Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Biere de Garde? Saison?

Well...the "Biere de Garde", earlier known as "Belgian Pale Ale" is now acting more like a Saison; with drier character and more spiciness from the yeast and hops showing through. I tried this beer side by side with a French Country Ale from Brasserie Castelain in France. My beer didn't taste anything like the French Country Ale, but the French Country Ale seemed like a true Biere de Garde to me; malty and earthy, with just enough hop bitterness. My beer seemed to have too much hop spiciness and phenols. I think it's still a decent beer, my mom thinks it tastes like Sierra Nevada, (which it does a bit; at least if Sierra Nevada was brewed with a Belgian yeast).

Meanwhile, I've brewed another Saison-type beer, using Wyeast XL 3822 Inglemunster Ale (formerly Dutch Castle). I thought this yeast could be interesting in a Saison, and to complement the complexity of the yeast I added about two teaspoons of crushed black peppercorns, the zest of two limes and some lemon verbena tea (freah leaves and about a cup of water). The malt/grain bill included three quarters of a pound of Cooper's DME, two pounds of Briess Pils DME, one four-pound can of Alexander's LME, two pounds of cane sugar, a half pound of Belgian Caravienne malt and a half-pound of torrefied Wheat. I did a step micro-mash of the Caravienne and torrefied wheat. The hops I used included a half-ounce of Northern Brewer pellets at the start of the boil and two ounces of Tettnang plugs; with an ounce added at 15 minutes left in the boil and the other ounce steeped after the stove was turned off. I boiled the wort for 60 minutes.

The gravity reading for this beer was around 1.075 degrees Plato. I'm hoping for attenuation in the upper range of this yeast, which would 77 to 79 percent. I've calculated this would give me a beer with 7 to 7.5 percent alcohol by volume. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be a good one.