Monday, July 03, 2017

The saison is bottled and sits for awhile. Gravity dropped from 1.049 to 1.006. Not bad. Saved the yeast to brew again. Color was darker than I expected but I guess that's okay as long as it's dry. Would like to brew a batch of beer I've called Japanese Sunshine. Japanese hops, rice, a touch of wheat and a bunch of pils malt fermented with a saison yeast. A friend recently sampled a bottle from long ago and was very pleased so I've decided that I should brew this beer again.

Friday, June 02, 2017

One may argue there's no point to posting as this blog has just been a series of fits and starts for the last couple years, but I've decided to brew again. It seems like the hardest part is just getting to the homebrew shop. Sure, I could mail order, but I have access to a pretty awesome local homebrew supplier and I'd rather shop local.

I plan to brew a simple all extract saison tomorrow. I have six pounds of amber malt extract, three ounces of Kent Goldings hops and pack of Wyeast 3724 which I pitched into a starter yesterday. I'll be fermenting around 75-77 degrees. It'd be nice if it was warmer but it's only June in northern Illinois. As long as temperatures stay steady I should be OK. If the notorious 3724 does get stuck, I'll probably pitch some Safbrew T-58 to finish things off.

I'm drinking a saison that I brewed last October and it is quite good. There is a rose water fruitiness a light bitterness and dry finish.  About all you can hope for in a traditional saison I suppose.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I've been very busy with life outside of brewing the past few months but I've been thinking about getting back to it. One of the brews I still have around is a bit disappointing. My Chinook bitter seems to have succumbed to an infection that has caused it to be over-carbed. It tastes okay, but it's a fizzy mess. The Chinook saison, on the other hand, shows no evidence of any Chinook hop flavor but is pretty tasty. There is an oddly floral aroma with a light caramel sweetness but that is countered by a dry rusticity. I typically brew a couple saisons once the weather starts getting warm and I think it might be time. The key to a good saison in my experience is time. All of saisons ways taste a little more complex after one year. In that way, brewing saison is kind of like brewing wine. I find this interesting as the Dupont strain of yeast is rumored to have come from a wine yeast.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

OK, so I've bottled both batches -- I did indeed brew a Chinook saison along with an English bitter. The bitter needs some age I think, it tasted a bit green the other night, but the saison -- which I bottled earlier today -- has some serious potential. It is very dry and has a pleasant peppery spiciness in the nose and in the flavor.  Oddly, I don't notice any telltale signs of Chinook hops. The English ale might end up a bit boring. I'm thinking both beer could have benefited from some dry hopping. Both beers have to site a few more weeks before any too serious judgement is made about them. I now have four cases of beer conditioning. I think I'll take another break from brewing until it gets to be winter and then maybe I'll brew an altbier.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The stove has been fixed for weeks, but I have not brewed a beer...until tonight. I toyed with the idea of brewing a saison, but I've been busy with work and other things and it didn't happen. A lot of fresh homegrown Chinook hops could be coming my way and still had an ample quantity from the previous year...so I brewed an English IPA this evening. Everything went pretty well. The fermentatbles included two cans of Munton's Maris Otter LME, a pound of Weyermann CaraRed malt, about six or seven ounces of torrefied wheat and five ounces of corn sugar. I used an ounce of Chinook pellets for bittering and a quarter pound of my friend Eric Keeley's homegrown Chinook hops were steeped at the end of the boil. They were last year's crop, dried and stored in the freezer. They still smelled great, not cheesy or anything. Lots of resin. I'm using American hops, but I'm calling the beer an English IPA because I used Maris Otter malt extract and I pitched Wyeast London Ale III which is a very temperature forgiving English ale yeast. The optimal fermentation range for this yeast is 64F-74F. As I type this the wort is currently about 85F. I'm hoping my Brewjacket immersion chiller will bring the temperature down to at least 74F before fermentation really starts rocking. It's really too warm to brew a "normal" ale right now. The outside temperature is in the 80s and my tap water I use for chilling is in the 70s. I suppose I should of stuck with my idea to brew a saison-type ale. Has anyone ever brewed a saison with Chinook hops? Nevermind, this guy has and it seems like it turned out pretty good. Damn.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The stove is fixed! I repaired the receptacle that was damaged and the 10-inch burner on my electric stove is back in action. I tested it today by cooking some pinto beans for a couple hours and the burner did not quit. I plan to go to the  homebrew store tomorrow to pick up ingredients for a saison.

I'm celebrating the repaired stove with a glass of Control ALT Delete, the altbier I brewed a few months ago. It was fermented in my BrewJacket with great results! This altbier is probably the cleanest beer that I have brewed. There are absolutely no off-flavors. The carbonation is a touch high, but there are no off-flavors. In my opinion, the perfect alt should be clean and bitter in the finish with a solid body but a somewhat dry finish. I think I nailed that with this beer. The aroma is slightly hop-accented, but not out of the specifics for the style. (I used Spalter hops.) Although the carbonation seems a bit too bright, I do think it accentuates the hop bitterness, which I like. On to the homebrew shop!