I have previously written about how I come up with my own recipes for homebrew. Since I wrote that post in September of 2011, every batch since than has been of my own formulation. Some have turned out better then others. Whenever I’ve made a mistake, (be it the incorrect fermentation temperature, the wrong malt, hops or yeast.) I always treat it as a learning experience. It’s the constant evolution of a brewer. I want to learn to be the best brewer I can be. This is one of the reasons I haven’t brewed a kit or clone beer for awhile. I want the beer to be 100% my creation. I’m not saying I make the best beer or that I won’t ever use a recipe that isn’t my own.
I recently won an award for a beer I designed. The Tennessee Valley Homebrewers competition- the Homebruin cup, was held on May 12th. The judging took place at Calhouns on Kingston Pike near Pellissippi Parkway. The stakes for this competition were high, with best of show being brewed by Smoky Mountain Brewery for it’s affiliated restaurants. The Brewmaster, Marty Velas sponsored this contest in order to find a beer to enter in the Great American Brew Fest’s Pro-Am competition in Denver. To enter, you had to be both a member of the TN Valley Homebrews and the American Homebrewers Association. When I first learned of the contest, my mind went to work. I started thinking of a beer to brew that would go good with Smoky Mountain’s bar-b-que heavy menu. I decided to brew a Rauchbier. I have mentioned this several times in previous posts.
For this competition, homebrews were divided into 4 main catagories for ease of judging. My Rauchbier was in the “other beers” catagory. I ended up with a bronze medal for my efforts. All the homebrews I have brewed and entered over the years, and I finally placed in a contest. I am very happy with this, and hope I can continue to brew better beers and win more awards.
So this post is supposed to be about recipes. I’ll be honest, when it comes to my recipes, I haven’t been keeping very good notes. I used to hand write every recipe and add them into a notebook I had. Eventually I started typing them and saving a word file on the computer. Currently I use an iPhone app called iBrewmaster. I find it is a very reliable app, and it automatically calculates and estimates original and final gravity. I will admit, I have been leaning a little bit too hard on this app to keep track of things. I need to at least get back to saving as a word file as well. That being said, I will list of few of my recent recipes below. If you have any suggested changes, or if you brew these yourself, I’d love to hear from you. Add a comment and let me know. All my recipes are for a 10 gallon batch, so adjust up or down accordingly for your brew size.
Rauchig Berg Rauchbier (Rauchig Berg is German for “Smoky Mountain”)
Original gravity 1.052 Final Gravity 1.007 Abv 5.9%
12 pounds Weyermann Smoked Malt (bamberg style beechwood smoked)
1 pound light Munich malt
2 pounds 12 ounces of Weyermann Melanoidin malt
1 pound Weyermann Carabohemian malt
2 pounds Weyermann Vienna Malt
1 pound Weyermann Caramunich 1
12 ounces Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner malt
3 & 1/2 ounces of Hallertauer hop pellets (2 ounces 60 minutes, 1 & 1/2 ounce last 30 minutes)
1 ounce Tettnang Hop pellets (added last 5 minutes)
2 XL “smack packs” of Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager Yeast* (see note)
1 tsp yeast nutrient added last 15 minutes of boil.
1 Whirlfloc tablet added last 5 minutes of boil
Mash grains with 7 gallons of water heated so when you strike the grains it stays between 150-154 degrees for 60 minutes. Sparge with 8 gallons of 168 degree water for 30-45 minutes.
60 minute boil following the hopping schedule above.
Rapidly cool wort to 50 degrees and aerate. I used a small oxygen tanks and a diffusion stone to aerate. Lager yeast is difficult to get going, and could use the oxygen boost.
* Note about lager yeast. On this recipe I made a 3000ml starter. I basically brewed a mini batch of this beer on my stove top, using grain bags for the mash. I did not want to have any chance of the starter affecting the flavor of this beer. I pitched 1 package of yeast to 1000ml of the starter in a erlenmeyer flask and put on a stir plate inside of my lagering fridge at 50 degrees. The rest of the starter I canned in pint jars. Over the next couple of days I stepped the starter up to 3000 ml by adding in 1 or 2 jars of wort. When I brewed, I cooled the wort down and pitched the yeast starter, and the fresh smack pack at the same temperature of the wort to avoid yeast shock. I then fermented this beer at 50 degrees (see my post about my chest freezer/ lagering fridge dying during this fermentation).
This beer fermented for a month. After fermentation, I cold crashed it to 36 degrees then filtered and kegged it. I lagered it at 34 degrees for a month. This is the most technical beer I have ever brewed, and I love it. I still have a keg and a half left. It is incredibly delicious. Nice and balanced with subtle smooth and in now way overpowering smokiness. I know someone who swears they hate smoked beers and that they all taste like liquid smoke and are nasty. I gave them a glass of this. They tried it, looked perplexed and exclaimed that it was good. They asked what it was and could not believe my answer. So, yes I love this beer. Honestly, I will work this one back into my brewing schedule as soon as I can.
After successfully brewing my Rauchbier, I got on a German lager kick. I bought a smaller chest freezer that can fit exactly 2 carboys to use just for fermenting lagers.I came up with a simple recipe for a Maibock, after reading a dozen or so different ones. This is the last batch I brewed before I moved. I brewed it the Friday before the Thirsty Orange Festival and moved the lagering fridge and the batch into the basement of my new place as soon as the cool down was done and the yeast pitched. The movement of the drive helped aerate it. This batch is kegged and is being carbonated and lagered. I tried it when I kegged it, and it was great.
Original Gravity 1.062 Final Gravity 1.020 abv 5.5%
20 pounds Pale Ale Malt
6 pounds Munich.
4 ounces of Mt. Hood hop pellets. (2 ounces at 60 minutes, 1 at 30 minutes and 1 at 5 minutes left in the boil.)
Wyeast 2487 Hella Bock Yeast Stepped up starter as decribed in the Rauchbier recipe, pitched 3000 ml. Fermented at 50 degrees for a month. I had some this weekend, and it was incredible smooth after only a week of Lagering.
Toasted Hemp Seed Pale Ale
This was a recent batch that is still fermenting. I made this last year and learned a valuable lesson. DON’T TOAST HEMP SEEDS IN YOUR OVEN!! I did that last year and it smoked up my place so bad that I couldn’t see across the room. I couldn’t breathe right for a month. This year I toasted the hemp seeds in a cask iron skillet on a camp stove outside. It made all the difference.
20 lbs. 2-row pale malt
2 lb. Munich malt
2 oz. black patent malt
3 lbs. toasted hemp seeds
1 & 1/2 ounce Cascade hops (90 mins)
1 & 1/2 ounce Cascade hops (45 mins)
1 oz. Cascade hops (10 mins)
1 & 1/2 oz. Cascade hops (0 mins)
1 Whirfloc Tablet
3000 ml starter of Wyeast Rogue Pacman Yeast
Mash grains with 9 gallons of water heated so when you strike the grains it stays between 150-154 degrees for 60 minutes. Sparge with 8 gallons of 168 degree water for 30-45 minutes. 90 minute boil following hopping schedule as above. I used a combination of whole leaf and pellet hops. Currently fermenting at 70 degrees.
Last year this batch was a hit. It’s a basic Cascade pale ale, but with a slight nuttiness from the toasted hemp seeds. I can’t wait to see how this years batch turns out.
Original Gravity 1.052
I came up with this basic wheat beer recipe recently. I just brewed it this weekend. I ferment in 6 gallon carboys. With this batch I used 2 different wheat strains to make 2 different beers. One carboy I used Bavarian Wheat yeast to make a hefewezien. The other half I am fermenting with an American yeast strain. When the American yeast batch is done, I plan on adding blackberry extract at kegging time to make my yearly batch of what I can “Blackberry Bomber”. A few hours after this batch was in the carboys, I was worried because I did not see any activity. However, when I checked them in the morning, they had blown off the airlocks and were foaming out the sides. Here’s my recipe. Suggestioned changes are welcomed.
10 lbs pale ale malt
4 lbs torrified wheat
2 lbs floor roasted bohemian wheat
2 lbs Wyermann light wheat
2 pounds red wheat
2 lbs rice hulls
2 oz Cascade hops (60 minutes)
2 oz Willamette hops (5 minutes)
5 gallons fermented with Wyeast American Wheat Yeast
5 gallons with Wyeast Bavarian Wheat Yeast
Mash grains with 7 gallons of water heated so when you strike the grains it stays between 150-154 degrees for 60 minutes. Sparge with 8 gallons of 168 degree water for 45 -60 minutes. It’s important to use rice hulls in a brew like this because of the filter effect. Wheat tends to gum up your mashtun if you’re not careful. Stuck sparges are no fun and can ruin a brew day.
60 minute boil following the hopping schedule above
Stop and Smell the Hops IPA
Original Gravity 1.070 Final Gravity 1.011 ABV 7.99%
This is a big imperial sweet malty hoppy beer. It came out to 8% abv.
17 pounds of Pale Ale malt
9 pounds Munich Malt
1 pound Crystal Malt 60L
2 pounds of Vienna Malt
1 ounce Zythos hops at 60 minutes
1 ounce Simcoe hops at 60 minutes
1 ounce Cascade hops at 60 minutes
1 ounce Magnum hops at 60 minutes
1 ounce Zythos hops at 5 minutes
Dry hop with:
1 ounce Cascade hops
1 ounce Zythos hops
1 ounce Simcoe hops
2 ounces Crystal hops
1 Whirfloc Tablet
3000 ml starter of Wyeast Rogue Packman Yeast
Mash grains with 9 gallons of water heated so when you strike the grains it stays between 150-154 degrees for 60 minutes. Sparge with 8 gallons of 168 degree water for 30-45 minutes. I fermented this batch low, at around 64 degrees. I was told that the sweetness is caused by it being under attenuated from the low fermentation temperature. That may be true, but everyone I have let try this loves it and has been asking for more.
I plan on posting recipes in the future. I might even edit this one at a later time to include more. I’ve been out of stout, so I need to brew a batch again soon. I have a couple of imperial stout recipes, but I want to brew a basic irish stout. However, I can’t really bring myself to brew something that’s alcohol content is below 5%. Because of this, I will have to play around a little bit with my grain bill. I don’t currently have any beer pouring through the stout faucet on my kegerator. This is the main reason I want to brew this style. It is Mulberry season around here, and I am thinking of harvesting a couple pounds of berries. If I do, I will juice them and make half of the batch a mulberry stout. If I do, I’m sure it will turn out to be good.
A couple more things I wanted to mention before I finish this post. This Wednesday I will be working my 1st shift as a bartender at Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern on Gay Street. I’ll be behind the bar from 5-10pm. This is our soft opening this week before we announce to the rest of the world that we are open for business. This gives us a chance to get to know the sales computer system, and work out all the other little bugs before we are always busy. So if you want, come buy a beer and check us out starting on that day.
This Thursday at The Casual Pint, 6pm will see the debut of SAW WORKS BREWING (formerly Marble City). They will be pouring thier new Pale Ale brewed by Dave Ohmer. Dave made the step from assistant brewer at Woodruff to head brewer at the recently renamed and reformatted Saw Works. If you haven’t heard about this yet, check out this excellent post by the Knox Beer Snobs.
Well this is all for now. A week from this Wednesday I will be in Asheville for the last 5 days of the first Asheville Beer Week. There are a lot of really cool tastings and events planned, so make sure to check out the website and facebook page. My plan is to start each day out by posting a recap of the previous day and night’s activities that I attend. I might even live update a time or 2. So look forward to 5 days of blog updates in a row. I know I am.