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Beer Review #219 Sunshine Pils

Many of the first reviews were of Troegs Brewing Company. The reasons for this are two fold 1.) They make lot of good beer, and 2.) They were the most accessible craft beer when I first got into craft beer. Since that time they have been in my regular buying rotation as I still have a fondness for their beers. Sunshine Pils is a spring/summer seasonal release of theirs that I never actually tried until this year. Generally when I am looking for a good PA pilsner, I go for Victory’s Prima Pils, but seeing as this was a new beer to me, I grabbed it.

According to the bottle, Sunshine Pils comes in at 5.3% but Troegs website says 4.5%. In any case this beer looks exactly like a pilsner should. It is a golden straw color and has a brilliant clarity to it. A thin white head sits atop the beer below and slowly absorbs back into the liquid. The nose is a bit more complex then what I was expected. The first thing that gets you is a good solid malt, which has a grainy, fresh quality to it. The odor is on the sweet side with some bits on honey mixed in there. I didn’t get any hops in my attempts to find them.

The taste very much follows what the nose promised. It starts off with a honey sweetness that has some notes for grain as it goes over the back third of your tongue. There is a really nice earthiness to this beer which I wasn’t expected. It has a real handcrafted quality to it that I have not found in many pilsners. The hops finally make their appearance at the very end of this one and give a slight noble hop spiciness that dries everything out enough to keep this beer from being too sweet.

With the exception of the earthiness, this is a pretty standard pilsner. It was nice, balanced, and refreshing; all things that a pilsner should be. I wish I had tried this beer soon as it would have really helped those summer classes in my college days. (more…)

Beer Review #48 Noble Pils

Ever since I have been drinking craft beer, Sam Adams has been in my drink lineup. They released a new spring seasonal this year taking the place of the White Ale of last year. For this spring Sam decided to go with a Pilsner, a “nobel pilsner.” The reason they call it a Nobel Pils is becasue the hop varieties used in the making of this beer are said to be noble. You know how the periodic table of elements has the noble gasses, well hops also have a noble lineage.

The beer pours a nice golden in color and is perfectly clear. There is a bit more of a hue in it than a typical Light American Lager, but there isn’t a huge difference in how the two look. It also pours with a nice white fluffy head. The nose on this beer is actually somewhat complex for how simple a Pilsner really is. There is a sweet, honey-like malt with a splash of hop in there as well. It isn’t stale or sulfery smelling like a light of light colored lagers tend to have.

On the tongue the sweet malt is on the front and then there is a good hoppy finish. Some might compare this beer to a Light American Lager based on looks, but the malt is more complex and there is actually a hop finish. The hop finish might surprise some, but it is not overpowering and really complements the drink. Noble Pils is light in mouthfeel and has the perfect amount of carbonation.

I find this beer super drinkable. It is great for a warm spring day or on a hot summer day. I think this beer would appeal to a lot of beer drinkers crossing into the craft beer for the first time. As I have said before on this site, Pilsner is not a style of beer that I enjoy, but Sam Adams Noble Pils was a winner in my book. (more…)

Belgian Tripel Brew Day

08-08-01Yesterday I finally got to brew my Belgian Triple. I still need to think of a good name for it and I am taking suggestions. I recieved all of my ingredients from Austin Homebrew on Wednesday and quickly discovered that I had a few problems. The first was that the Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale yeast was warm to hot. The summers here in Texas get scorching and the trip from Austin to Lubbock is a long hot one. I did order an ice pack, but that too was warm by the time it got here. The second was that Tettnanger and Saaz came in 2-3% less than what I was anticipating. I modified the recipe a bit to get similar IBUs out of the brew. I also change a few of the times in the mash and hopping schedule.

08-08-02Friday morning, around 9:30 or so, I smacked the pack to get the yeast woken up. I didn’t plan on actually starting the brew till 4:00 in the afternoon so that gave it plenty of time to puff up. The smack pack never really puffed up much past the first 2 hours. You can see in the picture to the left that it didn’t to much. I was a bit concerned but decided that it was too late to change anything.

I mashed my grains (12 lbs Belgian Pils, .5 lbs Belgian Pale, and .5 lbs unmalted wheat) for 90 minutes at 152ºF. The strike water temperature came in at 165ºF. After the 90 minutes I took the temperature again just to see how good my new mashtun held temps. The theomerter read 150ºF! I was pretty pleased what that result. I was acutally expecting it to drop much more than that.

I collected about 2.5 gallons of water from my orginal 4 gallons. I added another 3 gallons of water that came in at 170ºF. I collected my second runnings in the main boil pot and about a gallon of third runnings in a secondary pot. The point of this is to add it to the main pot once some of it boils away. I only have a 5 gallon pot, so trying to get the most out of it is tough. This is the method I have been using and it has worked. It also allows me to get the most out of the grains that I can.

08-08-07

08-08-06I boiled each pot for 30 minutes and then combined them. I also added 1 oz. of the Tettnanger at this time. I continued the boil for another 30 minutes and added .5 oz of Saaz hops. 15 minutes later I added another .5 oz of Saaz and 5 minutes after that I added a BrewVint Yeast Fuel. Finished out the boil for another 10 minutes and started the cooling process. 90 minute total boil. When all was said and done I had collected just under 4 gallons of wort, I was shooting for 3.5 gallons, and had a gravity of 1.074.

I was pretty happy with that, but it fell short of the gravity I wanted. Part of that was due to the increased wort volume and I think Beer Tools Pro overestimated the amount of sugar I would be able to get. I didn’t add anything to bring the gravity up to where I wanted it becasue I wasn’t sure about the health of the yeast. I pitched the yeast closed it all up and went over to a friends. I came back 4 hours later and the airlock was 08-08-04bubbling away. Success! The beer isn’t going to be as strong as I had intended but that’s ok. This is my first ever big beer and I am happy with the results thus far. If I would of done some more thinking and planning I would of tried to make a session beer with whatever sugars were left in the grain bed. Something to consider next time.

The Tripel should be in the primary for a week and the secondary for another week. Then it is bottling time. My apartment stays at a pretty consitent 75ºF so it should be just fine. And finally my new brewing partner enjoying all of the new smells. If you click the read more link after this you can see some more pictures from the brew day. (more…)

07-31-01

Belgian Tripel Recipe

07-31-01Now that I am finally established in Texas I can get back to homebrewing again. It has been a long time since I brewed the SB Birthday Beer. Does the date of that post really go all the way back to Feburary. That sucks. I’ve been really digging Belgian beers for the past few months and have been coming up with ideas in my head about what all I need to do to make it as good as it can be. So I came up with the following recipe:

  • 12 lbs Belgian Pils
  • .5 lbs Belgian Pale
  • .5 lbs Wheat malt
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 120 mins)
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 90 mins)
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 60 mins)
  • .25 0z Tettnanger (4.5% at 30 mins)
  • .5 oz Saaz (5.0% at 10 mins)
  • Yeast: WLP530 (Abbey Ale) or another Belgian Strong if unavialable

I plan on mashing the grains at 152 degrees for 90 minutes to try and get as much sugar out of them as I can. I hope to collect a total of 5 gallons of wort for boil when all is said and done. I then want to boil for two hours and bring down the level of wort to around 3.5 gallons. I haven’t brewed here before and I am almost 3,000 ft. higher in elevation so I don’t know if the boil time will need adjusting.

I will ferment in the primary for a week, switch to a secondary for another week, and then bottle and contition for 2-3 weeks. I hope to have a nice estery beer that comes in between 9.5-9.7% abv. My SG goal is going to be 1.090, maybe a bit higher or lower depending on my effiency.

My hop choices came down to English (Fuggles and Goldings) or the German hops I picked. Saaz hops has a history of being a bit more fruity and I want those esters to shine. With such a long boil I wanted to strech out the primary hops and split them up into four small additions. It might add a bit of complexity but will make it not overpowering. I am still considering just a single addition at the hour mark, but I still can’t make up my mind. The final IBUs should come in at about 28 IBUs. I’m going to ferment on the upper edge of the recommended temperature at 75 degrees or so.

Is there anything I missed or any other considerations I should look at before brewing this bad boy up. I’m hoping to make a go at it this weekend or next depending on how fast the ingredients ship and how fast I can build my mash tun.