Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer is the time for Saison

Saison is probably my favorite style of beer. It is an old style from Belgium and it is interesting (and fortunate) that it is a style that is becoming more popular here in America. What do I appreciate about Saison? It is the dryness, the esters and lively carbonation that get me excited about Saison, but any hint of terroir is a big bonus. The saisons I brew tend to lack terroir (I brew in a condo, not a farmhouse) but U work hard to achieve that dryness. I don't do a full mash, but a partial mash, but keeping the mash at a lower temperature makes the wort more fermentable. I've found that a full extract Saison won't get that dry,, so I always try and mash at least a couple pounds of Belgian Pils malt with some pilsner extract when brewing my Saison.
Sadly, I haven't brewed any Saison yet this year as my burner has been a little flaky. I'm working up the courage though as I have a new yeast to try -- Belle Saison dry yeast. Meanwhile, I sipping on my stash of Saison from previous years as well as earlier this year. This would include my Saison D'Automne, which was pretty much an Oktoberfest recipe I fermented with a Saison yeast. It turned out OK -- plenty dry despite using some more dextrinous malts -- but it has an odd aftertaste. It opens up after some time in the glass and is still quite drinkable, although it is a bit boozy. Not sure that I'll replicate the recipe.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hoppy American Wheat Bottled

The Hoppy American Wheat (a.k.a. Liquid Sunshine) has been bottled! Bottled it this past Sunday (3/23) and the bottles are resting comfortably at about 72 degrees. More later....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hoppy Wheat brewed

Just a quick weeknight batch. A hoppy wheat beer I call Liquid Sunshine that I like to brew each year. I have enough Amarillo hops for two batches. Thanks Farmhouse Brewing Supply!

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Liquid Sunshine
Brewer: Marc
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Wheat or Rye Beer
TYPE: Extract
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 3.60 gal
Post Boil Volume: 3.49 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal  
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.045 SG
Estimated Color: 5.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 35.1 IBUs
Boil Time: 20 Minutes

3 lbs                 Wheat Dry Extract     
3 lbs                 Wheat Liquid Extract
2.00 oz              Amarillo Gold [8.50 % AA] - Boil 15.0 min  
0.50 oz               Amarillo Gold [8.50 % AA] - Boil 10.0 min      
0.50 oz               Amarillo Gold [8.50 % AA ] - Steep/Whirlpool Hop
Two quart starter of American Wheat Ale (Wyeast Labs #1010)
1.00 oz               Amarillo Gold - Dry Hop (seven days)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Not so Belgian IPA brewed, racked

Brewed an IPA last Monday and racked it this evening. My original plan was to make it a Belgian IPA using a mason jar of Wyeast 3522 that I've had in the fridge for quite awhile (not sure how long.) I took a chance and pitched what was probably close to a pint of slurry directly into the wort, but it must have been mostly dead, because there was no sign of fermentation after more than 24 hours. I decided to pitch a pack of Notthingham dry yeast to get things going (after rehydrating) and that did the trick. I tasted the beer this evening while racking to the secondary and it tasted fine, but any flaws were probably covered up by the near face-melting amount of hops. Will probably let the beer sit in the secondary for another week before bottling.

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Da Bomb
Brewer: Marc Morency
Asst Brewer: 
Style: American IPA
TYPE: Extract
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 3.15 gal
Post Boil Volume: 2.86 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.076 SG
Estimated Color: 8.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 72.9 IBUs
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Actual OG: 1.075

2 lbs 8.0 oz          Pils Dry Extract (3.5 SRM
6 lbs 8.0 oz          Munich Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM)
1 lbs                 Candi Syrup, Golden (5.0 SRM) 
1.00 oz               Horizon pellets [10.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min             
3.00 oz               Cascade pellets [6.70 %] - Boil 15.0 min          
3.00 oz               Crystal pellets [4.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min           
1.00 oz               Horizon pellets [10.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min              
1.00 oz               Crystal pellets [4.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min  
1.00 oz               Horizon pellets [10.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min
1.00 pint slurry      Belgian Ardennes (Wyeast Labs #3522)
1.50 oz               Cascade pellets [6.70 %] - Dry Hop
3.00 oz               Horizon pellets [12.00 %] - Dry Hop

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Control-ALT-Delete brewed, bottled

 Brewed an Altbier about 12 days ago and bottled it this evening. The beer was racked from the primary to the bottling bucket. The beer was quite yeasty, so it's going to be a rustic Altbier. I like using the Wyeast #1010 just for this very reason. It makes an Altbier that is a little yeasty (as the yeast is a low flocculator), but it's temperature tolerant to my third floor condo. That said, I'm little disappointed with the bitterness, but generally pleased so far. I'm thinking that another five or so IBUs wouldn't of hurt. The Weyermann Cararoma is definitely adding the deep caramel malt flavor (and maybe even a touch of prune or raisin) that I wanted. Definitely an old school beer, but that's Alt, right? Translates from German as "old?" Click here for the recipe.

I sampled an old homebrew while bottling tonight. The beer I sampled was what I called simply Autumnal Ale. My idea with this beer was to brew an Octoberfest in a Belgian style, adding candy syrup and Belgian yeast. The yeast I used was Wyeast #3724, so I'm really surprised at how sweet this beer turned out to be. I was really going for a saison crossed with Octoberfest sort of thing. I figure the dark candy syrup I used in this beer contributed far more sweetness than I expected, but then I only used about half a pound, so then I started thinking that the beer was just under attenuated.  So how does it really taste? Here are my notes:
 First of all the aroma is moderately phenolic. The flavors are a little out of balance for a festbier with a big time caramel flavor with an added hard candy sweetness. A lot of residual sugar here which is interesting since I didn't add any caramel malt. Some toasted marshmallow sweetness. Hops are pretty much nowhere to found in terms of bitterness, flavor or aroma. The mouthfeel is smooth and the body is about right, just a touch too sweet. lmost Fat Tire-like in terms of the caramel flavor which has me wondering if New Belgium adds any candy syrup or sugar. This is probably sweeter though.
I've attempted a beer like this at least once before and I'm not sure I'll try it again, or if I do, I might add some spices to add a little more complexity. Maybe just a touch of some star anise and black pepper. I might also omit the candi syrup, or use clear candi and Munich malt as a base. Or I could see making a beer with a touch of smoked malt could also be interesting, not unlike Sierra Nevada's Tumbler which is no longer brewed anymore.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Autumnal Ale already almost gone, Chinook Red bottled

Well, the Autumnal Ale has turned out pretty nice. Perhaps the best way to describe it is Saison Dupont crossed with Chimay Blue. It's of course not nearly as strong as Chimay, but has a bit of the flavor of the Blue from the use of dark Belgian candi syrup and a fairly low hop bitterness. It's kind of interesting stuff. Like I posted earlier, I really thought it wouldn't turn out as dark as it did using only a half pound of candi syrup. I've actually already (sadly) plowed through most of the batch even though it is just now coming into it's own. I guess I was thirsty and foolish.

I've brewed another batch since the Autumnal Ale and it is a rather fun project. My friend Eric Keeley shared some of his prized hop crop with me a few weeks ago and I used the fresh hops pretty straight away. He packed two gallon-sized Ziploc bags with the fresh picked Chinook hops, which I put in my freezer for about a week before using them. I used all of them in the batch which at first seems like a lot, but I did so after reading that five times the amount of fresh hops should be used compared to dry. It turns out I did the right thing, as the beer is hoppy, but not too much so. I did cheat a bit and used the Brewer's Best Red Ale kit, so the batch was augmented with some pellet hops, which I used for bittering only. (The kit called for splitting the Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops between bittering and flavoring additions.) I made a point to bitter with the pellets (since I knew the AA percentage) and use the fresh hops late in the boil for flavor and aroma. I'm actually a bit surprised at how much aroma persisted in this beer without dry hopping with additional pellets. I'm quite pleased. I added the corn sugar provided for bottling and reduced the volume of the batch from five gallons to four and half gallon to push the gravity up a touch.

I brewed the Chinook Red on the September 14, racked on October 7 and bottled it this evening. The results so far are about as expected. I really didn't expect a hop bomb, but I wasn't sure. What I hope to end up with is a flavorful red ale with a nice accent of Chinook hops and smooth, but lingering bitterness.