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.

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.

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.

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.

Kegged the Belgian Saison version with the Belle/C2 version kicking.

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.

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.

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