The onset of Tennessee summer heat has inspired the crew at Rebel Brewer to brew! Most things inspire us to brew something around here though. We wanted to create an ale that is not only sessionable, but refreshingly hoppy at the same time. Something that could be best described as an American Session Ale.
For this brew I chose a simple grain bill of pale, Vienna, and honey malt to set the stage for Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe hops. All three were used in the boil, with Columbus and Simcoe for dry hopping. The only ingredient left to choose was the yeast, and this is where I decided to turn one experiment into two. The Mangrove Jack series brought us a third variety of West coast/California ale dry yeast. Having little experience with dry yeast I thought it would be fun to compare US-05, BRY-97, and the Mangrove Jack M44 U.S. West Coast yeasts to each other, using WLP 001 as a control.
An O.G. of 1.048 allowed for enough room to squeeze a 20 gallon brew into the Top Tier system. Mashing at 148-150 degrees for 75 minutes produced a lighter body, which seemed appropriate for a summer-time session ale. After the mash a 15 minute recirculation(vorlauf) of the wort was used to create a filter bed in the mash tun. This step aided in wort clarity and easy collection from the mash tun to the boil kettle. During the mash water in the HLT was heated to 208 degrees for a mash out infusion and 15 minute rest at 168f. Following this was a 40 minute sparge/lauter, filling the 30 gallon boiler maker to 26.5 gallons of wort.
After collection was complete we quickly got the kettle up to boil. A standard 60 minute boil with no bittering addition was used in order to keep IBUs around 40. Heavy late addition hopping would emphasize flavor and aroma characteristics while keeping bitterness low. Centennial was used in both the 30 and 15 minute hop additions. Our 5 minute addition consisted of Columbus and Simcoe at equal proportions. To end the boil all three hop varieties were used in order to give a final blast of aroma.
Allowing the final hop addition to steep for a few minutes we then removed them from the kettle and began to whirlpool. During whirlpool our chilling equipment was set up for knockout to the 6 gallon carboys. A copper coil immersion chiller was used to pre-chill groundwater flowing into our “chillhog 4000” plate chiller.
Recirculating wort through the plate chiller back into the kettle lowers wort temperature. Using this step helps increase the rate of flow during knockout to the carboys, allowing a siphon sprayer to vigorously aerate the wort prior to pitching yeast. The four carboys were filled once the thermocouple read a steady 64 degree wort flow out of the plate chiller.
All carboys were properly cleaned, sanitized, and labeled prior to pitching the yeasts. We set the dual function temperature controller to 66 degrees F in the fermentation cooler to start. Once the yeast was pitched, fermentation would be tracked every 6-12 hours.
Sixteen hours in
Twenty four hours after pitch there were clear differences in how each yeast was performing. The US-05 was the first to kick off a full krausen. WLP001 and Mangrove Jack M44 were close behind, while BRY-97 was still in the lag phase.
Thirty Six hours into fermentation. At this point BRY-97 has developed a krausen and all four yeast strains are very active.
Two days into fermentation…
Sixty hours after pitch…
Three days into fermentation temperature was raised by a degree. US-05 and WLP001 seem to slow down a bit while M44 and BRY-97 are still going strong.
Four days into fermentation and M44 seemed to catch up with US-05. Temperature was also raised a degree, to 68 F.
Five days in to fermentation. Flocculation of the US-05 is most apparent at this time, followed by M44 and WLP001. BRY-97 was still fairly active.
Time to dry hop! Each car boy got 1/2 oz Columbus and Simcoe. Dry hops were allowed to mingle with the young beer for 5 days before crashing the cooler from 68 to 32 F.
To avoid downward suction created by dropping the cooler to 32 F, I replace three piece airlocks with waterless silicone airlocks. This keeps any fluid in a standard airlock out of the beer. Cold conditioning lasted for another 5 days, allowing suspended material to fall to the bottom of the carboys.
After this period of cold conditioning all that was left to do was rack the beer off the yeast, into sanitized and CO2 purged 5 gallon ball lock kegs. Below you can see a liquid-to-liquid line set up which allows sanitizer to jump from one liquid dip tube to the next. CO2 pushes the solution from one keg to the next, meanwhile purging any oxygen out by opening the pressure relief valve on the keg lid.
Once all four kegs were filled any oxygen that may have been present was purged out with CO2. Now the carbonation process was ready to begin. I chose to force carbonate the kegs by placing them on their side and rocking them back and forth. Hooked up to 25 psi on the gas-in post, each keg was rocked for six minutes. This seemed to give each keg proper carbonation for the style.
A hydrometer reading was taken from each carboy while racking into the keg. All four yeast strains attenuated well, with terminal gravities between 1.012-1.013. Below each reading can be seen. US-05 finished at 1.013, while Mangrove Jack M44, BRY-97, and WLP001 all fermented down to 1.012.
The beer was then given an additional few days to keg condition before an informal tasting and evaluation of each yeast. Simple score sheets were filled out during a blind tasting. Very subtle differences were found between the four yeasts. BRY-97 had the most dry taste, taking just a bit too much body out of the finished beer. A couple tasters also detected slight diacetyl in the BRY-97 sample. WLP001 tasted very clean but had the least amount of clarity of all four samples. US-05 had the most clarity of all with a nice light body, but less hop character than the Mangrove M44. The new M44 U.S. West Coast yeast came out the most balanced between body, hop, and yeast character. Although, when tasted blind M44 did not get the highest score with every taster. As a whole, the Rebel Brewer crew enjoyed the Mangrove Jack M44 above the other three yeasts.
In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we decided to make a kit out of this recipe, using M44 U.S. West Coast as the dry yeast option. This easy drinking session ale is the perfect brew for any hop head looking for something refreshing during the summer months. We hope you have fun brewing and drinking this new creation! Check it out here.
Here are the final stats which we will also be using in the kits
Extract 5 Gallon Batch
All Grain 5 Gallon Batch