Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quick Updates

I have been severly lacking in posting to the blog and I apologize. Most of my "digital brewing" time as been focused over on my other site: todayshomebrew.news Which if you haven't bookmarked, you really should! I have links to 3 new articles every Monday through Friday.

I have made one beer since my last update, an irish red ale, which I will eventually get to posting. I also attended NHC, and received a ton of free ingredients which I plan to experiment with and post about. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can help me out while getting some sweet savings - 15% off for the next 36 hours over at Homebrew Supply if you use my affiliate link!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Northeast American Pale Ale

Every once in a while I have those brewdays where my note taking is almost non existent.  This was one of those brewdays!  It is a shame too cause this beer is Amazing!

If you follow the blog you have probably picked up that I am my own worst critic (or you think I just make shitty beer). This one exceeded expectations!

You will notice quite a few question marks next to values.  This is because I didnt't write that number down, but these numbers stick out to me for various reasons, so I am going with them. 

I have been seeing a lot great looking hoppy beer recipes out there that use Wyeast London Ale III 1318 and a high 2:1 chloride to sulfate ratio.  The Tire Hands clone by Ed over with Ales of the Riverwards has pinpointed the perfect ratio/amount of oats for this style - and I followed his advice.

This beer ends up with a solid haze which is largely from the low flocculaing London Ale III and the hops/chill haze.

Brewed On: Mar 12, 2016
Kegged On: April 2, 2016
Style: American Pale Ale 18B (2015 BJCP)
Batch Size: 2.5 gal
Boil Length: 60 min
Efficiency: ?
OG: 1.049?
FG: 1.013
IBU: 41
ABV: 4.7%
Yeast: Wyeast London Ale III 1318

Grist Mashed at 156?for 60 mins?
75% - Briess 2-Row - 4lbs 2 oz
18% - Quick Oats- 1 lb
7% - Avangard Light munich - 6 oz

Hop Additions
.221 oz - Magnum 14.7% AA - 60 minutes boil- 30 IBUs
.5 oz - Zythos 10.9% AA - 10 minutes - 11 IBU
.5 oz Zythos, .75oz (each) Citra and Azacca - 10 minute whirlpool
Dry Hopped 4 days with .75oz (each) Citra and Azacca

Water Adjustments - 4 gallons distilled .5 gal tap

Calcium (Ca ppm)Magnesium (Mg ppm)Sodium (Na ppm)Chloride (Cl ppm)Sulfate (SO4 ppm)
Jan Estimated Tap4110172645
Estimated Final Beer921211960

Heated all 4.5 gallons of distilled/tap water with campden and 4.1 g CaCl and 1.7g CaSO4. 1.5oz acid malt. Estimated mash pH 5.42.

Tasting Notes: Moderately High hop Aroma of pineapple, lemon citrus, low Pine and, low grapefruit

Medium body, moderately high carbonation, moderate creamy mouthfeel, and no astringency

Moderately High hop flavor grapefruit and pineapple, very low bland cracker taste, moderately high bitterness. Balance is 90% towards that hops finishes moderately dry

Overall this is a really great American Pale Ale The Hop Aroma and flavor is very pleasant. The creamy mouthfeel and moderate dryness keeps the consumer wanting to come back for another sip I can drink pint upon pint and I did! I kicked this keg yesterday and figured it was about darn time to post the recipe.

I think I will be brewing this one again soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hook's Giant Bock - Doppelbock

On The heels of my Vienna lager, Most Interesting Man, I decided to reuse the lager yeast for a nice big doppelbock. 

As of writing this I am interested to see how this turns out with the WLP940 Mexican lager yeast as it is not a typical yeast for this style. I also have no real idea of how much yeast (or how healthy) I pitched as I poured slurry right from the bottom of my 3 gallon better bottle from the vienna.  If you recall the vienna wound up being...not awesome

The wife and I are big fans of the ABC series Once Upon a Time and I can't go an episode without hearing about how sexy Captain Hook is. I thought I would make fun of her by including him in the beer name and label. 

Brewed On: Jan 29, 2016
Kegged On:
Style: Doppelbock 9A (2015 BJCP)
Batch Size: 5 gal
Boil Length: 90 min
Efficiency: 70%
OG: 1.073
FG: 1.019
IBU: 24
ABV: 7.1%
Yeast: WLP940 - Mexican Lager Yeast slurr (from vienna)

Grist Mashed at 154.5 for 40 mins
70% - Weyermann Light Munich -11 lb (Acutally was 7.5 lb Weyermann and 3.5 lb Avangard due to my supplies)
20% - Weyermann Bohemian Pils - 3 lb 2 oz
10% - Weyermann Caramunich - 1 lb 8 oz

Hop Additions
.4 oz - Magnum 14.7% AAU - 60 minutes boil- 24 IBUs

Water Adjustments - 7 gal tap and 2 gal distilled

Calcium (Ca ppm)Magnesium (Mg ppm)Sodium (Na ppm)Chloride (Cl ppm)Sulfate (SO4 ppm)
Jan Estimated Tap4110172645
Estimated Final Beer648137735

Heated 7 gallons of tap water with campden and 4 g CaCl. Used 6 gallons for mash 177° lost 8 to mash tun. Dough in mash 155° for 60 min. Estimated mash pH 5.48. Sparged with remain 1 gallon treated tap and 2 gallon distilled

Tasting Notes: Aroma | Moderately low malt aroma of light prune and toffee. Appearance | Deep copper color with light off-white head which fades very quickly. Mouthfeel | Medium carbonation, medium-full body, low-alcohol warmth, moderately low creaminess, no astringency. Flavor | Moderately High malt of sweet toffee, no real hop flavors, moderately low hop bitterness, very low sulfur otherwise clean, balances towards the malt and finishes slightly sweet.

Overall this is a very drinkable doppelbock since it comes in on the low-end of the abv for style. The beer is lacking in Aroma (very one dimensional) and malt complexity. I think it could benefit from a more traditional bock-style yeast or possibly using a flavor addition of a German noble hop. This would probably be in the low 30s on a score sheet.

At the very least I am pleased that replacing my keg lines fixed a lot of my issues. It appears the yeast was not the culprit since it fermented this beer out fine. Yay!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Most Interesting Man - Vienna Lager

Every winter I curse the cold weather. I am the type of person that would rather be drenched in sweat in 100°F+ temps than in any weather below freezing.

The cold, however, does provide a few positives that I can use to my advantage: Colder tap water for chilling and about 59°F basement temp. The latter allows me to not stress my fermentation chamber as there is a lower temperature differential while brewing lagers in the low 50°Fs.

At the end of October on a trip to the homebrew store I was picking up some ingredients and persued the "Recently Expired Yeast Selection." The bargain bin of yeast (well 'bargain' is the homebrew store's term since these vials are still $5 at this store) contained WLP940 Mexican Lager Yeast. I had heard great things about this lager yeast. In particular it results in quick fermentation times.  Perfect!

I have always liked Dos Equis, but its a shame that  true Vienna lager is almost non existent these days. I decided to create a more traditional Vienna Lager, but with the ingredients I had on hand.

Which means that it technically is not traditional.

I decided to do a 50/50 split of pilsner and light munich malts.

Now for some silly reason light munich is always quoted as 10L and I have no clue where this comes from. Read the malt analysis sheet of any malting co's light munich and you will get a range between 5L-8L. Compare that to a vienna malt's 3L-4L and you are right about have the lovibond.

Where a traditional vienna was crafted out of mostly vienna malt I am testing the light munich and pils combo as an alternative.

Most Interesting Man Label
Unfortunately the awesomeness of the label doesn't carry through to the beer!

Brewed On: Jan 9, 2016
Kegged On: Jan 29, 2016
Style: Vienna Lager 7A (2015 BJCP)
Batch Size: 2.5 gal
Boil Length: 60 min
Efficiency: 69%
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.013
IBU: 20
ABV: 4.7%
Yeast: WLP940 - Mexican Lager Yeast

Grist Mashed at 154.5 for 40 mins
50% - Weyermann Light Munich -5 lb
50% - Weyermann Bohemian Pils - 5 lb
>1% - Carafa III Special - 1/2 ounce

Hop Additions
.15 oz - Magnum 14.7% AAU - 60 minutes boil- 20 IBUs

Water Adjustments - 2.5 gal tap and 2 gall distilled
Heated 2 gallons of montgomery county md strike water to ~175 and filled orange 3 gallon cooler with the 2 gal of tap water treated with 1.5 grams CaCl and campden. 
2 oz of acid malt used
Sparged with 2 gallons distilled and 1/2 gallon tap

Tasting Notes:

I was holding off on posting the tasting notes thinking it would get better, but it just kept getting worse so in full disclosure here it is:

Vienna Lager
At Least its Clear!
Aroma: Moderate-low butter and toffee-like note, moderate toasted bread, low sulfur

Appearance: Deep gold (darker in pics), white head that fades quickly and remains as a top coating, excellent clarity

Flavor: moderate diacetyl butter, low perfumey ester, low floral hop, moderately low bitterness, low toasty malt.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, moderately low slick feeling (diacetyl) low astringency, no creaminess.

Overall: This beer is infected. No other way to put it. Its a shame cause it tasted pretty great flat before kegging. I would give this an overall score in the low 20s. I probably should have purchased fresh yeast for this one, or built up the starter slower.

Although no diacetyl was detected at the time of kegging, as the beer lagered the buttery "goodness" was there. After investigating the cause, and looking back at how my beers have been degrading in the keg, I decided it was time to replace all my beer line and give my taps a thorough cleaning. A lot of my beers have not been aging well after kegging - but taste fine prior. 

I am ashamed to admit I have not replaced my beer line in over 4 years and the worst damage probably occurred when I moved to the new house and left warm beer hangout in the lines. I did that last weekend and plan to document that as I learned a few tricks along the way.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Creating a Logo, Not as Simple as You'd Think

If you are one of my few treasured fans over on Facebook, then you may have already noticed the new logo I created.  On most of my labels I had just been using this font to read "SHEGOGUE BREW" and I had some images of grain underneath it, It worked, but I wanted a logo that could stand alone.

Take note of the "Shegogue Brew" in one of my favorite labels

Thought Process

I went through a lot of thought and deliberation to come up with the logo presented below.  Here is some of that thought process:

  • Wanted to keep "Shegogue Brew" - Most brewery names have some variation of Brewing Co or Brewery.  That doesn't rhyme with the pronunciation of my last name Shegogue (pronounce Shuh-goo)
  • Since my home brewery name is just my last name I was at a loss for what identifying mark or symbol I should use
    • I thought about incorporating a beer mug and the letter 'S' but that was too plain
    • I thought about some sort of synergy of yeast, hops, water and grain, but those were all too busy
    • Considered creating some sort of chart or bar graph to reference my tagline (see tagline description below)
  • I put the symbol on the backburner to consider some sort of tagline.  Many of the great breweries have them.  i.e. Dogfish Head - "Off-centered ales for off-centered people".  Everyone in my family knows I have two speeds slow, and slower so I came up with the tagline "slowly analyzing ales"
  • With that tag line in place I had a slightly more narrow focus for my symbol which I decided to go with turtle or a snail.  To be honest, the snail images I found online were easier to work with than the turtles so I went with that
  • As an added bonus, I can now refer to my little guy as the "Ale Snail," which I think is pretty catchy
Without further ado - the new Logo for Shegogue Brew

New Logo

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Brew Year in Review

Another year come has come and gone as 2015 marked my sixth year in this wonderful hobby. The first half of the year I ended up producing zero, I repeat zero, gallons of beer. I held up my vow to not brew until I could do so inside. It took a while, but I finally finished!

Brewery Build

Look back at the progress posts here:

  1. Indoor Brewery Plans
  2. Workbench
  3. Brew Stand
  4. Utility Sink
  5. Ventilation

After setting up the brewery I then decided to shift all my free time into raising a puppy.

Beer Making

I did end up making a few batches of beer - the inTROduction session ale, and the dumper brown.  The Simple Blonde Ale, which had me worried but ended up fine.  And the last brew of the year was the big Russian Imperial Stout for National Homebrew Day.

Beer Blogging/Writing

Though my posts were somewhat numbered here on the personal blog I was able to contribute to other online sites like Homebrewtalk.com and Homebrewacademy.com

Commercial Beers

We also can't forget that this summer I was able to vacation in Vermont and get Heady Topper!

Resources Created

Created the sortable and searchable Yeast Strain Table to help identify and compare homebrew yeast strains.

Thats the quick of it!  Hope your 2015 was a great one and that 2016 is even better.

Hoppy Brew Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Simple Blonde Ale

Blonde ales can be a tricky beer as they are really all about balance.  I tried another quick brew with a 30 minute boil for this one.  Efficiency was significantly lower so I will have to investigate why for the future.

I apologize for the lack of tasting notes and pictures as I wanted to get the recipe up before I forget about it.

Simple Blonde Ale
Brewed On: 9-19-2015
Kegged On: 
Style: 18A American Blonde Ale
Batch Size: 5 gal 30 min boil
Efficiency: 65%
OG: 1.043
FG: 1.011
IBU: 24
ABV: 4.2%
Yeast: WLP090 Fermented 63 raised to 67 and held

Grist Mashed at 148 for an hour
100% - Pale Ale Malt (Rahr) -9.5 lbs

Hop Additions 
1 oz - Cascade 7.3% AA - FWH in a 30 minutes boil- 21 IBU
.5 oz - Cascade 7.3% AA - 5 min - 3 IBU

Water Adjustments
Montgomery County, MD Water - 1/2 Campden Tablet for all brewing water
5 grams CaCl to mash water
3 oz of acid malt used
Estimated pH of 5.52 (EZWaterCalc)

Tasting Notes: Will update once my cold is gone, but as I recall there is low citrus hop aroma that comes through slightly more in the flavor.  The bitterness is moderate and the beer was not as smooth as I was hoping.  In the future I will try to hit a higher gravity or decrease the bittering hops. Additionally, I may try to use all RO or dilute my tap water to minimize any sulfate from my tap water.