Tag Archives: single infusion

The Pilsner Urquell Showdown: Decoction vs. Single Infusion… was it worth it?

Standing over my temperature controlled chest freezer, looking down at my 2 kegs of fully carbonated Bohemian Pilsner, is a very pleasant sight indeed. I used the exact same recipe and maintained the same fermentation schedule for both a single infusion and a decoction version to see what differences could be had. (See original post: Pilsner Urquell: Decoction mash or Single Infusion?) It’s been a long time in the making. Two separate brew days, with the decoction taking me a whopping 11.5 hours (!), 14 days in primary, and another 40 days of lagering. The fact that it is ready to bottle this week, lines up perfectly with us being at the height of summer.

So was it worth it?

Continue reading

Reviewing my Stone Pale Ale…

Well, the Stone Pale Ale that I brewed is in, and man, this is a seriously good beer. The flavours are very balanced, with a definite caramel flavour to it from the generous amounts of crystal malt (19%). The Ahtanum hops are a unique contribution. Even though I’m expecting the signature citrusy flavours associated with American hops, it’s flavours are slightly illusive, as they seem to really blend in well with the surrounding malt body.  I’ve always remembered the saying that “if you can pick out one particular ingredient, then there’s too much of it”. They’re in there for sure, they just don’t jump out and hit you in the face. This beer is quite complex for having such a straight forward recipe.

One of the reasons, I think, is because of the water profile. I added some Epsom salt (0.55g per gallon) and Calcium Chloride (0.25g per gallon) to my water to match the profile stated in Stone’s book: The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance. Those levels are:

30ppm Ca / 85ppm SO4 / 12ppm Mg / 40ppm Na / 40ppm Cl

These numbers are not very far off my own water here from Lake Ontario, but the sulphate level is a bit higher at 85ppm as compared to mine of 28.6ppm. I’ve noticed that by using Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salt) as opposed to Calcium Sulphate (Gypsum), the resulting enhancement is slightly different. I’m not finding it as ‘harsh’ as I sometimes get with having too much gypsum in my beers. Maybe it’s just all in my head, because sulphate is sulphate, right? Maybe it’s the  sulphate/chloride balance? I’m not sure. My point is, I think the water profile definitely made an impact on this beer in the form of added complexity.

The other interesting choice for this beer was Continue reading

The Pilsner Urquell showdown: Decoction Day

By not brewing this beer when I first posted my original article, I think I psyched myself out on the whole ‘decoction’ thing. “Single Decoction“, “Double Decoction“, “Enhanced Double Decoction“,”Hochkurz Decoction“, “Triple Decoction“, ahh!!! What have I got myself into!!

When I finally got up the courage and picked a weekend for this experiment, I had to watch and re-watch some videos on decoction mashing. Braukaiser’s video, which I had mentioned in my original post, was one I referred to a lot. I also came across a really good video on Brewing TV: Episode 34 – “Decoction Day”. In this video, Michael Dawson shows us how to do a double decoction on a Munich Dunkel. He was quite entertaining and demonstrated the steps wonderfully and clearly. So off I was to start boiling away!

Which decoction schedule did I decide to use? I decided to go with the Enhanced Double Decoction. This schedule pulls a large enough decoction from the acid rest to be able to hit the protein rest with part of the decoction, and with the remaining portion, you reach the saccrification rest. On the one side, I thought a single decoction would fail to bring out enough of the decoction character. On the other side, a traditional triple decoction really isn’t needed with today’s well modified malts, and the lengthy protein rest can actually be detrimental to head formation and mouth feel due to excessive protein breakdown. (See footnote at bottom) I modified the temperature steps slightly to hit those specified by the brewer from Pilsner Urquell in the Brewing Techniques article: The History and Brewing Methods of Pilsner Urquell. Continue reading

Reviewing my Smashbomb Atomic I.P.A. clone….

attention: A monkey has been caught.

This beer rocks.  Both of them.

I’m happy to say, this first attempt at brewing a Smashbomb Atomic I.P.A. is fantastic. I actually ended up drinking more of it than the original over the weekend. (sorry Peter! we still love Flying Monkeys!) Truth be told, I had a LOT of info to go on with this one. Yes, I did have to actually brew it myself, but, there were a lot of numbers to shoot for, so thank you once again Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.

I really wish I could just pour you one and have you taste it for yourself and not have to describe it, because it’s just plain delicious. If you like Smashbomb, or citrusy IPA’s, you should definitely brew this and see for yourself. For me, there’s nothing like the Centennial/Citra combo.

I was unsure how my hopping schedule was going to stand up against the original, but it nailed it. Perhaps a tiny addition around 30mins might put a little more in the middle, but it’s not something I missed. My brother in law and I put away a few of these before Easter dinner, and despite trying to, we could only split hairs on the differences.

The Results: Continue reading

Reviewing my Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone…

This batch of beer has been a long time coming. I had planned on brewing it a few months back when I wrote my original post, but haven’t been able to pull it together. I finally kegged and carbonated it a few days ago and I’m ready to sample the goods!

This was the first time I successfully used a liquid yeast strain after a few bad shipments in the middle of summer from a Toronto area home brew shop. I made a starter a few days before with a smack pack of Wyeast #1056 & hit my target starting gravity of 1.053. I wasn’t 100% sure if I should pitch the entire contents of the starter. It was still fermenting when it came time to pitch it, so I assumed that most of the yeast was still in suspension. I first decanted the liquid, but then noticed at the bottom was a nice slurry of yeast, so I  pitched that as well. It ended up lowering my original gravity by 0.003 points which was a drag, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I’ve since done some more research on using starters and have a better handle on what to do next time. (I’ll post about that in the coming weeks) Regardless, the fermentation took off like a rocket, and looked very healthy. I’ve kept the yeast and rinsed it properly for use in some future batches.

So let’s get to the beer… Continue reading