Crocker’s NY Stout
On September 13th 2014, a rainy Saturday, my friend AJ and I brewed an American Stout. We did a 10 gallon batch with a recipe I had not previously tried. AJ has an old college buddy, Crocker, in upstate New York who has started planting hops on his farm this year. He apparently is interested in doing some expansion to other strains, and eventually opening a brewery on his site I believe. He ended up selling his entire harvest to a local microbrewery this year, but was able to hold out a few ounces to send to us to experiment with. The hops sent were all Columbus hops, dried, but still in whole leaf form, and packed into a brick with a food saver.
Because we were brewing a recipe that may one day be brewed by Crocker at his farm, we wanted to use only the hops that he sent to us, 6 ounces of Columbus. This is what I came up with:
23 pounds US 2-Row Pale
1.5 pounds Black Barley
1 pound Flaked Barley
15 ounces Crystal 40
8 ounces Chocolate
8 ounces Pale Chocolate
1.8 ounces @ 60 min 14% US Columbus
1.4 ounces @ 30 min 14% US Columbus
1 ounce @ 10 min 14% US Columbus
1.47 ounces @ 0 min 14% US Columbus
Water additions, starting with 100% RO Water:
3 grams Gypsum, 1 gram Baking Soda, 2.5 grams Calcium Chloride, 1 gram Pickling Lime to the Mash, and 2.3 grams Gypsum, 1.9 grams Calcium Chloride, 0.4 ml 85% Phosphorous Acid to the boil.
For this beer we were looking to make enough to send up to New York, and for ourselves to drink, so we used the same yeast for both fermenters rather than further experimenting. We chose:
WLP001 California Ale Yeast
This yeast is famous for its clean flavors, balance and ability to be used in almost any style ale. It accentuates the hop flavors and is extremely versatile.
Optimum Ferment Temp. 68-73°F (20-23°C)
Alcohol Tolerance High
We had some interesting issues with this brew. I had never brewed with whole leaf hops before. I use a basket in my boil kettle for hop pellets, it comes from http://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/brewingfilters.php It keeps the sludge out of the bottom of my kettle when I start cooling the wort, and it spares damage to my plate chiller. I was also utilizing the basket when we first started brewing this batch. Unfortunately, the whole leaf hops didn’t seem to be moving much in the basket, just floating at the top. I decided we were going to get some pretty poor utilization if we didn’t do something, so I decided to abandon the basket. We went about the brew day, no problems, hops were circulating well throughout.
It was at the end of the boil that I started to become concerned. Once the heat was cut off, all of the hops sank to the bottom of the kettle. We tried to drain through the chiller, and got but a few drops, as the valve was jammed with hops. We tried several times to clean it out and start syphoning, but to no avail. At this point, I decided to pull out a hose to syphon form the top of the kettle, but I didn’t have any hoses long enough, so we ended up using an auto syphon. We got about 3 or 4 gallons before the end of the auto syphon expanded and fell off in the kettle, and the rest of the syphon quickly became jammed with hops.
A second auto syphon was used, to the same result, and yet a third was pulled out, and again, became unusable. By this point we had about 8 gallons of wort sitting in buckets. We managed to pull the rest of the wort we needed by using a ladle from the kitchen, and removing wort at about 2 to 3 ounces at a time. We then had to pour it through a funnel with a screen to pull out the rest of the hops. It was a long process, taking roughly 30 to 45 minutes. At this point, we were able to syphon from the buckets, through the plate chiller, and into the fermenters.
My fear at this point was what we would end up, wort sitting hot in buckets for more than a half hour, flame out hops sitting in 200 degree wort for over half an hour, what types of flavor and aroma did we lose?
Fermentation went fine, thankfully. I ran 2 liter starters for each fermenter, and fermentation took off in about 5 hours. I kept fermentation at 64 for the first 5 or 6 days, I didn’t record it, and then came up to 66 for 2 days. Racked off after 3 weeks, one fermenter went into bottles, and the other into a keg. Finishing gravity was 1.020, target was 1.017, so not too bad!
The only big lesson learned with this brew, when using whole leaf hops, use the basket, or nylon bags, it is not an option but a necessity!!!