Things have slowed down in the realm of brewing for me lately. The Wife and I purchased a house, which while awesome, hasn’t left much time for beer. Between the house-buying process, packing, moving, and unpacking, it’s been a busy couple months.

On the bright side, I get to setup my brewery in a permanent fashion, which is something I haven’t had the luxury of in the past. Since we’ve always rented, my entire home-brew setup was built with portability in mind. It will be a nice change of pace to set things up exactly how I want. Plus, it’s always fun to get to play with new toys. There was also a pretty sweet little nook to put the kegerator in, so that worked out pretty well.


I do still have a few prior things to write about. There are still a few beers (dating back to last year), that I have on tap, so let’s get to talking about them. I’ve been brewing a lot of 10 gallon batches lately. This is partially due to having less time to dedicate towards brewing, and the fact that I have an additional 7.0 cf freezer dedicated towards cold storage. It’s been really nice to have additional kegs that are carbed and conditioned ready to go on tap when a keg kicks. 

I’ve had a chance to use Equinox hops a couple times now, and I really like them. I’m actually more impressed with Equinox than I am with Mosaic, and that’s saying something. So it’s no surprise that I decided to take my de-facto house beer (American Amber Ale), and I find a way to integrate some Equinox hops into the recipe. This was a perfect excuse for a 10 gallon batch so that I could taste the beers side by side, and see what the Equinox added. 

In terms of the recipe for this beer, it’s pretty much the same Amber Ale I brew all the time. The brew day went really smooth. I mashed for 60 minutes, boiled for 60 minutes, and whirlpooled the wort for 15 minutes before chilling this down nice and cool. I pitched half of a 4L starter into each fermenter, and hit them both with 90 seconds of oxygen before setting the fermenting fridge at 17.2C. This fermented out strong, and I added the dry hops directly to the primary once fermentation was dying down. The first five gallons was dry hopped with Citra and CTZ. The second five was dry hopped with 2oz of Equinox. 

Brewed: 11-22-14
Dry Hopped: 11-26-14
Kegged: 11-30-14
OG: 1.058
FG: 1.017
ABV: 5.4%
IBU: 50
12 Gallons

20lbs 2-row
2.5lbs Munich
1.75lbs English Medium Crystal

14oz C120
5oz Chocolate Malt
Mash at 154*
1.6oz Apollo @ 60

2oz Simcoe @ 15
2oz ea Centennial & Amarillo @ 0
Whirlpool for 15min
WLP090 - Super San Diego Yeast
Dry Hop Fermenter 1: 1oz Citra + 1oz CTZ
Dry Hop Fermenter 2: 2oz Equinox


I dropped the temp on both the fermenters after 8 days, and then kegged them a few hours later. I was greeted with a bit of a surprise when I took a gravity reading though, FG was 1.017. I was expecting 1.014. With that said, the hydrometer sample tasted pretty good, so I shrugged my shoulders, and carried on. By early December the beer was ready to drink, and here still in early April it's held up very well.

The beer is a very nice deep crimson red, with a nice off-white head. The aroma is strongly reminiscent of the hops with some caramel malt that follows. The Citra/CTZ beer smelled more resiny, and the Equinox beer was much more Tropical. I didn't expect quite the difference. Both beers had a strong citrus note. The flavors are pretty similar with the addition of a nice bready, toasted note in the finish. Carbonation is medium to medium high, and the finish is medium as well.

This beer provided a couple good reminders for me. First, sometimes in home brewing, despite careful planning and execution, beers don't always turn out 100% as you expect. Even professional breweries have variations in their gravities, and as regimented as I would like to think I am, I'm not as disciplined as they are. Secondly, even if a beer didn't turn out as planned, it can often be quite good, sometimes just as much so as the beer you planned for.

In other news, I'll be documenting my new brewery build here in the next few months. I'm not planning to go nuts like some of the all-out electric builds you see, but I am planning on running some 240 to the back yard and building a brewing stand. Stay tuned for the details.

And finally, thanks to Northern Brewer for the shoutout on Twitter. Cheers guys!



I think this is like the 4th or 5th time I've brewed this beer, so sorry if it's getting a little repetitive. With the holidays fast approaching, and 1lb of last year's Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy in the freezer I needed to use up, this recipe was kind of a no-brainer. I also find it interesting, as Stone has started to release this beer with wider distribution, I think a little of the novelty has worn off. It's still one of the best DIPAs available these days, and one of my all-time favs. I have a theory regarding the availability of a beer and how good it's perceived as a result, but we'll save that topic for a later date.

We're not really changing much as far as the recipe goes. In fact everything I did was just because I had some hops to use up. I mash hopped the beer with Pacifica because I don't feel the mash hop really makes that much difference. I also peppered in a little El Dorado into the 15 minute addition. As for the yeast, I prepped a 3L starter of WLP090 a good 4 days prior, and crashed the starter the night before the brew.

It was a rather warm fall, which made for a really nice day to be brewing outside. I mashed this long and low for 75 minutes at 147. The mash hops made the recirculation flow a little slower than normal, but it didn't cause any problems. After a quick sparge, this was boiled for 90 minutes, then chilled down nice and low to 58F. Fermentation started very quick for this beer, as it was slowing down within 3 days, and done after 5.

Brewed: 11-09-14
Dry Hopped: 11-13-14
Kegged: 11-21-14
OG: 1.081
FG: 1.011
ABV: 9.3%
IBU: 90
6 Gallons

8.25lbs English Pale Malt (3.5L) 
8.25lbs 2-row
1lb Dextrose
Mash at 147* for 75min
2oz Pacifica - Mash Hopped
1.2oz Apollo @ 90
1oz ea. Simcoe, El Dorado, Northern Brewer, Amarillo @ 15
1.25oz ea. Citra, Cascade, Centennial @ Flameout
Whirlpool for 20min
WLP090 - Super San Diego Yeast
Dry Hop 1: 1.5oz ea Nelson Sauvin & Galaxy
Dry Hop 2: 1.5oz ea Nelson Sauvin & Galaxy



I wanted to use this post as a bit of a springboard to talk about some dry hopping techniques. It tends to be one of the questions I get asked most about, so I wanted to address some of the more common questions.

First off, oxidation is definitely the boogeyman that it's made out to be. I can't stress that point enough. My IPAs improved 3-fold once I started to get really serious about purging everything with CO2.

Secondly, yeast contact is, and isn't all that bad. I'll explain. I used to shun the practice of dropping the dry hop dose into the primary. From my experience the hop notes were muted, and the dry hop character just wasn't near as strong.  I also found some of the pellets got stuck in the yeast cake, and never fully broke apart.

I've found a use for this practice though with multi-stage dry hops. Lately I've been adding the first dose in the primary while there is still a fair amount of yeast activity. This ensures the pellets will mix thoroughly, and any O2 in the pellets will be scavenged by the yeast. I'll then rack to a CO2-purged keg, and dry hop the second dose there. Finally the beer is racked to a clean keg for serving. This might sound like a lot of work, but I find that it best replicates the typical commercial brewer's use of a conical.

Many commercial brewers including Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker advocate adding dry hops while yeast are still active. Once fermentation is complete they'll drop the yeast and hops, then add more dry hops. Finally they'll chill the beer before transferring to bright tanks. For me to replicate that process it's Primary > Dry Hops > Rack to keg > Dry Hops > Rack to clean keg.

For brewers without kegging equipment or CO2 tanks, you'll have to experiment to see if your IPAs are better with all the dry hopping done in the primary or in the secondary. For me it was the later, but that was years ago, and I also sat on my primaries longer.

Lastly, you don't need to dry hop nearly as long as we've been told. I'm finding I get full dry hop flavor and aroma with just 2-4 days per addition, which is a far cry from the 7 we're used to.

So with all that said, let's talk about this beer.

I dry hopped this pretty quickly. The first dose went into the primary after just a few days, and I was racking this to a keg to dry hop after a week. I sat on those hops for a 4 more days before kegging this off. It was crystal clear and fully carbed by 12/7, which was roughly when I took pictures.

So as luck would have it, Stone announced they were releasing Enjoy By 12.26.14 just about a week after I brewed this batch. It's always nice to be able to compare a cloned beer against a fresh commercial example. Stone's was a little lighter in color, maybe 0.5SRM or so, and a bit cloudier than mine. Although haze in beer does tend to make it look lighter, so I'm curious if the SRM was actually all that off. Either way, both beers have a bright white head, even though theirs dissipates a little quicker.

As for the aroma, let me start off by saying, this Enjoy By was rather different than previous versions. It had a massive, very noticeable pineapple aroma, and that's not 'pretenious-beer-taster-talk'. I literally handed a glass to my wife and asked her: "What does this smell like?" to which she replied:"It smells like pineapple juice. What beer is that?". My version smelled like what I remember Enjoy By smelling like: tropical, yet dank, with plenty of citrusy aroma. There's just that unmistakable smell of the Nelson/Galaxy combo. The flavor of the two beers was much more similar. The pineapple flavor carried over, but it wasn't as strong as it smelled. Both beers hid their alcohol content well, and mouthfeel was very similar for both.

All in all, This beer turned out fantastic. It's just a really great DIPA recipe, there really isn't much more I can say; I could drink this 'till the cows come home. I am rather curious what Stone did differently with that 12.26 batch though. It was actually a very good beer, and the pineapple aroma was something new for an IPA. I suppose we'll figure that out another day though.

P.S. We're on Instagram now, @bertusbrewery. Feel free to follow us, and use the hashtag #bertusbrewery if it's relevant.

Cheers



I've been excited to write about this beer for a little while now, as I've been trying to craft a session IPA recipe for well over a year. Session IPAs (or whatever you want to call them) are polarizing beers. Personally, I love the concept, as I love a good IPA, but want something I can drink on a weeknight. Those 9% DIPAs take their toll. So I set out to create a really tasty low-gravity IPA, although I didn't realize quite how hard this style would be to get right.

My first attempt was last May, and while it was a decent start at the style, it was far from great. The beer was dry, lacked any form of body, had no malt character, and came across way too bitter. The aroma was great, but that was about the only thing I got right with that beer. I quickly realized that I really needed to crank up the specialty malts in efforts to give this beer some much needed body.

Roughly 5-6 months later I brewed my second stab at this style. I added an entire pound of C20 and 8oz of Carapils, but kept the mash temp around the same range, thinking 1.5lbs of dextrinous malts would be plenty. It wasn't. The beer still finished way too low (1.008), and lacked the body I was looking for. So against everything I know about brewing IPAs, I threw more specialty malts at this beer, and mashed it higher yet.

That brings us pretty close to the current batch. This summer I got back to work on this recipe, and finally found something that worked. I decided to bump up the gravity some, throw more dextrine at the beer, add some rye, and bring the mash temp up to 160. I figured I might over do it, but after two tries, I'd rather be on the high-side than the low-side this time. As it were, this batch turned out fantastic. So much so, that I rebrewed nearly the same recipe here, with just a couple hop tweaks.

For this batch I decided to play around with Equinox some, and peppered it in where I could. I've bought about a half pound of it over the past year, and I really like the hop so far. Other than that, the hop schedule is pretty similar to the recipe from earlier this summer. The grain bill is also the same, as it's pretty close to where it needs to be.

The brew days are starting to become really nice here in AZ. This one was a bit more involved, as a storm decided to roll in. I brew under a covered patio, but wind and rain always make things interesting. Despite that, things went reasonably well, especially compared to my recent batch of Pumpkin Porter (stuck sparge). I mashed for 60 minutes, boiled for 60, and whirlpooled the flameout hops for 15 minutes before I began to chill the wort. The gravity came in a couple points high, but nothing I was going to lose any sleep over. I oxygenated the wort, and pitched a small starter of WLP090 before buttoning everything up in the fermentation fridge. I fermented this at 64F for the first few days before ramping it up to 68 when fermentation slowed down.

I dry hopped this directly in the primary while there was still some yeast activity. I'm starting to find that minimizing oxidation outweighs hop/yeast contact. This is pretty much the reverse from what my mindset was a couple years ago. For my IPAs and DIPAs, I still rack the beer into a keg to dry hop, but for low gravity IPAs and Pale Ales, I'm dry hopping in the primary to take advantage of the oxygen-scavenging properties of active yeast. Anyway, the dry hops went in day 6, and I chilled the primary and kegged the beer on day 13.

Brewed: 10-19-14
Kegged: 11-01-14
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.014
ABV: 4.1%
IBU: 40
6 Gallons

6.5lbs 2-row
1lb Munich

1lb Carastan
1lb Carapils
10oz Rye 
Mash @ 160*
14g Apollo @ 60

1oz Centennial @ 15
1oz ea Citra/Mosaic + 0.5oz Equinox @ 0
WLP090 - Super San Diego Yeast
Dry Hop: 0.5oz ea Citra/Mosaic/Centennial/Equinox + 0.25oz CTZ


I dropped this beer in my spare keezer, and allowed it to carb up while I waited for space to open up in my main kegerator. I want to say it was in there untouched for about two weeks before I finally cracked into it.

I'll lead off by saying I'm really happy with how this beer turned out. The malt bill could still use a little bit of tweaking, but it's leaps and bounds better than the others I've brewed before. The appearance is a sparkling clear yellowy-orange; there's no avoiding a bit of the orange color with a pound of carastan in a 1.045 beer. The fluffy white head lasts for days and days, which I attribute to the rye. The aroma is super fruity with some citrus mixed in as well. The Citra and Mosaic clearly lead the way, but it's a pretty complex hop nose. There's no malt to speak of in the aroma.

The flavor is sweet, fruity hops, with some bready malt character. The malt profile of this beer is night and day different from the last beer; it's amazing what some dextrines will do. Lots of fruity and citrus hops in the finish, with a nice bitterness that doesn't linger long. The mouthfeel is probably the biggest difference maker in this beer. It ranks about medium, and is perfectly in line with what you'd expect from a standard gravity IPA.

I'm extremely happy with how this recipe is progressing, and how this beer turned out. It drinks just like an IPA despite the 4.1% ABV. I'd also wager that it can stand toe-to-toe with any of the best commercial session IPAs I've had. With that said, there's still some tweaking to do, so where do we go from here? First, with the extra carapils, I can probably back off on the carastan just a touch now. I'm thinking 12-14oz might be just about perfect. The hop profile is good, but I'm not thrilled with the Citra/Mosaic combo. I'm going to replace Mosaic with Amarillo across the board, as I like what the pair of Citra and Amarillo have tasted like in the past. Finally, I think I'll bump the 2-row up a touch to account for my mistake of gravity. I intended this beer to be a 1.042-1.043 beer, and while I overshot that a bit, it was a happy accident. I'll likely bump the base malt up just enough so that I can consistently hit 1.045 or so with this beer. As much as I want to make a super-low alcohol beer, sometimes there's just no replacement for the ethanol.

I'll likely brew this again sometime shortly after the new year, so stay tuned for the next iteration of the recipe.

Cheers!

PS: Yes, that is a hop mistletoe. My wife found it on Etsy. Pretty cool, huh?




Two dark beers in a row!?! I know, this isn't my usual M.O., but tis the season for dark beers. Quite a few months ago I remember reading that Stone was going to release a Coffee Milk Stout, and thought, hrm that sounds pretty tasty. Since I couldn't get my hands on a 6 pack of this, I just decided to brew something similar myself.

I didn't particularly set out to clone Stone's beer, but it definitely served as in inspiration of sorts. From a recipe standpoint, I borrowed pretty heavily from the Milk Chocolate Stout I brewed roughly a year ago. I'm using the same malts in this recipe, only tweaking the amounts since this is a much lower gravity beer. I'm amping up the amounts of crystal malt, and dropping the amount of roasted malt to account for that. Based on my recent experience with session IPAs and WLP090, I'm also cranking the mash temp up to 158* to retain as much mouthfeel as possible.

Another part of the motivation for brewing this beer was to get a pitch of yeast ready for a 10 gallon batch of Pumpkin Porter I planned to brew the following week. Whenever possible these days I've been trying to avoid making big starters, and rather make a smaller gravity batch of beer. With that said, despite the high FG of this beer, the OG is still into the territory where I'd feel more comfortable making a starter than not. A few days prior to brewing this I made a small 1L starter, which was then crashed and decanted before pitching.

This brew day went well despite the fact it was still blazing hot outside; it was 110+* pretty late into the summer this year. I try to wake up pretty early for summer brew-days, but sometimes I just can't quite drag myself out of bed. Nonetheless, the mash went smooth, hitting all my numbers, and I counted down a 60 minute boil. The lactose went into the kettle with about 10 minutes left. Chilling the wort with ground water temp in the 90s isn't super fun, but I'm sure the local 'water and ice' stores love me. 40lbs of ice later, and I was down to pitching temps in a pretty reasonable amount of time.

Brewed: 08-30-14
Kegged: 09-06-14
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.024
ABV: 4.0%
IBU: 25
6 Gallons

7lbs 2-row
1lb English Medium Crystal
12oz Chocolate
10oz Munich

6oz Roasted Barley
6oz Carafa III Special
1lb Lactose 
Mash @ 158*
16g Apollo @ 60
WLP090 - Super San Diego Yeast
2oz Cold-Steeped Sumatra coffee in primary


Fermentation started a within 18 hours, and this was completely fermented out by around day 5. Two days before, I started cold-steeping two ounces of coffee in roughly 12 ounces of water. I let that sit in the fridge for a full 48 hours before pressing out the grounds, and adding the coffee into the primary. Everything stayed like that for another two days before I went ahead and racked this beer to keg.

So enough of the details, let's get down to how the beer turned out. Overall, really quite well. I might look into different methods of dosing the coffee, but we'll get to that in a minute. The beer is a rich, pitch black hue, with a nice dark head that doesn't hold quite as long as I wish it did. I guess I attribute that to the coffee oils. The aroma is definitely dominated by rich coffee notes, with some malty things going on behind that. The lactose is completely lost in the aroma, but that's not to say it's ever all that dominate in milk stouts. The beer does tastes more like a milk stout though. There's a strong chocolate malty flavor with some lactose sweetness mixed in. The coffee hits hard in the finish, and while not unpleasant, it has a quality to it I don't love. The mouthfeel is quite full thanks to the lactose and the high final gravity. Despite the coffee character I'm not in love with, this beer still turned out pretty great, and everyone who has tried it thus far has loved it.

While I don't brew coffee-flavored beers all that often, this one definitely left me thinking about the best way to infuse coffee-flavor into a stout. I'm starting to think that cold-steeped coffee might not be the best approach. There's a slightly sharp, maybe harsh, quality to the coffee flavor that became more apparent after the first couple weeks on tap. I think it has something to do with the carbonic acid and the coffee, although that's pure speculation. I've heard some people have good success simply using whole coffee beans in the fermenter, so I might take that approach next time. Judging the amount of beans to use might be a little tricky, but I think it's worth experimenting with. There's always something to tinker with, right?

Cheers!



In words of the great Ladies Love Cool James, "Don't call it a comeback."

It's time for me to start writing again. I want to start by saying thank you to all the loyal readers.  I've received countless emails and comments(yes, I'm definitely still alive) over the past year with nothing but nice things; you guys rock. I have to admit, I underestimated the ebbs and flows of writing(or any long term hobby) until I hit a bit of a lull. If anything it's a testament to some of those blogs that have been going consistently for the better part of a decade; it's not easy. With that said, the keys are clicking again.

I've spent the past couple weeks thinking about how to get the gears in motion, and finally I decided to just document the past few brew days, and start moving forward again. Truthfully, the details about brew days from 6 months ago, and how those beers tasted are getting a bit fuzzy. I take detailed brew day notes, but not detailed enough to write about them here.

In terms of what's new with me: The wife and I had two awesome weeks in Europe, I started a new job, the storage tank on my RO system took a crap, Summer sucked, the Sun Devils and Cardinals are KILLING it, and it's finally Fall here in Phoenix. With that out of the way, let's get back to what we all care about: the beer.

Pumpkin beers are pretty ubiquitous these days, and not to sound pretentious, but most suck. First, the seasonal creep is past the point of ridiculous now. I dont want pumpkin flavored things in August. It's still an oven in Arizona in August, and a humid oven at that. I'm not thinking about pumpkins or pumpkin flavored things. Secondly, most pumpkin beers are entirely overspiced, over sweet, and just not that good. (Don't even start with Southern Tier Pumpking. That fake, cloying marshmallow/vanilla flavor is disgusting.) As I step off my soap box, I will say there are some breweries that make some amazing pumpkin beers. Four Peaks here in Tempe has a Pumpkin Porter that's fantastic. They've made it for years, and while some years are a little better than others(it's hard to dial in those spices), they tend to always get it right.

I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me sooner, but a robust porter just makes a better base for a pumpkin beer than an Amber-ish beer does. The roasty notes blend well with the pumpkin flavors, and the creaminess that pumpkin meat adds makes the porter that much better.

In terms of developing a recipe, I started with a Porter that I brewed a few years ago. I like to spread the roasty flavors between a couple different malts, so I kept that theme going. I've been using Carafa III quite a bit in my dark beers lately, and I also cut out all hop additions except for the bittering. I'm making a 10 gallon batch this year, as it's nice to have on-tap throughout the Halloween/Thanksgiving season.

The brew day itself was kind of a mess. I forgot to buy rice hulls this year, and I don't think I need to remind anyone that canned pumpkin makes for a sticky mash. I had to stop the pump and stir the mash probably about 15 times during the hour-long mash. With that said, I was able to hold the mash at at least 150* for the length of the mash. After that, things proceeded normally. A 60 minute boil was followed by a quick chill down to pitching temps. I pitched WLP090 yeast from a Coffee Milk stout brewed the week before (we'll talk about that in an upcoming post), and both fermenters fermented out pretty quickly.

Brewed: 09-06-14 
Kegged: 09-13-14
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: ~35
12 Gallons

17lbs 2-row
2lbs Carastan
2lbs Munich
10oz Black Patent

10oz Chocolate Malt
8oz Carafa III
90oz Pumpkin (canned)
Mash @ 151*
32g Apollo @ 60

1tsp Vanilla @ Flameout
Spice Blend (1tsp Pumpkin Spice, 3/4tsp All-spice, 1/4tsp cinnamon) @ Flameout
WLP090 - Super San Diego
During Kegging/Bottling(per keg): 1/4tsp Pumpkin spice, + 1/8tsp cinnamon, 1/8tsp All-spice 

Once fermentation was complete, I kegged both fermenters, and added the additional spices. These carbed up for a couple weeks before the first one went on tap.

Let's quickly take a minute to talk about spices, as they are probably the most critical part of getting a pumpkin beer right. I use a Pumpkin spice blend that doesn't have all-spice in it, hence the added all-spice. The spice blend is also about 2 years old. Keep in mind the spice additions listed are for a 10 gallon batch, and you might consider going a little light on spices. Mine are a little old, and you can always add more at kegging/bottling. It's very easy to add too much spice, and getting that right is definitely the most important part of this beer. Exercise some caution.

As for the how the beer turned out: pretty awesome. This is definitely the best pumpkin beer I've yet to make. The beer is black with ruby highlights with a light tan head. The aroma is chocolatey malts first, followed by some soft pumpkin spices. The flavor is pretty similar to the aroma. Smooth chocolate/roasty notes followed by pumpkin spices. The canned pumpkin, while adding little to no flavor, adds quite a bit of body and creaminess to the beer. Overall the beer is well balanced, and very drinkable. I had no intent to clone Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter, this beer compares quite well. My beer has significantly more body, which makes me wonder how much pumpkin they use. Nonetheless, it's a pretty good idea what this recipe tastes like.

Well, that will wrap up this post. Stay tuned for a couple more posts from recent brew days, and other recent musings. Thanks again everyone. It feels good to be back.



Short post today, as the wife and I are off to Europe for the next couple weeks. We're going to Amsterdam, Brussels, Ghent, Brugges, Cologne, and Dusseldorf, and would love to see if any of you guys have any beer-related advice (breweries, bars, or beers to try).

We've already checked out the European Beer Guide (great reference), as well as looked into going to Westvleteren (too far), but I was wondering if anyone had personal recommendations from their experiences.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm sure I'll have some pictures and stories in a couple weeks when we get home.



Of all the beers I made last year, one of my absolute favorites was my American Amber Ale. It wasn't the biggest, it wasn't the hoppiest, and it might not have been the most exciting, but I really enjoyed having it on tap. So it was long over due that I made another batch of this.

I like to tweak my recipes. I'm not sure why; it's just one of those urges that is hard to fight. So for this beer, I really tried to do my best to resist that urge. I kept the malt bill identical, and only slightly tweaked the hops due to availability, and what I felt like using up in my freezer.

To be perfectly honest, I'm a few batches behind in regards to updating this blog. Unfortunately, that also means my memory is getting a little fuzzy as to the particulars of the brew day. Nothing really stood out as good or bad, so I can really relay is my notes. I mashed for 60 minutes, and boiled for 60 as well. I whirlpooled the wort for 15 minutes after flameout before chilling down to 62F. Due to convenience, I've been using US05 as of late. It doesn't ferment or flocculate as quickly as WLP090 does, but when you don't have time to make a start, it gets the job done.

Brewed: 01-19-14
Dry Hopped: 01-26-14
Kegged: 01-30-14
OG: 1.058
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: ~50
6 Gallons

10lbs 2-row
1.25lb Munich
14oz English Crystal
7oz Crystal 120

2.5oz Chocolate Malt
Mash @ 154*
.85oz Apollo @ 60
1oz  Cascade @ 15
1oz ea Centennial/Amarillo @ 0
US05 - Cali Ale Yeast

Dry Hop - 1oz Citra & .5oz CTZ

Fermentation moved along a little slow, as US05 tends to do. After about 7 days, it was wrapping up, and I racked to secondary for dry hops. The beer sat on those for another 5 days, before I racked to keg for fining and carbonation.

After a good 10-12 days under CO2, this beer really started to wake up. The aroma was a touch dull at first, but once the carb levels come up, it really comes alive. The beer itself is a beautiful dark red with a nice white sticky head. The aroma is mainly fruity hops, with a nice big resiny note. There's a fair mix of malt in the aroma as well. The flavor is pretty similar, but the malt hits you first. The mouthfeel is full, but the beer isn't cloying in any way, with a nice fruity/citrusy hop character in the finish. Overall it's just a really fantastic beer that I can't get enough of.

Every time I brew this beer I tell myself: "I should really keep this on tap more often", but I somehow never manage to follow through with that. So considering this keg is running dry, I'm going to pencil another batch of this in shortly. My hophead friends love it, as well as those that are a little less lupulin-inclined. Anyway, thanks for all the comments and support. Cheers!


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