Monday, April 19, 2010

Awesome Apparent Attenuation

It seems crazy, but I racked my saison today and using Promash I calculated an apparent degree of fermentation of 94.9 percent. This seems crazy! This stuff should go down really easy this summer. My hydrometer sample smelled like a black pepper water cracker with a real light touch of citrus. It's got a bitter finish (but not too much so) and is peppery with a cracker-like pilsner maltiness. It's very light in body; almost watery, but the half-pound of torrified wheat I added seems to be adding a touch of body up front. All of this is good, but I'm just shocked that the gravity dropped at least 36 points in eight days. I still went ahead with dry hopping in the secondary, as planned, but I have to say I'm a little afraid. If this beer gets any drier I'll end up with something akin to mineral water. Fortunately, I like mineral water. Here's the recipe, which I feel inclined to brew again straight away if for no other reason than to see if I get the same results. I should note that I added a teaspoon of black pepper and maybe a tablespoon of crushed dried pineapple mint leaves five minutes before the end of the boil which is not listed in the recipe.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ambitious Amber Almost Drained

Sampled a few homebrews today. My Party Pig of Ambitious Amber is almost drained. Had a few pulls of it while watching the White Sox game on Fox today until I started falling asleep. Old man. Later in the evening I ran out to Binny's and picked up a bottle of Goose Island Sofie, which I enjoyed. I especially liked the tartness; I felt it was just about right and not over done. A really tasty saison-type beer that had me wondering if the Sofie is what the old saisons, the ones produced on the small farms in Belgium before the 1950s tasted like -- refreshing and light, but tart, if not a bit funky.
I then migrated from the Sofie to one of my homebrews, Montmorency Cherry Ale. I brewed it back in 2008. I basically added one gallon of tart cherry juice to a saison recipe (about 90 Belgian pils malt, 10 percent wheat), some Hallertau hops and Wyeast 3822 Ingelmunster Yeast. This beer is holding up pretty well. It's not quite as dry as I would it be, but the tart cherry flavor is quite nice. There's cherry in the nose and a little bit of tannin in the finish. I think I have a little more than a half case left of this beer that will be three years old in June. (It is pictured to the right.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pineapple Mint?

A new brew is fermenting in the kitchen. It's a middle of the road (in terms of alcohol) saison brewed with black pepper and pineapple mint, along with some pilsner malt, torrefied wheat, Strisselspalt hops and Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast. It's been percolating for about five days now and I intend to transfer to the secondary with some more Strisselspalt hop pellets. In the meantime I've been enjoying my Ambitious Amber from one of my Party Pigs, but recently I've (*gasp*) beem diluting each pint with a little bit of bottled spring water. Just a touch too thick I guess and not quite dry enough. I'd like to try this recipe again (reworked) to see if I can get it where I like it. This probably won't happen too soon though, as it's getting warmer and prime-time for saison brewing. Those saison yeasts love the temps in 80s (which is what my kitchen will be throughout summer.) I've found that the saisons I brew always taste better the year after they're brewed, too. (See my tweets from earlier today.)