Nelson Sauvin Braggot Recipe

I have had this idea for a braggot since I learned about the flavor characteristics of Nelson Sauvin hops.

White wine notes along with pale malts and many pounds of light colored honey are the things that meld nicely in my mind. Here is the plan to have them come together in a braggot recipe.

This brew is more mead than beer but that’s sort of the point. The strategy would be to ferment it dry and carbonate it to unleash the hop aromas.

Ingredients:

4 lbs American 2 Row Malt
.5 lbs Dextrine Malt
12 lbs Alfalfa Honey
.5 oz Warrior hops pellets (16% AA) boiled 60 minutes
1 oz Nelson Sauvin pellets (14% AA) boiled 15 minutes
1 oz Nelson Sauvin pellets (14% AA) boiled 1 minute
Yeast: 2 packets of dry Champagne yeast

1 tsp of yeast nutrient
1 tsp of yeast energizer

Predictions:

Original Gravity: 1.099
Final Gravity: 1.019*
Color 1.81 °SRM
Bitterness: 51.5 IBUs
Alcohol (% of volume): 10.6 %

*Calculations based on WLP001 yeast performance but the final gravity can get lower with champagne yeast.

Instructions:

Conduct a small mash with the four pounds of 2-row malt and the dextrine malt. Mash at 149°F for one hour. If you don’t have the means to do a small mash, you can substitute with extra light dry malt extract. My calculations swap the malt for 2.5 pounds of extra light dry malt extract.

Boil the wort for 60 minutes and add hops at times detailed above. Add the honey at the end of the boil after the last hops addition. Chill wort down to 70°F, aerate, and add yeast nutrient and energizer.

Add proofed dry yeast packets and ferment at room temperature for 3 weeks. Take a gravity reading to see how close to 1.000 the braggot is.

If fermentation is finished, rack to a clean and sanitized carboy for a conditioning phase. This phase can last for a couple of months but use your virtue of patience to guide you.

To bottle, proof a half packet of champagne yeast. Add a cup of honey along with the proofed yeast to your bottling bucket.

Bottle the braggot in thick champagne bottles and cork using cages. Age for 6 months before serving.

With the carbonation and the light color, you will be expanding the idea of what beer can be.

Mosaic Hops SMaSH Recipe

Ok- I was talking over with Mike at his sons’ combined birthday party about my next planned brews. Soon the Dunkelweizen will be brewed and then a simple lambic will be started.

After that, there are some hoppy beers that are the list. There’s an IPA on this list which will have a combination of AU hops.

The other one I want to put out there is this one: A Mosaic hops SMaSH recipe.

We’re trying to answer the question if this hop variety really has a blueberry flavor and aroma or not.

With a single malt grain bill and only Mosaic hops used in all phases of the boil (and beyond), we should get a definitive answer.

Here’s the plan for the SMaSH brew:

Boil volume: 6.5 gallons
Batch volume: 5 gallons

Ingredients:

11 pounds of 2 row pale malt
.5 ounces of Mosaic hops – 60 mins
.5 ounces of Mosaic hops – 15 mins
.5 ounces of Mosaic hops – 0 mins
.5 ounces of Mosaic hops – Dry hopped in secondary fermentor
Irish Moss

Yeast: WLP001 California Ale yeast

Instructions:

Mash malt at 150° F for 60 minutes. Sparge until 6.5 gallons of wort are collected. Add hops into the boil when indicated in the ingredient list. Save a half ounce to add to a secondary fermentor after primary fermentation is over. Add irish moss with fiftenn minutes left to go in the boil. At the end of the boil, chill to fermentation temperatures. Rack to your fermentor and aerate the wort well. Pitch your yeast and ferment at 68° F for two weeks. After the fermentation is over, rack to a clean and sanitized carboy for dry hopping. Add the leftover hops to the carboy and let it condition for 4 days.

Once the secondary is over, bottle or keg as usual.

I may scale this brew down to a smaller volume. It might be better to brew up a three gallon batch for this type of experimental brew rather than have a volume that will take up the same amount of bottle space as a proven recipe.

This recipe is third on my current list so it will get brewed in late April at the earliest.

Have you used Mosaic hops yet? How blueberry are they?

A Tasty Red Pyment Recipe

With a mixed berry mead madly fermenting in my basement, my mind focused on a few other mead ideas.  The first one involves black currants and tart cherries, but the one I wanted to put fingertip to keyboard first was one that found the beautiful balance of grapes and honey.

That combination, my friends, is known as a Pyment.  Many of the pyment recipes I found online and in books were made with white grape juice.  I wondered how one made with red grape juice would turn out, especially if it was aged on oak for a few months before it was bottled.

So here is my idea for a tasty red pyment mead recipe.  It calls for some canned grape juice concentrate which should be easy to find at your local homebrew shop.  If not, you can find them online.   They are convenient and cheaper to buy than the whole wine kits.

Batch Size: 5 gallons

Ingredients

2 cans of Alexander’s Premium Burgundy grape juice concentrate
12 pounds (1 gallon) of any variety honey you can get your hands on
Enough spring water to bring the total must to 5 gallons – buy 4 to be sure
2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
2 teaspoons of yeast energizer
2 packets of Red Star Pasteur Red yeast
1 package of oak cubes

Instructions

Combine the concentrate and the honey in your fermentor. Pour in the water to bring the total to the 5 gallon mark.

Follow the staggered yeast nutrient/energizer procedure. You can add in a half teaspoon of yeast energizer and a half teaspoon of the yeast nutrient before you pitch your yeast.

Then, uh, pitch your yeast.

After that, you will need to mark time and follow this schedule:

Add .5 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient 24 hours after fermentation begins
Add .5 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient 48 hours after fermentation begins
Add .5 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient after 30% of the sugar has been depleted

After primary fermentation is over, rack to another cleaned and sanitized carboy and introduce the oak cubes. I like to steam my oak cubes for 15 minutes before I put them in the carboy.
How long you age it on the oak is up to you. I think I am going to go for a long time on the oak to see how much flavor I can get out of the cubes. Once the flavor is to your liking, bottle and serve to your wine snob friends.

Lambic Recipe – Exploring the Sweet Side of Sour

A friend came to visit us at the end of last year and we hung out on New Year’s Eve.   I brought over some of my beers and we tasted them.  He commented, “Don’t you have anything sour?”

I laughed.  When he and I were in Zurich a couple of months prior, I bought a few lambic style beers while we were eating dinner.

Brewing an excellent lambic at home is a mighty challenge.  These are complex beers that have been brewed in Belgium for centuries using a spontaneous fermentation and wooden barrels for conditioning.

Since I don’t live in Belgium or have a wooden barrel, I’d say I am at a disadvantage.  If you are reading this post, you are most likely in the same boat as me.

With some help from a fantastic article written by Steve Piatz, I put this recipe together with instructions on how you can brew this style at home too. Now I am not an expert, but I came up with this approach that I think will work.

This is an extract recipe for a five gallon batch.

Preparations

One particular ingredient you will need for this recipe is aged hops. At the time I am writing this post, I did find them for sale if you are willing to buy a pound of them. If you are not willing to buy that much, you will need to make your own but it will take some time. To get hops properly aged, leave them in a paper bag in a dry, hot place like an attic for a few months until they turn yellow. Another way to get old hops (not aged) is to ask your local homebrew shop if there are some packets that have been on the shelves for too long and see if you can take them off your hands.

Now The Mad Fermentationist has written that he has made many beers without aged hops. You may skip the aging process but I would use low alpha hops like Saaz and use an ounce, add for the full boil time. The style should not have any hop aroma or flavor so keep that in mind.

Getting oxygen into the beer during the fermentation phase is important. Since plastic is more permeable than glass, use a plastic bucket for the primary fermentation.

You can use dregs from bottles of commercially available lambic to ferment your beer but for your first time, try using a lambic blend that you can buy from one of the big yeast sellers.

Ingredients

4 pounds of extra light dry malt extract
2 pounds of dry wheat malt extract

Mr. Piatz calls for adding maltodextrin to the boil so there is something for the bacteria to eat after the initial sugars are fermented by the brewer’s yeast. I am going to follow his suggestion and add some to my recipe

4 ounces of maltodextrin

3 ounces of aged hops or 1 ounce of Saaz hops

1 vial of WLP001 yeast
1 vial of WLP655 Belgian Sour Mix

Instructions

Add enough water for a 7 gallon volume. Boil the extract and the hops for 90 minutes. Cool wort and aerate. Pitch WLP001.

(If you want to be adventurous, you can let the wort sit with the lid cracked open to let the airborne yeast/bacteria to get at the wort before you pitch the yeast.)

After a week, pitch the mix and let the fun start. I am planning to keep it in the bucket for a year.

Once the year is over, I plan to taste it to see how it turned out.

From there, I bottle or let it sit longer. We’ll see. BREW ON!

Belgian Dark Strong Ale Recipe

I had a dream of brewing a Grand Cru the other night. Truthfully. It was a good dream, by the way. This style would be another one to brew strong and let condition over a period of a few months. Bottling it up in bomber bottles, the finished beer would make a nice gift. Here is my recipe the Grand Cru style of beer – the Belgian Dark Strong ale.

Boil Size: 7 gallons
Batch Size: 5 gallons

Ingredients

14 lbs Belgian Pale
.5 lbs Belgian Special B malt
3 lbs Belgian Munich malt
1 lbs Amber Candi Sugar
1.25 oz Styrian Goldings Pellets (~5 %AA) boiled for 60 minutes
0.50 oz Styrian Goldings Pellets (~5 %AA) boiled for 15 minutes

Yeast: White Labs WLP545 Belgian Strong Ale

Instructions

Create a mighty yeast starter a few days before you brew session. Mash malts for one hour at 150 degrees F. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops at the specified times left in the boil.

You can add the candi sugar at 15 minutes left in the boil if you want. You don’t have to boil it for the full hour. Cool down the wort to 68 degrees F and pitch yeast. Ferment until final gravity is reached. If you bottle, prime with enough sugar for a high carbonation. For the keggers, force carbonate to 3.5 volumes of CO2.

Predictions

Original Gravity: 1.097
Terminal Gravity: 1.017
Color: 20.86 °SRM
Bitterness: 31.6 IBU
Alcohol percentage by volume: 10.7%

The style guidelines for this beer call for a rich, complex Belgian ale. Interestingly enough, classic examples of the style have simple malt bills and the complexity in the flavor comes from the addition of simple sugars. I am using candi sugar in this recipe, but I have seen some other ones online that call for honey or plain table sugar. The bitterness of this beer should not overwhelm the maltiness. Although in my recipe the IBUs are on the high range of the style, I always feel like I have to add more hops in my beers.

Brew On!