Gose with fruit tasting (3/3) – Gosegra – Gose with pomegranates

To finish our round of tastings of the three goses with fruit we brewed at the same time it’s time to tell about the final result of the ones we added pomegranates, named Gosegra. Before starting, as some of you may recall, we noticed that, before bottling, the final gravity of this beer was 1.016, while the other two, the one with pineapple and the one with blackberries reached a final gravity of 1.008. We were afraid that the beer hadn’t completely attenuated and, when we opened the first bottles, our fears came true. It was impossible to open one bottle without losing at least half of the liquid inside because of the high pressure. We tried to open the caps a little bit to free some CO2 but it wasn’t enough. At least, we didn’t have any bottle bomb. Nevertheless, we were able to drink it, at least some of it. Next time we won’t risk to bottle with such a high final gravity (comparing with the theoretical value, of course).

Gosegra, gose with pomegranate molasses

Regarding appearance, this version with pomegranate molasses is, by far, the haziest of the three. Maybe some of this haziness can be explained with the mix between the liquid and the yeast due to the excess of gas. Apart for this haziness, it is light pink in colour and it has a white foam that disappears quite rapidly.

In the aroma there are, above all things, fruity esters coming very likely from the pomegranates. There is almost no sign of malt and none sign of hops.

Flavourwise, acidity is quite appealing, in part because the pomegranates, after the fermentation of all the sugars, leave a good mix of fruity esters. It seems a little bit more bitter that the other two goses we brewed at the same time. As in aroma, no signs of hops and only a little bit of grains.

It has a medium body and the dryness is much lower than in the other two versions we brewed with pineapple juice and blackberries. Carbonation, as you may expect, was sky high.

In spite of the little disaster that was bottling before fully attenuation, what we were able to drink has left me with the feeling that pomegranates can be very interesting ingredient for future brews, with acid beers like this or other type of non sour dark ales. We will keep you posted when we used them again in new brews. In that case, for security reasons, we will make sure that the attenuation reaches the final point before bottling.

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Book review: Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels

Designing Great Beers was, if I remenber correctly, the second book about homebrewing that I purchased. Written by Ray Daniels, founder and director of The Cicerone Certification Program, what attracted me from this book was that it was written to help brewing specific beer styles. After gaining some experience in all-grain brewing, I was interested in learning about the different beer styles, the ingredients and processes that were part of them. The description of the book under its title, “The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles” fitted perfectly for what I was looking for.

The book is divided in two parts. In the first one, after three shor chapters that don’t contribute too much, there are some chapters about beer basic ingredients: malt, water, hops and yeast. The different types of malts, hops and yeasts are discussed, as well as the parameters and processes in which those ingredients are involved, including a good number of calculations. Although if you don’t have any other sources of information you can find something useful here, these chapters are in general quite simple deep and you can find more in deep (and updated) information from a lot of different sources.

The secon part is the one that it is reall y interesting and it is about brewing “classic” beer styles. Not all the styles are covered, but you can find a good number of them. There are chapters for German Barley Ales (Kölsch and Altbier); Barley Wine; Bitters and Pale Ales (including IPAs); Bock Beer; California Common; Fruit Beer; Mild and Brown Ales; Old Ale; Pilsners and other Pale Lagers; Porter; Scottish and Scotch Ales; Stout; Vienna, Marzen and Oktoberfest and Wheat Beers.

Each chapter is put together in a very organized manner. As a general rule, after a brief introduction, a description of the evolution of the beer style through history is made, since its origins until present day (well, at least until year 2000, when my edition was published). Here, the numbers and ingredients that have defined the style through the years are specified. This part, althouth may not include practical information about brewing the style, would pleased those of you who, like me, have interest in knowing about brewing history. Later, there is a part about brewing the style today. Here, each of the ingredients is treated separately, describing which is suitable for the style (base and special malts, hops, water profile and yeast). In addition, the steps to follow in processes like mashing and fermentation are detailed. Everything is based in contemporary commercial examples as well as in information compiled from recipes that got at least to second round in the American Homebrewers Association competition. Serveral tables and graphics, along a understandable text, help to summarize and see everything easily. Finally, a summary with keys about brewing the style closes each chapter.

It’ s been a long time since I hadn’t have a look at this book, but it is, without a doubt, one of the books I’ve learned more from. As I said before, in the first years of my homebrewing career, I tried to brew different styles to learn about them and this book was a must to plan my recipes and processes. Not only helped me to know about beer styles, it also showed me what the different ingredients could contribute to beer. Maybe this is not a book for experienced homebrewers (unless they don’t control about one of the styles described in the book), but I highly recommend this book to those who are starting to brew. Or even to those who have some experience, but want to learn what defines a style and, while doing that, can learn about different ingredients and processed in brewing.

 

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Testing reiterated mashing – Cricket Balls (Imperial Stout based on Black & Deep from Drunken Bros)

In spring 2019 Drunken Bros Brewery announced that they were not going to brew Black & Deep, their iconic Imperial Stout brewed through the years before with some minor changes with the help from people outside the brewery through a crowdfunding. In order to not let people down because of this, in a generous act, they made their Black & Deep recipe public. That way, they were encouraging homebrewers to brew it at home.

In Legamia, the regional homebrewers association I am part of, we saw it as an opportunity to organize something around that recipe. It was decided that any of us who wanted to give it a go would brew that beer, according to our own possibilities or ideas, and in a few months we would gather to taste the results. This was something that motivated me, especially for two reasons. In the first place, we had never brewed a beer with such a high ABV. And then, it gave me the opportunity to test a new method, reiterated mashing, which can be used to brew this kind of beers.

Black & Deep recipe, published by Drunken Bros Brewery (click to enlarge)

Since this time we already had the recipe (although as you will see we changed it a little bit), our revision of the style was not as deep as usual and it consisted in reviewing the presentation about Imperial Stout that Mikel Muñoz, one of the brewers from Drunken Bros, offered in the Spanish Homebrewers Association Congress in 2019 in Bilbao. From it we learnt a lot of things. One of the most important ones was the fact that in order to get a high ABV they prefer to do it starting with a higher original gravity and less attenuation from the yeast than starting with a lower original gravity and more attenuation.

Before explaining the process of reiterated mashing, I’m going to describe the approach for our recipe. It was very similar to the original recipe, most of the changes were due to the availability of ingredients. Regarding malt grist, and keeping the percentages as close to the original recipe as possible, we kept Maris Otter, roasted barley, Crystal T50 and Crystal DRC. However, we replaced chocolate malt by Carafa I and dextrin malt by chit malt. Also, since the recipe does not specify the type of oats used, we pick naked malted oats for our version.

For hops, as they are only used for bitterness, we used mostly Saphir and some of Northern Brewer, in both cases to finish some open bags we had. Lastly, we picked Sigmund’s Voss Kveik from The Yeast Bay as the yeast, inspired by the experiences with Kveik yeast in this style that renowned homebrewer David Heath shared in the Spanish Homebrewers Association Congress in 2018 in Cadiz. Kveik yeasts are known to be fast fermenters and they are able to tolerate high ABV. They also perform a quite clean fermentation in restrained temperatures, so this kind of yeast seemed like a good choice for this beer.

Voss Kveik, our chosen yeast for this high ABV beer

Once we set up our recipe, it was time to focus in the process we should follow to get such a high original gravity (remember, 1.119!!). As I’ve already stated before, one of the few options we had to reach those numbers was to test the reiterated mashing method. Basically this method consists in performing a first mash, with more or less half of the grains in the recipe and, once it is finished, remove grains and use the wort from this first mash as the mash liquor for the second mash with the rest of the grains. This way we could get a wort with a high original gravity that, after a longer than usual rolling boil, would concentrate even more. To understand the details behind this method I researched about reiterated mashing online. There is not a ton of information about it and, even though other people wrote about it, it seems that Chris Colby is one of the pioneers of this method, at least in the homebrew scale. His articles about it, in his blog (theory and practice of reiterated mashing) and in Brew Your Own (only for subscribers) helped me a lot to plan our process. Based on the information from those articles, I planned the first mash with half of the total weight of the grains, but only with malt base, Maris Otter in this case. Then, the second mash would be with the other half of the weight of malts, the rest of base malt plus special malts. Also, I calculated a 55% efficiency (10% less of our usual efficiency).

Before describing the details of the recipe and process, there were a couple of things I had also to decide. First, water treatment. I wanted to maintain a chloride to sulphate ratio of 1.5, as described in the original recipe, but I didn’t know when to add the corresponding salts to do that. Drunken Bros people recommend to add them in the boil, but we usually add them to adjust mash pH. And in this case we have two mashes, a total mess. In the end I decided to add them in the first mash to adjust the pH to 5.5 as predicted by Bru’n Water and we would see how we treated the second mash.

Secondly, the addition of coffee. In the original recipe a particular amount is recommended, to be added after performing a cold brew for 72 hours. In our case, I decided to keep the proportional amount of coffee for our recipe, performing a cold brew with 50 g (1.76 oz) of freshly grounded coffee. However, after doing some research and reading this article about coffee addition to beer in Scott Janish’s blog, I keep the cold brew for only 24 hours, since it seems that flavor extraction peaks after 16 hours with this technique. Based on that article too, I added another coffee addition after primary fermentation. Other 30 g (1.06 oz) of coffee added directly to the fermenter, half of them coarsely grounded and the other half as whole beans, looking for flavor (grounded coffee) and aroma (whole beans).

Coffee for cold brew, before grinding

Complete recipe and detailed process are described below:

CRICKET BALLS (IMERIAL STOUT, VERSION OF BLACK & DEEP FROM DRUNKEN BROS BREWERY)

MALTS/GRAINS
5.00 Kg (11.02 lbs) (77.3%) Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) (5.0 EBC)
0.40 Kg (0.88 lbs) (6.2%) Roasted Barley (1000.0 EBC)
0.35 Kg (0.77 lbs) (5.4%) Carafa I (Weyermann) (900.0 EBC)
0.25 Kg (0.55 lbs) (3.9%) Crystal T50 (Simpsons) (133.0 EBC)
0.20 Kg (0.44 lbs) (3.1%) Chit Malt (Best) (2.5 EBC)
0.15 Kg (0.33 lbs) (2.3%) Naked Malted Oats (Simpsons) (3.0 EBC)
0.12 Kg (0.26 lbs) (1.9%) Crystal DRC (Simpsons) (300.0 EBC)
HOPS
50.00 g (1.76 oz) Saphir (Queen Country) (4.10% AA) pellets (boil 60 minutes, 34.4 IBUs)
5.00 g (0.18 oz) Northern Brewer (11.20 AA) leaf (boil 60 minutes, 8.5 IBUs)
ADJUNTS
50 g (1.76 oz) freshly grounded coffee, cold brewed for 24 hours. Liquid from cold brew added 10 minutes before the end of the boil
1 teaspoon of yeast nutrients, boil 15 minutes
30 g (1.06 oz) coffee, 15 g freshly grounded and 15 g whole beans, added to the fermenter 48 hours before bottling
YEAST
Sigmund’s Voss Kveik (The Yeast Bay)  (Starter from 1 vial)
THEORETICAL DATA
Volume: 9.00 L (2.38 gallons)    OG: 1.119   FG: 1.046     ABV: 10.0%     IBUs: 42.9     Color: 151.0 EBC     BU/GU: 0.361     Efficiency: 55.00%
WATER PROFILE
Ca: 171 ppm; Mg: 3 ppm; Na: 7 ppm; SO4: 113 ppm; Cl: 172 ppm; HCO3: 120 ppm
MASH
Reiterated mashing (two consecutive mashes)
First mash with 3.25 Kg (7.17 lbs) of Maris Otter and the total volume of water for recipe, 21.41 liters (5.66 gallons). Salts added to adjust pH to 5.5. Keep at 69.0ºC (156.2ºF) for 60 minutes
Second mash with the rest of Maris Otter and all the special malts, using as mash liquor the wort obtained from the first mash. Keep at 69.0ºC (156.2ºF) for 70 minutes
BOIL
90 minutes

Cricket Balls wort before fermenting

As you can see above, due to the huge original gravity, I decided to prepare a starter a few days before brewday. Well, in fact, it was because of that original gravity and because the vial of yeast had passed its date and I didn’t want to take risks. I started three days before brewday. I prepared 600 mL of sterile wort that was transferred to a previously sanitized 2 L flask and then I added the contents of the vial and kept it stirring a couple of days until visible signs of fermentation were observed. After this, I added, in the same flask, 500 mL more of fresh sterile wort and kept it stirring one more day. On brewday, I stopped stirring and left the flask at room temperature so the yeast could flocculate, since in my experience Kveik yeasts (at least the ones I’ve worked with) flocculate in a short time.

The day before brewday, I also grinded the coffee I was going to add at the end of the boil next day (50 g) and put it in a mesh bag. It was coarsely grounded, only to break the beans in a few fragments. I kept the bag with the coffee in a pot with pre-boiled and chilled water (about 500 mL), covered for 24 hours.

Finally, since this time I was not going to have my brother helping me and I wanted to have everything ready, also the day before I prepared all the material needed and crushed the grains. Since I needed to perform two mashes, the brewday was going to be longer than usual. I divided the crushed grains for the first and second mashes this day too.

Cricket Balls, fermenting

When brewday arrived, I was excited to see how this new process was going to work. It was time to start. I added the corresponding salts to the water (3.9 g of calcium sulphate and 5.6 g of calcium chloride) to adjust pH for the first mash and left the chloride to sulphate ratio in 1.52 while water was heating. When water temperature reached 69ºC (156.2ºF) I added the grains for the first mash, 3.25 Kg (7.17 lbs) of Maris Otter, and stirred well to avoid clumps. After a few minutes, and when temperature was stabilized at 69ºC (156.2ºF) I turned on the pump to recirculate wort during this first mash. One hour later, I removed the bag with the grains, trying to get as much liquid from it as I could. To make things easier I put another bag with the rest of the grains for the second mash, keeping the wort from the first mash in the kettle. I stirred thoroughly and heated the mash to achieve the same mash temperature as for the first mash, 69ºC (156.2ºF). I put the lid on the kettle and turned on the pump again so the wort would recirculate. I kept this second mash a little bit longer to help enzymes with conversion. In this second mash, wort became totally black, making the name we have chosen for the beer more than suitable. Also, wort was getting so viscous than sometimes, the pump couldn’t recirculate it and I had to stir well in order for the pump to recirculate wort again. I take a pH reading in this second mash and it had decreased, probably due to the darker malts, to 5.18. Nothing too alarming, but maybe next time it could be a good idea to mix the malts evenly between mashes to avoid these differences in mash pH values. After 70 minutes, I ended the second mash, which had been between 68ºC-72ºC (154.4ºF-161.6ºF) all the time and started heating again to boil as soon as possible, removing the bag with the grains for the second mash.

As in the original recipe, I boiled vigorously for 90 minutes. Half an hour into the boil I added hops to get around 43 IBUs. With 15 minutes left, I added a teaspoon of yeast nutrients and 5 minutes later, I added the liquor from the cold brew to boil for the last 10 minutes. When the boil was finished, it was time to cool the wort with an immersion chiller. It was summer and tap water was not too cool, so when the wort was a little below 30ºC (86.0ºF) I stopped. There were 9.5 liters (2.51 gallons) of wort that were transferred to an 11 liters (3 gallons) PET demijohn, trying to splash as much as I could to oxygenate wort. It was the darkest and more viscous wort I had ever seen. It was time to measure the original gravity and see if my calculations for this reiterated mashing were right or wrong. I couldn’t help to smile proudly when I saw that the hydrometer showed an original gravity of 1.120!!! A point above the theoretical value. I couldn’t be happier. I still had to pitch yeast, but I cleaned everything while the wort cooled a little bit more before doing it. Finally, with the wort at 23ºC (73.4ºF) I pitched the starter, discarding most of the wort from it. This time, fermentation was going to be at room temperature, since Kveik is capable of fermenting at these temperature without off-flavors.

Cricket Balls at bottling

Seven hours after pitching yeast, a good krausen was starting. At the end of the day it was so thick that it reached the neck of the demijohn, with the airlock bubbling like crazy. This first day temperature went from 25ºC (77.0ºF) to 29ºC (84.2ºF). Next day, krausen decreased and temperature went back to 25ºC (77.0ºF). Five days after brewday krausen was gone, but airlock was still bubbling, although slower than the days before. Since I didn’t want to rush things, I forgot about the beer for a few days.

Almost a month after brewday, out of curiosity, I measured gravity. The hydrometer showed 1.038, for an ABV of 11.2%!!! I also took a sample to taste it and the first impression was good. A lot of coffee, alcohol wasn’t overwhelming considering such a high ABV and mouthfeel was great. Things looked good so far. Three weeks later, we proceeded to bottle the beer (this time with the help of my brother again). A couple of days before bottling, I added another 30 g (1.06 oz) directly to the fermenter, inside a mesh bag. Half of the coffee beans were coarsely crushed and the other half remained as whole beans. This dry-beaning was going to impart flavor and aroma for 48 hours.

At bottling time, we followed directions from Drunken Bros and we added sugar to get a low carbonation (about 1.8 volumes of CO2). We bottled almost 8 liters (2.11 gallons), with 20 33 cL bottles and 2 50 cL bottles. Since brewday, 49 days had passed. A lot of time, but it was worth it. Although I am not a big fan of such strong beers and I don’t known when we will brew something similar, the fact that I could test a new method for this type of beers and that everything went quite well made this brew one of the best experiences I’ve had since I started homebrewing. If you haven’t tried reiterated mashing yet, I encourage you to give it a try, I’m sure you will not get disappointed.

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Gose with fruit tasting (2/3) – Gosemo – Gose with blackberries

Time for the second of our three fruited goses, brewed a few months ago. After posting about the result of Gosepi, with pineapple juice, now it is time for the one that got blackberries after primary fermentation.

Gosemo, gose with blackberries

Visually this gose, as I happened with Gosepi, it is quite appealing. It has an orange red color and it is quite hazy. Foam is white and scarce, and it disappears rapidly. This is something we had already experienced with blackberries in beer, so maybe there is something in them that inhibits foam.

Fruit is very prominent in aroma. There is also some lactic acid hint, while there is almost no presence of malt and none of hops.

Flavorwise, acidity combines well with fruit, but maybe it is too much blackberry flavor. In fact, I think that blackberries mask other things that could be interesting like some cereal notes or even a small character from salt (although we did not add much this time). There are no flavors coming from fermentation, with a low bitterness and no sign of hops.

Low to medium body, blackberries give make it look less dry that the one with pineapple juice, although it is still quite dry and refreshing. There is no astringency.

Even though it is no by no means a bad beer, I think blackberries and gose don’t go well together. Of the three fruited gose we brewed, this is probably the one I enjoyed less. And I think that blackberries are one of the best fruits to impart flavor in beers, even in other sour styles, but I didn’t like them in gose, at least this time. I don’t know if we will brew a beer like this again, but if we do it we probably will make some changes. I would increase salt a little bit and I think that half the amount of blackberries we used this time would be more than enough. We may even consider, although it would be somehow out of style (we don’t really care about that), adding a small percentage of a darker malt like Munich or Vienna to reinforce malt in the beer and balance the fruit flavor.

 

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Book review – How To Brew by John Palmer

After collecting a good amount of books about homebrewing all these years, it was time to start doing some reviews about them. It was something that I had planned for the beginning of the blog, but one way or another, it didn’t start until now.

For the first book review, I knew which one I was going to choose. It couldn’t be another one than my first homebrewing book, How To Brey by John Palmer. My copy has a few years since I bought it when, after a couple of extract batches, I decided to start brewing all grain. It is therefore the third edition. Nowadays, since 2017, the fourth edition is available, with revised and updated information, plus five new chapters about subjects that didn’t appear in the previous edition. Besides, for those of you who just want to take a look, the first edition of How To Brew is available online for free.

The description below the title on the book, “Everything you need to know to brew beer right the first time”, although it may sound pretentious, fits quite well what this book offers. In my opinion, one of the strongest points of the book is the explanation and description of the basic concepts and processes that are part of homebrewing. Palmer explains them almost from the beginning in an clear and understandable way.

The book is divided in five different sections with a logical order. The first one is about brewing with malt extract, detailing all the necessary processes, a lot of them (cleaning, sanitizing, boiling, fermentation, bottling) being the same for all grain brewing. In this section most of the ingredients that are part of beer are introduced (water, hops and yeast), describing the different possibilities for the brewer. The second section goes a step further, describing brewing with malt extract plus specialty malts. In this part, which is shorter, Palmer writes about the different types of malts and adjuncts that can be used. The third section enters all grain brewing and it is focused especially in all the processes involved in mashing, explained by Palmer in a very approachable way. These chapters may be the most complex and detailed of the whole book. Finally, the last two sections gather some assorted recipes and a few appendices.

Although after some years some of the subjects may be a little bit outdated, the book has its main strength in the basic principles, and these are the same now that they were when the book was written. I can be a little bit biased because it was my first book about homebrewing, but I think that the explanations of the homebrewing basics are one of the best I’ve ever read. And as I said before, there is a new edition with updated information on the subjects that may seem a little bit outdated. All in all, I think this a great book for those who want to start homebrewing, and also for those that already brew beer at home but want to understand well the basics of our hobby. It could even provide some help for the intermediate howebrewer looking for new experiences, since the five new chapters in the new edition bring information about some new subjects like sour beers.

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British Brown Ale, beer for Match Beer 2018/2019, elaboration and tasting

While the new edition of Match Beer is going to start in a few weeks, in this post we are going to describe the beer we brewed for last year edition for our team, West Basque Country. Before I get into details, for those of you who don’t know, I’ll give a brief explanation about Match Beer, in my opinion one of more interesting activities organized by the Spanish Homebrewers Association (ACCE) and also a competition where you can learn a lot from your teammates and homebrewers from other teams. It is a competition only for members of the Association, so if you are interested, you can become a member visiting ACCE website.

Match Beer is a team competition in which teams from different regions of Spain (even some homebrewers living in other European countries) brew three styles of beer according to BJCP guidelines. These styles are previously voted by ACCE members. There are different rounds in which beers are judged by other teams and, in the end, there is a final round that it is usually held during the annual ACCE Congress with certified BJCP judges. Each team can select the beers they send to competition as they want. In our case, we made a previous round with all the beers we had brewed to select which ones were the best to be entered in Match Beer. In this case, we were lucky and our beer, a British Brown Ale, was selected to represent our team in that style (the other two beer styles were American Stout and Doppelbock).

Grist for our British Brown Ale

Even though the calendar for Match Beer is announced a long time in advance, months passed and we almost had no time to brew on time (something similar happened this year too). The only style we could brew to be ready in a little less than three weeks was British Brown Ale. American Stout and, especially, Doppelbock would have taken a lot more time. As we usually do, we did a little research about the style, although in this case everything seemed well defined. Evidently, hops and yeast should be of English origin. Regarding malts, there wasn’t a wide range of options to choose from, but it was maybe where you could make a difference in this style. According to BJCP guidelines, British Brown Ale is meltier than Bitter, stronger than Dark Mild and without the roasted flavors of Porter. This reduces the spectrum of malts for this style to pale malt (English if possible), caramel malts and, in some cases, a little bit of a darker malt.

Based on this information and considering our stock, we picked Golden Promise as our base malt, with two caramel malts, Crystal T50 for maltiness and some residual sweetness, and Crystal DRC to add more complex and darker notes without using roasted malts. Both of these malts will give also color, which we adjusted with a little amount of chocolate malt. Finally, some flaked barley to promote foam. As for hops, we used Fuggles, a classic English variety. Windsor from Lallemand was the yeast selected to perform fermentation this time.

Wort before boiling

BRITISH BROWN ALE (MATCH BEER 2018/2019)

MALTS/GRAINS
2.00 Kg (4.40 lbs) (82.5%) Golden Promise (Thomas Fawcett) (5.0 EBC)
0.25 Kg (0.55 lbs) (10.3%) Crystal T50 (Simpsons) (133.0 EBC)
0.10 Kg (0.22 lbs) (4.1%) Crystal DRC (Simpsons) (300.0 EBC)
0.05 Kg (0.11 lbs) (2.1%) flaked barley (Thomas Fawcett) (3.0 EBC)
0.02 Kg (0.04 lbs) (1.0%) chocolate malt (900.0 EBC)
HOPS
20.00 g (0.71 oz) Fuggles (5.71% AA) leaf (boil 50 minutes, 26.3 IBUs)
YEAST
Windsor (Lallemand)  (1 sachet, previously rehydrated)
THEORETICAL DATA
Volume: 10.50 L (2.8 gallons)    OG: 1.046   FG: 1.011     ABV: 4.6%     IBUs: 26.3     Color: 34.4 EBC     BU/GU: 0.572     Efficiency: 65.00%
WATER PROFILE
Ca: 111 ppm; Mg: 3 ppm; Na: 7 ppm; SO4: 80 ppm; Cl: 140 ppm; HCO3:35 ppm
MASH
67.0ºC (152.6ºF) for 60 minutes
BOIL
60 minutes

As you can see above, we did a single infusion as it is common with English styles, at a temperature to give us medium body. Water profile was modified adding 25 mL of sulfuric acid and 3.6 g (0.13 oz) of calcium chloride to adjust mash pH to a theoretical value of 5.38, predicted by Bru’n Water. As a bonus this would increase calcium level. The chloride:sulfate ratio was towards chloride to promote malt flavor.

This time everything went more or less as planned, with original gravity few points above the predicted value (1.050). After boiling, we cooled the wort with an immersion chiller and in a few minutes it was at 18.5ºC (65.3ºF), thanks to cold winter water. After transferring wort to a PET demijohn, about 11 liters (2.9 gallons), we pitched yeast we had previously rehydrated in about 100 mL of pre-boiled and cooled water.

Windsor, yeast for our British Brown Ale

Our fermentation chamber had no free space, so we left the demijohn in a room with a quite stable temperature of about 18ºC (64.4ºF). Next day, 16 hours after pitching yeast, a good krausen was present and the airlock was bubbling a lot. Later that day, krausen got thicker and temperature in the beer raised to 20ºC-21ºC (68.0ºF-69.8ºF). The following days krausen slowly disappeared and temperature of the liquid decreased day by day until it reached 18ºC (64.4ºF) again. It seemed that fermentation was coming to an end. Since beer also had cleared, six days after brewday I planned the bottling session. However, when I measured final gravity, it was a bit high, 1.019, so I decided to wait a little more. Well, in fact, only a day more because I needed to bottle the beer in order to have it carbonated when our team had set the meeting to choose which beers were going to represent us in Match Beer. So, a day later, and with a final gravity of 1.018 (4.2% ABV) I proceeded to bottle.

British Brown Ale on bottling day

Since I wasn’t sure that fermentation was finished (on the contrary, I thought it was more than likely that it had n’t finished), I decided to add sugar only for 1.8 volumes of CO2 in the final beer, thinking than the rest of carbonation could come from what was left to ferment (yeah, I know we shouldn’t do this). There were almost 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of beer, enough for 28 33 cL bottles. I crossed my fingers hoping that the day we were going to taste it the beer had an adequate carbonation.

Two weeks later, (I told you I had no time) we tasted the different beers all the members of the team have brewed. In the end, as I said before, ours got selected to represent the British Brown Ale style, which made us happy, especially because the beer had a good level of carbonation. It was quite clear and it could be considered a good example of the style. Maybe a little punch in malt aroma would had been ideal to round the beer.

British Brown Ale, final result

For the last part of the post, the tasting of the beer, I will try to summarize the opinions the beer got from members of other teams as well as from the BJCP judges that were present in the final round during the celebration of the ACCE Congress in Bilbao.

APPEARANCE: Medium brown, with a little haziness. Beige creamy foam with medium retention.

AROMA: Low to medium caramel from the malt. No esters. Hints of earthy hops. In the first tastings, there was also some diacetyl, which could be in part due to the fact it was bottled before it should be. However, in the final round, none of the judges detected diacetyl, so I guess yeast made its job cleaning it during the weeks that passed since the first tastings until the final round. However, in this final round, the BJCP judges claimed there was some oxidation.

FLAVOR: Medium caramel malt, with some residual sweetness. Low to medium bitterness, with low earthy hop flavor. Balance towards malts. In the first tastings, diacetyl was also mentioned.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body, with medium-high carbonation. No presence of alcohol. A slightly creaminess and without astringency.

The beer got an average rating of 31 after all the tastings, which helped our team to win the third position in the team competition (being the American Stout the absolute star of our team). So in the end, considering all the circumstances, we were quite satisfied with the result. For future brews of this style, we will try to increase malt aroma. And once again, as we did when we brewed a Dark Mild, we had realized that English styles, although they seem not to be trendy among homebrewers (and commercial brewers in general), are quite easy and fast to brew and, most of the times, result in very enjoyable beers. Brewing an English style once in a while is always a good idea.

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Gose with fruit tasting (1/3) – Gosepi – Gose with pineapple

This year, in our second try at sour beers, we decided to brew another gose, which we divided in three different split batches. Each one received one kind of fruit: pineapple, blackberries and pomegranate. Although the base beer was the same, after adding the fruits, the result was quite different from one to another, so I will write a different post for each one of the three different versions of this gose. First one will be Gosepi, a.k.a. gose with pineapple. We served this beer in last year ACCE (Spanish Homebrewers Association) Congress in Bilbao (it was another batch, but same recipe and process), so maybe some of you were able to taste it.

Gosepi, our gose with pineapple

There is little presence of malt and none of hops in aroma. Lot of esters from pineapple and a hint of lactic acid aroma. In the scoresheets of the contest of last ACCE Congress in Bilbao, judges commented on the presence of solvent like aroma and flavor. After doing some research, I have some doubts. Ethyl acetate, the compound associated with solvent defects, is considered a fruity ester related to pineapple. Evidently, I’m not a trained beer judge, and they sure have more knowledge and experience than me, but in this case I wonder if they could be taking as solvents the esters coming from pineapple juice. I’m just curious, since this was a temperature controlled fermentation and the yeast strain we used should not produce this kind of solvent compounds… unless some contamination occurred.

In the description of the beer judges, solvent also appears in flavor, but I have the same doubt as with the aroma. There is a cereal base and then a prominent pineapple flavor, with a moderate lactic acidity. There is no trace of hops and, at least I’m not able to find them, notes from yeast fermentation.

Low to medium body, carbonation is rather high. It has some astringency and a dry finish which makes it quite refreshing and very drinkable.

Overall, we are quite happy with this beer. We think that we achieved what we were looking for, to give this gose a strong pineapple character. The esters from pineapple combine pretty well with the acidity of the base beer and, especially if you like pineapple, is a very enjoyable and drinkable beer. Considering the opinion from the beer judges, we could do something to make this beer more accessible. I wonder if maybe reducing the amount of pineapple juice we can maintain the pineapple fruity character while avoiding solvent like notes. Anyway, this beer did not score so bad despite the solvent character described (32, 29 and 29 from three different judges, for an average of 30).

 

 

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