Skoleboller

Great post from my daughter – a good read and a good recipe!

RAD Cooks

hello from norway!

right now, i’m in the mountains of bergsdalen, just a hop from bergen.

the land here is covered in colorful mosses, berries, and sti- little trails made by the local wildlife. sheep roam the hillsides while rain and melted snow keep everything green. people drop by neighboring cabins after hikes to drink the home-brewed beer that fills every cellar.

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i’ve had a great past few weeks filled with family, hiking, and of course, eating.

i’d forgotten how good the food is here. breakfast and lunch consist of nutty cheeses, goat or cow, and homemade jams over thick-sliced, whole-grain, homemade bread. dinner is typically meat or fresh fish with boiled potatoes, carrots, and lingonberry jam.  a dessert of sugared waffles, vanilla ice cream, rhubarb pie, or cake, all topped with berries, is paired with black coffee and aquavit.

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i’ve taken these past few weeks here as an opportunity to learn family recipes from my grandmother. school rolls- skoleboller -have…

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Brewday #2 – Deschutes Jubelale Clone

Irvington, fall in Portland, fall colors

Fall in Portland

My favorite time of year is here! Fall – Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. And with the season comes my favorite beer as well – holiday ales. Back home I was always looking forward to the Juleøl (Christmas Beer) releases, and here in the Northwest to my delight there are many delicious holiday releases as well. One of my favorites over the past many years is Deschutes Jubelale. So now that I have the ability to make quality beer at home, I had to try to create one on my own. IMG_0503As a beginner I am not quite yet comfortable with coming up with my own recipes from scratch, so I went to my trusted local home brew supply store and asked for help – and they provided me with nothing less than a recipe for a genuine Jubelale clone.

The recipe calls for 5 kinds of malt and barley:

  • 10lbs 8oz of 2-row Pale malt
  • 1 lb 8oz Crystal 150L malt (substituted with Extra Dark British Crystal)
  • 12 oz Crystal 10-80L malt
  • 2 oz Cara-pils
  • 1 oz Roasted Barley
2-row pale malt, 2-row, extra dark british crystal, cara-pils, roasted barley, all-grain, jubelale

Jubelale grains

I programmed the Braumeister to start mashing at 50C for 10 minutes, then step up to 63C and stay there for 60 minutes, then the final step at 73C for 40 minutes. I chose this schedule to get full fermentable sugar extractions, as well as some extractions of unfermentables to add to sweetness and mouthfeel. I am still experimenting with the mash techniques to learn how the beer is impacted so this could of course be completely wrong.  I came up with these temps after reading a great article at the BeerSmith blog. jubelale, braumeister, all-grain, portland holiday aleAfter the mash, I pulled up the grain pipe and let it drain for a while before sparging with 4.5 L of 78C water.

The hop schedule is as following (all pellets):

  • 3/4 oz Chinook (Bittering)
  • 1 oz Cascade (Bittering, dry-hop)
  • 1/2 oz Willamette (Bittering)
  • 1oz Tettnanger (Aroma)
  • 1 1/2 oz Golding (Aroma, dry-hop)
chinook hops, cascade hops, willamette hops, tettnanger hops, golding hops, jubelale, hops, pellet hops

Hop Additions

After the hop boil I chilled the wort using my copper immersion chiller. After reaching about 23C I let it sit for about 20 minutes to settle. NOT doing this was one of my fails in Brew#1. I also only used pellets – and this combination allowed my drain spicket to function as planned – it did NOT clog up this time so I was able to neatly drain the wort into my fermenter without issues. I pitched with Imperial Organic A07 Flagship yeast. It worked well and fermentation started and completed without issues in my basement at about 65F temperature. After 8 days I racked into my conical fermenter that I picked up used from a neighbor and let it sit for another week to settle out and clarify in my garage at about 12C. I then transferred to keg, and let it sit for another week or so at about 25 psi. I rolled it a bit do get the CO2 in there so I could try it right away. I am not totally happy with the carbonation of my beers so far but I hope it will help to get a fridge at some point. For now it is sitting in my garage at whatever temperature it happens to be. Currently 9C. The beers seem to get a good head but the CO2 is not immersed properly into the beer as you get in bottles or at a pub.

jubelale, jubelale clone, holiday ale, portland home brewing

Jubelale – original vs my clone

The picture above is taken a week after kegging and shows the original Jubelale on the left (from bottle), and my clone on the right. The color is surprisingly dark – perhaps from my on-the-whim substitution of Extra Dark British Crystal malt instead of the Crystal 150L malt, as well as going with the Crystal 80L instead of 70L. I am surprised at how little of dark malts it takes to get this dark color. When I looked at the colors of the grains (see picture above) I thought for sure this would come out too light. Another learning experience! As far as the beer, I must say that I am very pleased with the outcome. This is a solid holiday release that I am proud to have under my belt. In comparison to the bottled Jubelale I will say that the original has more complex and enjoyable flavors upfront, and it is a bit cleaner and crisper. My flavors come more on the back-end and is more malt-focused. As far as my favorite holiday ale of the season so far, it is the Pfriem Winter Ale. This is an absolutely stunning beer. I emailed the brewery located in Hood River, Oregon and asked for the ingredients but it seems that is a secret they are not willing to share at this point. From their website I picked up the following: Gambrinus Canadian Pilsner malt, German Perle hops, Belgian Dark Candi Sugar, and Corander spices. Not sure if the spices were an actual ingredient or a tasting note. If I don’t hear back, I will try to hunt down these ingredients and try to tweak my Jubelale recipe to match that somehow for another holiday brew for Christmas.

Pfriem winter ale

Pfrien Winter Ale

Brewday #1 – NW Style Citra IPA

Well I had to start with an IPA. That is one of my favorite styles of beer – and by far  the most consumed beer since I moved to Portland at least. I’ve had some great Citra (hops) based ones so I wanted to incorporate some Citra for sure. I went to my friendly local brew-supply store F.H. Steinbart on SE 12th Ave and they had a NW Style IPA recipe that I modified a little bit. Here’s the ingredients:

  • 10 lb Golden Promise Malt
  • 1 lb British Crystal Malt
  • 1 lb Munich Malt
  • 2oz Columbus (CTZ) hops
  • 2oz Citra Hops
  • 2oz Cascade Hops
  • Wyeast 1056 yiest
  • 23L water to start, 2.5L to sparge
Golden Promise, British Crystal, Munich Malt, Braumeister, IPA, malt pipe, all-grain

Braumeister Malt Pipe Filled

The Braumeister lets you program in the basics of the recipe and alerts you each step of the way (and maintains the temperature of the current step if you are not right there to take action when it beeps). One of the benefits of an electric kettle with a brain and some memory is that you can brew with a method called step mashing. This basically means that you can go through a series of very specific and accurate temperature cycles when you mash (extract sugar from the grains). There are different opinions on the topic. In general it seems to me that the ones brewing with a propane burner argues that the step mashing is not needed with ‘modern malts’ as you can get all the sugars you need extracted at 155F for 1 hour. The more in depth articles I’ve found on the topic argues that there could indeed be a benefit to step mashing. Not necessarily to get more sugars to produce alcohol, but also to release non-fermentable sugars and other compounds that can impact the taste and body or mouthfeel of the beer. I particularly found this BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog article helpful in understanding the basics. This is what I ended up doing: (I know my measurements and temps are a mish-mash of metric and imperial – sorry but I am a European living in the US for the last 25 years so I am messed up + the machine thinks in German)

  1. Add about 23 L water (nothing fancy -garden hose to fill up)
  2. Mash-in @ 38C (let the water heat up then fill in the grains)

    braumeister, malt, mash, braumeister 2.0

    Alerted to fill in the malt

  3. Heat up to 63C – let the grains rest at this temperature for 40 min (Maltose Rest)
  4. Heat up to 72C – rest for 20 min (saccrification rest)
  5. Heat up to 78C – rest for 15 min (saccrification rest)
  6. Remove malts – they are contained in a ‘malt pipe’ that gets lifted up and rests on a metal device above the wort to drain.

    Braumeister, malt pipe, all-grain, electric brewing, IPA, speidel

    Malt pipe pulled up to drain

  7. Sparged with 2.5L of 78C water (heated on the stove in a kettle). This step is basically to slowly pour the water over the drained grains to extract more of the sugars and flavors out of the grains. This step can be omitted if you are sensitive to tannins and want a more smooth and light beer. With this machine it is supposedly not at as crucial as with a 1-step mash commonly done in a cooler or similar vessel.
  8. Then I removed the grain pipe, dumped the contents in the compost bin (although in the future I do want to explore making bread or crisps (knekkebrød) from the spent grains).
  9. Heat up to a boil at 100C for 80 minutes. I set it at 102C to ensure a vigorous boil.
  10. @ 60 minutes left in the boil I added 2oz of Columbus Hops
  11. @ 30 minutes left I added 1oz of Citra Hops
Braumeister, IPA, hop boil, Columbus, CTZ, Cascade hops, citra hops

Hop boil!

Now the trouble starts… I lost power in my garage. The breaker tripped… it turned dark (it was dark outside at this point), and the temperature started dropping. As far as the reason, I think the outlet was not able to provide enough power. I have a 3,000W transformer that converts power to 220V to feed the European machine that only ships with European power cord/plug feeding the 2,000W heating element. I think the problem was that I also used the same outlet for a 3-bulb halogen light as well as a small Tivoli radio cranking out some DJ Friendly tunes. The transformer was very hot to the touch at this point. I was messing around with this for a while. Getting a flashlight, finding the panel – and then trying to figure out what breaker was for the garage. We just recently moved into the house and this is the first time troubleshooting at the panel. Of course all labels are washed out, probably 30 years old. So I turn them off one by one – and walk back and forth to the garage. Ugh… it took a long time and by the time it was all back up and running the temp had dropped to 95C. And took a LONG time to get back up to where I was. In hindsight – I was close enough to the end so I should have called it good and thrown in the rest of the hops without worrying about the final boil. But I ended up bringing it back to a boil and followed the last few steps:

  • @ 15 minutes left I added 1oz more of Citra Hops + 1 Whirlfloc tablet to help with clarifying.
  • @ 1 minute left I added 1oz Cascade Hops

    Copper immersion chiller, Braumeister, MoreBeer, chiller

    Copper Immersion Chiller

Now it’s time to cool the batch down to yeast-pitching temperature. For this I got an immersion copper wort chiller. You attach this to two garden water hoses – one with cold water coming in, and one with hot water coming out. This of course needs to drain into a safe place, in my case down my driveway and eventually to a drain in the street. The water coming out is very hot for a few minutes so be careful. It took quite a while to cool off which caught me by surprise. I have read up on some ideas on how to speed the process up (the faster the better to minimize the risk of contamination), and might try some things in the future. The most interesting one involved using a leftover keg filled with ice. Pump the water in and through the ice, then out and through the chiller. Nifty. When the temp had dropped to about 70F I immediately tried to open the spicket in the Braumeister and drain to the sterilized fermenter. This was a big fail  as the drain plugged up right away, and I was unable to get it going. It caused another delay and much frustration. I tried to siphon for a while, and in the end simply poured the wort into the fermenter. Without using a strain… Then I pitched the yeast. Two days later I racked it to get rid of the massive amounts of settlements and hop leaves. But in the process lost much of the yeast as well… It

speidel fermenter, braumeister, IPA, Wyeast 1056, all-grain

IPA finally in the fermenter!

was still bubbling so I decided to leave it without adding more yeast. I think it ended up with a little bit residual sugar, maybe around 1 brix.  It was in the fermenter for 15 days and was then moved to a corny keg. I added 1oz of Cascade hops for dryhopping (pellets in a hop-sock) which I will remove tomorrow after 3.5 days. I wonder if I will have to transfer to another keg to get rid of hop sediments – we shall see. I will remove the hopbag, and put some co2 pressure on it and try to get away without racking it.

All in all I must say this batch went through enough trouble and improvisations to where I consider it most likely a FAIL. We shall see – I tasted it towards the end of fermentation and it tasted IPA-ish at least, and had started to clarify a little. I will add pix and tasting notes when I get to pour one into a glass – probably next week some time. Next brew is a Deschutes Jubelale clone – my favorite holiday brew over the last many years (although last year handily beat by Barley Brown’s holiday beer which was unbelievable).
*** Update 10/29 ***

I opened the keg and removed the hop bag used for dry-hopping, then put some CO2 pressure on the keg and shook it up to force a quick carbonation. I did this a few times, then reduced the pressure a bit and let it sit. A few hours later I just couldn’t stand waiting any longer and hooked up the tap line to sneak a taste.

citra ipa, braumeister, nw style ipa, oregon, portland, all-grain

First test – not as clear as I hoped for but quite tasty!

It is actually quite delicious. A little stronger (probably 7%) than I like, a little more hoppy than I ideally like (should ease out a little over the next two weeks (if it lasts), a little less clear than I’d like (but I do prefer taste over clarity), and perhaps a little bit more of a body and mouthfeel than I like in an IPA. And I think a little bit of residual sugar. I need to do a final reading. First one was 1.060 gravity. Last one was 1.014 with 2.5 Brix to go on 10/19. So it is at least 6.5%. But I am being nit-picky. I love that this was my first beer.  I need to get the opinion of some of my beer-loving friends. I promise to post some of their feedback soon. Good or bad.

However – I hereby declare my first pico-brewery experience a VICTORY – especially considering all the problems I had on my first brew day. Then again-maybe it accidentally became great due to all the mishaps and I will NEVER be able to duplicate it. Just one way to find out. Brew some more an try it again!
** Update 11/4 – I did have some friends taste it, and the feedback was good. It’s not only in my head – this is a solid IPA!

Unboxing

WP_20150929_17_21_59_ProYess! I got my shipment of brewery goodies. Well – most of them. I ended up getting the Speidel Braumeister 20L electric kettle along with a Speidel plastic fermenter and a copper cooling coil from http://www.morebeer.com. This is a German system and it comes with European electrical system and plug. I pondered for few more days whether to rewire it and pull the appropriate power to my garage (which is going to be my brewing location) or to get a transformer. I talked to my dad who is an electrical engineer and also checked iWP_20150929_17_25_36_Pron with the vendor + considered the places I would want to use it. The consensus is that the best thing is to get it re-wired but I would like to be able to bring it to other locations and maybe even share the unit with some fellow minded brewing buddies so I went with a transformer in the end. I asked the vendor for advise and they recommended a 3,000W unit that I ordered from Amazon. I will share the details after verifying that it works well. So the last few pieces missing were the kegerator setup. I was looking at Craigslist for equipment and ended up with some ball-lock Corny kegs bought used from Soma Kombucha in St. Johns. They are switching to Sanke Kegs and were getting rid of about a hundred older cornies. I ended up getting the CO2 tank and kegerator kit from http://www.beveragefactory.com.  So now I think I am just about set to get my brew on. I just need a few final details and the ingredients for my first brew and eventually WP_20150929_17_30_22_Prothe fridge which I intend to get from my own kitchen after our remodel. I just need the kitchen deign to get finalized so I can get a new fridge and move the old one to the garage.

Other details I am looking for is a stainless steel table or workbench but that can come later. Now I need to BREW!!!

Researching my new setup

OK – my first blog post EVER!

I love beers and was a winemaker in my previous life. Moved from a vineyard in Eastern Washington to Portland a few years back, and am finally settled in a new (1924!) house in the beautiful Irvington neighborhood. So what is mbraumeisterore natural than to move on from Cabernet and Sangiovese to brewing my own beer now that I am in one of the beer capitals of the world? (There are supposedly 91 breweries in the Portland Metro Area and Portland is the largest craft beer market in the U.S.) I have several buddies who brew and I have been amazed by the quality of their work. My dad and some buddies took up brewing in Norway a few years back, and they invested in a 50L version of the electric Speidel Braumeister system. I joined him for a brew session last summer and I was very impressed by the setup. Long time ago in Seattle I also brewhttp://www.morebeer.com/products/speidel-plastic-fermenter-30l-79-gal.htmled my own beer. It was a basic system involving a big kettle and a bigger mess in my kitchen. Then the process was followed by cumbersome bottling and lots of cleanup. This time I want to get the right setup from the start. Speidel has since upgraded their system by adding a touch panel and options to control the automation from a smartphone or tablet so I am leaning strongly towards getting their new 20L unit from http://www.moorebeers.com. For fermentation I am torn between a Speidel plastic fermenter and going all the way with a conical stainless steel fermenter from SS Brewing Technologies. $60 versus $400… ICron7_square_copy_grande know..  My friends tell me a plastic bucket works just fine… But look – it is a REALLY SEXY piece of brewery equipment. And I know from winemaking that yeast and other sediments can create off-flavors – and the conical design will allow me to get rid of sediments in a much better way. Plus I do probably want to brew pilsners and lagers that require a slow and cooled fermentation which would probably be hard to achieve in a plastic vessel. Maybe I should start with the cheaper plastic option and then get a SS later if I feel the need. Then the question about bottling versus kegging… I want to jump straight into kegging – no more bottling for me after my first experience with that. And what kind of kegging system should I get – so many decisions… My buddy Ted has a kegging system that seems to make sense – it’s what’s called a Keezer. Keg + Freezer with some slight modifications. This picture is from http://www.Homebrewtalk.com.  BKeezer Buildasically a small chest freezer modified with a wood piece making it tall enough to hold the corny kegs and with tap handles installed and a thermostat cutting off the power when the appropriate temperature has been reached. In my new house though I have a fridge that is about to be replaced so I am planning on taking over the old one and putting it in my garage for kegging purposes. I realize it might not be quite as energy efficient but it should hold the kegs and leave me with some cash to fund the other pieces of my system. Now all I have to do is to clean out my designated area in the garage, get some power pulled, and get a new fridge for the kitchen. If you have any hints and tips on how to get the ultimate home brewery setup done right, or what equipment to select, please let me know!

*** Update 9/24 ***

OK – I pulled the trigger on this. Instead of the SS fermenter I went with a cheaper Speidel plastic fermenter which will be plenty good enough for now. Added some supplies for measuring gravity and cleaning + a copper immersion wort chiller. Plan on getting my ingredients and final supplies from my awesome local Brewing store F.H. Steinbart Co. Still have no bottling or kegging setup, but plan on getting a Cornelius keg co2 setup locally on Craigslist in Portland. I tried bottling many years ago in Seattle and think kegging is the way to go for me. Looking forward to getting my goodies next week!