Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Science Project – Single Malt Beer Series

To execute a great beer in the brewery is, in a very LARGE way, science. To execute a great beer conceptually, on the other hand is, in a very LARGE way, art. Both the science and the art require experience, knowledge and creativity. Years ago I conceived a project that would captivate the scientific and artistic mind of the brewer: single malt beers. I’m very happy to say that we are finally doing it.

Think of it this way, if we completely understand the behaviors of various malts we have more control of any subsequent beers that we generate. This gives us artistic ability through scientific testing.

We have partnered with Best Malz out of Germany to do a series of single malt beers with all of their base and specialty malts.  The specialty malt beers will differ in that they will be blended with a base malt. The base malt will be selected based on least amount of color and flavor.

Now it’s time for the experiment:

Purpose – Base Malt Series
The purpose of the study is to understand the effects of various malts in the brewery, and the resulting beers. We will control all of the variables of the brewing process except the type of grain used. We believe that each grain will affect the following variables that we can measure in our brewery: extraction rate, change in pH, attenuation, and color. This will also affect many variables that only you can measure with your nose and tongue.

·         Water (R.S.M.’s finest) enough to get that kettle to 16 bbl of beer!!!!!!!
·         Yeast (Cali ale baby) ~5gal pitch 1million cells / ml / °P
·         715 lbs base malt grains (our variable)
o   Best Malz – Pilsner
o   Best Malz – Vienna
o   Best Malz – Munich
o   Best Malz – Heidlburg
o   Best Malz – Red X
·         Hops (Northern Brewer – single addition at 60min for 16 IBU)
·         Brewer (the Citizen)
·         Brewery and all its stuff (Cismontane Brewing Company)

We will brew a beer where all the ingredient’s processes will be exactly the same with every batch. The one variable that will change is the type of malt. Below is a list of the controls:
·         Mash temp: 152
·         Quantity of grain: 715lbs
·         Run off from mash to kettle: 465gal
·         Hop Addition: 35oz Northern brewer with 10.9% alpha acid at 60 min
·         Boil time: 120 min
·         Yeast: California ale yeast pitching rate 1million cells / ml / °P
·         Fermentation temp: 66 °F
·         Water: We will add water to the kettle to have 16bbl of beer before we transfer to the fermenter.


Currently under collection….

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beer Infusion Confusion

Beer is malleable stuff, like play-dough, gold or… boogers. Although seemingly simple in can be complicated, strange, blended, pervaded, rearranged and infused. Believe it or not beer infusions are a time honored tradition because of the mere fact that beer is like an open ingestible liquid canvas.

Infusion: is the process of suspending a soluble extract in some medium to introduce its products or constituents for an additive purpose.

The most common and widely understood beverage that we generally think of when referring to infusions is tea. You know… green tea, black tea, or Earl Grey (for a more proper English variety). Just mix hot water and leaves and blam! TEA! You can add some flowers, fruit, honey, sugar, weird mushrooms, cave age it, ferment it a bit whatever, there are thousands of things you can do to tea and still have it count. If you think about it beer in every way and process beer is essentially tea. We take hot water, sugar (generally in the form of barely) and flowers (hops) mix it around, cool it down, add some yeast and we call our cold fermented tea, beer. TEA + COLD = BEER (well… sorta). Start there and elaborate.

Follow these basic guidelines then you can start doing all kinds of fun and strange things to add new flavors, blend beverages and be in a general sense, creative. For the record… I didn’t really spell out any guidelines.

Historically herbs and fruit were the most common additional additives to beer. Recently coffee has been a HUGE deal in the beer world. Just about everyone is making a coffee beer. There are tons of ways to add coffee. You can add the ground beans directly to the mash tun, kettle, fermenter or the bright tank. You can make the coffee separately either in a hot or cold process and add that to the fermenter or the bright tank. You could smash the beans with a hammer and leave them on the brewery floor as some kind of modern art. We have tried it all. Black’s Dawn is one of our coffee beers where we add fresh ground beers directly to the fermenter after we cool the beer down.

More recently we have been using our trusty juicer and adding all kinds of fruit, making beer cocktails, and even re-fermenting some of these wacky creations with bugs and wild yeast in used barrels!

On the 17th Beer Mystic Evan will be at Cinco in LA demonstrating some of this crazy $h!+! Come on down and check it out.