Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rustic Saison - Review

Appearance - A nice golden color with orange highlights, dense head that slowly gives way to a very dense high amount of lacing that really clings to the glass

Aroma - Slightly biscuity, spicy with subtle phenolics, hints of banana and bread

Taste - Biscuity, hints of banana and other fruits(pears?), spice present in the finish but it is restrained, there are some flavors that are very hard to describe but they very earthy

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Leaves youf mouth slightly dry after you swallow making you want to take another sip.

Drinkability - I wasn't sure about this beer a month or so ago, but a bit more time cold conditioning and it has really come together, Ive really had to restrain myself with this one lately. It goes down very smooth, the body makes it quite a bit fuller feeling than a typical commercial saison, but its a great thirst quencher, and its easy to put back 3 or 4 before you even notice it.

Notes/Thoughts - I really like the flavor profile that the Blaugies strain provides, and I'm assuming the great mouthfeel and body is from the spelt, I think I will be using spelt a lot more often as I'm not a big fan of the meaty grainy flavor you get from using wheat, it has its place, but I think that's more in the realm of hefes and weizenbocks. Ive also never used biscuit at such a high percentage, but I think that really worked well with the beer, its not overpowering but it is definitely present

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oatmeal Stout

So I recently posted on BA a poll of sorts. We are planning on having an upcoming holiday part at my house and I wasn't sure whether to brew up a porter or stout. The stout was overwhelmingly chosen over the porter, personally I wanted the porter but I'm going with the crowd on this one.

When I posted the poll I also posted the two recipes for the beers. Ive made both many times before and the recipes are the result of many changes over the years. Now for the most part I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to brewing, I think the fewer malts you use the more defined and focused the beer is. Uncharacteristically my oat stout had quite a few malts in the recipe. The thing was that I actually preferred that beer to previous examples (I almost always have 1 or 2bottles left from the last batch), but those that posted got me thinking a bit.

It made me wonder if I could focus the malt bill a bit more and have a better defined flavor. So I cut out a couple malts (Munich, 120L, honey malt) to really simplify the recipe. I'm very curious to see how the two beers compare.

The Bare Necessities Oatmeal Stout
Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)

Type

Amt (lbs)

Type

7.5

2-Row8.0Extra Light DME

2.0

Flaked Oats0.75 80L

1.0

80L0.75Roasted Barley

0.5

Roasted Barley0.5Roasted Barley

0.5

Chocolate Malt0.5Maltodextrin
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTimeAmt (oz)TypeTime
0.6Nugget (14.6%)600.5Nugget (14.6%)60
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTimeTempRatioTime
158F1.22qt/lb60154F1qt/lb30min
168F1.9qt/lb15min - vorlauf168F1.5qt/lb5min
YeastLondon ESB 1968 (yeast cake)
Stats
5.5galOG10635.5galOG1062
85% effIBU27NAIBU26
8gal BoilFG3gal Late ExtractFG
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flanders Red 2009

So I just recently bottled a ~1yr old Flanders Red that was really getting good, and I really wanted to reuse the yeast cake. So it was time to brew up another! Roeselare packs are kind of hard to come by this time of year, luckily though I'm pretty much the only sour/funky brewer at my LHBS. I was even able to score two packs of Roeselare for the price of one! I really wish WY would come out with Roeselare in the fall, when its traditional to brew up sour beers. Its just too tough sometimes to control the temperature during the summer months, and the cool fall/winter temps help to slow fermentation down and produce a more complex beer.

My last attempt at a Flanders Red incorporated some maltodextin to make sure the brett/pedio had something to chew on after the sacch had fermented out. The last batch was brewed with a fresh smack pack of Roeselare, and in my limited experience the first pitching is usually pretty bland, so I added the maltodextrin to supply the bugs with a food source as things progressed. Additionally I left the beer on the yeast cake, whereas a Flanders Red is usually racked off the cake after the vigorous fermentation has died down.

Now I'm not sure if it was the combination of the yeast cake and maltodextrin but contrary to my other experience with smack packs of Roeselare, the beer turned out wonderfully sour with a great deal of cherry in the nose. So I'm hoping to produce something very similar this time but with some added complexities (hoping to ferment very cool). I have changed the malt bill every so slightly and did not use maltodextrin, just went with my gut feeling this year and left it out. . I plan on adding last years yeast cake a few days after adding the smack packs. I decided on waiting because after a year in the fermentor I'm pretty sure not everything in the cake is viable, and Id like to let the smack packs take hold to ensure I have all the bugs I need. I'm not sure at this point if I'll rack it off the cake this year, I think I'll give it a taste in a month or two and see how things are progressing and may even add some maltodextrin at that point


Flanders Red 2009

Malt Bill
All Grain
Amt (lbs)Type
6.5Vienna
1.0Aromatic
1.0Carahell
1.0Caravienna
1.0Wheat
0.5Special B
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.50Nugget (13.0%)60
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTime
145F1.0qt/lb20min
158F1.5qt/lb20min
169F1.9qt/lb20min (vorlauf)
YeastRoeselare Smack Pack + yr old yeast cake
Stats
6.5galOG1048
80% effIBU17
7gal BoilFG1012
Sunday, October 11, 2009

English Pale Ale

All Ive been brewing and drinking lately have been either German or Belgian beers, and while I'm really enjoying both types, I have really developed a craving for an English pale. There is just something that makes it a perfect beer to drink in cooler (70's) weather. The fruitiness of an English ale yeast along with the earthiness of EKG's is a combination that's tough to beat.

For this beer, and with almost all English beers, its all about the yeast. Especially with pales and bitters its very important to keep the malt bills simple, but by using British malts the beer will still be very flavorful. Now I don't have anything against your run of the mill American 2-row malt, but it cannot compare to Marris Otter or Golden Promise. Both of those malts are just unbelievable biscuity and are what should be using in an English pale.

I'm hoping to have this one on tap in a week or so, as I have a ton of dry kegs!

English Pale Ale
Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)

Type

Amt (lbs)

Type

9.0Marris Otter6.5Extra Light DME
0.75120L0.5120L
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTimeAmt (oz)TypeTime
1.0Fuggles(4.7%)600.5Fuggles(4.7%)60
2.0EKG's (5.0%)202.0EKG's (5.0%)60
2.0

EKG's (5.0%)

12.0EKG's (5.0%)60
1.0Fuggles (4.7%)Dry Hop1.0Fuggles (4.7%)Dry Hop
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTimeTempRatioTime
152F1.13qt/lb40min---
170F1.55qt/lb20min - vorlauf---
YeastLondon ESB 1968
Stats
5.5galOG10555.5galOG1052
80% effIBU39NAIBU38
7gal BoilFG3gal Late Extract
Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rhubarb Berliner Weiss

So my first attempt to brew this beer ended in disaster. I was feeling a bit uninspired on Tuesday so I came home a bit early to brew up a small beer. I had a bit of grain left over from my last batch and I was planning to brew up a berliner anyway, so it was set. Everything went smoothly through the boil, except because of the size (3gal) I did it in the kitchen. Well this is when the problems started.

I cooled, or tried to cool the wort in the sink, as my wort chiller would not fit in the pot I was using. So with visions of cracked carboys, I decided to dump the still very hot wort into my glass carboy. I set the funnel in the neck, and apparently it sat in there a bit too tight, and as I poured it started burping hot wort at me. Well as a reflex I pulled back quickly, and managed to splash really really hot wort all over my right forearm. Not wanting to waste the beer by dropping it, I struggled through the pain, then it happened. Crrrraaaaack! The carboy cracked in a perfect circle about 2" from the bottom, and all that hot wort now burned my feet!

Well I had about 2gal left in the pot so I topped up a lambic currently fermenting and used the other gallon to brew up a 1gal batch of a simcoe PA. So not all was lost, but as I sit here typing the skin on my arm is oozing and sliding off the huge burn. Thankfully this is the only time Ive had anything like this happen, maybe its time to move to better bottles? Nah, I like glass because its sooo easy to clean, but now I have to shill out another 50$ on a carboy, I guess I better start watching craiglist.....

Now back to the actual beer. Recently one on beer board or another someone was asking for interesting vegetable beers to do for a competition. I happened to mention rhubarb, yes it is a vegetable. And thinking about it a rhubarb berliner weiss sounded like a great fit. The tartness of rhubarb blending with the lactic sourness of a berliner, topped off by some strawberry syrup. So I set out to brew up a great berliner.

Now my last berliner, while a good beer, lacked the mouthpuckering sourness I was really hoping for. Well I just happened to recently be lucky enough to receive a berliner blend from Al B on the Burgundian Babble Belt. Al was kind enough to send me a vial of 3 lacto strains and a German ale yeast. From what I hear on the bug/yeast combos Al has provided to other homebrewers I have very high hopes for this beer.

Rhubarb Berliner Weiss

Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)TypeAmt (lbs)Type
2.5Pilsner2.75Wheat DME
1.5Wheat Malt2.0Rhubarb
2.0Rhubarb--
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeBoil TimeAmt (oz)TypeBoil Time
0.5Nugget 13%Mash Hop0.25Nugget 13%15min
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTimeTempRatioTime
147F1.25qt/lb30min---
169F3.75qt/lbMashout/Batch Sparge---
Stats
3galOG: 1041FG:3galOG:1044FG:
76% EffIBU: 85min Boil-IBU: 1115min Boil
Yeast - Al B's Berliner Blend (3 Lacto Strains + a German Ale Yeast)
Notes
Since the expected OG was so low on this one I added all the sparge water for mash out, then did a quick 10min vorlauf and let it fly. Run off was very smooth and extremely clear, and I got a bit better efficiency that I was expecting. Rhubarb will be added after primary fermentation dies down. I went with mash hops to limit the IBU's in the beer, strangely enough Beersmith says that you still get IBU's from mash hopping, guess I'll have to read up on that one.

First Tasting - 5/2/2010

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