Closing out the year and beginning the new.

The first and last words on the subject, I took a while off from brewing, but I’m back at it. Here’s what I’ve been up to, since being back brewing.

Replacing my keggerator lines and cleaning taps. Initially built it 3.5 years ago, line replacement was overdue, they were yellowed with hop oils and other build up. They were not cleaned nearly often enough, but such is the life of a infrequently used keggerator. I am considering a different setup, but haven’t worked out the details. I like the capacity for cold kegs, and carbing and such, but maybe a dorm fridge setup? Then convert the freezer into a ferm chamber. I just want to be able to serve two kegs, but really only need to have one functional tap.

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Bottle washing… multiple hours + a large number of randomly sized bottles, rinsed, but not cleaned, or delabeled bottles needed cleaning. Now that I’ve got those done, I’m ready to complete some transfers. I’ve got three beers that need to be packaged or transferred or conditioned. Last years RIS needs to be bottled, It’s currently in a keg in the keggerator carbonating. The coolership grapefruit ‘saison’ I made, which is now over a year old, and was just bottled, and just needs some conditioning. I’ve also got a 4g batch of berliner that I finished with brett, that needs to be split and fruited (1/2 currant / 1/2 strawberry black berry rhubarb), then bottled in about a month. I don’t have enough heavy glass, and I”ve been quite disappointed with the 500ml bottles I purchased for this use. I guess I need to to finish up some of the gose, berliner, and saison currently occupying those bottles. Then more washing.

Brewing, yes, I actually said I was brewing again. I brewed a batch based on Tasty’s session pale ale.

My recipe is a variation, on the base bones. I used the base malts I had on hand, the biggest substations were hop varieties, and Oats in place of c-pills. Brew session was uneventful, no major screw ups aside from the ziplock bag melted to the burner during heating strike. I’m not sure how I managed that, but burnt plastic is a wonderful post christmas smell.

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SB (1.0) TASTY’S SESSION PALE ALE  American Pale Ale
Batch Size : 2.00 gal     69.0 IBUs Estimated.
OG: 1.0442 SG     FG: 1.0133 SG
Mash: BIAB, Medium Body
Boil: 60 minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
0.69 kg Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.50 SRM) Grain 1 43.0 %
0.30 kg Golden Promise (Simpsons) (2.00 SRM) Grain 2 19.0 %
0.22 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.00 SRM) Grain 3 14.0 %
0.22 kg Valley Crystal Light (15.00 SRM) Grain 4 14.0 %
0.08 kg Caramel Malt – 40L (Briess) (40.00 SRM) Grain 5 5.0 %
0.08 kg Oats, Flaked (1.00 SRM) Grain 6 5.0 %
Hops Used
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5.00 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 23.1 IBUs
12.00 g Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 20.0 min Hop 8 12.9 IBUs
15.00 g Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 27.1 IBUs
12.00 g Cascade [5.50 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 20.0 min Hop 12 5.8 IBUs
20.00 g Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 0.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
Yeasts Used
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 13
Misc Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 5.0 mins) Fining 10
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 5.0 mins) Other 11

Next batch for 2015 was a simple saison recipe. I’m trying to achieve a crisp, pale, dry saison, akin to Saison brett, but w/a lower abv. Boulevard’s Saison Brett is one of my all time favorite beers, but at 9%, It’s not something I need a real quantity of. I did my usual research, it seems there are two fairly well known things about saison brett. First it’s almost the same as tank 7 saison, but is mashed different to finish lower. The second is that Steven Pauwels Boulevard Head brewmaster has shared the tank 7 recipe a number of times.

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Just like Tasty’s pale ale recipe above, I didn’t brew the given recipe verbatim. I was riffing on the idea of a brett finished saison, with amarillo hops. In another inspired moment, by bio transformation, brett, and buckwheat. I wanted to brew a buckwheat saison. For details on that type stuff, see Mad Fermentationist,  and Derek at Bear flavored Also… Buckwheat has a precursor called capric acid, Capri, being ‘goat’, and the brand ambassador from Boulevard has a bit of a thing for goats which I couldn’t overlook.

Temps for the cereal mash / gelatinization temperatures can be found in derek’s blogs above. I used a slow cooker for them,followed by a long and low mash, to ensure a highly fermentable wort. Once fermented, I’ll pitch a healthy dose of brett c, and give it a month or two to age. I used the stall happy dupont saison yeast, so I’m also taking a few additional precautions to ensure a complete fermentation. Low scarification temp, Healthy 1l yeast starter in a 2g batch of very well aerated wort, in a loosely covered fermentor. While the yeast is working, I’m going to be actively pushing the temp from 66 pitch temp, to a peak of 85 over the course of the next week or so. Which I’ll follow up by pitching brett C, into in secondary. Once secondary is nearly complete (3 weeks) I’ll dry hop with more amarillo, and bottle in some high pressure glass, and hope for the best.

Here’s my recipe.

Chèvre Fermier Saison  Saison
Batch Size : 2.00 gal     36.6 IBUs Estimated.
OG: 1.0500 SG     FG: 1.0078 SG
Mash: BIAB, Saison extra Light Body
Boil: 60 minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
1.31 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.00 SRM) Grain 4 75.0 %
0.17 kg Roasted Buckwheat (2.00 SRM) Grain 5 10.0 %
0.09 kg Red Winter Wheat (2.10 SRM) Grain 6 5.0 %
0.17 kg Dextrose (Briess) (1.00 SRM) Sugar 7 10.0 %
Hops Used
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
7.00 g Bullion [8.80 %] – Boil 30.0 min Hop 8 16.3 IBUs
20.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 10 12.6 IBUs
15.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min Hop 12 7.7 IBUs
20.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days Hop 15 0.0 IBUs
Yeasts Used
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) [124.21 ml] Yeast 13
1.0 pkg Brettanomyces Claussenii (White Labs #WLP645) [50.28 ml] [Add to Secondary] Yeast 14
Misc Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
2.70 ml Lactic Acid (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1
2.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 2
1.00 g Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 3
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 5.0 mins) Fining 9
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 5.0 mins) Other 11

I am following up the buckwheat version with a corn grit version, the only change is swapping corn grits in for the buckwheat. I’m very eager to see the differences in these two beers. I don’t think I’ve controlled the variables this tightly since I tried to nail daisy cutter. I won’t have results for another few months, between primary, brett secondary, then dry hop, but should be a great spring beer, if it finishes how I hope it does.

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It’s really good to be back at it, I’ve been missing brewing, I’ve missed writing, and getting feedback, I’ve missed the constructive outlet, but haven’t had the free time, or the inclination to do it for a while. I’m going to skip the 2015 full recap (the summer recap was up for 7 months) and goals for now, perhaps a future update will shed some light into what has and has not progressed. Safe to say, I’m still a work in progress.

Happy New Year, and Cheers!

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Summer 15 updates –

Quite a few brew days have passed since my last update, 10 brew sessions to be precise. I’ve not had a ton of time to blog and brew, I chose brewing. I’ve brewed 4 Berliner weisses and one Gose, 2 IPAs (one smoked english, one hoppy american North east style), 2 milds, and a saison. I’m up to batch 49, and thinking about what should be batch 50. I’ve made good progress on Berliners, with 1/2 of my batch 6 being almost exactly what I have wanted. Batch 7 is effectively a rebrew, if it’s where I want it, I’ll consider that beer conquered. I’m waiting a few more days for to taste the beer, to ensure it’s where it should be sour wise. IMG 4368 f it is, I’ll write it up, and finally include the results of my Berliner survey. My Gose, Down Gose Frazier, is also in a similar situation. It’s waiting on final souring / fruit before I can write that up. They are really that different from each other, I’m hoping the recipe changes are sufficient to distinguish them more than just a salty Berliner. Continue reading

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Fall is the Saison Season

Saison is a style I feel a closeness to, I’m a small farmer and french Canadian by heritage. The idea of making an artisanal product with a raw edge, using my own hops, and rustic grain just moves me. This recipe is a simple table saison, something I think the farm hands may have enjoyed during the long work days. I found the recipe on via Nathan Smith. He’s a staple on the brewing network, has presented at NHC, ANHC, Beersmith, and Basic brewing radio. He’s even given talk on Saisons. Continue reading

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Long delayed Chat Absent tasting notes

These are some long, long, long over due tasting notes of my first saison. As I mentioned in the brewing notes, I feel close to this style due to my heritage, having a small farm, and the open interpretation that is allowed with this style. Saisons are an interesting style. The saison style originates in the farm houses of Wallonia and was made with fresh hops, grains, a variety of adjuncts, and spices varying from farm to farm. It was the beer served to the farm hands and was likely a lower abv and had mixed fermentation. From my understanding the style has only a few strong requirements, high carbonation, very low FG, moderate yeast esters and phenols. The style is way more wide open than the BJCB guidelines suggest. I’ve enjoyed examples hopper, much lighter and darker, as well as much lower and higher ABV. Not to mention versions with brett or other mixed fermentations. Some of the best ones I’ve had have been brett fermented. Continue reading

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Brewing Log: Rye Saison with wild dregs.

It’s my season for saisons. Having brewed my first in mid march, I wanted to make another attempt since I had harvested the wyeast french saison (3711) from the first.. My plan was to brew something similar to to the Mad Fermentationist’s rye saison with brett. It’s a simple grain and hop bill, and leverages a long secondary w/ brett. I plan on deviating from Mike’s recipe a bit, first I added 1/2 lb of acid malt to improve my mash ph. Such a light grain bill, can result in a much higher ph which can slow enzymatic action in your mash. My other changes were to using Styrian Aurora, instead of Styrian Goldings, 3711 as primary yeast, and using the dregs of Oak Senex Torva for an extended secondary on some toasted oak. I do still need to source the oak (mike?). My goal is to have a funky beer to celebrate my third anniversary brewing, hopefully it will be something special. Continue reading

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Chat Absent Saison brew log

The Real OG

This is another ‘collaboration’ beer, a friend from BFD brews a fair number of saisons, belgians, and sours. So we’ve emailed back and forth quite a bit discussing brewing a saison together, with the idea of splitting a 10g batch. I just haven been able to to sneak away for that large of a chunk of time. Instead of splitting a batch, I decide to brew solo, and will bring the results to a club meeting. Seem familiar?
I had most of the ingredients for the recipe, but as usual I was missing a few. I had to swap out candy sugar for some wild flower honey. The major diversion from the recipe is the aroma hop, the recipe called for dose of the noble hop Saaz. I swapped it out for bullion which is anything but noble. On an amusing note (to me at least) this is the first recipe I’ve come across with both Saaz and Citra, which are names of our two cats. Since I was missing Saaz, I decided to name it missing cat saison. So maybe next time I’ll stick to the recipe and call it two cat saison. Continue reading

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