Sunday, February 21, 2010

Turd Bird Brown Ale

This is a brew that I had originally planned as a partial mash, but since I had my cooler mash tun up and operational, I decided to adjust the recipe to be almost all grain with just a few pounds of extract at the end to kick the gravity up.

But what about that name?

Glad you asked. The name of the beer is an homage to the worst baseball team of the decade ('00 – '09), the Kansas City Royals. The phrase “Turd Bird” comes from an old AM sports talk show, The DA Show, that I used to listen to during my morning drive. The host and some of the regular callers took to calling the Royals the Turd Birds and it fit. So ever since, that's the name I use to refer to the Royals whenever they are playing like shit, which happens to be most of the time.

A few quick notes and links about the Royals 2000 – 2009*:

*I should preface this by saying that I really, really love the Royals and, to a greater extent, baseball. I watch or listen to games all season long. I am constantly reading Royals or baseball related blogs, websites, and articles. I study advanced statistical analysis, sabermetrics, for hours at a time. If you called me a seamhead or a baseball nerd, I'd take it as a compliment. But with all this knowledge comes the acute realization that the Royals, as an organization, are severely flawed. Which makes it even more painful to watch, yet still I watch, and study, and analyze. And what does that make me? Crazy? Or just fanatical? I need a drink...

  • 672-948, that's the Royals record for the decade. Second place is the Pirates with a 681-936 record.
  • The Royals never had a league average offense (as measured by OPS+). Not once.
  • Only once, in 2007, when they lost 93 games, did they have an average pitching staff (as measured by ERA+) and just barely.
  • For the decade they were outscored by 1,316 runs. One thousand three hundred and sixteen. That's a lot.
  • They fired one of the worst general managers in baseball and replaced him with somebody who is proving to be even worse.
  • Someday we'll look back at the Neifi Perez trade and say: “Man, that was a bad trade but it was nothing compared to that Betancourt trade."
I was aiming for a mash temp of about 154˚ and I missed to the low side. In an effort to bring the temp up I threw some boiling water in, not sure how much but it was too much, and my temp ended up around 160˚. So then I tried some ice to bring the temp back down to where it needed to be. I think the inconsistent temperature is the source of my 58% mash efficiency. I obviously need to practice this a bit more. I ended up with 77% attenuation from the yeast so I think most of the conversion occurred at the lower temp before I added the boiling water, which probably made it hot enough to stop most of the conversion so I didn't extract all the fermentable or unfermentable sugars I wanted.

I thought the flavor ended up okay. The major problem is overcarbonation which is amplifying a mineral/metallic flavor that I don't really like. Not sure if it is from the recipe or just the carbonation. After it warms up the flavor get a little better, but still seems a little off. I'm pretty sure it was mainly the carbonation that caused the problems, but next time I want to simplify the recipe a bit as well.

So the beer was not quite what I had intended, but the Royals weren't quite the team that the owners intended them to be. So in a way, I guess this is the perfect tribute beer. I'm planning on repeating this beer every year the Royals have a losing season, so I should have plenty of opportunities to get it right.

Expected OG: 1.090
Actual OG: 1.081
Expected FG: 1.020
Actual FG: 1.018
IBU: 50
Boil: 60 minutes
Pre-boil Volume: 6.5 gallons
Final Volume: 5 gallons
Apparent Attenuation: 77%
ABV: 8.3%

10 lbs. Maris Otter ( Crisp)
1 lbs. Victory (Briess)
1 lbs. Caramel 60 (Briess)
12 oz. Special Roast (Briess)
8 oz. Brown Malt (Crisp)
4 oz. Chocolate Malt (Briess)

3 lbs. Pilsner DME ( Briess)

1 oz. Warrior (pellet 15.8% AA) @ 60 min.

Wyeast London Ale 1028

Spring water from Welpman Spring in Morgan County, MO

  • Heat 5 gallons of water to about 167˚ also heat up a gallon or so to a boil to use to preheat the cooler.
  • Add preheat water to cooler and let sit until strike water is ready.
  • Dump preheat water and add grains.
  • Add strike water, stir.
  • Stir every 20 min for a total of 60.
  • While mash is sitting heat 3.25 gallons of water to about 170˚.
  • Drain cooler – be sure to recirculate until its clear – into bucket.
  • Add sparge water, stir, let sit for about 20 min.
  • Recirculate, drain.
  • Hopefully I have about 6.5 gallons of sweet wort.

Brewed on 11/15/09 by myself.

11/15 - OG was only 1.081 which means I got about 58% efficiency, which is bad. I had problems hitting my mash temp, was around 160˚ for awhile, so that is part of it. Chilled the wort down to about 68˚ and racked onto yeast cake from spice ale at about 1pm.

11/16/9am – Chugging away at 63˚ with about 2 inches of Kraeusen.

11/17/8am – Good thing I used a blow-off. Still around 63˚

11/19 – Primary fermentation appears to be over. Removed blow-off.

11/21 – Temp is in the mid 50s. Going to let it sit and condition for a couple weeks.

12/09 – Bottling Day. Bottled 25 x 12 oz, 11 x 22 oz, and 3 x 24 oz for a total of 4.8 gallons. Sample had an odd roasty/toasty flavor, not sure if I liked it, we'll see.

1/2/10 – First tasting. Pretty good, nice toasty, roasty flavor, bready with a touch of caramel. Also a mineral like flavor that I'm not really liking. Mouth feel is a little on the light side and I definitely over carbonated it, which is making it seem more bitter than I wanted.

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