Juniper Pale Ale Project with MrOH

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by AlCaponeJunior, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    MrOH and myself have decided to sort of co-brew a Juniper Pale Ale and trade the results. We're going to work from the same basic recipe, with a little wiggle room for individual flare and/or availability of ingredients.

    My original Juniper Pale Ale was an extract/partial mash ale. MrOH got his hands on some, and apparently he liked it enough to want to try a version of it himself! Admittedly, it was pretty good, one of my better extract beers. I liked it, other people liked it, and I thought it was worthy of trying again, this time all-grain.

    The premise of our project is that we're both going to brew the same basic spiced beer / APA using these parameters...

    9 lbs base malt, any combination
    1 lb crystal malt, any combination
    1 oz juniper berries

    Essentially, that's the beer (5 gallons). The addition of juniper isn't specified exactly as to how, but from our conversations we both intended to crush the berries and add late in the boil.

    Hops wise we hadn't come up with an exact criteria, but MrOH suggested:

    1.5oz hops @ 10
    2.5oz hops @ FO
    1oz DH
    bittering addition to bring it up to 40 IBUs (max)

    I will probably change the hops parameters a little, but essentially it won't make much difference.

    We are looking for a beer that's a good APA/spiced beer, has a light to moderate juniper taste (I don't want "gin beer"), is neither too bitter nor dominated by hops (i.e. let the juniper have a little sunlight), and is refreshing and tasty. Mostly the last one though, tasty is what matters. But I guess there's no point in making a "juniper" beer if you don't show off the juniper a little.

    BTW the original beer was hopped with NB for bittering, chinook and willamette late, and chinook and willamette dry. I'm trying a new hop combination this time, but damn, that one did work out good! :grinning: But I'm close to out of both willamette and chinook. :stuck_out_tongue:

    Now I know I'm probably rambling on a bit, but I've been known to do that, so please do allow me to continue. :rolling_eyes:

    My own tentative recipe...

    7 lbs 2-row
    2 lbs maris otter
    12 oz 20L crystal
    4 oz 60L crystal
    1 oz juniper berries, finely crushed, in a paint bag, at 10 minutes

    (I'm probably not going to change this, lol)

    Hopping schedule (still tentative)

    17 g Belma 60 minutes (23.3 IBUs)
    22 g Cascade 15 minutes (9.7 IBUs)
    17 g Belma 5 minutes (4.7 IBUs)
    28 g Belma FO
    28 g Cascade FO
    28 g Belma dry hop

    37.7 IBUs total

    Now I haven't gotten to my Belma IPA yet, and I'm anxious to try some of the three pounds of Belma hops I have, so I figured this would be the time! If anyone has any major concerns regarding Belma, Cascade, and/or Juniper, please do elaborate in great detail! :astonished:

    Otherwise, I am hoping this will be a good beer, sort of a slightly after xmas treat of a pseudo-winter beer. Or maybe I just want to duplicate what was a good beer the first time around!

    Comments, flames, or "I want to jump on board the juniper bandwagon" posts welcome! If anybody wants to try this themselves, we could always expand the project/trade. :grinning:
  2. bszern

    bszern Initiate (0) Aug 18, 2011 Massachusetts

    This is a cool idea...where the hell do I get juniper berries?
  3. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I got mine off the shelf at my LHBS, in the spices rack. I'm sure most any online dealer of beer brewing wares should have them too. I got some from in the past and they were identical to what I got from the LHBS. They are not very expensive, I think I just paid like three bucks for them.

    Previously, I had boiled them whole for 20 minutes, and gotten a mild juniper flavor. I think you'll get more flavor from crushing them, perhaps a lot more lol, which is why I'm choosing to crush them and boil for ten minutes this time.
  4. good_gracious

    good_gracious Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2012 Maryland

    They are also in many grocery stores in the spice section. Sometimes they're quite a bit cheaper there.
  5. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    You might be able to pick them wild too. But I'd just assume buy them. :rolling_eyes:

    I will check my local grocer and see if they have them. A buck saved is a buck earned, after all. :sunglasses:
  6. good_gracious

    good_gracious Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2012 Maryland

  7. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Sounds fun, when are you guys brewing and shipping out? Would love to join in, but too tied up finishing up the thesis.

    Cascade would work well with the spice from the berries. Grapefruit from it late in the boil and the spiciness that comes through in the dry hop would mesh well. From what I've read, Belma seems to be a touch spicy, and have some orange peel, lemon peel and misc fruit notes (strawberry, tropical fruit), so it should work as well, maybe a very minor gin esque feeling to the beer. I like the proposed grist for the beer as well, fits well with what you said your goal is.

    For shits and giggles, I probably would have went a bit lighter/brighter with the grain (Golden Promise cut with some Rahr 2-row, Carapils and some English Light Crystal), and hit it with lightly spicy and very fruity hops to go more towards the gin flavor spectrum, but thats my opinion, and you know what they say about those...
  8. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (688) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Great feedback already. Not too sure what my grain bill will be, but hopswise, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to go 3:2:1 Belma:Bobek:Simcoe late boil, and then all bobek dry hop. Bobek is supposed to be close to styrian golding, but with a piney/lemon accent, that I think will work well with the beer (I also have a pound of it to use up). For the maltbill, I'll figure that out when I go to Keystone to pick up my second order of cider this weekend. I'm thinking that a clean but rich maltbill will be the way to go, so probably US 2row cut with some TF golden promise (my normal base), split briess cara20 and weyerman caramunich III.

    If anyone lives near a Penzey's spices, they have juniper. I've gotten it from there before. This time I got it from HeadNut at Reading Terminal Market, which has a couple other locations in the Philly area. Shouldn't be too hard to find online, either.
  9. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I think we are going to brew sometime around the Christmas holidays, ferment etc for a few weeks, and ship out sometime early in the new year. I *might* brew it as early as this weekend, but that's a mighty big maybe. Either way there's no chance it'll be ready before about the time of the spring semester starting. I'll be going to school (again) in the spring so we'll both be in the same boat on that deal, trying to mesh brewing with school. :sunglasses:

    If you want in, just PM me and we'll figure it out.
  10. clearbrew

    clearbrew Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    Just my $.02. I don't hold a lot of hop knowledge in the old hat rack because I don't brew a lot of IPAs so, I'm not familiar with Belma. I feel like your original recipe turned out good due to the Chinook and, to a slightly lesser degree, the Wilmette. The piney resiny flavor would play well with the gin like flavors of the juniper. I would be leary of any hop that would add a grapefruit flavor or even a grassy flavor. I just feel like it would clash (for lack of a better term) with the juniper flavor. By clash, I mean I think it would bring out the more astringent flavors from the juniper rather than that sweet and tangy flavor that some juniper can add.
    Just my humble and minimally informed opinion.
  11. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    OK. I expect to be brewing this one this week, maybe saturday or even sooner, sunday at the latest.

    I have done a 180, partially thanks to clearbrew's comment, about the hops. I'm going back to chinook at 10/0, with just a little belma for bittering at 60, and whatever willamette/chinook I have left for dry hopping (I know it's not much). Here's the link to the full recipe and procedure I'm going to use:
  12. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (688) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    I just started the boil on my version. Adding a pinch of coriander (1/4oz) with the juniper to up the floral and citric qualities. The juniper berries are really fresh and sticky. Hoping to end up with an XPA with an old dutch genever flavor.
  13. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Coriander eh? Sounds interesting! Can't wait to taste it! :grinning:
  14. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (688) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Just pitched yeast. 1.053. Wort smells great: sweet, clean citrus, resiny pine, and malt. Looking forward to see what its like after fermentation
  15. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    This is getting brewed today. I will post the hops schedule next time I log in. :grinning:
  16. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Brewed and done!

    Hops as follows...
    • 14 g columbus 60 minutes
    • 35g chinook 10 minutes
    • 14g willamette at 10 minutes
    • 21 g Northern brewer flameout
    • 14g columbus flameout
    These hops were kinda decided on due to availability. I think it will come out good!
  17. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (688) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Dry-hopped today with 1oz of Styrian Bobek. Gravity was at 1.010. Sample had a fruity, citrus aroma with light pine, but the juniper was much more prominent in the flavor, kinda like I imagine mixing gin in some Sunny D.
    4kbrianb likes this.
  18. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    We're going to dry-hop today and hopefully bottle next saturday. I'm going to use cluster for dry hopping, because a) it looks interesting, and more importantly, b) because of the hops I have, it seems the most appropriate. I just don't have any more chinook, NB, willamette, or columbus, and getting some today is not an option! :grimacing:
  19. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (688) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Bottled today. Gravity stable at 1.010. Aroma was like blood orange with some piney notes, nothing really from the malt. Flavor is like meyer lemon with pine and juniper over some bready malt notes. Medium light body with a zippy bitterness. I'm pretty excited to see what its like after its carbonated.
    AlCaponeJunior likes this.
  20. clearbrew

    clearbrew Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    Sounds good! Let me know the final results.
    I'm thinking of doing another juniper myself.
  21. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Mine had a nice hoppiness, a notable but not overpowering juniper flavor, and also not a whole lot of maltiness.

    I have high hopes that it will be tasty once carbonated. :grinning:

    I have three sixers of it sitting in my room, the rest is at my bro's house for the Daytona 500 / homebrew party we're planning. I am hoping to have five or six completed homebrews for the party. :sunglasses:
  22. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Well I popped a test bottle today...

    Hell yeah! The juniper is once again subtle, although a bit more notable than my first batch. The juniper kinda adds a spiky bite to the beer. It makes it seem dryer than usual, even though there's some sweetness (presumably from the crystal malt). It's pretty clear, which is a bit surprising as I thought it would be cloudier than this. The beer has carbonated nicely already, and most importantly, it tastes good!

    I am declaring it a success! :grinning:

    I think I'll try to brew something along these lines at least once a year.
  23. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,102) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Have either of you had crooked stave's WWBB? It's brewed with spruce tips, tastes great with the piney hops as well.
  24. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I haven't had it, but I would like to try it. I had a spruce beer in STL at urban chestnut and I liked it a lot. I may try spruce tips in a beer sometime.
  25. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,102) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    If Colorado was brewed and bottled, I am pretty sure WWBB would be it. The bad part is that the brett doesn't really come through. Maybe some cellar time would help. Back on topic though, glad your beer turned out well, I'll be stealing the recipe for sure!
    AlCaponeJunior likes this.
  26. RichardMNixon

    RichardMNixon Zealot (515) Jun 24, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    My personal favorite homebrew so far was a rye/juniper/peppercorn "koelsch" inspired by Sam Calagione's pepper bock recipe; I just brewed a second batch this past weekend. I'd definitely recommend "dry-hopping" with some black peppercorns if you want to mix it up a bit in the future, the peppery aroma is an awesome addition.
    AlCaponeJunior likes this.
  27. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    BTW, I used a fair bit of belma hops. I can taste them in this one, it's somewhat similar to my belma IPA, but less hoppy (and better looking, the belma IPA was pretty murky). I think the combination of hops (belma, cascade) complimented the juniper nicely. I'm anxious to try MrOH's batch tho to see how his hops choices complement the juniper.

    It's hard to say exactly how the cluster hops are affecting the aroma, as I'm a little stuffy today and haven't used cluster before. The aroma is nice but I can't make any determinative proclamations today. :rolling_eyes:
  28. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (688) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Decided to give mine a try during brewing today. Here ya go.
    Appearance: Deep gold, slight haze, white head that recedes fairly quickly, sticky lace
    Aroma: Piney, generic citrus and fruit
    Taste: Lots of resiny pine, some orangish citrus, sweet malt up front, then a very dry evergreen finish
    Body: Medium bodied, but pretty clean and drinkable. Definitely leaves you wanting for more.
    Overall: Pretty good. I think that juniper is a great supplement to piney hops. I put a small amount of coriander in this brew in the way that coriander usually is used in pickles and charcuterie, as a means to bring other flavors together, not to be a flavor of its own. I think it worked well in this regard. I could definitely see myself brewing this beer again and tweeking it to use hops that I could alway get.
  29. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (688) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Also, I think that this is a beer that could use at least a couple more weeks to come together.

    In regards to other beers with this sort of flavor profile (overwhelming piney), I've had Yards Ben Franklin Tavern Ale, which is brewed with spruce tips, and I didn't like it so much. For some reason, sometimes using natural ingredients will taste artificial, if that makes sense.

    On a related note, last night I had DuClaw Black Lightning, and I would have sworn they used rosemary, as it tasted like a black IPA that I brewed with rosemary, only to look it up and find out that it used chinook and amarillo as the hops. No herbs/spices listed. I used chinook and simcoe in that one, and all I could taste was rosemary, so I'm guessing that the aromatic oils in hops can effect more than most of us recognise.
  30. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I also think mine could use another week or two to come together. I've got plenty saved for our trade (and some for another trade, lol). I'll pop another bottle next week and we'll see how it's coming along. :grinning:

    However, it's nice to know that we both had successful brews. There's a bit of pressure brewing a beer for a specific purpose, in that if you screw it up, you're kinda screwed. :rolling_eyes:

    Not that I screw up a lot of brews, mind you. But you know, you want it to come out really good!
  31. 4kbrianb

    4kbrianb Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2013 California

    Glad to hear you guys had some success!

    .... How have your taste tests gone? Is the Juniper Dominant or on the secondary note?
  32. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,077) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Juniper is very secondary. It kind of grows on you over the course of the beer, but isn't especially prominent. It's more of a "spiciness" than a notable gin flavor.
  33. 4kbrianb

    4kbrianb Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2013 California

    Oh you mean I shouldn't buy some bottles of tonic to mix in with it? haha Damn! :astonished:
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