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Cucumber's Revenge

CUCUMBER KOLSCH 2: Cucumber's Revenge - #6 (09/12/14)

Malt Extract:

  • Liquid: 6 lbs (Pale Malt - put in at 20 mins)
  • Dry: 1 lb

Grain Bill:

  • Carafoam Malt 4 oz
  • Carahell Malt 4 oz

Additions Schedule:

  • Mt. Hood Hops 1.5 oz - 60 min
  • Citra Hops .5 oz - 15 min
  • Whirlfloc Tab - 20 min
  • 5 cucumbers, 1 x Lemon Grass Stalk - blended into 2.5 gallons of water and let sit over night (9/11/14)

Yeast:

  • WYEAST 2565 Kolsch Yeast

Description:

They say you never forget your first.

After a little time apart, I still couldn't let go of my first homebrew.  In a misguided attempt to relive the 'good times,' this beer turned into a 2AM drunk dial of a recipe.  I thought after a few successes it would be a good time to go back and apply my experience and make it even better.  I tried compensating for the parts that could've been better and even tried to spice things up a bit, BUT alas, just like getting back with an ex, it was doomed from the start.  Yes, it was 'familiar' and yes, it was 'comfortable,' but there wasn't that fresh spark.  Something was missing.  The magic was gone...  

 

Giving it another go wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  I learned a lot and you know what they about even your worst Brew Job........ FAAAANtastic.  In no way was this a bad beer, but the places where I cut corners really seemed noticeable.  The first corner I cut was replacing the expensive Organic Cucumbers from Sprouts with bulk Costco Cucumbers.  The freshness and sweetness of the cucumber flavor really fell flat, Organic FTW.  I also took out the Dried Bitter Orange Peel from the first batch, which, I guess actually helped balance the flavor in the first batch.

 

I think the BIGGEST problem with this recipe was the grain bill.  My first Kolsch had almost no head, so to counteract that I used some Carafoam... for what I guessed would be 'Foam.'  This actually took away from the light and crispy body and weighed it down with a heavy malty flavor which completely counteracts the whole premise of the light/effervescent/rejuvenating marriage between cucumber and beer.

 

 

Directions:

  1. The day before brewing - peel and shred 5 cucumbers and 1 stalk of lemon grass into 2 gallons of water and allow to sit over night.
  2. On brew day - In a small pot boil bring some water up to almost boiling and steep the grains in a bag for 30 mins.
  3. Add this mixture to a larger pot with water and boil.  Strain as much out of the bag as possible.
  4. When the boil begins, add extract and begin the Additions Schedule in mesh bags.
  5. Cool down wort and pour into sanitized fermenter.  Add Cucumber water and bring up to 5 gallons.
  6. Pitch Yeast.

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Thai IPA = ThaIPA

ThaIPA - #5 (08/22/14)

Malt Extract:

  • Liquid: 6 lbs
  • Dry: 1 lb

Grain Bill:

  • Caravienne 16 oz

Additions Schedule:

  • 1 oz Simcoe Hops - 60 min
  • Cilantro Stalks - 60 min
  • Whirlfloc Tab - 20 min
  • 1 oz Simcoe Hops - 10 min
  • 1 oz Corriander Seed - 10 min
  • 2 oz Simcoe Hops - 5 min
  • 1 Lemon Grass stalk pounded and chopped - 5 min
  • 1/2 Bundle of Cilantro leaves - 5 min
  • 2 oz Simcoe Hops - Flameout
  • 1/2 Bundle of Cilantro leaves - Flameout
  • .25 oz Corriander Seed - Flameout
  • 1/2 Bundle of Cilantro, 1 Lemon Grass Stalk, 5 Zested Limes - 7 days later

Yeast:

  • White Labs - WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast

Description:

This started out as a pretty simple recipe, but the quantities of everything ended up getting a bit out of control.  Being from the West Coast and Southern California specifically, I wanted to try my hand at a Big Hoppy IPA, but... basic is never enough.  I then started thinking of alternative ingredients to make it my own and came up with: cilantro, lemon grass, lime and a "ThaiPA" was born!  With all these additions, the simplicity of this recipe quickly spun out of control and, in retrospect, I might've gone a bit overboard with the amount of each ingredient too (this brew could be cheaper without sacrificing flavor).

 

There were a couple techniques I wanted to try out with this recipe: Dry Hopping and Single Hopping.  First off, Dry Hopping:  Rather than 'dry hop' with... 'hops,' I used cilantro, lemon grass, and lime.  S-M-R-T!  These really imparted a lot of freshness to the beer and this is a worthwhile technique.  On the other hand, Single Hopping:  For this beer I chose Simcoe (for it's spicy and citrusy profile) to compliment the other Thai flavors and I thought it would be a good idea to get really familiar with one specific hop.  After trying this out, I now believe that Single Hoping is a waste of time and hops are like Voltron: "The more you can hook up, the better it gets!"

 

The ThaIPA turned out to be a crowd pleaser and was really tasty on a hot day.  The cilantro and citrus hit like a Tiger Uppercut to the nose and could definitely be toned down on further iterations.  There was a one-two punch of lemon grass and lime, with a spicy after taste from the cilantro (definitely not a good brew for any of you with OR6A2 - also, I pity you: Cilantro is delicious!)  I would love to rework this recipe for Round 2 with a lighter/less flavorful/varied malt and hops bill (maybe some Amarillo and Citra to boost the citrus even more), less cilantro, and a different yeast.  It might be fun to add some coconut milk, a hint of chili, lime leaf, and/or maybe even curry(?)!  Thai flavors and beer are a definite win.

 

Directions:

  1. In a small pot boil bring some water up to almost boiling and steep the grains in a bag for 30 mins.
  2. Add this mixture to a larger pot with water and boil.  Strain as much out of the bag as possible.
  3. When the boil begins, add extract and begin the Additions Schedule in mesh bags.
  4. Cool down wort and pour into sanitized fermenter.  Add water and bring up to 5 gallons.
  5. Pitch Yeast.
  6. After 7 days of fermentation, add the rest of the Additions and let sit for another 7 before bottling.

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Fuji Apple Tripel

Fuji Apple Tripel - #4

Malt Extract:

  • Liquid: 6 lbs
  • Dry: 1 lb

Grain Bill:

  • Aromatic Malt 8 oz
  • Caravienne 8 oz

Additions Schedule:

  • Liberty Hops 1 oz - 60 min
  • Target Hops .5 oz - 30 min
  • Fuggles Hops 1 oz - 15 min
  • Belgian Candi Syrup - 10 min
  • 1 x Sliced Fuji Apple - 60 min, 30 min, 15 min
  • Honey: 3 lbs - 10 min
  • Cinnamon - ?
  • Nutmeg - ?
  • 5 Fuji Apples - grate into 2.5 gallons of water and let sit overnight

Yeast:

  • Trappist High Gravity

Description:

As opposed to my last brew, this batch's research was extensively noted - almost to the point of losing coherence.  I had just gotten my Brew Log (Blog?) Book and thought it would be useful to write EVERYTHING down.  I was wrong, but it was a good start to taking notes.

After brewing a few average ABV beers, I really wanted to tackle a BIGGER beer.  I read up on the difficulties of having a high gravity wort and the potential insufficient yeast, but in the end I figured the best way to would just be to give it a shot and see what happens.  I chose a Tripel and my initial thought was to use Figs to spice it up, but the batch I bought were pretty tasteless.  Thus entered Fuji Apples - which, I might add, turned out to be an excellent choice.

One way to boost the alcohol content is to use Belgian Candi which will increase alcohol, but not impact the flavor of the beer.  To make this you have to break the sucrose down to glucose and fructose with citric acid - which basically translates into boiling 1 lb of sugar in 2 cups of water and squeezing in a lemon.  When it was all said and done, the Original Gravity of this came out to about 1.07 (which in retrospect, seems a bit low still).

All my research pointed to this beer needing to ferment for an extra amount of time, like a LOT of extra time.  I waited 4 weeks before bottling, but once it finally came time to taste it - all that time and effort really payed off.  This beer has a deep amber hue and a full nose of golden apples. The Belgian Candi DOES creates a little bit of a boozey aftertaste, but goes away after aging for a little.  All in all, a well balanced but powerful beer - One of my favorites.

 

Directions:

  1. The day before brewing - grate 5 Fuji Apples into 2.5 gallons of water and allow to sit over night.
  2. On brew day - In a small pot boil bring some water up to almost boiling and steep the grains in a bag for 30 mins.
  3. Add this mixture to a larger pot with water and boil.  Strain as much out of the bag as possible.
  4. When the boil begins, add extract and begin the Additions Schedule in mesh bags.
  5. Cool down wort and pour into sanitized fermenter.  Add Fuji Apple water and bring up to 5 gallons.
  6. Pitch Yeast.

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Chocolate/Orange Cream Ale

CHOCOLATE/ORANGE CREAM ALE - #3

Malt Extract:

  • Liquid: 6 lbs
  • Dry: 1 lb

Grain Bill:

  • Chocolate Malt 4 oz
  • Caramel Malt 4 oz

Additions Schedule:

  • Mount Hood Hops 1.25 oz - 60 min
  • Citra Hops .8 oz - 60 min
  • Saaz Hops 1 oz - 10 min
  • Baking Chocolate (sweeter chocolate would be better)
  • Lactose .5 lb?
  • 5 Oranges - grate/zest into 2.5 gallons of water and let sit over night

Yeast:

  • Cream Ale Yeast

Description:

My second batch was a disaster.  It was some drunken combination of ingredients around the house including old molasses and steeped dried chili peppers.  It tasted like a BBQ... like the grill of a dirty BBQ.  It was a... learning experience.

With my newly found respect for the craft, my next batch involved a lot more research.  This was still before I took detailed notes though.  Since the last batch went to terribly wrong - I wanted to try something sweeter and I had just learned about the Cream Ale styles.  Cream Ales use Lactose (a non-fermentable sugar) to give a silky smooth mouth feel and add a little bit of sweetness.  Note:  Lactose is the sugar in milk - milk is not sweet.  I hadn't seen a lot of chocolate cream ales out there and thought orange might add a different spin - ie. Terry's Chocolate Orange Ball.  Personally, "I don't like them... But _______ do."

I didn't take many notes at the time, but the as I recall this was a big fit among those who tasted it.  The nose was massively Orange, but the flavor fell more to a bittersweet chocolate with an emphasis on bittersweet.  If I were to brew this a second time, I would add a sweeter chocolate (syrup, perhaps?) and oranges to the boil.

Directions:

  1. The day before brewing - grate and zest 5 oranges into 2.5 gallons of water and allow to sit over night.
  2. On brew day - In a small pot boil bring some water up to almost boiling and steep the grains in a bag for 30 mins.
  3. Add this mixture to a larger pot with water and boil.  Strain as much out of the bag as possible.
  4. When the boil begins, add extract and begin the Additions Schedule in mesh bags.
  5. Cool down wort and pour into sanitized fermenter.  Add Orange water and bring up to 5 gallons.
  6. Pitch Yeast.

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Cucumber Kolsh

CUCUMBER KOLSCH - #1

Malt Extract:

  • Liquid: 6 lbs
  • Dry: 1 lb

Grain Bill:

  • Carahall Malt 8 oz

Additions Schedule:

  • Hallertaurer Hops 1.25 oz - 60 min
  • Citra Hops .2 oz - 15 min
  • Bitter Orange - 15 min
  • 5 cucumbers - grated into 2 gallons of water and let sit over night

Yeast:

  • German Ale/Kolsch Yeast

Description:

This being my first solo brew, I wanted something to reflect a little bit of my heritage and highlight my newly brewing 'creativity.'

Part of my family is originally from Koln Germany and the beer style they are known for there is the Kolsch.  A Kolsch is a very light and refreshing beer that are often be consumed in what we would consider a Session style (At a bar in Koln, the waiter will mark your beer mat to keep tally of how many you drink for the bill).  They are served in tall narrow glasses that highlight the effervescent quality of the style (very similar to a champagne flute).

There's not a whole lot of experimentation going on with Kolschs.  They have a low hop profile and there are traditionally no adjuncts.  What makes the Kolsch style unique is that it's a hybrid yeast (Ale/Lager) - This means that it needs to ferment then be stored in the cold for a long period of time.  I didn't know this at the time.  It was a REALLY hot summer in 2014 and I wanted to brew something that would be exceptionally refreshing.  Cucumber water first came to mind and since all I knew about Extract brewing at the time was that you cut the concentrated wort with water, I figured why not flavor that water (since boiling cucumbers would ruin their fresh taste).  This was smart.

The final product came out light, effervescent, refreshing, with a strong cucumber nose.  The longer it sat, the better it got.  It was an excellent marriage between a refreshing glass of cucumber water and a light beer.  Perfect on a hot day.

Directions:

  1. The day before brewing - peel and shred 5 cucumbers into 2 gallons of water and allow to sit over night.
  2. On brew day - In a small pot boil bring some water up to almost boiling and steep the grains in a bag for 30 mins.
  3. Add this mixture to a larger pot with water and boil.  Strain as much out of the bag as possible.
  4. When the boil begins, add extract and begin the Additions Schedule in mesh bags.
  5. Cool down wort and pour into sanitized fermenter.  Add Cucumber water and bring up to 5 gallons.
  6. Pitch Yeast.

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