Category Archives: Brews

Jet Black Hat

This is a straight clone of Brewdog’s Jet Black Heart of which I am a big fan. The name ‘Jet Black Hat’ is in line with my computer related naming convention (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hat). This recipe was taken from DIY Dog 2017 which has no added vanilla, unlike the the current version used in this comparison.

Jet Black Heart v Jet Black Hat

Appearance wise they are identical, both black and totally opaque. The foam retention was also remarkably similar. I carbonated mine for 2 days at 20 psi which turned out to be a good guess.

The two beers did differ significantly in aroma and taste. It was clear that Jet Black Heart has a lot of vanilla aroma and especially flavour. My Jet Black Hat had no vanilla whatsoever, which was for the better in my opinion. I felt the vanilla was too overpowering and I ended up preferring  my more traditional stout. It was smooth to the taste and finished with a pleasant and slightly bitter aftertaste.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the vanilla flavour is not for the best.  I  really prefer the original version without vanilla.  This is probably the best beer I’ve made to date and will certainly be revisiting it soon. Perhaps with a chili kick in the summer.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
20 L 60 min 43.2 IBUs 74.1 EBC 1.071 1.023 6.3 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Sweet Stout 16 A 1.044 - 1.06 1.012 - 1.024 20 - 40 59.1 - 78.8 2 - 2.7 4 - 6 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale Malt, Maris Otter 4.55 kg 60.76
Pale Crystal Malt 640 g 8.55
Brown Malt (Crisp) 442.2 g 5.9
Oats, Flaked 442.2 g 5.9
Wheat, Malt (Simpsons) 290.9 g 3.88
Black (Crisp) 221.1 g 2.95
Carafa I 221.1 g 2.95
Crystal Dark - 77L (Crisp) 221.1 g 2.95
Milk Sugar (Lactose) 460 g 6.14

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Magnum 24.1 g 60 min Boil Pellet 12
Sorachi Ace 12.6 g 30 min Boil Pellet 13

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Baking Soda 4.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 4.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 4.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American Ale (1056) Wyeast Labs 75% 15.56°C - 22.22°C

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 67.78°C 75 min

Fermentation

Step Time Temperature
Primary 14 days 19.44°C
Aging 30 days 18.33°C

Notes

Final Adjusted Water

Final Calcium (ppm) 61
Final Magnesium (ppm) 19
Final Total Alkalinity as CaCO3 149
Final Sulfate (ppm) 76
Final Chloride (ppm) 70
Final Sodium (ppm) 54
Final Residual Alkalinity as CaCO3 94
Final Sulfate to Chloride Ratio 1.1

 

Cascade Dry Hop Experiment

I had just gotten hold of some Cryo Hops® LupuLN2® pellets and I wanted to know if they made any difference from using normal pellets. This new form of hops claims to provide an intense hop flavour and aroma without introducing astringent flavours. I also had some Cascade hops in the freezer that I had grown. So it seemed like the perfect time to experiment with dry-hopping the same beer three different ways.

The basis of this experiment was a light pale ale. The same beer was dry hopped for 4 days with pellets, whole hops and LupuLN2 pellets. The quantities of each hop type was adjusted to keep the level of alpha acids constant.

Cascade pellets, Lupuln and whole hops.

Each beer was given to a bunch of mates at work to obtain their perceived differences. The replies were mixed, perhaps indicative of the similarity of the beers. Unarguably though, the normal pellets were noticeably cloudier than LupuLN2® pellets. I believe this is due to the significantly less quantity of pellets used.

The whole hops divided opinion, people liked and disliked them in equal measure. The main debate seemed to exist between the two hop forms. LupuLN2® arguably had some more aroma than the standard pellets. The pellets though seemed to win out on flavour.

Conclusion
There doesn’t seem to be any great advantage in LupuLN2® pellets in terms of flavour or aroma. The smaller quantities required however result in more clarity. I would recommened there use for beers requiring a high level of dry-hopping. Then again no-one seemed concerned by the cloudier version, it was actually deemed preferable by some tasters.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
23 L 60 min 68.7 IBUs 10.7 EBC 1.060 1.012 6.4 %
Actuals 1.042 1.01 4.2 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 21 A 1.056 - 1.07 1.008 - 1.014 40 - 70 11.8 - 27.6 2.4 - 2.9 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Extra Pale Maris Otter (Crisp) 5 kg 74.63
Cara Gold 1 kg 14.93
Maris Otter Pale Ale 500 g 7.46
Pale Crystal Malt 200 g 2.99

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Cascade 80 g 60 min Boil Leaf 5.5
Cascade 55 g 30 min Boil Leaf 5.5
Bramling Cross 50 g 15 min Boil Leaf 6
Citra 16 g 5 min Boil Pellet 14.2

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Calcium Chloride 4.00 g 30 min Mash Water Agent

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
California Ale (WLP001) White Labs 77% 20°C - 22.78°C

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 65.56°C 75 min

Fermentation

Step Time Temperature
Primary 14 days 19.44°C
Aging 30 days 18.33°C

Ping Pong Pale

To celebrate a small table tennis event at work I brought along my latest brew. It was a fruity New England style IPA.

I have to admit though that the cloudy nature of the beer was unintentional. Iam still unsure of what went wrong in the process, although taste did not seem to be negatively affected.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
18 L 60 min 30.5 IBUs 11.6 EBC 1.061 1.021 5.3 %
Actuals 1.044 1.01 4.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 21 A 1.056 - 1.07 1.008 - 1.014 40 - 70 11.8 - 27.6 2.4 - 2.9 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Extra Pale Maris Otter (Crisp) 5 kg 81.97
Cara Gold 1 kg 16.39
Pale Crystal Malt 100 g 1.64

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Goldings, East Kent 50 g 60 min Boil Pellet 5
Citra 80 g 2 days Dry Hop Pellet 14.2

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
English Ale (WLP002) White Labs 67% 18.33°C - 20°C

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash Step 67.78°C 60 min

Fermentation

Step Time Temperature
Primary 14 days 19.44°C
Aging 30 days 18.33°C

Notes

The intention was to get a bit more body in to the beer by adding more malt. This is why caragold as used. It provides the opportunity to add body to beer with little impact on colour.

The pH half way through the mash was 5.8.

Open Day – Summer Lightning

To celebrate the launch of Brewnode, I invited a few friends around to sample my wares.  I had all the ingredients for a replica of the classic Summer Lightning from Hopback brewery.  I decided that it would be good to give a go and brew live on the day. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not since I’ve never had a brew run complete automatically from start to finish. But hey, why not?

Recipe

Ingredient Quantity
Pale Ale, Golden Promise 5.5Kg
Challenger Hops 30g for 60 mins
Challenger Hops 30g for 30 mins
Golding Hops 35g for 15 mins
East Kent Goldings 50g Dry hopped for 7 days
Mosaic Hops (panicked addition) 50g Dry hopped for 3 days
Yeast WLP002 English Ale Yeast

You might notice the addition of some Mosaic dry hops. That’s not in the original recipe but I panicked a bit about the taste during fermentation.

Mash

With hindsight, the initial mash temperature was too. This meant that the average temperature during the mash was only

Fermentation

Active fermentation lasted only 3 or 4 days but I left it for about 2 weeks before transferring to a keg. I took a sample after about 10 days and I was not impressed. So much so that I had a decision to make as to whether leave it as is and hope for the best. Or take action and attempt to turn it into something more palatable.

I didn’t have the bottle to run with it as was, so I decided to chuck in a large amount of Mosaic hops into the fermenter. I know this was not in the plan and diverged significantly from he original intention. But I am glad I did because the change was remarkable. The aroma changed almost immediately from a stale smell to a fresh citrus.

Tasting

Like previous brews, there was a definitive chill haze. I now suspect that cold break in the fermenter is the cause. I chill straight from the kettle to the fermenter through the plate chiller. This means that all of the cold break ends up in the fermenter.

I had to buy some Summer Lightening to compare mine against. Over the past 20 years, what used to be a classic in my mind had turned into a rather bland and fizzy lager like drink. I exaggerate of course but the aroma of Goldings just doesn’t compare to what I’ve become used to.

Conclusions

  • Start with more liquor.
  • Increase malt variety to give more body.
  • Let BIAB drain.
  • Use less bittering hops.
  • Chill to clear before carbonating.

 

Black Hat

The main difference with this brew from the previous (Hop++) was the addition of Carafa malt to give the black colour. It was interesting to see that this malt has no husk and doesn’t look like a grain at all. The lack of husk avoids extra tannin making into the beer. Leaving the colour to dominate.

One other change I made was using an east coast yeast because this was where the Black IPA style originated.

 

Recipe

Ingredient Quantity
Maris Otter Pale Malt 5.1Kg
Pale Crystal Malt 0.45 Kg
Carafa III Malt 0.35 Kg
Simcoe Hops 30g for 70 mins
Simcoe Hops 15g for 40 mins
Simcoe Hops 9g for 15 mins
Mosaic Hops 26g Dry hop for 4 days
Citra Hops 46g Dry hop for 4 days.
Yeast WLP008 East Coast Ale

Points of Note

  • The significant amount of dry hops appeared to have little effect. The same amount in a beer (Hop++) without the dark malt had more aroma.
  • There was a definite chocolate taste.
  • The colour was actually more dark brown than black. This visually detracted at times from the taste. Next time, I will add more Carafa malt.

Brew 3 – Hop++

For this brew I wanted to compare the difference between WLP01 and WLP02 yeast strains. I used the same recipe as  my previous brew  (API IPA) but changed only the yeast. Well that was the intention.

Hop++

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
17 L 70 min 83.7 IBUs 9.6 EBC 1.049 1.013 4.7 %
Actuals 1.04 1.015 3.3 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Blonde Ale 18 A 1.038 - 1.054 1.008 - 1.013 15 - 28 5.9 - 11.8 2.4 - 3 3.8 - 5.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Maris Otter Pale Ale 5 kg 98.62
Pale Crystal Malt 70 g 1.38

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Mosaic (HBC 369) 9 g 70 min Boil Pellet 12
Simcoe 9 g 70 min Boil Pellet 12
Simcoe 10 g 60 min Boil Pellet 12
Mosaic (HBC 369) 9 g 40 min Boil Pellet 12
Simcoe 9 g 40 min Boil Pellet 12
Mosaic (HBC 369) 9 g 25 min Boil Pellet 12
Simcoe 9 g 25 min Boil Pellet 12
Mosaic (HBC 369) 9 g 0 min Boil Pellet 12
Citra 50 g 4 days Dry Hop Pellet 14.2

Fermentation

Step Time Temperature
Primary 14 days 19.44°C
Aging 30 days 18.33°C

All seemed well during the mash until I started to take some gravity readings. Two things surprised me. Firstly the colour was a lot lighter than expected. This was backed up by the correspondingly low gravity. Something was not right.

After puzzling for a while I realised that I had made a dumb mistake weighing the malt. Instead of adding 700g of caramalt, I had only added 70g!

The boil and cooling went well. The gravity into the fermenter was only 1040 but it tasted great. Given the nature of this brew, I figured that a significant amount of dry hops would do no harm. So 50g of Citra was added for 4 days. The final gravity was 1022 which comes out at 3.3%. Resulting in a light hoppy summer session IPA.

Brew 2 – API APA

I wanted to make a pale ale a little lighter in colour than My Little Dead Pony. Using less hops to reduce the bitterness and also putting fewer in post fermentation because I thought I previously over did it.

Recipe

Ingredient Quantity
Pale Malt 5Kg
Crystal Malt 0.7 Kg
Simcoe Hops 9g for 60 mins
Mosaic Hops 9g for 60 mins
Simcoe Hops 9g for 30 mins
Mosaic Hops 9g for 30 mins
Simcoe Hops 9g for 15 mins
Mosaic Hops 9g for 15 mins
Simcoe Hops 9g Dry hop for 7 days
Mosaic Hops 9g Dry hop for 7 days
Yeast WLP001 California Ale Yeast

Mash

Given the failure of the recirculating mash last time, I tried an immersion brew this time.

I took a guess at the initial kettle temp of 86C. I found a problem with my preheat routine. In order to warm up the equipment, in particular the mash tun, I heat the liquor up in the kettle and transfer it to the mash tun and back again to the kettle before adding the grains. What I found was that when the water is returned to the kettle that it is too cold to begin the mash. A further boost to 75C is required before beginning the mash.

Preheat & Mash
Preheat & Boil. Note dips during boil were due to stirring of the pot.

Problems

  • Software Bugs
    • brew 40 85 60 => no emitter name @ vessel.js line100
    • brewmon.start has hardcoded brewname
  • Mash pump clogged. Need to add a filter.
  • Need a check valve on kettle input to prevent siphoning back into the mash.