Fearless John’s Order of the Hop

A 15 Minute American Ale.

Fearless John’s Order of the Hop was a Chivalic Order or Knights. It seems he basically created it to have a drinking club for his friends. No better person to create a drinking club.  John the Fearless Duke of Burgundy is supposedly the  man who invented hopped beer. I created this beer for three reasons. I wanted to try the 15 minute APA that the guys at Basic Brewing Video came up with, I wanted to do a 1 gallon “6 pack” batch, and I wanted to try the relatively new (2007) Citra Hop.

15 Minute Pale Ale

It is a very straight forward process.  You basically throw the specialty grains in the water and take them out when the water reaches 170 deg. F. Then add the DME. Once the water is boiling, throw twice as many hops in as you would with a regular boil. This is because, as the name implies, you are only going to boil 15 minutes.  Twice as many hops you ask? 15 minutes isn’t half of 60 minutes. You are correct, but alpha acid isomerization isn’t linear. Approximately half the isomirization occurs in the first 15 minutes.

1 gallon batch

The most common batch is a 5 gallon batch. Sometimes a smaller batch is useful. It takes less time to boil 1 gallon of water. You can easily do a full boil. You can experiment, and if the experiment fails, you only waste a gallon of beer instead of 5.

Citra Hop

The Citra Hop is a relatively new variety of hop. It was released in 2007, and at an Alpha Acid of around 12-14% you can consider it as both an aroma hop and a bittering hop. It has an interesting aroma and flavor of citrus and tropical fruits.

Here is my particular recipe:

Target OG: 1.054
Measure OG: 1.055
Target IBU:

1 lb 2.5 Extra Light DME
3.2 oz Crystal Malt 60L
0.50 oz Citra Hop at 15 Minutes
0.40 oz Citra Hop at 5 Minutes
0.50 oz Citra Hop at Flame Out

I underestimated the boil off you can get with only a 15 minute boil, so I ended with an original gravity of 1.068. I used Beersmith to figure out how much water to add, and diluted it down to 1.055. I threw it in a 1 gallon jug and put it in my closet. The hops should really showcase in this beer, and I hope it lives up to its namesake.

I should have used a blow off tube.

The Beer of Lent Part 2: An American Dopplebock

This is part 2 of a 3 part series. You can find part 1 here.

As we get towards the end the Lenten season, I’ve finally tried the second of my three Dopplebocks. This one is Grand Teton Double Vision Dopplebock. It is an American brewery’s take on a traditional German recipe. According to their website, Grand Teton wanted to highlight their local water and ingredients. It of course uses local 2-row and other local specialty grains. instead of continental Malt. Although, they do use German Munich. Even their hops are American versions of traditional German hops.

If you took a Hallertau Mittelfruh and tried to grow it in Idaho, it would not taste like one grown in Germany. Like grapes, hops have terrier, so their aroma and flavor comes both from the variety of hop used and the  it is grown. The liberty hops are a descendant of Hallertau mixed with another hop variety. This hop, when grown in the US, produces an aroma and flavor similar to a Hallertau grown in Germany.

The mouthfeel is slightly smaller than the Asam. There is medium carbonation. It has a dark brown-black color with an off white head. Very drinkable despite the high alcohol content.

It smelled like malt and leather. The taste follows the aroma with malt and leather. It is not as sweet as the Asam, and lacks any of the dark fruit flavors. There is also a bit of bitterness. As it warms you definitely get good alcohol warming.

Sommeliers will tell you that one of the flavors of a good Shiraz will be leather (earthy, tobacco, and wood are some others). Shiraz being my favorite wine style, I’ve had a few in my day. I’ve never got as good of a leather flavor as in this. You get upfront leather, but not in a bad way. This is my favorite Dopplebock.

Brewday: Scott’s Sparkling Weisbier Part 2

We are now going to get to the real brewing of the wort. This is the second part of this series. Make sure you check out part 1 if you haven’t done so already.

Step Seven: Give me Some Heat!

Now its time to start the brewing. Fill up your pot. If your pot is only 3 gallons, I wouldn’t add more than 2 gallons of water, and you still need to watch very closely for boilovers. This is a 5 gallon pot, and I like to add about 3 gallons of water.  I still occasionally have to watch for boilovers, but I’m not generally too worried about it.

Easy to see where I have the water up to with the condensation on the side of the pot.

Put the pot on your biggest burner, and turn it up as high as you can get it. It still seems like it takes forever to boil, but be patient, there is beer at the end.

I love this power boil setting. It unfortunately tends to make this burner a lot less useful for everything besides boiling water, even on the lowest settings.

Once your water got to about 150° F you could add your specialty grains, and hold them there for half an hour, but that’s another post.

I should have used a spatula. It is very sticky.

You can add the extract when you start to heat the water or after the water heats up. Just remember, the longer the extract is over the fire, the more it will caramelize. This will result in a slightly darker beer. John Palmer’s book How to Brew suggests not to put all of your extract into the kettle right away. In addition to darkening the beer, all sorts of flavors that could potentially stick out in a lighter brew are created. This effect is reduced in a smaller gravity brew.  If you are doing a lighter brew like this, you therefore, might want to save a portion of the extract until just a few minutes left. This allows you to still be able to sterilize the extract. Whatever you decide, you should take the pot off of the burner while adding the extract to cut the chance of burning it before it is completely mixed in. Once mixed, this is called the wort.

Step Eight: The forgotten Step

Sorry to say that this step was probably one of my earliest steps. It is really a parallel step to everything else. As long as you do it early enough so that the yeast has enough time to propagate (usually a few hours), you could do it any time. This is a Wyeast Weihenstephan Weizen 3068 smack pack. It is Wyeast’s most traditional German yeast strain. This yeast produces a “beautiful and delicate balance of banana esters and clove phenolics.” Next to the cloudy character, this is exactly what I think of when I think of a German weissbier.  You could create a starter for your yeast, but the website for this strain warns that overpitching (or using too much yeasts) can results in the near complete loss in banana character, and a starter just multiplies the yeast. It is strain on the yeast that creates the esters and phenolics. Therefore, I just smacked the pack, and hoped I didn’t do too much. How do you smack one of these packs. Well first, you find the little nutrient pack inside, and hold it to the corner. Then simply follow the diagram below.

1)

Line it up.

2)

Wind up.

3)

Smack!

Step Nine: 60 Minute Countdown

As long as you have properly cleaned and sanitized everything, what you do during the next 60 minutes will greatly affect the final taste of your beer. It is time for your first hop addition. This hop addition will basically add only to the bitterness level of the beer. All of the volatile oils that you can smell and taste from hops are boiled away. The bitterness comes from alpha acids that have been isomerized into your beer. The most effective way to isomerize an alpha acid is to vigorously boil the hop. The longer you vigorously boil a hop, the more alpha acids will be isomerized. Different hop varieties have different alpha acids levels. A cascade might have an alpha acid level of about 4%, while Nugget might have an alpha acid level of about 13%. The Opals I was using had a pretty high alpha acid level of 8.4%. It also varies between years and farms, so double-check the package before you complete your recipe.

Dividing the hops editions up beforehand, makes it so you aren't running behind.


I had 3 hop additions for this beer. The later hope addition, the less volatile aromas can boil away, and the less alpha acids are isomerized. This means you get less bitterness, but more aroma and flavor from the hops. Having three additions increases the complexity.

These were my hop additions:

60 Minutes Remaining: 0.25 oz Opal, .10 oz Nugget (I didn’t have enough Opal to hit my target IBUs, so I added some of the Nugget I already had).

30 Minutes Remaining: 0.50 oz Opal

5 Minute Remaining: 0.25 oz Nugget

Watch for boilovers.

When adding hops, especially the first hop addition, your water is really going to want to boil over. Just keep on stirring and turn down the heat if needed. You might also want to keep a little spray bottle on hand. I have heard that spritzing with water helps keep the foaming in hand. Another trick is to put a few copper pennies in the pot. One thing you shouldn’t do is cover your pot completely to try to prevent boilover. There are sulfur compounds the wort develops while boiling, that you would prefer to not condensate on the lid and drop back into the pot.

Step Ten: The Lowdown on the Cooldown

It’s getting a little hot in here, so we’re going to bring the temperature down in Part 3.