Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Local Hop "Munich Helles"

Some time ago (last harvest season), I was given some locally grown Saaz by a friend. 

Sadly, they were not processed as they should have been, having been exposed to far too much oxygen.  Regardless, I decided to soldier on with my plans of brewing a single hop beer with them...eventually settling on an Export helles as my style of choice.

The style was chosen as practice, and because I wanted something hopforward without being bitter.  In addition to using the locally grown hops, I ended up using some commercial US saaz in order to provide bittering.  However...because this was intended to be a hop forward pale beer, for the first time I built my water from scratch.  I am on fairly hard well works fine for dark, malty beers, or--with acidification--pale malty beers, but isn't the best for hoppy ones.

I kept the recipe simple, as you can see below.  For water, I aimed for a middle line--not built for aggressive bitterness, but not for malty either.

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
6.00 gal Distilled Water Water 1 -
5.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 2 -
2.00 g Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 3 -
1.00 tsp Lactic Acid (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 4 -
0.50 g Salt (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 5 -
7 lbs 8.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 6 90.6 %
7.0 oz Borlander Munich Malt (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 7 5.3 %
5.0 oz Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 8 3.8 %
0.5 oz Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 9 0.4 %
0.25 oz Saaz [8.00 %] - Boil 75.0 min Hop 10 8.8 IBUs
1.00 oz Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 11 7.7 IBUs
1.00 oz Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 12 4.6 IBUs
1.00 oz Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 3.0 min Hop 13 1.6 IBUs
1.00 oz Saaz [3.00 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 20.0 min Hop 14 3.9 IBUs
1.0 pkg Saflager Lager (DCL/Fermentis #W-34/70) [50.28 ml] Yeast 15 -

I chose the saflager strain because I didn't have the best temp the time, my shed was in the low 50s, which is perfectly acceptable for that strain and will still produce a fairly clean beer.

First decoction to 149*

You can see that there are two different Saaz in the recipe.  The one with 8%AA is the commercial saaz, as I estimated average for the local.  In reality, I suspect that the AA was even less.  Sadly, this amount of hops took up an incredible amount of wort...I lost a fair amount.

I decided to go with a traditional decoction mash, rather than doing a more modern single infusion.

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Acid Rest Add 10.35 qt of water at 99.6 F 95.0 F 45 min
Protein Rest Add 12.92 qt of water at 171.3 F 133.0 F 60 min
Saccharification Decoct 5.48 qt of mash and boil it 149.0 F 15 min
Saccharification Decoct 3.01 qt of mash and boil it 156.0 F 30 min

Second Decoction, which came out thick.

I fermented at around 52 degrees, and the yeast was happy.  I did do a secondary at room temperature.

OG: 1.058.  FG 1.010. 6.3%ABV

Whether the decoction did anything, I'm not sure.  The finished beer did have some odd caramel overtones to it, and was decidedly strange--we never could figure out what those flavours were from.  It didn't really clear, but may over time in the bottle.  It is, however, quite drinkable.

But weirdly, it was darker, and clearer at bottling!

© John Frey, 2017. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.  The recipes and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.

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