Saturday, June 27, 2009

Peppermint Mead (Metheglin) First Tasting


Appearance - Very pale yellow, reminiscent of a white wine, no head or bubbles, extremely clear, in fact Im surprised how clear it is being as young as it is

Aroma - Strong Peppermint aroma when bottle is poured, honey is noticeable but dominated by the mint.

Taste - Reminds me of a traditional mead with a bit of a white wine character when it first hits the palate, the mint then becomes dominant, with a bit of a raw honey taste and mint lasting into the finish, a slight sour note is also detected throughout that I'm not sure if I like or not, alcohol is extremely well hidden

Mouthfeel - A bit thin, not really sure why there is no carbonation, a bad bottle perhaps? Only time will tell, other versions of the mead with ale yeast have carbonated very well, maybe the mint oil is an issue? This definitely could benefit from at least a touch of carbonation to increase the body a bit

Drinkability - An interesting take on a mead (metheglin) I really like peppermint and the cooling sensation you get from eating it, and this carried over well into the metheglin, it would pair very well with lamb chops instead of the mint jelly, or with a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream

Notes/Thoughts - Still young, as with other meads/braggots Ive made that raw honey flavor that is present in the finish substantially dissipates after 6-8mos in the bottle, Mint is not as strong as I had hoped, higher dosing in subsequent batches might be beneficial, as I can only expect this to dissipate with time, I am also very disappointed in the lack of carbonation and I'm not really sure why that happened, Overall I'm pleased with this portion of the experiment, and Ive learned a lot about using peppermint

Brewday "Mead with Ale Yeast Experiment" 3/24/2009 - Recipe & Notes

Mead with Ale Yeast Update - 4/4/2009 - Notes

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rustic Saison

Last week when I went to my LHBS, the owner was checking his stock and doing inventory, and came across a few packs of Wyeast VSS that were a bit too old, and as he's done in the past, he saved them for me (I'm one of the few funky/belgian brewers at the store) So I scored three Wyeast packs for free! As far as strains go, I got one pack of Brasserie Blaugies (3726), and two of the Unibroue yeast (3864), seems no one likes the Unibroue yeast as about this same time last year I receive two free packs as well! I personally feel its a tad phenolic, but when blended 1:5 with an IPA I make its pretty amazing stuff!

Now all the packs were manufactured a while back ~6mos but within 1hr of smacking the 3726 it had swelled as completely as it could! and as usual I will build up a huge starter (5L) for saving the yeast anyway

Ive been reading a bit lately about saisons, and the way they were produced around the turn of the century (1900). Everything about the way there were made seems very rustic, yet very practical. Almost all ingredients, for the most part, came from the family farm, In fact it was often that the barley was malted by the farmer, resulting in a less modified, darker, rough around the edges malt, due in part to inconsistent kiln temperatures, the resulting malt would have been very different from the pilsner seen in many contemporary examples. The gravities were modest ~1040, these beers were meant for quenching your thirst during the harvest after all, and in fact Ive read that it wasn't uncommon for over 5L per day to be drank!

For this beer, I plan on recreating what I see as a somewhat rustic and rough around the edges beer. With the inaccurate kilning that was done back then I suspect they produced malt that was a bit closer to biscuit than pilsner, so I plan on supplementing the pils in the malt bill with a healthy portion of belgian biscuit, to provide a nice breadiness and round flavor, In addition I plan on adding a substantial portion of spelt, an heirloom grain that was grown in significant quantity in Belgium, primarily for feed, but Id suspect that now and again it would find its way into the mash tun

Ive decided after getting a few requests for extract versions of my recipes, that from here on out I will post both and AG and the extract/partial mash equivalent, not all recipes will be easy to convert, and some just may not be possible, this one in particular will probably be a bit tricky with all the unmalted grains, but if you ever attempt an extract/PM version I would be very interested in hearing how it turned out

Rustic Saison
Amt
(lbs)
All-GrainAmt (lbs)Extract Equiv
5.0
2-Row Belgian Pale
1.5
2-Row Belgian Pale
2.0
Spelt
1.5
Flaked Wheat
2.0
Belgian Biscuit
1.5
Belgian Biscuit
-
-
3.5
Light DME (Late Addition)
Hops
0.6oz
Sorachi Ace (14%)
60min
0.5oz
Sorachi Ace (14%)
60min
0.85oz
Sterling (8.4%)
5min
0.85oz
Sterling(8.4%)
5min
Stats
5.5gal
OG
1048
5.5gal
OG
1046
80% Eff
IBU
28
60% Eff
IBU
24
7gal Boil
FG
-
3gal Boil
FG
-
Mash Schedule
Cereal Mash - 149F-210F
2lb Spelt + 1lb 2Row
149F
1qt/lb
40min
149F
1qt/lb
75min
168F
1.5qts/lb
Till Clear
168F
1.5qts/lb
20min(vorlauf)
-
-
-
Yeast
Farmhouse Ale 3726 (Brasserie Blaugies Strain)

Review - 10-31-09
Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lambic

So Ive been planning to do this for awhile, as I have quite a few yeast cakes just loaded bugs (Gueueze, Oro de Calabaza, Calabaza Blanca, Brett L, Brett B, Pedio, etc, etc) But Ive been feeling kind of lazy and not wanting to do much of anything, fortunately I was inspired yesterday by a brewing buddy who just got his first kegerator setup. So he's coming over today to help brew up a lambic, and yes I'm trying to bring him over to the dark side (wild beers) but havent had much luck yet

I've done a few lambics (3), however most of my wild beer experience is with flanders reds(6). With lambics, my first attempt was an extract version, and it didn't work out too well (my 5th batch), my second and third were both AG, one a single infusion mash, and the other a turbid mash. Now I did notice a difference between the two finished products, the infusion mash version was a bit less sour, but neither were as sour as I would've liked. I'm blaming that one on wyeast ;)

With the flanders reds that Ive done I have experimented quite a bit with mash schedules. I've found that a single infusion with some added maltodextrine seems to produce a pretty solid flanders red. I get lots of sour cherry, and a nice winey characteristic, so in most of my flanders I now do a single infusion and add ~0.5# maltodextrine to help feed the bugs.

So I'm now thinking of employing this method with my lambic, now some might call this cheating, and ask why I would worry about the few extra hours a turbid mash takes, when this beer wont be close to finishing for 12-24mos. Well, I guess I'm just curious how good of a beer can be made this way vs the traditional method. And in the long run whats one batch of beer? (even a beer that takes 2yrs) if I learn more about the brewing process.

Now for this batch I'm not going to totally avoid something that produces a very dextrinous wort as I plan on going with a modified version of the mash schedule proposed by Frank Boon. He suggests mashing in at 86F @ 1qt/lb, running this off, boiling it, and in the meantime the mash should have additional water added to bring it to 140F, the boiled portion is then added back to bring the mash to bring it up to sacch temps.

What I plan on doing is going straight to 151F, then drawing off a portion of the liquor very early on, and boiling it, this portion will then be added back towards the end of the mash to raise the temps to mash out

Without further ado...

Lazy Man Lambic
6.0gal: 9IBU: OG 1055? Eff? (didnt measure)
7.0 lbs Pilsner
4.0 lbs Flaked Wheat
0.5 lbs Maltodextrin @ KO

0.25 oz Sorachi Ace (14%) 60min

Lambic Blend 3278

House Blend of Sour Bugs (Brett L, pedio, Brett B, klock, lacto, + unknowns)

Cantillon Gueuze Dregs

Mash - Modified Boon Mash Schedule
Mash in - 151F: 1qt/lb
Immediately pull 4qts from mashtun
Add 4qts @ 151F - 110min
Boil initial runnings and add back to tun to raise mash temp to ~158F: Rest 10min
Sparge with boiling water

Notes: Batch size will be ~6gal when done, as I plan on canning and saving some wort that will get added as fermentation dies down a bit: Wyeast blend will get pitched ~24hrs in advance to let the mix get going before my very active house blend will be added:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pineapple Sour / Cider First Tasting


Pineapple Cider(71B)Pineapple Sour (US05 + Lacto)
AppearanceSlightly Hazy, thin 1 finger very pale yellow head that dissipates, lots of bubbles, yeast isn’t very compact in the bottom of bottle and there are flocs that float in the bottom of the bottleVery clear pale yellow color, minimal bubbling, no foamy head, very compact lees in bottle
AromaLots of pineapple right up front, followed by some bready/yeasty notesVery subtle pineapple aroma, may be due to lower amount of carbonation releasing less volatiles, slight lactic aroma
TastePineapple juice up front, followed by some yeastiness mixed with more pineapple, very tasty, albeit a bit youngSubtle pineapple flavor, more wine-like, definitely more sour, has more alcohol in the finish as well, reminds me of an aged Berliner weisse with hints of pineapple
MouthfeelVery highly carbonated, champagne like, very nice mouthfeelLower carbonation, not really sure why, both were carbed to same level, feels much fuller bodied than the “clean” version
DrinkabilityGreat pineapple flavor, alcohol is there but very hidden, light body that makes it very easy to drinkSubtle pineapple flavor makes this more white wine like, interesting contributions from the lacto, although at this stage would prefer the other version
NotesStill far too young, needs another 3+ months in the bottle before I should taste again, with age yeasty/bready flavor/aroma should dissipate, hopefully the pineapple flavor/aroma wontThis is an infant for sour homebrew, and you can really tell, pineapple aroma is very subdued and that’s a bit disappointing at this stage. Not sure if the lactic acid works well with the pineapple flavor yet, but it may be just too young
ThoughtsI plan on making another version soon, and I plan on using my normal method for cider, which is adding only a small amount of juice + all sugar upfront, then add small additional amounts of juice as fermentation dies, in my experience this preserves the fruit flavor much better. I’ll probably also cut back on the sugar to reduce the alc% a bit, as it stands now both versions are far too young to do a very good review

Brewday - 1/19/09 Recipe & Notes

2nd Tasting - 3/3/10

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