Update and Wandering Musings of my SMaSH Simcoe Beer

First the update. Yesterday on day 8, I managed to rack from the primary fermenter into the glass carboy secondary fermenter. I added 1 ounce of Simcoe hops for dry hopping. Even after 8 days the beer was still a bit busy fermenting, as indicated by the gravity of the beer. I had been expecting something in the neighborhood of 1.012 or less and the beer was 1.021. The primary still had a busy looking krausen …… I figured what the heck, rather than closing it up and waiting a few more days I went ahead and racked it over to the secondary with the understating that it would still be bubbling pretty actively. The sample I pulled to check the gravity was not wasted, slightly sweet on the backend but very nice aroma and color was perfect. Note to self here…..this beer will need serious cold crashing prior to kegging…..At my age that may require and reminder plugged into my smart phone,,,,,if I don’t forget!…… FYI – I added it to Monday February 6th at 1:00 PM. Yee Haw!

Wandering musings……some of you are craft beer savvy and you understand the term SMaSH. If not it simply means the simple process of brewing with a single malt(malted grain) and a single variety if hops. A little more……

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-malt#6rXUJtvrb9M1bqzLktw2Ui ————————————————————

“How Is Malt Made?

The desired end-product affects the malting process, but the basic steps involved in malting include:

  1. 1. Harvest: Gathering, cleaning, and drying the grains is the first step in malting. Since ancient Mesopotamia, the most common malted grain is barley. Malt makers or maltsters can malt all kinds of grains, but barley remains a popular staple.
  2. 2. Soak: Soaking or steeping the grains involves submerging the grains in water. The enzymes activate and set off chemical changes as the grains absorb water.
  3. 3. Germinate: When the grains reach a specific moisture content, maltsters drain the excess moisture and sprouting begins. The starches in the grains convert into sugars, such as monosaccharide glucose, disaccharide maltose, and maltodextrin, among others. Specialized enzymes called proteases help break down the grains’ protein into different forms, including amino acids, that yeast can consume.
  4. 4. Dry: At a certain point, the maltster halts the chemical transformations of the green malt with air and heat. This preserves the germinated grain in its new, changed state with the right combination of starch, protein, and sugar.
  5. 5. Roast: Some malts, such as those for certain types of beer brewing, roast in an oven or kiln. This additional heating process creates further changes in the nutritional profile of the grain, affecting the fermentation process and altering the flavor of the finished product.”

OK, that may be TMI but I am sure someone may want to know. So now the term malted grain is established . Now for hops.

“Hops are the flowers, or cones, of a plant called Humulus lupulus. Hops help to keep beer fresher, longer; help beer retain its head of foam—a key component of a beer’s aroma and flavor; and, of course, add “hoppy” aroma, flavor, and bitterness.” “

Last of the TMI stuff. Lets talk about my Simcoe SMaSH and a little more. This is my third or fourth beer brewed in the SMaSH mode. The first couple were Mosaic Hops and Marris Otter malt. Feed back from my buddies indicate that it was a very drinkable beer with good flavor and great aroma…..Yes! I selected Mosaic primarily because of the amazing aroma but also for the fact it can also be a good bittering hop used at the beginning of the boil. Subsequent additions are later in the boil so as to maximize the aromas as well as a dose of dry hopping in the secondary fermenter. If you need to know…..go ahead and google “dry hopping” my musings going forward will attempt to avoid too much TMI. Marris Otter malt is very flavorful, has a bit darker color than if using a pale malt and a slight malty flavor that my oldest son doesn’t particularly like….Children are to be spoiled……even at 32 years of age. So, I used Golden Promise malt for the Simcoe SMaSH ……hopefully the taste will be in Ben’s preferred flavor profile. My sample seems to meet that criteria. A musing of sorts. I assumed criteria was singular but I googled it and learned that it is the plural of criterion. Really old dogs can learn new tricks. And I am a really old dog!!!!!!

Let me wander a little further…..next up on my brewing list is a Russian Imperial Stout with whiskey barrel aging as part of the process. Deeper explanations in a future blog posting. Suffice it to say that it will be a higher ABV beer in the 11% or higher range, will not be worth drinking until it is well beyond a year old and will do nothing more than age very nicely just as the blog’s author…..smiling broadly, I do believe that I have aged well. My last batch was brewed in 2016 and bottled in 22 ounce bombers. The last two bottles were consumed very recently. An old neighbor and homebrewer shared one with his wife this past December and the very last one was shared with folks down at DECA Beer company along with a Russian Imperial stout brewed in 2017 by Cody Evans, Chief Brewer and he holds so many flunky titles at the brewery that I won’t mention them. We had been attempting the taste off and sharing for quite some time. Both beers received high marks from patrons and brewers alike. My beer had been primed with brown sugar which imparted a faint aroma of molasses and was surprisingly good. Keep you eyes open for more down the road.

Yum…….

Drink Local and Drink Resonsibly

Bishop

Simcoe SMaSH IPA

Brewed this beer January 22nd 2023, after a fairly long break from brewing….The Avery Clone IPA was the last beer I brewed and kegged. If you read my last post you know that it disappeared too quickly. I have brewed a Mosaic SMaSH IPA several times in the past and decided to go with Simcoe hops for this SMaSH…..I love the aroma and the flavors come through very nicely….

My chicken scratch my brew sheet form BeerSmith on this recipe…..gotta keep notes if you want to to repeat a good beer.

A little about Simcoe Hops from Yakima Valley Hops web site;

“At 12%-14% Alpha Acid, Simcoe® has great bittering qualities, but also packs a complex aroma of stone fruit, pine, and citrus zest. It truly is a dual purpose hop that is capable of standing on its own in single-hopped beers in a wide range of styles.”

When I pulled the sample to determine the original gravity, 1.064 to be exact, I dipped my nose in for a whiff and by golly Yakima was right! Secondly the flavor was very, very pleasant a little sweet but to be expected as unfermented wort should be sweet. As the sugars in the wort are devoured by the “yeasties” the sweetness disappears and the magic of conversion to beer happens. I have very high hopes for this beer.

Brew day did not go as smooth as I would have liked…..I have a 110 Volt Grainfather G30 system. Overall I love it but……brew day was pretty damned cold for Houston and the wind was stiff. I brew outside because my wife does not like the smell of boiling wort in the house, I think it is rather pleasant but….I make some sacrifices to maintain harmony in the house. The mash went very smooth, the equipment held the 165 degree F mash temp perfectly. The system’s pump worked perfectly for the Vorlauf process. During Vorlauf and sparging I ran the set temperature up to 212 degrees F. One drawback of the 110 Volt system is the slower heating rates as compared to the 220 Volt systems.

I use my propane burner to heat the sparge water, 170 degrees F was the recommended tempearture. I was patient and sparged at a rate to rinse as much sugar out of the grain bed as was expected. As I was sparging the temperature was coming up very slowly…….too slowly. I pulled out my electric paint stripping gun and plugged it into a separate circuit in order to not to blow a fuse. It helped, I ran it on high setting on the lower sides of the pot….and slowly the pot came up to a good rolling boil. Added 0.5 ounces of Simcoe for 60 minutes. Next addition of Simcoe was 1.0 ounce at the 15 minute remaining mark and 1.5 ounces at the 5 minute remaining mark. Added ½ of a whirlfloc tablet at that same time in order to help precipitate haze-causing proteins and beta glucans resulting in a clearer wort.

Then a set back and change of process now that the beer had boiled for the required 60 minutes. I attached my counter flow chiller and attempted to pump hot wort through the coils and back into the pot to sanitize the coil. The pump had worked perfectly when I ran it to Vorlauf but for some reason the pump would not move any fluid…..I was at a standstill …… I disconnected the fittings to see if there was clog and I could not see a problem. Started and stopped the pump multiple times……no dice. I could hear it sounding like it was running but no output……I need to get the wort cooled and into my fermenting bucket.

Plan B now. The wort is at a specific gravity of 1.064 X 8.345 pounds of water per gallon X 6 gallons equals about 53.27 pound of liquid plus the weight of the pot. I had to now lift this hot and awkward mess up onto platform of some sort in order to make plan B work……siphon the wort into my fermenting bucket. I did utter some strong words, tested my 71 year old back and pain tolerance to hot surfaces, but did manage to gain the necessary height to allow the siphon to work. I pumped very hot wort through the siphon hose and equipment and back into the wort to sanitize it all……then successfully filled the fermenting bucket.

Got it all situated and placed in a 66-68 degree location to best allow the yeast to do it’s work. Took a couple of Tylenol as a preventative for potential back pain and waited overnight to add the yeast. I usually like to cool the wort much more quickly and add the yeast once it is all down below 80 degrees F.  Yeast was added this morning and by this evening there was good indication of bubbles and active fermentation. Now, one of my challenges is being patient to allow nature to do its work.

Next step will be transferring to a secondary fermenter and adding 1.5 ounces of Simcoe hops for dry hopping. After 7 days I will cold crash it to 34-35 degrees and transfer to a keg. Then carbonate, be patient again and then enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Can’t wait to be at this point……filling the keg with my Simcoe SMaSH IPa.

Lesson learned and a discovery. The wort was at boiling temperature when I turned the pump on and with a little research the pump suction creates a lowered pressure and likely vapor locked the pump. Lesson learned ….be patient……turn the heat off, wait a bit then turn on the pump. During cleanup there was a bit of brew trash in the discharge check valve but probably not enough to stop flow. Note to self……understand my sometimes lack of patience and chill old man!!!!!!

SMaSH – a beer brewed with a single malt and a single hop……in this case Golden Promise Malt and Simcoe hops…..Yum

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop