Saturday, September 4, 2010

Put a CAP in it

Classic American Pilsner, that is.

As part of my ongoing lawnmower ale phase, I’ve been brewing low alcohol, easy going ales.  This one comes from a Cream of 3 Crops Ale recipe.

Here’s the recipe:

2.72Kgs Pale Malt (from SA Maltsters)
0.5Kgs Gelatinized maizie
0.1Kgs Gelatinized rice
0.54Kgs sugar
20gm Southern Promise (11.6%) @ 60 minutes

This is a very light, slightly bitter recipe which really lends itself to a clean appearance and flavour profile.  The use of adjuncts helps make the beer lighter in colour, and helps to dry it out nicely.(FYI, not my image: thanks BierMuncher)


This particular style of beer was introduced into america by german immigrants. The germans brewed it in the same style as the traditioanl pilsen lagers, but had to make do with locally available ingredients. Hence the heavy adjunct usage and simple recipe style.

We’re looking for something a little light in intensity but with a little sweetness from the maize.  I’m using a rice and sugar based version so it’s expected to be light, dry and crisp.  Colour should be extremely light with a light yellow gold and (hopefully) pretty clear.

The expectations are to have a dry, clear, flavourless (ish) but still slightly bitter beer.  I am, however, really just using this as an excuse to practice my technique and M.O. until I can guarantee I’m not ruining my beer through stupid mistakes or bad ingredients or techniques.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Woah, what is that stuff?


Yep. That’s the gunk that was sitting on my elements in my brewkettle.

A good 30 minute scrub later and we now have:


Better.  The elements are still scorched black, probably something due to the Ph of the wort that it’s boiling, but at least there’s no gunk on them anymore.

This could possible be the cause of my off flavours, we’ll have to see what happens.

Either way, I think it’s a good idea to use this as an excuse to get some low density elements in there and make cleaning them part of my regular practice.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

3rd bad batch in a row

Well, got feedback last night from the BJCP judges at the local brewclub.  The off flavours are definitely still there.  Very different to the previous batch, but still there.

This time though, the comments and suggestions all leaned towards mash temperature and schedule.  One of the guys suggested I start looking at a decoction mash… but I just can’t justify the cost of setting one up.  Another said he tastes tannins – possibly from mashing too high (which I’m sure I didn’t).

Oh well.  Needless to say, this is frustrating.

So here’s the changes for the next brew:

  • Still boil all water and use metabisulphite (in case of chlorine or chloramine)
  • New fermenter (in case some gunk or something is hidden away in a scratch somewhere)
  • Clean kettle elements as much as I can before hand (they look kinda manky at the moment)
  • Forego the use of a nochill cube and let it chill in the fermenter (one less vessel to worry about)

One of the other guys that runs a microbrewery has offered to come and observe my next brew to make sure I’m not doing something completely stupid.  Maybe my technique is failing me somewhere.

All I know is I need to kick this thing.  I can’t keep wasting time on bad batches like this. It’s very demotivating.