Tag Archives: homebrew

Getting Punk’d. Brewing up a Brew Dog Punk I.P.A….

Punk IPAA few of my beer drinking buddies have shed a few tears because we can’t get Brew Dog’s Punk IPA here in Ontario anymore. It showed up briefly at local LCBO’s and then vanished just as quickly, never to be seen again.

I remember trying it, and at the time, I thought it fairly easy drinking, but really neither here nor there. I must be clear though, that is in no way a comment on Brew Dog’s brewing, it’s because I’m not the biggest fan of Nelsen Sauvin hops, which they use a lot of. I know, some of you out there are cursing me as I say that, but it’s just my personal taste, nothing more.

I must repeat, my personal taste is in no way a reflection of my opinion of Brew Dog itself. Brew Dogs’ story is extremely inspiring. The way they were able to grow as a result of thinking outside the box in both marketing approach, and financing, have most start-ups drooling. Not to mention their videos are a blast to watch! Check out their take on Punk IPA:

They seem like a bunch of very fun dudes.  I seriously wish them nothing but a continuation of their already very successful trajectory.

So, back to our dilemma, since we have no Punk IPA in these parts, what to do? David Thompson, who was over a ways back to collaborate on a brew to clone Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, brought with him a clone he made of Punk IPA. If I remember correctly, it tasted pretty spot on to what I remember the original tasting like. The signature obviously being the hop profile. I asked him to send me the recipe he had for future reference, which he kindly did. I’ve had it tucked it away all this time, and thought now would be a good time to give it a go as I hate to see tears on my friends faces when hey can’t get a beer they want. (haha, just teasing you Brewtal Honesty!)

photo 1

Looking to Brew Dog’s site for some verification, I tweaked the recipe slightly to match the information I was able to glean from it:

  • ABV: 5.6%
  • OG: 1053
  • IBU’s: 45
  • 100% Marris Otter Extra Pale Malt
  • Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum, Nelson Sauvin

David’s recipe had no 60 min addition in it, which I found interesting, so I opted to toss a tiny bit of Chinook in at 60mins just for fun. Maybe omitting the 60 min addition is part of the magic? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

One other thing I don’t know is what kind of yeast they use. I usually start off with my old standby of US-05 first to see if everything else is in line, and then play with the yeast after I’ve established the general idea.

photo 2

A NOTE ON THE RECIPE: Having the last hop addition calculated at 1 minute puts the IBU’s high at 57, but having them at flameout drops them to 36, even though you’d still get some IBU’s while whirlpooling/standing to chill. I’m going by what David did originally, which was delicious, but to match the original, I may need to tweak this. Either way, the combo is going to provide that special Punk IPA profile.

Hoptomology’s Punk IPA clone

Recipe Specifications:
————————–
TYPE: All Grain
Boil Size: 6.31 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.46 gal
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 4.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 57.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
————
Ingredients:
————————–
MALT:
9 lbs 8.0 oz       Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
HOPS:
0.070 oz            Chinook [13 %] – Boil 60.0 min
0.700 oz            Chinook [11 %] – Boil 30.0 min
0.300 oz            Chinook [11 %] – Boil 15.0 min
0.300 oz            Nelson Sauvin [12 %] – Boil 15.0 min
0.300 oz            Simcoe [13 %] – Boil 15.0 min
0.650 oz            Ahtanum [6 %] – Boil 1.0 min
0.650 oz            Chinook [11 %] – Boil 1.0 min
0.650 oz            Nelson Sauvin [12 %] – Boil 1.0 min
0.650 oz            Simcoe [13 %] – Boil 1.0 min
1 oz  each           Chinook/Nelson Sauvin/Simcoe – Dry Hop 5.0 Days
YEAST:
1.0 pkg               Safale American  Ale  (US-05)
—————————-
Single Infusion Mash       152.0 F     60 min Batch sparge with 168.0 F water
Ferment at 68F for 10 days followed by 5 days for dry hopping
I’ll post results when ready.
Cheers!

Hop pellets vs. whole cone hops… what’s the effect on character?

Whole HopsBuilding on my previous hopping experiment where I set out to find The Effect of pH on Hop Character, I decided to try something that I’ve been wanting to explore for some time now, the difference in character between whole cone hops and pellet hops. Honestly, I’ve only ever used pellet hops. Probably because of their ease and availability. They’ve produced excellent results in some cases and less than excellent results in others.

Two of my favourite breweries, Sierra Nevada and Victory Brewing, both swear by using only whole cone hops. I’m going to heed their experience and agree that there must be something to it. But what exactly? I’ve heard the extra processing that goes into pelletizing does have an effect on the resulting character, but again, to what extent? Generally I’m of the mind that the less processing in anything food related, the better. Let’s see if this holds true for hops.

photo 1I brewed 2 batches over the weekend of my standard Sierra Nevada Pale Ale recipe, exactly the same, except I used whole cone Cascades for the 10 minute and flameout additions in one, and pellets in the other. (pellets were used for the magnum & perle additions in both)  Some of you may say that I should have used all whole cone and all pellets to really know the difference, but this is the stock I had on hand. If it doesn’t demonstrate the differences well enough, I will try it again with all whole cone hops. Knowing that the utilization is different for pellets vs. cones, I relied upon Beersmith to calculate the variation and adjusted my additions accordingly to have matching IBU contributions in each batch.

First thing I can say right off the bat, if you’re using whole cone hops for the first time, use a bigger pot, or adjust your batch size to match the pot you have. Whole cone hops are very bulky and will absorb a lot of wort. If in your software (such as BeerSmith) you have the ability to adjust the amount of wort lost to trub, then at least double it as a starting point. (I’d suggest 1 gallon) This will account for the extra wort lost to the whole cone hops.

The second thing I can say is save yourself the frustration of getting your chiller plugged up and use some kind of filter in your brew kettle. A few ways to do this would be to use a bazooka screen, a stainless steel braid, or a blichmann hop blocker.  I didn’t think of this beforehand and had to remove my hoses, clear the lines, sanitize everything (to be safe) and try again, 3 times!. Stupid me, what a pain! haha. As a result, I had a longer stand time than I would normally have before I chilled my wort down. I’ll have to keep this in mind when tasting the final beers as it may have contributed more IBU’s to the finished beer.

I’ll let you know what differences I detect in a couple weeks when they’re ready to compare.

Cheers!

The effect of pH on hop character – The Results

pH experimentThere’s been a lot of interest in the results of my experiment to find out the effect that pH has on hop character. I guess it’s something that’s been on some of your minds. Hopefully I can shed some light on what I’ve discovered.

I have to say, after kegging these two batches and carbonating them for a few days, I didn’t really notice much of a difference. But after letting them sit for another 10 days or so, the differences became obvious.

Here are the pH measurements I recorded during the process for reference:
High pH beer – Mash pH – 5.6 / Post Boil pH – 5.5 / Post Ferment pH – 3.98
Low pH beer – Mash pH – 5.3 / Post Boil pH – 5.25 / Post Ferment pH – 3.83
* All measurements were taken at room temperature.
 

Aroma

  • Low pH -
    • clearly defined Cascade character with some spicy notes from the 30 minute perle addition
    • light, balanced maltiness, very clean
    • light crystal malt aroma
  • High pH -
    • muddled hop character, no definition
    • slightly bready
    • low fusel alcohol character

Appearance

This is what surprised me the most. After leaving them for about 10 days, I pulled a pint from the low pH batch and BAM! An extremely clear pale ale. I’m not really sure of why that would happen, or the chemistry behind it, but there it was.Clarity

  • Low pH -
    • decidedly clearer
  • High pH -
    • as you can see from the picture, a haze remains

Flavour

  • Low pH -
    • crisp tasting with a defined bitterness
    • clear definition between hop flavour, malt and bitterness
  • High pH -
    • confused hop character
    • no definition between bitterness and aroma
    • malt character is flat

Conclusion

The beer with the lower pH was clearly a much more enjoyable beer. The flavours are more focused and there is a certain crispness to it. This would be an example to me of the difference between a “good” beer, and a “great” beer.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself!

Welcome to Brauhaus… a celebration of homebrewing in Toronto

Brauhaus2_GenericToronto’s beer scene is exploding at a furious pace. Beer related events are happening all across the city. Most of them are duly celebrating the commercial breweries, but that is not the whole story. Homebrewing is taking Toronto by storm, and few of these events, as of yet, have celebrated this burgeoning homebrewing scene. Brauhaus is here to change that.

Founded by Doug Appeldoorn, Crystal Luxmore, Scott & Nicole Stewart, and Carlos Santos, Brauhaus was created to celebrate homebrewers and to introduce people to the amazing beers that are being brewed in people’s kitchens and backyards in and around the city. They are a wonderful group of people who are passionate about their beer and are working hard to spread the gospel to all who will listen.

Homebrewers by nature push the envelope in ways that bigger brewers may find difficult, due to financial restrictions and/or the potential loses involved. Throw a bunch of strange herbs or fruit in there? sure! Throw 1/2lb of hops in at 10mins? sure! Use up some pumpkin from the fridge? Well you get the picture…

Brauhaus GlassI had the honor, along with my fellow homebrewers, Zack Weinberg of Toronto Brewing, Brad Clifford, now head brew master at Get Well Bar, and Richard Sigesmund, to pour my Muddy York Porter and Hoptomology Pale Ale at the first inaugural Brauhaus this past November. We all had a blast sharing great beer, and meeting lots of new friends who share the common love of our favourite beverage.

To find out what Brauhaus has in store for future events, you can become a member by joining here.

So get out there and experience the forefront of home brewing right here in Toronto!

Cheers!

 

So how did our Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout Clone turn out?

Samuel Smith'sWell, the temperature has definitely dropped here in Toronto, and winter has  arrived after much delay. At this time of year, a look in my beer cellar has me seeking out the darker side of the spectrum. In particular, a nice dark stout. That would do the trick nicely to warm up my cold bones. Just so happens I have the Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout clone myself and fellow homebrewers David Thompson and Peter Caira brewed back in November.

Question is, is it any good?

As you will recall from the original post, we tried out WhiteLabs’ Platinum Series Yorkshire Square yeast which we had hoped would bring out a complex yeast character reminiscent of Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. We also attempted to mimic the water from North Yorkshire (or at least our best estimate of it’s make up) with generous amount of chalk and gypsum.

Tasting Results

This time around you won’t have to just rely on my opinion, Peter & David, both avid, award winning homebrewers in their own right, have given us their opinion on our collaboration brew.

Hoptomology:

Straight out of the gate it was evident that there was a massive yeast/chalky character. To me it was pretty overwhelming. My guess it’s from the water additions that we added to the boil and the unique character of the Yorkshire Square yeast. The original has a very subdued yeast presence compared to ours. There are so many factors affecting fermentation, that it would be incredibly difficult to get it exactly as Samuel Smith’s does; open fermentation in slate tubs, pitching rate, oxygenation rate, temperatures, etc. The reason I’m citing this is because yeast performance and the resulting flavour characteristics are dependent on these factors. Perhaps we aerated the wort too much, which brought out a greater amount of esters? Over pitched? Underpitched?
Another thing I noticed is that it’s not as full tasting as the original, and it lacks the rich, chocolatey flavour. There is a touch behind the chalky/yeast character, but it pales in comparison to Samuel Smith’s. I thought for sure with all those oats and minerals in the water that it would have a much bigger mouthfeel, but it doesn’t. Then again, we did mash low at 150F. Next time I’d like to mash higher and see how much it changes things. The head didn’t last as long as I’d hoped for either.
 
David Thompson:
 
I have found that the estery quality has subdued a bit; gone is the initial slight banana notes, but has developed into a pleasant fruityness.  It’s nice drinker for sure, but misses the rich chocolately notes of the real deal.  Not sure how to quite account for that; use some brown malt or pale chocolate?  Either way it’s fine beer.

Peter Caira:

Everyone who’s tried it says something like “this is mild for a stout / I could drink that all day” and in one case, a well-informed friend of mine asked if it was a schwarzbier! When I let a pint warm up a bit I get some faint notes of raisin or fig but very subdued.  Roastiness is also in the background there but again, very subdued.  Mouthfeel is nice – I like the level of carbonation and the oatmeal certainly smooths things out.  Aroma is mostly roast/nut quality but again, subdued.

Conclusion:

All in all I’d like to try this one again. I’d omit the water additions, bump up the mash temperature, and try a more standard yeast like White Labs 002 – English Ale. Perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh on my assessment of this beer, as David & Peter enjoyed it. Although I thought we had made an honorable attempt at cloning Samuel Smith’s Original based on what we knew, I don’t think we succeeded this time around.

Cheers!