Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Imperial Stout

12/17/02 - Imperial Stout. Oh, man, the name alone gets me salivating. The big daddy, the high muckity-muck of dark beers. Visions of how brewers get their skewed views from too many late nights dipping tasters and testers into cauldrons of this black addiction. Lucky for me making these beers isn't nearly as difficult as waking up after drinking a few. I had the pleasure of working with Chris Sheehan at The Twenty Tank where he always made awe inspiring stouts (still does at Chelsea Brewing in NY.) His thoughts were to really build up the base of the beer with tons of character malts before the addition of your roasted grains. I always figure a stout can't be too dark so load up on those caramel malts. All that sweetness needs to be balanced with a healty portion of bittering hops, we went with 75 IBU's. The most interesting part of this recipe was the use of Magnum hops for our bittering addition. This was my first time using them and at 14.8% AA and, or so I'm told, low cohumulone levels I was excited to check 'em out.

The brewing was fairly straight forward. We added a small percentage of oats directly to the mash and rested at 152°F. The lauter for this took an extremely long time (partly due to the oats but we've been having grain issues of late.) I ditched the oats in the second batch and it'll be interesting to taste the difference. Hop additions were made at the beginning of the boil, ten minutes before the end of the boil, and at the whirlpool. We fermented at a cool 64°F and allowed it a good month of fermentation / aging time.

The beer came out tasting great. The nose has a nice balance of chocolate and coffee with hints of sweetness / alcohol underneath. The body is big and velvety with the hopping present as an underlying spiciness. It tails off into chocolate milk shake. I'll try and dry out the second batch, but right now everyone here seems happy with the results.

As a side bar, we've opened up some bottles of our Big A IPA recently and, closing in on six months old, they've been tasting awesome. The huge hop and alcohol flavors have rounded off and a real pleasant orange character is coming through. Definitely a departure from the West Coast style of IPA's, which is what we were shooting for. If you were lucky or smart enough to have some aging try one out soon. Cheers!. (back to top of page)

2 Row Pale
10° L Munich
120° L Crystal
17° L Carastan
Chocolate Malt
Roasted Barley

OG 20° P
TG 6.1° P

Magnum -  Bittering
Cascade - Flavoring
Cascade -  Flavoring
Fuggle - Aroma

Monday, October 28, 2002

Scotch Ale

10/28/02 - We're bottling our Scotch Ale today and I'm real pleased not only with how it turned out, but with brewing a beer associated with a country that developed a Wee Heavy. I honestly don't have a lot of experience with this style of beer, but I've always wanted to brew a smoked beer and figured this was my chance. When I worked at the Twenty Tank Brewery in San Francisco, we brewed a smoked porter that tasted like a barbecue gone horribly wrong, so I shied away from using peat smoked malt in favor of a German hardwood rauch malt. At 1% of the malt bill this added a real subtle smoky / whiskey character, especially in the nose, which nicely accentuates the 7% alcohol.

The flavor is malty and sweet with a hint of root beer which then tails into a lingering smokiness. The color is deep amber, almost brown, which I lightened up in the second batch, now fermenting. The only other difference between the two batches is the addition of the chocolate malt into the lauter tub during the sparge instead of in the mash. The goal of this was to add the color of this malt without the astringency.

Overall the brewing of this beer was pretty straight forward. We mashed in at 154°F to keep some residual sweetness in the beer (without having to resort to creative means like, say, adding Nutra Sweet®) The hopping was done in a single addition of Willamette hops at the beginning of the boil. We fermented at 65°F to keep the ester and alcohol character low. I'm proud to offer it to ya'll and hope you find it pleasurable. (back to top of page)

2 Row Pilsner
10° L Munich
35° L Carastan
Chocolate Malt
Smoked Malt

OG 18° P
TG 3.9° P

Willamette Bittering
Tettnanger Aroma

Monday, September 9, 2002


9/9/02 - Octoberfest- First of all I'd like to apologize about not updating the site with information on the final two batches of our IPA. We were just flat out trying to keep up with demand this summer (thank you kind Smutty drinkers!) The changes were subtle and had to do with hopping ratios and fermentation temperatures. If you have questions please feel free to email me.

And so we move forward to our next selection in the Big Beer Series, the Smuttynose Octoberfest. Last fall we had made some modifications to our brewhouse and I noticed that we'd now be able to perform decoction mashes. Having never played on a system that could do this, I was itching to boil some grain. Not quite sure how it would turn out we decided to go for it and see what would happen. (We just ain't scared of these things here at the 'nose.) Our grist was simple and consisted of 55% pale malt and 45% Munich malt. I was hoping to do a double decoction but once we transferred the boiled grain our mixed temperature was a tad high (in some spots the thermometer was reading 180°F!)

We proceeded to lauter the mash instead of doing a second decoction and began the boil at around 14°P. I was looking for a starting gravity of 16°P and extended the boil to achieve this. The thought was to add some caramelization to the character of the beer without adding crystal malt (and its sometimes cloying sweetness).

The hopping was bumped up from my original plan of 28 IBU's to the mid 30's, thinking that we may not have achieved full conversion during the decoction and would end up with a lot of residual sweetness. We boiled with 100% Northern Brewer for the full boil and added 11 lbs of Tetenanger ten minutes before the whirlpool.

We ended up pitching our ale yeast, having run out of the lager strain. We still fermented at 55°F and were able to drop right on down to 3.4°P (go Chico!) I'd definitely like to give this recipe another shot and do the double decoction as well as ferment with the lager yeast, but we still ended up with a real nice beer. The color is a bright orange with a big malty nose touched with a hint of alcohol. There's some toffee in the body and that big hop character finishing it out. Enjoy!

2 Row Pilsner
10° L Munich

OG 15.7° P
TG 3.4° P

Northern Brewer Bittering
Tettnanger Aroma

Friday, May 31, 2002

Big A IPA - The First Edition

5/31/02 ~ Corresponding with the release of our newest Big Beer, Smuttynose Big A IPA, I'd like to welcome everyone to our newest section of the web site. I've received several inquiries for descriptions of our seasonal releases and so thought directing people to our home page would be the easiest way to accommodate everyone.

When we decided to release an IPA, we were unsure of the direction we wanted to go with it and, in typical brewer fashion, began by drinking an ungodly ammount of beer. This dipsomaniacal behavior was not random, however, but directed toward every IPA we could get our mitts on. After sampling a broad cross section of American (and some English) IPA's we decided that Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus hops were perhaps over represented and we'd focus on showcasing some of the brilliant European hop varieties.

Starting with a malt bill of mostly Cargill Pilsner malt (with 5% 60°L crystal) we immediately began the hop additions by adding 5 pounds of Northern Brewer right into the mash. Futile? Frivolous? Perhaps, but Greg and I heard of this practice at the Craft Beer Conference in Cleveland and thought we'd give it a go. The remaining hop additions were: Northern Brewer in the boil, Challenger at 20 and 10 minutes before the end of the boil, and East Kent Goldings right before the whirlpool.

We began fermentation with an OG of 18.4° P and finished out around 5° P. It finished a tad high perhaps but at 7% ABV it's still worthy of it's Big Beer label. We concluded our hop additions by tossing close to 30 pounds of a mixture of all three varieties in to the fermentor for dry hopping.

The finished beer has a smooth, earthy hop flavor, with the residual body easily able to support the 70 IBU's. The nose has a hint of oranges which goes well with the similar color of the beer. Overall it's a good first effort to which we've already made some changes and, hopefully, improvements. As the release of the second batch nears, I'll update this page so be sure to check back.


2 Row Pilsner

60° L Crystal
OG 18.4° P
TG 5.1° P

Northern Brewer ­ Mash
Northern Brewer ­ Bittering
Challenger ­ Flavoring
East Kent Goldings ­ Aroma
Northern Brewer, Challenger, East Kent Goldings ­ Dry Hopping