Saturday, October 2, 2010

Updates: Passionfruit Wheat and Post-Oktoberfest Stuff

If you read one of my previous posts, you'll know that I've been working on a Passionfruit Wheat and an under-attenuated Barleywine. Here's some updates on those puppies.

The passionfruit wheat is carbed and tastes pretty good - I think it's missing some malt character, or needs less fruit next time. The malt bill was 5% Crystal 15, with the rest split even with 2 Row and Wheat. The OG was 1.051 - and we used 48oz of Passionfruit puree. I've been drinking a lot of Lagunita's A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' which has a great malt base (they say they use 3 different kinds of wheat) - and really admiring how well the malt balances all the hop flavor. It's 7.5%, and a dangerous 7.5% at that - so I might kick up the malt next time and see how she goes. I think I'll also use an American Wheat yeast strain - I just used 001 here.

I will say this beer makes some excellent passionfruit pancakes! Jiffy mix, an egg, and some beer are all you need. Mix until thickish, put in the fridge for 15 minutes, and cook 'em up - if you want to get fancy, sprinkle some coconut in to get a nice tropical aura.

And krausening the barleywine really worked! It's down from 1.035 to 1.027 now. I'm going to let it sit a couple more weeks and see if it drops anymore. I'll also pitch a bit of fresh yeast when bottling comes around, according to these "bottle like a pro" directions (though I've decided to use Safale-05 for bottle conditioning this one). So maybe that'll drop the FG a bit more too.

After the HOPS! Oktoberfest I was left with a half keg each of IPA and Pale Ale. I was sorta tired of each beer, neither of which was outstanding on its own, so I blended the two together to make what I think is a very good, well balanced pale ale that I'm very happy with. To do this, just make a keg jumper from some beverage line and 2 keg-out connectors (the black ones on ball lock kegs). Bleed the destination keg every so often, and slowly push with some CO2 from the source keg - I demonstrate this in my Double IPA video. I love doing these closed-system transfers.

Recently Brewed
There was a Pliny clone in a recent issue of Zymurgy, which I brewed up. It was a totally impromptu brew - I was having a crappy day, so I just decided to f everything and brew something. The last double I made came out too bitter for me, so I cut the boil time from 90 to 60 minutes wo/ cutting the 3oz of bittering hops (though I did use 1oz of that for 1st wort hopping). The end result was I came in an entire point low on my OG - 1.063 vs. the desired 1.073 - oops, tough I did hit my pre-boil on the dot (hurray!). In the spirit of RDWHAHB, I shrugged my shoulders and wrapped it up. It finished out at 1.011 and was tasty - not too bitter or boozy at 7%, so instead of a double I'm just going to have a heckuva single IPA on my hands. It's dry hopping now and we'll just have to see how it tastes once it's carbed up.

Controlling that CO2 Bitterness
One thing I've been doing with my kegs and carbonation is cutting off the gas once the beer tastes good to me, and then giving it more gas as needed to keep the serving pressure up. I think the beer doesn't absorb so much CO2 that way, and as a result, doesn't keep getting more and more bitter as it sits on the gas - as CO2 adds a certain "bite" to the beer, and can also thin out the mouthfeel. Maybe I'm just weird and it's all in my head, but seems to be doing the trick on certain brews.

Cheers and brew on!