Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Maiweinbeer - Lochristi Brett, Woodruff, and Riesling Grapes

This beer actually started out because I decided to buy a pack of Sigmund's Voss Kveik from the Yeast Bay and thought better of only buying one pack of yeast.  Shipping wasn't any more expensive buying two packs so why not get something extra?

I had seen the description for the Lochristi brett before and it had piqued my interest, though I must
admit I wasn't sure what I would brew with it at the time.  Funk, strawberry, and acid, how could I highlight those flavors?  I put in quite a bit of thought for a week or two trying to decide what I would do, lucky for me it just happened to be spring.  Spring you say, what does spring have to do with it?  Well it just so happens that I had been to a May Day festival and had come across something I had never had before, Maiwein aka Maibowle.

Maiwein is a German drink that combines Riesling wine, sweet woodruff, sparkling wine, and strawberries.  Let me just say that it is some delicious stuff, and I'm not much of a wine drinker save for a nice port now or then.  As soon as it crossed my lips I knew that I would be making a "beer" version of this drink using Lochristi brett for the strawberry notes it supposedly produces (not much faith yet) but only time will tell.

I decided that I would brew up a double batch of this beer and split it between the Lochristi brett and an actual wine yeast.  I had planned on Wyeast Sweet Wine, which is a Riesling yeast but I couldn't get my hands on it so I ran with Cote des Blanc instead. If my previous experiences with wine yeast mean anything, I should have a very malt forward beer (wine yeasts don't ferment maltotriose) leaving it a bit sweeter, which should blend well with the woodruff.

For the malt bill I kept it pretty simple, in fact I was only going to use Pils until I was milling the grain and noticed that I had a pound of honey malt laying and around and though, eh why not?  I kept the hopping low, Maiwein is somewhat sweet after all, and I plan on adding the Riesling concentrate after the primary fermentation dies down somewhat (to control the fermentation temperature a bit).

I am actually growing my own Woodruff in the garden, but unfortunately wont have enough for this batch this year so I'll be buying a pound from Rose Mountain Herbs to add to the keg.  Regrettably I wont be able to enjoy this beer this spring, but I'm hoping that when the cool fall air starts to sneak in that I'll have a bit of Springtime to enjoy.

Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
19Pilsner (Castle)
1.0Honey Malt
96 oz Riesling Juice (68 Brix - after primary)
Amt (oz)TypeTime
2.0EKG (7.2%)60
Mash Schedule
152F0.9 qt/lb60
170F1.5qt/lb15min - vorlauf
Yeast2 way split: Cote des Blanc & Lochristi Brett
10.5 galOG1056 (pre-grape juice)
82% effIBU20
12.5 gal BoilFG

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Eisbock with Saflager S-189

This beer was somewhat planned, though I originally intended to brew it in a few weeks with the yeast cake from my recent Marzen. However, as I was brewing the Marzen, I realized that time really is of the essence.

I only had a couple weekends available for brewing before my son arrived!  With that in mind I had been brewing constantly and the logistical issues that two sets of lagers would throw into my fermentation chamber schedule was not worth it.  So instead of waiting until the yeast cake was ready, I decided to pony up for an extra few packs of lager yeast.

Originally I went to the LHBS with the intent of getting a couple packs of W34/70, but looking at the production date on the remaining packs I decided to instead go with a couple brand new packs of S-189.  This will let me test out this new dry lager strain and compare yeast profiles vs 34/70, though it does throw a kink into my fermentation temperature.  S-189 is 15-20C while 34/70 is 10 - 15C, so I'm running at the low and high end for each respective yeast.

For this beer I wanted something superbly malty, though not sweet.  To achieve this I used a very light hand with crystal malt, and only used 1/2lb to get some dark fruit and caramel flavors in the beer.  Additionally I decided to use another healthy portion of Kiln Amber malt to provide a toasty, lightly roasted flavor to the beer which should cut through some of the malt flavor and provide some balance.

I learned a lesson during this brew session, albeit one I had sort of planned for, just not enough I guess.  Now that I am using an electric element to brew it is absolutely imperative to keep many extra fuses on hand.  Normally I keep at least one on hand, however I somehow managed to blow 2 fuses this session! I ended up having to steal one from the boil side to take care of the HLT. I was really worried about what was going on, but I guess my backup fuse was a dud, because after the swap from the BK everything worked like a charm. Lesson of the day: keep at least a 6-pack of extra fuses on hand!!

I originally intended to Eis this beer, but now as I write this I am wavering.  I guess time will tell.......

Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
13.5Munich II (Weyermann)
2.0Kiln Amber (Franco-Belges)
0.5Special B (Castle)
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.75Magnum (15.5%)75
Mash Schedule
170F2.2qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastSaflager S189 x2 & rehydrated
77% effIBU32
7.5gal BoilFG

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