#12 German Ale

Eureka, time for yet another recipe from my first experiences as a homebrewer. This is a recipe I did back in 2009, a German Ale style beer fermented with Wyeast’s #1007 German Ale yeast. Pretty easy grist, mash schedule and fermentation. Lets go through the recipe:

Recipe: German Ale
Numbers: Volume [L] 19 (5 gal)
Original gravity 12°P
Terminal gravity 3.3°P
Color Around 10 EBC
IBU 19 IBU
ABV 5 %
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 0.38 kg
Vienna malt (8 EBC) 3.9 kg
Carapils (4 EBC) 0.1 kg
Acidified malt (5 EBC) 0.1 kg
Hops: Hersbrucker (3.2% AA) 37 g and boil for 90 min
Tettnanger (4.1% AA) 22 g and boil for 80 min
Yeast: #1007 German Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 18 L (4.8 gal), sparge: 15 L (4 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @45°C (113°F), 20 min @ 43°C (109°F), 30 min @ 63°C (145°F), 30 min @ 71°C (160°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 7 days @ 20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary None
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2.5 (bottled at 4.7°P)
Maturation time > 3 weeks

05/01/09: Brew day number twelve begins. All went according to the recipe above. Nothing to mention here.

05/07/09: Bottled the beer with a gravity of 4.7°P. The forced fermentation test finished at a gravity of 3.3°P. There should be enough sugars left for the appropriate carbonation level. The pressure gauge I used to check the carbonation level showed a pressure of about 2.05 bar after a few days into the bottle fermentation. This is equal to a carbonation level of approximately 2.5 vol of carbon dioxide.

I have to mention here, that I did several batches where I bottled the beer just at the right time to have enough sugars left for the carbonating process. Now I just add sugar or even unfermented wort. This is far easier than waiting for the right time to bottle. Another thing that I do differently today is the time for fermentation and secondary fermentations in the first place. I did no secondary fermentation steps back then. Now I leave the beer for another two weeks in the fermenter to let it clear and finish the fermentation.

No tasting results for this batch. Sorry for that. I must have lost them… From the grist I would expect a rather malty beer (due to the high amount of Vienna malt) and a rather subtle hop character. If someone else out there gives this recipe a go please let me know how it turned out.

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#10 Gloriosa Kölsch

Eureka, its time for another recipe from the brewers logbook. The recipe of the day is a Kölsch. This is a beer style which is brewed around Cologne, Germany. For further details about this beer style, please have a look at the BJCP guidelines about Kölsch.

Some information about the name of the beer. There is a huge cathedral in Cologne, called Kölner Dom. It is pretty nice and the view from the top of the towers is just beautiful. Visit the Cathedral if you are around Cologne some day. It is really impressive. As a lot of other cathedrals, the one in Cologne has bells. And the Gloriosa was the heaviest bell in the Cathedral until 1918. Its weight: nearly 27’000 kg! Some of you might already guess what happened with the bell in 1918… Its metal was used to create weapons for the First World War. Really sad in my opinion. However, as I came across the story of the Gloriosa bell I knew that this is a name for a Kölsch beer.

The recipe itself is rather easy. Some Pilsner, wheat and Munich malt. Some Perle hops for bittering and Saazer as aroma hop. All fermented with a typical Kölsch yeast strain.

Recipe: Gloriosa Kölsch
Numbers: Volume [L] 22 (5.8 gal)
Original gravity 13.5°P
Terminal gravity 5.5°P
Color Around 10 EBC
IBU 27 IBU
ABV 4.4 %
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 4.2 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.2 kg
Munich malt 1 (14.5 EBC) 0.3 kg
Hops: Perle (7.5% AA) 25.3 g and boil for 80 min
Saazer (3.1% AA) 29.0 g and boil for 20 min
Yeast: #2565 Kölsch
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 12 L (3.2 gal), sparge: 20 L (5.3 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @48°C (118°F), 10 min @53°C (127°F), 30 min @62°C (144°F), 15 min @73°C (163°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 80 min
Fermentation: Primary 14 days @ 20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary None
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2
Maturation time 3 weeks

08/25/07: Brew day number ten. You might have noticed that some of my beers have a somewhat complicated mash schedule compared to other recipes. One explanation for such complicated mash schedules is the malt quality back in the old days. Some of the malts had a higher protein content than modern malts do. It was therefore necessary to do a protein rest at around 45-53°C. This meant you needed a kettle you could directly heat or do decoction mashing. As already mentioned, a lot of the modern malts do not need a protein rest anymore. A single saccharification rest therefore is all you need to do nowadays. Several step makes the whole resting pretty labor intensive since you always need to stir the mash during the heating steps to prevent scorching.

Fig 1: Mash kettle and PLC

You might have already seen in previous posts that I have a pretty nice stirrer (Fig 1). So no stirring for me anymore. However, the stirrer broke last year and I haven’t fixed it yet… The next thing I build myself was a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). This device can be seen in Fig 1 (the grey box on the table). There are two exits where I plug-in my stirrer and my kettle. The stirrer is always on, the kettle is regulated to keep the temperature (which is measured by a probe). However, my mash kettle can keep the temperature at a constant value as well. You can set the temperature at the bottom with the white nob (Fig 1). What makes the PLC special is the programs you can store. The only thing I have to do now is feed the mash schedule into the PLC, press start and mash in at the right temperature. And stop the program at the mash out temperature. So no complicated mash schedules for me anymore. And yet again, I needed some parts of the PLC for my kegerator… so no PLC anymore. I just need the right parts and one hour of work and the stirrer and PLC are working again. The kegerator was way more important than the PLC… Now back to the brew day.

The mash went great… iodine test was negative.

Fig 2: Rest and stir

Then transferred the whole mash into my lauter bucket and collected the wort (Fig 3). Then sparged with 20 L (5.3 gal) of water. Added the Perle hops as the wort begun to boil and added the Saazer hops later on (see recipe).

Fig 3: Lauter and collecting the wort

Cooled the wort down for the fermentation and added a starter of Wyeast’s Kölsch (#2565) yeast strain. I then left the fermentation bucket at 20°C (68°F) for 14 days.

09/08/07: Bottled the beer with cane sugar to a carbonation level of 2 vol. Then left the bottles carbonate and mature for nearly 4 weeks. Unfortunately, I do not find my tasting notes for this particular batch anymore… No problem, I did a second batch of this recipe  (batch #14) with some tasting notes. Nevertheless, the beer looked quite amazing (Fig 4).

Fig 4: Gloriosa Kölsch in a glass

Looking at this beer makes me thirsty. I will head to my kegerator (see, the kegerator is much more important than a PLC) and pour myself a glass of fresh beer. I hereby close this post. Stay tuned for further recipes.

#14 Gloriosa Kölsch the Second

Eureka, its time for yet another recipe. This recipe is actually a re-brew of a previous recipe. So no long story today. Had to do some minor changes (substitute the Saazer hops with Tettnanger) and the gravities were a bit different to the previous batch. Lets go through the recipe.

Recipe: Gloriosa Kölsch
Numbers: Volume [L] 22 (5.8 gal)
Original gravity 13.2°P
Terminal gravity 3.5°P
Color Around 10 EBC
IBU 27 IBU
ABV 4.9 %
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 4.2 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.2 kg
Munich malt 1 (14.5 EBC) 0.3 kg
Hops: Perle (7.5% AA) 25.3 g and boil for 80 min
Tettnanger (6% AA) 16.0 g and boil for 20 min
Yeast: #2565 Kölsch
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 12 L (3.2 gal), sparge: 20 L (5.3 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @48°C (118°F), 10 min @53°C (127°F), 30 min @62°C (144°F), 30 min @73°C (163°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 80 min
Fermentation: Primary 14 days @ 15°C (59°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary None
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2
Maturation time 3 weeks

05/22/10: Brew day number fourteen. This was actually a pretty awesome brew day. It was the first batch I did with my new brewing equipment. The gas burners in Fig 1 look very different today… I can’t believe how beautiful they look once. Anyway, another advantage of such a brew day is to have a brother alongside to take some pictures. When I brew, I normally do my batches alone and have no time to take pictures. Although I try to take at least some pictures…

Fig 1: Mash kettle on the left side, preparing the sparging water in the kettle on the right

Back to the brew day. The resting went great, the motor did his job pretty well. Unfortunately, the iodine test was not negative clearly enough so we went for another 10 min rest at 73°C (at the end 30 min in total) to be sure.

Fig 2: Stir the mash

Fig 3: Mash kettle with the stirring motor

Then transferred the mash into the lautering bucket and collected the wort.

Fig 4: Sparging

The hops went in the boiling wort and boiled the wort for 80 min and cooled it down and pitched some of Wyeast’s #2565 Kölsch yeast.

14/06/10: Bottled the batch after 14 days of primary fermentation. Carbonated to a level of 2 vol and then left the bottles carbonate for a week and then transferred the bottles to a cooler place (15°C (59°F)) to mature.

07/14/10: Tasting:

Aroma: Light sweet aroma, hops are detectable and some apple notes. Maybe some acetaldehyde…

Appearance: Yellow color, clear, persistent white head. Looks like a typical Kölsch.

Flavor: Malty sweet, lightly bitterness and very fruity (apple). Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, average carbonation level, short and lightly sweet aftertaste. This makes this beer a really thirst quencher.

Overall Impression: Well, another nice brew. Quite easy to drink. I did the tasting with the BJCP guidelines (6C Kölsch) booklet and tried to compare this brew with the stylistic accuracy. My verdict: Exemplifies style well, requires some fine-tuning.

What changes would I consider for another batch? Include a secondary fermentation step. Maybe do a two-week primary fermentation followed by a two-week secondary fermentation step. This could decrease any acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is formed by the yeast by metabolizing glucose which leads to a green apple aroma in the finished beer. Leaving the beer longer on the yeast cake would decrease the level of acetaldehyde due to further metabolism.

#5 European Helles

Eureka, its time for yet another recipe from the past. Todays recipe is one I brewed back in 2006 and was influenced by a local Helles I really enjoyed back then. Today, I am not really into lagers anymore. Be as it is, the following recipe is a straight forward Ale recipe and fermented with Wyeast’s #3068 Weihenstephan yeast. I guess this is not really typical for an Ale recipe in the first place. But I had no other yeasts available back then as well…

Recipe: European Ale
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 12°P
Terminal gravity 3°P
Color Around 21 EBC
IBU 15 IBU
ABV 4.8 %
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 3.2 kg
Cara Munich 1 (90 EBC) 0.8 kg
Hops: Hersbrucker (3.6% AA) 12 g and boil for 70 min
Northern Brewer (9.6% AA) 8 g and boil for 70 min
Yeast: #3068 Weihenstephan
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 12 L (3.2 gal), sparge: 17 L (4.5 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @47°C (117°F), 20 min @ 45°C (113°F), 30 min @ 61°C (142°F), 30 min @ 72°C (162°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 70 min
Fermentation: Primary 6 days @ 20°C (68°F) in a plastic fermenter
Secondary None
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 (carbonated with table sugar)
Maturation time 3 weeks

08/01/06: The brew day begins. All went as it should. Iodine test was negative and the sparging with the false bottom went well. Then boiled the wort with the hops for 70 min and chilled the wort down with my immersion chiller. Original gravity of 12°P. Then pitched a package of Wyeast’s #3068 Weihenstephan yeast.

08/03/06: Gravity is down to 5°P already. Still some kräusen.

08/06/06: Gravity is down to 3°P. I did a forced fermentation test and the fermentation stopped at 3°P. I do not make any forced fermentation tests anymore. I can’t tell why exactly but I never experienced fermentation problems so far. I always try to pitch enough fresh yeast to ensure a healthy fermentation. Back to the beer, since the gravity was already down to the terminal gravity, I bottled the beer six days after the brew day. I added one tablespoon of sugar to each 0.5 L bottle to ensure an appropriate amount of carbonation. Then left the bottles carbonate for a week and let them mature for three weeks in my refrigerator.

I already mentioned in a previous post that I just brewed beer back then and did no tasting notes as I do them today. And this is no exception here. I noted the following things in my protocol: Very nice taste, extreme head formation. And things to improve: Decrease the amount of the sugars in the bottle… Well, thats all about the tasting. I can’t recall how exactly the beer tasted like. But it seemed to be okay. I would have noted any other experiences for sure. If anyone of you out there gives this recipe a go, please let me know how it tastes like…