Friday, June 28, 2013

Mosaic Pale Ale Split: Conan Vs. Drie

I had another quick brew session (~3 hrs for all - grain) as time is quite limited with house projects and the baby. I wanted to make sure I had some hoppy beer on tap for my birthday BBQ. I also have been meaning to brew another hoppy beer with Brett Drie, since I loved my first Extra Special Bretter (ESBrett). Speaking of yeast, I recently was sent some Conan (Alchemist's Heady Topper) yeast from Derek at Bear Flavored Ales and some Brett Custerianus from Ryan at Yeast of Burden. It only made sense to do a large batch and split it to test the yeast.

For the hops, I happened to purchase some Mosaic hops earlier in the year when we were planning our 2nd batch for the barrel (still not brewed). I've read a good amount about this hop and many brewers are using it as a single hop. I thought I'd give it a go since I don't know anything about hop blending anyways.

As for the recipe, I wanted something fairly simple since I want the yeast flavor differences to be obvious and to taste the hops. The recipe is about as basic as possible. I did make one tweak in which I added some rye malt to help build some body that the Brett Only batches would need.

Mosaic Pale Ale

IBU: ~30       SRM: ~7      Batch Size: 10 gal  (5 gal - Drie/Conan, 1 gal Custers) 
O.G.: 1.051              FG: 1.017 (Conan),1.009 (Drie), 1.006 (Custersianus)

Name                            Amount          Color
American 2-row            14.000 lb         2 L
Munich Malt                  2.500 lb        10 L
Crystal 40L                     1.000 lb         40 L
Rye Malt                         1.000 lb          5 L

Name         Alpha      Amount      Use      Time         IBU
Warrior     15.5%        1.25 oz       Boil     30 min      24.8
Mosaic      12.5%        1.00 oz       Boil     10 min       6.2
Mosaic      12.5%        1.00 oz       WP       0 min         0

Conan - 1 oz  Mosaic for 7 days at 70F, 1 oz Mosaic in keg
Drie - 1 oz  Nelson for 7 days at 70F, 1 oz Mosaic in keg
Custersianus - .25 oz Citra at 70F

Drie - 100 ml slurry
Custersianus - 30 ml slurry

Brewing Process 
Mash at 154 grain for 30 min
Boil 30 min (quick batch and no need for long boil)

Conan was fermented in glass carboys at 63 degrees for 10 days then raised to 68.
Drie was fermented in glass carboys at ~70 degrees
Custersianus was fermented in glass jug at ~70 degrees

Tasting Notes at Kegging:
Conan - Fantastic - huge fruity esters from both hops and yeast, nice firm bitterness and tastes pretty dry with the high F.G. (1.017)
Drie - Aroma is great and full of fruit, taste is a bit strange with some slight tartness that doesn't work with the bitterness, then a phenol astringency in the finish - Not good and I'm pretty sure my pitch of Brett Drie is now going to be retired.
Custersianus - Very fruit forward with that ripe funky nice to let you know its wild. Nicely dry and a bit thin, no astringency or tartness

Official Tasting Notes coming soon (hint: Conan version is almost gone- yum)


  1. Is the 1.051 your actual SG? That would give you a 76% brewhouse efficiency even with only your 30min mash and 30min boil. I may have to give the shortened day a shot on an upcoming brew.

    1. Yes, sir. Actually several breweries around San Diego are doing 15 min. mashes. The mash time will depend on your rest temp, but anything over 150 you should be safe with any time over 15 minutes. Also assuming you don't have a lot of adjuncts and a base grain with good diastatic power (which most all do nowadays).

      The 30 min boil is really the only efficiency killer, but not by much because that last .5 gal I sparge doesn't have too much sugar anyways.

      My plan shortly is to get a liquor tun with an electric element on a timer that can hold all my mash and sparge water. With that in place my brew day is as quick as extract.

    2. Wow. I never seem to have time to brew and hadn't even considered cutting things so short, but I'm definitely intrigued. Do you mind elaborating on your plan with the liquor tun? As an alternative, have you considered adding a copper tee to your water heater piping in the garage? It'd give you direct access to pre heated water.

    3. Sure. So my thought is to get a fairly large cooler so that it can hold both mash and sparge water for a 10 gal batch - so at least 15 gals (60 quarts, which 62 qt rectangle coolers are pretty easy to find around $30). I will fill it the night before. I am currently using a hose off of my water heater then through a carbon RV filter. I recently got this "bucket heater" - and will put it on a timer once I figure out the time needed to heat that much water.

      Let me know if that makes sense.

      My current missing link is speeding up my cooling process. I'm reluctant to go to a counterflow chiller or buy a pump to do the Jamil recirc method. I'm thinking of a simple stirrer created with my drill, a wooden jig to hold it and a paint stirrer.

      Congrats again on the NHC 2nd Rd medal. You need to join QUAFF because if you had listed us as your club we would have won this year.

    4. Now I see. That bucket heater has some pretty interesting brewing-related potential. I'll be curious to see how long it takes to heat your 15 gallons.

      Personally, I love my counterflow chiller. It works great for me. Adding a pump only makes it more effective, but I don't have one. I channel the leftover warm water from the counterflow into my washing machine for laundry.

      Thanks for the kind words. I need to join Quaff. Sorta feel bad that I didn't before the 2nd Round-just didn't expect KTG to place.

    5. You can also make your own heat stick - there are tons of DIY tutorials and they are even higher wattage then what I got.

      To me the time you save in chilling with a counter flow you lose with cleaning.

      Actually I'm planning to bring these beers to the QUAFF meeting this month (if there is still some left).

    6. I've actually started using my jockey box to cool my wort. It takes me about 20-25 minutes to cool a 5 gallon batch from boiling to 78F or under (depending on how much ice I use). Ideally I'd like to get a pump to force the wort through but currently I'm racking it into a corny keg and using my CO2 tank to force it through the coils. Then to clean the coils I just pump keg cleaner through them as I would normally. 30 minutes from start to finish tops and I don't waste a ton of water like I used to.

      I need to get some conan yeast some day. I've heard it's pretty amazing.

    7. I could see that working well if you already had the jockey box. Or it is at least more of incentive to get one now.

  2. This is awesome Jeff, I did a very similar experiment (Conan/001/Trois) not too long along and plan to post about it soon. Hint, my Conan batch was the best as well!

    Is that the same Drie strain you have been using all this time? The one your friend cultured from Avery 15? It a shame its on its last leg.

    1. Great- can't wait to hear about it.

      Yup I have been re-pitching this slurry for about 10 batches and 2.5 yrs.

      I have a new pitch coming from a fellow homebrewer that has the BSI version. So I'm going to try that and also culture the yeast from a bottle of my first batch. I'll compare the two and decide where to go from there.

    2. Jeff, I'm curious about the Drie flavors that you weren't happy with... did you notice them creeping on over time, as you pitched this gen after gen? Any patterns or mutation tendencies you noticed that you would say to watch out for? Or do you think something happened that stressed the yeast out at one point and it fell off all at once?

    3. Plastic - smokey phenolics. More in the taste then the aroma.

      I didn't notice the phenolics growing with each batch, but I did notice the big fruity flavors fading.

      My particular pitch I believe is a mix of two strains, but I'm not sure if the White Labs version is the same. The two strains are discussed in Chad Y's thesis and Brettanomyces Project blog. So I'm not sure if it is a mutation (which I've read is pretty difficult to do) or a different ratio in the blend or just contamination.

      I'm guessing a contamination with a wild strain that is giving me these phenolics I don't enjoy.

  3. That Custersianus strain is very interesting as a primary fermenter. The fruit and funk mix it has opens a lot of interesting doors for flavor combinations. Right now I have a beer primary fermented with Custersianus and undergoing a secondary fermentation with the anomalas strain ECY is or is about to release. It is very fecal early on but I'm hoping it will lose some of that character over time.

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure what I think of Custersianus. I've tried 3 different beers brewed with it in primary, it is definitely distinct. I keep getting a DMS type smell from it - cooked vegetables and then very ripe fruit. I'm going to give it a couple more tries but I haven't been too happy for my tastes.

      Interesting about the Anomalas strain - I get that funky, sweet poop flavor a lot from Jolly Pumpkin beers. The weird part is that I can't figure out if I like it or not.


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