AG #05: Coronal Mass Ejection – Cascade, Centennial, Columbus

I’ve been a bit slack writing this up, as I brewed it a week past Thursday… The last two brews (AG #03 and AG #04) have used the same malt bill, but with different hop additions. So for this brew, I wanted to do something completely different and use some malts I’ve not used before. Also in an effort to get through another bunch of the hops I bought two years ago, I decided that I’d have a go at a hop burst and add all the kettle hops in the last ten minutes of the boil. I said to a few people before I brewed this, that if it didn’t taste like grapefruit juice, I’d have failed, so here’s the recipe:

Fermentable Colour Grams Ratio
Wayermann Pilsner Malt EBC 4543 grams 86%
Wayermann CARAMUNICH I EBC 475 grams 9%
Wayermann Dark Wheat Malt EBC 264 grams 5%
Kettle Hop Variety Type Alpha Time grams IBU Ratio
2010 Cascade Whole 7.6% 10 29 15%
2010 Centennial Whole 11% 10 20 15%
2010 Columbus Whole 15.2% 10 14 15%
2010 Cascade Whole 7.6% 5 71 20%
2010 Centennial Whole 11% 5 49 20%
2010 Columbus Whole 15.2% 5 26 15%
Other Hop Variety Type Alpha Time grams
2010 Centennial Whole 11% days 6 to 12 31.5g
2010 Columbus Whole 15.2% days 6 to 12 59g
  Expected Actual
Volume (in FV) 19 litres 18.5 litres
Mash 90 mins at 65°C 90 mins at 66.6°C
Original gravity 1.060 1.059 (14.5 Brix)
Terminal gravity 1.012 1.005 (6.5 Brix)
Attenuation 81% 91.5%
ABV 6.3% 7%
GU/BU ratio 1 1.017
Yeast: Safale US-05
Brew fridge: 19°C ±1°C

It was a snap decision to brew on the Thursday night, mainly due to the realisation that I had no idea when I’d have time to do a split brew, as the calendar was quite full. I figured that as it was a shorter boil, as long as I got the hot liquor tank on the moment I got home, I could be wrapped up and in bed by two, three at the latest.

I have to say that the brew went without a hitch, so smooth in fact that I was convinced that I must have forgotten something. I eventually crawled into bed at two thirty, but I’d managed to clean up half the kit, so could easily have been in bed by two if I’d wanted to. I’m not sure it’s something I’ll do again in a hurry, as I was a total wreck on the Friday morning at work.

I said that the brew went without a hitch, at least the process went without a hitch, as I missed my target mash temperature. I could have corrected it , if I’d had a jug of treated cold water to hand, which I’ll need to remember for the next brew. In fact, I think I’m going to start a checklist kind of page that has reminders for what I need at each stage of the process.

I’m not sure how this beer is going to turn out, as it doesn’t really match the expectations I had before brewing it. The colour, while really nice, is more of a marmalade amber and not, shock horror, brown enough. The hop flavour isn’t what I was expecting either, the taste I had when I bottled it, wasn’t like someone squeezing a grapefruit in my mouth. There was also a distinct lack of dry hop aroma too.

There may be a good reason for that last issue, as the hops didn’t blend very well in the food processor, so they were a bit chunky when they went into the fermentor. That’s not going to be an issue going forward after the next few brews, as I’ll be buying pellets for dry hopping. I’ll consider adding some water to the food processor next time, if the hops are as compacted as these ones were though.

The bottling went mostly smoothly, I just suffered from another slow transfer to the bottling bucket. When this happened last time, I put it down to a pinch in the syphon tubing, but that was incorrect, as the same thing happened this time and there was nothing wrong with the tubing. Basically, some dry hop material was sucked into the little cup thing on the end of the syphon tubing and restricting the flow. I’m not sure what to do about this, so I just made sure I gently stirred the wort in the bottling bucket to ensure the primings were nicely distributed.

I’ve just got the labels to stick on now, but I can’t print them out till this blog goes live, as I need to make the QR code up from the post URL. I’m quite looking forward to seeing how this turns out, but I’m already thinking that I’ll re-brew it, but with a full load of Kiwi hops, not sure when that’ll be though. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to fit in three brews before I head off on holiday in August. I’m also trying to figure out what I’ll brew when I come back…

Update: 20/06/2013
I finally got round to printing off the labels for this batch today, I’ve been very tardy, especially as the beer has been in the bottle for just over two weeks and should be ready to drink. It seemed like a good idea to use 330ml bottles for this one, especially as the ABV was slightly higher. That was until I had to cut out and stick on fifty labels, how professional brewers manage to hand bottle and label hundreds and hundreds of bottles a day, I have no idea…

Update: 30/07/2013
And then it was gone. To be honest, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did, but then I’m also glad it did. I was really not that impressed when I first tasted it, as it was disappointed at the hop flavour, I Was expecting a massive grapefruit hit. The bitterness was there, the prickly malt profile as there, but it just wasn’t the hop flavour profile I was after. I’m not sure if it was just due to the hops being old, or if I should have had a 20 or 15 minute addition, or a flame out and/or 80°C steep. Either way, while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t quite what I was after.

It did improve over time though, the first few bottles felt a bit lacking, so maybe two weeks wasn’t long enough for the flavours to develop. I’m not saying that if ended up with the flavor I was after, but it got slightly more enjoyable. It’s certainly a malt profile I want to explore a bit more, maybe a touch less CARAMUNICH I, or maybe using CARAMUNICH II or III instead to get a slightly darker colour. I have an inkling that I’d like to do a all New Zealand hopped version, so watch this space…

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