot in a my fermentation fridge and allowed it to get the wort down to 12.5C. The next day when it was at the correct temperature I tipped the lot onto the yeast cake of my last brew and aerated it vigorously with my giant brew spoon. Original gravity was finalised at 1.050. There was 14.5L of wort in the fermenter. I’ll be using the usual fast lagering method for this beer before bulk priming and bottling.

Fermentation Log

14-2-17 – Into fridge at 12C
27-2-17 – ramp temp up to 20C over three days
2-3-17 – Cold crash to 3C
4-3-17 – Bottle with 130g of priming sugar to get 18.5 740mL bottles. FG measured at 1.019 which was too high. Perhaps due to not leaving at 20C long enough?

Tasting

Well I couldn’t wait with this one and opened a bottle just 8 days after bottling and surprisingly it was reasonably carbonated and poured fairly clear. It had a lovely creamy tan head which didn’t hang around too long most likely due to it not being in the bottle long enough. It was super easy to drink and very toasty with just a hint of the dark malt burnt flavor which is not really appropriate for the style. To my palate the bitterness was spot on and it went down just a bit too quickly! I don’t see this brew hanging around too long and can’t wait to try it again to iron out a couple of wrinkles in the process and perhaps tone down the impact of the Carafa 2 specialty malt a little bit.

Munich Dunkel

Bohemian Pilsner with Flameout Hop Addition

This is the third time I’ve brewed this particular Bohemian Pilsner recipe with the only variation being a flameout hop addition of Czech Saaz. Last time I brewed it the hop flavour was a bit grassy and overpowering, so I’ve dropped the addition to 25g down from 35g last time.

29 January 2017

Bohemian Pilsner

12.5L BIAB
1.055OG
1.015FG
8.6EBC
32.3IBU

3kg Gladfield Pilsner Malt (3.8EBC)
0.26kg Weyermann Vienna Malt (7.5EBC)
Fermentis SAFLAGER 34/70

15L strike water at 72C with 69C target mash temp. Stir every 20 minutes of mash. At the end of the mash the temperature was 67C. At that point I squeezed the bag and rinsed it with 4L of cold water. This resulted in 17.5L of pre-boil wort with an SG of 1.037 at 51C. Temperature corrected to 1.046.

30 minute boil

7g of Warrior 15.5%AA @ 30 minutes
17g Saaz (4.4%AA) @ 15 minutes
15g Saaz (4.4%AA) @ 10 minutes
1/2 whirlfloc @ 10 minutes
25g Saaz (4.4%AA) @ Flameout.

I followed my usual no chill routine to get the wort down to 12.5C. At that point I poured it into my sterilised fermenter and took at gravity reading of 1.053. There was 13.75L of wort in the fermenter which I aerated and then sprinkled the yeast on top. This will be using the Brulosopy Fast Lager method which means leaving it at 12.5C for 5 days before allowing the temperature to ramp up to 20C over 2 days, holding at 20C for a week or so before fining with gelatin and cold crashing.

Fermentation Log

30/1/17 – Set temp of 12.5C.
6/2/17 – +3C each day until 20C
8/2/17->11/2/17 – 20C
11/2/17 – Fine with gelatin
11/2/17->13/2/17 – Cold crash to 1C

13/2/17 bottled after bulk priming w/130g of sugar. Forgot to take final gravity reading before bulk priming, gravity after bulk priming was 1.019.

Australian Pale Ale with Stella / Ella Hops

I haven’t been posting much here recently about my home brewing activities. Actually I haven’t been posting much here about anything. But nevermind. I’m posting now because I just filled up my good old pen and paper notebook and the last half dozen or so brew days are about to be consigned to an archive box so I figured I should really start logging things online again so I can look back at my brew logs more easily.

26 November 2016

Australian Pale ale with Stella / Ella Hops

This was a leftover/bitsa brew. I had a whole packet of Stella / Ella hops (14.6% AA) I wanted to use up. A goal was to keep the grain bill simple, use a single hop, and produce an easy drinking ale.

12.5L BIAB
1.046OG
1.012FG
13.4EBC
32.6IBU

2.6kg Barret Burston 2 Row Ale
0.14kg Crystal Pale 100
US05 SAFALE yeast

15L strike water at 70C with 68C target mash temp. Stir every 20 minutes of mash. At the end of the mash the temperature was 66C. At that point I squeezed the bag and rinsed it with 4L of cold water. This resulted in 18L of pre-boil wort with an SG of 1.027 at 48C. Temperature corected to 1.035.

45 minute boil

5g Ella @ 30 minutes
5g Ella @ 15 minutes
15g Ella @ 5 minutes
1/2 whirlflow @ 5 minutes
20g Ella @ Flameout

No Chill. As usual for my no chill brews I’ve considered all additions later than 10 minutes as 10 minute additions. At the end of the boil I put the wort, boil pot and all into my fridge and let it cool for 18 hours down to my target fermentation temperature of 18C. I cleaned and sterilised my trusty fermenter, dumped the cooled wort into it, at this point I had 14.5L of wort with a measured gravity of 1.046. I aerated the wort with my big old spoon, sprinkled my yeast, put the lid on and put the fermenter back in the fridge to do it’s think for a couple of weeks. I plan to let it ferment out for a week, fine with gelatin, chill for a few days and then bottle.

Fermentation Log

27/11/16 – Set temp of 18C.
28/11/16 – Fermentation appears to have started.
7/12/16 – Fined with Gelatin
9/12/16 – Cold crash to 3C.
11/11/16 – Bottled, bulk primed with 130g of sugar and total yield was 12.2L of beer.

Opened a bottle 7 days later and it was almost fully carbonated with a creamy pale cream head that last nicely and gave good lacing. Aroma was slightly fruity, and colour was a dark amber, quite a bit darker than I expected. The beer was also quite bitter, perhaps slightly out of balance with the malt character. There’s a couple of reasons why it might have seemed bitter, firstly it might be because it actually was, my no chill method sometimes leads to overly bitter beer especially with lots of late hop additions like this one. Alternatively I might have just perceived it as being more bitter because I’ve been drinking beers with lower IBU’s like Munich Helles (IBU 14.2) and Bohemian Pilsner (25 IBU) while this Ale had a predicted IBU of 33. Anyway, I only noticed the bitterness for the first glass, by the second glass my palate had adjusted and I enjoyed it immensely.

Ella Pale Ale

Ella Pale Ale

If I was to make this beer again I’d probably drop the late hob additions by 5g each.

Brew Day 14 – Sweet Stout

It seems counter-intuitive to be brewing a stout on only the fifth day of Autumn in southern Australia as the weather is still hot, not exactly the best weather for a stout. Stouts, I am told, do benefit from a month or two in a secondary so if I want one to drink during the cooler weather now is the time to be be brewing it. Last year I brewed a “two can” stout using a can of Cooper’s Dark Ale and Cooper’s Stout and some dark malt extract and it turned out very nice but the ABV was above 8%, too much for a two pot screamer like myself. I’ll brew one of these again this year but I wanted something a bit easier to drink as well, something along the lines of a Guinness Irish Stout. The recipe on this page looked interesting so I decided to give it a go. I had to scale it down to 3 gallons (12L),to account for my BIAB efficiency (65%) and for the 5.7%AA East Kent Goldings hops I had on hand. I also wanted to add some flaked oats to the recipe for a bit of a silkier mouth feel. My trusty BIAB spreadsheet was given a workout and I arrived at the following:

Ale Maris Otter 2.4kg
Roasted Barley 0.24kg
Flaked Barley 0.16kg
CaraPils 0.16kg
Acidulated Malt 0.16kg
Flaked Oats 0.16kg

EKG 23g (5.7%AA) @ 90 minutes
EKG 8g (5.7% AA) @ 45 minutes
1/2 Whirlfloc @ 5 minutes

Nottingham Ale Yeast

Brew Type : 12L All Grain (BIAB)

OG: 1.049
FG: 1.013
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 37.7
EBC: 76.5

I am doing no-chill again here and seeing that the hops additions are very early I am not making any hop adjustments to allow for the no chill. Given the cascading series of errors I made in the last brew I took some more care with this brew with regards to the mash volume and sparge volume. Working from my previous brews I allowed for a mash absorption of 0.7L/kg of grain. Given I wanted 12L of beer I allowed for 0.25L of fermenter loss and 0.5L of kettle loss meaning I wanted a post boil volume of 12.75L. My typical boil losses are 3L/hr so I wanted a post mash volume of 17.75L which meant a pre mash volume of 20L, split into a 15L mash and 5L sparge.

Mashing In

Mashing In

The Mash

The target mash temp was 68C and I heated 15L of strike water to 71C in my bag lined pot. Once I’d reached the temperature I poured in my crushed grains and mixed it thoroughly for a few minutes. The lid went on the pot and I wrapped it all in a thick doona. At this point the mash temperature was 68.9C. Last brew I had an awful mash efficiency which I suspected was due to not mixing the mash enough. I resolved to mix this mash every 20 minutes which I went ahead and did at 20 minutes and 40 minutes into the saccharification process. At the 40 minute point I returned the pot to my gas burner for a few minutes to bring the temperature back up to 68C. At the same time I heated 5L of sparge water to 70C.

When 60 minutes was up I collected up the edges of my brew bag and holding it with rubber gloves spun it tight to extract as much of the sweet wort as possible. Once that was done I topped my pot with a holed pizza tray that happens to fit perfectly into the opening and pressed down on the bag to extract more wort. I then put the bag straight into the 5L of sparge water and pressed down on it again to rinse off the remaining sugars before squeezing the bag again on my pizza tray topped pot and tipping in the sparge water.

Expended Grain Bag

Expended Grain Bag

Hop Additions

Hop Additions

Boiling Wort

Boiling Wort

The Boil

At this point I had 19L of wort in my pot, 1.25L more than I had expected. I took at gravity reading (1.031 at 53C) and brought the wort to the boil (which took about 45 minutes) before making my first 23g East Kent Goldings hop addition. The second 8g addition was made at 45 minutes and finally half a Whirlfloc tablet went in with 5 minutes remaining. At the end of the boil there was 14L of wort in the pot. The pot with lid in place was then put into my temperature controlled refrigerator to cool to pitching temperature overnight.

Taking a Gravity Reading

Taking a Gravity Reading

Fermentation

At 10AM the next day (6 March 2016) the wort was sitting at a steady 18.5C. I sterilised my fermenter and poured the wort into the vessel, took a gravity reading (1.051) and aerated thoroughly with a large sterilised plastic spoon. I pitched the Nottingham yeast, put the airlock in place on the fermenter and put it into my fermentation chamber with a set temperature of 18.5C. Funnily enough just two hours later I saw signs of fermentation in the airlock and the next morning it was bubbling vigorously.

Yeast Pitched

Yeast Pitched

Taking another SG Reading

Taking another SG Reading

Mash Efficiency

It appears that the steps I took to improve mash efficiency worked as I managed 75% on this brew. I did my usual calculations in Excel to arrive at the mash efficiency:

Kg Potential Pounds Potential Points
Ale Maris Otter 2.40 1.038 5.28 41.8
Barley Roasted 0.24 1.025 0.528 2.7
Barley Flaked 0.16 1.032 0.352 2.3
CaraPils 0.16 1.033 0.352 2.4
Acidulated Malt 0.16 1.038 0.352 2.8
Oats Flaked 0.16 1.037 0.352 2.7
Potential 54.82
Actual 41.00
Efficiency 74.8%

Brew Day 13 Reddit Collaboration APA Batch 2

Last brew day I made a short boil no chill version of a collaboration brew that was suggested on the /r/homebrewing on Reddit. You can read the full report of that day here. It turned out beautifully and for the first time I felt like my usual 12.5L brew size was too small as I drank through most of the delicious hoppy APA far too quickly. Planning was put inplace to brew another batch but and my lovely partner splashed out on a fantastic 33L stainless steel boil kettle for me so I seized the opportunity to make a bigger batch of 20 liters. I cracked out my handy brew in a bag spreadsheet, scaled the recipe up and arrived at the following:

Ale Barret Burston 2 Row 3.26kg
Ale Maris Otter 0.93kg
CaraPils 0.22g
Caramalt Malt 0.22kg
Oats, Flaked 0.22kg

Magnum 14g (12.7%AA) @ 30 minutes
Amarillo 8g (9.5% AA) @ 5 minutes
Citra 8g (13.2% AA) @ 5 minutes
Amarillo 15g @ Flameout
Citra 15g @ Flameout
Amarillo 40g Dry Hop 3 days
Citra 35g Dry Hop3 days

British S04 Ale Yeast

Brew Type : 20L All Grain (BIAB)

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.015
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 23.2
EBC: 11.4

As this is a no-chill brew again I’m treating the flameout additions as 10 minute additions meaning that the 23.2IBU is low and it’s likely that this beer will be 40-45IBUs. Other changes include using harvested S04 yeast instead if US05, and toning down the dry hopping somewhat because, well, hops are expensive.

Mashing In

Mashing In

Post Mash Gravity

Post Mash Gravity

S04 British Ale Yeast Starter

S04 British Ale Yeast Starter

As usual I shot for a 60 minute mash, I chose 20L of strike water heated to 72C to which I added my grain. Rather than use a brew bag I used 4 square meters of white Swiss Voile fabric. I hit the strike temperature exactly in my shiny new 33L pot, added the grains, stirred for a few minutes before putting the lid on and wrapping up the pot in an insulating doona. There it sat for an hour varying very little from the initial mash temperature of 69.6C, dropping just 1.6C to 68.0C. It’s at this point where I started to mess things up. The first mistake (I think) had already happened as I hadn’t mixed the mash at all during the hour of rest and my mash efficiency was crap. Second, I chose to sparge with too much water (10L) for two reasons. Firstly I’d done my calculations assuming there was a 60 minute boil, but of course there was only a 30 minute boil, and I’d assumed a too high evaporation rate during the boil. As a result I ended up with 26.5L of pre-boil wort with an SG of 1.025 at 64C (corrected to 1.040).

The boil itself went fine, I made my hop additions and at flameout allowed the wort to stand for 10 minutes. I did make use of some new stainless steel hop balls to try to improve wort clarity. At the end of this process I still had 24L of wort left in the pot. The pot, wort and all went into my refrigerator and was brought down to my final pitching temperature of 26C nearly 24 hours later. At that point I took a gravity reading (1.036???) and pitched the S04 yeast that I’d put into a 600mL starter the day before. It all went back into my temperature controlled fridge where fermentation started within 12 hours.

Hop Balls!

Hop Balls!

Pitching the Yeast

Pitching the Yeast

Initial Gravity

Initial Gravity

What Went Wrong

So much went wrong with this it’s embarrassing. Firstly my mash efficiency was up the shit, secondly my pre-boil volume was way two high, third I think I got my 10 minute hop additions wrong (they should have been 5 minute additions), and finally there’s something screwy with my SG readings. A corrected pre-boil SG of 1.040 cannot become a gravity of 1.036 post boil. Not actually possible, SG has to go up if you’ve removed water. My post boil volume of 24L is too high, which means the ABV is going to be down, given my usual mash efficiency the final gravity should be about 1.043. The final thing that went wrong was the sheer size of the batch. Everything was too heavy. I did manage but I was nervous handling 30 kilograms of stainless steel and near boiling wort as I lifted it from the ground to my stovetop. And speaking of the stovetop, it struggled to maintain a good rolling boil.

So what will I do different next time? Not sure yet, let’s see how this mid-strength hoppy ale turns out. If it’s crap I will re-evaluate my whole process. If it’s good I might see if I can repeat my mistakes on a smaller 15L batch.

Bulk Priming and Bottling

One of my daughters helped me bottle this brew. We ended up almost exactly 30 full 740mL PET bottles (22L of beer) and batch primed with 184g of white sugar dissolved in about 200mL of boiling water. Final gravity (prior to bulk priming) was 1.008 (see below), quite a bit drier than I would have expected.

Final Gravity Prior to Bottling

Final Gravity Prior to Bottling

Pirate Life Brewing Pale Ale Review

pirate-life-pale-ale

Pirate Life Brewing are a craft brewer with their facilities in my home town of Adelaide, South Australia. They have a small range of beers available at a limited number of retail outlets. My partner went out of her way to find one of those outlets and bought me a can of each of their three products. The first of these that I’ve tried is their Pale Ale which uses ale malt, caramalt, pale crystal, cascade and mosaic hops. Poured into the glass the beer is a little darker than you’d expect a pale ale to be, being a dark amber, it’s not crystal clear (I am not a clear beer nazi) and it very attractive in the glass. The head was nice and white and fluffy but dissipated fairly quickly. The aroma of the beer was muted with passionfruit the strongest character and some pine in there too. The beer itself had an upfront breadiness and a good level of lingering bitterness, on the back of my palate I got some lemon in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was nice and sharp and crisp, the sort of mouthfeel I’d like to achieve in my own brewing but haven’t managed yet. Overall, a nice beer but perhaps a little too bitter for it to be quaffable in larger quantities. Recommended.

Brew Day 12 – Reddit /r/HomeBrew Collaboration APA

I often frequent the /r/HomeBrewing sub-reddit and over the last few weeks a member has been developing an APA recipe based on feedback from the sub-reddit subscribers. You can view the recipe here, it’s a pale ale using 2-row, Maris Otter, some oats, and hopped with Warrior, Amarillo, and Citra. As I mostly brew in isolation (apart from my lovely partner who is amusingly tolerant of my brewing fascination) I thought it would be fun to take part in the group-think and have a go at the recipe myself. However, I wanted to try a no-chill (which seemed to work really well last time) and a shorter boil. Aim was to be done with brew day in about 2 hours.

I had to scale down the recipe for my usual 12.5L size (the recipe calls for 5.5 gallons) and adjust the hop schedule to account for the no-chill approach. I’ve done quite a bit of reading in the last few weeks and the rule of thumb suggested is that flame-out additions for no chill should be counted as 10-15 minute additions. The recipe was constructed in the very handy BIAB Beer Designer spreadsheet.

Ale Barret Burston 2 Row 2.04kg
Ale Maris Otter 0.58kg
CaraPils 0.14kg
Caramalt Malt (50EBC) 0.14kg
Oats Flaked 0.14kg

Magnum 9g (12.7%AA) @ 30 minutes
Amarillo 5g (9.5% AA) @ 5 minutes
Citra 5g (13.2% AA) @ 5 minutes
Amarillo 13g @ Flameout
Citra 13g @ Flameout
Amarillo 35g Dry Hop 3 days
Citra 44g Dry Hop3 days

SAFALE US05 Yeast

Ingredients

Ingredients

Brew Type : 12.5L All Grain (BIAB)

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.0%
IBU: 19.9
EBC: 11.4

You’ll note that the IBU’s are just under 20, but if you dial in the 5 minute and flameout additions as 10 minute additions you arrive at 42IBU which is right on what the original recipe calls for. The logic for this may be a little flawed as I suspect the 5 minute additions should really be considered as 15 minute additions but the proof will be in the tasting.

Brew Day (21 November 2015)

The evening before I filled my brew pot with 10L of water and my sparge pot with 7L of water and left them sitting to allow for any volatiles to evaporate overnight.

Heating Strike Water

Heating Strike Water

1. Brew day started at 6:40AM when I brought 10L of water to strike temperature of 71C with grain bag lining pot.

2. Added grain bill, stir to ensure no dough balls.

Mashing In!

Mashing In!

3. Took temperature of mash (69.0C) replaced lid on pot, and wrapped pot in doona/blanket for 60 minutes to mash.

There's Wort in There

There’s Wort in There

4. Bring 7L of water to 75C in another pot.

5. At the end of 60 minutes unwrap pot, take temperature again (68.0C). I drained the bag on a wire rack suspended over the brew pot for several minutes.

Draining the Bag

Draining the Bag

6. Sparged the bag with the 75C water until there was a litre or two left and put the bag in the sparge pot and let it rinse out the last of the wort.

Bringing Wort to the Boil

Bringing Wort to the Boil

7. At this stage I had 13L of wort in the brew pot. I took a gravity reading (1.037 @ 61.5C), added a few drops of FERMCAPs to stop boil-overs and brought it all to the boil.

Hop Additions

Hop Additions

8. Hop additions were made when the boil started (Warrior), 25 minutes (5g of Citra and Amarillo) and at the end of the 30 minute boil (13g each of Citra and Amarillo). At this point I whirlpooled the wort for 10 minutes.

Whirlpooling at Flameout

Whirlpooling at Flameout

9. Once that time was up I put the pot into my pre-chilled fridge to bring the temperature down to pitching temp (19C). I expected that to take about 12 hours and aimed to pitch my yeast the next morning. At this point it was 9.20AM, 2 hours and 40 minutes since I’d started. In that time I’d brewed the beer, showered and breakfasted, and answered my morning work emails. Generally I was pretty happy with how short the whole exercise was.

Hot Wort Cooling in Fridge

Hot Wort Cooling in Fridge

10. (Morning of 22 November 2015). I drained the wort into my sterilised fermentation vessel trying to leave as much hop residue as possible in the brew pot. I had to top it off with about 2 liters of cooled boiled water to get my 12.5L volume. I took a gravity reading (1.053) and temperature reading (19C). Aerated thoroughly with a large (sterilised) plastic spoon and pitched my yeast. Filled the airlock with steriliser, put the lit on the FV and put it in my fridge with a set temperature of 19C.

Yeast is Pitched

Yeast is Pitched

Generally I was happy with the day, my mashing temperature was a little high but it doesn’t seem to have effected anything as I achieved my usual efficiency and just missed the target OG by one lousy point. The wort was a very pale green/gold, without doubt the palest wort I have made to date. Not sure if this was a product of the grain bill or the shorter boil. I certainly liked the shorter boil time, however the longest periods of inactivity (other than the mash) was spent waiting for the strike water to heat up and bringing the wort to the boil. That idle time is only going to be solved by getting a bigger gas burner which isn’t on the cards any time soon.

Mash Efficiency

I did my mash efficency calculations in Excel, and got my usual efficency of 70%.

Kg Potential Pounds Potential Points
Ale Barret Burston 2 Row 2.04 1.038 4.49 49.59
Ale Maris Otter 0.58 1.038 1.28 14.10
CaraPils 0.14 1.033 0.31 2.96
Caramalt Malt 0.14 1.034 0.31 3.04
Oats Flaked 0.14 1.037 0.31 3.31
Potential 73.00
      Actual 51.00
      Efficency 69.9%

 

Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Review

Schofferhofer Hefeweizen

Schofferhofer Hefeweizen

To the left you can see a bottle of Schofferhofer Hefeweizen, an unfiltered German wheat beer. As you can see the beer is a cloudy orange gold colour and had a nice finely bubbled head. On the nose it is earthy and a bit funky, no doubt due to the use of some sort of noble hop. It has a metallic rounded taste (which I assume is the wheat used in the grist) with a lingering breadyness in my mouth at the back once the mouthful is complete. Bitterness is not particular strong and I don’t sense any real hop flavour. I’m not sure I’m enjoying the glass too much and don’t think I’ll rush out to brew this style just yet.

Reading some online reviews of the beer there’s mention of banana and cloves but I get none of that. Compare that with the Weizen Doppelbock I had at Redoak Brewery last month which was the most strongly banana flavoured thing I’ve ever had that wasn’t actually a banana.

4 Pines Brewing Kolsch Review

4 Pines Brewing Kolsch

4 Pines Brewing Kolsch

I’ve been looking for a style of ale to brew for the summer months and a kolsch is among the styles I was considering. Given that I’ve never actually had one I thought I’d give it a try and found a Kolsch marketed as a German Style Golden Ale by 4 Pines Brewing of Manly in Sydney. The beer was remarkably clear with a rich golden colour and only a thin head that dispersed quite quickly. On the nose it was earthy with perhaps a slight hint of pine. On the palate it was faintly malty with a nice bit of refreshing bitterness but not particular dry. After taste was a little spicy with lingering bitterness. I certainly drank it quickly enough on a hot day so I’ll call it quite quaffable. The ABV of 4.7% means I could have a few without feeling the need to dance on a table for my own amusement. It’s certainly a style of beer I’ll look at brewing myself.

Brew Day 11 – APA Version 3

It’s 1-all in the all grain BIAB competition, my first BIAB pale ale is awesome, my second not so much.  I was keen to replicate the last brew with better quality grains, a bit more hops, and (hopefully) better mash temperature control.  However my LHBS of choice seems to be pretty much out of every malt I can think of so I’ve had to come up with an alternate recipe.  I know that’s not scientific but hey, it’s coming up to summer and beer is running short!

Pilsner Malt (3.7EBC) 2.6kg
Bairds Pale Crystal 0.15kg (what I’ve got left)
Munich II Malt (24EBC) 0.35kg
13g Magnum @ 60 minutes (12.7%AA)
18g Cascade @ 10 minutes (5.6%AA)
12g Cascade @ Flameout for 10 minutes (5.6%AA)
14g Cascade, dry hop after 7 days for a week
Danstar Nottingham Ale Yeast

Brew Type : 12.5L All Grain (BIAB)

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 36.6
EBC: 15.9

The logic behind this recipe goes something like this:

  1. Pilsner should be nice and light and give a drinkable beer in hot weather.
  2. The Pale Crystal in the cupboard and I may as well use it.
  3. I like the malt hit the Munich gave me in my last brew so I’ll try it again.
  4. A few grams more Magnum up front for more bitterness and dry hopping (for the first time in a BIAB brew for me) to get some nice hop aroma.
  5. Nottingham Ale Yeast because it has a reputation of good attenuation and I’ll still like a dryer beer for the hotter weather.

Brew Day (31 October 2015)

The first thing I did a couple of days before the brew was to split the Nottingham Ale Yeast into equal parts and create two 500mL/100g DME starters in sterilised glass jars. Once those had done fermenting (24 hours) and allowed to settle I carefully drained off the expended wort leaving the creamy yeast at the bottom and topped them off with boiled water. Both were stored safely, one to be used with this brew, and the other for the next.

On brew day I followed my usual method as follows:

1. Bring 10L of water to strike temperature of 71C with grain bag lining pot. I used 10L of mash water gain to get more thermal mass to stop heat loss during the mash process.

2. Add grain bill, stir to ensure no dough balls.

3. Took temperature of mash (67.5C) replaced lid on pot, and wrapped pot in doona for 60 minutes to mash. I noted that the temperature was dropping rather quickly so after 10 minutes I put the pot back on the heat. I was standing on the doona and noted it was quite cold. Drawing the conclusion that one layer of doona under the mash pot was just not insulating it enough (heat escaping into my tiled/concrete floor) I doubled the bottom layer and put the pot back into it’s blankie.

4. Bring 7L of water to 75C in another pot.

5. At the end of 60 minutes unwrap pot, take temperature again (65.5C). I drained the bag on a wire rack suspended over the brew pot for several minutes.

6. Sparged the bag with the 75C water until there was a litre or two left and put the bag in the sparge pot to sit for a few minutes before squeezing the whole lot and trying to extract as much sweet wort as possible.

7. I’d managed to almost fill the whole 15L pot at this stage with 14L of wort. I took a gravity reading (1.037 @ 54.0C), added a few drops of FERMCAPs to stop boil-overs and brought it all to the boil.

8. Last brew I made little muslin hop bags but they didn’t seem to affect the clarity of the brew so I didn’t bother this time. Once boiling I made the hop additions at 60, 10, and 0 minutes. At the end of the boil I had 12L of wort left (2L loss).

9. It’s at this point that I’d usually be cooling the wort in an ice bath but I couldn’t be jacked. The whole pot was put in my fermentation fridge and chilled overnight to 18C ready for pitching in the morning. I suspect this will lead to less clarity in the beer but I am fairly certain I don’t mind drinking cloudy beer so I am happy with the lower amount of effort involved.

10. (Morning of 1 November 2015). The wort was at 18C so I drained it into my fermentation vessel through a strainer leaving me with 11L of wort which was then topped off with cooled boiled water. I took a gravity reading (1.053 @ 17.7C), aerated with my giant sterilised spoon and pitched the Nottingham Ale yeast starter that I’d prepared earlier. The FV then went into my fridge with a set temp of 18.5C where it’ll sit for 10 days before I dry hop.

Overall I’m happy with how the day went. I almost hit almost all my numbers just missing the OG by a little and maintaining a nice constant mash temperature. Not having to chill the wort was great and I’ll be interested to see what impact the over night chilling had. If the beer is of the quality of my first BIAB effort I’ll be more than happy!

Mash Efficiency

2.6KG of Pilsner malt has a potential of 1.038 points per gallon. I’ve got 5.72lb of grain in 3.7 (14L) gallons of water so the potential for the GP is 58.7 points.
0.35KG of Munich II malt has a potential of 1.037 points per gallon (0.35*2.2*37/3.7) and 0.15kg of Bairds Pale Crystal has a potential of 1.035 points per gallon (0.15*2.2*35/3.7). That’s 7.7 points for the Munich II and 3.1 points for the crystal.

Total potential is 69.5 points and with a measured pre-boil (and temperature corrected) gravity of 1.048 the mash efficiency was 69.0% (48/69.5) which is very similar to my last two all grain BIAB efforts.

Update 7/11/15

Took a gravity reading, 1.012. The sample was much darker than I expected and was extremely cloudy which is probably a result of the no chill approach I took to wort. Taste was perfectly good. Will make dry hop addition tomorrow (14g Cascade) and plan to cold crash on 12/11/15 in the AM before fining with gelatine on the evening of the same day. Allow 48 hours to clear and bottle next Saturday (14/11/15).