Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tasting the Wild Blonde

I've decided to sample another brew I made quite awhile back. I brewed it back in March, racked in April and bottled in May. It's now September (almost October) and thought I'd try a bottle. I used Wyeast #3942 for the primary ferment and pitched a whole slew of yeasts from various bottles into the secondary. These yeasts  containted some brettanomyces and God knows what else. Here my notes from Beersmith:

3/29 - No problems with the brew session. Pitched Wyeast #3942 into 80 degree wort.
4/9/12 - Racked to Secondary. Pours very hazy blonde. Smells phenolic with a hint of tropical fruit (guava, mango?) Tastes a bit convential, not quite as complex as I hoped. Perhaps the EC-1118 crowded out the Wyeast. Still a keeper though.
4/13/12 - Added dregs of a 2007 Marriage Parfait bottle.
4/19/12 - Finally some visible action from the Boon dregs. Added some additional dregs from a bottle of New Glarus Imperial Saison. Carboy cannot accept any more -- it is FULL!
5/13/12 - Took a hydrometer sample. Gravity seems to have only fallen a few points, but the flavor profile is much more interesting, slightly tart.
6/3/12 - Bottling. Very clear amber-orange. Smells band aid phenolic at first, then a bit spicy.Very spicy and complex phenols. Bitter finish. A touch "hot" in terms of alcohol. This stuff is gonna sit for awhile. Filled a bunch of bottles, just a couple short of two cases. This stuff will warm condition for a couple weeks and then go get moved to cooler storage, around 68 degrees at Chez Morrison.
6/19/12 - Tested a bottle for carb. Perfect. Very complex and tart. Stashing the rest of this far away.
9/30/12 - Developing quite nicely. Fairly clear and deep golden to light amber in hue. Very fruity nose. Tart apple, pear and candy sugar. Surprisingly creamy mouthfeel, tart and apple-like. Much more tartness than say an Orval, but not as much as say a Jolly Pumplin Oro del Calabaza. The flavor reminds me a bit of the Apfelwein I had a few days ago. It will be interesting to see how this tastes in a year or more.

Tasting the Autumnal Ale

I brew ales, not lagers, so when fall comes rolling around I brew an autumnal or harvest ale. This year's batch was a bit of a disastar (see my earlier post) but it seems to be turning out okay. I tried a bottle tonight and here my Beersmith notes:

9/4/12 - Pours a light amber and quite clear. Light spice and malt on the nose mixed with phenols. Fruity, moderately phenolic flavor. Phenolic and rather papery in the finish, no doubt due to some oxidation at bottling or perhaps some hot side aeration.
9/20/12 - OK. Last day of summer coming up. Let's see how this autumnal ale si doing. It pours with plenty of carbonation which forms a dense head which slowly falls to a quarter-inch layer of foam with just a little bit of lace. Phenolic and spicy with some caramel notes. A bit too plastic phenolic and too bitter. A bit tart in the finish as it warms up. Not so bad I guess considering it fermented too warm and that bottling was a diasaster.
9/30/2012 - Ten days later this pours with nice a little thick head with plenty of lace into an Orval chalice. Creamy mouthfeel. There's a touch of sweetness and phenolics, with the phenolics getting brighter in the finish. Seems to be improving, although there is still a faint "cardboard" character there, no doubt from the disastrous bottling session and beer getting splashed around. It's not entirely bad beer, but certainly not one of my best efforts.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A bitter gets brewed

It's autumn and as the temperatures start fall the style of beer that I brew starts to shift. Fewer Belgian-style farmhoue ales with their high-temperature tolerance. The kitchen fermentorium starts to cool down and my thoughts turn to the brewing of an English-style ale. I want something pale, not that strong and maybe a touch more bitter and hoppy than a traditional English standard or premium bitter. Here's what I went with for a recipe --

---RECIPE SPECIFICATIONS-----------------------------------------------
SRM: 5.1 SRM  SRM RANGE: 5.0-16.0 SRM
IBU: 35.7 IBUs Tinseth IBU RANGE: 25.0-40.0 IBUs
OG: 1.043 SG  OG RANGE: 1.040-1.048 SG
FG: 1.011 SG  FG RANGE: 1.008-1.012 SG
BU:GU: 0.826  Calories: 142.0 kcal/12oz Est ABV: 4.2 %  
Batch: 5.00 gal      Boil: 3.15 gal BT: 60 Mins

10.00 g               Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
---BOIL PROCESS-----------------------------
Est Pre_Boil Gravity: 1.069 SG Est OG: 1.043 SG

6 lbs Maris Otter Extract (5.0 SRM)
1.00 oz Northdown hop pellets [7.90 %] - Boil 60.0 min    
1.00 oz Fuggles hop pellets [4.20 %] - Boil 30.0 min
0.25 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Belgian-style dark ale gets brewed

Brewed Belgian-style dark strong ale today. Wanted something strong to sip on for late this winter and next winter.

Here's the recipe:

---RECIPE SPECIFICATIONS-----------------------------------------------
SRM: 18.0 SRM  SRM RANGE: 12.0-22.0 SRM
IBU: 39.1 IBUs Tinseth IBU RANGE: 20.0-35.0 IBUs
OG: 1.075 SG  OG RANGE: 1.075-1.110 SG
FG: 1.019 SG  FG RANGE: 1.010-1.024 SG
BU:GU: 0.520  Calories: 254.4 kcal/12oz Est ABV: 7.5 %  
Batch: 5.00 gal      Boil: 3.67 gal BT: 60 Mins

3 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)
1 lbs Oats, Malted (1.0 SRM)        
1 lbs Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)

Est Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.113 SG Est OG: 1.075 SG
3 lbs Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM)
3 lbs Pilsner Liquid Extract (3.5 SRM)
1.00 oz Goldings, B.C. [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min
1.00 oz Magnum [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
1.00 oz Bramling Cross [7.40 %] - Boil 5.0 min