Monday, April 1, 2013

Raspberry Blonde

I brewed a raspberry blonde beer with my girlfriend on St. Patrick's day.  The beer was her idea (she said she wanted a red beer with raspberries in it) and I had her do most of the work outside of heavy lifting/moving hot water.  This was only my second all-grain batch in my cooler setup and her first attempt at making a beer.  I designed the beer with a medium-low abv, low ibu, and medium-low body in mind to allow the raspberries to really shine.  We ended up with just over 4 gallons rather than the desired 5 but OG was only slightly high so we decided not to adjust and just let it ferment for a few weeks before adding berries and going from there.

Update 3/31/13
Gravity down to 1.006. Racked off of trub and into 3 pounds of raspberries.  Girlfriend complained that she "wanted a red beer" whereas this was more of a gold.  Hopefully all of those raspberries impart some nice color in addition to flavor.  The plan is to bottle in 2-3 weeks if the flavor seems established.

Raspberries had lost most of their color so it seemed about time to bottle. Bottled with a low amount of sugar (2.1 oz) to account for residual fruit sugars. Beer had a very strong raspberry aroma and moderately fruity and sour raspberry flavor, but just a tinge of pink in the testing tube. It will be interesting to see how it tastes (and looks) once fully carbonated.

#18 Saison Double Tasting

Today I'm doing a tasting on some of the last bottles of my 18/18B Saison batch.  Originally intended to be a sophie inspired oak aged brett saison with large amounts of wheat, the brett really never came through in this one and I added half the batch to both oak and asian pears.  I brought a bottle of this to a brew club meeting where it seemed to be fairly well received.

A- Both versions are a pretty amber color but the pear version is both darker and cloudier.  The pear version also pours with a bigger head, hold the head longer and still has a ring around the outside after a few minutes while the other has just a few bubbles throughout.

S- Straight: White grape juice, hay, orange peel, juicy fruit gum.  Pear: Much lower levels of fruitiness with some slightly tart pear character and a nice oak level that gives a faint touch of smoke and vanilla.

T- Straight: fairly light flavors compared to the nose, the Juicy Fruit and hay/wheat character come through a bit while the beer finishes lightly sweet.  Pear: Light pear character definitely shines through, I can sense the oak but it helps to bolster the light flavors from the malt/yeast/fruit more than it sticks out on its own.

M- Both beers feel both a bit underattenuated and undercarbonated.  I feel this may be due to the brett never kicking in and bringing the gravity lower as I had expected.

D- Not bad.  The asian pear/oak version is certainly better and seems to have enough fruit to be perceivable without dominating while the oak seems to enhance that fruit character.  I don't think I will use this yeast again (WLP670 White Labs American Farmhouse blend) and the overall character was a bit like Urthel Saisonierre, though more complex.  I will probably never have a chance to do an asian pear beer again but I was happy with the results here and certainly would recommend for anyone else with easy access to them.