Friday, June 26, 2015

C Hops, Drink Hops

My father's favorite beers tend to gravitate toward a few common characteristics: fairly hoppy, fairly bitter, citrusy, lightly piney, with a moderate level of caramel malt backbone to keep it all in line.  In other words: the classic American IPA.  His favorite beers include Evolution's Lot #3 which is loaded with C hops and some Amarillo.  It's been a while since I've brewed a more classic American IPA and I decided to get something on tap for the summer that my Dad would be proud of.  Loaded with C hops and with just a bit of light caramel malt and oats this beer is intended to be hop forward, fairly bitter, and super citrusy, without all the exotic/tropical/fruity characters the newfangled hops bring to the table.  With my StarTropics IPA on tap this should be a welcome alternative.  I'm also aiming to make this beer super dry and crisp by mashing at just 149F, which should also offer an alternative (and advantage) over the under attenuated, overly malty StarTropics IPA currently on tap.

I managed to break my hydrometer the day of kegging, so I didn't get an FG for this beer. It was kegged with 1 oz of each of the C hops used in the recipe and has now been on tap about a month.

Appearance - pale gold, a touch lighter than the standard IPA though not extremely so. Somewhat hazy (likely from the keg hops) with a small but persistent white head.

Smell- the smell is by far my favorite par of this beer with a huge citrusy nose evoking lemon, lime, and resin with a little bit of dank, earthy and herbal mixed in. I get just a little stone fruit, though others have really pointed this out.

Taste- upfront there is some citrus but this is quickly brushed aside in favor of the dank, pine, and bitterness that last through a smooth but highly bitter finish. Again, I don't get much fruitiness though others have mentioned apricot and peach (without even knowing the yeast was Conan).

Mouthfeel- dry and moderately carbonated. The dryness likely adds to the bitterness and extent that the piney characteristics of the beer dominate.

Overall- this is a beer that I have a hard time with. It isn't all that similar to most commercial IPAs and is flawed in the one note, overly dominant hop character. Yet some people who have tried it have had nothing but good things to say and I occasionally find myself craving it (maybe if only for the amazing smell). I've also had very mixed feedback on how to improve it: more complex/less fermentative malt bill, less bitterness, less Columbus/Chinook hops. I think maybe a combination of all of the above with an increase in oats (or use of golden naked instead of quick oats), and a slight reduction in the Chinook and Columbus to let the Cascade and Centennial citrus character show more, would really make this beer exciting. As is, it's a passable but far from exciting IPA, that drinks fine on this hot rainy day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Maisonette 2.0

After my first attempt at a Mosaic Table Saison turned out so well I decided to make a 6 gallon batch, split into two batches with different yeast strains.  Unlike my first attempt this version is an all grain batch but is designed to be very similar with just the replacement of turbinado with white sugar and a slight increase in the wheat percentage.



7.0 lb
71 %
1 °L
2.5 lb
25 %
2 °L
0.33 lb
3 %
0 °L
0.35 oz
60 min
0.35 oz
10 min
1.7 oz
1 min
Yeast Blend


The 2 yeast options are my Saison blend #3 (primarily Wyeast French Saison with some Brett'd beer dregs) and the second use of the Tired Hands yeast from the last version of Maisonette.

These were bottled over a month ago, both at an FG of 1.007 and in 3 gallon kegs. The Tired Hands version is still in the keezer though the other was removed to make room for other beers.
Tasting 1- Tired Hands Version

Appearance- hazy yellow/white. Looks like a good wheat near though the head is a bit short lived, leaving just a few strange clumps on the top after a few minutes.

Smell- very similar to the previous Tired Hands fermented version: lemony, fruity, lightly spicy. The Mosaic are present but don't shine the way I would like.

Taste- the funky, lightly tart yeast are again front and center with grainy, wheaty malt character and just a touch of bitterness to back it up. The hop flavor is really subdued here, when it should be the star.

Mouthfeel- fairly thin and dry with moderate carbonation (the regulator is set to around 11 PSI). About the body I want from a saison, and it makes for a fairly refreshing beer despite the low bitterness.

Overall- this beer, like the previous version made with the Tired Hands yeast, is enjoyable enough but isn't exactly what I'm looking for in Maisonette. The yeast character is too distracting and I think I prefer the wheat percentage a little lower (it was about 25% in this iteration but closer to 20% in the original). Hopefully I can post a tasting of the other version soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Old Horse and Jockey version 2 Tasting

Appearance- deep dark brown, mostly black but with chestnut highlights in the right light. Small off white head sticks around but doesn't have as much volume as I would like despite a vigorous pour.

Smell- complex, lots of chocolate, roast, and oak with some of the bourbon and scotch character in the mix.

Taste- up front is chocolate, coffee and sweet malt with the middle and finish showing more of the oak and whiskey character, just balancing out a fairly high level of sweetness.

Mouthfeel- moderate-high body, moderate carbonation. Just a little denser than what I would like in a porter, but not bad.

Overall- this beer is alright, not great. There's a lot here but the high residual sweetness is only moderately tempered by the booze and oak. More bourbon and more oak may have helped, but the grain bill and mash schedule also could use some revisions to lower the crystal malt and get a little less body.