Monday, June 11, 2012

Iron Brewer

Months ago I registered for IRON BREWER after reading about it at another blog. Truth be told I had totally forgotten doing it until the email came a few nights ago. I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the competition because I like being in a competitive setting. When I received the return email letting me know that I had replied soon enough and the mystery ingredients I began to get excited.

(read more after the break.)

The secret ingredients were fairly tame, easy to acquire and right in my culinary wheel house. The secret ingredients are Rosemary, French Strisselspalt hops, and medium toast American Oak chips. If anyone isn't sure which spice is Rosemary it is described as having, 'a unique pine-like fragrant flavor that is balanced by a rich pungency, a combination that evokes both the forest and the sea.' It is most often featured in Italian cooking. French Strisselspalt hops are not a variety that I have used. I've read that they have a mild and pleasant bitterness and aroma. I've seen it likened to black currants and compared to crystal, mt. hood, and herzberker hops. American oak has a strong oak character and additional details can be read in my treatise on oak.

When I read about the Strisselspalt hops I first saw that it would work well in a wheat beer. This immediately brought to mind a few choices: American Wheat, Wit, Saison, and Biere de Garde. I eliminated Wit because I just made one with Kyle. I also eliminated the American Wheat beer because I have a vial of saison yeast from east coast.

My Yeast: ECY14 Saison, Single Strain: This pure strain leaves a smooth, full character with mild esters reminiscent of apple pie spice. Apparent attenuation 76-78%. Suggested fermentation temp: 75 - 82° F. AVAILABILITY: Spring / Summer

Apple pie spice spice is made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. I'm not sure this will play overly well with the rosemary but I imagine that it will give the whole beer some flavorful depth, so I am going to attempt it. It's a bold choice to use an unknown yeast in a competition brew but I'm hoping that it's the edge I need.

My Preliminary Recipe: Iron Brewer Saison (3 gal.)
3 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) 54.5 %
2 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) 36.4 %
4.0 oz Caramunich II (Weyermann) (63.0 SRM) 4.5 %
4.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) 4.5 %
0.25 oz Admiral [14.75 %] - Boil 60.0 min 22.2 IBUs
0.25 oz Strisslespalt [4.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min 3.6 IBUs
0.25 oz Strisslespalt [4.00 %] - Boil 7.0 min 1.6 IBUs
~10.00 g Lemon Zest (Boil 0.0 mins)
~10.00 g Rosemary (Boil 0.0 mins)

I'm using a saison base of roughly 60% pils and 40% wheat with a touch of adjuncts. I am hoping the acidulated malt adds just a touch of acidity in just under 5% of the grist. I am hoping that brings out the lemon flavor from the lemon zest gives it a pleasant tartness.

Testing out the lemon zest and rosemary:
I'll be making a tea using my french press to scale to roughly the right g/l fluid ratio. I want to see also how fresh and dried rosemary work. I want to know before I brew what ratio of Rosemary to Lemon Zest to use.

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