Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spiced Belgian Tasting

Haven't done a tasting in a while and just popped open my strong/spiced Belgian ale.

A- Cloudy amber with a large head that fades slowly leaving no lacing.  Pretty bubbles in the tan head.

S- Spice, clove and cardamom, lead the way with some caramel, prune and fig notes.

T- Like the nose the spice dominates with clove dominating but a mild toasty flavor and some fig/cherry fruit also in the mix. Finishes long and dry with a bit of tang and hops.

M- Fairly thin, accentuated by the fairly high carbonation.  The carbonation gives it a bit of a bite on the dry finish.

O- A quite pleasant beer with the Rochefort yeast giving strong spice notes that are even more accentuated by the additions.  The wine has faded entirely giving no noticeable contribution.  This one wasn't what I was going for with the beer and the carbonation could be dialed back some, but still very enjoyable.  The alcohol also really sneaks up on you in this one. Very strong but no alcohol presence until you feel it all over.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

BKYeast Brett Isolate (Funky Kast #3)

The very cool Dmitri from BKYeast recently had a post about giving away 4 strains of Brettanomyces to those who ask (and pay for shipping). While I thought it was a longshot I decided to send an email inquiring about C2, one of the 3 Brett strains he isolated from Cantillon Iris.  I was happy to hear back that I am one of the 15 people he will be shipping his samples of C2.  I'm super excited for this chance to experiment with such an original yeast (and one from a brewery I very much like and recently visited).  I'm already thinking of a few recipes that have potential to use this yeast as the sole fermenter.  Depending on what characteristics I get out of the yeast I will also probably use it in the secondary or at bottling with saisons, dubbels or old ales.

I hope to have a chance of doing some yeast ranching of my own within the next few months, maybe even starting with the bottle of Cantillon I brought back from the brewery.  It's awesome the number of homebrewers who are already doing it and are giving these options to us... Thanks BKYeast!

Made a 1.5 L starter for this, plan to step it up in about 48 hours

Stepped up the starter to nearly 1 gallon. The extra starter wort (in excess of the gallon) was placed outside during the Redskins game and is now sitting in an open (but sanitized) juice container. We'll see if anything comes of that.

Brewed up the best bitter/saison hybrid for this beer yesterday, and added the homemade candi sugar today.  OG of 1.049.

Took a gravity reading and tasting.  Gravity down to 1.012, the flavor is interesting.  Up front there is a strawberry and damp wood sweet sensation that is followed by a horsey, funky, sour flavor mixed with mild bitterness.  The flavor is far from ideal but hopefully it will blend a little better over time and I am wondering whether oak or fruit may play up the nice parts of the front while balancing the strange flavors on the tail end.

Gravity seems stable at 1.010. Flavor has certainly melded as the bitterness faded revealing mainly a woody, lightly fruity and moderately sour beer. This could definitely be a nice base for a fruit beer, I'm not quite sure which type of fruit would go best yet though.  I'm thinking about bottling some and taking a wait and see approach with the rest.

Bottling Day!
Racked from under the pellicle and onto 2.6 oz. of sugar.  I went for the low end of carbonation to avoid bottle bombs if the Brett eats a little bit beyond the 1.010 gravity that it's been at.  1 case (about half the batch) were bottled while the other half was simply moved to secondary, where it might end up receiving some fruit or other addition.  It tastes pretty good: lightly sour, lightly fruity and a bit of a damp woody character.  I look forward to reviewing it once it is finished carbonating.

Added 2 pounds of blackberries directly to carboy. Planning to bottle in 2 or 3 weeks though it could probably go longer on the fruit with the Brett eating away at it

Finally bottled the blackberry half. Side by side tasting to come in a month or so.  As of now the blackberry is subtle but balancing and pleasant.