Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Forward Pale Ale

Well, let me start off by saying I don't know what style this beer is. It is not a typical Belgian Pale, nor is it a Wit beer. It is a blend of the two and uses american hops. It just sounded like a beer I would want to drink on a warm day or evening, so I went for it. I only had about 2 hours and 15 minutes to brew this beer and based on some new information about mash conversion times from some local commercial brewers I decided to give a short mash a shot. When I say short, I mean the time it took me to raise my sparge water up to temp, about 15 minutes. The brewers I talked to said you can get away with a 7-10 minute mash. In fact one of the bigger breweries here in San Diego actually uses this method, and their beers are amazing.

I wanted a beer that was cirtusy, fruity, slightly tart, hoppy, and just a refreshing beer. I used some grapefruit zest, and amarillo hops to get the citrusy/fruity aroma and flavor profile. Add to that the Belgian yeast and I figure I can get quite a bit of citrus fruit out of this beer. I also wanted a slight tartness, so I used 10% acid malt. I am not sure how this percentage of malt will affect the tartness but I figure I can start at 10% and build up from their. In addition I used about 30% wheat malt.

Ingredients: US 2-Row, White Wheat, Carapils, Acidulated Malt, Amarillo @60, 15, 5, Grapefruit Zest @ Flameout, WLP550 Belgian Ale Yeast.

Special Day Cider

A friend at work is getting married in a few months. She is a foodie and although she doesn't like beer, she has a great respect for well crafted beer as well as all well crafted food and drink products. She knows I homebrew and so for her wedding she asked if I would mind making a batch of cider. I haven't made a cider in about 3 years and my first attempts were fusel, hot, acetic messes. I have done some research on ciders since the last batch and I used this knowledge to make this batch of cider. My friend likes a slightly sweeter cider with lots of apple flavor and aroma. To achieve this she bought 4 gallons of California organic apple and organic apple cherry cider. I decided based on what she wanted and the research I have done that I would use an English Ale strain. In the past I have used Champagne yeast. In addition I wanted to keep the cider fermenting at a lower temp than in the past, so I placed the fermenter in a water bath in which I placed frozen water bottle to hold the surrounding temp in the 50-60s. I am hoping that with a less attenuating yeast held at cooler temps I should avoid the hot fusel alcohols I have gotten in past batches. I also did not boil, or pasteurize the must in any way. The cider was flash pasteurized already and I didn't want to lose any aromatics or apple flavors. I poured in the must and pitched the yeast.

Ingredients: 2.5 gallons Organic Apple Juice, 2.5 gallons Organic Apple Cherry Juice, Pectine Enzyme, WLP002-English Ale Yeast.