Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#29 - Simple Lambic (Funky Kast #4)

Not sure what took me so long to post this but I'll finally publish...

After bottling half of my sour brown I was ready to crank out another sour. Taking half of the yeast/bacteria cake from the sour brown and adding it to an extract lambic seemed a simple, effective method.  I used just under an ounce of saaz hops for 35 minutes to keep the ibus down and also boiled half a pound each of flaked wheat and Maltodextrin combined with 6 lbs of Wheat LME. In addition to the sour blend I also added American ale yeast to ensure full fermentation and 1 oz of Hungarian medium toast oak for the full barrel flavor of a classic lambic. I plan to add dregs of various sours as this one progresses.

A little over a month in the carboy and this beer is already down to 1.002.  Light sourness but also pretty young and sweet.  Added dregs of Cantillon Geuze.

A very bad outhouse smell began to develop.  Pulled a sample and it doesn't seem to be the beer, maybe mold around the top of the carboy?  Beer smells and tastes about the same as a month ago, light lemony sourness and some grainy sweetness despite the extremely low gravity.

Wasn't able to taste/test gravity but the outhouse smell is gone. This beer might be ready for at least some to be bottled. I will have to taste in about a month and make some determinations but it is beginning to smell fairly sour and funky and I don't want this to go nearly as sour/acetic as the Flanders red.

Gravity down to 1.000. Taste is tart and refreshing. It might be about time to bottle at least some of this.

Racked 3 gallons onto .5 oz of previously used oak and bottled the rest. Still moderately sour but not overly complex.

Received some positive comments on this beer from a brother and his friends.  Might be time to do a full tasting write up.

Beer is over 2 years old with half the batch kegged.  Decent flavors, moderate acidity, no noticeable acetic acid or other off flavors.

14.5 oz. Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries pitted in water added to the keg with about 2 gallons beer remaining. Sweet Cherry puree and juice reserved for a later addition.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#30 - Amarillo IPA

Finding myself with 3 oz. of Amarillo hops, an open fermentor and no hoppy beers sitting around I decided it was time to brew another American IPA.  While my #28 American Saison features Amarillo and was designed to have a mild hoppiness this beer was intended to be much more bitter and hop forward without yeast character.  In order to up the bitter hop character I used a much different water chemistry profile than I had and added quite a bit of gypsum with just a touch of calcium carbonate.  The simple mash (2-row with just a touch of Vienna and Carastan) made for a fairly easy brewday, though I once again missed my target gravity.  I brought a few bottles of this beer to the beach with me and they were finished fairly quickly.  It's a very pleasant beer but not one that wouldl stand out in a crowd.

Wanted to do a tasting of this IPA...unfortunately (fortunately?) it appears my dad really enjoyed it and there aren't any bottles remaining. Probably for the best with a beer this hoppy which deserves to be enjoyed fresh. Only wish I'd taken a little more notes to have a better sense of how to tweak it next time around. Also wish I had taken a picture since that's really all this post has been waiting on since brew day in July. As the saying goes, only the good die young, and this was a good beer.

A Brief Brew Like a Monk Book Review

I've been holding off on writing this review both because I had other things to write about an because I wasn't entirely sure how I felt. Stan Hieronymus' Brew Like a Monk can be a really interesting and fun read at times with beer and monastery histories and descriptions flowing off the page. At other times it feels as though things are a jumble, processes and facts get repeated or thrown out at strange times. While I like the way the author goes about making each brewery and its beer into a story, it sometimes feels as though there's nothing to tell.

On the actual recipe formulation side of the book some of the recipes given seem a bit off and he often utilizes brewers to come up with recipes for styles they don't brew or at the least don't specialize in. Why not ask them about something they actually know?  While I'm sure Ron Jeffries (Jolly Pumpkin) or Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River) respective recipes for a Blonde and a Golden strong are nice, I would much rather they gave ideas for sours which they specialize in, or at least Orval clone ideas.

All around I found the book a worthwhile straight through read which I may come back to next time I brew a Trappist inspired beer and which helped in formulating my recent quad recipe. Far from the worst but also not among the best as far as beer books go.  I look forward to reading the author's other work including For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops but hope it is better edited and less scatterbrain.