Monday, September 02, 2013

Brewed and bottled Autumnal Ale

Oh, yeah...right! I have a blog. I kinda forgot.

My full-time job has been very tiring in the past couple of months and the time away from work has been spent enjoying summer doing other things than brewing. I've re-evaluated my schedule and now I'm making some time for brewing. On and off for the past few years I've brewed an ale for the fall weather. I usually just call it Autumnal Ale. About a month ago I found some time to brew and crafted a recipe that is sort of a brown saison. I was sort of hoping it would be more amber, but it ended up being brown (at least so far.) I very much underestimated the power of a half-pound of extra-dark candi syrup. It added a lot of color and I still have another half-pound to use in another recipe or maybe I'll brew another batch of what I bottled today. The fermentables  for this beer included included six pounds of pilsner liquid malt extract, one pound of amber dry malt extract and about nine ounces of extra dark candi syrup. I boiled for one hour with three ounces of Strisselspalt hops, adding another ounce at 40 minutes into the boil and an ounce of Crystal hops at 15 minutes left in the boil. All the hops were pelletized.

Temperatures in the fermentorium (kitchen) have been in the low 80s so I used the Wyeast 3724 yeast. The ambient temperature never got above 83 degrees and this notorious yeast still took almost a month to complete fermentation. I left it in the primary the whole time, mostly because I had a bit of a fruit fly problem in my kitchen and wanted to the fly population to dwindle before I racked the beer. It seems to be no worse off. The beer tastes good with a fruity, earthy flavor along with some complex caramel flavors no doubt from the candi syrup. I'm eager to taste the finished product in a few weeks.

The beer that accompanied my bottling session this evening was my Dragon Slayer Ale, a highly-hopped Belgian-style quadrupel. This monster of an ale is still quite delicious a couple years after being bottled. The hop aroma and most of the hop flavor is long gone and what's left is mostly just phenolic; but the flavor is quite interesting with marizpan notes, caramel corn, almonds, a touch of a sauvignon blanc wineyness and an earthy, woody character that leads to a somewhat bitter and boozy finish that smooths out and leaves a residual marzipan-like sweetness on the tongue. To style? Well, it doesn't really fit any style, but it is pretty interesting. Would a lot of people like it. Probably not. Do I like it? Yes, and it's just homebrew, so that's really all that matters, right?