Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Wyeast 3725/BE-134 saison has turned out pretty well. I'm a bit impressed with the clarity. Of course I gave beer a careful pour, but still impressed. Carbonation is a little lower than I'd like but I prefer that to a beer being over-carbonated. It's an earthy spicy saison with a bit of tartness and a surprisingly luxurious mouthfeel. The nose is rather clean for the style and the bitterness is rather robust. It could almost be a pilsner except for the lack of hop aroma and bubblegummy yeasty esters that linger on the palate. The Goldings really express themselves in this beer giving it a near English IPA hop quality. I would have liked something a little less bitter for this time of year, so I may dip into my stash of saison from last year. I also still have some Kölsch, Bière de Garde and Bière de Juin (which turned out hoppy, but not bitter, like this beer.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The saison-style beer that I brewed a few weeks ago has been bottled. I ended up adding some BE-134 yeast to speed up the fermentation. The Wyeast 3724 slow down but I think I was just impatient after previously fermenting a beer with the BE-134. The orginal gravity 1.047 fermented down to 1.004. This was 91.49 percent attenuation and  5.64 percent alcohol by volume. I bottled after the beer stayed 1.004 for four days. There's definite Dupont character with this beer so adding the BE-134 didn't overwhelm the Wyeast 3724 character. The fermentation seemed to stall at 1.018, but again, I think I was just being impatient. The fermentation temperature started at 82 and I ramped it up to 90 after a few days to try and speed up fermentation. When it seemed to stall I piched the BE-134 and dropped the temperature down to 80. This was all done using the Brewjacket Immersion Pro. 

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Brewed a saison today with six pounds of Briess pilsner DME, one pound of Caravienne malt, East Kent Goldings and Aramis hops fermented with Wyeast 3724 (the famous Dupont strain.} I boiled two ounces of Aramis hops for an hour and one ounce of the Goldings for 20 minutes. I steeped another ounce of Goldings for about 30 minutes starting at 150 degrees. The brew session went well except for miscalculating the evaporation rate. Topped off the fermenter with a little too much water to almost six gallons so I missed my intended original gravity by 10 points. I have the Tilt hydrometer going and the gravity is 1.047 and the temperature is 70. I have the Brewjacket Immersion Pro set to 90F which is supposed to be the outside temperature for the next two days. This will be the first time using the Immersion Pro to raise the temperature to roughly 15 degrees above ambient room temperature. I haven't been able to get the Tilt 2 app for the hydrometer logging correctly. Not sure why. Might try using my other tablet to see if I get better results. Eventually I would like to set up a Tilt Pi.

I'm drinking some of the Japanese Sunshine that I brewed 14 months ago. This a saison-type beer that I make with 70 percent pilsner malt with 30 percent rice. I didn't use rice this time and instead used a William's  liquid malt extract that is 70 percent two-row barley and 30-percent corn. I replaced the Sorachi ace hops with Polish Lubelski and then I got wild and added lemon and sweet orange peel and fermented it with Wyeast 3724 which got stuck, so I added some Wyeast 3711 dregs. It's turned out pretty good, buti is perhaps a touch too sweet. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Earlier this evening I bottled my most recent batch, which I'm now referring to as Bière de Juin. It has turned out to be a very spicy, very pale ale. The BE-134 yeast is a monster, taking the beer from 1.043 to 1.004 in about five days. I've bottled on the eigth day of fermentation and the beer is 90 percent attenuated. I feel like this yeast would have fermented more if had not used a portion of wheat. An all malt beer would probably be even drier. The BE-134 yeast throws a tone of esters. It is POF+ in a very big way with pronounced clove flavor and aroma at bottling time. There is a background peppery note which is suitable for saison but so much clove is almost off-putting. We'll see if it dissipates with time, but I'm ont sure I would use this as my primary yeast for a saison. As a secondary yeast it could help to fully attenuate a fermentation and could add some complexity without hitting the drinker over the head with clove. With that said, I think it could be good for more of a winter saison with additional spices or Grand Cru type Belgian-style strong ale,. I'm probably going to keep using my trusted liquid strains for Saison; strains such as Wyeast 3724, Wyeast 3711 and Omega Saisonstein's Monster.

Monday, May 11, 2020

I plan to bottle the BE-134 Saison tomorrow. I have enough bottles and I appear to have hit terminal gravity at 1.004. That's a 90 percent attenuated beer. I'm guessing it's not going any lower than that because I employed use some wheat extract. I'm anxious to see how this batch turns out. I have a feeling I might want to dry hop it or add some Brett, but we'll see.

I had a bottle a the hoppy red from December in the back of the fridge. Since I need all the bottles I can get, I decided to open this bottle up that I was kind saving for posterity. The batch of an over-carbonated mess, but I don't think it is infected. I just I bottled it too soon with too much priming sugar. Looking back at my notes I think the beer probably hit terminal gravity, as I raised the temperature to 74 (and now I know from using my Tilt Hydrometer that it was probably a few degrees warmer than that.) So I'm sticking with my theory of too much priming sugar. Patience is rewarded with this beer as the foaminess eventually settles leaving a rocky head. The nose if hoppy and so is the flavor with a bit nutty character to go along with caramel malt. Big time Chinook hop flavor in this beer. It finishes quite dry and bitter. Would have been a really good IPA had I not over-carbed it!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

OK. Thought I posted about this already, but I used some credit card points to be buy a Tilt Hydrometer. After testing and calibrating it, I eargerly started planning for my first batch of beer with hands-off remote gravity testing!

The beer I chose to brew as a simple extract Saison-style beer with about 90 percent pilsner malt extract and 10 percent wheat. I boiled for 60 minutes with one ounce of Huell Melons hops and steeped another ounce of the same hops for five minutes at 194 degrees. I had wanted to pitch a yeast from old batch of "wild ale" but failed. I tried to resuscitate some yeast from a bottle of a Saison-type beer I ended up calling Near Wild Heaven that I originally referred to as simply the "wild blonde" that I made about eight years ago. The base yeast for this beer was supposed to be Wyeast 3942, but I ended up using some EC-1112 champagne yeast and added the dregs from a few bottles of "wild ales" until I liked that the tates. I can recall a big cherry pie aroma but it’s much cleaner now and very dry. Not as funky, except in the nose. I was so happy with how this "wild beer" turned out I wanted to try and save the yeast blend. I knew my chances of getting the yeast from less than 12-ounces of such an old bottle of beer to propagate would be slim, but I tried anyway. I failed and ended up using the starter to test a packet a BE-134 dry yeast. I pitched this into the Saison after about a day and it took right off.

I started the current batch of beer on May 4 and so far I've been very pleased with the Tilt. It took some time to figure out how to log my results to the cloud, but I know have a spreadsheet of gravity and temperature readings at 15-minute intervals. It's pretty awesome to see the ups and downs of fermentation. For example, the beer seemed to stall a couple days at 1.028, so I roused the fermenter and raised the temperature and it seemed to get going again. As I've written, I do almost all fermentations inside of a Brewjacket Immersion Pro and this was my first time using the Immersion to raise the tempeartue of a fermentation. I started the ferment at about 74 and raised to 78 over the course this week. The Tilt, however, has reported actual wort temperatures as high as 80. I was bit suprised that it hit 80 degrees as the weather outside has been cool with nighttime temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Surprised, but not alarmed though, as the recommended fermentation temperature range for BE-134 yeast is 64 to 82 degrees. With the Tilt and the Immesion I feel like I have a lot of control over my fermentations now. I hope to continue to have success with the both the Tilt and the Brewjacket Immersin Pro.