Friday, May 6, 2016

Belgian Golden Strong and Smoked Helles Parti-gyle

Just over 2 years ago I brewed a series of Belgians, including an interesting take on a Belgian Golden Strong. Belgian Golden Strong Ales (BGSAs) have been one of my favorite styles since the first time I tried Duvel Green on my 21st birthday and was opened to a whole new world of Belgian beer. With only one beer currently in my kegerator I decided I should throw together something that could be both interesting and refreshing now that spring is here. I also didn't want to solely commit to a BGSA and decided it would be a good time to perform a pseudo parti-gyle in order to get 2 different beers.

I decided that the smaller beer could be a good base for my third attempt at lagering since the kegerator/ferment chamber had space available. Playing around with the numbers I realized that by adding just a little pale malt, and some specialty malts I would be able to make a smoked Helles. While I haven't had a smoked Helles before, it seemed like another fitting beer for spring with a balance of both intriguing components and moderate drinkability.

I brewed the beers on the last day of winter in a cold mix of rain, sleet, and snow. While the weather added some difficulty and I didn't do everything quite as efficiently as I could have, the day went well overall and hopefully I'll come out of it with 2 tasty beers for only a couple hours more work than I would have had to do for 1. The addition of grains required a second mash and made this not a true parti-gyle but allowed me to give more variability to the beers produced and I plan to perform similar split batch procedures in the future. One goal moving forward will be to better line up the timing for the two batches to minimize how much additional time is required.

Designing the two recipes was a somewhat iterative process as I came up with a general idea for each recipe separately, then used a parti-gyle calculator to identify that I would need a 1.045 OG at 6 gallons, then came up with the overall malt bill, then went back and refined the individual recipes. the recipes shown below are my best attempt to show how to recreate the beers if not done together and have been adjusted slightly due to hitting higher efficiency than expected. The base malts used aren't traditional but I was making due with what I had including the last of my bags of Pilsner and 2-row and just enough Maris Otter to hit my required amounts.

Future Laws:
Belgian Golden Strong Ale
OG
1.083
FG
1.017
IBU
29
SRM
 3
ABV
9%

Fermentables
Amount Fermentable Maltster Use PPG Color
4.0 lb
 2-Row (US)
Briess Mash 37 1 °L
2.0 lb
 Pilsner (DE)
Weyermann Mash 37 1 °L
1.5 lb
 Sucrose
N/A Boil 46 0 °L
0.67 lb
 Maris Otter Pale
Thomas Fawcett & Sons Mash 38 3 °L

Hops
Amount Hop Time Use Form AA
1.5 oz Strisselspalt (FR) 45 min Boil Pellet 2.80%
1.5 oz Strisselspalt (FR) 15 min Boil Pellet 2.80%

Yeast
Name Lab/Product Attenuation
Golden Pear Belgian Gigayeast 80.00%

Mash steps
Step Heat Source Target Temp Time
Saccharification Rest Infusion 146.0 °F 30 min
Saccharification Rest Infusion 154.0 °F 30 min

Of Greater Things:
Smoked Munich Helles
OG
1.054
FG
1.013
IBU
15
SRM
4
ABV
5.40%

Fermentables
Amount Fermentable Maltster Use PPG Color
2.0 lb
 Maris Otter Pale (UK)
Thomas Fawcett & Sons Mash 38 3 °L
1.5 lb
 Pilsner (DE)
Weyermann Mash 37 1 °L
1.5 lb
 2-Row (US)
Briess Mash 37 1 °L
0.5 lb
 CaraHell (DE)
Weyermann Mash 34 11 °L
0.5 lb
 Smoked Malt (US)
Briess Mash 37 5 °L

Hops
Amount Hop Time Use Form AA
1.0 oz Strisselspalt (FR) 45 min Boil Pellet 2.80%

Yeast
Name Lab/Product Attenuation
German Lager Yeast White Labs WLP830 76.50%
German Lager Yeast White Labs WLP830 76.50%

Monday, April 18, 2016

Maisonette 5.0 Tasting and scores

My 4th version of Maisonette was easily one of, if not the, best beers I've ever brewed. Super fruity and flavorful but also delicate and refreshing, it encompassed everything I looked for in my grisette.  I enjoyed it so much that I intended to enter it in a few competitions. Unfortunately, I also enjoyed it so much that the keg kicked while I was bottling from it and I ended up not being able to send it in. Having already paid entry fees and with nothing else drinkable on hand, I decided to do a speed batch version, saison yeast blend after a few days (which included French saison yeast and Brettanomyces) that I knew would get it to finishing gravity quick.

The beer didn't excite me nearly the same as the previous batch, it was drier, less fruity, and overall fairly toned down. I added keg hops, mainly Azacca, which gave it some interesting character at first but even that faded after a couple days. With no time left and the entries already paid for I decided to bottle a few up and send into some competitions.

I received my National Homebrew Competition first round results today, where I entered the beer as both a clone of Oxbow Grizacca and as a table saison. I had previously received my results from the DC Homebrewers' Cherry Blossom Festival. Let me start by saying the scores are all over the place. In the Clone beer category in NHC the beer received a 40 and advanced to a mini-BOS round. On the other hand, in the Saison category the beer received a 22 with the judges notes including the words: stinky, sweaty, mustiness, autolysis, meaty, sour, oxidation! The scores from the Cherry Blossom festival (entered as a clone beer) were much closer to the clone beer scores from NHC than the saison scores with a 35 overall and mostly positive notes.

There's 3 ways to read this: 1) Beer (or at least this beer) is super subjective and the judges had very different tastes. 2) The beer had characters that judges were willing to forgive for a clone beer of a hoppy grisette but not in a strict saison category. 3) The one that ended up in the saison category was a bad bottle. In the end I think it was likely a combination of these factors with 3 being a definite possibility as this was my first time bottling off a keg for competition.

I decided to do a tasting and my own score sheet to see where I see this beer.

Aroma 8/12
Acid, fruity hops, spicy yeast phenols, some light pale malt, grass, a little barnyard, an occasional touch of solvent.

Appearance 2/3
Very pale straw, small white head fades quickly, lots of small bubbles throughout, very clear. Very nice looking beer.

Flavor 14/20
Less pronounced fruitiness than the nose, light pepper, no noticeable barnyard or solvent as the nose, light acidity, light bitterness in balance with the malt

Mouthfeel 3/5
Very dry and thin, even for the style, moderate carbonation is refreshing

Overall Impression 6/10
A refreshing light drinker but lacking in the hop and saison characteristics and with a little bit of funkiness that is out of place. Not a bad beer.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Brett IPA (Or how to dump a batch)

While I've made a number of moderately hoppy beers recently (including multiple takes on my Mosaic Grisette) I haven't had a true IPA on hand. Part of the reason is that I haven't had time to brew much and have devoted most of that to perfecting a few recipes. Part of it is just that I don't brew IPAs that often. And part of it is that I haven't been in love with IPAs recently.

While IPA has never been my favorite style I've gone through waves of hating them, loving them, and being fairly indifferent to them. Part of my issue recently is that I've found that the IPAs (and to a large extent pale ales) I've had recently tend to fall into 2 categories: overly dank and bitter or underwhelming all around.

StarTropics is a name I've used for several very distinct beers and I want to use the moniker once again because it has the 3 things I really want in this beer: super tropical-fruit aroma and taste from both hops and yeast, beautiful bright red color, and refreshing, not assaulting, bitterness.  Past attempts at this beer have missed the mark, with one being a Brett saison that became way too heavy on the Brett and the other being a "Brett" Trois based IPA that felt too malty and surprisingly tame in terms of fruit character. This time around I needed to do another radical overhaul.

I liked my previous 100% Brettanomyces beer, but I wasn't sure BKYeast's C2 strain was ideal for an IPA. Having read a lot of Bear-Flavored and Mad Fermentationist posts about Brett C for 100% beers I decided it had the descriptors I was looking for with fast fermentation and bright fruit characteristics.

In order to keep this beer from being as malty as the last version I decided to keep it focused on Pale Ale malt with just a touch of Golden Naked oats for a light sweet, nutty complexity. The color is coming almost entirely from 3 oz. of Carafa III, which I hope will be the right amount to provide a bright red look without too much roast character.

2/5/2016
Friday post-work brew day provided for some challenges. The cold weather made it take longer than usual to hit my strike temperature, and then my mash-in temperature was 4 degrees low. Added another couple gallons of hotter water to bring up to 151 after about 15 minutes. Had a smaller sparge due to the mash water correction and ended up getting my first stuck sparge. A number of things (stirring, adding more water, opening valve wider) didn't help but shoving the top of the dip tube to one side seemed to clear it and was able to run off enough to reach 6 gallons of reddish brown wort. Added the hopshot and bittering additions were added as First Wort with no other additions added until post boil, with the first addition added at flame-out and another added less than 10 minutes later once the wort had cooled to 160. After a 20 minute hop stand at 160 the wort was cooled down the rest of the way to 75.

2/6/2016
Unfortunately a two day starter didn't seem to be enough to get the yeast to the levels required and after 24 hours I pitched a slurry of Brett L + C2.

3/5/2016
I didn't want to admit it for a lot of reasons but...this one is my first full batch dumper. The Brett ended up creating a LOT of plastic flavor that outshines the otherwise pleasant hop characteristics. I am assuming that this is likely due to not having enough yeast at initial pitch and the long lag time experienced by the Brett C. I feel like this is a recipe that had some promise if done correctly but I failed to deliver and need to start over. Once again this recipe teaches me a lesson but fails to produce adequate beer.

4/2/2016
Gave this one a month to cleanup, but I needed the carboy so it got fed to the compost. Disappointing but at least I got the impression that this hop bill worked.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Maisonette v4.0

Between Two Succulents without Zach Galifianakas
Here once again is the latest take on my little house beer. Maisonette is a beer I first brewed in March 2015, which means that in less than a year it has gone from an extract batch brewed on a whim to by far my most rebrewed recipe. Part of what keeps me brewing this beer is that it consistently comes out enjoyable regardless of the variations applied. Maybe even a larger part is just how terrific my very first mini batch of it was and how difficult it has been to emulate. With that in mind I set out to once again split this batch 2 ways but with yeasts that should be closer to the yeast blend I initially used.

Brew notes: Pulled 8.75 gallons straight from the sink. Added 1/2 of a campden tablet, then 1 g Gypsum and 2 g CaCl. Missed my mash-in temp hitting just 144° before raising to 149° after 10 minutes. 50 minutes later I ran off, batch sparged with 170° water (to bring to 165° let sit for 15 minutes then ran off slowly over the course of half an hour before moving the wort to the burner.

Added .35 oz. hops and 6 oz turbinado at boil, 60 minutes later I cut the heat and added 1 oz. for 10 minutes before applying cooling. Applied cooling to 145° then added additional 2.65. Applied additional cooling after 20 minutes only to have the wort chiller begin leaking. A small amount of the chilling water made its way into the beer, and I had a hard time deciding whether to reboil or just move ahead but was on a time constraint so I tightened the loose connection after about 15 minutes of cussing and yelling at it and continued the chill. Reached 80° degrees after about 15 more minutes.

Split evenly between two 3 gallon carboys and pitched yeast. One full packet of Danstar Belle Saison and a quarter cup of BKYeast C2 Brett slurry in one half with a pack of Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison in the other.

8 hours after pitching both carboys had fallen to near room temperature at 65° with the Belle/C2 version showing vigorous fermentation and the Belgian Saison just starting to bubble. 8 hours later both versions are actively chugging along nicely. Moved the carboys next to each other and wrapped in a blanket to allow them to maintain some heat.

12/20/2015
Belle/C2 version down to 1.004 gravity, while Belgian Saison version is still slowly bubbling away and only down to 1.029. Belle/C2 version kegged with 2 oz. bagged Mosaic hops.

1/17/2016
Belle/C2 version still on tap, pretty good, super fruity gooseberry/kiwi character from the hops, but not much else. Belgian Saison version down to 1.003 but still showing weak signs of fermentation (krausen and occasional off gassing). Tasting pretty great! I'm super excited to keg this one soon.

1/18/2016
Tasting:
Appearance- very pale in color, moderately hazy, with just enough clarity to make out some shapes behind it. Small but fairly stable and sticky white head. 

Smell- big sweet fruity hop aroma giving lots of gooseberry and a touch of mango and spice.

Taste- the hops are more subdued than in the nose with grainy, lightly sweet malt leading and the hops just giving a faint fruit salad character over top. Bitterness is cleansing but slightly spicy/astringent and stronger than I would like.

Mouthfeel- moderately thin mouthfeel, fairly low carbonation after a couple days in the growler.

Overall- a drinkable, likable, super fruity beer that isn't exactly what I'm going for. This beer seems to be heading more in the direction of an IPA without the bitterness than the juicy grisette I'm after. A fine beer, but off target. The Belgian Saison seems like the much more exciting option than this fairly clean/lightly spicy Belle Saison.

1/31/2016
Kegged the Belgian Saison version with the Belle/C2 version kicking.

2/6/2016
Brought a growler of the Belgian Saison version of this beer to the annual JamBEERee homebrew meeting between several DC/Northern Virginia area clubs (BURP, Grist, WortHogs, and DC Homebrewers). Received a lot of positive feedback mixed with a lot of confusion on what a Grisette is. I'm pretty pleased with how this batch turned out and plan planned to submit it to a few competitions.

2/19/2016
Tasting of the Belgian Saison version:

Appearance: Surprisingly clear pale golden yellow. A few weeks in the keg have done wonders for this beer. High carbonation (nearly 15 PSI) gives it a large head, that recedes to a small film after a few minutes.

Next to a Fern without Zach Galifianakis
Smell: The wonderful, almost artificial (makes me think of juicy fruit gum) fruitiness that I want in this beer leads the way. There is also some lemon, pine, coriander, banana taffy, and cranberry. The hops and yeast seem to work harmoniously to produce the big bouquet.

Taste: Light grainy sweetness fills the first sip with a myriad of tropical fruit and citrus flavors coming in later. A moderate bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue with a touch of pepper.

Mouthfeel: Super dry and crisp. After a few weeks in the keg this beer seems to have become even drier, bringing it closer in line with a traditional saison.

Overall: I am very happy with the way this one turned out. While it isn't quite as fruity and delicious as the first couple days on tap it seems to have developed into something more akin to what someone would expect from a saison. This beer is impeccably light and drinkable, enjoyable enough in a small taster or pint after pint. This is a good beer.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

(Coffee) Oatmeal Stout

I was very happy with my last oatmeal stout and with the cold weather coming soon to the area I figured now would be a good time to rebrew it.  While I was very happy with the original it was slightly more berry/fruity and less coffee/roasty than I would have liked. I also currently have a large quantity of American 2-Row that I am using in place of the Maris Otter so a few substitutions were required. To reduce the fruity character I dropped the 4 oz. of Special B and instead upped the Crystal 80 by 2 oz. and switched the yeast from the West Yorkshire strain to WLP002.  To make up for the lack of biscuity character from the Maris Otter  I added a quarter pound of Munich malt and a couple extra ounces of Victory.  Lastly, I slightly increased the roasted barley amount to increase the coffee character that I desire in a stout.  I did make sure to keep the 2 pounds of Oatmeal which seemed to give the original batch a great nutty and silky quality.

I managed to mess up my mash temperature somehow, initially hitting only 146 instead of the 154 I was aiming for. After 10 minutes I added about half a gallon of boiling water to bring it up to 156. I'll be interested in seeing how this affects the attenuation and body of the final beer.

Cooled to 75 F then placed in 65 degree basement and added the yeast.

11/6/15
Racked one carboy to 3 gallon keg. Added .5 oz of medium toast oak cubes to the other carboy, with plans to also add coffee in the future.

11/27/15
Added .25 oz Peet's Major Dickason's Blend and .5 oz Eight O'Clock Coffee Original to the carboy with oak.  Keg kicked of straight version.

11/29/15
Racked to keg at 10 PSI.  Coffee flavor is very strong but not overwhelming in still sample.

Tasting of Coffee Version:

Appearance: Very dark black, almost entirely opaque. Pours with a moderately big head despite the slow exit from the tap. Head is tan and lasts shortly before falling to a foamy covering that sticks around.  Pretty good all around.

Smell: Roast hits the nose first and dominates the aroma with heavy face-in-the-bag-of-coffee-beans character being augmented by a sweet cream-caramel and victory malt toasty/nutty malt characters.  Just a touch of ash that may be from the malts or the heavily roasted coffee.

Taste: Subtler than the nose, the coffee is present but blends smoothly with other roast characters, light creamy caramel, and a moderate to low bitterness.  The coffee character isn't overwhelming but is certainly present.  Oak flavors aren't particularly noticeable, every once in a while I get some definite oak character but it's only just there.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and fairly dry.  The body is a bit lighter than I would like but comes in creamy and goes down easy. I'm not sure if the oatmeal or oak give it the creamy impression despite the dryness or whether that is more a factor of the moderately low carbonation, but it certainly works. The dryness is likely related to the error with the initial mash temp, but it didn't fully sink this beer.

Overall: I can't find too much to complain about in this beer, it's smooth, easy drinking, refreshing, and has just enough coffee and roast to keep things interesting.  While I think the beer could be a little better with Maris Otter instead of 2-row I don't know that I would change anything else about it. If I wanted to give more oak flavor I would probably either double the dosage or contact time, but I don't know that it would necessarily benefit the beer.

The un-oaked, un-coffeed version was enjoyable but without the Maris Otter malt character and a slightly higher attenuation and cleaner yeast profile than the previous batch it came off a tad boring. This version seems to have taken it up a notch without overwhelming the base beer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Short Leash (aka #6) Rebrew

I first brewed a Belgian session IPA (a la Raging Bitch but toned down) in my first year of brewing as a birthday gift to my father. He liked it so much that he has regularly asked if I plan to re-brew it ever since. Today I finally decided to give it a go using a similar base recipe but converted to my current all grain setup and substituting hops as needed to use what I had on hand (Nugget in place of Warrior).

Brew Day (9/26/15)
~9 Brix (~1.035 gravity) pre-boil.
Boiled for 45 minutes, cooled to 80 degrees in under than 30 minutes with my new immersion chiller. A huge improvement over my previous ice bath times of an hour plus.
11.5 Brix (1.043 gravity) post-boil.
Wort split between two 3 gallon better bottles. One carboy was moved to my chest freezer at 45 degrees with the temperature controller set to 65 to allow for slow cooling. The other carboy was left at room temperature around 68 degrees.

9/27/15
Fermentor at room temp bubbling away, the one in the chest freezer is just barely starting to get going around 55 degrees

9/28/15
Both batches fermenting vigorously, fermentation chamber up to 60 degrees.

10/11/15
Dry hop blend added to each carboy.

10/17/15
I didn't notice a large difference between the two batches and didn't have any 3 gallon kegs available so I decided to blend them together into a single 5 gallon keg.  PSI set to 30 for 2 days, then will drop to 10.

11/8/2015
Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours with a large head that lasts for a long time leaving thick foam on the sides of the glass as it slowly falls.  Color is a nice shade of copper with just a touch of cloudiness and some nice carbonation bubbles.  All around a pretty good looking IPA.

Smell: Floral and slightly grassy hop character mix with sweet and stone fruit-y yeast and malt characters. There's also little bit of bread and just a touch of phenolic spice. Could use a more pungent and more interesting hop aroma.

Taste: Dry and mildly spicy on the tongue with just moderate hop flavor but fairly high bitterness on the end. The overall impression is decidedly more bitter and spicy than the fruity and pungent flavors I was aiming for.

Mouthfeel: It took a while for this one to carbonate correctly but it's now at a solid level. The beer is unsurprisingly dry, but with the high bitterness it is a little too attenuated.

Overall: Like a lot of my recent IPA's this one falls in the drinkable but not very good category.  The hop flavor and aroma are disappointing and I think the yeast would have done better at a higher temperature in order to bring out more fruity esters and make it feel more "Belgian" instead of just being dry and spicy.  I am happy with the color and malt profile.

It's hard for me to tell exactly what's been wrong with my past few hoppy beers. I probably need to evaluate every aspect: the ingredients including the type, quality, and age of hops being used and the processes including how and when hops are added in the boil, steep, and dry-hop. For example: I haven't been weighting my dry-hop bags, could that be limiting the ability for the flavor to come out or increasing the oxidation rate?

For this batch I'm going to add an ounce of Amarillo hops to the keg to try and improve it, though I doubt it will get above drinkable.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fast Lagered Oktoberfest

I haven't been very active with this blog in a while.  Part of it is that I have been busy with work.  Part of it is that I haven't brewed anything in a while. Part of it is also that I recently moved.  The main part is that I have been lazy.

Breaking the habit of not brewing and not posting, and making use of my new brewing environment all at once, I decided to set out and make my second lager beer: a traditional Marzen/Oktoberfest.

After my visit to Munich last year to celebrate at the Wiesn I knew that I needed to eventually brew a beer in the oh so quenchable yet complex style.  Taking advantage of my new barley crusher (that took me about an hour of finagling to work with my underpowered cordless drill, but hey I got it to work!) I was able to crush the grist of relatively equal parts continental Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malts, with just a little Carahell for extra color and flavor. While I didn't do a decoction mash or anything overly interesting with the wort production I did get to try out a few new toys, using my pH meter during the mash and refractometer throughout to ensure everything was on track.

Despite my new toys, the most interesting aspect of this brew might be the lagering schedule.  Using techniques I have pulled from a number of sources, most recently Brulosophy, I set out to make a fast lager.  My last lager, a Bohemian Pilsner, turned out fairly well but took a long time from grain to glass and had some diacetyl issues. I am hoping that the fast lagering method is able to reduce off characters and fermentation time for this beer.  I'm also under some serious time constraints as I plan to serve this beer at the DC Homebrewers 4th annual BBQ in late September as part of their homebrew presentation/competition. As such this beer needs to be delicious and ready to drink in less than a month. Challenge accepted.

Fermentables:
Amount
Fermentable
Maltster
Use
PPG
Color
4.0 lb
 Vienna (DE)
Avangard
Mash
37
5 °L
3.5 lb
 Pilsner (DE)
Weyermann
Mash
37
2 °L
3.0 lb
 Munich (DE)
Avangard
Mash
37
8 °L
0.44 lb
 CaraHell (DE)
Weyermann
Mash
34
11 °L
Hops:
Amount
Hop
Time
Use
Form
AA
0.5 oz
Magnum (DE)
60 min
Boil
Pellet
12.1%
0.5 oz
Hallertau (DE)
15 min
Boil
Leaf
4.5%
Yeast:
Name
Lab/Product
Attenuation
Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast
White Labs WLP802
77.5%
Stats:
OG: Measured 1.055
FG: predicted 1.012, measured 1.014
IBU: Calculated 24

Notes:
8/28/15 Brewday
Added 1 tsp CaCl to 7 gallons distilled water, 1.5 gallons bottled purified water
Mash Water 3.5 gallons
Mash Thickness 1.28 quarts/lb
Strike Temperature 165.2
Mash Temperature 151.9
Mash pH: 5.19
Mash Time 60 minutes
Sparge Water: 8.5 gallons
Sparge Temperature: 169.2
Sparge Time: 45 minutes
Boil Time: 75 minutes
Cooled to ~80 degrees then transferred to 48 degree fermentation chamber. 2 quart yeast starter pitched 8 hours later.

8/31/15
No obvious signs of fermentation (airlock bubbles or krausen) after 3.5 days had me worried but gravity showed 1.038, so it should be fine.
9/3/15
Increased temperature to 63 +/- 2 degrees after 5 days. Plan to begin slowly decreasing again on 9/7 assuming FG is reached.
9/6/15
Beer is showing minimal signs of fermentation, will slowly drop.
9/9/15
Down to 7.5 Brix (a calculated 1.013 gravity) at 53 degrees. This is near the estimated FG and the beer is tasting pretty good so I will add gelatin and continue dropping in temp.
9/14/15
Moved to keg. Tasted a sample post transfer and noticed diacetyl. Tasting very similar to my Czech Pilsner in that the diacetyl it is noticeably present, though not unbearably high. Running out of time to carbonate the beer but I decided to give it 48 hours at room temp to see if it clears up at all. Pretty disappointing given that I hadn't noticed it in my previous tasting, but I will have to live with it.



















9/20/15
Tasted a sample this morning, not bad but still some noticeable diacetyl so I decided to take the latest version of Maisonette to the BBQ instead.

9/25/2015
Tasting:
A- Small but resilient white head over a hazy orange body. Perfect color though clarity is disappointing, I'll have to review my gelatin addition method.

S- Diacetyl is definitely the first thing I notice with that signature butter character. There's also some malt aromas of toasted grains and caramel, giving a sweet buttered toast impression.  No noticeable hop character.

T/M- The diacetyl is much less present in flavor than in the smell, with light grassy hops and bread crust malt giving way to a dry, lightly bitter finish which leaves just a touch of buttery slickness on the tongue. Carbonation is moderate, maybe a touch lower than I would like.

O- This beer is slightly disappointing in that I was hoping to avoid the butteryness and have more malt presence, but it is still a nice, easy drinking beer that suits the weather perfectly. I will likely use a different yeast and pay closer attention to my d-rest next time but other than that I'm fairly happy with the recipe and process.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Maisonette 3.0

For the third iteration of my mosaic hopped grisette/table saison I decided to make a number of changes. While I was happy with the last version I felt it needed more hop presence, less yeast character, and a touch less wheat. For this batch I reformatted the entire grain bill swapping Spelt Malt for the wheat and Floor-Malted Pilsner for the American 2-row. I also am adding more mosaic hops to really emphasize the berry, citrus, and funk that they give. The batch will be split 4 ways with half receiving "Brett" Brux Trois and the other 3 gallons split in 1 gallon containers each with their own yeast.



An additional new feature of this version is that it will be the first beer I have brewed outside on my new Darkstar burner.

Fermentables:
Amount
Fermentable
Maltster
Use
PPG
Color
6.5 lb
 Pilsner (DE)
Weyermann
Mash
37
2 °L
2.5 lb
 Spelt (DE)
Weyermann
Mash
37
3 °L
6.5 oz
 Turbinado
Any
Boil
44
8 °L
Hops:
Amount
Hop
Time
Use
Form
AA
0.35 oz
Mosaic
55 min
Boil
Pellet
12.8%
1.0 oz
Mosaic
10 min
Boil
Leaf
12.8%
2.0 oz
Mosaic
0 min
Boil
Leaf
12.8%
Yeast:
Name
Lab/Product
Attenuation
Saccharomyces "Bruxellensis" Trois
White Labs WLP644
85%

Notes:
9/7/15 (brew day)
Added 2g CaCl, 1g CaCO3, and 8g gypsum (CaSO3) to mash
Water: 8.5 gallons filtered Burtonsville water
Mash Water 3.5 gallons
Mash Thickness 1.25 quarts/lb
Strike Temperature 168
Mash Temperature 155
Mash pH: 5.24
Mash Time 60 minutes
Mashout: 1 gallon boiling, raise to 168
Sparge Water: 4 gallons
Sparge Temperature: 155.5
Sparge Time: 45 minutes
Boil Time: 55 minutes (x2 due to wort being split into 2 halves)
Cooled to ~70 degrees in ice bath, ~30 minutes per each half. Flameout hops added after moving to ice bath.
Split wort to one 3 gallon better bottle and four separate 1 gallon jugs. 2 quart yeast starter of Trois pitched into 3 gallon batch + a little bit in a container with a little less than a gallon of extra wort.
Weihenstephan Hefeweizen yeast, Tired Hands dregs, and Lacto Del pitched into each of the other three 1 gallon containers.
Massive fermentation in the 3 gallon better bottle, with airlock shooting off after only 3 hours and replaced with blowoff tube.

9/8/15
Tired Hands and Lacto Del batches also required a blow off by morning after brew day. Hefeweizen and extra Trois batches showing slow signs of fermentation.

9/9/15
1 gallon Trois batch showing vigorous fermentation and also received a blow off tube. Hefe version finally started bubbling during the day, not as intense a blow off as the others but solid fermentation activity.

9/13/15
Early tasting notes - Trois version is quite fruity (pineapple) but not as dry as I would like. Lacto Del is lightly sour but not overly exciting. TH version is nice, similar to previous versions but with less yeast and more hop characteristics than the last two batches. Hefe version is bland without much character from hops or yeast, might need to add something to make it worth drinking.

9/18/15
Moved the main Trois batch to keg and topped off with a little of the Tired Hands version (less than a quart). Moved to keezer at 33F, attached to gas, and cranked regulator up to 30 PSI. Hopefully this will carb very quickly.

9/20/15
Served this beer at the 4th Annual DC Homebrewers BBQ at 3 Stars Brewing Company. Got lots of feedback, mostly positive, including a few votes for the best homebrew there.  People seemed to agree that this was a nice, easy drinking beer, but it didn't do quite enough to blow people away and catch their attention as some of the other beers did. Seem to have enough left to get in a full tasting.


9/22/15
Tasting:
A: small white head sits on top of a cloudy pale yellow beer. Pretty for a cloudy wheat beer.
S- moderate fruity hoppy an yeast derived aromas dominate giving an impression of pineapple and guava.
T- more flavorful than the nose implies with more tropical juicy character. Fairly clean yeast character for a "saison" and it is hard to tell where the hops end and the yeast begins. The spelt and pilsner give a light sweetness and just a touch of grainy character.
M- moderate carbonation. Very dry but with a touch of lingering stickiness on the tongue that may be from the yeast or the spelt.
O- while not really a saison, more of an interesting take on an American wheat, it's an enjoyable and refreshing light summery beer, which is exactly what I told the people I served it to at the BBQ. Maybe my least favorite of the 3 versions so far, but still a nice beer. I would love to use Trois again after this beer, just not for this specific beer.