Allagash with Maine Beer Company and Rising Tide — Prince Tuesday

Prince Tuesday — A Collaboration beer between Allagash, Rising Tide, and Maine Beer Company

Prince Tuesday is a collaboration beer by Allagash, Rising Tide, and Maine Beer Company that was released only in Maine.  The beer is in Allagash’s corked Belgian bottles, so it would stand to reason it was brewed there.  However, the grist includes Maine grown rye, which is something Rising Tide uses in their beer Daymark.  However, the hops are big and bold, a Maine Beer Company signature.  Part of the proceeds go to Portland Trails, which takes some of the sting out of the $21.69  price tag.  This beer also clocks in at 8.1% ABV.

Appearance:  Hazy light gold color, slight orange highlights, highly carbonated with a thick head that just sits on the beer all the way down

Aroma:  Grapefruit up front, with some tropical fruit (mango and some pineapple), followed by pine,  and finishes with a peppery note.  Definitely dry hopped.  Not much alcohol I could detect.  I have a hard time picking out specific fruit esters with all the hops, but you get the spiciness on the back

Taste:  Hops up front, lots of citrus and pine, but with a graham crackery note in the middle and a slight fruity sweetness from the hops.  It ends with a very peppery bite.  It finishes very pleasingly dry and bitter.

Critique:  I really like this beer.  Not as heavy in body as most American IPA’s, but has the hops.  There is the pepper and the crispness to it, some from the rye and some from the yeast, that just blends wonderfully with the fruity notes of the hops.  Basically, this is a cross between an IPA and a Saison, and it was really good, and very easy to drink.  The only downsides are price point ($21 for a 750mL) and the ABV.  It is only available in Maine, but I highly recommend it if you get a chance to try it.

Brew Day — Mt. Ranier SMASH

I was at a local store, and they had a hop I was not familiar with, Mt. Ranier.  I like the descriptions I saw, more Noble, with hints of citrus and licorice.  I am always looking for new hops to try, particularly outside of the usual “C” hops, just to see what else is out there.  As this is a new hop for me, I decided to make as simple beer, that will really highlight the hops.  I also took this opportunity to try two other ingredients for the first time.  The first up is Lager Malt by Muntons.  Basically, it is the English version of Pilsner, and thought it would be fun to try.  It is pretty light in color, and has more of a grassy note then I usually taste in British malts, but not as pronounced as say a German Pilsner.  To up the complexity a bit, I toasted 1# of the malt at 350F for 10 minutes, just enough to have it start to become aromatic.  This malt lost that grassy taste, and had a touch more of the toasty sweetness.  It did not darken much at all, so I don’t think this will impact the beer much.

First pint out of the kettle, allowed to settle

I usually take the first pint off the kettle when racking to the fermentor to do my gravity testing, and to let it sit to see it clear.  Looking at how it separated, the beer will be a nice golden color.

Finally,  I wanted to try a new yeast.  I have never tried Wyeast 1272, but the description of soft, clean, nutty, and slightly tart sounded like a winner.  I also wanted to bring out the hops more, so I adjusted my water with gypsum and salt to to 154ppm Sulfate and 71 ppm chloride.

9.00 lb       Lager Malt (2.0 SRM)                      Grain        90.00 %
1.00 lb       Toasted Malt (27.0 SRM)                   Grain        10.00 %
1.25 oz       Mt. Ranier [6.10 %]  (60 min)             Hops         25.5 IBU
0.75 oz       Mt. Ranier [6.10 %]  (30 min)             Hops         11.8 IBU
0.50 oz       Mt. Ranier [6.10 %]  (15 min)             Hops         5.1 IBU
1.50 oz       Mt. Ranier [6.10 %]  (0 min) (Aroma Hop-StHops          –
1 Pkgs        American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272)       Yeast-Ale

The beer was infusion mashed.  I did not use the HERM’s this time, and I let it mash at 153F and drift down to 145 over 75 minutes.  I then sparged, and collected 8.1 gallons of wort. This was boiled for 60 minutes, with the hops added as above.  The last hop addition was at flameout, with a 5 minute recirc without the chiller, then I turned on the chiller to bring the temp down to under 100F in about 20 minutes.  I then shut off the pump, let it sit 30 minutes, then racked into my carboy.  OG was 1.052, with a IBU/SG ratio of .083.   Yeast was pitched from a 1L starter, the fermentation temp is set at 67F.

Tasting notes posted here.

UFF — Dry Cidah and Homa

Urban Farm Fermentory is an outfit in Portland that is working on bringing fermented foods, both beverages and veggies, back to the home kitchens.  They teach classes and hold events about lots of cool stuff like making your own Kimchi.  Anyone, one of the other things they do is make cider, or as they say in Maine, “Cidah!”

Urban Farm Fermentory “Dry Cidah” and “Homa”

My wife picked up two bottles of their cider from our local store, and we had a chance to try them out tonight.  One was their “Dry Cidah” which clocks in at 6.5% ABV.  The other is their “Homa” which is a dry cider dry hopped with Cascade hops, and that is 6.8% ABV.  Looking at those numbers, that is pretty close to what I get from my cider, so I suspect it is just straight freshly pressed cider that is fermented dry.  They do say that their ciders are not filtered, which makes sense when you look at them.

Tasting notes on “Dry Cidah”

Appearance:  Cloudy, light, almost pale straw color.  Moderate carbonation

Aroma:  Crisp apple but not very strong.  Pleasant.  Pretty clean otherwise.

Taste:  Nice apple taste up front, with a little acidity to balance it.  It fades fairly quickly.  It is dry, but has a long finish that seems to coat the tongue that is not entirely pleasant.

Mouthfeel:  Very thin, which I would expect from a dry cider.

 

Tasting Notes on “Homa”

Appearance:  A clear, golden hue.  Moderate carbonation

Aroma:  Green herbal and citrus (lemon) notes.  I don’t smell any apple at all.

Taste:  Orange/lemon flavors followed by herbal green notes, with no real apple notes.  The hops flavor just carries all the way through, leaving a slicker, herbally taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel:  Thin, but has more body then the Dry.

 

Critique:  The Dry Cidah is actually one of the better commercial ciders I have had, but it is still a bit thin on the taste and the aroma.  Dry ciders tends to not have as much taste as people think, the lack of sugar seems to hide the flavor.  If you don’t like a dry cider, just put a little simple syrup in, and try it again, it just seems to blossom.   That being said, this was pleasantly apply, but I just could not quite get past the finish, which has an odd quality to it I just can’t describe.  Not helpful, I know, but I just can’t put into words what I was tasting.  The Homa I did not like at all.  It just did not work for me.  I like dry hops in beer, but it just overpowered the taste of the apples, and I got more herbal and green notes than the citrus from the hops.  I applaud their creativity, but just not my bag.  As a comparison, I poured some of my latest cider.  Mine has just much more apple on the nose, but has a faint woodiness to it from the oak.  The apple flavor was much more pronounced.  It was much more tannic, and had a much fuller mouthfeel, but was very dry.  Overall, I preferred mine pretty much across the board.

Maine Beer Company — Lunch

Lunch by Maine Beer Company

Lunch is an IPA by Maine Beer Company.  They have been making some very nice hop forward beers, a bit of a novelty here in Maine where English styles tend to dominate. I decided to try this after trying MO.

Appearance:  well carbonated, the head resolves slowly, and the lacing lasts to the bottom of the glass.  A copper/orange color,  slight haze.

Aroma:  spicy, resinous, herbal hops.  Not as much citrus as I usually expect.

Taste:  resinous taste that coats the tongue.  There is some malt sweetness to balance, but not too much.  I don’t get much of a crystal taste.  The beer is very hoppy, but not overly bitter, the hops are more on the nose and on the tongue, but not at the back.  It finishes with a slight, drying, bitterness.

Mouthfeel:  Nice body, not too light, with some dextrins to round it out.  The hops also seem to leave a resinous coating that enhances the fuller feel.

Critique:  A very well done IPA.  I like the hops quite a bit, not as much of the citrus, seemed more resinous and herbal.  The balance is good, it is not too sweet, but still some malt there.  I enjoyed this beer very much, and would definitely seek it out again.

Upon further searching, I see someone got a list of the hops and an idea of the malt bill.  The hops are Warrior, Centennial, Simcoe, and Amarillo.  This kind of surprises me, as I got much more of an herbal/piney flavor, and I think of more fruity notes, particularly citrus and tropical fruit flavors with most of  those hops.  However, I have not used Warrior, and what I have read reports it as both lemony and piney, so that maybe where the pine is coming from.  The Vienna makes sense, the beer had a decent malt backbone, but I did not get too much caramel in it.  Some of the scuttle butt about MO is that it was actually a version of Lunch with a different hop schedule.  Now, I want to go back and try them side by side.

Brew Day — American IPA, 3 Hops, 2 Yeasts, 1 Wort

American IPA split between two yeasts

I recently brewed a batch of beer with WLP 028.  I had used this beer in my British yeast experiment, and I thought it may make a nice “clean” beer yeast.  Now, I was drinking this compared to 4 other very flavorful yeasts, so my perceptions could have been skewed.  I had also seen how much a yeast can either accent or suppress hop expression, and according to White Labs, WLP 028 is not supposed to suppress the hops like many British strains do.   So, I set up a side by side, where the same IPA will be fermented with WLP 028, and Wyeast 1056, pretty much the gold standard of clean ale yeasts.

The other piece to this is that I wanted to try some different hop combinations.  Specifically, I wanted to get away from tons of super fruity and citrusy hops such as Cascade, Simcoe, Sorachi and Centennial.  Instead, I was looking for the more herbal, and darker tasting hops, something with some resin, but did not smell too much like marmalade.  I picked out Chinook for its piney notes, Nugget for its more savory/herbal notes, and Columbus, which when I first smelled it, seemed to have quite a bit of spearmint to go with some lighter citrus.  I have used Nugget in the past as a bittering hop, but not much for flavor and aroma, and I have never used Chinook or Columbus before.  I also decided to add these hops in a rotating fashion throughout the brew, hoping to layer the flavors.  I also wanted to focus more on later hop additions to get more taste and aroma from the hops and less bitterness.  I additionally wanted to avoid dryhopping, just to see how much hop aroma I could get, and also because I am going to bottle condition these, so I know I am going to lose some of that bright flavor and aroma anyway.  Instead I chose to add the last addition during whirlpool at 180F.

Finally, I have very soft water.  I usually don’t do to much to my water other then dechlorinate it with campden tablets, but I did add 4g of gypsum to the boil to get some sulfites in the beer, giving me 87ppm.

The recipe is as follows:

9.00 lb       Pale Malt  (Canadian Malting 2 row)        72.00 %
2.00 lb       Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)                          16.00 %
1.00 lb       Wheat Malt, Ger (Best Maltz)                 8.00 %
0.50 lb       Simpson’s Medium Crystal Malt           4.00 %
0.25 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %]  (60 min)   Hops         11.1 IBU
0.25 oz       Nugget [12.20 %]  (50 min)                Hops         9.2 IBU
0.25 oz       Chinook [13.00 %]  (40 min)               Hops         9.1 IBU
0.33 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %]  (30 min)   Hops         11.3 IBU
0.33 oz       Nugget [12.20 %]  (20 min)                Hops         7.8 IBU
0.33 oz       Chinook [13.00 %]  (10 min)               Hops         5.0 IBU
0.42 oz       Nugget [12.20 %]  (0 min) (Steep Hops/Whirlpool)
0.42 oz       Chinook [13.00 %]  (0 min) (Steep Hops/Whirlpool)
0.42 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %]  (0 min) (Steep Hops/Whirlpool)

The beer was mashed via an infusion at 153F.  The temp dropped to 150 before I corrected my HERM’s system and was able to bring it back up to 154F and hold it for 60 minutes.  I then mashed out at 166F.  This is my second batch with the HERM’s unit, still getting the hang of it.  The OG is 1.061.  The beer has 53.5 IBU’s with a IBU:OG ration of 0.924.  The beer was split into 2 batches, 2.5 gallons each.  I had made 1L starters of both the WLP 028 and the Wyeast 1056, and I decanted and pitched them both.  As I don’t have 2 temperature control systems for fermentation, I am going to let these guys sit next to each other in a closet in my house, which is 67F currently.

Tasting results are here.

Saison #4

Saison #4

Saisons have become my new favorite style of beer.  This is my 4th version of a classic saison (Saison #1, Saison #2, Saison #3), and this time, I wanted to brew a lower gravity version.  So many of these are made very big now, often coming in very large bottles, and that makes it hard to enjoy on a weeknight.  I was looking for a more moderate alcohol, table saison, that I could have a glass or two with dinner during the week.

I do very much like East Coast Yeast’s #08 saison blend, and  have saved some on a slant so I can grow it up when I please.  I like that it tends to dry the beer out and ferment very quickly, but leaves a much more spicy, peppery note then other strains I have tried.  I also wanted to make this a simpler beer to make, so I decided to not do any dryhopping.  I was just going to do a bittering charge, and then an addition at knockout/whirlpool to see how well the hops aromatics come through with that technique.  I decided to modify my Saison #2 recipe, as I enjoyed it so much before, and thought it made a great warm weather beer.  The recipe is as below.

6.50 lb       Pale Malt (2 row) New Englander (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lb       Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)
1.00 lb       Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)
0.50 oz       Sorachi Ace [11.80 %]  (60 min) (First Wort Hops)         23.4 IBU
0.50 oz       Simcoe [14.10 %]  (60 min) (First Wort Hops)         25.2 IBU
0.50 oz       Sorachi Ace [11.80 %]  (0 min) (Aroma Hop — steeping)
0.50 oz       Simcoe [14.10 %]  (0 min) (Aroma Hop-steeping)
1.00 lb       Turbinado (10.0 SRM)    Sugar
Saison Blend (East Coast Yeast #8)       Yeast-Ale

OG 1.047, FG 1.009, ABV 5.3%, IBU/OG: 1.019, IBU/FG: 5.4

The grain was mashed starting at 150F via a simple infusion mash.  The temp dropped 3F over 75 minutes, and then I fly sparged and ended up with just below 8 gallons at the start of the boil.  The beer was boiled 60 minutes.  Hops were added at first wort, and at knockout on the burner.  I let the whirlpool go for 10 minutes, then I turned on the immersion chiller.  The whirlpool caused the beer to chill very quickly, and in about 15 minutes, I shut off the whirlpool, and let the beer sit for another 15 minutes, then poured the cooled wort into a 6 gallon better bottle.  The wort was aerated for 30 seconds with pure oxygen, and I added the yeast.  It was fermented at 78F for the first 3 days, then bumped up to 80F.  After 9 days, the heat was turned off, and I let this cool to ambient, 61F, over the next 5 days.  This was then racked into the keg, and force carbed.

Appearance:  Slight haze, golden color, nice head that drops in a few minutes, but leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

Aroma:  spicy jumps out, pepper and cloves, also banana.  There is some citrus peel and floral notes in the background.

Taste:  light body, some light malt at the front.  There is a slight fruity sweetness, again banana with some background citrus,  that is quickly covered by a spicy, clove, peppery bite.  It finishes very dry, and with a strong bitterness.  Very crisp.

Critique — The nose is more phenolic then I would ideally like, and the hops were more muted then in my dry hopped versions, no suprise.  The beer is also balanced too far to bitterness, and the beer is a bit harsh overall.  There is some malt, but not enough to balance this.  As I was trying to make a lower gravity, every day drinking saison, I think I would tone down the bittering hops.  The taste comes across as very dry, which I usually like, but it is too much so given the bitterness.  In the future, I will cut the IBU’s back by about 20-25%.  I do miss the brightness of the dryhops.  Not my best beer, but I learned quite a bit from it, and I think there is something here too work with.

50/50 Palisade — tasting

50/50 Palisade

For the recipe on this beer, please look here.

A few notes on the fermentation and handling of this beer.  It was in the primary for 18 days.  I set the temperature to 65F for 7 days, then upped it to 66F for another 7 days, before shutting off the heat and letting it drop to the ambient of 61F for 4 days.  I then kegged it, and force carbonated it.  It finished at a gravity of 1.010, giving me a 5.2% abv beer.  The IBU/OG ratio was 0.74, putting it much more on the bitter side, but it ended up drier then I expected, with a IBU/FG ratio of  3.6.  The attenuation was 79.4%, which was higher then I expected.  I am not sure if that is a product of the HERMs system I used to brew it, but I may mash hotter with this in the future.  On to the tasting.

Appearance:  Hazy dirty orange, it has a nice head that hangs on.

Aroma:  Spicy, floral hop aroma, which makes me think more of a European hop.  There is no citrus like many American hops, this is more along the lines of a noble German hop mixed with Goldings.  Hard to describe, but not overpowering.  I really don’t get any esters I can attribute to the yeast, but hard to tell with the hop aroma

Taste:  Toasty malty flavor.  It is fairly crisp, almost lager like, with a little bit of apple, but again, I am not sure if that is not the hop vs the yeast.  Overall, the esters are pretty clean, and there is a nice hop bitterness at the end, very smooth.  The beer is dry, goes down pretty easily.

Critique — well, I set out to make a beer that was a bit maltier but it attenuated more then I expected.  That being said, it is easy drinking.  The malt is there, but not sweet like caramel, and has more of a toasty flavor to it from the Munich malt.  I think this would make a very nice base for a brown ale, with a touch of  caramel and some light chocolate for more nutty/roasty flavors.  It is fairly bitter, but not in a hit you over the head way.  It leave a nice dry, bitterness at the end.  The yeast was pretty clean, which is what I expected, but nice to see my impressions of WLP 028 validated.  It is not a complex beer, pretty straight forward, but will go down easily with the summer weather.  I also learned that Palisade maybe a pretty versatile hop, but I think I would use it in combination with other hops, as it does not have a strong presence on its own, but I can see it playing well with others for complexity, kind of like adding vanilla extract to a recipe.