SEASON 2, EPISODE 10: HOT TAKE ON COLD IPAs
PODCAST HOST: TOBY TUCKER – DIRECTOR OF SALES, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
KEVIN DAVEY – BREWER, WAYFINDER BEER
Key Points From This Episode:
- Introducing Kevin Davey and the backstory to the Wayfinder Cold IPA.
- Kevin’s answer to the question of using the Cold IPA recipe as a marketing technique.
- IPA versus IPL and how Kevin’s approach to making an IPA differs.
- A deep dive into the IPA recipe and how it differs process-wise from a lager.
- Kevin weighs in on the hop quantity and grist composition of the cold IPA.
- The story of how Kevin found the right adjuncts to use in the recipe.
- A workaround involving using adjuncts to replace an all-malt paradigm.
- Perspectives on the price of barley in relation to the cost of growing it.
- Issues with the supply chain and why Kevin moved from rice to corn and won’t use syrup.
- Basic pointers for people who want to brew a basic Cold IPA; water profile, base malts, and more.
- Kevin shares the process behind the Italian Pilsner technique of hopping.
- Whether the Cold IPA is the one Kevin reaches for after his shift!
- How the Cold IPA is the antithesis of the Hazy IPA: more carbonated, dry, bitter, and clear.
- Why Kevin wants the different beers at Wayfinder to be completely distinct.
Transcript - Hot Take on Cold IPAs
EPISODE S.2, E.10
[HOT TAKE ON COLD IPAs]
[00:00:08] TT: Welcome to another episode of The BrewDeck. It is Friday. I love recording on Fridays, but I also dislike recording on Fridays in the morning, especially because we talk beer and I get extremely thirsty. It’s not good for my habit, by any means. But yeah, welcome to another episode.
This one is specifically around a style of beer, and I’m just going to leave that very loose. With me today, I have my buddy Grant Lawrence, who is our southern – what are they calling it these days, Grant? Southwestern?
[00:00:46] GL: Southcentral, man.
[00:00:48] TT: Southcentral territory manager. Grant’s filled in for me like when I take the Tucker version of the Griswolds out on family vacation. I’m twofold. Happy to have him on today. Number one, the episodes that Grant has done while I’m out, have far surpassed listeners than the ones I have, which says a lot about the crappy job I do at this and the great job he does so good to have him on. And then also I got him on as a translator, like, Grant, we did the BeerCo episode, I did the BeerCo episode with Dana Johnson and George Allen. I didn’t understand half the stuff they were talking about.
Grant is a seasoned Brewer on our team and super knowledgeable, so I’m happy to have him on to kind of translate what the hell our guests are talking about. So, thank you, buddy.
[00:01:41] GL: Happy to be here.
[00:01:45] TT: I don’t know why I’m thinking about this, but your son’s not old enough. Have you guys taken trips yet? Like get in the car and drive?
[00:01:55] GL: Yeah, but it depends on what you classify as long not. Not long by Texas standards. But yeah, Houston, Dallas, four and a half, five hours.
[00:02:04] TT: Yeah, I was thinking about, you know, filling in for me last week for that build episode and we drove. I got two kids. I got a three-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy, and we drove what should have been a 10-hour drive turn in about 13. But it’s like –
[00:02:19] GL: Yeah, that’s a real one.
[00:02:20] TT: It got me thinking about how, when we were little, we didn’t have the DVD players on the headrest, and we also didn’t have seatbelts. Well, you don’t have to wear I mean, my favorite place to sleep when I was doing long term trips or long trips with my parents was on the floorboard in the backseat. It’s crazy. Do you ever get to do any trips like that or your parents are like absolutely, find yourself or just strap you in with a rope or something, Grant?
[00:02:49] GL: Well, I was really lucky. My dad was always into, you know, never going to own a minivan, right? Always had a suburban so plenty of room in the third row to stretch my eight-year-old legs out and take a nap.
[00:03:06] TT: Nice. Wow, it’s good to be back in. I don’t want to waste a lot of this individual’s time. I’m so happy to have him on. Kevin Davey at Wayfinder in Portland. How are you, buddy?
[00:03:19] KD: I’m good. Thanks for having me.
[00:03:20] TT: Well, you know what, we talked about doing an episode two or three weeks ago, Grant, on a Cold IPA. One of our other sales guys, Zack mentioned, “We ought to try to get Kevin over at Wayfinder to come on.” Of course, you very courteously said. “Absolutely. I’ll jump on.” “Man. This is awesome. We got the gym. This is solid gold right here.” And then come to find out, this is not your first rodeo when it comes to podcast. You’ve been around the block.
[00:03:50] KD: Yeah, I think that since the COVID thing, we’ve been doing a lot of this now. It’s the easiest way to communicate.
[00:03:56] TT: Podcast [inaudible 00:03:56]. Well, really awesome to have you on to talk about this – I don’t know. It’s a style, but it’s also, I’m looking at my notes here and it’s kind of like in air quotes, “Cold IPA”. You were the first kind of coined that term and really come out publicly and say, “I’m brewing with this particular style”, but specifically the the Relapse IPA. And then you’ve done several other styles of that particular, of the “Cold IPA” at your brewery, but you’ve known for a lot of different things and a lot of fantastic beer. So, super happy to have you on again.
I’ll quit talking here. And just tell us a little bit about yourself and then we’ll start going into to the Cold IPA.
[00:04:46] KD: Oh, yeah, that sounds good. So, I’ve been in the brewing industry for about 11 years or 12 years or something like that. I went to brewing school at [inaudible 00:04:54] and Siebel, The World Brewing Academy and I’ve jumped around a bunch but finally got a permanent home at Wayfinder Beer in Portland, Oregon and we’re kind of known for making lager beers. Our whole idea was to be a lager centric brewery. But we’re in Portland, so we have to make IPAs, and we love IPAs. We embrace the IPA. So, we’re trying to do about 50, 50 IPA to lager, which really pencils out to like three IPAs, and then a whole bunch of lagers, because the IPAs kind of move a little bit more. So, we have to devote a little bit more time for them.
The Cold IPA thing was really something that we made up as kind of a, we made a West Coast and we made a Hazy, and I wanted to kind of put my own signature on my favorite parts of IPA and put them all into one thing. So, that was kind of what we did, and I can get more into it if you’d like.
[00:05:49] TT: Yeah, absolutely. So, for the general listener out there, and we may be late to this party of the Cold IPA, but for the general listener, for those that don’t already know, just give us a general description of what this style is.
[00:06:04] KD: Yeah, well, okay. So, it’s been an evolution, since we made it. We made up this beer called Relapse IPA, and it was for me trying to make something, we take West Coast IPA, and try to take a lot of the elements of West Coast IPA and push them to the extreme. So, West Coast IPA is already incredibly dry, or it’s dry. So, let’s see if we can make it drier. It’s already incredibly light. Let’s see if we can make it lighter. It’s already incredibly copy. Let’s see if we can focus more on the hops and less on the east. The aster profile of the yeast and more on the hopper-roma.
So, that’s really all we were trying to do. So, we made up this beer, and I was just like, “Well, it’s like a Cold IPA.” Because cold to me, if you’re just a layperson that drinks IPA, you see on the beer board called IPA, you know it’s going to be refreshing and you know it’s going to be easy drinking. That’s really what we’re trying to do. It’s not cold because it is actually cold. Although a lot of people online are like, “Oh, yeah, I don’t like any warm IPAs.” Well. Yeah, obviously.
Light beers and physically lighter than other beers. Maybe it is. But nobody goes, “Why? I don’t want any light beer, I want just heavy beer.” It’s like, “I like the ones that are very heavy.” Come on. Anyway. So yeah, it’s had a little bit of pushback on the name, but I think as far as telling the consumer what it is, calling it a Cold IPA makes a lot of sense and I think that’s why a lot of people are making them.
[00:07:29] TT: When you say Cold IPA, I mean, really, and this would be an odd name for beer. But I mean, technically, since it’s fermented warm, wouldn’t I call it a warm IPA or room temperature IPA, not a Cold IPA?
[00:07:43] KD: Yeah. Well, the whole point here is that it is, we’re trying to tell the consumer what it’s going to taste like. I couldn’t say crispy IPA. But I think that that is really dumb. So, I didn’t want to use that.
[00:07:57] TT: Chewy, right? Along those lines too, what’s your response to people and I’ve seen stuff regarding the Cold IPA. What’s your response to people that say the styles is kind of simply a marketing tool or a style to sell some beer using a process that’s been adapted or kind of use for quite some time?
[00:08:16] KD: What style is not a marketing tool?
[00:08:18] TT: Good point. Good point.
[00:08:22] KD: Well, of course, I want people to buy the beer. That’s why we call it a Cold IPA. So, we toyed with the idea of making an IPL, what would it look like to make an IPL, and I think that the term IPL is a little clunky. I think it already has enough people in the industry that just don’t want to buy them. We’re talking about a different market here in Portland, Oregon, than maybe, Texas. But people have done a lot of IPLs up here, and there wasn’t one that I can say it’s just like a crowd favorite that everybody just bought the hell out of. There were a couple, one brewery that went out of business was pretty known for their IPL up here called Base Camp. But they’re out of business.
So, I hate that. I mean, it was a great beer. But I just don’t know if the customer really understood and wrapped their brain around it. How Cold IPA is, my approach to making this beer is significantly different than an approach to making an IPL. So, when I look at IPL, it is almost – it seems like if you’re used to making IPAs, your nail brewer, you make a couple IPLs make some Pale Ales. You make some Imperial Stouts, you’re used to doing this. That’s your realm and then coming up with an IPL. It’s kind of like, “Well, what if we just fermented colder with lager yeast and see what happens?” I think that that approach, I want to turn on its head. What I want to say is, “Well, I’m not the Imperial Stout Pale Ale IPA Brewer. I make lagers. So, how do I look at making an IPA?” We’re using my techniques the other way around. So, that was kind of the approach was.
[00:10:01] TT: Yeah, I see what you’re saying about the IPL, that style, just that term right IPL, it kind of feels like old hat. I feel like that was one of those things I do 10 years ago when IPAs are really blowing up. Everybody was trying to do little spins on it like wide IPA, IPL, things like that. I guess from that standpoint, that marketing standpoint, IPL just feels old, whereas we can kind of change that and try to establish a new style of Cold IPA. I love that.
[00:10:31] KD: Yeah. Well, and some people are like it’s not an IPA if it’s made with lager yeast, and here’s where I want to say that we’re fermenting it with yeast warm, and we’ve also tried this with cold yeast. Really what we’re trying to do with the yeast profile of this is get the ferment done quickly, and make a lower ester product. So, if you all that use Chico out there, if you can figure out how to make Chico very, very, very clean, then maybe this is also the way you should do it and call it Cold IPA.
Personally, this is probably listened to by a lot of brewers; there’s a lot of ways to get to the finish line. So, figure out how to do it yourself. The way that we do it is our house drain is 34,70 lager yeast and [inaudible 00:11:13] old for all of our lagers, we cold condition, we lager them all with this beer, we ferment 65, and we dry hop at 65. And then it gets about three days of cold conditioning, and then it’s filtered. So, it is process wise, very much different than a lager.
[00:11:31] TT: So, starting 34, 70 at 65, are you starting cooler than that and free rising?
[00:11:36] KD: We start all our beers cooler and free rise regardless of ales or lagers.
[00:11:40] GL: Can you tell us about what you started at?
[00:11:42] KD: Oh, you want all the secrets? I think we started 55. We start pretty cold. It’s kind of hard. We have a big cold liquor tank and a huge heat exchanger for all of our stuff. So, our staff has a really hard time actually from an air cooling in that much warmer than that. Because it’s actually a good condition.
[00:12:01] GL: Sure, I think that goes for a lot of brewers out there. It’s really hard to knock out colder than that. Okay.
[00:12:07] KD: I think it works. And then I think a lot of people, a couple other techniques that we do is we use sterile air instead of pure oxygen. We found that when we offer oxygenate 34, they can ferment a little bit too quickly and having some yeast problems. This is also a beer that we don’t collect the stuff of. We have plenty of 34 around. So, because we’re making other beers, so this is a beer that we can dry hop on yeast to not have to worry about having to harvest from it.
[00:12:34] GL: Very nice.
[00:12:35] KD: So, it’s handy for us.
[00:12:36] TT: What about, is there something unique about the hop inclusion of this style of beer?
[00:12:41] KD: Well, so we hop this thing, what I’m thinking of, for me what West Coast IPA is, is California IPA. It’s like West Side from San Diego. I think more of the Firestone, the Russian River, the Bear Republics, you know, the central coast of North. These super clean, super clear, super hoppy beers that I fell in love with 10, 15 years ago, and I’ve always tried to emulate that. There’s also a certain amount of alcohol involved with those beers. When they work well, they’re actually pretty strong. I think that’s true of West Coast IPA, in general. I think when you’re making West Coast in the low sixes, there’s just not enough alcohol body to stand up to that bitterness. If you don’t have the bitterness there, then you’re losing something too. So, then that ends up being more of a strong Pale Ale in my opinion.
So, with these beers, I think with Cold IPA, it’s 20 IBUs of Magnum and 35 Bus of Flex at the very beginning, and then there’s also a 10-minute edition and a whirlpool edition. So, I think when it comes back from the lab, the last time we checked it, it was in the mid-60s. But we’re shooting for the 70s, if we can get it.
[00:13:55] GL: Right there in the IPA range for IBUs, okay. Could you tell us about grist composition? I’m trying to do my homework here. This style, unfortunately, hasn’t made it out to Texas yet. But I think it’s heading east out of the Pacific Northwest. So, for our listeners out there, can you tell us a little bit about grist composition. I know, typically, in a Cold IPA, there are some adjuncts.
[00:14:19] KD: Yeah, so that’s indicative of the style more than IPL. So, I feel IPL was always the malt was similar to a West Coast or even Midwest IPA where it’s pale malt, maybe some cara pills, maybe some weed, maybe a little bit of caramel malt. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re doing 70% Pilsner Malt and the Pilsner Malt being North American Pilsner Malt, and then 30% adjunct. We’ve gone back and forth between rice and corn. Right now, rice is just so expensive. I’d prefer the rice, but rice is just – I think I would be paying 40 cents a pound more for rice. Rice [inaudible 00:14:58] product prices.
[00:14:58] GL: I think rice is one of them, thinking of the CMG catalog, rice is, gosh is probably the most expensive thing in there, grain wise. It’s over $1 a pound.
[00:15:07] KD: Which when you think about it, it’s almost ridiculous because the Brewers Association and the Craft Brewers Story, we’ve been telling everybody for decades, the reason why Budweiser puts rice in their beer is to make it cheaper. The more I’ve looked into it, the more I can say that’s a bunch of baloney. Budweiser and Miller and all those guys are using corn and rice for flavor and not for price. If you think about rice and corn, they’re both food products. They’re served at the dinner table. Barley just isn’t. So, there’s not really an aftermarket for barley other than cattle feed, and that keeps the price of barley incredibly cheap.
[00:15:44] TT: So, going back to adjuncts. You mentioned rice. Is there a particular rice? I know there’s brown rice out on the market, there’s some white rice in a particular style, or particular rice you look for?
[00:15:56] KD: The first thing that we used was rice flour. Okay. Huge caveat, we have a decoction kettle, and we use it as a cereal cooker for these beers. So, we will actually mash in with a little bit of barley, either rice flour – rice flour is kind of hard because it’s so dusty that we were having to mask up and create a big mess and we’re buying that from a food provider, a food company out of here. And then we moved on from there to rice flakes, which is a little bit more expensive. But it was much easier to handle, and we could order it right from Country Malt. We’re buying Canada rice flakes. I’ve tried the OIO rice flakes and we branded a lot of problems with both of those products. To be honest, we’ve talked to some of the suppliers about it. We’re having a hard time with gelatinization. We couldn’t use those products as a single infusion as they were sold as. We tried to do that a couple of times, and we ended up dumping both batches.
The problem is that it was still iodine positive and the problem that we had, and I’m not saying this is, I’m sure it’s working now, but we’ve just moved on to buying bulk cornmeal from another supplier. But the problem we’re having is that we would have to send the rice through a gelatinization rest and boil it to get access to the starch. We would buy an exogenous enzyme and add it to just straight a rice mash and it would not convert the starch. But if we boil the rice first, we were able to release that starch matrix, and then we were able to use the interesting enzymes in the barley to break it down, which was very handy.
[00:17:29] GL: Gotcha. Yeah, the moment you said, 30% adjunct and then you said rice flour, I cringed like that’s got to be really long lotter, a really scary long lotter.
[00:17:42] KD: It wasn’t that bad. We still do that too, with some other beers. As long as you can send it through a gelatinization rest and then boil it and then mash it correctly, especially with the rice and it’s almost all liquefied. The rice itself is pretty low and Beta Glucan. I’m not sure. I haven’t looked numbers on corn. I don’t know if you guys can hear my dogs barking in the background. I apologize.
[00:18:04] TT: That’s okay. That’s alright, we all have background noise. As long as I don’t hear a toilet flush or something.
Well, speaking of the corn, does it impart like pretty cool hue, a yellowish tint to the beer?
[00:18:21] KD: Yeah, a little bit. We’re getting non-GMO yellow cornmeal, so it’s pretty much selected from a cereal company. I’ve not messed around with white corn, but I think that if I want to make the extra light, I can do that. I haven’t done that yet. But yeah, it does give a little bit of gold, especially when you’re going on the higher gravity side. So, we make a beer that we used to call Relapse IPA. We’ve changed the name to just the original Cold IPA because it’s constant and we’re trying to own the style here. And then we make another one called Chronokinetic a little stronger and a little bit more tropical and modern in its hopping compared to the original Cold IPA, which is like chinook, centennial, very classic West Coast.
[00:19:04] GL: Like a C type Cold IPA, C type hop Cold IPA.
[00:19:08] KD: Yeah totally. With the original Cold or Relapse, whatever you want to call it, I think it’s Centennial and Cascade Amarillo tasty beer. It does [inaudible 00:19:19].
Yeah, so I think that if you’re going to try to make this style, I think a flaked corn would work really well. I would do some trials on flaked rice. I know Breeze makes a product of flaked rice, and if you can use it a single infusion, then go for it, especially if it converts correctly, which it should because that’s how it’s made. But if you’re going to use them at that number, I would suggest using a North American barley, specifically one that is bred for this. Now, a lot of these Amba approved barleys these days, the mat calf and Pinnacle stuff like that, they will have an incredibly high diastatic power, and they’re bred for this. They’re bred for adjuncts. I found that’s what works for us.
We do use a lot of wireman products for our lagers, and we will never use that for these kinds of beers, because I don’t think the enzyme load and Wyermann pilsners can’t be anywhere close to that stuff.
[00:20:16] TT: Yeah, German pills tends to be under North American for sure. Yeah, I can speak to Great Western’s Idaho pills off top my head; it’s got a pretty high DP.
[00:20:28] KD: Yeah, and you know, the American Malted Barley Association has many different guidelines for what is grown and what is cultivated here in the States compared to the same trade organizations in Europe. Germany, if you look at kind of the numbers that you want to hit as far as soluble over total protein, some of the other kinds of things that have power being one of them, flavor, they have a tighter number, because the brewers over there are using all-malt products. So, the barley varieties that end up getting approved, especially in Germany are set at that level.
Now, in America, honestly, a lot of the brewers are trying to get throughput and as fast as possible. So, it is definitely how much starch can I get and how quick can I get it?
[00:21:18] GL: Yeah, it’s funny, you mentioned that in last week’s episode, it actually came out today, we talked with a maltster. And you hit the nail on the head, the only thing as I would say is the times are changing. It seems like American maltsters are trying to make more German pilsners lately.
[00:21:35] KD: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing and if you really want – we talked about this with [inaudible 00:21:39], the brewers that use high amounts of [inaudible 00:21:43] in the UK. They’re working directly with the farmer to grow it. They’re going to buy it, whatever, however it comes out and it’s going to be more expensive. But that’s what they want to brew with. You kind of have to work with that.
In the States, most breweries are way too small, to actually go, “Hey, I want this amount of [inaudible 00:22:03] barley grown for me, and I want it malted like this.” It’s up to the maltster, to make sure that it’ll actually work on the latter time. You do have to break down a certain amount of that Beta Glucan, just for it to even work. So, some of these barleys that we’re using, that are approved for America, and that are grown here, they have to have such high Kobach index, just to get them to go through the brewery. You end up having to have a lot of extra diastatic power. It’s just genetically how they were grown and suffer these things.
So, my workaround for that is, well, that’s great. Well, let’s just use adjunct. I mean, we’re American brewers, why not use adjunct? Why do we have this? Why does it have to be all-malt? Unless we can grow the barley that works really great as all-malt, then let’s do a workaround here.
[00:22:55] GL: It’s funny how brewers, kind of go full circle. You get into craft brewing because you’re tired of Bud Light, and Miller, or whoever else. It doesn’t matter which one. You’re tired of light American, light lagers with adjuncts. It gets to be summertime. You’re kind of a more seasoned brewer, and you’re like, “No, no, let’s bring that around. I want something super crisp.” So, interesting how it goes, full circle.
[00:23:21] KD: It is interesting, but I would actually be challenged – I would like to challenge brewers to brew with more whole grain adjunct even if it is just a cornmeal. So, that is – I mean, it’s processed, obviously, you’re not going to be able to use every part of that kernel because of the oil and all that stuff. You do need a certain amount.
[00:23:40] TT: Yeah, Grant, to continue upon the barley, I think what a lot of craft brewers don’t realize is that the farmers that are growing this barley, they need to make a profit. They need to have the largest yield they can with what they’re working with, and that’s why some of these old classic barley varietals are going away. It’s too hard to grow susceptibility to disease is much more than breeds that are specifically designed to withstand some of this stuff as it kind of progresses through its lifespan. So yeah, as we improve, it’s obviously something that farmers are going to look to plant what they think is going to get the best return on their investment.
[00:24:27] KD: Yeah, totally. Marisota doesn’t have a huge yield, and maybe it does, maybe I don’t know that much about it. You look at some of those barleys that are grown for high quality brewing, and they cost more because they can’t grow as much per acre, and that’s just going into the cost. But right now, the market is so driven by how we can get our raw material prices down. I think that now that there’s so many small craft breweries out there that I don’t think that – you look at the price of a pint all over the place and 10 more cents on your barley. Who cares at this point? If you’re making a product that people actually want to purchase, you can charge a good amount for it.
So, I think it’s all going to change. I think that brewing in America since the war has been a commodity. It’s always been, up until the craft movement, it’s always been, beer is one thing, you just got to buy beer from whomever grows that or makes it in your town, and it has to be this price. It’s kind of like Wonder Bread, it just has to be bread. Now, people are saying, “Well, I want my bread to actually taste good.” So, that comes at a cost.
[00:25:38] TT: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You mentioned specifically for the Cold IPA using North American malts. The North American maltsters trying to replicate is not the right word, but really come up or come out with some malts that can compete with the nuances and what people find is favorable aspects of imported to North American barley. So, there’s some good ones out there for sure, and I think – Kevin, you and I talked about it a couple days ago, with the strain of logistics right now with import malt and shortage of containers. And, you know, the stuff that went down with the Suez Canal, we’re in lead times, import lead times, what 50, 60, 70 days longer than usual.
So, there is somewhat of a shortage or a strain, if you will on import malts and certainly the North American maltsters who are in our backyard are here and ready and much more availability. I think people can feel a bit better about having to wait 170 days, and anything can happen on the way for some of these important malts.
[00:26:53] KD: Yeah, that’s definitely another thing. I mean, we want to talk about being an agreement, sustainable company at some point, be really great to use the barley that’s grown in our backyard. Even if it’s – most barley in America is grown in the North Dakota, Wisconsin, Saskatchewan, that area. It’d be great to be – and most states have enough area that they can grow this. There’s a good company up in Skagit County, Northern Washington that’s growing select barleys for their craft maltster, but they struggle with the idea of making locally grown craft malt. I think that’s just so kind of cool. You grow it there, you malt it there and then you brew it like, what? 40 miles away and that’s great. That’s the dream.
[00:27:41] TT: Yup.
[00:27:44] KD: How we farm in America is a whole another question.
[00:27:49] GL: Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s a whole separate one just talking about problems with that, but maybe we’ll get there one day. It’s a good idea for a future episode. I wanted to circle back around. You got me thinking here, Kevin, talking about the different rice and corn and stuff, and I heard you say whole kernel flakes, and I think that’s an important distinction. When you talk about rice, you said rice flour. You also mentioned the Canada malting flaked rice. The Canada malting flaked rice actually starts out as rice grits before it gets flaked. Whereas the Breeze’ brown flaked rice is a whole kernel brown rice that is then flaked. Depending on the beer, depending on, if you’re going real heavy on adjuncts, I think that’s what a lot of people are seeing is it can really gum up your your loader, and the whole kernel plays a little bit better with that.
So, I guess what I’m getting at here is if you’re going with the Canada malting, or the rice grit flakes, then yeah, you should either have a system in place or use some rice hulls, or you’re going to have a hell of a time.
[00:28:55] KD: Yeah, totally. It’s interesting because I have a hard time, I would like to source just straight rice grits. But I can’t even do that. So much of that is being sold to the flour and just sold as flour before the gluten free – gluten free is so popular right now. So, before that was an off-market thing. These called brewers cots or brewers rice. So, it was in the holding process when they were de-holding the rice there was always bits and ends, that they couldn’t sell as table rice. Rice that you would actually eat. Because it was all broken up pieces, so that’d be shipped off to a brewery to make it a beer and it was a pretty good price. Now, you can’t even really do that. So, that was what moved us to corn.
And when I say using a whole product, I think that there is a flavor difference between even using cornmeal or flaked rice or which is just rice grit, as opposed to using the syrup. Now, most of the big breweries, I can’t say for certain because I don’t work for them. But I’d say they’re all using syrup.
[00:29:56] GL: That is correct. That is what I have seen as well.
[00:30:00] KD: And we’ve tried syrups. I’ve tried doing a batch with syrup and it is missing something. It misses some of the body. I look at the actual breakdown of – a really great book that I use when I was looking at this was the VLB has a whole book on adjuncts. And that was my reference code for this. If you look at the breakdown of rice and corn and other types of things, I’m sure the gluten free brewers out there, if they’re listening to this, know exactly what I’m talking about. We think of barley is being so perfect for beer and it’s got all this wonderful protein, and it’s got polyphenols. And then then the saying, you know that we’ve been shoving down everybody’s throat is, “Well, corn and rice is just sugar. That’s just sugar.” It’s like, “Well, no, it’s not.” There’s actually quite a lot of protein and Beta Glucan and polyphenol and all sorts of cool stuff.
So, using the whole grain product, I do think you will get a higher flavor impact from that, although it is very light. I really love rice lagers. We’ve made a few of them. We’ve made a six-pack one called Number 6. And a 10 and a half playdough, super easy drinking, super dry can crusher, we do brew it every summer. So, that was the first one that we did as a serial decoction. And then that’s what led us to make the Cold IPA approach. What if this was an IPA? It’s really, if you look at Cold IPA, if you take the hops off of it, it far more resembles a malt liquor. As far as gravity, and how quick it’s made. It’s a malt liquor IPA.
[00:31:33] GL: It’s a, I don’t know, kind of an imperial light lager if you want to get into all that, minus a few things like enzymes and stuff. Yeah. Cool. Okay.
[00:31:47] TT: Well, Kevin, if you had to give the listeners some basic pointers, for those that want to just brew, just kick-ass Cold IPA, like you’re doing, and we talked about some of these already. I’m just going to just ask a couple questions, fire off of there. Is there a particular water profile that they should be looking for?
[00:32:04] KD: So, we’re in Portland, our water is almost distilled, because it’s all snow runoff here. We add back calcium sulfate, just to get – you need a certain amount of calcium just for alpha-amylase, and calcium oxalate and all that kind of stuff. So, we do add a bit of that. I don’t know how much you’re getting that, and the final product, it doesn’t come across as salty is really what I’m trying to say. So, we use a very soft water and I think it’s really nice to use a really soft water. I think it would be distracting to have something that was more like San Diego water profile.
[00:32:38] GL: Yeah, sounds like something more of just a traditional American light lager water profile, is what it sounds like.
[00:32:46] KD: Yeah, exactly.
[00:32:49] TT: We talked about kind of your malt usage and kind of what you’re looking for. So typical base malts, you said Pilsner correct, or two, one of each?
[00:33:01] KD: We use a Great Western superior Pilsner. We’ve used raw premium Pilsner as well. Our goal here is to use a light domestic malt that is high enzyme. There are a couple other ones out there that are made with just pure Copeland that don’t seem to have as much of that. I think that they’re better North American varieties for doing all malt, and I think Canada’s Pilsner is all Copeland and I’m it’d be interesting to see if it could take 30% enzyme. I don’t know. I would like to have some enzyme on hand just in case it doesn’t if I were to try it out. That being said, Canada super pills is located a little bit further away from us. Great Western is really across the river from us. So, the price is really great for the product. There are also the Idaho pills, I think is also all Copeland but I’m not sure.
[00:33:46] GL: The pure Idaho Pilsner from Great Western actually uses quite a bit of Wint malt.
[00:33:51] KD: Wint malt, that’s what it is.
[00:33:53] GL: It’s an ambo variety. It’s a newer ambo variety, but the barley has a German lineage, and that’s my favorite. I can’t get enough of this stuff, personally.
[00:34:05] KD: I’d be interested in trying it, especially since these cargo shipping containers seem to be held up, I might have to. But yeah, it’s interesting because I’ve reached out to a few suppliers just saying, “Hey, I’d like to see some ways on these different Pilsner malts. Can you tell me what?” And then from a bunch of different people, you’ll see on the varieties in it, we’ll just say ambo brew variety. It’s like, “Well, okay, that doesn’t matter. That’s not supposed to matter to the Brewers. Okay, got it.” Or “You know that, and we don’t have to know that.” I don’t get that.
[00:34:34] GL: I think it’s an [inaudible 00:34:35] with maltsters. So, sometimes the the blends can change a little bit, and it’s really hard to just, to have it perfect every time on a COA, but you know, we do our best.
[00:34:47] KD: So, that’s understandable.
[00:34:48] TT: Yeah, that’s it, right there. I mean, this certain varietal has performed differently in certain weather on a year to year basis in the maltsters job, as you guys know, is just basically provide the best, most consistent product out the door for brewers that they can. A lot of times it takes a blend of five or six different varieties to get that consistency.
[00:35:13] GL: I will say, if you reach out to your maltster, they should be able to do a dive and provide you the blend on that lot, though. It’s a little bit of extra work for him. But for brewers that are really into it, we can usually do it.
[00:35:27] KD: That’s great. Yeah, I mean, usually, what I found that when I reached out, we’re just not purchasing that much malt for them to really let me know. It’s not that I’m going to be like, “Well, I never use Copeland. I would only use Pinnacle or something.” Or, “I would never use Pinnacle. I’d only use Harrington.” I’m just curious, I may either feel like, you know, the blends are going to change and that too much information in my hands is a bad thing. I don’t really know.
[00:35:55] GL: I think it’s really hard to ensure. I guess the thing that maltsters worry about is sometimes they worry that the brewer will be upset if there’s any kind of change. And as long as you’re upfront about it, and you tell the Brewers, “Hey, the barley varieties, here’s what they’re made up of, the exact percentages, they’re going to shift around a little bit, just because we’re trying to keep the malt in spec and make the best malt we can.”
[00:36:22] KD: Absolutely. I think that’s great. If you look at the Canada super pills, and some of the other ones, they are categorically different than North American pale malt. You can see that they’re trying to keep the protein level, they’re trying to keep the soluble over total low or lower, with what they can do and they color correct.
[00:36:47] GL: Absolutely.
[00:36:48] TT: Going back to the point for those who want to really kick-ass Cold IPA, like, Kevin Davey at Wayfinder without giving away your recipes, obviously. Mash temperature, anything different, particularly?
[00:37:01] KD: Yeah. We mash in, so obviously, we do the decoction mash. So, we’ll mash in at 36 with the main mash. We have the other, the rice and corn concoction going in. I think the gelatinization rice corn, we shoot for about 67. And then we’ll boil it, maim it, and while it’s boiling, we’ll mash in the main mash at 36. And then when we combine the two, it hits about 62. So, we’ll go from 62 to 68, 72 to 78 and then that’s transferred a loader. Or you can just do mashing which we don’t do.
[00:37:37] GL: I was going to say, there’s quite a bit of steps there. So, do you think that that’s necessary to do the steps versus just a single infusion? Probably so, with the adjuncts?
[00:37:45] KD: If you’re trying to make –
[00:37:47] TT: A kick ass beer like Wayfinder, yes.
[00:37:49] KD: Yes. But if you’re trying to do something else, then I would leave that on to you to figure that out.
So, I would say if you really want to know what really makes this beer different is that we were also developed it in the middle of the hop creep. And so, Cold IPA starts at 15 playdough. It goes down to about three, and once the bubbling is slowing down considerably, we’ll treat that really well and dry hop it with hops that we know are going to induce hop creep. If you brew with a lot of 34, especially warm, you’ll realize that 34 will just keep going and it will do a really great job.
[00:38:32] GL: Absolutely.
[00:38:32] KD: So, we’ll dry hop it in about three, three and a half playdough, and then it’ll end and we’ll put it under pressure, but at 15 psi with a spinning valve and it’ll cruise down to 1.7, 1.8.
[00:38:44] GL: Gotcha. So yeah, just that’s pretty dry.
[00:38:46] KD: It gets incredibly dry. That’s part of the flavor profile is the incredible dryness. Now, if we’re trying to dry off with hops that just don’t have that hop creep potential, I would probably almost consider using an enzyme. I’m kind of afraid to use enzymes in fermentation personally, but I don’t know, we’ll find out. When all the hot producers start turning their kilns up again, I don’t know how we get out of this thing that we’ve done with lower kiln temperatures on hops is pretty much what has been causing all the hop creep, I think.
[00:39:22] GL: Okay. I guess for that for the listeners out there. Kevin’s numbers are probably not what homebrewers or even some craft brewers are used to; he’s talking degrees playdough. So, when he says 1.7, he’s talking about 10.006.
[00:39:34] KD: Oh, I can speak both languages. I’m sorry. So yeah, matching temperatures will match in about 95 degrees and while the other one is boiling, and then we’ll combine them to and there’ll be about 142, 144. And then from there, we’ll mash up to 158 from 158 to 162, 162 to 178, and then send a loader time.
[00:39:59] GL: That is incredibly impressive. Is the brewer bilingual here?
[00:40:05] KD: Yeah, I don’t actually speak specific gravity. I kind of lost that after it’s done.
[00:40:10] GL: Yeah, for sure.
[00:40:12] TT: Incredibly impressive. I like it.
[00:40:14] KD: We’re never going to get off the the US system if we don’t just start using it. Use the metric system, everybody.
[00:40:23] TT: There you go. We talked a little bit about hops. Hopping regimen and IBU, specifically, you mentioned in an article that you actually contributed on and in New School beer this Italian Pilsner technique of hopping?
[00:40:37] KD: Yeah, that was our original attempt at it, and we’ve since just done this dry hop spooning thing. But originally, if we’re going to save, especially with Italian Pilsners, say we need to harvest the yeast. We’ll chill it down to 45, and that’ll flocculate. Wait till it actually finishes completely and we’ll chill it down to 45, put some pressure on it. And that will flocculate these very well. We’ll be able to harvest that and brew another batch of beer, say a Czech Pilsner of a Helles or something like that. And then three days later, when that next beer is a high Kräusening, we’ll take a couple of kegs off of it, and push them into the finished beer of the Italian Pilsner, and out of the dry hops and put it up to 15 psi and have refermentation in a process called Kräusening. I’m sure everybody’s very excited to try Kräusening. We use Kräusening for beers, lager beers, specifically with beers that have stalled fermentation or cleaned up completely.
[00:41:39] GL: So, you’re working with horizontals then?
[00:41:40] KD: No, we’re not using horizontals. We’re just doing this thing.
[00:41:44] TT: All right. I’m looking at the pictures you sent over. I wish the listeners could see it. I asked for a brief bio and some pictures, and you send out some pretty sweet pictures that I’m looking at now. Ice cold, Kevin. What is this picture of you standing over? It looks like a burning keg? It’s so awesome. I don’t know if you saw it.
[00:42:09] KD: That was a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. You’ve seen the Jimi Hendrix picture where he’s on fire. [Crosstalk 00:42:15] and purple on top of the keg and lit it on fire to have a little séance.
[00:42:22] GL: Sounds like a night shift activity.
[00:42:28] TT: Speaking of shifts, is Cold IPA kind of the the shifty, if you will? And amongst brewers, shifty is kind of the the beer that you reach for after a shift. Is that something that you reach or folks up at your brewery reach for? Are you reaching for something else at the end of the day?
[00:42:45] KD: Well, I would say we’re almost always reaching for something else. But only because we make a lot of light beers, and that’s a little bit more my speed. But I haven’t known if it’s only going to be one beer, I like to have an IPA. So yeah, it’s a pretty clean, easy-drinking beer.
The other thing about this Cold IPA was it was also trying to be the antithesis of Hazy IPA. We like Hazy IPA, and we think it’s good and wonderful. But really Cold IPA was more carbonated, more dry, more bitter, more clear, more everything, you know that. For somebody who wanted to just go all the way in the other direction, that’s what we wanted to make. At first, I didn’t think a lot of people would get it, and people get it. So, that’s kind of exciting. Our customers are really into it.
[00:43:31] GL: The yin and the yang of IPAs, right? Hazy on one side and super clear and dry on the other. Love it.
[00:43:39] KD: Yeah, it’s worked out great. That duality is something that I’ve been trying to work at, at Wayfinder more than anything. I’ve worked at another brewery where I got my start and we made a lot of very similar beers, not similar like they were the same style, but just using a lot of the same techniques that we would use for one beer and the next beer and the next beer to where the I remember that when we would brew all the beers for GABF, we brew a lot of yellow beer. So, we’d have five yellow beers on tap and people come in and get the taste for trade. They couldn’t tell the difference. And I’m like, “Oh, no. There’s a big difference between [inaudible 00:44:14], Helles, and Pilsner, and export.” But you’re right, if it is only four ounces, it’s really hard to show. We were a production brewery, so it wasn’t that important. But you know, with Wayfinder we’re a pub and my experience with the pub is I want these things to be so drastically – I want them to be so contrasting even if they’re a little bit on the edges of their styles. I want our Pilsner to be very bitter and aggressive. I want our Helles to be incredibly light, easy drinking.
If you sit down and have our CZAF pills and our Helles next to each other, it is easy for anyone to tell the difference between the two. And that’s true with our IPAs as well. If you have a West Coast Dupin IPA, it does have a bit of karma involved. It is made with Chico. It is classic cascade centennial. People that love those kinds of beers will love [inaudible 00:45:08]. Relapse looks exactly like a Pilsner when you look at it, and smells like a tropical IPA. You’re like, “What the?” It’s kind of like one of those confusing [inaudible 00:45:20].
And then our Hazy, flour on the kettle is, it’s hazy. The only thing different about flour in the kettle is that it’s incredibly dry for the style. We’re not really into the whole finishing at six playdough thing.
[00:45:30] GL: Gotcha. Sounds just kind of a West Coast thing in general, not wanting to be too sweet.
[00:45:36] KD: Yeah, I’m not in the diabetes business. I probably am.
[00:45:44] TT: Well, I can tell you, our team members up at Great Western Malt being Vancouver, Washington, they’re spoiled rotten, because they can come up there at any point and – typically, non-COVID and come up and enjoy a beer. When we were telling some folks on our team that we’re going to have you on, they were just, “Oh, my god! They make such great beer. I love it. I love it.” I think it’s been two or three years since Grant and I’ve been up there for a function we had. But we missed being up there, and hopefully we can travel sooner rather than later, Kevin, and come enjoy everything you guys are doing up there. Again, I really appreciate your time. It means a lot to us, and thank you for your support of some of our products and keep making some fantastic stuff, buddy. I really appreciate it.
[00:46:26] KD: Yeah, you bet. I mean, to come up to and hang out with Terry goes through the plan. I’ve never been up to Great Western.
[00:46:30] TT: What?
[00:46:32] KD: Yeah. I’ve never done it. I really want to see your C tanks and your German boxes and all that.
[00:46:37] TT: We will set that up.
[00:46:39] GL: Yeah, not a problem.
[00:46:40] TT: It’d be actually really fun to bring the rest of the crew too. I don’t know if they’ve all been to a malting company yet. So, that’d be fun.
[00:46:47] TT: Bring him out. We will get him. Yeah, we’ll get that around.
[00:46:50] GL: Get him all the PPE.
[00:46:53] KD: Awesome. All the PPE. We’ll show up in boots and glasses and stuff.
[00:46:59] TT: Alright, thanks again, Kevin. I really appreciate your time and make it a fantastic week, and we’ll touch base sooner rather than later. Thanks again.
I appreciate everybody chiming in for another episode of The BrewDeck. Again, thanks to Kevin Davey at Wayfinder. If and when you’re around town up there, please go by and say hello and try some of their fantastic beer. Grant, appreciate you joining, and you make it a great weekend as well, buddy.