Recipe Review: Noble Cream Ale

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That tasty looking beer right there is my experimental re-brew of the Newburgh Cream Ale recipe I posted a while back. In order to get a better feel for the role of the hops, I swapped out all the Cascade additions for East Kent Goldings.

What resulted is probably the most refreshing, straight forward, tall-boy-worthy beer I’ve ever brewed. It’s got a nice soft malt backbone and a slight mineral bitterness from the english hops, but overall it’s an exceptionally clean and easy-drinking beer.

I can see why Newburgh adds that Cascade addition in the whirlpool. Next time, I’d like to play around with that late hop addition, and throw something exotic and fruity or floral in there to add just a slight twist to this north american classic. Maybe Glacier? Nelson Sauvin? See below for the recipe.

Recipe Specifications
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Boil Size: 6.28 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.98 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 4.60 gal
Estimated OG: 1.046 SG
Estimated Color: 3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 21.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 82.8 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 57.1 %
1 lbs 12.0 oz Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 20.0 %
1 lbs Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 3 11.4 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 4 11.4 %
0.75 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 5 13.3 IBUs
0.60 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 30.0 Hop 6 8.2 IBUs
0.65 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Aroma Steep Hop 7 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg German Ale (Wyeast Labs #1007) [124.21 m Yeast 8 –

Mash Schedule: Double Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 12.0 oz
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Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Protein Rest Add 1.97 gal of water at 132.1 F 122.0 F 30 min
Saccharification Add 1.75 gal of water at 183.2 F 148.0 F 30 min
Mash Out Add 1.97 gal of water at 209.8 F 168.0 F 10 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 1.89gal) of 168.0 F water
Notes:
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Fermented fairly warm, around 67-68 for 2 weeks. At this temp, fermentation finished fairly quickly and cleanly.

Taste after primary: Bitter, slight roasty dry quality thanks to the german yeast I’m guessing. More like a british pale/bitter than Newburgh. Also picked up some roastiness from the residual Northern German Alt from the yeast cake. Pretty straightforward and should be very nice for those who don’t love American hops.

After 2 weeks in primary, cold crashed to 40F.

After 1 week @ 40F, added gelatin.

After 1 week, racked 4gal to keg and bottled off 1gal.

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New tap handle!!

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sweet tap handle!

Pretty, ain’t it?

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon /r/turning, a subreddit for woodworking enthusiasts. I posted there asking for a handmade tap handle in exchange for some awesome homemade beer. Sure enough, a redditor from florida stepped up to the plate and offered to make one for me. The finished product is what you see above!

Want a tap handle of your own? Shoot an email to acarson13 [at] gmail [dot] com and he’ll hook you up.

Test batch: Centennial Imperial IPA #1

Last week, I got to test out my test batch brewing process with a style I’ve been wanting to tinker around with for a while: Imperial IPA. I  took the opportunity to showcase Centennial hops, which I’ve not had much of on it’s own. I’ve only just cold crashed this beer, so tasting notes to follow. See below for the recipe:

Recipe Specifications
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Boil Size: 1.90 gal

Batch Size (fermenter): 1.25 gal

Estimated OG: 1.081 SG

Estimated IBU: 97.1 IBUs

Estimated Color: 6.5 SRM

Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
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1 lbs 9.7 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 45.0 %
1 lbs 9.7 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 45.0 %
5.7 oz Turbinado (10.0 SRM) Sugar 3 10.0 %
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 65.5 IBUs
0.25 oz Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 30.0 min Hop 5 25.2 IBUs
0.25 oz Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 6 6.5 IBUs
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 7 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) Yeast 8 –
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days Hop 9 0.0 IBUs
Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 3 lbs 9.1 oz

In Defense of Small Batches

Recently I’ve gotten to a point in my brewing where the number of recipe ideas in my head is greater than my capacity to drink or give away my beer. For anyone who comes over my house, this is a good problem — I’ll probably hand you a pint glass and tell you which keg I’m trying to finish. For me, however, this presents a (real) logistical issue. How do I bring all of my recipe ideas to life without committing a full saturday and a full 5 gallon’s worth of ingredients to a potentially mediocre recipe?

Allow me to introduce my 1-Gallon test batch system. With it, I can brew all-grain test batches in record time with minimal additional equipment, effort, cost and cleanup. If I like a batch enough, I can scale it up using BeerSmith to get a full-sized recipe. If I want to tweak an ingredient, it’s easy enough to re-brew. If I hate the recipe, it’s not like I’ve invested any significant amount of money or effort so I have no qualms dumping the batch.

The Equipment:

7.5 gal brew kettle

A large (>5 Gal) brew kettle, although you could probably get away with a 2 gallon pot. You probably have this already.

5 gallon paint strainer bag

A 5 gallon capacity paint strainer bag.

1 gallon glass jug

A 1 gallon glass jug for fermenting. A #6 drilled stopper and a normal airlock (check your local home brew store) fits the mouth of this jug.

The Process

The process is essentially just a small scale brew in a bag technique. I heat my strike water in my brew kettle (above) to the proper temperature. I then add my grains to the strainer bag, and lower the whole thing into the kettle. After a few stirs, the mash temperature will generally settle in the desired range. At this point, the name of the game is to keep the mash temp constant. The way I do it is by wrapping the kettle with a few towels for insulation. After the mash is done (I let it go about 75 minutes), simply lift the grain bag out of the kettle and allow it to drain for about a minute before you toss the spent grains. If you’ve done your math correctly (using your brewing software) you should now have an appropriate pre-boil volume of wort at the appropriate gravity. Now, simply start the boil as you normally would. Since it’s such a small batch, I usually just chill the wort in an ice bath rather than using my wort chiller. Add that to the list of equipment I don’t have to clean at the end of the day. When the boil’s over and everything is cool, I just rack into a sanitized jug, pitch an appropriate amount of yeast, and I’m done.

All together, the entire process takes about half or 3/4 the time of a full 5 gallon all grain brew day. And since you’re mashing/sparging/boiling all in the same vessel, clean up is a breeze.

A note about efficiency: On my first time through this process, I noticed that my efficiency dropped about 10 points to around 60-65%. This is to be expected from this technique, since you’ve got a very thin mash and you’re not really sparging. There are a few ways to tackle this, but the easiest is to simply bump up your amount of base malt to account for the drop. Alternatively, you can keep some dry malt extract around to adjust gravity on the fly if it comes out too low after the mash.

Newburgh Cream Ale

If you ever find yourself in New York’s majestic Hudson Valley and you get a hankering for some awesome craft beer, I urge you to check out Newburgh Brewing Company. It’s a diamond in the rough of Newburgh, NY housed in the building of an old paper box factory right on the bank of the Hudson river. The taproom is casual and fun, the food is delicious, and the beer is great.

My favorite comercial session beer hands down is their Cream Ale, a hoppy, floral interpretation of the somewhat forgotten but classically american style. It’s dry, crisp and clean, slightly fruity from the hops and massively drinkable. If you know someone who says they don’t like craft beer “because it’s too heavy”, give them a pint of this.

I was lucky enough to talk Chris, the brewmaster, and convince him to share the basic recipe for this beer. I’ve now brewed it myself a number of times and it’s not exactly dead on, but pretty close to the commercial version and definitely fantastic. Seriously, give this one a try. See below for the recipe, with permission from Chris:

“60% Crisp Pale Ale Malt

20% Weyermann Wheat Malt

10% Flaked Barley

10% Flaked Oats

Protein rest at 122 F

Raise to 152 F rest for 60 minutes

Cascades at 60 minutes for 15 IBU

EKG at 30 minutes for 8 IBU

Cascades at flamout for 12 IBU (At least on my scale where the wort is 215 degrees F and it sits like that during whirlpool and castout of probably 1 1/2 hours you do get some IBUS out of that) I believe I calculate the usage on that at about 12% utilization or so.

 

Ferment at 60 F with White Labs Dry English Ale Yeast 007. If not using as high an attenuating yeast (1056 would probably be fine) I would do the sacharification rest at closer to 150. You should be looking for about 11.2 Plato to start and finish around 3.5 Plato or so.  Nothing really special in the fermentor just your normal procedures should do just fine.”