Posts Tagged ‘maple beer’

Best Laid Plans

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

My friend Mark was supposed to join me today to learn the art of all-grain brewing. While waiting for him, I went out and did the barn chores, and when I came back in there was a message on the answering machine. Mark’s upstairs neighbor had apparently left the water on all night and flooded the place, so Mark was going to have to move, sort, clean and dry all his furniture, rugs and stuff. No brew session for him today.

I brewed anyway.

I decided to go for it, on this beer, big and rich, intensely sweet but also highly hopped. A smorgasbord of beery flavors all in one. Freshly smoked pale malt, mashed in condensed maple sap, three different high-alpha hops… A barleywine style ale, meant to be aged for a long while and sipped slowly.

Vermont Breakfast Ale

5 gallons, all-grain

Ingredients:

  • 7 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt
  • 3 lbs. Maris Otter smoked over maple
  • 1 lb. 150°L crystal malt
  • 1 lb. Biscuit malt
  • 1/2 lb. maple-smoked cara-foam malt
  • 1 oz. Chinook hop pellets (@11.8% aa)
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (@12.2% aa)
  • 1 oz. whole Horizon hops (@11.9% aa)
  • White Labs Super High Gravity yeast (WLP099)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup (for priming)

Procedure:

Condense 6 gallons of fresh maple sap down to 4 gallons (16 quarts) [Alternatively, add 1 pt. pure maple syrup to 16 quarts water]. Heat to 164°F. Crush grains. Dough in and hold at 152°F for 60 minutes. Heat 14 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 22 quarts sweet wort. Bring to a boil, add Chinook pellets. Boil 15 minutes, add Simcoe pellets. Boil 45 minutes (60 total), add Horizon hops and remove from heat. Steep the Horizon about 10 minutes then remove them. Chill wort to 75°F, take a hydrometer reading. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment two weeks in relative warmth (65 – 70°). Rack to secondary and age in a cool dark place (50°F) for eight weeks. Prime with maple syrup, bottle and store somewhere where you will forget about them for a year.

OG: 1078

IBU’s: 107

For more info on Barleywines, I highly recommend Fal Allen and Dick Cantwell’s volume in the AHA Classic Beer Style series, appropriately titled “Barley Wine“.


Lessons Learned

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

For the second year in a row, I donated a brewing session to a charity auction at the Vermont Law School, sponsored by the Women’s Law Group. This year’s winners, Susan and Kayvon, braved the muddy back roads and joined me this morning to brew a nicely-timed Smoked Maple Märzen, which I will be rolling out as my Oktoberfest in the fall. Susan has brewed before, at the extract and steeping grains level; Kayvon is new to brewing but I think he caught the bug this morning… Great conversation ranging from beer to politics to chickens and cats. It was a pleasure to have them on hand to brew. And I got a delicious chocolate-pecan pie out of the deal!

This was the second brew made with some of the grains I smoked a few weeks ago. Although I was using maple sap, the grains were actually smoked over oak, so I am mixing woods…. The weather has already turned too warm for much more sap to run, I fear, but I have enough sap in storage for the three beers and the mead I will brew with it. I may not be able to make any syrup this year, but I have my priorities!

Märzen/Oktoberfest 2012

5 gallons, all-grain

Ingredients:

  • 6 gallons fresh raw maple sap, boiled down to 14 quarts
  • 2 lbs. oak-smoked Munich malt
  • 7-1/2 lbs. pilsner malt
  • 1 lb. 60°L crystal malt
  • 1/2 lb. melanoidin malt
  • 1 oz. Perle hop pellets (@8% aa)
  • 1 oz. Tettnanger hop pellets (@3.5% aa)
  • White Labs German Bock yeast (WLP830)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (for priming)

Procedure:

Crush the grains. Heat condensed sap to 166°F. Dough in and hold mash at 155°F for 60 minutes. Heat 14 quarts water to 168°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 24 quarts sweet wort. Bring to a boil, add 1/2 oz. Perle hops. Boil 30 minutes, add Tettnanger hops. Boil 15 minutes, add remaining 1/2 oz. of Perle hops. Boil 15 minutes (60 total), remove from heat. Chill to 70°F, take a hydrometer reading. Pour wort into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment at 60°F for eight to ten days. Rack to secondary, lager cool (45°F) for three months (!). Prime with maple syrup, bottle and condition cool for at least two months.

OG:1070

IBU’s: 30.4

Notes on maple: I have the luxury of being able to tap my own trees and get fresh sap. If you don’t you can approximate the sap for the mash by adding about a pint of maple syrup to 14 quarts of water. The warning I always repeat at this stage: use REAL maple syrup (preferably from Vermont, of course), not the 2% maple flavored corn syrup!

Notes on yeast: I reused the yeast culture from the Doppelbock I brewed in December, built up to a quart of slurry. This is reputed to be the yeast used by Ayinger, who make a fantastic Märzen…

Another note: You too can arrange a brewing session with the Guru – see the link on the home page for info about how to hire me to teach you to brew, or lead a beer tasting session!

More info on Oktoberfest-style beers: see the book “Oktoberfest, Vienna, Märzen” by George Fix – not the best book in the AHA style series, a little too technical and scientific for me, but contains a lot of interesting history and some good recipes…


Spring Rites

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

The maple sap started running late but in the end it was a pretty good season. I put up over a gallon of syrup (just enough for a year’s household use), gave away a few gallons of straight sap, and brewed 4 different batches with more sap.  One was a mead, one was the Oktoberfest in the last post. Today I present the latest pair, a Canadian-style Golden Ale and a Scotch Ale. Both are richer and more full-bodied because of the sap used in the mash. Both also have a smoky, woody flavor.

Maple Leaf Golden Ale
5 gallons, all grain

Ingredients:

  • 7 lbs. Maris Otter 2-row pale malt
  • 2 lbs. 30°L crystal malt
  • 1 pint maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 oz. whole Chinook hops (home grown)
  • 1/2 oz. whole Cluster hops (home grown)
  • 1/8 oz. whole Hallertauer hops (home grown)
  • White Labs Australian Ale yeast (WLP009)
  • 1/2 cup corn sugar and
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup for priming

Procedure:
Boil 5 gallons maple sap down to 12 quarts. Cool down (or heat up) to 165°F. Crush grains, dough in and hold 60 minutes at 154°F. Heat 15 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 25 quarts sweet wort. Add 1 pint maple syrup to kettle, bring to a boil. Add Chinook hops, boil 15 minutes. Add Cluster hops, boil 40 minutes. Add Hallertauer hops, boil 5 minutes and turn off heat. Remove hops, chill to 80°F and pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Take a hydrometer reading, pitch yeast and seal fermenter. Ferment warmish (68 – 70°F) for ten days. Rack to secondary, age cooler (60°F) for ten to twelve days. Prime with corn sugar and maple syrup, bottle and condition for three to four weeks.

OG: 1080
IBU’s: 55 (a guess, as I don’t have alpha ratings for my own hops…)

Note on maple: if you don’t have maple sap, mash in water to which you you have added a cup of real maple syrup. Don’t use maple-flavored corn syrup!

Note on yeast: The Australian yeast is very similar to the basic neutral yeasts used in many American pale ales and Golden ales as well as one of the better known Canadian ale breweries. It produces a malty, clean-tasting beer and ferments equally well at warmer and cooler temperatures.

Vermont Highland Ale
5 gallons, all grain

Ingredients:

  • 7 lbs. Maris Otter 2-row pale malt
  • 3-1/2 lbs. Weyermann Abbey malt
  • 1 lb. 60°L crystal malt
  • 6 oz. Cara-Belge malt
  • 6 oz. British amber malt
  • 4 oz. dark Munich malt
  • 1 oz. peated malt
  • 1 oz. Styrian Goldings hop pellets (@4.5% aa)
  • 1 oz. Fuggles hop pellets (@4% aa)
  • White Labs Edinburgh Ale Yeast (WLP028)
  • White Labs Kölsch yeast (WLP029)
  • 2/3 cup corn sugar for priming

Procedure:
Boil 7.5 gallons maple sap down to 16 quarts. Cool down (or heat up) to 167°F. Crush grains, dough in and hold 60 minutes at 155°F. Heat 15 quarts of water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 24 quarts sweet wort. Boil 30 minutes without any hops. Add Styrian Goldings, boil 30 minutes. Add Fuggles, boil another 30 minutes (60 total with hops, 90 overall). Remove from heat, chill to 80°F and take a hydrometer reading. Pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeasts, seal and ferment cool (58 – 60°F) for two weeks. Rack to secondary, condition cooler (50°F) for three to four weeks. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and age at 45 – 50°F for six weeks minimum.

OG: 1092
IBU’s: 28

Note on sap: Again, if you do not have sap you can mash with water to which you have added syrup – 1/2 to 3/4 cup for this brew.
Note on wort: I took the first 4 quarts of runoff and started it boiling immediately. The extra boiling time caramelizes the sugars and develops additional dextrines to help the beer become more full-bodied.

Note on yeast: The Edinburgh yeast imparts the classic malty/caramel notes of a Scotch Ale but does not always attenuate enough to dry this beer out. The Kölsch yeast will tolerate a little higher alcohol level so will help to finish this beer to a medium sweet profile instead of a cloying, heavy beer.

Note on bottle conditioning: I am brewing this beer in April to enter into a competition in July, but I am not sure if it will be ready – it will be finished and bottled, and certainly drinkable, but will probably be much better in November at St. Andrew’s Day… This is a strong beer that needs a long cool aging period to mature and smooth out.