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Old 10-30-2013, 09:56 PM   #1
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Default Let's Talk about Session Beers!!!

I know those of us who are into sessions are probably in the minority, especially if you look at the staggering number of liver blaster IPAs out there today. Some of us believe that lower ABV beers can be equally delicious as an Imperial Cirrhosis for example.

I get rubbed the wrong way when I hear someone talking about a nice session they were drinking at the party when I find out "that" session was 5.5%.

I've been brewing more and more sub 1.040s lately, even a 1.033, and let me tell ya the more I drink e'm the more I wanna brew e'm! It's almost like cheating, to throw back 6 3.75%s and feel like you've only had 3 at most.

I've got a feeling there are loads of lower OG brewers like me out there, and I wanna hear the recipes, the techniques, potential pitfalls, and why going low is important, (or not important), to you.

I'm willing to experiment, swap beers, there's really no where I won't go for a good session. To fully confess, it's the main reason I started homebrewing in the first place.

I looked around for quite a while to find a thread like this, but couldn't. I found some similar older ones that died out; so I said screw it I'll go for it.

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Old 10-30-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
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love the session beers. I really like to drink beer, like lots of it. I am proud of my homebrew, and I wanna sit down and enjoy multiple pints of it at a time. session beers let me do that.

I've got a really nice session pale ale, that is about 3.5%, has 40 ibus, all from australian galaxy hops in the last 20 minutes. Freakin awesome.

I think the keys to a good session beer are to mash a little higher, use a little more crystal than you'd plan on, use a less attenuating yeast. Without those three things, it's tough to leave behind enough body to make the beer enjoyable.

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Old 10-30-2013, 10:40 PM   #3
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There is a really nice recipe for a Boston Bitter in BYO magazine, I think last issue that turned out really nice for me.

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Old 10-31-2013, 12:59 AM   #4
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I have two session saisons in my recipe dropdown. The first has a more traditional hop profile, the second uses Belma hops. The Belma version comes in around 2.9%. I've also brewed a session pale ale, and a failed attempt at a session milk stout. I'll probably try the stout again soon, but the pale ale will wait for spring/summer.

I mash a bit higher, and also, when brewing low OG beers, my efficiency jumps up from 73% to around 85%, so I have to adjust my grain bill accordingly.

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Bottled: Quad; Tripel; Saison Americain; Pumpkin Saison; Coffee Saison; Session Saison; Belma Session Saison; Grodziskie; Bacon488's Mild
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:18 AM   #5
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I'm a big fan of ordinary bitter. I've been playing around with JZ's recipe lately, changing the amount of Special Roast, the type of hops, and the yeast. The one I currently have on tap is as follows;

6 lbs Marris Otter
0.5 lbs Crystal 120
0.25 lbs Special Roast

1.1 oz Fuggles (4.9%) @ 60 min
0.7 oz Fuggles (4.9%) @ 20 min
0.5 oz Fuggles (4.9%) @ 0 min

1 pack Wyeast 1968 London ESB

I used this to build up a starter yeast for an ESB. The time before this I brewed it with a little more Special Roast, EKG hops and London Ale yeast. Didn't have any left to do a side by side, but they were very different beers. It's funny, people never seem to say much about them, but they keep getting up and refilling their pints again and again. To me, this is the sign of a great session beer ... nothing flashy just a great beer to promote an afternoon or evening of casual conversation without intruding. Hard to believe I almost never see them around here in stores or bars. Underrated beers which disappear faster from the keg than anything else I brew.

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Old 10-31-2013, 01:25 AM   #6
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http://byo.com/stories/item/1151-mil...s-not-dead-yet

Here is a good article about British Milds that fall in the category of Session beers. I actually scaled down the Raven Hair Beauty recipe to a 3 gallon batch to use my mini mash cooler for an all grain brew. The beer is currently carbonating. The final gravity came out at 3.8%

I'll report back how it turned out.
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eulipion2 View Post
I have two session saisons in my recipe dropdown. The first has a more traditional hop profile, the second uses Belma hops. The Belma version comes in around 2.9%. I've also brewed a session pale ale, and a failed attempt at a session milk stout. I'll probably try the stout again soon, but the pale ale will wait for spring/summer.

I mash a bit higher, and also, when brewing low OG beers, my efficiency jumps up from 73% to around 85%, so I have to adjust my grain bill accordingly.
What went wrong with the stout? I'm thinking of brewing a session stout next. I've brought one in at about 4.5 before but never any lower.

So glad to see so many replies this quick!! I'll try and post some of my recipes and brewing notes as soon as I can.

One thing for me on my sessions, is a little extra carbonation. Not sure why or how it helps, but seems to make the beer taste bigger.
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:57 PM   #8
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Here's a nice thread on the topic: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/sub-1-030-beers-378450/

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Old 10-31-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
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I love milds and bitters, I want to brew the AK-47 pale mild soon. This weekend I'm bottling a session IPA that used the last of my homegrown hops: http://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/session-ipa-54

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Old 10-31-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by estricklin View Post
What went wrong with the stout? I'm thinking of brewing a session stout next. I've brought one in at about 4.5 before but never any lower.
There were two big problems: 1) high FG; I was aiming for 1.011, but it finished at 1.021; 2) it got some kind of infection resulting in gushers.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. "If your FG was so high, are you sure it was done fermenting?" Yes, I'm sure. Checked the gravity regularly, and it wasn't changing. It was good for the first couple weeks in the bottle, but after a couple months they really started to boom, and picked up a plastic phenolic taste. I'm guessing whatever was in there started eating the lactose, hence the gush.

Here's the recipe, which I'll probably try again soon, maybe with a few tweaks.

5.5 gallons, 84% efficiency

5.75 lb UK pale ale malt
1 lb Crystal 60L
12 oz UK chocolate malt
12 oz flaked oats
2 oz black patent
12 oz lactose

.5 oz EKG (5.8% AA, pellet) - FWH
1 oz EKG - 60 min

Fermentis S-04 English Ale yeast

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.011
ABV: 4.3%
IBU: 24.6
SRM: 30
BU:GU: .55

Mash: 156 for 60 min
Mash-out: 170 for 15 min
Boil: 60 min
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Bottled: Quad; Tripel; Saison Americain; Pumpkin Saison; Coffee Saison; Session Saison; Belma Session Saison; Grodziskie; Bacon488's Mild
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