Sunday Brewday

It’s cold outside, and my husband has put some wood in our fireplace. It cannot become more cosy than that. After a hygge morning on the sofa with nice breakfast and coffee, I am on my way to my brewery, as it is a perfect day to brew.

I ordered malt and hops at Brewparts and bought some yeast at Maltbazaren. My two favorite places to order home brewing ingredients. It is time now to brew another Belgian Blond. I am still struggling to get this recipe right, so the only thing left is learning by doing. I used some pilsner and Cara Blond malt and I also changed the mashing regime. I mashed in at 52 degrees Celsius, raised the temperature to 65 degrees Celsius and finished by 73 degrees Celsius. In this way, I hope to get a bit more body and mouthfeel.

My Braumeister is working fine today and I’m really happy for that. After mashing, I used my crane to lift the pot and I rinsed the spent grains with 8 liter of water to get all the sugar out.

Now it is time for boiling and adding the hops.

I used two types of hops: Hallertau Mittelfruh and Saaz.

After boiling, I use my spoon to whirlpool and then I cool down the wort until 70 degrees Celsius. Then I poor the wort into a fermentation bucket and let it cool down further in my fermentation closet.

Tomorrow I will add the yeast (WLP540) and then we need to wait until the yeast has done its job.

Have you done something creative today?

Summer Dream – my first American Pale Ale

For everything is a first 🙂 and yes, finally I am tackling the American style beers (with the exception of the American Barley Wine I brewed earlier this year – Barley Trouble). Many of you will laugh now, as these styles (Indian Pale Ale and American Pale Ale), are normally the styles you start with as a home brewer. Stubborn as I am though, I started with the Belgian styles, as I can’t deny my Belgian roots. That resulted in a lot of trying, as I still feel I have not been able to brew the perfect Belgian Blond as I like it.

That said, after 5 years of home brewing, I feel it is time to broaden my horizon. So that is why I decided to make an American Pale Ale (APA), also because I adore this beer style when done right. These beers are very aromatic – beautiful flavors coming from the hops – but are not as bitter as an Indian Pale Ale (IPA).

I invited a friend to brew with me and he was even more courageous than me, as he brewed a pilsner style that day for the first time. So it was pretty exciting to get started. My brewer’s friend brought his Grainfather, while I brewed on my Braumeister.

As I am not a fan of pale malt, I decided to use a mix of pilsner malt, Munich malt and a very low amount of biscuit malt to get the caramel character. For the hops, I used mosaic as bitter hops and late aroma hops. I was lucky to get 5 kg mosaic hop pellets from another brewery, so I could use a lot of it as aroma hops. I love the aroma of mosaic, very fruity and citrusy.

As I got an extra accessory to my Braumeister, namely a filter to block hop and other herbs from the wort when filling the fermentation bucket, I needed to try that out. You can almost not see it, but it is the stainless steel funny looking pipe in the front of the picture.

After a vigorous long boil, the wort was ready to be put in the fermentation bucket to cool down and ferment.

After 16h of cooling down, I added Safale US-05, the standard yeast almost for a lot of APA’s and IPA’s. After only 5 days of fermentation, I added loads of mosaic and citra hops as dry hops. Another 6 days later, the beer was ready to be put on bottles. I added extra sugar (dextrose) to referment on the bottle.

And today is the day to try the first bottle, after 10 days of refermentation on the bottle.

The foam is really amazing, small bubbles and it stays. The color is also perfect, amber like. The smell is very citrusy and fruity, but I also can still smell the malt. The taste is still a bit sweet, so it needs some longer time to referment all the sugar. However, the bitter-sweet balance is quite good and the bitterness is for sure not too high. A good first attempt I would say, but next time I will need to add less Munich malt, as that gives the more malty taste. I should also not be shy with the hops, as I have plenty and the smell can definitely be more hoppy.

The beer needs some more time and then I’ll taste again :-).

Do you have any recommendations on how to accentuate the hoppy aroma more?

Blondine – my new Belgian Blond

Some weeks ago I could feel the butterflies in my tummy, yes, spring is coming! And that means it’s time to brew some light summer beers. As I still want to perfect my Belgian Blond recipe, I decided to give that one a try again. Last time I brewed a Belgian Blond was together with the people from Brewparts (read more here Brewing at Brewparts). That beer was served on the 40 years birthday party of my husband last November and was very well appreciated by the people.

So I used a similar recipe, existing of pilsner malt, flakes oats instead of oat malt and some Cara blonde to elevate the caramel taste and color. I also added some cane sugar during the boil.

As hops I used Mittelfruh as that one gives a very clean bitterness. This time I also used some spices: bitter orange peel and coriander seeds.

My Braumeister is still doing an excellent job and I really love brewing with it.

It takes me around 5 hours to brew with it, perfect for a Saturday :-).

I mashed in at 50 degrees Celsius and used a two step mashing: 45 min at 65 degrees C and 25 min at 73 degrees C.

After mashing, I boiled the wort for 60 min with the hops.

After boiling, I whirlpooled the wort and then it cooled down to around 75 degrees C so I could put it on a fermentation bucket.

I left the wort in my fermentation closet to cool down overnight. The next day, I aerated the wort for about 30 min before adding the yeast. I used M47 Belgian Abbey yeast from Mangrove Jacks.

After 7 days of fermentation, I cooled the green beer down to 4-5 degrees Celsius before bottling it. After 3 days of cooling, mist of the yeast dropped to the bottom and I could bottle my beer.

I bottled half of the beer on bottles to referment and half of the beer I put on a keg.

The beer has been nicely fermenting further in the bottles and I tried the beer some days ago. The flavor is really like a Belgian Blond should be: spicy phenolic, fruity (banana) and with a clean soft bitterness. As I used quite some oats, the beer is quite hazy, but it gives a good body to the beer. I’m quite satisfied already with the outcome but will need to age the beer a bit more to see how it evolves.

I have sent this beer in for the DM i håndbryg (Danish National Home-brewing competition). Very exciting to hear their verdict!

Barley Trouble – a crazy Barley Wine recipe

A month ago I was invited by a friend to do a home brew together. He has a Grainfather and I have a Braumeister and it would be fun to make two home-brews together, meanwhile comparing our systems. So I decided to try an earlier Barley Wine recipe again. This recipe failed the first time, as I tried a double mash in my old system, which completely clogged up the pump. However, I was sure the Braumeister would be able to handle it.

My first recipe turned out well by the way, as I loaded whatever brew came out with loads of hops. I also refermented with a Brettanomyces yeast, which yielded 43 out of 50 points at the DM i HÃ¥ndbryg competition in 2016. Not too bad at all after all.

So I decided to use the same grain bill with 6 different malts: pale malt, crystal malt, rye malt, Cara aroma, oat malt, melanoidin and biscuit malt. Quite complicated, but loaded with flavor.

As I wanted to perform a double mash, I started on Saturday afternoon with the first mash. Therefore, I used half of the malt.

The color was already quite dark but I sparged with 8 liter of water, to have enough to use this first wort as mashing water for the next brew.

The next day, on Sunday, the time was there to do some real home-brewing and some comparison between Grainfather and Braumeister.

My friend decided to brew an out meal stout. As I never tried that, I was quite curious to see how that would turn out.

After boiling, the color was definitely much darker than my barley wine. The glass to the left is my barley wine, the one to the right is the out meal stout.

It is quite more fun to brew with a friend than just on my own. Especially when some good beers are served. We tried a Petrus Aged Red, a sour ale with cherries aged on barrel. The beer was very smooth, slightly sour but well balanced. The cherry flavor was prominent, but not too much.

After mashing, it was time to get the malt out and start boiling. This time I didn’t sparge, to make sure a high alcohol level could be achieved.

The boil went really well and as I wanted to make an American Barley Wine, I added Nelson Sauvin hops as bitter and aroma hops.

After a wonderful dinner, it was time to head home to get the Barley Wine some yeast to ferment. I used WLP001, California Ale to ferment, as this yeast has a neutral flavor profile and ferments to quite high alcohol content.

As I wanted to experiment with dry hopping and adding some whiskey drained French oak chips, I divided the brew in two and fermented them separately.

In the top one I added medium roasted French oak chips that were soaked in whiskey for two weeks when the fermentation was almost completed (after 2,5 weeks).

In the lower one I added Mosaic hops as dry hopping at the end of fermentation. Both buckets fermented for at least 1-2 weeks further and now the one with dry hopping is down to a density of 1026. The taste is already amazing!

Yesterday I have put the 8 liter of Barley Wine that I dry hopped on a keg to be carbonated.

Now the CO2 needs to do the job and then I can hopefully bottle this first version of Barley Trouble next weekend! It takes time to make a Barley Wine, but if the result is great, I don’t mind to put the time in it as it is fun to experiment!

Bride Blond – to celebrate two 70 years birthdays

The Bride Blond recipe I made in May/June turned out to be a very crispy, nicely fruity and a little phenolic tasting Belgian Blond style beer. At that time, I was asked to brew a beer for a double 70 years birthday party, so I decided to brew another Bride Blond beer, but adjusted the recipe a little bit to get more foam in the glass and to have an even lighter beer (in alcohol and maltiness).
I tried to read up on how you can adjust the foam stability in the glass, as I had foam, but it disappeared quite fast after pouring the beer in the glass:

IMG_5964
First Bride Blond recipe

 

One thing you can do is to add wheat in the malt bill as that will give you more proteins that together with the hop phenols will give you a stable foam. Another thing you can do is mashing at higher temperatures to get more maltodextrins in your final beer which will also help stabilizing the foam. Therefore I bought some body enhancing maltodextrins which you can add before bottling. I am still not sure if I will use those or not.

The color and flavor of my first trial were good, but I still wanted a little less maltiness in the final taste, so that is why decided to add wheat and more oat malt. The malt always smells amazing after milling.
IMG_5947

Then it was time to brew, so I used my favorite Braumeister again and this time brewed only 20 minutes at 63 degrees Celsius and 50 minutes at 73 degrees Celsius to get more maltodextrins in the wort.
For the hops, I also changed the recipe to get a little extra citrus flavor. I used Mittelfrüh as bittering hop and Mittelfrüh + Citra as aroma hops. I love Mittelfrüh for bittering as it is a very delicate hop with a balanced bitterness. Also as aroma it gives you a fruity, spicy and citrus aroma (source: https://ychhops.com/varieties/hallertau-mittlefruh). Citra is very know to give a citrus and tropical aroma.

IMG_5997

After brewing, I filled the fermentation buckets and managed to get around 35 liter final volume, meaning around 32 liter final beer.

IMG_5998

After filling, I cooled down the two fermentation buckets until the next day. I made a yeast starter with 5% light malt and the WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale yeast. I used one sachet per starter to make a fresh starter for every bucket. After overnight culturing the yeast, it was happily bubbling away and I added the starters to the fermentation buckets. I did this in the morning and in the evening, I had happily fermenting buckets :-).

IMG_5978

This time I also aerated the wort before I added the yeast, with a small pump and a stainless steel filter. I aerated for 30 minutes before adding the yeast and I could clearly see that the yeast was very active the next day.
Now it is waiting until the fermentation is over so I can bottle and referment to a hopefully even better Belgian Blond…

Bride Blonde – Belgian style blond ale

One of my first beers I made was our wedding beer, called Bride Blond. A typical Belgian style blond ale. The beer was a big success at our wedding so I decided it was time again to brew the same beer.

I have tried to brew a couple of Tripel and blond style beers in the mean time. However, after I got some comments back from the Danish beer judges (I sent in a beer for the DM i hÃ¥ndbryg competition), it was clear that I needed to change the malt types for the beers. The taste was too much caramel-like, as I used too much biscuit malt in the malt bill.

So that is why I went back to my Bride Blonde beer recipe. The malt bill for this beer is quite simple, only some pilsner malt with some malted oat and a little bit of munich malt as well. On top of this, I also added some light kandis sugar to get the correct alcohol percentage. For the hops, I used a mild bitter hop, Mittelfrüh, which has a nice delicate hop taste.

IMG_5438

On top of the simple malt bill and sugar, I also added some typical spices used in a lot of Belgian style beers: dried orange peel and koriander seeds.

IMG_5442

As usual, I used the Braumeister, my favorite brew system :-).

IMG_5439

I wanted to try 2 yeast types, that is why I brewed around 37-38 liter, so I could split the brew. The two yeast types I used were WLP 510 Bastogne Ale yeast and WLP 570 Belgian Golden Ale yeast. I wanted to see the difference between the two as the WLP 570 is more spicy and fruity while the WLP 510 is more clean in taste with a light acid after taste.

IMG_5447

After filling the wort in two fermentation buckets, I fermented the two different beers at 22 degrees Celsius. The fermentation took two weeks and then the beers matured for another week before bottling.

IMG_5680

The beers were bottled with some added glucose and went into the fermentation cabinet for another 2-3 weeks until it is completely ready. Now it is waiting to be tasted….

 

 

Hops and how to multiply them

I have now 4 hop varieties in my garden: Cascade, Saaz, Styrian Golding and Chinook. I ordered the rhizomes in December 2014 and planted them in March 2015.cropped-img_5197.jpg

The first year I did not expect a big harvest, but I have to admit that I got quite some nice hop bells in September 2015. Especially the Cascade had given quite a good harvest and I used that hop fresh in a hoppy saison version (Saison Maison) as aroma hop in the late boil.

In 2016 I got some ‘real’ harvest and also used that one in some of my beers, but then as a dry hop. I air-dried the hop bells and then used them in the boil. I actually bought a herb dryer now to make sure I have a good quality dry hop which I can vacuum pack afterwards. But that is a story for another time.

Now I want to show you how easy it is how to create new hop plants from your existing hop plants. I got the question from a friend who wanted some of my hops to plant it in his own garden. That is how I started to look up how you can multiply the hop plants in my garden. There is basically three ways:

  1. you multiply the hops by taking some part of the rhizomes
  2. you use the fresh shootings and put them in water to create new roots
  3. you use the fresh shootings and plant them immediately in fresh earth

I tried all three of the ways but only succeeded in the last two. My first attempt to multiply the hops by taking rhizomes did not succeed as I believe my plants are not old enough and it is quite difficult to find the rhizomes under the ground. I also was affraid to harm my hop plants in this way.

That is why I tried the two other options as soon as the first shootings came up. I read that the first shootings are hollow and therefore will break easily when the hops bells are forming in late summer. That is why you need to cut them out to let the next round of shootings survive and take over. They are much stronger and therefore better suited. They are also giving more yield.

IMG_5196 (1)
A hollow first hop shooting

 

After I had cut the first shootings, I tried the method of putting them into water and let them root. It took at least three weeks, but after that, the shootings clearly rooted. It took another month before they really started growing wild.

IMG_5201  IMG_5539

I was so happy to see this :-). Now I only need to plant them out and hope they are growing.

I also tried the second method, trying to immediately plant them in fresh earth. I did not think this method would work, especially because I  had 6 seedlings, but only two survived. However, those two are also growing after at least 4 weeks of waiting.

IMG_5540
Two hop varieties decided to root: Saaz to the left and Cascade to the right.

 

So, yes, it is possible to multiply the hops in your garden. It is actually quite easy. Just take the first shoots and put them either in water or in fresh earth and off they go. I hope now that my friend can use them and that they will form beautiful new hop plants giving delicious hop bells in autumn :-).

Dynamite Devil Tripel – probably my best homebrew up to now

img_3566 In July, after the DM i håndbryg, I started brewing a new Tripel recipe. I really want to get a very good Tripel recipe as this is one of my favorite beers (of course, coming from Belgium, that is not so weird 😉 ).
So I did a little bit of research on the web, looking at different homebrew blogs and also looking through the beercalc.org website to get some inspiration from other homebrewed Tripels.
I found out that typical Belgian malt varieties as well as typical Belgian sugar is the key to get the typical Tripel taste, as well as a Belgian style yeast of course. I therefore used a meriad of malt types for my Tripel:
– pilsner malt
– cara pilsner malt
– cara belge malt
– biscout malt (to get a little of caramel taste)
– munich malt (only little bit)
For the sugar I used both light and dark ‘kandijsuiker’, at least the ones I could find in my favorite shop, Maltbazaren.
And then of course I needed to decide on the yeast. I looked through quite some recipes and read all the Whitelabs descriptions and decided on the WLP510 Bastogne Belgian Ale Yeast, which is one of their platinum yeast strains and the WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast.
The hop to be used for the Tripel should not be too aromatic, so I used Mittelfrüh. However, as I also like experimenting a bit, I added a little Huell Melon, to get a bit of hop fruitiness.

I brewed the beer in my bathroom, as unfortunately the summer was not the best one in July here in Denmark ;-).
img_3565Actually, I brewed it in our shower (after serious cleaning of course), as this was easy to just clean the Braumeister afterwards :-). After brewing, the wort cooled down until the next day before I added the yeast. The WLP530 did not want to start after 24h, so I added the WLP510 as extra in this vessel.
I had two times 20 liter, which was excellent to put in my fermentation cabinet.
img_3568I put the temperature on 22 degrees Celsius and the beer fermented for 14 days. After two weeks more at 4 degrees Celsius I put the beer on bottles and added some extra sugar to referment in the bottle. I added quite some, as I like my Tripel quite carbonated. I added 3g of glucose in a 33 cl bottle, which turned out to be perfect :-).

 

After a couple of weeks, I tasted both Tripels and the WLP510 fermented one was really amazing, very fruity, estery (banana) with a little spicy note (coming from the yeast -> 4-vinyl guaiacol). The 530+510 one was not carbonated enough and tasted a little too yeastie. So the WLP510 is now my favorite Tripel yeast, cheers!
img_3926

 

 

 

 

My bock beer won bronze at the DM2016!

IMG_3266
It was very exciting to wait so long before I would know the results of the ‘Danmarksmesterskab i hÃ¥ndbryg’ or Danish Mastership in home brewing competition. But finally, at the Beer festival two weekends ago, the results were announced….and yes, I was the happy winner of a bronze medal for my bock beer!! Great news :-)!
As earlier posted on my blog, I had sent off 4 beers to the competition and I was surprized that one of them also won a prize. I got the results back last week and now I also received my ‘Diploma’.
FullSizeRender

Very nice to see that my brewing standard is getting there :-).  After three years of brewing (I started in 2013) I can say now that my bewing skills have improved a lot so that I am able to compete with other home brewers.
One of my other beers also got a very high score (43 on 50), but the competition in Specialøl or special beers must have been tough:
Saison Faison Maison-DM-201643p 13E-212
That said, I am very happy to see that this beer got such a good score, as it was a Saison that was refermented with Brettanomyces, and in my opinion a very well balanced beer. As it is not so easy to get a Brettanomyces under control, this was for myself quite an achievement. Now it is just practising enough with this yeast to make even better Brett refermented Saisons and other styles. I have to say that I used a Brett which was not so phenolic in flavor, the WLP645 Brettanomyces claussenii. This Brett is said to produce a fuity pineapple arome, which it certainly did. But it also depends on the hops used. As I used some American hops for this beer like Simcoe and Mosaic (dryhopping), the Brett interacted very well with the hop flavors to produce a very fruity tropical aroma.

Let’s keep making home brewed beers, as it is just so much fun! Especially when you get some positive feedback :-).

 

 

DM2016 is coming up

It is exciting times for home brewers in Denmark as the ‘Danmarks Mesterskab’ in home brewing is coming up. A competition for home brewers where you can send your home brewed beers, which will be judged by professional judges.

Last year I had sent in 1 beer, my Barley Trouble, which got some very nice feedback. This year I wanted to do a good effort and therefore I have sent in 4 beers. 3 of them I brewed in autumn 2015/winer 2016 and 1 beer is a bit more special, as it has been maturing for a year. These are the beers I prepared:

  1. Saison Maison – saison style
    A saison style beer brewed with pilsner, munich, wheat and some biscout malt and a lot of hops (Tomahawk, Centennial and Mosaic and Simcoe as dry hops). The yeast I used was WLP565 (Saison 1). This one has been brewed outside 🙂
    Brewing Saison and IPA
  2. In house Pale Ale – IPA style
    Funny enough exactly the same recipe as the Saison Maison, but just with another yeast (WLP090 – California Super Yeast). Very interesting to see how the beers evolved by just changing the yeast. The Saison Maison tastes like a saison, e bit spicy, peppery with a very nice fruity hop finish. The In house Pale Ale, which is an IPA, is more bitter with more hop finish and very fruity hoppy flavor. As you can see on the picture below, the Saison Maison (to the left) has a bot darker color, but both the saison and IPA have a beautifu foam.
    Saison and IPA
  3. Snowlunde – bock style
    This was a big challenge, as it was the first time I brewed a beer with a Braumeister, but more importantly, also fermentation at low temperature. For this beer I used pilsner, Munich and Cara Munich malt. I added only a bitter hop (Mittelfruh) and as yeast I used WLP820 (Oktoberfest/Marzen Lager yeast), which should do the job. The fermentation took a long time (6 weeks), but after fermentation the beer already tasted very ‘bock’-like: sweet and malty and not too bitter. I have to admit that in the first week my fermentation cabinet smelled really like fart. The whole room in fact smelled like fart ;-). But the sulfur notes disappeared after two weeks fermentation. As my beer gun is not yet properly working, I also had to referment this beer and that is a little bit of a challenge as I did not know how much sugar the yeast would eat. It is still under refermentation today. So let’s hope by the time the jury is opening the bottle, the beer will be ready ;-).
    Brewing bock
    Brewing in a Braumeister is like brewing in heaven – very easy to use and more reproducable.
  4. Saison Faison Maison – saison style with Brett refermentation
    This beer is just amazing, to say it myself. My favorite beer is Orval and I wanted to make something similar, so that means refermenting with Brettanomyces yeast. However, the beer was made by ‘mistake’, as so often happens. I had made an Imperial Wheat Saison last year that I tried to bottle with my beer gun, but without succes, as the CO2 content was too low. As it would be a pitty to throw the beer away (it tasted really like a saison), I decided to add some Brettanomyces (WLP645), but no sugar, as the end density was still 1012 and the Brett would eat the left-over maltose and dextrins. Then I left the beer for a couple of months and now it really has the Brett taste, but very balanced. As that saison was very hoppy and quite bitter, the Brett balanced the beer so the bitterness is soft now. The fruity hoppy aroma is still there which finishes off the beer. Very exciting experiment. The Saison Maison has the same recipe, but with less bitter hops.

So now it is waiting waiting waiting … . The judgement will be known at the Beer Festival this year in May. So let’s cross fingers!