If you follow me on Instagram you would have noticed i received a 50lbs bag of malt from skagit valley malting recently. Super stoked because the grain was actually malted from barley that my family grows and sells in Oregon. Well to be more specific they grown grass which is a big business in the PNW, the spring barley is grown as a cover crop through the winter so really it’s like a bonus!
The style I have in mind for this little test needs to be something that will let Malt flavors and body come through, but also I wanted to to see how well it holds up Hop character. To me a low abv ipa recipe should work well in this respect. If it turns out thin and neutral then maybe this grain will work best in recipes to where the base malt doesn’t play a huge factor other than abv boost. If the grain is crisp and flavorful then I will use it to add character to pale beers or maybe continue to use it on its own.
I just got in some cheater hops from Yakima Valley hops so Citra, Azacca, El Dorado so the goal is a low abv citrusy ipa-ish beer. I wasn’t really set on the hop combos I wanted to use but for sure I knew Citra was going to go in during the whirlpool. I also had my choice of yeast at the moment, I had a nice big slurry of Imperial Yeast Pub strain plus a new pack of Juice and Flagship waiting in the fridge.
In the end I opted to experiment a little more. I remember reading something on appellation beer not that long ago about what actually creates haze in beers. I’ve always thought yeast was the least contributing factor to this style of beers and leaving suspended yeast in finished beer was just lazy and unnecessary. So when the article confirmed that mash temp, technique, grist and hops are far more responsible for a hazy appearance than yeast another light went on in my brain.
I will split my 10gallon batch between two yeast strains more commonly used for making clear beers. Grain bill will be around 90% skagit base malt with a touch of oats, Hop rates will resemble a mix between boil additions and a moderate whirlpool and dry hop.
I know what you are thinking this recipe is all over the place but sometimes you have to challenge yourself and your abilities. I can’t say I’ve ever had a commercial session Hazy beer I’m not even sure there would be a market for something like this. The general public is so set on more is better double IPA’s and DDH IPA’s must taste better than anything less. I won’t go into my opinion on this matter because that’s not what this forum is about.
So here’s the recipe
All grain 11 gallons
1.050 SG 1.012 FG
Actual 1.046- 1.008
5% ABV IBU 39 SRM 3.3
19.5lbs Skagit Pale Malt
1.5lbs flakes oats ( from sprouts)
.5oz. Centennial @ 45
.5oz. Centennial @ 30
.5oz. Centennial @ 15
1.0oz. El Dorado @ 15
3.5oz. Citra whirlpool @ 165* for about 15mins
Dec 15 2018
Added 15 gallons of water to the HLT
Mashed in with 6.5 gallons at 149* for 60mins
Grain is very aromatic smells like fresh bread.
At the end of the mash I pulled a small vorluaf to check lautering speed, color and pull any grain husk that could of floated under the false bottom during mash in.
No recirculating the mash on this recipe I want all those phenols and proteins into the kettle to bond and create polyphenols which will result in permanent haze.
Collected around 12.5 gallons and started the boil
Boil went by fast since we were also busy with modifying a brew stand we’ve had for over a year hopefully we will be using it from this point on.
Yeast nutrients and Irish moss into the kettle @15
Flameout and chilled to around 165-170 and tossed in the Citra seems like a small amount of hops for a 10g batch but I have to keep reminding myself this is a low abv experiment not a juice beer.
Pulled 5 gallons into each fermenter added some pure O2 and pitched the Flagship strain cold and the Pub strain slurry
Fermentation temp to 67*
Fermentation is going strong, we started using the PLAATO digital airlock device to keep an eye on things kinda cool.
Noticed something odd ambient temp inside the fermentation fridge has been consistently low, double checked the heating element found a blown bulb. Replaced the bulb raised the temp to 68*
Raised the temp again to 70*
Gravity sample both beers sitting at 1.008
Flavor is moderately bitter on both
Flagship sample is clean little to no sweetness a touch of citrus. Crisp is what I would call it.
Pub sample is estery..not sure what is going to come of this not even sure how to describe it.
Time to toss in the dry hops
2oz El Dorado go into the fermenter with Flagship
4oz of Azacca go into the fermenter with Pub
Both beers start cold crashing
Kegged both beers and put on the c02.
Flagship is tasting the best at the moment, the Pub sample still has some esters that are clashing but they are much less up front maybe with some age they will fade completely.
Both samples are visually hazy after cold crashing. Not thick and turbid not completely opaque either
After about 4 days on the gas I pulled my first couple pints. Flagship is very aromatic nice round bitterness body is thin malt character is very neutral. The beer finished at 1.008 so I was worried to say the least that I made a dry lifeless haze beer impersonator.
Hop flavor is good citrusy a little lemon lime flavor. I can’t help but notice Citra hops recently have a increasing onion/garlic character when young. It could just be my palate I’ve asked a few other brewers their opinion on Citra hops and it’s mixed.
The Pub strain batch is noticeably different visually and flavor wise. It finished at the same gravity of 1.008 but is a little less bright and touch more opaque. I still taste some esters could be fermentation flaws from when our heating element went out. Hop character is much better than the last time I tasted it, floral and citrus like picking ripe oranges.
Overall the flagship strain was the better tasting beer, much cleaner and crisp. Hop to malt ratios seems right down the middle. It’s really easy to drink but also doesn’t jump out at you. Pub strain is more like a mismatch for this style which is fine the goal wasn’t to decide what yeast to use for a hazy ipa. I have my favorite for that already.
I was really impressed with the skagit malt, flavor is neutral and crap with some nice aroma. It’s highly fermentable which makes it a perfect base malt. I definitely see myself using it in a pils and mixing it into the more delicate recipes to where quality grain counts.
From my pictures I’m sure you can tell what my results are as far as the hazy experiment. Yeast for sure contributes to flavor and mouthfeel but it’s not necessarily a primary reason for the actual haze appearance. I know there’s the biotransformation argument but I have my own opinion on that.
3 gallons of this beer actually went to the internal club contest with Socal Cerveceros if anyone is reading this and had a chance to taste it I would love to hear your feedback.