Friday, September 29, 2017

So....the saison I brewed back in July has matured nicely. There's not much hop aroma, but the East Kent Goldings provide a nice bitterness and and a bit of hoppy flavor. I've contrasted it this evening with another saison I brewed about a year ago. This other saison is paler and I'll say much sunnier. It is definitely a summer saison. What I brewed earlier this summer is definitely an autumn saison -- it employed some caramel malts for an amber hue and a touch of maltiness, although it is certainly dry enough to be an authentic saison. Sorry about not posting the particulars. I'll add those eventually. Another difference between these two batches is that the summer saison (bottled last year) was made with a dry yeast (Belle Saison) and the more recent batch was brewed the Wyeast 3724. The Wyeast strain is notoriously fussy, stalling out and not reaching optimal terminal gravity if it is not warm enough. In this case, temperatures were in the high 70s into the 80s and I left the beer to its own devices for at least a month. (You can tell I'm not a very scientific brewer these days.)  Yet another notable feature of the dry yeast saison is that it is quite clear. Perhaps this is due to it sitting in bottles for almost a year, but I have to think that it has to do with the yeast itself. I have to think that it is designed to settle out, which other saison yeasts are loathe to do.

So I have a new batch steeping with a bunch of dry hops at the moment. The hops are from a friend, Eric Keeley, who grows them in his backyard. There are Chinooks. I have no idea what the AA content is for these hops so I add a little bit (an ounce or less) about 10 minutes to the end of the boil and I add a whole bunch (in this case about three to four ounces) at the end of the boil, left steeping for about a half hour before I start chilling the beer. The particular recipe is a favorite. It is a clone of Rogue Santa's Private Reserve (the version from about 10 years ago.) Thanks to the Internet Archive you can see the ingredients here. I used to go to a place called Edgewater Lounge in Chicago (on far north side) that always had Rogue beer. I've heard some bad things about the brewery in recent years (that the employees aren't treated well and it's run down) but I soft spot for Rogue. I started drinking Rogue beer a long time ago when I was first of age back in the early 1990s. The Edgewater always had a two or three Rogue ales on tap and usually one special one called "John's Locker Stock." This was always something not available anywhere else in the Chicago area. I always looked forward to it. They would almost always have St. Rogue Red and the Oatmeal Stout but I would ask for the Locker Stock. It would rotate throughout the year. Ah, those were the interesting inbetween days of the early '90s microbrew boom and the current state of affairs (which is off the charts) with some many breweries opening almost every other week.

I would like to brew some more but as I get older I find that I don't (read can't) drink as much beer.  I used to be what I would call a subsistence brewer (I drank most of the beer I brewed and didn't share.) I need to be more social I guess and share my beer if I'm going to brew more. Free beer!