Mount Hoodie (2015) Brew Day

I brewed Mount Hoodie, my first lager of the season on Christmas Eve. This is my third time brewing a version of this beer and the third time the recipe has gone through some pretty big revisions. The first batch, in 2013 was a partial mash BIAB. Earlier this year, the 2014 batch was meant to be all grain, but because of some issues on brew day, I ended up adding some extract to boost the gravity. As a result, the hop character was diminished and the batch was somewhat disappointing overall.
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For the third iteration, I’ve shrunk the batch size down to about three gallons and gone back to the BIAB mash of the first version, but this time without the need to add any extract. The move to a smaller batch size was decided for a couple of reasons. The first was the disappointment of last year’s beer. The first Mount Hoodie remains one of my favorites. The second was drinkable but unremarkable. I want to keep this recipe alive but after that, I wasn’t too excited to have a lot of it around again, so hopefully this batch will be more successful and restore my faith in my own recipe.

The second reason plays into my overall plan for brewing lagers this Winter. This is my first batch of the season but there are several more to come. I will outline my full plan once I bring the blog back to a normal schedule. For now, I’ll just say that Mount Hoodie was not the only lager I was disappointed in last year and that I’m changing my approach a little bit.
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I keep talking about this beer’s “recipe” but the truth is, that has changed each time. The ingredients have stayed similar, but the proportions change each year as I work towards someday perfecting the recipe.

The first batch used Pale Malt (and light extract) as the base with a small supplement of Vienna. Last year, I bumped up the Vienna into the starting role. I decided against that this year and cut it back to twenty-five percent of the grain bill, which is still higher than the first year. In addition to that, I swapped out Pale Malt in favor of American Pilsner Malt, which I honestly didn’t realize my local homebrew shop carried until recently. I’ve never used it before but I’m planning an American Pilsner for the near future, so I figured I should check it out.

For specialty grains, I use a combination of Crystal 10L and 60L. I would never normally plan a recipe to use two different Crystal malts, but I had some of both around to use up that first year and I was so happy with the beer that I decided I should continue to use the combination. I honestly don’t know how much of a difference this makes and I may be better off cutting the difference with some 40L malt. Simplifying grain bills is normally what I do. Either way, this combination brings a bit of sweetness and color to my fairly pale amber lager.

In addition to the Crystal, I use Belgian Aromatic malt to add even more malt flavor. I find that Aromatic, while somewhat malty, also brings a drier graininess that compliments the Crystal malt bringing a lot of complexity.

For hops, I’ve always used Cascade for bitterness and then several additions of Mount Hood, obviously the hop that is meant to be highlighted here. Mount Hood hops are American with German heritage. Bred from classic Noble hop origins, they are meant to bring those characteristics to a hop that can thrive in American growing conditions. I find that they bring a bit more to the mix than that, though. Overall, they are definitely in the spicy Noble hop tradition, but there is a bit of that citrusy American hop character coming into the mix, as well. These hops are perfect for American renditions of low hopped German classics light Dunkles, Bocks, and Helles lagers, but I think they can shine in hoppier beers as well.

A Pilsner seems like the obvious choice to highlight them, but I wanted to add a more complex malt character. Mount Hoodie is essentially an American twist on a hybrid of a Vienna Lager and a German Pilsner. Of course, hybridizing those two beers is already an American twist, but adding another twist is even more American. Huh?

Anyway, here is my recipe for the latest batch of Mount Hoodie. It was brewed on Christmas Eve, immediately after arriving home from my last day of work for the year. Two days after Christmas, I started another batch, which I’ll be posting about in the next couple days. Then I’m planning another batch for Friday. Maybe I can fit one more in before I go back to work the next Monday? Oh yeah, plus Amy and I started our newest batch of Anniversary Mead this week. Whew.
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Mount Hoodie (2015)
Style: American Amber Lager
OG: 1.051
Expected FG: 1.015
Aproximate ABV: 4.45 %
IBU’s: 34

Amount Percentage Name
5.00 lbs 62.50 % Pilsner (2 Row)
2.00 lbs 25.00 % Vienna Malt
0.25 lbs 3.12 % Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
0.25 lbs 3.12 % Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L
0.50 lbs 6.25 % Aromatic Malt

Hops
Amount IBU’s Name Time AA %
0.50 ozs 16.42 Cascade 60 mins 5.50
0.50 ozs 10.85 Mt. Hood 20 mins 6.00
0.50 ozs 6.50 Mt. Hood 10 mins 6.00
1.00 ozs 0.00 Mt. Hood 0 mins 6.00
1.00 ozs Mt. Hood 14 days 6.00

Yeast:
WLP802 CZECH BUDEJOVICE LAGER YEAST

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