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Day 134 Status Citra Saisons and Diet Root Beer

Switched back from blow-offs to airlocks

Switched back from blow-offs to airlocks

A quick update on my current projects: 1) Diet Root Beer. I prepared a replacement cap for my test bottle, I opened the tester and heard a slight CO2 escape. I poured a very small amount in a glass. There were very few bubbles. The soda was obviously undercarbed, but had some…hopefully, that will continue to increase! The flavor was strong on the root beer and not overly sweet, but it does have a little “diet” aftertaste. It’s okay, though, for the trade-off on sugar. I’m just hoping it carbs enough! Next time, maybe a little sweeter. I may have to find a way for a little more sweetness and a little less aftertaste without upping the sugar too much.

2) I switched back to regular airlocks for the Citra Saisons this afternoon. The action seemed to have relaxed sufficiently. Still on the heating pad on “low”  and wrapped in the Space Blanket. The main batch is bubbling about every 8-10 seconds and the little bonus gallon, that I’m going to rack onto vodka soaked cherries, is at about 18-20 second intervals. Looking good! A lot of trub…I’ll probably get 4-1/2 to 5 gallons out of the big carboy and 2/3 gallon on the small one, but they should be good!

3) Moving the Hi-Nelson Saison w/Hibiscus to storage. They were bottled on July 27th. Should be a couple of weeks before I open one and a month before I expect them to really be ready.

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Day 129 Saison Update

This is just a very brief update. I don’t have anything going right now, except for the Hi-Nelson Saison with Hibiscus. That batch has been in primary fermentation for two weeks, as of tomorrow. This morning, I noticed that there is still airlock activity at intervals just over a minute apart. I don’t think I have had a batch of beer, before this one, that took more than 10 days in primary. I still think I’ll move it to secondary this weekend. It will have another week to finish up there and I can always let it go longer in secondary, if necessary. Then, after bottling, it’s supposed to go another month conditioning. (I’m sure temptation will have me opening one to test after a couple of weeks!)

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Day 126 Quick updates on Hi-Nelson Saison, Tepache #3

This morning, I put the tepache fermentation bucket out in a sunny spot for the afternoon. I brought it back indie this evening and it is nice and frothy. Tonight, I strained the pineapple skins and core from the liquid and composted them. This time, instead of adding one cup of water and a 12 oz beer, I decided to do the option without adding beer. It calls for four cups of water…not sure why the difference in volume of the additions when adding beer versus not. But it was so close to 1 gallon, that I went ahead and bumped the water to about 7 cups to get it to the gallon mark. I’ll track the progress and decide when to bottle it.

Tepache bucket in back. Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample in front...settled under refrigeration.

Tepache bucket in back. Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample in front…settled under refrigeration.

The Hi-Nelson Saison is still bubbling away. It has slowed from the very aggressive bubbling to a regular, rhythmic bubble about every 4 seconds. I’ll probably replace the blow-off with a regular airlock sometime tomorrow. I saved the hydrometer sample in the refrigerator, so I could let it settle and see the color and also taste it. The color is nice. It will definitely change when I add the hibiscus tea, but it looks like a good base. The flavor…obviously pre-fermentation sweet…but a good foundation to build on, I think.

A friend has brewed this recipe locally and kegged it. I got a 22 oz bomber of it today to try! The color is like grape juice almost…not quite as dark. You expect a fruit juice kind of flavor from it, but it’s not sweet…more tart. There is a kind of fruit, citrus, earthy quality to the taste, but a carb tingle on the tongue turns to a dryness, like the tannins in a lighter red wine.

A friend's version of Hi-Nelson Saison. Hard to capture the color, but intense!

A friend’s version of Hi-Nelson Saison. Hard to capture the color, but intense!

The aroma is not powerful, but it’s interesting. The combination of dry hopping with Nelson-Sauvin hops and hibiscus tea makes for a hard to describe scent. Much like wine, but with a resinous componant. The alcohol seems to be evident in the nose, but not in the flavor (even though it is a fairly high ABV, in the 8% range). All in all, an interesting taste that grows on you and it’s refreshing! Nice!

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Day 125 July 4th! Brew Day! Saison!

Supplies for brewing today.

Supplies for brewing today.

After some glitches in finding what I needed to brew today and an unexpected trip to Raleigh, I finally got a late start on brewing today. This is what I brewed: Hi Nelson Saison    By FuzzyMittens Recipe specifics: Style: Saison Batch size: 5.0 gal OG: 1.076 FG: 1.000 Bitterness (IBU): 35.5 Color (SRM): 5.1 ABV: 7.5% (my calculator puts this at 9.98%) Grain/Sugars: 11.00 lb Pilsner (Belgian), 78.6%   (Had to substitute German) 1.00 lb Munich 6L, (German), 7.1% 1.00 lb Cane Sugar, 7.1% @ 10 minutes 0.50 lb Flaked Wheat, 3.6% 0.50 lb Flaked Oats, 3.6% Hops: 1.00 oz Nelson Sauvin (AA 13.0%, Pellet) 60 min, 35.5 IBU 0.50 oz Nelson Sauvin (AA 13.0%, Pellet) 0 min, 0.0 IBU 1.50 oz Nelson Sauvin (AA 13.0%, Pellet) dry hop Recipe Notes: Use Belle Saison yeast. Add tea to secondary. Tea is made with half pound of flowers steeped in half gallon of hot water. Mash @ 148 and boiled for 60. The brew went well today. I brewed in the BIAB method. (Brew in a Bag).

(BIAB) Brew in a bag

(BIAB) Brew in a bag

I did have to make a grain substitution, but they are VERY close, so it shouldn’t be a problem. This brew really gets interesting later, when it gets dry hopped with 1-1/2 oz of Nelson Sauvin and in secondary fermentation along with a tea made with dried hibiscus flowers.

Dried Hibiscus F;owers

Dried Hibiscus F;owers

After chilling the wort, I used my new little oxygen tank set up to oxygenate the wort for about two minutes. That should give a healthy yeast action and get fermentation started faster. I wound up with about 6 gallons of wort, but, after the trub and racking, it will likely be back to around 5 gallons. OG is 1.068; a little lower than target of 1.076, but I believe others brewing this recipe were in the same range. If the experience of others holds true in fermentation, the FG would be around 1.004; rather than 1.000 and that would result in an 8.4% ABV. That’s plenty! Looks like the original recipe may have incorrect numbers. OG of 1.076 and FG of 1.000 would be 9.98% ABV, not the 7.5% listed. 10:00 pm No action in the blow off, so I put a heating pad under the bucket on the lowest setting. The original brewer of this recipe talks about ramping the temp up to 90F for the first week, I think. This Belle Saison yeast is supposed to take off fast, especially with the oxygen boost I gave it. Hmmm.

By the way, I put the tepache outside and it is starting to get a little action in the airlock tonight.

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Day 110 Bottling Major Nelson’s IPA

Major Nelson's IPA

Major Nelson’s IPA

Okay, so I bottled Major Nelson’s IPA today. This is my second all-grain Brew in a Bag (BIAB) beer. This was the “unnamed IPA” recipe from Atlantic Brew Supply for The National Big Brew on May 3, 2014. My name was runner up to “No Way Jose IPA”. I’m sticking with mine.

This IPA includes Falconer’s Fight, Cascade and Simcoe hops and features a Nelson Sauvin dry-hop. The yeast is Mangrove Jack West Coast. The OG was 1.058 and the FG is 1.012, so that yields an ABV of 6.04%.  Based on Northern Brewer’s online priming sugar calculator, I added a tad over 93 grams of corn sugar mixed with about 12 oz of hot, bottled water. The calculator tool called for 93.86 grams, but my scale doesn’t do decimals. Anyway, I made sure it was well dissolved and thoroughly stirred in to my estimated 3.8 gallons of beer to be bottled. I wound up with 40 12 oz bottles. That’s 3.75 gallons. And I did have about a half a bottle left over, so I pretty well nailed the volume with my estimate. I hope that translates to a perfectly carbed IPA! I am encouraged by the aroma, flavor and color. The recipe says to age 30 days. I’m looking forward to it! I’m betting this will be great on July 4th…so I put American Flag crown caps on this batch.

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Day 109 Racking IPA to Bottling Bucket

 

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Since racking off of the trub and dry hops in primary fermentation, the IPA settled and had a fairly thin layer of sediment left on the bottom. In addition, there were some little bits of what I am assuming were hops that somehow made it through. They were floating just below the surface and they did not look like they were going to precipitate out.

Floating bits that I had to filter out.

Floating bits that I had to filter out.

So, I decided to rack to my bottling bucket, filtering through the bag I use for BIAB.

Using (sanitized) BIAB bag to filter.

Using (sanitized) BIAB bag to filter.

That seemed to work well. I now have just under 4 gallons of beer. I’m going to give it the day to settle again and will hopefully get it bottled tonight. If not, then tomorrow.

I did get a small taste from the siphon when I was done. The flavor is bitter, but it is supposed to be…and I’m thinking the flavor is improving.

trubby sample...waiting for it to settle.

trubby sample…waiting for it to settle.

I pulled some additional beer from the bottom of the carboy and put it in a testing tube in the fridge to chill and settle. Once it separates, I’ll pour off the good beer and clean the testing tube, return the beer to the tube and test for the FG.

Update: The sample settled a little more than what is shown in the picture, but after pouring off the good stuff, I was below what I needed for the hydrometer. I took just enough additional through the bottling bucket spigot to get a reading. I’m seeing an FG of 1.012; the OG was 1.058. That makes the  ABV 6.04%. The recipe estimate was 7%, but the actual for the recipe was 4.7%, so I’m in great shape, I think.

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Day 108 Racking Major Nelson IPA & White’s SEC

Dry hopped Major Nelson, ready for secondary.

Dry hopped Major Nelson, ready for secondary.

Primary has been going for 8 days, the last 4 were dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin. I racked a little over 5 gallons from the bottling bucket that I used for primary fermentation into a big glass carboy.

Racking to secondary.

Racking to secondary.

This batch had a crapload of trub! I wound up with what looks like a little under 4 gallons of beer and gallon or more of trub…dang it!

Spent yeast and hops equals a gallon of trub!

Spent yeast and hops equals a gallon of trub!

Trub up to the gallon mark...maybe a little more.

Trub up to the gallon mark…maybe a little more.

I could have topped it more after the boil, but it would have brought down my SG. I would rather have better beer, than more beer (to some extent…short a full gallon kinda hurts)!

A little under 4 gallons (?) in secondary.

A little under 4 gallons (?) in secondary.

I pulled a small sample to taste…and managed to knock it over. D’oh! I did get a single, small sip and it has a bracing bitterness and very hoppy aroma. So many hops I haven’t had experience with before…it will be interesting! I plan on a few days in secondary; maybe a week, and then bottling. Recipe calls for aging for 30 days, but IPA’s are meant to be consumed pretty fresh, before the hops fade, aren’t they. We’ll see. I’ll check it about 12-14 days after bottling and see how it’s doing. Now…I just need to get the carbonation right!

I also racked a half gallon batch of “White’s Fresh Pressed” Super Easy Cider to secondary with no issues. The SG is 1.007…a little past where I wanted to go with it, but that’s ok. Maybe I’ll back sweeten a little when I bottle.

 

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