Monday, May 28, 2012

Golden Ale gone, Spiced Saison gets brewed

Holy crap. I've been brewing so many blonde ales this spring that I forgot that I've brewed three of them in the last couple of months (four counting today's brew session, but that's getting ahead of myself.) So far the best one is the one that's just about gone. Yup, drinking the last bottle right now. I'm sipping a blonde ale brewed with Briess Pilsner DME, Belgian Pilsner malt, Briess Special Roast and torrified wheat with Cascade hops for bittering and a healthy dose (two ounces) of Brewer's Gold for the aroma. I fermented with the SafAle US-05 yeast, and fermented it quite warm around 80 degrees. As a result it turned out rather fruity, but this seemed to work well with the Brewer's Gold. This beer also attenuated quite well (and I still managed to over carb it.) I was initially worried about an overly assertive flavor (almost sour) from the Special Roast malt, but this subsided over time and now there is just a pleasant biscuit flavor along with a slightly sour note. Very interesting, but I believe this is due to the Special Roast being mixed with an acidulated malt (at the maltings.) I will miss this beer, as it is quite tasty and exceeded my expectations. Here is the recipe:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Toasted Blonde
Brewer: Marc
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Blonde Ale
TYPE: Partial Mash

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal      
Boil Size: 4.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.043 SG
Estimated Color: 8.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 17.0 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
3.00 lb       Pilsner Dry Extract (4.0 SRM)             Dry Extract  42.86 %       
2.00 lb       Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)             Grain        28.57 %       
1.00 lb       Special Roast (50.0 SRM)                  Grain        14.29 %       
1.00 lb       Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM)                Grain        14.29 %       
1.00 oz       Amarillo Gold [5.25 %]  (60 min)          Hops         17.0 IBU      
2.00 oz       Brewer's Gold [4.20 %]  (30 min) (Aroma HoHops          -            
1 Pkgs        SafAle American Ale (DCL Yeast #US-05)    Yeast-Ale                    


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It's been a hot couple of days with temps in the 90s so I decided to use my Wyeast 3724 yeast to brew a Saision. I had three pounds of Pilsner malt leftover from the Golden Ale (that I'm finishing now) and used that along with three pounds of Briess Pilsner DME and one pound of Trader Joe's Organic Cane Sugar. I used up the remaining Strisselspalt hops from last year (I used them for bittering) and I used the rest of my Michigan-grown Brewer's Gold for the flavoring hops. I also added a whole bunch of different spices on the fly -- including cracked black pepper, coriander, cumin and about several grind (quarter ounce?) of Trader Joe's Flower Pepper. Right now the ambient room temp is almost 82 degrees F., so I'm this yeast should be pretty happy. It's suppposed cool off later in the week, so hopefully it stays warm in the kitchen fermentorium for at least a couple days. I'd like to reuse this yeast, but I also have a whole bunch of Wyeast 3711 if the temps moderate for awhile.

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Saison Morency 2012
Brewer: Marc
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Saison
TYPE: Partial Mash
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal      
Boil Size: 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 4.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 24.6 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
3.00 lb       Pilsner Dry Extract (4.0 SRM)             Dry Extract  40.00 %       
3.00 lb       Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)             Grain        40.00 %       
0.50 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)     Grain        6.67 %        
4.50 oz       Strisslespalt [1.50 %]  (60 min)          Hops         17.0 IBU      
2.00 oz       Brewer's Gold [4.20 %]  (10 min)          Hops         7.7 IBU       
0.50 gm       Salt (Mash 60.0 min)                      Misc                       
1.00 gm       Chalk (Mash 60.0 min)                     Misc                       
1.00 oz       Coriander Seed (Boil 5.0 min)             Misc                       
1.00 lb       Candi Sugar, Clear (0.5 SRM)              Sugar        13.33 %       
1 Pkgs        Belgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724)        Yeast-Ale                  
  



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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Something's funky in the kitchen

I've had a carboy of blonde ale (actually more amber, than blonde) sitting in the kitchen and the story of its fermentation is a bit interesting. I started out pitching Wyeast 3711 French Saison, which didn't start up as I had hoped, with no visible krause after 48 hours. Getting nervous, I pitched some EC-1118 Champagne yeast, the only available yeast I had. This got things going rather quickly in less than six hours. Hurray!

I sampled this beer a couple weeks later and was not pleased -- too malty, too sweet and lacking flavor. I expected the Champagne yeast to ferment pretty clean (even at 78 degrees) but it left me craving for something different. I racked the beer to the secondary hoping that it would dry out a bit on its own, but in the back of my mind I started thinking of what else I could do with this beer.

After contemplating adding fruit to this beer I decided to add some more yeast --- sort of -- I added the dregs from one bottle of Boon Gueze Mariage Parfait from 2007. Two weeks passed and there was no activity and no pressure change in the airlock. A few days later there was a wisp of krausen on top, but no change in the airlock. That's when after having a few beers I decided to add the dregs from a two-year-old bottle of New Glarus Imperial Saison, a beer with a fairly tart flavor profile and a flavor I enjoyed. There was a decent amount of dregs. I had a lot of hope that something would happen.

A couple days later there was an inch-tall krausen in the next of the rather full carboy and activity in the airlock. This was followed by about 10 days of bubling in the airlock every minute or so. Things have since calmed down and I've sample the beer again. The gravity has changed by about 4-5 points, but what really has me impressed is the flavor profile: sweet at first, but then a dry tart finish with a biy of bitterness. The smell is slightly funky; that Champagne-like nose you sometimes get from a gueze or an Orval, slightly metallic and slightly phenolic with a bit of pear, certainly more interesting than what I sampled a few weeks ago.

So now I'm wondering what's next for this beer. Do I go ahead and bottle, freeing up the carboy, or do I let it sit? I'm thinking that if I'm really eager to bottle that I let it sit for at least a week and check the gravity again. If it hasn't changed I'll likely bottle.