Sunday, December 26, 2010

AHA/NHC Gold Medal Homebrew Recipes by Style

UPDATE: You'll find and updated list here, with the 2011 recipes included.

I took out links to all the pre-2004 recipes. The older recipes were kept at rather than at the AHA website, and those older recipes seem to be unavailable now.

The AHA Wiki is great for some stuff. In the good news section, they have the last seven years worth of first place homebrew recipes:
In the not-so-good news section, you need to weed through all seven years to find the one Belgian Dubbel recipe you want. Or you may end up sifting through all seven years only to find out that that a Brown Porter never got the gold in the Porter category because the Robust Porters and Baltic Porters always win; so you need to keep looking for that superb Brown Porter recipe elsewhere.

I decided to help them get organized, so here you go. The following list has the Gold Medal-winning recipe in each category of the AHA National Homebrew Competition (NHC) for the last twelve years. (This list was recently updated to include recipes from 2004 and earlier. The list of BJCP categories changed in 2005, so I've tried to fit the earlier entries where they make sense.)

BJCP 1A Lite American Lager
2009 O'Bama-Lot
2008 Billy Bob Mississippi Lager
2006 Champagne Lager

BJCP 1B Standard American Lager
2005 Standard American Lager
2004 Dougweiser

BJCP 1C Premium American Lager

BJCP 1D Munich Helles
2007 Munich Helles

BJCP 1E Dortmunder Export
2010 461 Dortmunder Export

BJCP 2A German Pilsner
2006 Drei Liebchen Deutsche Pils
2004 Edmontoner

BJCP 2B Bohemian Pilsner
2010 BoPils
2008 Liquid Sunshine

BJCP 2C Classic American Pilsner
2009 Classic American Pilsner
2007 Classic American Pilsner
2005 Golden Era Lager

BJCP 3A Vienna Lager
2008 Vienna Lager
2005 Little Vienna
2004 Vienna Eh? III

BJCP 3B Oktoberfest/Märzen
2010 Maerzen
2009 Oktoberfest Hallertau
2007 GB Märzen
2006 Oface Ofest

BJCP 4A Dark American Lager
2009 Danny's Bock
2006 Dark American Lager

BJCP 4B Munich Dunkel
2010 Tara's Slam Dunkel
2008 Munich Dunkel

BJCP 4C Schwarzbier
2007 Schwarzbier
2005 Let the Schwarz Be With You (recipe not available)
2004 Dark Helmet Schwarzbier

BJCP 5A Maibock/Helles Bock
2008 Helles Bock
2005 Heilige Helles

BJCP 5C Doppelbock
2007 Doppelbock

BJCP 5D Eisbock
2010 Isebock
2009 Eisbock
2006 Dominator
2004 EKU

BJCP 6A Cream Ale
2008 Kari's Cream Ale
2006 Cream Ale

BJCP 6B Blonde Ale
2004 Sweetheart Blonde

BJCP 6C Kölsch
2010 Helios Kölsch
2007 Kölsch
2005 Summer Kölsch
2004 Köelschde Toro

BJCP 6D American Wheat Or Rye Beer
2009 Bye, Bye, Miss American Rye

BJCP 7A North German Altbier
2006 Strike Team Chanukah Altbier
2005 Northern German Altbier

BJCP 7B California Common Beer
2010 NJ Steam 143

BJCP 7C Düsseldorf Altbier
2009 Dusseldorf Alt
2008 SummersALT
2007 JZ Alt

BJCP 8A Standard/Ordinary Bitter
2008 Standard/Ordinary Bitter
2004 Ordinary Bitter

BJCP 8B Special/Best/Premium Bitter
2006 Bob's Bitter
2005 True Brit

BJCP 8C Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
2009 Guvnah
2009 ESB
2007 Bears Bitter

BJCP 9A Scottish Light 60/-
2007 Scottish Light 60/-
2005 Scottish 60/-

BJCP 9B Scottish Heavy 70/-
2009 Scottish Heavy 70/-
2006 Sand Hill Scottie

BJCP 9C Scottish Export 80/-
2004 Export 80/-

BJCP 9E Strong Scotch Ale
2010 Scotch Bingerson's Rehydration Fluid
2008 If It Ain't Scottish, It's Crap Scotch Ale
2004 Fat Bastard Wee Heavy

BJCP 10A American Pale Ale
2010 Opening Day Pale Ale
2009 Lara Pale Ale
2008 Lara Pale Ale
2007 Amarillo Pale Ale
2006 Drunk Monk Pale Ale
2005 Screaming Viking Pale Ale

BJCP 10B American Amber Ale
2004 Drunk Monk Amber Ale

BJCP 10C American Brown Ale
2004 Janet's Brown Ale
2001 Steves Wicked Ale

BJCP 11A Mild
2010 Thomas Toes Mild
2009 Modest Mild

BJCP 11B Southern English Brown Ale
2007 Southern English Brown Ale
2005 English Brown Ale
2002 Dirty Nortchez House Special Brown

BJCP 11C Northern English Brown Ale
2008 Nutty Professor Ale
2006 Nut Brown

BJCP 12B Robust Porter
2009 Robust Porter
2008 Robust Porter
2007 Robust Porter
2005 Black Hills Porter
2004 Rocket Rod Romanaks Positively Porter

BJCP 12C Baltic Porter
2010 Three Kings Baltic Porter
2006 Baltic Porter

13.A. Dry Stout
2003 Dry Stout
2002 Dry Stout

BJCP 13C Oatmeal Stout
2010 Oatmeal Stout

BJCP 13D Foreign Extra Stout
2009 Redridge Stout
2004 West Indian Viagra

BJCP 13E American Stout
2008 Fostag Stout

BJCP 13F Russian Imperial Stout
2007 Leap Second Imperial Stout
2006 Russian Imperial Stout
2005 Veronica's Imperial Stout

BJCP 14A English IPA
2009 Blitzkrieg Hops
2005 13 Mile IPA

BJCP 14B American IPA
2007 Longbrook IPA
2006 Chicken Creek IPA
004 Inaugural IPA

BJCP 14C Imperial IPA
2010 Hop-Fu
2008 Pliny The Elder Clone

BJCP 15A Weizen Weissbier
2009 El Hefe
2008 England-Weizen
2005 Hefeweizen

BJCP 15C Weizenbock
2007 Bitezen Bock

BJCP 15D Roggenbier (German Rye Beer)
2010 Roggen
2006 Peter Nelson's RoggenBier

BJCP 16A Witbier
2006 Witbier
2005 Witbier

BJCP 16C Saison
2010 Saison Lite 139
2007 Saison d'Ete

BJCP 16D Biere de Garde
2003 Biere De Garde

BJCP 16E Belgian Specialty Ale
2009 Belgian Specialty Ale
2008 100% Brettanomyces
2004 Sorval

BJCP 17A Berliner Weisse
2008 Berliner Weisse
2004 Will Othe Wisp Weisse

BJCP 17B Flanders Red Ale
2010 Zed's Dead Red
2007 Flanders Red Ale
2004 Flanders Red Ale

BJCP 17D Straight (Unblended) Lambic
2006 Throwing The Dice Again
2005 Oh to Daisy

BJCP 17F Fruit Lambic
2009 Ms. Helen's Peche Passion

BJCP 18A Belgian Blonde
2010 Sully's Belgian Blonde

BJCP 18B Belgian Dubbel
2009 Belgian Dubbel

BJCP 18C Belgian Tripel
2008 Have A Nice Tripel
2004 hmmm...Tripel IV

BJCP 18D Belgian Golden Strong Ale

BJCP 18E Belgian Dark Strong Ale
2007 Belgian Dark Strong
2006 Belgian Strong Dark Ale
2005 Blunt Trauma

BJCP 19A Old Ale
2006 Old Ale
2004 Big Mo

BJCP 19B English Barleywine
2010 JJs Barleywine
2004 English Style Barley Wine

BJCP 19C American Barleywine
2009 Creative Destruction Barleywine
2008 Cheap Leather Jacket Barley Wine
2007 Old Blood & Guts - California
2005 Arrogant Barrister

BJCP 20 Fruit Beer
2010 Peaches-n-Cream Hefe
2009 Thanks, Curt (Blackberry Baltic Porter)
2008 It's All Mine So Keep Back (Berliner Weisse With Sour Cherries)
2007 Summer Breeze (American Wheat Beer with Apricot)
2006 Blackberry & Cream (Cream Ale with Blackberry)
2005 Kölsch Abuse
2004 Raspberry Wheat

BJCP 21A Spice Herb Vegetable Beer
2010 Zingibier (Belgian Strong Wheat Ale with Ginger and Spices)
2009 Mashing Pumpkins Spiced Saison
2008 American Wheat Ale With Lemon Verbena
2007 Mild Jalapeño Pepper Beer
2006 Vanilla Cream Stout (Sweet Stout with Vanilla Bean)
2005 Hot Chihuahua
2004 Peppered Honey Wheat

Classic Rauchbier
2009 Brisket In A Bottle
2006 Classic Rauchbier
2004 Rolling Rauch

BJCP 22B Other Smoked Beer
2008 Burnin' Down The House Smoked Weizenbock
2007 Dare to Roeselare (Flanders Red Ale Aged in Oak)
2005 Love Potion #9

BJCP 22C Wood Aged Beer
2010 Spanish Cedar IPA

BJCP 23 Specialty Beer
2010 Old Ale With Grapes And Honey
2009 Janet’s Brown Ale (Imperial American Brown Ale)
2008 Ben Franklin's Ale Colonial Stock Ale With Molasses And Spruce Tips
2007 Chipotle Pepper Alder Smoked Bock
2006 Garden Gruit
2005 Bellringer
2004 Eye Opener Stout

The following styles haven't generated a gold medal in the last twelve years:
5B Traditional Bock
9D Irish Red Ale
12A Brown Porter
13B Sweet Stout
15B Dunkelweizen
16B Belgian Pale Ale
17C Flanders Brown Ale (Oud Bruin)
17E Gueuze
21B Christmas Winter Specialty Spiced Beer

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disaster at FHB

I had a minor disaster in the keggerator. It happened shortly after I had put on a new keg of English IPA.

Some time before I had disassembled the beer line to clean it out, and as I discovered later, I hadn't completed the re-assembly. I had failed to put a hose clamp on the barb coming off the back of the faucet shank. The parts were all acquired at different times, and while some of the barbs don't need a clamp, this one did.

I was alerted to the problem by Diane, whose hearing is better than mine. She noticed a hissing sound when she comes upstairs after watching some TV. It took me a while to shut down the CO2 and figure out what I was looking at. The inside of the freezer is white, the head on the puddle of beer at the bottom of the freezer was kinda white... and frothy? The new keg is empty? NNNOOOooo!!!!

As nearly as I can figure, the events that transpired were:
  1. I put the keg on tap, get a short taste of the somewhat warm, non-carbonated beer. Yep, I've got the right thing hooked up.
  2. The CO2 begins to carbonate the beer, but also begins to force the beer out of the line on the shank just behind the tap handle.
  3. The keggerator, which is a converted chest freezer, slowly fills with the leaking semi-carbonated beer.
  4. After the keg is drained, the CO2 bottle also starts to evacuate, producing a hissing sound.
I guess the good news is that the freezer is water-tight so I don't have to shop-vac the beer out of the dining-room carpet?

Brewing Water Chemistry

Unless you're using water that was deionized by distillation or reverse osmosis (RO) you'll need to start with your local water analysis report. You county or water district should produce one annually. My report is available online, but depending where you live you may need to write or call to request one. Make sure to get the water analysis report, not the water quality report which contains mostly pictures and PR. Among other things this report should spell out the calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfate and bicarbonate in your water as parts per million (ppm).

John Palmer has a good section or how to read your water report. Good news if you live in an area with soft water, you will have control over the mineral levels in your brewing water. If your water is hard, dilution with distilled or RO water may be required. Now you only have to figure out how much of what to add to your water to get from where you are to where you want to be. In order to adjust the ion levels in your water, the minimum you'll probably need are food-grade gypsum, measuring spoons or a scale that measures in grams and a way to calculate the various ion levels. The old-school triple beam scales are expensive, but you can get the digital version for about twenty bucks.

When trying to figure things out, I was frustrated by seeing "CaSO4" in one place, "Calcium Sulfate" in another and "Gypsum" somewhere else. Turns out they're all the same thing. Depending on your water and what you're trying to accomplish you may need all the items in the water chemistry set:

Water Salts and Their Ions [1]
Household Name Scientific Name Formula Weight
Chalk Calcium Carbonate CaCO3 40% Ca 60% CO3
Calcium Chloride Calcium Chloride CaCl2 27% Ca 48% Cl2
Gypsum Calcium Sulfate CaSO4 23% Ca 56% SO4
Epsom Salts Magnesium Sulfate MgSO4 10% Mg 39% SO4
Table Salt* Sodium Chloride NaCl 40% Na 60% Cl
*The table salt should be non-iodized. The salt you use could also be sea salt, rock salt, canning salt or kosher salt so long as it's not iodized. Gypsum and chalk should be food grade.

The weights in the table above are important because the ions you add for water treatment can only be added in pairs. You can't just add one type of ion to the water at time... much as I would like to. In order to add Soduim (Na) you will also have to add Chloride (Cl) when you use table salt. Gypsum will give you Sulfate as SO4 and Calcium (Ca), so if your Calcium is too high and your Sulfate is still too low you may also need to use Epsom Salts to bump up the Sulfate without increasing Calcium. But then you have to worry about your Magnesium level. This can make the calculations somewhat complex.

Some homebrew software will help you with the calculations. If yours doesn't there are plenty of free download-able and online tools, or you may find that you like one of the freebies better. I like the spreadsheets available from EZWaterCalculator and John Palmer. Both Palmer and EZWater have US and Metric versions, but you'll need to scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the tiny links on the Palmer site. Watch out on the Palmer spreadsheets. He hasn't protected the cells, so you can easily wipe out a vital calculation.
One real advantage for EZWater is the availability of some third-party videos that show you how to use the tool:
Brew Water Chem - Part 1
Brew Water Chem - Part 2
Brew Water Chem - Part 3
Skip the first four minutes if the first video (intro and how to order water analysis) unless you couldn't get a report locally.

You can also find several online tools. I prefer the Brewing Water Chemistry Calculator from Brewer's Friend, but you can also find calculators at Power's Brewery, ProBrewer, and Brewer' s Lair. Brewer’s Friend is nice because it warns about minimum and maximum levels for each ion, and reports how the ion concentrations impact the flavor. Based on on of the replies, I took a look at Bru'n Water and it looks very promising. I haven't had time to do anything more than download it and open it up (it's an Excel spreadsheet) but it appears to be very thorough, and covers more aspects of brewing water chemistry than any other single tool.

The Quickie Water Chemistry Primer is handy for understanding some of the issues involved, regardless of what tools you use. And John Palmer has some great information, including the only place I've been able to find a conversion chart between grams and teaspoons for everything you might want to add. My parting advice is don't worry if you can't match a water profile exactly; and if you're going to be off, undershoot rather than overshoot.

[1] Ray Daniels, Designing Great Beers, 1996

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cheap Corny Keg Rebuild Parts

My friend Colin was recently lamenting the high cost of home brewing. One surprisingly high cost items are the replacement O-Rings for the Cornelius (Corny) kegs that many homebrewers use. One thing you can do to keep those costs in check is to buy in bulk. The following table has the McMaster Carr part numbers for the rebuild parts to fit ball-lock kegs. The prices per keg are roughly one third of what I have been paying in the local homebrew store or on eBay. For the largest O-Rings, the price is a bit less than half. For the smaller ones, I can get a pack of one hundred for less than the price of three individual O-Rings. These fit the ball-lock kegs. You pin-lock guys may need to do a bit more research.

Item Description Part # Price
Dip Tube
Buna-N 5/16" ID x 1/2"OD x 3/32" 9452K172 $2.21 per 100
Buna-N 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD x 3/32" 9452K23 $2.48 per 100
Buna-N 3 1/2" ID x 4" OD x 1/4" 9452K218 $12.69 per 10

Since the prices are good, you might want to go with the "deluxe" option. I've noticed that the kegs don't originally have O-Rings on the dip tubes. There is another custom piece of rubber which is more like a tiny washer. These are the Quad Seal O-Rings, which are much closer to those "OEM" parts than the round profile O-Rings. Or you can go with Silicone O-Rings and get the Cadillac at McMaster-Carr for less than price of the Vee-Dub at your local hardware or homebrew store.

Item Description Part # Price
Dip Tube
Quad Ring
Buna-N 5/16" ID x 1/2"OD x 3/32" 90025K368 $ 7.61
per 100
Dip Tube
Silicone 5/16" ID x 1/2"OD x 3/32" 9396K74 $ 9.91
per 100
Silicone 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD x 3/32" 9396K24 $11.48
per 100
Silicone 3 1/2" ID x 4" OD x 1/4" 9396K926 $8.53
per 5

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Liquid/Dry Yeast Chart by Style

Homebrewers have two types of yeast to choose from: liquid and dry. Looking around on the web or talking to some homebrewers it's not hard to get the idea that liquid from White Labs and Wyeast are the only options for quality. And looking only at the dry yeast included in canned beer kits, it's hard to disagree.

Despite all you've seen and heard, good beer can be made from both. Liquid yeast has vastly more variety and is the only possible way to go if you're brewing sours. Dry yeast is less expensive, easier to store, and does not require you to make a starter for lower gravity beers. With almost twice the cost and half the cells, liquid yeast is over three times as expensive per cell count. The need for a starter is reduced because 11.5 gram packages of dry yeast have double what liquid yeast packages contain. With twice as many cells, dry yeast will typically reduce your lag time and potentially deliver a better beer as compared to liquid yeast without a starter, assuming the strain you've chosen is appropriate to the style you're brewing.

The problem has been trying to find a good source for translating from one type to another with predictable results. Nobody seems willing to say that liquid yeast "X" equals dry yeast "Y". Hopefully, my previous post is a good start. In some cases the liquid and dry yeasts are the same, so that part is easy. A great example is the Chico yeast strain, which is available from White Labs as WLP001 California Ale and from Wyeast as WY1056 American Ale. It is also available in dry form from Fermentis as Safale US-05. And liquid Nottingham is the same as dry Nottingham, it's just more expensive.

After a few easy matches, the rest seems to be tribal knowledge rather than provable fact. The best single resource I've found so far is Jamil Z's book "Brewing Classic Styles". The following info is mostly extracted from that source. A word of warning, the following chart is only intended as a starting point because some of these matches are only close, not spot on. For example, Saflager S-23 is Jamil's substitute for every liquid lager yeast - which seems unlikely. YMMV. Please post a comment if you have any additional information.

CategoryStyleWhite Labs Wyeast  Dry
1. Light LagerLite American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Standard American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Premium American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Munich HellesWLP838WY2308Saflager S-23
 Dortmunder ExportWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
2. PilsnerGerman PilsnerWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
 Bohemian PilsnerWLP800WY2001Saflager S-23
 Classic American PilsnerWLP800WY2001Saflager S-23
3. European
Amber Lager
Vienna LagerWLP838WY2308Saflager S-23
 Oktoberfest/MärzenWLP820WY2206Saflager S-23
4. Dark LagerDark American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Munich DunkelWLP833WY2308Saflager S-23
 SchwarzbierWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
5. BockMaibockWLP833WY2206Saflager S-23
 Traditional BockWLP833WY2206Saflager S-23
 DoppelbockWLP833WY2206Saflager S-23
 EisbockWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
6. Light Hybrid BeerCream AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Blonde AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 KolschWLP029WY2565Safale US-05
 American Wheat or RyeWLP320WY1010Safale US-05
7. Amber
Hybrid Beer
Northern German AltWLP036WY1007Saflager S-23
 Dusseldorf AltbierWLP036WY1007Safale US-05
8. English Pale AleStandard/Ordinary BitterWLP002WY1968Safale S-04
/Premium Bitter
WLP002WY1968Safale S-04
 Extra Special/
Strong Bitter (ESB)
WLP002WY1968Safale S-04
9. Scottish &
Irish Ale
Scottish Light 60/-WLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Scottish Heavy 70/-WLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Scottish Export 80/-WLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Irish Red AleWLP004WY1084Safale US-05
 Strong Scotch AleWLP028WY1728Safale US-05
10. American AleAmerican Pale AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 American Amber AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 American Brown AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
11. English
Brown Ale
MildWLP002WY1968Safale S-04
English Brown
WLP002WY1968Safale S-04
English Brown
12. PorterBrown PorterWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 Robust PorterWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Baltic PorterWLP885WY830Saflager S-23
13. StoutDry StoutWLP004WY1084Safale US-05
 Sweet StoutWLP006WY1099Safale S-04
 Oatmeal StoutWLP002WY1968Safale S-04
 American StoutWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Russian Imperial StoutWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
14. India Pale AleEnglish IPAWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 American IPAWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Imperial IPAWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
18. Belgian
Strong Ale
Belgian Blonde AleWLP500WY1214Safbrew T-58
 Belgian TripelWLP530WY3787Safbrew T-58
 Belgian Golden
Strong Ale
WLP570WY1388Safbrew T-58
 Belgian Dark
Strong Ale
WLP530WY1762Safbrew T-61
19. Strong AleOld AleWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 English Barley WineWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 American Barley WineWLP001WY1056Safale US-05

Thursday, December 9, 2010

February Madness?

In retrospect, I'm not sure why I was quite so fired up about this but I decided to enter a bunch of IPAs in the Hop Madness IPA Bracket Challenge next February. I'm now in the process of brewing a lot of beer. Or certainly a lot for me:
  1. Imperial IPA
  2. English IPA
  3. Rye IPA
  4. Cascadian Dark Ale (Black IPA)
  5. American IPA
I started at the top of the list and worked to the bottom. The Impy is smelling and tasting just lovely. Dry-hopping is a beautiful thing. The English IPA is overdue to be racked to the secondary, and it's just about secondary time the Rye and for the Cascadian. Hope I end up with quality and quantity rather than just the latter. Brew days seemed to go pretty well except for the Rye IPA. I was trying to get close to the recipe for Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic. I cranked the mill way down to crush the rye and added some flaked rye, and the combination seemed to want to turn the mash into concrete. I added some rice hulls, but not nearly enough for 30% of the mash being rye porridge. Fortunately, the ginormous false bottom saved me, but it was still a case of surviving the sparge rather than conducting the sparge.

My next challenge is trying to figure out what to do as everything comes out of the fermentors. I'm going to need some help drinking all this stuff.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Liquid to Dry Yeast Conversion Chart

For whatever reason, nobody is willing to come out and and say that dry yeast "X" is really the house yeast of brewery "Y". For example, Fermentis says that Safale S-04 is "A well-known, commercial English ale yeast." Thanks, guys, that really narrows it down for me. Instead of just telling me that, why don’t you tell me which beers it’s in, so I know how it’ll make my beer taste? John Palmer is similarly unhelpful. The Cooper's website doesn't even provide a clue that they sell yeast. Mr. Malty has a great cross-reference for White Labs and Wyeast liquid yeasts, but so far nothing on any dry versions.

The homebrew forums are loaded with opinions about what ought to be substituted for what, why dry yeasts suck, etc. So, with all that 'verifiable' information out there, the opinions expressed in this chart are just opinions. YMMV. I'll keep adding to this as I have more info. If you have any additional or contrary info, post a comment. Please!

Dry Yeast Brewer/Style   Wyeast   White Labs
Cooper's Ale Cooper's Brewery n/a 009
Danstar Munich Hefeweizen Ale 3068?? 300??
Danstar Nottingham Nottingham Ale n/a 039
Danstar Windsor London Ale 1028 013
Muton's Ale Munton's kits * 1968 002
Safale US-05 American Ale/California Ale 1056 001
Safale S-04 British Ale/Whitbread Ale 1098 007
Safbrew T-58 Belgian Saison 3724 565
Safbrew S-33 Bedford British Ale n/a 006
Safbrew WB-06 German Wheat/Hefeweizen IV 3333 380
Saflager S-23 ** Pilsner Lager 2001? 800?
Saflager W-34/70 Bohemian Lager/German Lager 2124 830


* From what I can determine, Munton's standard yeast really shouldn't be substituted for anything. I love the Munton's website, which says they are "Passionate about malt." Not so much about yeast, I guess. If you sift through the marketing-ese, you find a very interesting description of their product. "It has very hardy characteristics." (This stuff is mostly bred for shelf life...) "If all malt brewing is undertaken we would recommend that you use our Premium Gold Yeast." (so our standard yeast is not recommended if you care about your ingredients...) "The major benefit for you of using Muntons Standard Yeast is its relatively low cost." (but hey, it is cheap.)

** Saflager S-23 seems to generate the most controversy on the homebrew forums with many people complaining that it generates fruity esters and many people saying it's clean. It SEEMS to be the case that if you ferment warm for a lager, about 60F or a bit less, Saflager S-23 produces a clean result, but it gets fruity at normal lager temps (50F and less.) I have not verified this.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 6th is the day to brew Samichlaus

Samichlaus is brewed once a year on December 6. When it was first brewed in 1980 by Swiss brewer Hürlimann, it was the strongest lager beer in the world at approximately 14% ABV. Production of Samichlaus was stopped when Hürlimann was purchased by Feldschlössen, but production started again when the brand was acquired by Eggenberg Castle Brewery in Austria.

I've been wanting to brew it for a while, so I started to do some research but didn't find a lot of solid info out there. Here are the numbers according to All About Beer:
ABV: 14
ABW: 11.1
Color: (60 EBC)
Bitterness: 30
Original gravity: 1114
But that doesn't seem right. The advertised ABV is well known, but the actual ABV varies a bit from year to year. The color listed by 'All About Beer' is dark enough to be a stout, so the actual EBC must be something in the 30's? The OG is too low unless ALL the sugar was 100% fermentable and the chances of that are nil. The bitterness doesn't seem right - not enough there to balance out all that malty taste and residual sugar. Maybe more like 50? Maybe they accidentally swapped the IBU and EBC numbers?

There are more clues in Michael Jackson's review from several years ago.
"Trouble was that a beer so dense (original gravity 1228) can hardly be pale, and the Samichlaus interpretation had a markedly ruddy complexion. In recent years the brewery has accepted the traditional view that Christmas and winter beers should be dark. It seems to have done this almost reluctantly, still using more pale malt than dark, although it employs three different kilnings of the latter. Two varieties of hops are used."
So we're now looking at two hops and at least one pale malt and three dark malts. It would be nice to know which malt and hops. My recipe does have two hops, three kilned malts, and the light stuff is more than the dark stuff. But we now know that there is enough OG to make a beer of 17% alcohol if all the sugars were fermentable and the yeast could attenuate to that degree.

Which brings up a bit of bad news on the yeast. According to the folks at White Labs, it looks like I will have a tough time getting to an ABV of 14.
"With proper care, this yeast can be used to produce lager beer over 11% ABV."
I understand that they would want to under-promise a bit to allow some leeway, I'm thinking that I would need to do something extra to get to 14. I've seen other recipes where they finish out with Pasteur Champagne yeast, but that's going to have unwanted consequences. Maybe I need to rouse the yeast regularly during the ferment? How regularly?

Samichlaus Clone (working version)

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G): 5.0
Total Grain (lb): 25.75
Total Hops (g): 106.52
Original Gravity (OG): 1.143 (°P): 32.7
Color (SRM): 20.0 (EBC): 39.4
Bitterness (IBU): 50.9 (Tinseth)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 73
Boil Time (Minutes): 120

Grain Bill
11.000 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (42.72%)
10.000 lb Munich Malt - 10L (38.83%)
2.500 lb Munich Malt - 20L (9.71%)
2.000 lb Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (7.77%)
0.250 lb Special B Malt (0.97%)

Hop Bill
64.0 g Northern Brewer Pellet (8.5% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (12.8 g/Gal)
14.2 g Northern Brewer Pellet (8.5% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes (Boil) (2.8 g/Gal)
28.4 g Hallertauer Mittelfrueh Pellet (4% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil) (5.7 g/Gal)

Multi-step infusion mash to maximize the amount of fermentable sugars.
Boil for 120 minutes.
Fermented at 50°F with Zurich Lager for 10 months.

Notes: Actual IBUs for this recipe should be over 50. This is because the sugar would be added near the end of the boil, but the IBU calculator doesn't recognize that. Target OG before sugar addition is about 1.112. It will be adjuncted with sugar because I'm worried about having a syrupy mess if I go all malt, and fortunately the Reinheitsgebot doesn't apply to me.

I won't be brewing this on the 6th (tomorrow), but I need to get the final pieces in place and brew it soon.