Monday, April 30, 2012

Mid Sized Batch Sour

I have noticed that major breweries who have a souring program have a good solid sour base beer. For example Crooked Stave has their petite sour which has been released as Pure Guava(0% Guava), Black Berry and Unflavored. Upland releases several lambics fruited with different fruit added to them. For a recent interview at Embrace The Funk, Jackie O's head brewer Adam Ebe revealed he uses their raspberry wheat as a base for sours.

I want to develop a good base sour, something that will sour up and yield a good balance of sour and funk.

(read more after the break.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cascade, Citra, & Nelson Sauvin Double IPA

It looks a bit like
hoppy milk?
My desire is to make a strongly hopped IPA to get ready for spring, and to give brewing hoppy beers another try now that my small batch process has been refined a bit. My model comes from a beer I had before my trip to California. I enjoyed my can of Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery; it has a punch you in the face hop aroma, great hop flavor, and lower than expected bitterness.

I've read many secrets to making a great hoppy beer: one secret is hop bursting, another is recipe formulation, and the other is an aroma rest. Hop bursting is the term given to moving most of your hop schedule  into the last 20 minutes of the boil. An aroma rest is allowing the wort to cool naturally for a time after adding the flame out hops but before you engage the chiller. The final piece of the puzzle is a great recipe. My go to source on this topic is Vinnie from Russian River. He invented the DIPA! Following his tips in recipe formation is like following a Van Gogh paint by numbers.

(read more after the break.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: Hibiscus Pale Ale

Hibiscus Pale Ale

Appearance: Clear and red, deep and dark until you hold it to the light when it reveal its copper body.

Aroma: Hops, bitter American. Palisade wasn't the floral potpourri I was hoping for, the hibiscus isn't apparent in the aroma, maybe a hibiscus dry hop.

Flavor: Bitter and Tart, Good. The balance is off though, the bitterness and the tartness are off. Next time, more hibiscus less bitterness.

Mouth: The mouth-feel is good. Nice prickly carbonation. The beer is smooth and not too thin.

Overall: It's okay. Needs tweaking to be right. I see potential. Hibiscus soda was super tart and cranberry like, the tea I made was very tart, the beer was not. The interplay of hops and tartness from the hibiscus could be a neat interplay in a 'clean' beer because the hibiscus brings the tartness normally contributed by the lacto.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cranberry Blossom Mead

I like the idea of a mead. I grew up eating honey, I would put honey on everything until my parents stopped buying it for me because natural sugar became bad for you. The 80's were a magical time.

All of the meads I've had are far too sweet or boozy. It's hard to find a good table mead. There is not a good source of table meads as far as I know. Honey bourbon, honey beer, high alcohol meads, and honey wine; Never table meads though. What I'm hoping to get is a soft floral honey flavor with a spritzy carbonation level.

(read more after the break.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ordering Hop Rhizomes

Ordering Hop Rhizomes was the moon to me. Gardening is not my foray, my green thumb is novice at best. Hops are hardy plants though right? Strong growing vines with a medium to high yield.

So I read, researched, and scoured the internet for information. I learned a few things, Hops grow from root stock. They grow vigorously and yield well in their 3rd year. This post is going to run through my process and decision making from having cash in my pocket to having roots in the ground.

(read more after the break.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Funky Dark Saison

Dark Brett Saison w/ Candied Figs, Star Anise, Cinnamon & Sweet Orange Peel

Appearance: Brown & clear. The french saison strain and brettanomyces really cleared this up. In the pilsner glass the beer really has many shades of brown.

Aroma: Bring on the funk! Spicy. I can smell the anise and the dark grains.

Spicey, barnyard, & funk. Lost are the figs and orange peel.

The mouth-feel is good, the saison yeast really prevents it from being too dry. Saison yeast produces a chemical that increases mouth-feel while drying a beer. This works well in sours to keep them from thinning too much, IMO. Carbonation is a bit prickly and the spice lingers.

It's good, funky, of my 2 funky beers it's the best. I hope to make better down the line.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Belgian Single 100% Brettanomyces Fermented on Oak

I used the tape because the
the top wouldn't stay inserted.

I bought a vial of Brettanomyces Clausenii from White Labs to complete the Brettanomyces trifecta. This gave me a third opportunity to make a west coast style sour. My first attempt at this style was a success in that it fermented. I don't want to change too many variables so I'm just changing the brettanomyces strain and using Hungarian oak cubes soaked Vodka then White Wine(as opposed to Red Wine or Apple Brandy). My design of this beer is a simple pilsner and aromatic base lightly hopped and fermented out with Brett yeast. My hope for the flavor profile is a light beer with a nice Brett character and some funk. At the end of the fermentation I hope to have a nice yeast cake of Brettanomyces Clausenii and some oak cubes impregnated by it. My Belgian Single is good on it's own; the recipe is solid when fermented with Ardennes yeast; the Brett L edition was good as well. I imagine that this version will be totally different than both the Brett L & the Ardennes. When it's all said and done I'll blend all of the variations and try to come up with a formula for a house Brettanomyces blend. 

Brett C's character according to Wyeast, "Isolated from English stock ale, this wild yeast produces a mild “Brett” character with overtones of tropical fruit and pineapple. B. clausenii can be used as a primary strain; however it is typically inoculated in conjunction with other yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. A pellicle may develop in bottles or casks during conditioning."

(read more after the break.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Berliner Weisse Aged on an Oak Stave

My first use of a wine stave!
I enjoy the tartness of tart beers, I think that when you have a beer with a bit of an acidic backbone to it you can really help the fruit pop from the glass. The low hoping rate of sour beers also lends itself to the marriage of fruit and beer. The use of aged hops and acidic bacteria in a Lambic Style beer makes for a very nice fruited beer. Another style traditionally mixed with fruit syrup is Berliner Weisse. Known by Napoleon as the Champagne of the North the Berliner Weisse has survived as a regional specialty while not making a particularly large impact on the craft beer market. I see this changing as the market for craft beer expands and the craft beer drinker's taste evolve over time.

The characteristic tart flavors present in this style come from a mix of lactic acid producing bacteria and traditional brewers yeast. From my readings I've gathered that the traditional mixture is four parts yeast and one part bacteria. I am going to mix a vial of Lactobacillus with a vial of European yeast.  I lack the equipment to accurately calculate the ratio and am just kinda hoping it will work out..

(read more after the break.)