Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Thanksgiving Yeast Feast & Pale Ale/Brown Ale/IPA

Brewing With Friends Roll Call 11/18/11:
Jack, Carson, John, Lewis, Andy, Shannon, Brandy, Kristin, Emily, Bo, Tina, Blake, Whit, Drew, Kelsey, Hester, Anthony, Bill and of course all the Brew Dogs Zeta, Jersey, Porter, and Bosely

Beer Talk:
Pale Ale -
Roughly a month ago Blake, Carter, and I got all of our equipment cleaned up in preparation for the winter brewing season. After giving everything a good clean, we went back to one of our staple brews - the Pale Ale. We have brewed the Pale Ale several times in the past and have made very subtle recipe changes and are finally happy after sampling this last batch. A great malty/hoppy balance demonstrating the true style of an American Pale Ale along with a fantastic dry hopped aroma of the American Citra Hop. We sampled the beer all over Cincinnati and received great feedback on the light bodied, well balanced, and sessionable ale. 

Carter, Blake, Bo, and Brewdog Bosely with the Pale Ale and German Brown boiling in the Kettles!

German Brown Ale - 
The German Brown Ale was a new recipe that Brewmaster Blake put together. We had brewed several varieties of the American Brown Ale (generally more hop forward) but this time we wanted to try to do something a little different. We used a hybrid Lager/Ale strain of yeast to give the ale a smoother finish along with a very subtle and low IBU hop schedule to accent the malty sweetness and chocolate flavors from the malt we picked. This is the first time in a while we had used a lager strain of yeast - so we had to continue to remind ourselves that the conditioning period was going to be quite a bit longer than any of the standard ale yeasts we had brewed with recently. It has now been about 6-7 weeks since it was brewed and the beer has turned out great. Quite a few of the friends that were brewing last night made sure to sample plenty of the German Brown Ale and gave us some great feedback. This recipe may be a keeper! 

**As a side note, the only difference between a "lager" and an "ale" is the style of yeast that the beer was fermented with. A standard lager yeast strain will  will ferment at the bottom of the beer and will take 6-8 weeks of cold conditioning before it's matured, while an ale strain is top fermenting and generally only takes 2-3 weeks of warmer conditioning before it's ready to be consumed. A lager is typically associated as a "smoother" style of beer such as the light American Lagers like Bud, Coors, Miller, or Sam Adams, or the brand new beer on the scene here in Cincy, Yuengling. An ale on the other hand generally has fruitier notes and is used in popular beers such as Sierra Nevada, Stone, or Dogfish Head.

Brewdog Bosely and Porter with his Green Eye Laser Eye

We had quite a showing last night for the first brewing with friends of the season. With the brewdogs included I think there was about 20-25 that showed up! We had both brewing systems fired up for the night and one of those was devoted to a completely re-designed IPA recipe. We have played around with several IPA recipes, but have yet to find one that's a keeper. Brewmaster Blake did his research on some of our favorite IPA's and decided to put together a new recipe based off of one of his mentor's, BC, at Jackie O's brewing in Athens Ohio. There was 13.5 pounds of malt (in the 5 gallon batch) which means we are going to extract a lot of sugar for the fermentation process. Generally, the more sugar there is, the higher the alcohol content will be which is advantageous for our brewing friends who are looking to catch a buzz quick! There was also a very heavy hop schedule which will help this beer get "to-style". The IPA style is a very hop forward, bitter, and generally big beer - and after seeing all the hop additions last night, I have reason to believe that this recipe will not let us down! 

Carson, John, Kristin, and Shannon enjoying Brewing with Friends, girls like Brewing too!

The IPA chilling down after the boil, look at all the hop residue on the side of the kettle! 

Blonde Ale-
The last beer we brewed was an extremely simple blonde ale...boring right?

Wrong! We brewed this ale with one purpose, to test the tastes and flavors associated with 5 different strains of yeast. That's right, we had an early Thanksgiving Yeast Feast! The yeast is a very important ingredient in the beer that we have not played around with too much outside of electing the proper yeast for the style of beer we are brewing. The purpose of this yeast test was to brew 5 gallons of a simple balanced beer and ferment with 5 separate yeast strains to try and identify specific tastes for each of the respective yeast strains. This was very exciting for us and we are really pumped to taste the beers when they are finished fermenting to help try and identify a specific strain that we like more than the rest for our house ale's going forward. It was very interesting to see how different all of these yeast strains acted right from the beginning. Each of the five strains all settled differently in the wort as soon as we pitched. It was pretty funny this morning walking down into our fermentation area and seeing five separate 1-gallon jugs bubbling away during primary fermentation. This is a big step for us and will give us another tool to help us brew even better beers with our friends down the road. 

The Brewmaster filling the first 1-gallon jugs for our Yeast Feast!

Our test-jugs with the 5 different yeast strains, look at the different ways they settled! 

Lastly, Blake and I wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and want to thank everyone that has taken part in our brewing happenings over the past year. We both hope everyone has a safe and blessed holiday with your families. 

-Assistant Brewmaster