Tasting Notes on BVB House Ale v 1.0

This was not supposed to be one of those “Wow!” beers, and it is not. It is a good tasting, smooth, creamy beer, with a nice citrus aroma and flavor, a good malt backbone and some sweetness to offset the bitterness of the hops. It does all of that and I am quite pleased.

That is not to say it is perfect. It is not.

There is a tremendous amount of yeast still in suspension.

I wanted to play with different yeast varieties, but I think I need to try to address the flocculation of the yeast first.

Wyeast 1056 (WLP001) typically exhibits good flocculation — Wyeast describes it as medium to low.

I had thought that my adjusted water and all-grain recipe would provide enough nutrients to not require supplementation or assistance, but there are two things that I could try in future brews.

First, I have some Brewer’s Choice™ Wyeast Nutrient Blend. It could be that the yeast is simply missing something it needs. There were no off flavors that would have indicated stressed yeast, but perhaps whatever is needed to allow good flocculation does not impact flavor when it is missing.

If that does not work, I also have some Whirlfloc tablets. I have this belief that they should not be necessary. James Spencer of Basic Brewing Radio and Chris Colby of Brew Your Own magazine did a collaborative experiment to demonstrate the effects of Irish Moss — the source of the carrageenan in Whirlfloc — that I felt showed minimal impact to the clarifier. Besides, they are intended to bond with positively charged proteins, rather than yeast.

If none of that works, I may have to crash cool my fermenter before racking to the keg.

When I get around to experimenting with the yeast variety, I have in mind trying both 1968 (WLP002) and 1098 (WLP007). In particular, 1968 exhibits very high flocculation. It does not attenuate quite as well, so it may be slightly sweeter. It also has a higher temperature range, so I might have to go with 64 °F fermentation instead of 62 °F.

Update 3/24/11: I believe this beer is just peaking. It is just slightly too bitter — that is, slightly too much contribution from the first addition, it is not too hoppy. Apart from that it is nicely smooth. A bit hazy, but the yeast seems to have finally dropped.

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