Monday, June 18, 2018

Brew Day - Saison with Jasmine

Wort after cooling.

Every morning I woke up at the American Academy in Rome this spring I was greeted by the delicate smell of freshly blooming jasmine flowers. The Academy has a beautiful inner courtyard known to the community as the Cortile. A stone path encompasses the Cortile where several columns stand and act as the perfect home to several jasmine flower vines. Luckily, my bedroom window just so happened to be right above some of the most aromatic vines.

Fresh jasmine flowers in the Cortile at the American Academy in Rome.

When you enjoy brewing traditional beer styles like Saison, you tend to consider what brewers were doing back in the old days. Knowing that Saison was a beer brewed on a small scale with local ingredients my mind took inspiration from the things that were close to me (physically). I have never brewed a beer with flowers before, but I dove straight in because I was enthusiastic about the potential of this jasmine. It is a common ingredient used in tea and it seemed like a natural fit for Saison yeast.

In developing the recipe I was apprehensive with my use of jasmine. I didn't know what kind of bitterness the raw flowers might impart. In my head I assumed that it would be roughly equivalent to a soft noble hop type bitterness. Opposite that, I also thought about the herbal sweetness the flower might provide. I settled on a value of around 2 g/L of freshly picked jasmine flowers. I chose to steep them as if I were making a tea during a whirlpool addition at ~180 F for 5 minutes. The taste of the wort following the steeping and prior to the introduction of yeast was decidedly floral and slightly tannic.

To complement the jasmine, I first focused on the malt bill. I wanted it to be relatively clean with a soft graininess and subtle, round sweetness. My base was Dingeman's Pilsner, a go-to for my Belgian Saisons. I amped up the sweetness with a little Vienna and Golden Promise. Finally, to add a touch of soft grain character, I included flaked spelt. For bitterness from the hopping, I emphasized a clean touch of Magnum at around 35 IBU's. Amping up the herbal character, I added a moderate amount of East Kent Goldings near the end of the boil. Finally, I chose to blend two of my favorite yeast strains: White Labs 'Belgian Saison I' and Imperial Organic's 'Rustic' to give an expressive yeast character that would still let the malt shine.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.041
Estimated F.G.: 1.009
Estimated ABV: 4.1%
Estimated IBU: 39
Estimated SRM: 4

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Roman Tap Water treated with ~1 g Ca(OH)2 / gal brewing liquor, allowed precipitate to settle for 18 hours followed by decanting
1 g CaSO4 / gal finished beer
0.5 g CaCl2 / gal finished beer

Malt:
66.0% Pilsner Malt (Dingemans)
16.5% Flaked Spelt
9.2% Golden Promise (Thomas Fawcett)
8.3% Vienna Malt (Durst)

Hops:
0.11 oz. / gal finished beer Hallertau Magnum @ 60 min
0.26 oz. / gal finished beer East Kent Golding @ 2 min

Yeast:
1 pkg White Labs Belgian Saison 1 in a 1.5 L Starter - 3 days unstirred (separated 0.5 L for harvesting)
1 pkg Imperial Organic Rustic in a 1.5 L Starter - 3 days unstirred (separated 0.5 L for harvesting)

Process:
Mash:
1.5 hrs @ 148 F (BIAB)

Boil:
90 mins
1/2 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/4 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Whirlpool:
Cooled to ~180 F
0.26 oz. / gal finished beer Freshly Picked Jamsine Flowers for 5 min

Steeping the jasmine flowers.

Cooling:
Cooled to ~70 F

Oxygenation:
Encouraged splashing from kettle to the fermenter

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L White Labs Belgian Saison I Starter
Pitched 1 L Imperial Organic Rustic Starter
Open fermented for 3 days at ambient temperature (~70 F)
Added airlock after 3 days

Full bloom.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Brew Day - Strong Saison with Bitter Orange

NYE "Champagne."

My adoration for Brasserie Dupont's "Avec les Bons Veoux" began several years ago. The first time I had it I was blown away by the beer's ability to balance such a big, rich malt character with a beautifully spicy yeast expression. Knowing it is brewed in celebration of New Years, a couple years back I decided to begin drinking it instead of champagne on the 31st. Garnering inspiration from ALBV, I decided to craft something similar that packs a bit more punch than a traditional Saison.

In designing the beer, I knew I wanted a complex, rustic malt character with a distinctly dry finish. I love including unmalted grains other than barley in my Saisons and this beer is no exception. To amp up the earthiness of the malt profile I used a combination of equal parts flaked spelt and flaked rye. Additionally, I included a portion of Vienna to enrich the maltiness and lend a subtle toasty note.  To round out the fermentables I added corn sugar to ensure the beer would attenuate to around 1.010 or less for a dry finish.

To provide a similar yeast profile as ALBV, I chose White Labs Belgian Saison I. Purported to be isolated from Brasserie Dupont, this strain exhibits a lot of the character people associate with the Saison style due to Saison Dupont's popularity. It is distinctly earthy and peppery while lending a subtle, pleasing tartness. I've brewed with both this strain and the Dupont-isolated Wyeast strain (Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison), but I've found I prefer the White Labs strain. There are a lot of similarities between the two strains, but I prefer the more pronounced spice profile I get from the White Labs strain. To avoid the maniacal "Saison-stall," I take Drew Beechum's advice and open ferment the beer for the first couple days of active fermentation.

Finally, as I am living in Rome, I decided to take advantage of the early winter harvest of citrus fruits in the Mediterranean. I decided to use fresh bitter orange grown on the grounds of the American Academy in Rome and picked by the crew of the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Knowing I wanted to infuse the flavor and aroma of orange into the beer, I decided to zest the oranges and add it as both a hot side and cold side addition.

Freshly zested bitter orange.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.062
Estimated F.G.: 1.011
Estimated ABV: 6.7%
Estimated IBU: 31
Estimated SRM: 4

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Roman Tap Water treated with ~1 g Ca(OH)2 / gal brewing liquor, allowed precipitate to settle for 18 hours followed by decanting
1 g CaSO4 / gal finished beer

Malt:
72.4% Pilsner Malt (Dingemans)
6.9% Flaked Rye
6.9% Flaked Spelt
6.9% Vienna Malt (Durst)
6.9% Corn Sugar (simple syrup added at high krausen)

Hops:
0.08 oz. / gal finished beer Hallertau Magnum @ 60 min
0.13 oz. / gal finished beer Hallertau Mittelfruh @ 10 min
0.13 oz. / gal finished beer Bitter Orange Zest @ 0 min

Yeast:
1 pkg White Labs Belgian Saison 1 in a 1.5 L Starter - 3 days unstirred (separated 0.5 L for harvesting)

Process:
Mash:
1.5 hrs @ 148 F (BIAB)

Boil:

90 mins
1/2 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/4 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~65 F

Oxygenation:
Encouraged splashing from kettle to the fermenter

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L White Labs Belgian Saison I Starter
Open fermented for 3 days at ambient temperature (~70 F)
Added airlock after 3 days

Post-Primary Fermentation:
0.13 oz. / gal finished beer Bitter Orange Zest @ 1 day

Monday, February 12, 2018

Treatment of Highly Alkaline Water

Hello beer brewing friends! I apologize for the long hiatus. In addition to getting accustomed to my new lifestyle in Italy, I've been working out a few kinks on my new brewing system. As mentioned in a previous post, since moving to Italy I've made several changes to my process. The most difficult of the changes I've encountered thus far has been working with the tap water.

After finding a report from the Roman water utility, I made use of the Water Profile tool in Beersmith to get a feel for what I was working with. As you can see below the water is extremely alkaline (the red dot gives it away). Thinking I may be able to work around this alkalinity in a similar manner as I had in the past, I decided to use food grade lactic acid to counteract the alkalinity in the water. I found that a large quantity of acid was necessary to obtain a mash pH in my desired range. The beers that resulted from this water modification had a distinct, artificial "twang" to them. After doing some online research, I determined that the culprit of this strange flavor was the acid.

398 ppm HCO3-!

In order to find an alternate method to counteract alkalinity, I investigated the online forums provided by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and dug a little deeper into 'Water' by Palmer and Kaminski. I determined that I had two options for reducing the alkalinity in my brewing water: pre-boiling or pre-treating with lime. Both methods result in the reduction of bicarbonate (HCO3-) through the precipitation of chalk (calcium carbonate / CaCO3).

Pickling lime to the rescue.

Based on energy intensity and the likelihood for mineral deposits in my boil kettle, I decided that pre-boiling was not the route I wanted to go. Instead, I got my hands on some pickling lime (calcium hydroxide / Ca(OH)2) and followed Braukaiser's well written guide on reducing alkalinity. My process looks very similar to the one outlined in the guide. I first filter warm tap water through an activated carbon filter to remove chlorine and transfer it to a large bucket that I use as a treatment vessel. I add equal parts calcium chloride and calcium sulfate to my carbon filtered tap water to increase the calcium content and maximize the precipitation of chalk. Following this addition I add lime, stir well, and allow anywhere between 12 and 24 hours for the precipitated chalk to settle. Once settling is complete I decant the treated water off of the settled chalk using my auto siphon. Utilizing this very simple process I have found that the amount of acid necessary to achieve an appropriate mash pH is significantly reduced and the strange "twang" character I had in beers modified solely with acid has been eliminated.

Settled chalk after water treatment.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Brew Days - Short and Shoddy



Prior to leaving the U.S. I brewed two batches for our going away party. Given that fact that we were quite busy leading up to our move, I decided to take a page from Brulosophy's book and brew two "Short and Shoddy" batches. This brewing method employs quicker than normal processes to reduce the overall time it takes to brew. Therefore, I squeezed both of these batches in on a weekday to allow for more time to pack, clean, and say goodbye to family and friends on the weekends.

In order to reduce the amount of time it took to brew and ferment these beers, I employed a couple of techniques. First and foremost, I split brew days up by cleaning one evening and brewing the next. Secondly, I reduced the amount of time I mashed and boiled each batch by about half. Finally, I fermented the beers a little bit warmer to encourage a more rapid approach to finishing gravity.

The first batch is a Pale Ale that explores the amazing new concept of CRYO hops. YCH uses a cryogenic separation process to generate two types of products: LupuLN2 and Debittered Leaf. The former provides a concentrated resin laden mass of aromatic hop oils. The latter is a low alpha acid alternative to high alpha acid aroma hops. While attending Homebrew Con 2017 I picked up my complimentary ounce of LupuLN2 Ekuanot, and I decided to pair it with some LupuLN2 Citra. The ultimate goal was to produce a Northeast Pale Ale that was a bit softer and fuller than my last. To do this, I reduced the amount of bittering hops I used and added additional protein rich, flaked adjuncts. And of course to emphasize the delicious and delicate hop oils, I used a healthy quantity of LupuLN2 hops in the whirlpool, during active fermentation, and after fermentation was complete.

CRYO resin.

The second batch is a Pilsner that initially took inspiration from a post on The Mad Fermentationist about New Zealand Pilsner, which emphasizes the hop character garnered from New Zealand hops. I figured this exploration of New Zealand hop character would be both fun and educational. A couple months after I read that post my friend Mat at Wild Mind Artisan Ales was brewing a similar type of beer with Kohatu hops. I asked him what he thought of Kohatu and he spoke wonders of its ability to perform in a clean lager beer. With that I took my base Pilsner recipe I developed earlier this spring and let Kohatu do its thing.

1. CRYO Northeast Pale Ale

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.054
Estimated F.G.: 1.013
Estimated ABV: 5.5%
Estimated IBU: 22
Estimated SRM: 4

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
1.0 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.2 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.5

Malt:
64.7% Brewers 2-Row (Briess)
23.5% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
7.8% Flaked Oats (Briess)
3.9% Rice Hulls (Briess) (used as a filter aid)

Hops:
0.08 oz. / gal finished beer Apollo @ 30 min
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Citra @ 15 min Whirlpool (directly after flameout)
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Ekuanot @ 15 min Whirlpool (directly after flameout)

Dry Hops:
0.30 oz. / gal finished beer Columbus @ 2.5 days after pitching yeast
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Citra @ 2.5 days after pitching yeast
0.20 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Citra @ 2 days, after active fermentation was complete
0.10 oz. / gal finished beer CRYO Ekuanot @ 2 days, after active fermentation was complete

Yeast:
~100 mL Yeast Slurry White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale in a 1 L Starter - 1 day stirred

Process:
Mash:
0.50 hr @ 152 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:
35 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins
15 min Whirlpool

Cooling:
Cooled to 68 F

Oxygenation:
0.50 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L White Lab WLP007 Dry English Ale Starter
Controlled temperature at 68 F for 3 days
Raised temperature to 70 F for 7 days

Sticky wort.
2. New Zealand Pilsner

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.050
Estimated F.G.: 1.012
Estimated ABV: 5.0%
Estimated IBU: 44
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.4 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.5

Malt:
88.9% Pilsen 2-Row (Briess)
8.9% Goldpils Vienna (Briess)
2.2% Flaked Wheat (Briess)

Hops:
0.16 oz. / gal finished beer Apollo @ 30 min
0.20 oz. / gal finished beer Kohatu @ 10 min
0.20 oz. / gal finished beer Kohatu @ 0 min

Dry Hops:
0.40 oz. / gal finished beer Kohatu @ 2 days, after active fermentation

Yeast:
~100 mL Yeast Slurry Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred

Process:
Mash:
0.50 hr @ 152 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:
35 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to 50 F

Oxygenation:
1.0 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 2 L Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager Starter
Controlled temperature at 50 F for 3 days
Increased temperature 5 F every 12 hours until 70 F
Held at 70 F for 3 days

Why isn't it called 'Queen Sue?'

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Benvenuti a Roma!


We made it! My wife and I put ourselves through a bit of a grueling travel schedule, but we're here. Other than a bit of jet lag, our experience has been fantastic. Great people, delicious food (shout out to Rome Sustainable Food Project), and gorgeous weather. I can't find the words to describe how amazing our stay has been thus far at the American Academy in Rome.

Moving from one country to another while continuing to homebrew is not exactly the easiest thing in the world. I brought one backpack, one carry on suitcase, and one large suitcase with me. I dedicated about half of the carry on bag to brewing. I packed away some of my smaller instruments and PPE such as my pH meter, refractometer, and brewing gloves knowing the bigger stuff wasn't worth the packing space.

As for the remaining equipment, I had to strategize the best way to continue brewing beer without sacrificing quality. The table below summarizes some of the differences I worked out:




I'm reducing my batch size to limit the amount of ingredients (and money) I need to brew each batch. Obtaining reverse osmosis water in a large city without a car seems a bit overwhelming, so I'm placing my bets on being able to work with the water in Rome. This is the thing I am the most concerned about. I'm buying larger quantities of grain to be shipped to me which means I'll have a bit less flexibility in malt choice. Additionally, I'll be hand milling my grain at home. I'll be trying out the Brew in a Bag technique for the first time to limit the number of hot side vessels I'll need. And finally, I'll be fermenting at ambient temperature. To temporarily circumvent the lack of fermentation temperature control, I'll be using mostly Belgian strains.

Five brewing books made their way with me too. Farmhouse Ales, Session Beers, American Sour Beers, Brew Like a Monk, and Wild Brews. After reading this list of books, you probably have some sort of idea of the beers I plan to brew in Rome. My primary focus will be on low-ish alcohol beers of Belgian origin, specifically saisons both of the single and mixed fermentation varieties. As mentioned in an earlier post, I will also be using solely European ingredients in these beers. I'm specifically interested in continuing to explore more of the Noble hop varieties in addition to some of the newer, fruitier German varieties.

For now, I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my equipment. Look for brew day posts in the next month or two!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Brew Days - Mixed Fermentation Saisons


Beers that contain saccharomyces, brettanomyces, pediococcus, and lactobacillus are easily my favorite type of beer to consume. The complexity that can be attained from using yeast and bacteria is truly amazing. Tart, funky, earthy, fruity, rustic, barnyard: these are just a few of the characteristics you can find in this style of beer. The intermingling of these aromas and flavors results in a truly unique, flavorful, and intricate liquid. It is because of this that my desert island beer is most certainly of the mixed fermentation variety ; every time you drink a mixed fermentation beer, you discover something new.

While I am in Rome for just short of a year I figured I have a unique opportunity to age mixed fermentation beer because they take on the order of 6 months to 3 years to fully mature. The primary goal of these beers is to emphasize the expression of the yeast and bacteria in the finished product. In order to do this, I have chosen to follow Michael Tonsmeire's advice from American Sour Beers to pitch both a fresh package of a sour yeast blend along with dregs from commercially available sour beer. This method improves the biodiversity in order to promote complexity. Also, per Mike's recommendation, the sour yeast blend and sour beer dregs were pitched in the primary at the same time as the saccharomyces to give them a head start.

Outside of microbe selection, I designed the beers to be in the ~ 5 to 6 % ABV range. This isn't exactly session strength but it's close. The lower alcohol also helps to reduce the stress on the younger microbes that are joining the party. I designed the grain bills to be somewhat similar to traditional lambic beer in the sense that they are around 65% malted barley and 35% of something that is not barley. This helps to provide varying types of food for the microbes to "chew" on. As for hops, I stuck with a simple bittering addition of around 10 IBU's with a lower alpha acid variety.

Glistening wort.

1. Traditional

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.046
Estimated F.G.: 1.005
Estimated ABV: 5.4%
Estimated IBU: 9
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.6 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
65.1% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
14.0% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
14.0% Malted White Wheat (Briess)
4.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.3% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 60 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg Wyeast Belgian Lambic Blend
Dregs Hill Farmstead Anna

Process:
Mash:
0.75 hrs @ 158 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~75 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched Wyeast Belgian Lambic Blend
Pitched Dregs Hill Farmstead Anna
Fermented at ambient temperature (~70 F)

Post-Primary Fermentation:
0.2 oz / gal finished beer Medium Toast French Oak Cubes (boiled for 5 minutes with water and drained prior to addition)
Pitched Flood Pants Brewing "One" Culture (my first mixed fermentation beer)
Pitched "Star Boy" Culture from Brouwerij-Chugach

Desert island beer.

2. A Little Spelt

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.046
Estimated F.G.: 1.005
Estimated ABV: 5.4%
Estimated IBU: 9
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.6 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.4

Malt:
63.6% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
13.6% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
13.6% Malted Red Wheat (Briess)
4.5% Spelt Malt (BestMalz)
4.5% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 60 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait in a 3 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Melange Sour Blend
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne
Dregs Crooked Stave Vieille Artisanal Saison

Process:
Mash:
0.75 hrs @ 158 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~75 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1.5 L Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait Starter
Pitched The Yeast Bay Melange Sour Blend
Pitched The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Pitched Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne
Pitched Dregs Crooked Stave Vieille Artisanal Saison
Controlling temperature at ambient temperature (~70 F)

Post-Primary Fermentation:
0.2 oz / gal finished beer Medium Toast French Oak Cubes (boiled for 5 minutes with water and drained prior to addition)
Pitched Flood Pants Brewing "One" Culture (my first mixed primary fermentation)
Pitched "Finch" Culture from Brouwerij-Chugach

Double brew day for 'A Little Spelt' and 'Oats.'

3. Oats

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.046
Estimated F.G.: 1.005
Estimated ABV: 5.4%
Estimated IBU: 9
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.6 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
0.6 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.4

Malt:
63.6% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
13.6% Flaked Oats (Briess)
13.6% Malted Red Wheat (Briess)
4.5% Oat Malt (Thomas Fawcett)
4.5% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 60 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait in a 3 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg White Labs Belgian Sour Mix 1
1 pkg Bootleg Biology MTF Funkapolis Mega Blend
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne

Process:
Mash:
0.75 hrs @ 158 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~75 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1.5 L Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait Starter
Pitched White Labs Belgian Sour Mix 1
Pitched Bootleg Biology MTF Funkapolis Mega Blend
Pitched The Yeast Bay Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend
Pitched Dregs Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin a L'Ancienne
Controlling temperature at ambient temperature (~70 F)

Post-Primary Fermentation:
0.2 oz / gal finished beer Medium Toast French Oak Cubes (boiled for 5 minutes with water and drained prior to addition)
Pitched Dregs from Mindful Ales "Winds and Turns"
Pitched Flood Pants Brewing "One" Culture (my first mixed primary fermentation)
Pitched Bootleg Biology The Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

Friday, August 18, 2017

Brew Days - Petite Brett Saisons


I've started down the session beer path, and I don't think I'm going back. My favorite way to consume beer is to drink many without feeling fuzzy afterwords. This allows for more smells and sips of that precious liquid we all know as beer. I wanted these Brett Saisons to be in the ~4 to 5% ABV range to make them both session-worthy and to allow for them to finish on the lower end of the gravity spectrum. The lower finishing gravity is to avoid bottle bombs as I plan to package these beers somewhat early for beers brewed with Brettanomyces (~2 to 4 weeks in the fermenter).

Erlenmeyer.
Additionally, I designed these beers such that they will develop and change over time. I chose this concept because I'm moving to Rome, Italy in September. I'm following my wife who obtained an amazing pre-doctoral fellowship called the 'Rome Prize.' The opportunity supports her in writing her dissertation while immersing herself in all that is Rome. I plan to continue homebrewing while overseas, and in particular I'm looking forward to trying some fresh European ingredients like British malt, German hops, and whatever I can find that is unique to Italy.

Burn baby burn.

To get some additional input on this concept, I asked my friends on the Saison, Biere de Garde, and Farmhouse Ale Facebook group for their favorite commercial, low ABV, funky beers. These were some of the responses I got: Allagash Little Brett, Green Bench Saison Vert, Green Bench Les Grisettes, Oxbow Sasuga, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere, 2nd Shift Katy, Crooked Stave Vieille Provision, and Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie-Vous Francais. Using these responses and evaluating my hop inventory, I came up with three beer concepts:

  1. Grisette - Soft, grassy, funky.
  2. Spice and Fruit - An investigation of the intersection between spice and fruit.
  3. Hops - New world, hop-forward.

1. Grisette

Last summer I made a clean, grisette-style beer with The Yeast Bay's Wallonian Farmhouse yeast. The beer was highly carbed, easy on the pallete, and great for the humid months. This year I decided to loosely follow a similar concept, but I decided to funk it up a bit. For the grist I focused on wheat and spelt for a softer grainy character. Classic, noble-type hops are present to emphasize herbal and grassy characteristics. Finally, I pitched Brussels Brettanomyces Blend from the Yeast Bay to milk the funk.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.036
Estimated F.G.: 1.001
Estimated ABV: 4.6%
Estimated IBU: 25
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
1.0 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
45.7% Pilsner Malt (Dingemans)
28.6% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
17.1% Malted Spelt (BestMalz)
5.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.9% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer EKG @ 60 min
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer EKG @ 2 min

Yeast:
1 pkg Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Brussels Brettanomyces Blend

Process:
Mash:
1.25 hrs @ 148 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooling:
Cooled to ~70 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched The Yeast Bay Brussels Brettanomyces Blend Package
Controlling temperature at ~70 F

Dry Hops:
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer EKG@ 5 days (intended this to be shorter, but I got busy)
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Saaz @ 5 days (intended this to be shorter, but I got busy)
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Saphir @ 1 day (added close to packaging for a "fresher" dry hop aroma)

EKG.

2. Spice and Fruit

After attending Homebrew Con 2017 in Minneapolis I returned home with some hops I had never used before: HBC 342 and Loral. I thought it would be fun to test them out in this recipe. To emphasize the "spice" aspect I chose flaked rye and Loral hops. I've always found that flaked rye provides a very strong earthy character to beer so I tried to soften it with flaked wheat. Loral purportedly provides a nice punch of floral and pepper character so I thought it would lend itself to the spicy element of the beer. Nelson, HBC 342, and Claussenii check the "fruity" box. I had a couple one ounce packages of Nelson hanging around so I decided to use them up. Nelson can provide an amazing complex fruitiness that is nearly impossible to replicate using other varieties. To further amplify the fruitiness I pitched White Lab's Brettanomyces Claussenii, one of the fruitier Brett's available to homebrewers.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.036
Estimated F.G.: 1.006 (I'm sure this will be lower)
Estimated ABV: 3.9% (I'm sure this will be higher)
Estimated IBU: 28
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
1.0 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
45.7% Pilsen 2-Row (Briess)
34.4% Flaked Wheat (Briess)
11.4% Flaked Rye (Briess)
5.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.9% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.1 oz. / gal finished beer Nugget @ 60 min
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer HBC 342 @ 15 min Whirpool
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Nelson Sauvin @ 15 min Whirlpool

Yeast:
100 mL Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg White Labs Brettanomyces Clausenii

Process:
Mash:
1.25 hrs @ 148 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins
15 min Whirlpool

Cooling:
Cooled to ~70 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched White Labs Brettanomyces Clausenii Package
Controlling temperature at ~70 F

Dry Hops:
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Loral @ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Nelson Sauvin @ 3 days

This photo is your prize for making it this far in the post.

3. Hops

This beer was brewed with my neighbor in mind. We are both moving out of our current apartment in Madison that we've been at for 5 years. He is a lover of hops so I decided to brew this one with him in mind. I've always wanted to brew with Calypso and I chose to emphasize it in this recipe. My neighbor also enjoys Bell's Two Hearted and Lagunitas IPA, so I decided to use some Centennial and Columbus to emphasize the piney and woodsy side of the hop spectrum. The flaked oats are there to help out with the body, and I added some Vienna for complexity.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.037
Estimated F.G.: 1.002
Estimated ABV: 4.5%
Estimated IBU: 28
Estimated SRM: 3

Ingredients:
Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
0.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer
1.0 g CaSO4/gal finished beer
10% Phosphoric Acid to acidify liquor to ~5.6

Malt:
45.7% Pilsen 2-Row (Briess)
22.9% Flaked Oats (Briess)
22.9% Goldpils Vienna (Briess)
5.7% Rice Hulls (used as a filter aid)
2.9% Acidulated (BestMalz) (used to reduce mash pH)

Hops:
0.08 oz. / gal finished beer Nugget @ 60 min
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Calypso @ 15 min Whirpool
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Meridian @ 15 min Whirlpool

Yeast:
100 mL Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale in a 2 L Starter - 1 day stirred (split this in half for pitching)
1 pkg The Yeast Bay Beersel Brettanomyces Blend

Process:
Mash:
1.25 hrs @ 148 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

Boil:

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins
15 min Whirlpool

Cooling:
Cooled to ~70 F

Oxygenation:
0.5 min Pure O2

Fermentation:
Pitched 1 L Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale Starter
Pitched The Yeast Bay Beersel Brettanomyces Blend Package
Controlling temperature at ~70 F

Dry Hops:
0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Calypso@ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Centennial @ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Columbus@ 3 days
0.2 oz. / gal finished beer Meridian @ 3 days