Nov 2, 2013

Bullfrog Brown

Bullfrog Brown
1.040 -- 1.014
19 IBU
3.4% ABV 

The Malts:

6 lbs Marris Otter
3 lbs Munich (9L)
3 lbs Toasted Malt
2 lbs Flaked Wheat
1 lb 80L Crystal
.5 lb Chocolate Malt

Hops: Hops: Hops:

1.50 oz East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA)

Water Needed:

7 gallons strike water
1.9 gallons absorbed
+1 gallon boiling water (mash out)

at least 8 gallons sparge water needed.

Brewday Notes and Reflections:

Mashed in at 7:55 AM. Meeting to add a little more boiling water because mash temp is too low.

I managed to get it up to about 157° with about 45 minutes to go.

First runnings: 1.061.
Pre-boil gravity 1.033.
Final gravity: 1.040.

All done at 2:20 PM.

Bullfrog Brown Notes:

11.4.13 - pitched yeast (S-04)

1.20.14 -- Tasting Bullfrog Brown:

Before tasting, it should be noted that this beer fermented in the low 60s. 

Appearance: Dark copper with excellent clarity. Light tan head that is very thick and persistent.

Aroma: Caramel and bready (toasty) notes are most noticeable. There is also a very faint hop aroma that is best described as earthy. Very fait fruity esters as well - peachy. No diacetyl; no DMS.

Flavor: Very light bready and toasty flavors, but the dominant and initial flavor is grainy and a bit sharp. Finish is bitter and lingers for quite a while. Finish is also a little watery. Caramel flavors do not come through past the grainy and sharp nature of the beer. The flavor is not bad, but just not what it could be. Sharpness fades as beer warms, as the malty flavors become a bit more prominent. Very low to no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and sharp. Slightly astringent. Low carbonation and medium bodied.

Overall: Not a bad start, but this beer is missing a lot of the character I hoped would be there. The mash temperature being lower than I wanted could have been a contributing factor. I may also want to add a bit more crystal malt, and perhaps forego the chocolate malt, which I have found to have a bit of a sharp flavor in the past. Though a lot of the negative aspects fade as the beer warms, there is still improvement to be made. One might be to increase the gravity a tad. Much of this could be that there is just not enough malt to contribute to the flavor profile I am looking for. The take-away: serve this beer warmer, and make the adjustments named above, and the end results should be much better. The potential is here, just work on the execution.


Temptation Toad

Half of this batch will be fermented with a yeast and bacteria cultured from a bottle of Russian River Supplication and a bottle of Temptation from the same brewery. I built the culture up starting with about a half liter of 1.030 wort, then ramping it up to a full liter once the fermentation subsided. Then I sent the following inquiry to Russian River Brewing Company:

"Supplication and Temptation Dregs -- What do I have?

Hello. I have been building up a culture from the dregs of the two beers I mentioned above. I would like to use this to ferment one of my next batches. I know there has to be some Pedio and Brett in there, but I wonder if you know more specifically what else may be living in there. Is there any Saccromyces, or is it all Brett and bugs? EIther way, I still plan to use this culture to ferment a brown ale I will brew soon.

THank you for any insight you may be able to provide."

...and got the following response from Vinnie Cilurzo, their head brewer:

"Thanks for the email, you have a mix of Sacc, Brett, and bacteria.  The Sacc is a wine yeast we use to bottle condition with.  The Temptation would contribute some pretty fresh Brett as we use some in the bottle and the bacteria we used in the barrel also has a bunch of wild yeast but the bacteria component is probably on the light side in quantity as it was added early on.  In general though you should be able to grow it up in low gravity low or un-hopped wort along with some apple juice (unfiltered) at a ratio of 80% wort and 20% apple juice."
Good luck!
Vinnie Cilurzo
Russian River Brewing Company

For the next step, I ramped it up to about three quarts, adding unfiltered apple juice to account for about 20% of the total of the final culture volume.

Temptation Toad Notes:

11.4.13 -- pitched culture (70 degrees)
12.20.13 - 1.008 (mildly sour. very thin)
7.9.14 - 1.003 (more pronounced lingering fruity sourness -- beer is extremely dry) -- added 1oz Medium Toast French oak cubes
1.19.15 -- Bottled using 8.1oz corn sugar for 4.25 volumes CO2. I am a little concerned about my process though. I added the priming sugar and bottling yeast after racking the beer to the bottling bucket, which is not how I usually proceed. I stirred the beer gently after the addition and 1-2 more times during the course of bottling to be sure the sugar and yeast were integrated evenly. Also a couple of bottles broke in the oven, so that is also a concern. I had the heat up to 260 for 2.5 hours.