Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Validation, Red IPA

Sipping on my Session 42 Session Pale Ale, I'm getting a better understanding of what this famous "Conan" yeast strain can do to a beer.  I've found (my interpretation) is that Conan will blend the hop flavors together, cutting the perceived bitterness down.  Adding a fresh tropical/mango-ish flavor.  I have to assume this is yeast driven, (I wonder if it is Belgian in linage?) that pairs well with the popular trendy hops.  It really makes me question the clone Heady Topper recipes that are out there.  A production brewery, even small, wouldn't use this yeast if it covered up hop aromatics.  It would be cost prohibitive.  I believe by using this yeast, Heady Topper reduces the total amount of hops used.  Using the phenols from the yeast to fake the presence of hops.  (Now this is NOT a clone recipe post, just a personal thought) For example, I got tons of Citra like flavors in my previous batches using this yeast.  Why in the world would I toss Citra hops into the beer knowing this?  So to test this theory, I wanted to create a Red IPA.  Using big piney American hops. To see how the yeast handles a different flavor profile.

The idea was simple, lots of hops.  Letting the yeast add the tropical flavors to balance the beer.  Since I believe this yeast strain will lower the perceived bitterness down, I wanted to over hop the recipe.    (Now I've been a big fan of lowering the bittering hops for years, sometimes not bittering at all.  So this IBU charge is a big change for me) I'm also going to add a 20 min hop addition, which I haven't done in years.  This will bump the IBU's to around 65.  The rest will be whirlpool, aroma or dry hops.  Which are reflected as 0 IBU's in Beersmith but we all know add some bitterness/flavor/aroma, calculated or not.

Focused on the bigger piney American hops, I bittered with Summit, known for its pungent danky notes mixed with some onion/catty flavors.  Summit was also used at the 20 minute mark.  The rest of the whirlpool hops consisted with Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe.  With Centennial and Simcoe repeating in the dry hopping.  Plus a little Amarillo as a dry hop addition.

For the malt bill, the focus is American 2 Row, with 14% being Munich Malt.  To add some complexity and breadyness.  Aromatic and Crystal 120 each come in at under 4% of the malt bill.  Since the focus was a red in color IPA, I wanted to keep the adjuncts down.  Carafa III fit the bill, creating the majority of the color.  A faux Red IPA if you will. 

American IPA
Type: All Grain Date: 7/14/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 6.86 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: My Equipment
End of Boil Volume 6.24 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal Est Mash Efficiency 75.0 %
Fermentation: My Aging Profile Taste Rating(out of 50): TBA
Taste Notes: Please see my "Tasting Notes" for this recipe.
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 72.2 %
2 lbs Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 2 14.4 %
8.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 3 3.6 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 %
1.6 oz Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.7 %
0.70 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - First Wort 60.0 min Hop 6 29.8 IBUs
12.0 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 7 5.4 %
0.40 oz Summit [17.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 20.2 IBUs
0.50 oz Summit [17.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 9 15.3 IBUs
1.20 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 10 -
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Aroma Steep 10.0 min Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
0.80 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Aroma Steep 5.0 min Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] - Aroma Steep 5.0 min Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] - Aroma Steep 10.0 min Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Aroma Steep 5.0 min Hop 15 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Conan (Alchemist Brewery #AB-Conan) Yeast 16 -
1.20 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days) Other 17 -
10.00 ml WLN4000 Clarity-Ferm (Primary 0.0 mins) Fining 18 -
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] - Dry Hop 6.0 Days Hop 19 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 6.0 Days Hop 20 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 21 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 22 0.0 IBUs
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.065 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.064 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.006 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.8 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.5 %
Bitterness: 65.3 IBUs Calories:  215 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 14.6 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: My Mash Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 13.6 oz
Sparge Water: 8.43 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Step Heat to 150.0 F over 0 min 150.0 F 60 min
Step Heat to 168.0 F over 2 min 168.0 F 20 min
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 8.43 gal water at 168.0 F
Mash Notes:
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 11.69 PSI Carbonation Used: Keg with 11.69 PSI
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 41.0 F Age for: 28.00 days
Fermentation: My Aging Profile Storage Temperature: 52.0 F
Primary Fermentation: Pitched at 64 degrees, ramping up to 67 on day 6.  Then letting it rise to 71 on day 12. (No secondary)
Created with BeerSmith

This was my first brewday since NHC, so I was excited to be as efficient as possible.  During the mash, I placed all my tubing into a boil kettle and "Steeped" them at 170 degrees for 30 mins.  After draining the water off I placed them into a starsan bucket.  

I also brewed my Naked: Amarillo Pale ale


  1. You're right! It's all about that conan yeast. I've heard it's been plated and brettanomyces is in there.

    1. That's really interesting. I never thought of that connection. It really would explain the beers taste, flavor and "drink fresh" marketing.

      Anyone have any other insite on this?

    2. In November 2012 I reached out to Al Buck about Conan, I had recently culture it up and brewed a Heady Topper inspired clone and loved it. I asked Al if I could send him a sample to have a look at since at the time there was a rumor that they "can condition" with a lager strain, which always seemed wacky to me. Al said he didnt know Heady was unfiltered and that he happened to have a fresh can in his fridge and would culture it up and have a look for himself.

      About a month later he replied "Conan is an ale yeast (S. cerevisiae)", I would imagine that he would have mentioned Brett in his response to me. For that matter it would probably say it on the vials of ECY29 I have purchased.

    3. Thanks for that answer Ed. I was wondering that myself but I assumed it was only S. cerevisiae. I tried to culture up two cans recently and there was Brett in my starter. My assumption was that it was accidentally infected somehow during the second step up since it seemed fine during the initial step.

    4. Either way, something about the conan yeast really cuts the hops down dramatically. I'm working on my Tasting Notes for this beer tonight.


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!