Monday, November 15, 2010

D'Artagnan - An Oak Aged Homebrew Perry

A lot of things have been conspiring against me doing much in the way of brewing or posting the past two months or so. Somehow I managed to get a stomach parasite, drinking too much water and not enough beer I guess, it really knocked me for a loop and I haven't been able to be lifting and moving full kegs and kettles. So, I decided to finally get on brewing up the first in a line of theme beers/ciders.

A couple months back I came across a couple beers that were brewed by someone over on HB Talk. I really like the idea of the beers, named the The Muse, The Minstrel and The Bard. Now Ive never been one to get too much into naming my beers, but Ive also started having problems keeping straight all the long aging sours/wild beers I make. The simple to the point names can be a bit too close to one another for easy distinction a year or two down the road. So Ive decided to try naming some of my longer aging brews.

Besides being lazy about naming, another reason I never put much effort into coming up with names is that I always felt a bit uninspired. However, I just recently finished reading the entire catalog of one of my favorite authors (Alexandre Dumas) and thought I could do something in tribute to that. For my beginning names, I plan on sticking with relatively well known characters (D'artagnan series) but there are a lot of much better books he wrote as well and I really suggest checking them out.

Anyway, I sat thinking about what I could make for each character for quite awhile. D'artagnan, was actually quite hard, he really didn't like beer.... However he was actually quite fond of an Anjou wine, and while it might be a stretch to take this to a Perry the first thing I think of when someone says Anjou is D'anjou pears, and then perry! To top it off Ive been thinking of making a perry for quite some time now, and Ive become more interested in ciders in general.

The first problem to making a perry is locating the basic ingredients. It took quite awhile to find a source for pear juice, its really not all the common of a thing. The first place I came across it was actually in the infant section of the grocery store. Gerber makes a 100% Pear juice that they sell by the quart, unfortunately there is absolutely no flavor to the juice. Essentially its a slightly sweeter less flavorful apple juice, and can do a number on your stomach if you drink too much ;) Luckily I came across a company called Natures Flavors. They make a wide assortment of natural juices, flavorings and other necessities for cooking/baking. Ive tried a couple of their juices and concentrates now and have been nothing but pleased with them. I will say that they can be a bit slow with getting the juice out to you, but from what Ive gleaned from talking with them its because a lot of what you order is made only when its ordered.

After all my searching I ended up ordering their pear juice concentrate (they also have a pear juice concentrate with added pear extract but I avoided it) After it arrived I added a small bit to a glass and tried it out, I was actually quite surprised with how strong the pear flavor was! In fact it made me a bit unsure of my original yeast choice. Originally I decided to use a yeast that would complement as well as produce its own pear flavor (WY 1388) In the end I just ran with it (starter was already made)

The juice ended up being a lot more concentrated than they indicated. They suggest diluting at a ratio of 3:1, well this ends up with a OG of 1092! (17.4 Brix), so I diluted down with another 1.5gal of RO water to get to a more reasonable 1067, I tend not to enjoy higher gravity ciders as they take too long to smooth out due to the high alc and acidity. However from what I read pear juice contains quite a bit more unfermentable sugar than apple juice does, so I'm hoping that it finishes out somewhere around 1015-1020 (6.8-6.1%abv)

D'Artagnan - An Oak Aged Parry - pun intended
Malt Bill
1 galNatures Flavors Pear Juice Concentrate
4.5 galRO Water
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.5Dark Toast Oak ChipsTBD
0.5Light Toast Oak ChipsTBD
2 tspFermaid K-
YeastBelgian Strong Ale WY1388 (1.5L starter)


Vt Teacher said...

D'artagnan is a good name for a perry since there is a swordplay pun there as well.

Ryan said...

Ha, I like that.....

Id like to think that my subconscious knew that all along :)

James said...

That's a pretty looking beer for sure, nice color. Sounds like it tastes great too. I've started my first sour, a Berliner Weisse.

Aaron said...

After reading your post I bought some of this Pear concentrate from Nature's Flavors to make a perry, as I've never tried one before, and was disappointed to see that the ingredients on the bottle actually say 100% organic grape juice. Smells like pears, tastes like pears, but it's not pears. Oh well, I'm still making it.

Ryan said...

Aaron - I think you got the wrong bottle then. I have another smaller bottle of the pear concentrate, and in the ingredients all it says is Pear Juice

If yours says 100% organic grap juice, then its grape juice. You might call them, it could have been an error in printing, or they couldve sent the wrong stuff.

I could post another picture of the pear juice concentrate label if you want.

Aaron said...

The bottle label said Pear Juice, but ingredients were grape juice. Maybe it was an error on the labeling, or ingredients, not sure. Like I said, it smelled and tasted like pear, so I'm hopeful that what I have fermenting is in fact pear juice.

Ryan said...

Aaron, Im guessing it was an error. I know almost all of their juices are sole varieties unless they specifically say they are blended. And each type is a relatively small batch.

When your perry is done if it was actually grape juice it will finish bone dry. On the other hand if it was pear juice it should have a fairly high FG (lots of unfermentable sugars in pears)

Aaron said...

Just racked it last night after being in primary for 18 days, used Wyeast Chablis and final gravity was 1.018. I think you're right, it is very likely pears and not grapes, must have been a labeling issue. Smelled very nice, going to let it condition for a few months and bottle for the fall.

Ryan said...

Aaron - It sounds great! What was your reasoning for using chablis? (Dont have all the wine yeasts memorized like I do beer yeasts)

Aaron said...

I wanted to try something a little different than Wyeast's traditional Cider strain, and liked the prominent fruity aromatics of the Chablis strain. I'd say it delivered based on what I smelled yesterday.

Ryan said...

Aaron - Whenever you do a tasting let me know, Id love to link to your review of a similar perry using the pear juice

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